Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Playing favorites 

I've always been Isabella's favorite. Of course it's flattering that our relationship is so close that she always wants me around. At the same time, it is trying because she often refuses to let others help her. This causes a problem because I become overworked. But it is especially a problem when I'm not around and she needs to stuff done like get her diaper changed. I don't know what to do - is it the other caretakers' responsibility to force the issue and not be so accomodating, or something I need manage? But how can I manage a situation when I'm not even there? Either way, I have to be sensitive to other people's feelings because she can be quite rude about not wanting other people around or doing things for her. Sometimes it is more work having another person around to "help" because I have to effectively play referee and manage the relationship between the two. Now I know why they say that a sibling doesn't double your work, but increases it exponentially.

Here are some suggestions that I found as the mediator:

- Suggest activities that all of you can do together, such as a game, walk or baking. If your child still doesn't want to include that person, have him/her stay in the same room, reading a book or doing something else and be open to the opportunity to join in when the child is ready.

- Establish routines of what each person always does - specific roles; something special that person does; a special activity that person does with the child alone; or find a special time that is their time together. Go away for a while so they can learn to have fun together and appreciate their time with that person

- Support the person being dissed - resist the temptation to step in and rescue her if she is screaming for you when she's in the middle of doing something with someone else. Reinforce that person's competence. "XX can do that for you"

"XX (e.g. Daddy) do" - pick your battles. If you don't want to accomodate her request, set up another activity she can do with XX. Say "no, I'm going to do this, but XX can do Y activity for you"

"Go away!" - favored person steps in and backs up the rejected person by saying something like "X is staying and that's how it's going to be"

"I don't like you" - don't let the child manipulate you into trying to win back his affections. Instead, say "It hurts my feelings, but you know that I'll always love you."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Train crazy 

Isabella is crazy about trains, just like her Daddy. She always wants to see “Thomas Choo Choo” and can spend all day at the train station watching trains go by. So we’ve been checking out the fun railroad spots to take her in the area:

California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento – steam train rides along the Sacramento river on weekends, model trains, old classic cars, really cool.

Redwood Valley Railway, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley – ride on a miniature steam train through the trees and enjoy the views. Weekends open at 11, 12 on weekdays but only in summer

Golden Gate Live Steamers, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley – ride mini trains through little model towns and through the trees. Very cute; only open on weekends 12-3.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad, Felton – shay steam engine goes through the redwoods to the top of Bear Mountain or to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Check out the "Day Out with Thomas"!

Niles Canyon Railway, Sunol – steam and diesel locomotives