Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Real Life" College Courses for Parents

May 1999: College Graduation with my Dad

In three months I will make my FINAL student loan payment, the FINAL payment! I graduated college in 1999. I majored in Geology, which is rather interesting, but does not apply one iota to my daily life.  I started thinking about the courses that would have prepared me for my life now, classes that would be worth paying off for fifteen years.  I am pretty sure you won't find any of these offered in a university catalog.

Culinary Arts:
One Handed Meal Prep I: Master the techniques of preparing a meal while balancing a child, 5lbs - 30lbs on one hip. This includes lid removal, package opening, beverage pouring, pasta draining and pancake flipping.

One Handed Meal Prep II: Building upon the skills learned in 101, we add a toddler clinging to your leg in addition to auditory distractions such as crying, whining, yelling, and barking dogs.

Stain Identification: What is it and how did it get there?

Under the Couch Cushion and Vehicle Seat Archeology: How to accurately piece together a historical timeline by examining the remains of Cheerios, Goldfish crackers and discarded sucker sticks.

The Reality of Paying for Childcare I: Learn how to pay for childcare and still put aside funds to allow you to get your hair cut and colored every six months.  Additionally, learn calming breathing techniques to employ as you make that weekly payment and/or review your monthly bank statement.

The Reality of Paying for Childcare II: This course is meant for those with more than one child in a daycare setting.  You will learn how to cope with making the equivalent of a second mortgage payment each month. We also teach manicure and pedicure techniques, as we are aware those enrolled in this course will never be able to afford a professional mani/pedi again.

Fine Art:
Artwork Identification: Is that an aardvark or a self-portrait? How to identify the subject of your child's latest masterpiece without hurting his or her feelings, and at the same time, displaying the correct enthusiastic reaction.

The Animal Kingdom and the Child's Mind: In this course we offer suggestions and creative techniques to answer questions such as: Where does a fish go potty? Do elephants laugh? What if a raccoon rings our doorbell?  and Where is (insert your pet's name) mommy right now?

Health and Wellness:
Foreign Object Identification vs. Child Orifice Size: We review commonly placed objects in the nostrils, ears, and mouths of children, what circumstances call for a home removal, and when to seek professional medical help.

The Character Band Aid: How one cartoon character printed adhesive bandage is a miracle cure-all for bruises, scrapes, bug bites, and boo boos that are invisible to the parent's naked eye.

Crisis Management:
How to Remain Calm When Your Child is Bleeding: This course also covers how to remain calm when you are the one that caused the injury.

The One Wipe Left: What happens when you are in the middle of changing a dirty diaper and there is only one wipe left in the package? Learn how to fold and refold one wipe to maximize its effectiveness.  You will also learn how to assess your surroundings to determine what other objects/materials in the vicinity can be used in place of a diaper wipe.

Conflict Resolution:
The Toddler Years I: "I want squares. No, I want triangles. I WANTED SQUAAAAARES!" How to deal with a toddler's extreme reactions to incorrectly cutting sandwiches, choosing the scratchy pants, denying snacks, parental singing aloud and general "You're doing it wrong!" scenarios.

The Toddler Years II: The Bedtime Routine. This advanced course meets as a support group where parents can offer suggestions, solutions, and sympathy. We discuss the complex challenges of potty time, bath time, teeth brushing, pajama selection, story selection, tucking into bed, and most importantly, remaining in bed.  All registrants must be at least 21 years of age due to many classes being held off site at local adult beverage establishments.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Vocabulary Lesson

Our daughter has always been chatty, and seriously has a better grasp of the English language than about fifty percent of the adults that I know. She asks us what things are called and what words mean. We offer explanations and watch the little wheels turn in her head.  She surprises us with what she remembers and her ability to use words in the appropriate context. One Saturday we went out to lunch and ran into her friend from daycare. The girls ran to each other and jumped around and hugged. On the way home our two year old informed us, “I saw Avery at Qdoba and we embraced!”  My husband and I looked at each other, smiled, and shook our heads in disbelief.

Around last Halloween, she started to really get into the princess thing. She was two years and a few months old.  We read Cinderella as her bedtime story for at least nine nights in a row.  She was (and still is) under the Disney princess spell. At that time, my husband did all of the reading at night because I had my hands full nursing my three month old at bedtime. He is a champ when it comes to reading to our kids. He points to each word, acknowledges the author and illustrator, and makes sure to talk about what is going on in the illustrations of the book. There is a picture in her book of Cinderella entering the ball, and in that picture, there is a chandelier. She asked what it was. My husband explained that a fancy light hanging from the ceiling is called a chandelier.  She locked that information away and started calling any hanging light a chandelier.

Halloween night arrived.  I got her dressed in her ducky costume and she was so excited to head out the door. My husband got the video camera out and started recording. It was getting dark, so he turned on the entryway light. I started asking a bunch of questions.

Me: “What day is it? What are you dressed up like?”
Her: “Halloween!! I’m a duck!!”
Me: “What are we going to do?”
Her: “Trick or treat!”
Her: pointing up to the glass light fixture hanging in the entryway: "What's that Daddy?"
He replies: "You know what that is, what is that?"
She says proudly: "A VAGINA!"

Weeeeell, maybe she doesn’t use her words correctly all of the time. The best part, of course, is that we have the whole exchange immortalized forever on video.