Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Books on our Nightstands

This weekend a French-speaking airport security worker took one look at Connor and said "She has the face of an angel!" (in French). Of course I didn't fully understand the airport employee until the third time she repeated it - what a kind, spontaneous compliment from an unlikely source! I smiled and agreed, she is angelic...most of the time.Now that potty training is mastered we are on to other things. Specifically I want to work on beefing up Connor's obedience. She is a typical two year old with seemingly selective listening skills from time to time. Thankfully she is easily distracted, avoiding most tantrums if I am quick on my feet. She also responds well when I am creative enough to think two steps ahead of her. But we need a method more consistent and reliable.My friend Jen had the perfect recommendation in the 1-2-3 Magic book. Jen is a pediatric speech therapist. She is also a phenomenal friend and parent resource. I ordered this book through the USA and finally had the time to read it recently. It was as if the author, Dr. Phelan, looked into my heart and mind to give exact real world instructions to tackle a seemingly impossible task. The premise is the old adage of counting to three.
Which seems simple enough. Whose parent didn't count to three with them? But this book goes further than just empowering counting. There is this key element...No extra talking and no emotion when counting, timing out, or releasing a child from the time out. That means staying very calm and focused when counting and even minimizing the talking and emotion following the punishment. None of this, "Tell Mommy why were you in time out" rehash of the event - not even hugs and kisses. Just back to business. This key point makes the concept quite difficult at first.I found the book fantastic not only with specific steps to put this Magic into motion, but also it gave counter punches to my reflex skepticism and questions. Like how to introduce the new concept...
How to handle difficult meal times...And encouragement for charting behavior. My mom was the queen of charting. I used to get silver or gold stars every night depending on how well I remembered to make my bed and say Yes Ma'am/No Ma'am/Yes Sir/No Sir.We kicked off our 1-2-3 Magic this week. It hasn't completely sunk in. Dr. Phelan does seem to promote his technique in kids a little older than Connor, but she is getting it. The best part is that discipline is no longer as upsetting and disruptive. It is just a matter of fact.There are other new books in our home too. With no Thanksgiving in Belgium we are falling full force into Christmas season. Therefore falling for the Christmas books we check out routinely from the AWCB library. Plus, Connor now knows every word to "Santa Clause is Coming To Town" - she especially loves the verse that "he sees you when you're sleeping; he knows when you're awake!"Two other favorite books to document for posterity are these. Fish Eyes and Is Your Mama a LlamaThe eyes in this counting book are open circles perfect to stick little fingers through. Connor thinks it is an absolute hoot!And then there is this one...Connor recites it with the perfect rise and fall intonation in her voice. We may have a future poet on our hands!We recently traveled to the spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany. In this charming place there were homeless beggars with llamas on the Old Town streets - I guess posing for photographs? Don't really have any idea how these folks got llamas in the first place, but Connor immediately made the connection to her "Is Your Mama a Llama?" book.It is a really sweet book.We love reading in our house. We love discovering new ways to learn, celebrating holidays, or rhyming with llamas.

No comments: