Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Request of Justin Bieber: "Please Don't Turn Into a Mess"

As it turns out my 6-year-old has become a Justin Bieber fan. I can't tell you how many times I have heard my son's version of "Baby." I'm a little embarrassed to say that I actually like the song, but let's be clear I have no intention of becoming one of those thirty-something moms that fawn over him at his concert.

In any case, as any dutiful fan would my son asked to see Bieber's "Never Say Never" movie. I didn't see any downside and we went. Now the movie was pretty cute and almost touching in a way. Bieber has a good rags to riches story and his dedication to becoming an accomplished performer is impressive. The intensity with which he watched the movie was so endearing. But it was then I also realized that he looked up to this pop star as a role model.

Honestly, it made me a little fearful for what was to come for Bieber in both his career and life. It actually matters to me now because my son will now see the accomplishments and the failures along the way of his role model. The trend is pretty clear with these types of stars and they almost always have some sexual escapade, drug overdose or other controversy that surfaces.

I have seen this happen to other pop stars in the past and found the whole situation almost entertaining to read and hear about. Not ever really having been at an age where their escapades would impact my life decisions one way or another.

But today, I am a mom and one that so badly doesn't want her son to grow up too fast. So, I have but one request of Justin Bieber: "Please don't become a mess, Spencer is watching."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Changing Direction and Shaping Behavior (Even I Did it!)

I thought all hope was lost when my then 5-year-old started Kindergarten last fall and his behavior tok a turn for the worse. It wasn't long after he started that we were receiving dreaded notes home and special meeting requests from his teachers.

Even a deep dive into the recent changes in our family couldn't explain the behavior. His father and I had worked so hard to keep things as "normal" as possible even after the divorce and it became increasingly frustrating to be unable to identify a cause. That is until one day when opportunity presented itself in a way that I would have never imagined.

We were at a jewelry store getting a ring resized, when my son began wandering around the store looking at the contents of the various display cases. It wasn't long before he asked for me to come over and it was then I was shown the answer to all my prayers. There inside the glass case was a leather cuff bracelet that you would imagine a hardcore rock star wearing during a concert. After he took it upon himself to ask the clerk to try it on, he fell in love with it like no other inanimate object he had ever seen.

It was such an unlikely object for a kid his age to get excited about. In fact, the store clerk was so taken aback by his reaction she discretly motioned that she would make note of the item in my file. Although, I suspect her practice of notating client's records developed more out of the need to keep track of the engagement ring preference of a guy's girlfriend and not the kid who just fell in love with a "bad ass" leather cuff bracelet!

Long story short, the light bulb went off and an extravagant bribe was born. I introduced a weekly point system through which he could earn points based on his behavior in school. The results were instant and instead of inciting trouble at school, he became a leader and a help to his teachers.

This dramatic change in behavior amazed his teachers and it didn't take him long for him to earn the prize. Although, as it turns out, by this time he had lost intrest in the original designer leather cuff bracelet by King Baby Studio and instead found one online that he preferred.
Oh and I should mention that it only cost $10!

In the end, the whole exercise made me realize that it wasn't about the bribe or resulting prize (I really got off easy for only $10!), but it was about my active participation in the process. He enjoyed the daily build-up to sharing his accomplishments of the day with me and the reaction that his positive behavior brought. At the end of the day, he just wanted me to pay attention. Lesson learned.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Get a Hobby or at Least Try

I am always jealous of people who have a hobby that they are extremely passionate about. The closest I have come in recent years to finding that special activity is my interest in Social Media. Calling that a hobby is probably a bit of a stretch, especially since it is part of my job.

It isn't as if I haven't tried really hard to find a hobby. I tried to take up knitting once with a "how to" kit, but when I realized it was going to probably take me a few weeks before I could pull together enough stitches to even look like a scarf.
Checked that one off the list pretty quick and had a oddly shaped square made out of bright blue yarn to show for it. I don't think my "work" was even big enough to use as a pot holder.

Another fairly notable endeavor was my attempt to take on breadmaking and of course I couldn't do just basic breadmaking, I had to try sourdough. To make sourdough bread you need to have what they call a "starter" which is basically a dough containing a lactobacillus culture. Sounds pretty disgusting, right? It gets even more involved and strange because you have to literally "feed" the starter a mixture of flour and water. Yes, the culture gets hungry and needs water to wash down the meal of flour that you need to feed it at regular intervals. Developing an understanding of how sourdough bread is made, actually caused me not ever want to eat sourdough bread and I certainly wasn't going to spend time feeding a culture!

I will continue my quest to find the activity that can help satisfy my creative side. In fact, I just found some websites that sell supplies to make your own candles. Although, any hobby involving fire could be dangerous for my house and those around me :) Still searching and taking any and all recommendations.