Thursday, April 17, 2008

Genius on Accident

Many of the world's greatest ideas, discoveries and inventions happened on accident. Newton's apple, Doc's flux capacitor, et cetera. It seems to be no different in every day life, especially in parenting since there's no way of guessing what in the world is going to work, and no kid is the same. I'm amazed at the stories other parents tell of how they get their babies to sleep, how they keep their toddlers from taking off their diapers, how they get their kids to clean their rooms or sit still for haircuts. All genius out of necessity. Here are a couple of my contributions.

"Eat Your Vegetables" - No surprise that veggies are not popular at our table. I do what I can - sneak them in, threaten and reward, look the other way, depending on the day. One night we had a side salad, and Ed and I both served up using tongs like the ones pictured. I offered Hazel some salad and she said no as expected. It was a whatever, look the other way, night. So Ed and I were chatting over dinner and we didn't notice that Hazel had become fascinated with the tongs and was carefully serving herself some salad, a few lettuce leaves at a time. I told her she could serve as much as she liked but she had to eat everything she put on her plate. To my amazement it worked and the kid ate a pile of salad*, and still does whenever the tongs are out. Genius.

"Five More Minutes" - Recently Ginger has shifted her morning wake time from 7-7:30 to 6-6:30 which quite cramps our style, since Ed gets home late and her crib is in our room. We usually pull her into bed with us in the hopes she will chill out or even sleep a little longer like she used to, but she is rearing to go and we get climbed on, kicked, whomped and talked to for the next 20 minutes or so until getting up sounds better than putting up with her any longer.

Last night, though, while getting ready for bed, I had an idea. I saw some plastic Easter eggs in a cupboard, which reminded me that on Easter Ginger played very nicely and quietly in her crib after waking up, playing with her basket contents...and eating jelly beans out of plastic eggs (see picture.) So I put together an everyday basket for her - a sippy cup of water, a book, and two plastic eggs - one with Cheerios and raisins and one with gummy fruit snacks inside - and put it in her crib. I was so proud of myself, and Ed was impressed. Of course the best part was that it worked. I don't know what time she woke up but I did hear some water slurping and egg shaking. But when she did stand up and call to get out, I finally looked at the clock. It was 7:10. And the eggs were empty. Very genius.

What accidental genius ideas have you stumbled upon, either in parenting or regular everyday life? Do share, you never know how many people may fall on their knees and gratefully proclaim you GENIUS!

*"Salad" means mostly lettuce and a few carrots or cucumbers. At one produce store I found these small Mediterranean cucumbers that have soft skin and no seeds; she loves those and eats them like crackers.


tona said...

Okay, I didn't think this one up but it is genius. I think I got it from the Tightwad Gazette. I have three kids of the same sex all in a row & their clothes are sometimes hard to tell apart. You can't mark their clothes labels with an initial because it will be handed down to a kid with a different letter. So mark oldest child's clothes with a vertical line, and second child's with two vertical lines (like tallymarks), etc. When you hand an item down to a sibling, just add a line to the tag. I love this one. I keep a red Sharpie in the laundry room just for labeling clothes.

I just haven't found a good way to label socks. Or keep from losing them. But I did adopt Mom's "sock graveyard" idea. I have a SMALL bin on the dryer for stray socks. It has a sign on it with a gravestone & it says "Here lies yet another, gone to rest without its brother." The graveyard was her idea, and I wrote the poem. We do sort it now and then, but we hardly ever find pairs. O well.

Mia said...

I think the tongs idea is genius. My kids both love to use the tongs, so maybe if I add the caveat that they have to eat what they serve they might do it. I don't think I have any genius ideas of my own, but I'll think on it.

Carol Younce said...

Not for the squeamish, but my best contribution is for those families whose kids wake you up in the middle of the night by throwing up. Their Dad and I would look at each other and say," do you want to clean up the kid or the mess?" and split up the job. Then, since we knew there would be another episode, this lucky kiddo got to sleep in the bathtub for the rest of the night, padded with old towels and sheets. Worked for us, and the kids survived too.

Disco Mom said...

I remember it felt like a treat to sleep in the tub even though it was totally uncomfortable. But if you're sick you're not really sleeping anyway. I remember the "special" bed felt like special attention, and that was always nice, especially when sick. I also love the division of labor - I'm looking forward to Ed being around when they throw up, and the bonus of having laundry machines in house instead of making a bunch of trips down 6 floors in the middle of the night.

Maren said...

I remember sleeping in the bathtub, too, now that you mention it. Huh. And, Tona, that idea is so genius (I recall learning it from you several years ago) that I have put it into practice since I can't tell Laurel's clothes from Sonja's anymore. I mark the bottom side of the sock with lines. Socks are the hardest to figure out by just looking at them.

I can't think of any genius ideas at the moment, although I own up to being the one who lets her kids eat (insert name of small chewy candy here, i.e. gummy bears, skittles) one at a time while I cut their hair. Works every time.

Davey said...

Alright, no kids, so surely NOT a genius idea, just an observation and suggestion.

What is it about the tongs? Is the the springing motion, the difference, the shiny?

I can't really help you if it's the shiny, but they make "training chopsticks" Or you could make them. Just like tongs, but smaller. Might be fun for the kids to eat with them. Might even get them to eat more things.

Like I said, not a genius idea, just a thought.

Kelsey Carreon said...

I put all socks in a lingerie bag so that we do not have missing socks. We were always losing those tiny baby socks! (got this idea from my sister Heather)

I also use larger bags to wash their clothes in to keep them seperate and then you give them the dry bag and have them fold it and put it away. (my kids love to help with laundry so this works for us, Christina is an expert folder at the age of 3) tried this concept when i started the socks and it worked so we go with it

Disco Mom said...

Kelsey - that's what I do - put the kid socks in a lingerie bag. It's easy to tell them apart because Old Navy prints the size on the bottom in non-skid stuff but in the bag they don't get lost. When they're older I'll get them their own separate bags. I don't think my kids would be helpful folding their own clothes but it's worth a shot. Right now Ginger "helps" by taking armfuls of clean clothes out of the basket and strewing them around the apartment.

Davey - great idea! It's the springy because yesterday Ginger was playing with them in the kitchen and Hazel wanted them. I gave Hazel another pair of tongs that are not springy and she complained that they don't open and close right, so it must be the spring. When I was a kid we had training chopsticks, they were fun. I'll keep my eyes out for them.

Davey said...

Here's a how to video to make some on the cheap. The ones you can buy at stores like Bed Bath and Beyond seem really overpriced.

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