Wednesday, February 27, 2008

15 Minutes

A while back I complained (repeatedly) about The Mayor’s tantrums and one commentor wrote to me about the idea of “special time” – - specifically finding a way to give your child at least 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day.

Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like a lot but, admittedly, it’s been hard for K and I to figure out how to do this.


Work days are a mad rush out the door in the morning and then when we get home at night we're in a desperate hurry to get dinner made and eaten, short and loud people washed, jammies on, stories read...

Sound familiar?


Yesterday we decided to try the “special time” thing but we didn't
explain what we were doing to The Mayor or The Rooster to be sure we didn't set up expectations we can’t consistently fulfill.

[Kind of like our commitment to meditate on a regular schedule. Har har har!]


When we arrived home we dropped our stuff and started the clock.

The Mayor led K in a complicated game of his own design which involved a t-rex, pirates and the Melissa & Doug wooden play food in our kitchen.

The Rooster and I decided to color.

I was not expecting coloring with The Rooster to be such an intense form of Anti-Anal Behavioral Therapy.


I’m an organized person.


[To a fault.]

When presented with a coloring book I stay inside the lines and choose sensible colors.


Working in The Mayor's Diego in the Jungle coloring book, I meditated on the fabulousness of
the varying soft shades of brown I selected for coloring the monkeys.

Oh, my color coordinated satisfaction!!!


However.


Every time I had my jungle scene in good order, The Rooster would lean over and say,

“Lemme hay-ulp you.”
[How did my daughter get a southern accent??!!]
“Mommy, lemme show you this color… it’s rilly MAGIC!”
Leaning over my arm, The Rooster scribbled a garish red HORROR across my forest and into the swamp.

The hairs on my inner Virgo stood on end.
"VEE MUST COLOR INSIDE DE LINES!!"
Thankfully, my inner Mommy whispered,
“Breathe deeply this special time is for your daughter, YOU ANAL FREAK!”
You know what?

The coloring was really nice and o
ur dinner was only fifteen minutes late.

[Okay twenty minutes late, but I had to finish my Diego in the jungle masterpiece, people!]


61 comments:

WILLIAM said...

I keep trying to get my wife to give me "Special Time"

I don't even need the full 15 minutes.

Circus Kelli said...

Hee hee! I need to hold my inner "A.R. freak" back when coloring with the kids, too.

Molly said...

I've been trying this too and it seems to help. I think alot of the tantrums are unknowing calls for attention.

jeanie said...

Oh, I know what you mean about help from the progeny!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

It is like that scene in "Basquiat" when Jean Michele paints the big white line on Warhol's painting.

Sister Honey Bunch said...

Does it not make the biggest difference in their little lives? Last night my son and I drew a bear, a penguin and a girl at the zoo. Colored and cut them out. It was the best part of my day, and it calmed him down, made him happy, etc.

I need to do this daily.

Good post. Thanks.

Erin said...

What! We don't get to see this masterpiece?! Well, I feel a little jilted...

Catizhere said...

Sort of like when Maggie wants to "help" me in the kitchen.

Flour, cread crumbs, spilled egg wash...

tulipmom said...

It's amazing what 15 minutes of our undivided attention can do for them.

And the cringing doesn't end with the coloring books. I had to bite my tongue last night watching SB use WAY too much glue stick and affix everything lopsided to his Science Fair display board.

furiousBall said...

Wednesday night is special time, there's nothing good on the TV...

Kyla said...

Yeah, KayTar waits until I'm nearly finished with a masterpiece and then she starts to "help" and order me to use specific colors. Sigh.

JoeInVegas said...

Do you get to post your art work on the refrigerator too?

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I totally can't handle not coloring inside the lines. This is why Hailey and I have different color books.

ImpostorMom said...

oh man I totally get this.

Maybe it is a virgo thing.

Lisa Milton said...

She's helpful, that one. And I love the accents.

motherbumper said...

You said anal. Hee.

Anyhow, since I am of the same ilk, the pain of using inappropriate colours and seeing lines as only suggestions rarely outweighs the fact that Bumper likes to play by herself after our "together" time (= mommy time!).

Craze said...

I remember those days of coloring outside the lines using the most wild of colors. I think those 15 minutes were as good for you as them.

Anonymous said...

I love Rooster. I feel so connected to her. Her comments about red being really "magic" - I understand completely. It is a magic color. So magic that my primary (OK, If I'm honest, my ONLY) requirement for a car is that it is red. A splash of red can improve anything. I had to laugh though at you saying you were trying to find the 15 min. Frankly, the daily 15 - 30 min. each of you spend reading to the kids - books of their selection seems like the most "special" time you could offer them. Love, Grandma Seattle.

Heather said...

Could you please rub a little of that super-organization skill off on me? PLEASE?

floreksa said...

I have to leave the room when A paints. Mixed colors, no cleaning of the brush... NIghtmare.

I am also so anal as to only give her 1 color of play-doh at a time.

The therapy bills will be huge.

Natalie said...

I think I may have to try that 15 minutes thing. What happened when the time was up? Did you get a tantrum? I fear I might.

I'm only somewhat anal about organization and I still have to practice restraint (or maybe it's lack thereof?) when coloring with my son. Did you know there are purple Spidermen? Oh wait, that was my idea. Nevermind.

Ok, Where Was I? said...

Anti-Anal Behavioral Therapy--classic! I'm home with mine and I still need to keep this in mind. It's therapy in so many ways.

Sober Briquette said...

Oh, I want a Grandma Seattle, now.

Another Virgo checking in to therapy.

I take my page out of the book and repeatedly assure them I do not need help. They've learned that if they let me do my own work, I won't critique theirs.

But when, when will my daughter learn to leave the whites of the eyes white? All these Satanic Holly Hobbies on my refrigerator are creeping me out.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Sounds VERY familiar. This is a great idea.

Edge said...

Scan it and post it!

~Jef

mamatulip said...

A little sure does go a long way, doesn't it?

Janet said...

Good stuff.

I'm not so anal about the colouring any more. I am a beaten down woman.

Tracey said...

Oh dera heavens, that is me to the tee! And I am Virgo too. Inside the lines people, rules are rules!

Jenifer said...

I still colour in the lines, but don't get upset when I get some hay-ulp!

PunditMom said...

Lucky for me PunditGirl always wanted to color in the lines. But wearing clothes that match? Now THAT I have to bite my lip on!

slackermommy said...

Did you ever think that Mayor's special time for preventing tantrums could nearly send you into a tantrum?

Heather said...

Where's the picture you colored? I thought we'd get to see the masterpiece.

Super B's Mom said...

Ironic - I've been thinking about posting about this very topic on my blog. I'm in a bad habit of NOT taking special time to spend together.

I've really forgotten just how fun coloring can be... Well except for the whole little person messing up your masterpiece part. ;)

The Sour Kraut said...

Wait until you have to do a "family" project with the kids for school. It has taken quite a lot of self control to let go of my anal ways and let the kids take the lead.

Lightening said...

Kids love it when you sit and colour with them. I kinda like it too. Thanks for the prompt - I need to do this with my kids again. It's been a while. :)

Jerseygirl89 said...

Why does it always feel like the anal side is at war with the wishing to inspire creativity mommy side?

shuey6 said...

I feel the same way about mixing the playdoh colors. What's up with that???!!

Ponygirl said...

Oh my lawd. I would just love to hear your baby's Southern accent. Is she fixin' to color? Is she asking for y'all to come in and see her drawing? Ah wee, that's what happens when you live in the deep South. I've been gone for 10 years and haven't lost the little twang I picked up.

Maggie said...

Oh me too on what Shuey6 said! I get all angsty when the colors get combined. Silly mom, tricks are for kids.

Deb said...

I'm so grateful to know I'm not the only one who struggle with less-than-aesthetic interruptions from my child when coloring with him. *sigh*

Lindy said...

ha! mine steals the crayons from me. It's all I can do not to shout at her 'giving me the fu%&ing crayon mummy want to color!!'. Instead I just pick up another crayon knowing it too will be snatched away...

painted maypole said...

ha ha. i am training myself to color pictures in wacky colors. it's actually kind of fun.

Loralee Choate said...

When my son was in kindergarten he was in the hospital for asthma for a week with no progress. We were coloring and I colored "Dora the Explorer's" shirt THE WRONG COLOR!!! He freaked out into the biggest crying fit of all time, but it FINALLY got the ick out of his lungs and he started getting better.

In my case, coloring "Wrong" totally saved the day. ;)

Heather B. said...

I am totally anal about coloring inside the lines. Like first I do a little outline of the actual picture and then color perfectly inside the lines. Aaaaand now I'm wishing I had a coloring book around here somewhere.

Robin Marie said...

Ohhh coloring! My favorite excercise with kids is a modified version of the game Exquisite Corpse. Everyone gets a piece of paper and one color and starts a drawing. Every minute (or two) you pass your drawing to the left, and get a new one from the person on the right. Then keep going round and round working on the drawing for one minute. It's super silly and helps me relax.

So glad you had a good time, it sounds like a good plan!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I love this idea---I'm with the kids almost every minute of the day but it is STILL hard to set aside 15 minutes to just devote ALONE to each one.

Redneck Mommy said...

I like special time too. It generally involves batteries and some red wine.

Oh, you mean with the kids? Well, I just flicked a wet towel at their bums a few minutes ago. Does that count?

flutter said...

dinner....late? what now?

People eat at a specified time?

what the hell?

fooped said...

Oh girl, you're singin my song!!

I didn't realize how anal I was being w/ MysterE until I watched my MOTHER dictating the rules of where you can and can't put the pieces in a Mister Potato.

So humbling, this whole parenting thing.

FYI, while this won't do much for the Mayor at the moment, I learned recently that clay and similar tactile play is waygood therapy for kids who need to work something out.

PS - u funny, girl!

Corgimom said...

That 15 minutes a day is why (I'm fairly sure) our own Little Prince has never had the battitudes we were so warned about. Not that he still isn't three, mind you, but a tester of limits and not a screamer of tantrums.

On the AR thing, I balance mine by helping him build a play doh volcano once a month with all the colors that seem to be drying out. The kiddo LOVES pouring the vinegar into the baking soda for the "eruption." Play doh is a goner after that and we go back to one color at a time...

lildb said...

godddahh!

I hate. hate. hate. times THIRTY the lateness and the messiness and the every-damn-thing outside the lines business of raising a kid.

you're like a magician that you can do it with two of 'em.

re-spect, babe.

Sarah O. said...

Coloring with the kids is SO hard. We want the kids to express themselves, but. It must also be done OUR way, dammit! It's almost guaranteed to make both parent and child just that much more neurotic!

But the alternative is always that impossibly complicated child-invented game...

Amanda said...

Our girls get 10 minutes first thing when Sean gets home and ten more after dinner. Those are sacred and they rely on that promise as much as they do bed time and meal schedules.

As to the drawl... Avery speaks with an Italian accent, "Yoo a'poopin?"

"No!"

"Yes'a yoo are'a. Yoo a'poopin."

"No, honey, mama is peeing."

"Ya make'a me cry when you a'poopin."

Briar just turned everything into an unacceptable word...Flag was fag. Fork was fuck. Clock was cock. It was magnificent, savant like really.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

Coloring is AWESOME. It's been too long since I colored.
Tomorrow. Coloring.

Lara said...

i'm exactly the same way! i kind of hate coloring for just that reason. :-P

JCK said...

The one on one time is key. Our lives are transforming before our eyes.

Great post, you inner Virgo!

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

Oh I've been there!

I have to bite my tongue so I don't yell, "Thomas is BLUE not Orange!"

Sayre said...

I have a hard time letting go of my inner nazi too. EET MUST BE ZISS VAY!!!!!

That could be why my son is so much more creative than I am...

Grim Reality Girl said...

15 minutes doesn't sound like much, but it IS hard to manage and takes effort. Good for you!! Wish I'd gotten this advice when my kids were younger :-)

I agree -- post the masterpiece! Love coloring.....

Kelley said...

'The hairs on my inner Virgo stood on end.'

Yes, I own one of those. She is 14. Can you take her. PLEASE???

karrie said...

Special time? SPeshul TIME??? The fuck?

I know what happens here, and that is when I start implementing goofy shit like 15 Minutes of Very Special Quality Time, M becomes a tyrant. Best to keep him guessing if I will read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom again, or tell him to leave me alone while I make coffee. :-)

I do think that some kids just want more and more and more attention, the more you give them. I did crazy mad Speshul Projects last week during school vacation, and now I'm dealing with a kid who wakes up at 5am wanting to make lemonade from scratch, and paint designs in the snow. Gah.