I went into Gwen's room to wake her up from her nap but she wasn't in her crib so I glanced at her twin sized bed but she wasn't there either. With my heart starting to thump in my chest, my eyes frantically darted around the room until I finally spotted her.
Believe it or not, this room was neat and tidy when she went down for her nap. Now it looks like it was ransacked and that only added to my anxiety when I couldn't immediately find her.
Lately, I've had a major (irrational) fear of someone sneaking into my house and taking either or both of my kids. Part of it is probably just a natural byproduct of motherhood and the rest of it is probably because I flip channels at night and invariably end up on Nancy Grace's disgraceful TV program where she exploits every parent's most horrible fear by rehashing every gruesome detail of cases involving missing or murdered children. What the hell is wrong with that woman? And why can't I change the channel more quickly?
Anyway, maybe the question I should really be pondering is why my daughter, who is nearly 5 years old, is still sleeping her her toddler bed? I ask her this each night and she stretches her legs out straight while announcing "Look, Mommy. I still fit!" Yeah, with only about 3 inches to spare, Kiddo!
When she turns five (at the end of this month), this crib might just disappear. When that day finally comes, I'm sure both of us will be wiping away some tears.
(The "Don't Eat That Marshmallow Yet!" Experiment)
I've always been fascinated by experiments like this so when my husband forwarded me this article this morning, I devoured every paragraph. Then I spent the rest of the morning thinking about how my children might have responded.
I really recommend that every parent read that article but for those who won't read it, here's my much less interesting and pathetically abbreviated Cliff-Notes version of it:
Back in the late 1960's a bunch of 4 year olds from Bing Nursery School were invited into a room at Stanford University and presented with a plate of treats. They were told that they could have one treat right now OR if they waited some unspecified amount of time, they could have two treats. The test revealed that the children who postponed or delayed gratification had personality traits that helped them do better in school and, generally, in life. Some thirty years later, they tracked down the participants and confirmed almost of all of their earlier findings.
Obviously, I wondered how my kids would do.
Maddy isn't really motivated at all by food (so two treats might never tempt her) but she does love an oh-so-fluffy-sticky- puffy marshmallow. A treat even sweeter since she only gets them once per year - when I bake sweet potatoes.
She has pretty good self control so she might see this game as an easy victory. Really, it could go either way.
Gwen is a totally different story. She dislikes almost everything but the few things she likes, she REALLY likes. So much that she'd eat those things nonstop if we let her. Marshmallows are on her impossibly long list of 'disliked' foods so I did this experiment with one of her favorites: Red Licorice.
I told her she could have one piece right now or two pieces "later" (without explaining how long that might be). Where her favorite foods are involved, she has less self control than her sister. I really thought she'd be unable to resist the immediate gratification of scarfing down one piece of candy right now. But the enticement of the 2nd piece of candy was enough to tempt her to stay the course and wait for the bigger prize.
To make the game more difficult, I insisted that they sit at the table with the treats while they waited (otherwise they'd just run off and play). I don't even put them in time-out for more than 5 minutes so I felt a bit guilty about forcing them to sit there in front of those treats for 15 minutes but that was how long most of the kids in this experiment waited -- so we did that too. To my amazement, they didn't really seem to mind!
Interestingly, both of the kids started singing almost immediately. The article discusses this as a method of distracting themselves from the "hot stimulus" and such behavior was considered critical to successfully navigating such situations. I was so proud of them! Then I was less proud when they started smacking one another. Hey, that's a distraction too, right? Hee hee... whatever works!
The experiment took fifteen minutes but here's a little condensed video of what the kids were up to during that time. It's only 5 minutes long and (I think) it's pretty cute!
I have to admit that I couldn't have predicted how my kids would respond to this test. I'm glad they showed some self restraint because I really don't think that's their usual MO (at age four).
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. How much of this is a genetic personality trait and how much do you think we can influence as adoptive parents? Will you try something like this with your kids? (Please let me know if you do!)
I can hardly believe that tomorrow is June and we're almost half way through 2009. Sigh... how is that possible?
June is a significant birthday month in our family with three birthdays. First up is Michael. This coming week, he'll be 21 years old. Here he is on his 5th birthday way back in 1993. I took this photograph in Hemet with my trusty 35mm camera. Remember the old days when you had to wait for film to be developed before you knew if you had a good picture or not? I suspected this was a keeper because Michael blinked then opened his eyes really wide just as I clicked the shutter. He was so cute in those silly glasses with his Batman birthday hat...
The original photo had circa 1970's paneling as the backdrop so I took advantage of 21st Century technology to swap it out for something more festive. This was always one of my top five favorite photos of all time and now I like it even better!
I've been playing with Silhouettes. At first, I thought this would be easy since I'm pretty good at back-lighting my photos and unintentionally ruining them with shadowed faces. However, it seems there might be a bit more to creating a good silhouette when you're actually trying to do it on purpose!
Last night we headed to the local park to pose against the blue/gold sky as the sun set. We tried a few different settings and paid close attention to capturing Maddy's pretty profile. To make it more interesting, we added some props (the paper butterfly was our favorite but we also used a flower and bubbles).
In the end, we owe just about all of our success to the fact that Maddy loves chocolate and will do just about anything for even the smallest piece of it. Even a single little m&m will encourage her to do anything I ask. Every time she held a perfect pose, I'd pop one into her mouth!
This photo was too pretty to just post all by itself so I added an interesting matte and some embellishments. But the photo itself is unaltered. You can see the original here>