Monday, July 10, 2006

The End Of Fussiness

No parent should be without this book that I found at the library last month. It is called "Fussbusters On The Go" by Carol Baicker-McKee and is an excellent resource for weary parents, new parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and any caretaker of small children. This book saved my dinner tonight, and has turned my kids hands into magnets with mine when crossing the street. I kid you not!

I actually haven't finished the book, although it is an easy read. (I've actually renewed it once, and I'm hoping to get through it before the next due date!) Each chapter goes over situations where various forms of fussing are common and offers a multitude of common sense or easy ideas to implement when faced with the situation. The best part of the book is it is geared towards the pre-school set, with ideas designed specifically for two, three and four year olds. However, most of the ideas can be adapted for older children easily.

After reading a few chapters I was ready to try one of the suggestions: Turning things kids don't want to do into a game, like Simon Says. So, in the Community Center parking lot, where the kids and I can be seen frequenting regularly these days, I gave it a try. Instead of saying the usual, everyone hold a hand, I said, "Simon says find a hand to hold." Emma's eyes lit up at the words "Simon Says" and quickly gave me one of her hands. Zoe, not wanting to miss out on the fun, grabbed my other hand and for the first time in weeks, I had no arguments with my kids holding my hands in the parking lot.

Hmmm. Maybe this just might work! My kids are traditionally pokey when walking from one end of the community center to the other, or they do the complete opposite, and run the length of the hallway from dance rooms to library. I have been frustrated on more than one occasion by this behavior, and decided to use a little Follow The Leader to see if the kids would keep up with me, and also not run into all the other patrons at the center. I'm pleased to say it worked like a charm, although I had to swallow a little pride and just go for it when I walked down the hall flapping my arms like a chicken.

Then, to my horror, the book was due, and I wasn't even half way through yet. It had given me some of my sanity back, and I decided I needed to read more. Sure enough, tonight the stuff I read last night (after renewal) came into play.

Emma, who will eat peas, green beans, and tortilla encrusted Tilapia, is very difficult to feed at most meals. Brendan and I are always cajoling her to eat three bites of this and two bites of that, and just try the damn shells and cheese, they're good! We have in the past let her eat nothing, then put her to bed with no snacks or anything, thinking she would learn to eat dinner this way. But, after a few nights when she has done this, and each time throwing up in the middle of the night or morning, we are convinced she must eat a minimum amount of food at dinner. So, we've been reduced to counting bites.

But not tonight. Not exactly, anyways. Emma was sitting refusing to eat pan fried chicken breast, canned peaches, and shells in white cheddar sauce. She turned her head to the side, said she didn't like what I made for dinner, and wasn't going to eat it. To make matters worse, she didn't take a nap today, and was literally falling asleep in her chair. She did not appreciate us waking her up, and especially wasn't happy with our requests to eat her dinner. She sat with tears filling her eyes and an incredibly pouty lip sticking out from below her nose.

I could feel the tension at the table rising, and decided to give my Fussbuster's knowledge another try. I looked straight at Emma and asked her if she had a Grouchy Snake inside of her. She looked at me, smiled, and nodded her head. I asked her if she wanted me to take it out. She smiled and nodded her head again. So, I got up from my seat and proceeded to remove a very long, albeit imaginary, Grouchy Snake out of Emma's ear and threw it into the garbage can.

By this time Emma was all out giggling and ready to eat a little of her dinner. We still counted her bites, but there was no struggle and she actually ate one extra bite of chicken.

This is one of those books that can help you immediately. Every parent truly needs this.

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