Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2 and 7/8ths year old senses

Taste: Mama! This is Yogurt Flavor! (upon tasting a pina colada popsicle)

Smell: Mmmm. Lemon. (upon smelling a plumeria)

Hear: Me: "Amaya, while I'm in the shower, do NOT run outside."

Amaya: Looking around.

Me: "Amaya, did you hear me? What did I say?"

Amaya: "Ummmmm. You said because I was naughty."

Me: "Noooooo, I said, don't run outside while I'm in the shower."

Amaya starting to walk away.
Me: "Amaya, WHAT did I say?" I grab her and make her look at me in the eyes.
Amaya: "Um, you said.... Mommy, what did you say?"

Me: "I said, 'Don't go outside while I'm in the shower. Don't go outside. Don't go outside."
Amaya: "Oh."

Me: "What did I say?"

Amaya: Long pause. "I don't know."

Me, thinking I need to take a different approach, "Amaya, you can't go outside because I am in the shower and I'm afraid you will run away. I can't chase you while I'm in the shower. Don't go outside."

Amaya: Silence

Me: "Ok, Amaya. What did I say?"

Amaya: "Ok."

Me: "NO, what did I say?"

Needless to say, this went on for several more interchanges, at which point I figured that she must know, just not telling me. So I took a shower. Guess who had to go out in her towel to find out if her daughter had been kidnapped?

And yes, she can open locked doors.

Me: "Amaya, what color is this?"

Amaya: "Um, G."

Me: "Well, this is a G right here." pointing at a G. "What color is it?"

Amaya, pointing to the G: "G!" Then points to another 'G'.

Me: "Ok, good job. This is a G." switching cards, "Amaya, what color is this circle?"

Amaya: "Red."

Me: "No. This is blue. What color is this circle?" (pointing to the same circle)

Amaya: "Green."

Me: "No. This is blue. Ok, what color is this square?"

Amaya: "Red."

Me: "No, it's green." Switching cards back to the first one. "Amaya, can you point to the G?"

Amaya: "Blue" she says while pointing to the 'O' which is orange.

Me: "Ok, not the color. I want you to point to the 'G'. Remember? Where is it?"

Amaya: "Right here."
It's an L.

Anyone who doesn't have kids doesn't realize how much physical affection you get from them. It's probably the best thing about having a kid. You think you get enough from your other relationships, but you don't. Amaya gives long hugs and cuddles. There's nothing like having a toddler.
I will be so sad when she's a big kid who doesn't need that anymore. I guess I will never be a big kid.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Crucial Conversation

I just finished reading Crucial Conversations: Tips for Talking When the Stakes are High and All Jokes Aside (AJA), this book is going to change my life.

I mean, it already has, but it is going to change how my life is going to change from now on. And yes, I have used the techniques in this book many times already. I'm not saying I've mastered it, but I've done much better at discussing emotionally charged issues since I've started. I would have to say this is the first book of this kind (self-help?) that I've read, ever. My dad sent me the book and I know he uses it because he is really good at discussing with people about sticky subjects. The main point though, that I got from the book was, "You can change how YOU act in a crucial conversation. Don't walk into a situation thinking you are going to get exactly what you want."

In case you don't have time to read this book, I have cleverly devised a summary scenario containing the main ideas.

You are supposed to use these techniques when you communicate with someone about a crucial subject. These can be used in any environment, and even with seemingly inane individuals. The whole point of this is to work out solutions and to avoid "silence" or "violence" types of responses, which is what usually happens in the cases of crucial conversations.

1. Communicate your facts and Tell your story. Start with the facts of the situation (your evidence to show what you've observed) and explain what conclusion this has led you to. This is to clear up when you have come to a conclusion about someone's actions so that they don't feel like you've made a villain out of them. It also helps you to realize that there may be many reasons that people act the way they do, and you can't just expect the worst.

Example: Jane: Every time I pass by your cubicle, you look at me up, down, and sideways, and you leave me out of the conversations when you go out with your snotty boyfriend, so I'm beginning to think that you don't trust me. Is there something I'm not seeing here?

2. When the response is in silence or violence, build safety to bring out more information.

Example: George: "Oh, so you think I never do anything around here. Whatever. Just send me the bill."
Jane: "It seems like that isn't okay with you. I see that your face is twisted and your left eye is twitching. Could it be that you are being sarcastic because you think I am insulting you? I am not trying to make you feel like your mother, I just want to make sure that we get to have a vacation that everyone is happy with."

3. After all the meaning is flowing into the shared pool, make a decision, make people responsible for their tasks, and follow up.

Jane: "So now that we know that you would prefer to have a dog because you are trying to reclaim your lost childhood pet, we will have a working prototype ready to go through debugging by May 1st, and Stan is in charge of notifying me of any issues."
Stan: "Wait, I wasn't here when we voted!"
Jane: "This decision was made by consult only, and we don't have time for full consensus. We only use voting when those involved don't mind either way things turn out."
George: "Thanks for listening to me. I really feel better now and that we can trust each other to communicate all the issues we're facing."
Jane: "Great. This may be a good time to discuss those pants you always wear when we visit my mother."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Now and Later

"Mama, can I go to the beach with Mikey?"
"No, honey. We're leaving in half an hour."
Tantrum, fits, and screaming ensue.

"Mom, can I go to the beach with Mikey?"
"No. You're not allowed to go to the beach alone with a boy."
"You are the worst mother ever! YOU are ruining my life!!!! You never let me do anything!"
Tantrum, fits, and screaming ensue.

The only difference? Later, she won't want me to hug her while she's having her tantrum.


p.s. Isn't it funny how kids seem to resort to stereotypical movie like statements when faced with this problem? Their rage so stifles their creativity.