Friday, June 26, 2009

Alrighty then. :shifty: I've been doing some digging, and I actually got some really decent advice from some non-parents who share dd's personality type, by asking what they wished their folks had known about them. They provided some really helpful insight.

I pulled out my "Nurture by nature" book, and, as far as I can tell, in the Myers-Brigg personality theory , she's an ENTP "The Innovator". Obviously, this could evolve and change over time, and I don't want to pigeon hole her, but, for practical purposes, this is amazingly accurate assessment and info. On this site , ENTP children are described by this quote:

ENTPs are lively children who question established truths and norms, dream and scheme, and develop unusual ways of doing traditional childhood things. The ENTP child is oriented toward doing the unique, which may mean taking risks and outwitting parental, school, and societal authority. They enjoy creating projects and following interests that are unusual and different.

ENTP children enjoy inventing new toys, dances, and languages. Because they are outgoing in their personality style, they often engage other children in their projects and assign them particular roles to play. ENTPs rarely accept things just as they are. They like to test or explore to see new meanings and relationships. When things do not go as they want, they use their ingenuity and cleverness to bring people and situations around to their point of view.

A few quotes from Nurture by Nature (Paul & Barbara Tieger) describe preschool ENTP children thusly:

ENTPs are also not as motivated to comply with orders simply because they are told to ir in order to please...adults. Even as small children, they have the courage to stabd up to adults and will challenge their parents whenever they see fit. Since youn ENTPs actually derive great energy from arguing, it is usually better for parents to decide on what their position is, [b]state the reasons behind their limits..clearly and logically[/b], and then stick to it.
(It goes on to suggest entering respectful bargaining, but only on strategically chosen points.)

Becoming gentle or nurturing is a learned skill for young ENTPs...As (they) begin to learn that feelings are the logical and natural effects of actions, they will better understand and even be able to predict what effect their behavior will have on others (pg 140)

That's my daughter to a "t".

Here are some (paraphrased) thoughts from adult ENTJs I've conversed with:

"I hated it when my parents tried to force me to be "nice" like everyone else. They always seemed convinced that I lacked something emotionally that others had, like I didn't have a soul."

"I wish they (parents) would have taken the time to explain things to me, rather than getting angry whenever I broke their rules. All I wanted was to know why."

"I hate feeling that my opinion didn't matter."

"I felt demonized."

Many have mentioned, even as adults, sadness for being rejected because they don't follow rules for the sake of rules. :o/

Stepping back and thinking about it, in many ways, dd is a very, very reasonable little girl. If you take the time to explain things to her, 9/10, she'll cooperate with you. It's the taking time to explain WHY it's not OK to do something to the length she'd like to take the conversation that gets me running screaming for the hills. (I'm more of an INFJ)

Dh shares some of her personality traits, and suggested this script for moments when I absolutely *can't* take the time to explain: "You're a very smart girl, and I think you'd understand most of my reason if I could tell you. Right now, I can't do that, and I need you to trust that I want the best for you." Very wise.

Someone else suggested identifying the source of their struggle (wanting to create something, needing to feel capable, needing independence, etc) and then helping work a solution together that speaks to that. Very gentle discipline. Rock On.

For an ENTP, that sort of empowering and confidence building might look like: DD takes my chapstick to create a robot. I point out that she's taken it without asking, explain how that effects me, and involve HER in problem solving-what might be acceptable for robot material, and how to work to pay restitution for the chapstick.

Here's a couple more quotes I found helpful from Nurture by Nature and You Can't Make Me, But I can be Persuaded (Cynthia Tobias):

Real and lasting self-esteem for ENTPs comes from seeing themselves as the creative, competent, and resourceful people they are. (Nurture by Nature, pg 148)

Standing firmly behind ENTPs in all their high energy and flamboyance communicates a lasting appreciation for the bright and fresh originals they are.

SWC's (strong willed children) would rather have a compelling problem to solve than just a list of chores to do. Try soliciting my input regarding the chores. (Cynthia Tobias, "You Can't Make Me", pg 50)

The more I hear from these personality types, the more I realize that, mostly, they want to be treated with respect. Not just non- punitive (though many of them have pointed out to me that corporal punishment was an especially embittering violation of their person ), but actually valued for their ideas and capabilities. If a parent of a willful, creative thinker has even a *shred* of the "I'm the parent and you will follow me blindly because you're a mere CHILD" paradigm in their thinking, they're going to attack the problem from a totally wrong angle and make life a living hell for both themselves and the child, and likely destroy lifelong relationship in the process. :(

I think, for me the biggest obstacles to overcome have been (and continue to be):

-Loss of the "small child" ideal. From the moment she was born, she was like a critical, observant, opinionated *adult*. Rather than the usual childhood stuff, I find myself answering questions about the function of white blood cells (and the white/red ratio), the laws of entropy, and the concept of alliteration. She'll even argue whether my explanation is accurate. :rolleyes I feel rather intruded upon intellectually...for the next. 14. years....nothing gets by her undetected.

- My own intuitive introversion. I'd rather spend most of my time in my own head, and trying to constantly train an extroverted problem solver is exhausting for me. It's a prolonged daily foray into the "outside" world, and that is VERY counter intuitive for me to have to describe my thought process out loud while simultaneously trying to stay two mental steps ahead of her (and parent two other unique children).

-Defeating my own "children should be subservient" background, and combating that attitude from others for my child.

May post more later...those are my general thoughts for now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I thoroughly appreciated this article and this one. Thought provoking stuff...really, you should read them. **nodding fervently**

Not reading them yet? ;OP I'll summarize. The new parenting trend, especially for mothers, leans heavily on applauding one's self and others for being a "bad" parent, in reaction to past generations' push to both be and present one's self as the perfect parent.

I love how Heather points out the subtle nuances of parenting differences, and how those nuances can make a huge difference. Being an "attached" parent doesn't make one a hovercraft. A desire to impart morals doesn't make a parent free from wildness and whimsical magic. I appreciate someone articulating that idea so clearly. :) Every parent has their own unique manifesto.

I breastfeed my two year old. I also let that same two year old climb trees unassisted, rock walls and have free reign of our big backyard. (Mostly because she has the skill and will to do so) Two of our children still sleep in our room. And two of them are allowed to make and clean up their own lunch on a fairly regular basis. I don't spank my children. And I expect them to help out with the laundry and let my 4yo make pancakes. They watch some tv.

And, when the weather's nice, they're outside catching bugs and eating blackberries several hours a day. They listen to me pray honestly for patience and curse when I'm really, really mad. We're choosing to school at home for now, and we also enjoy *gasp* Harry Potter. **dun, dun, dunn*

I refuse to be called "good" or "bad". Those terms fall in and out of vogue so darned easily. I've never been much good at towing the party line, anyway. How about loving and available? I like that much better.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My two month old daughter and I love to talk with each other. With this being my third baby, I've been amazed at how much more I understand what she's saying to me than I did with my firstborn. After the crazy struggles we went through with our firstborn, who was a high-needs child, I greatly credit learning about attachment parenting for my growth as a parent. I can easily tell what my squirming infant needs 98% of the time, to my great surprise and delight. Going down the usual checklist of changing, feeding and checking for itchy clothing tags is no longer a constant necessity.

Connection certainly wasn't a perfect science when we first started out. It took practice, and lots of it. Babies, I found, take effort and getting to know, just like every other person in the world. I'm not the perfect mother by any stretch of the imagination. I think I'm just a normal mama who was lucky enough to have been made aware that babies really are miniature little people with relational capabilities and very real emotional needs.

It astounds me how many of her cues I'd likely not even be aware of if she'd been left repeatedly to cry until she falls asleep, or if I had let her become completely distraught before responding to her every time she needed something. I used to view infants, to my embarrassment, as cute but rather vacant vegetables who cried mysteriously from time to time. Now I know better. Learning to watch her carefully before she began to wail like a hot tea kettle taught me a great deal about miniature humans.

She tells me things with her face, the nuances of her body language and tone of voice. She mimics my faces, and I mirror hers. She gets excited and pumps her legs and grins when I ask her, "Hungry?" When I can tell she's overheated in the damp, southern summer air by her serious baby grunts, I strip her extra clothing and she grins with gummy relief. She gurgles at me flirtatiously with raised eyebrows, asking me to echo her favorite noise, and squeals with pleasure when I indulge her. My daughter talks to me. I'm so thrilled to not have missed it.

Edible necklaces, chocolate banana bread, bookshelves

Can it get any better than necklace beads made from fruity cheerios? They don't think so. I had one, too, but I ate mine before the photo op, lol. :oP I was surprised at how long it held their attention. N did hers all by herself! And, somehow, rare fruity cereal gets cleaned up (*cough* eaten *cough*) off the table and floor better than their usual wooden beads. I wonder why....

Speaking of "fruit" cereal: I thought this was an amusing article.

Noni helped me bake wheat banana nut chocolate bread today (what a mouthful, in more than one way), while we all watched the Philosopher's Stone. The bread was seriously delicious, hence the link (only modified by using whole wheat flour, which didn't detract from the taste at all, in my humble opinion).

licking the bowl

It was a well deserved treat after everyone working so hard doing the weekly cleaning of the playroom. It was scary in there. :P Supervising children cleaning is much harder than doing it one's self, in my thinking. Two year olds in particular have an extraordinary ability to stray from
any given task, a fact I always forget about once they get older.

The playroom was extra messy this morning because *drumroll*:

Nate build their bookshelves into the wall cubby! I'm pleased with the result. He's so cool that way. They fit there nicely, I think.

There's one big box left in the garage with the rest of their books..they have far more books than toys, methinks.

We'll paint them evetually, but for now, they're storing all the kid's books au naturale. :D