Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The quest for the perfect boot.

I'm picky. I freely admit it. But I wear boots almost every day in the winter and I have standards! The pair I have now is almost three years old and is quickly going the way of all flesh. Several seams are ripping out and it's just a matter of time before it bursts completely. So I find myself in a position I never like to be in; that of needing an item quickly-- not having the luxury of simply waiting till I find a good bargain and buying it then. So far I've looked at: Old Navy (and the website), Kohl's, Penney's, Belks, Ross, Walmart, Shoe Show, Payless Shoes, Rugged Wearhouse and a Google search. Nothing.

So here are my criteria:

2 inch heel (or less)
Midcalf height
Size 10
Roomy toes
Soft sole (rubber-like, so it doesn't "clicketty clack" all over the place)
Reasonably priced (like, about $10 would be great!)

In addition, the cut of the ankle part has to be somewhat roomy to fit in my lift (on the left boot), but not so roomy that the right ankle swims around in it.

I did buy a "stop-gap" pair at Rugged Wearhouse (and yes, I know that's not the correct spelling, but that's how they spell it!), but they're not quite what I want. Is it too much to ask that somewhere in the great internet universe there is a boot that fits these requests!!??!!

Here's one pair I found that I think are to die for cute, but waaay out of my price range:


Sigh. Ah well, good things come to those who wait.... Right?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Things I am thankful for:

(in no particular order)
A wise and godly husband
A warm house
Christian friends
My daughter
"Chearee Piy"
Lots of yummy food
A car and money for gas
Time to do the things I love
Early bedtimes for children
The fact that God opens the womb of the barren
My son
My sisters
My brother (God bless him....)
Godly parents

Monday, November 19, 2007

Go ahead, call me lame....

...and culturally ignorant, too, but I have just discovered Sting! :) I fully admit to my shameful neglect of the current music scene. My daily musical exposure is pretty much limited to the Twinkle Variations and various Disney Princess movie themes these days. But Polly has been here this week and I've fallen in love with the poetry in this man's music. I'm totally going to write the story behind the quick snapshot of "After The Rain Has Fallen" What a fascinating short glimpse into some gothic tale of romance and adventure.

I know, I know, I'm really too old for this teen-age obsession with a music group/artist, but seriously, folks, this guy is amazing. The lilting quality of "Moon Over Bourbon Street" is hauntingly beautiful and is still reverberating in my mind.

And he's a man of a thousand moods, too. I mean, seriously, compare "I Need You Like This Hole In My Head" (a ballad of the dolphin folk--not kidding) to "Fields of Gold". And the musical styles are just as diverse as the lyrics-- example: "Englishman In New York" (totally quirky nonsense) and the dolphin one (also very quirky) to the smooth lilt of "Fields of Gold" or "Bourbon Street".

Gosh, I could go on and on... But I won't. Suffice it to say, I feel that I have found a kindred spirit in the music world and now you all know what you can get me for Christmas! ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A new Soficism

Soficism: [so-fee-siz-um]


A witty remark or sentence uttered by Sofi. As in:

"Oh Judah, you're as cute as a rug in a button!"

A textbook example of the mixed metaphor.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Babies Breath

As a mother and a florist, I would like to formally register my objection to calling gypsophilia paniculata, "baby's breath". What a degradation to associate one of the most delectable fragrances known to man with a (dare I say it) weed currently relegated to prom corsages and "oops" bouquets where they are paired with blue carnations. (For those of you unaware of the phenomenon; "oops" bouquets are those $10 ones in Walmart that men buy on the way home from work on days they ("oops") forgot an important date, task, request, or some such thing. Also known as an "appeasement gift".) The breath of a breast-fed, fully sated, slightly sleepy baby is something much more akin to a delicate pink rose just opening to a golden glow in the deepest center. Ahhhh, bliss!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

When we (start) spank (ing)

All right moving on...

We started training Sofi pretty young and (as you can probably see from the last post) are doing the same thing with Judah. So far it seems to be working pretty well. Today I told Judah "No, no" when he grabbed for the dog's nose and he jerked his hand back right away. Of course he then reached back out for it, but it's a start! There was recognition in his eye....

So, the question is why bother to start so young? Well, I'll tell you. I'm a Suzuki teacher, so when Mr Pearl introduced to me the idea of starting this training in obedience at a very young age, it rang a bell for me. You see, I've been trained by learned professionals in my field that if you begin to introduce your child to his instrument at a very young age, they are able to almost effortlessly incorporate the technique into their every-day movements. Holding a violin in proper, balanced position feels very awkward to an adult for a long time. Daily dedicated practice will soon cause the adult to feel fairly comfortable with his instrument, but (and some may disagree with me here) I would go so far as to say that an adult beginner will never have the seamless accuracy of movement that belongs to the player who learned to hold his violin as he was learning to walk and run.

How does this apply to child-training, you ask? Patience, my dear reader. Let me first explain the 'why' of my violin example. The reason child beginners have an advantage is related to muscle memory. When you begin to create the muscle memories necessary for good violin technique (curved wrist, high fingers, heavy elbow) before you have conflicting muscle memories to deal with (let's say... flat fingered tendency due to long nails getting in the way after 20 years of weekly manicures), the result is a much more natural "acceptance" of the technique on the part of the child. There aren't any bad habits to un-learn.

I apply this concept to child-training in this way: if I begin to teach Judah to listen to and heed my words at the same time I am teaching him to crawl, walk, talk, eat, etc. he will have a much easier time accepting the concept than if I wait till he's established the "muscle memory" of getting what he wants and never having his will thwarted. I've seen some extreme cases where a child was never crossed in his will until almost three years old! Think of the trauma and confusion in the mind of a child who's whole world (small as it may be) is turned upside down when one day, out of the blue, he's expected to "share", "mind his manners", "play nice" and etc.

I think the reason most people object to this is an emotional reaction; "I don't want to "punish" my baby, she won't understand what's going on, she's not old enough!" I disagree. Maybe she won't totally get all the complicated ramifications, but she's going to learn the basic idea of "No, no, don't touch that" (the first lesson we teach in obedience). Just like she doesn't learn all the details of how gravity works, but she does learn pretty quickly that if she lets go of the coffee table, she's going to fall on her bum. And "punishment" is not what's going on here. We're simply introducing a "hitting your bum on the floor" aspect to mommy saying "No, no, don't touch that". I want my children to be as naturally responsive to my commands as they are to the laws of gravity. I would never try to protect my child from experiencing gravity until I feel that he's old enough to "understand" it. I might put cushions around him on the floor so he doesn't injure himself. But he's got to tip side to side a few times so he learns how to hold his own balance. My baby knows that if he lets go of the coffee table he's going to sit down hard--he doesn't like that, so he holds on tight. My baby knows that if he touches when mommy says "No, no" he's going to get a swat--he doesn't like that, so he doesn't touch. That simple.

Next time.... "What we spank (for)" a post about what situations we use spanking for and why.

(yes, I realize the titles are getting a bit labored, but I'm having fun with it :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

How we spank

I had intended to make this post a response to a few of the remarks posted to my last entry, but I've decided to stay on course with my original thought process. I don't really want to degenerate into an argument over the pros and cons of the Pearls' Methods. I instead want to present to my gentle readers the "philosophy" that Jeremiah and I have "developed" in the last five years. The quotes are there to show that we both realize that we are less than expert in this area, having only raised one child thus far. Granted, our "philosophy" grew out of many of the Pearls' ideas, but I think I would rather state it as my own, since M. Pearl evokes such an emotional response from so many.

Okay, so... how we spank....

First of all, I think spanking is for children from about 7 or 9 mths old to about 5 years old. Sofi is just starting to get to old for spanking now. (But it probably depends on the child.) And when I say "Spanking" I'm talking about a few quick, light swats with a spoon (or something like that) on the hand (for babies) or bottom (for older children). The goal is to shock them and get their attention, not cause grievous bodily harm. Perhaps I should have addressed the significance of those ages first, but I do intend to get to that in the next post.

Secondly, it is VITAL that my emotions are not AT ALL involved in the spanking. I am not angry/disappointed/sad/etc. I try to be as matter of fact as I possibly can--this is simply cause and effect. You disobey, you get a swat-- it's that simple and unemotional. I still love you and this doesn't affect our relationship in the slightest. And of course, at nine mths old I can't actually verbalize this to the child--it must be apparent in my manner throughout.

Thirdly, the spanking is an immediate and direct result of disobedience. When I first described this idea in my original email to the friend this conversation started with, I used an example that (I think now) confused the issue. I used the example of teaching Sofi to obey when we said "Come to Mama". I admit in looking back at that paragraph that it sounds a bit... calloused, perhaps? So let me try to find a new way to describe the kind of spanking I'm talking about. I'll use Judah this time, because we had our first training session just last night.

Judah was getting his first taste of rice cereal and not enjoying it at all. He was much more interested in grabbing the bowl I had sitting in front of him on the table, than in actually eating the stuff. Now, I really don't want him grabbing the bowl. It's messy and difficult to wrestle his hands off of it while trying to slop a bite into his mouth. BUT. That was NOT my motivation in beginning a training session with him. If I merely wanted to avoid the hassle and mess of his hands in the bowl, I could have just moved the bowl out of his reach. Some would argue that at his age I ought not to expect him to understand that grabbing the bowl is a bad thing and I ought to simply remove the opportunity for inconvenient behavior. But that's not the point either. Let me explain my motivation: I see this situation as an opportunity to introduce the concept of the word "No". There is a clearly defined object/action that he has not encountered before, so no previous learning experiences are confusing him here. It's not like he's been grabbing the bowl for mths now and all of a sudden I'm saying "No"and taking away his favorite game. Let me emphasize again that my purpose is to teach him the word "No", not to teach him not to inconvenience Mommy by grabbing the bowl.

So, he grabs the bowl, I say "No, no, Judah" and flick his hand with my finger. He looks at me, "Hmm, new game here". He reaches out again. "No, no, Judah." *flick* We do this maybe five more times. Then he reaches out and grabs my hand. I pat his hand and face and say "I love you sweetie!" and kiss him a little. I'm reinforcing that all this is perfectly normal and not a cause for alarm on his part. He reaches out again and "No, no, Judah", he grabs it anyway, *flick*, he jerks his hand back. Hmm, interesting game. He reaches out again, hesitates, pulls his hand back, "Good boy, Judah, don't touch!" He grabs it again *flick*. We go through all this in various permutations for about another five minutes, by which time he's pulling his hand away without touching about every other time he reaches for it, and then I remove the bowl and the training session is over for now.

Now, I have no intention of turning every feeding time into a long, drawn-out battle over touching the bowl. Each time I feed him (which may not be very often, since he showed NO interest in non-boob food :)) I will spend a few minutes with the bowl right if front of him, teaching him what "No" means. And I will find other opportunities where there are clearly defined actions/objects to use as well, since I don't want him to think that "No" is limited to food bowls. The goal is that in a few weeks, or months, he will begin to respond to the word no matter what the situation/object is. I will be able to walk into a room where I see him reaching for a vase on a table and say "No, no, Judah, don't touch", in a not-panicking, not-angry, merely conversational tone of voice, and he will stop and look at me and take his hand away from the vase. Disaster averted.

But teaching our children "No" is not the main goal of our child-training! This is just an example of one way to teach one concept of obedience. There are (obviously) tons of other ways they need to learn to obey, but "no" is one of the first and easiest. I'm just trying to illustrate how the thing works.

Let me offer a caveat here, these are our goals and theories of childraising--I am faaaar from perfect in implementing them!! I don't hold myself out as any kind of model of great parenting, for sure. Our children are far from perfect as well, despite all our "philosophies". And I don't mean to imply that if you disagree with me you are a rotten parent. I am simply explaining why we do what we do and it's desired results.

And as a slight defense to our theories, let me state that we have seen a measure of success in Sofi. We, obviously, wouldn't still be advocating this if it had failed us in our first attempt. Sofi is, in general, an obedient child. Like I said, she's certainly not perfect, but she has the habit of obedience. And that is the goal of this kind of early child-training. To establish very early the habit of obeying the parents' words.