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Monday, May 4, 2009

I apologize for the LONGness but not for the CUTEness


Alden with his favorite book. He'll look at it instead of trying to tear it, eat it, or throw it.

We've taken a few giant leaps around here. Alden has started talking AND walking! You may say, "NO WAY!" but it's true! At first we didn't believe it either, but then mommy finally convinced daddy that when Alden was saying "Dun dun dun dun." in his booster seat at meals, he really meant it! When we started acknowledging it, Alden rewarded us with big smiles instead of moving on to the "I've had it with you guys. Now I am going to scream to make it clear" phase of supper. Even so, we often won't be sure that's really what he is saying since mommy and daddy have very different views about how much Alden should put in his tummy, but it is so cool to see him trying to communicate in our language and seeing his little face light up when his point is understood.

He ALSO has been testing the limits and getting into everything. But most of the time it seems more of a game than anything else. He'll try to get into the trash can and we'll say, "Alden..." and he'll turn to us and say "Nuh nuh nuh." with a little impish grin on his face (Translated: No, no, no.). We'll say, "That's right. No no." and he'll just move on to something else. It's so ADORABLE it's hard not to smile while telling him no. (No, he's certainly not perfect and if he's determined to do it, he won't listen...turning over on the changing table is one fight we never win without having a tantrum-head).

Sibling friendship has been another really enjoyable development that I hope will continue to grow. Now that Alden is interacting more on our terms, he also seems to play better with Rhianwen. I made a tent in her room the other day, and they both LOVED playing in there together for a couple of days.


Tent fun.

Getting Alden to walk was on mommy's and daddy's agenda this month. Little did we know that it was on Alden's too! Saturday, I had just been at a birthday party with him where I had been talking to a friend about when I thought he'd walk. I gave him until the end of May (I had been noticing that Alden was starting to stand without holding on to things). When we got home, Alden just took off and walked across the kitchen and down the hall! Guess he was listening! He gets this little smile on his face because he knows he's doing something exciting. He still likes to crawl and cruise but if we put him down from our arms he'll often stand instead of sit and walk to where he wants to go.

And here is video footage as proof (facebookers, you have to go to the real blog to see it):

video


And this one's in response to Aunt Clara's request:

video

Rhianwen's been doing her own exciting things like learning how to float on her back at swim lessons and coasting on her balance bike (a very scary thing for mommy who anticipates many scrapes. None so far). She also likes picking out her own clothes and hair bows and has learned how to match colors. However, she may not get the idea that a smidgen of pink in her shirt does not necessarily mean that everything else should coordinate with it instead of the predominant color. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. But we try to give her freedom.


A favorite outfit of hers.


She finally got the guts to hold a caterpillar...I convinced her it wouldn't bite.

Mommy's also decided that she's big enough to start some craft projects. We made a fairy the other day out of ribbons and a wooden candle cup. Rhianwen painted her nose and mouth all by herself! She loves playing with her and let her hang out on her light where the ceiling fan spins the fairy around. It must be fun to watch at naptime.


Fairy Elisabetta (named by Rhianwen after her Great Aunt no less). 

Silly songs are a constant request in our home. If it weren't for mommy's sanity, they would be playing all day long and daddy would be singing them all day long. He was singing this one the other day:

"It's my job and I like it fine. No one has a better job than mine."

Rhianwen interrupted and said,"Not really. Somebody else has a better job than you."

Wally responded, "Who?"

Rhianwen said, "Mommy!!!"

Recently we've been trying to figure out ways to teach our kids positively about God. Obedience is such a focus in our house that sometimes it shuts out other aspects of life. All along we have been trying to explain motivations of the heart to Rhianwen, but it's been really hard to make it something understandable. I had been talking to a friend and to Wally about rewarding good behavior and what that is supposed to look like in relation to obedience and to encouraging proper motivation. How do you prevent encouraging good behavior for the wrong motivation? I don't want my kids to behave well b/c they expect a reward or b/c they want to avoid punishment...that would be obeying for a purely selfish motive. It would be teaching them to be self-serving. At least that is what it seems to me.

I think I can see using an "incentive system" for teaching new concepts. For example, if I introduce the concept of setting a good example, then when I notice Rhianwen doing that (even if she doesn't know she is) then I would tell her what she did and use the chosen activity/tool as a way to
cement that behavioral concept into her head. But I think would not want to use it after she clearly understands the concept and our expectations.

Later, if I see that on a given day she has had a fabulous day in a certain area, then I could choose to reward her, but she shouldn't be owed a reward for good behavior.

On the flip side, I don't really want Rhianwen's main objective to be to obey in order to avoid discipline. I'm not really sure how to avoid that attitude, but I'm hoping talking to her throughout the day about God's love, planning, provision, and beauty will help her see that obedience is part of the method that He has provided us so that we can live life fully, joyfully, and gratefully.

Balance is SO hard.


Our cuties.

10 comments:

  1. Super cute pictures; I love the fairy too! Alden is walking so well in the picture--it is hard to believe how good he has gotten in just a few days!! hmm Or was that his first day? The second video was not working so I will have to try it again later.

    Actually I am not sure if it would be bad to reward good behavior all of the time--of course it isn't always something material---sometimes just a hug, a smile, or saying how wonderful etc--God does that to us---I do not think I did a good job at consistently doing this as a mom--I think it is a great idea to work towards. I see nothing wrong with wanting to please parents and others---of course the foundation that underlies it is to enjoy, glorify and please God...but when we please our parents we are pleasing God. Eventually teaching on the wrong kind of pleasing man has to come in---but you know what I mean .

    ohh--I love the fairy on the light idea too--just great!! I loved looking at a mobile I used to have at naptimes when I was a kid and a long time after when I was way too old ;-)

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  2. Well, I fiddled around and got the second video to play--it didn't want to start. Anyways I am really impressed that she knows all of that---I loved the way she (sp?) questions--she reminds me of Wally! HA!

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  3. We do definitely use affirmation when we notice good behavior. ALL of the time. We also thank her. I don't see that as much as a reward as just well, affirmation/noticing that she's doing a good job.

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  4. Interesting about the motivation for doing good. I think "Desiring God" has a whole lot to say on that topic. One of the most interesting points he makes is that if reward shouldn't matter, why does God put it in so often. "Great shall be your reward in heaven..." etc. Or the fact that motivation is for the joy which is set before us.

    I think the key is to teach that we should be *more* selfish, not less... by which I mean that we should not settle for these piddly earthly rewards but work for the ultimate rewards which we accumulate in heaven and which last for all eternity.

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  5. It was great to read this post and see your videos. Ella even watched Rhianwen's video with me and was excited to see her. I'm impressed you were able to answer her questions, videotape, sing the right tune and remember where you were in the song. You are definitely a gifted mommy! :)

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  6. Walking at 9 1/2 months. Impressive!

    I always love the videos of Rhianwen singing.

    I know what you mean about working on the motivation for obedience. It makes my head hurt to think about how to convey that to a little kid.

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  7. That was great! Christmas carols in May, wearing sunglasses and sunhat... gotta love it. Scott said, "Play it again, Mommy." And wow, you have such early walkers in your house!

    It's amazing how similar our weeks are... figuring out crafts for preschool/toddlers, playing with bugs, tents (though they only last an hour max here, before they get torn down), and teaching obedience. Fun times. It would be fun to get our kids together sometime... if you ever have a free second next time you're in York...

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  8. I can't believe Alden's walking already. Your next baby is going to be born walking I think.

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