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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

Archive for February, 2009

Bring your coat

Posted by Barack Levin on 20th February 2009

Yesterday, I picked up my little girl from daycare. When I entered her classroom, she was playing with her friends. I told her that it was time to go home, so she dropped her toys and started putting on her shoes. I told her to bring her coat and indeed, she went to where the clothes were hanging and brought her coat and her white sweater.

As she returned with her belongings, the teacher told me she was impressed with my little girl. When I asked why, she said that most parents go by themselves to search for the coats and never send their kids. She also added that sometimes parents are not even sure what outerwear their kids had worn and would ask the teacher to help find them. Since the teacher would have no idea what outerwear the kid had worn that particular morning, she wouldn’t be able to help them in their search.

I told her that I do not ask my kids the location of their coat; I simply tell them to go and get it. She laughed and said, “That should be the approach.” She added that she could see why my little girl is so mature for her age. She said that my little girl is very independent and self-reliant. I accepted the compliment and continued preparing to go home.

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Books

Posted by Barack Levin on 14th February 2009

Since this weekend is rainy and cold, I came up with a project for the kids. They have dozens of books which they love to read before bedtime, but the books were in a constant mess.  Last night, I told the kids that “tomorrow” we were going to organize the books on the bookshelves.

Today, the kids took an afternoon nap and so did I. When I woke up, they were already playing in their room. I went to check up on them and was surprised to find that all the books were on the floor, stacked up in three piles, waiting to be organized on the shelves. The kids did not think that they should have to wait for me before starting to take care of the project themselves.

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So proud of my little girl

Posted by Barack Levin on 14th February 2009

This morning, my wife took the kids to daycare. She dropped my little girl off at her class and my son at the Pre-K class. While she was in my son’s classroom, his teacher turned to her and started talking to her, not about my son, but about my little girl. The teacher told her that it was time for my little girl to start Pre-K and that she was going to fight to have my little girl in her class.

It is probably one of the best compliments I have ever gotten. I was so proud of my little girl.

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Sprouts and snow peas

Posted by Barack Levin on 10th February 2009

Last weekend was the first nice and warm weekend after a very long and cold winter. We met some friends at the park who have a three and a half year old daughter. One of the great things about going to the park is bringing food for a picnic. My kids love to eat out and we always need to make sure we have enough food for them. We played for a while in the park and then headed for the picnic area for lunch.

Our friends took out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for their daughter. When we took out our food, they looked astonished. We took out sprouts, snow peas, green peppers, tomatoes and some turkey on whole grain bread. Our friends could not believe that our kids would eat all of those vegetables. Their daughter did not even show an interest in what we brought and focused on her sandwich.

Later on, we found out their daughter already had cavities. That was not surprising. Eating sweets and not eating vegetables will cause that to happen to teeth. Our kids devoured their lunch and then for desert had a Clementine.

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And then he cried Help Me!!!

Posted by Barack Levin on 10th February 2009

I like to play rough with my kids. I like to chase them around, catch them, wrestle with them on the carpet and on their bed and let them jump on my back. Lately, we came up with a new game. I catch one of them and pin him or her down. I hold his or her legs wrapped in mine and hug him or her from behind so they cannot move. While I do that, the unfortunate kid who got pinned down calls the other kid for help. Help arrives in the form of a little hand struggling to free the captured kid from the grasp of their father. I, of course, let them free each other and the game continues.

Last weekend, we went to one of those inflated jumping places for kids. It was a large place and it was full of moonwalks on which kids jump or slide. Being a grown-up kid, I always like to get into them as well and so I did. We started playing and acting crazy. As a matter of habit, I pinned down my son, just as I do at home, and in a short time, he started yelling, “Help me. Help me.” Obviously, he was yelling for his sister to help him, the same way he does at home, but needless to say, several parents, who heard him, had a very worried look on their faces.

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Cutting Wood

Posted by Barack Levin on 7th February 2009

Today my wife decided that she wanted to work in the yard. Her project for the day was to cut up the loose wood in the yard and to prepare it as firewood.

Obviously, the kids wanted to help. Last year, my wife had bought gloves for them to use when doing yard work. My wife was in charge of the chainsaw and I helped her cut the wood. The kids helped us carry the cut wood to the wood pile. My son was carrying big pieces and my daughter was carrying the small ones.

At one point, my daughter decided that she did not want to help anymore and my son followed suit stating that if she didn’t want to help, neither did he. “No problem,” I said, “Sit down and relax.”

After a few moments, I started a conversation with my wife. I told her that I thought the kids were not strong enough to help us and I had no idea why we kept on feeding fruits and vegetables to them because, obviously, they were not making the kids any stronger. When the kids heard what I said, they jumped up. They wanted to show us their strength, so we continued working together in the yard until the pile of wood was fully stacked.

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Molluscum Contagiosum

Posted by Barack Levin on 5th February 2009

My son was born with a hard to treat eczema. Later on we found out that he is allergic (just like his dad) to many things including eggs, dogs, milk, pollen and more. Fortunately for him (again, just like his dad), the allergies do not affect him real bad. We have found out that it is mainly eggs which cause him the most skin irritation so we limit his egg intake

 

Several months ago he started developing red spots on his skin around his butt and legs. The spots would grow into pimple like bumps, with a white head, and explode. We took him to a dermatologist and were introduced to a new term: Molluscum Contagiosum. According to Wikipedia, he is diagnosed with a viral infection of the skin. We tried a medication but found out that he is allergic to the medicine so we had to stop it.

 

After searching the internet, I found out that Apple Cider Vinegar might help. The problem is that it causes a stinging sensation on the skin once applied. My wife went at it first. She poured some on a cotton pad and tried to apply on the red areas. He started crying saying it hurts him. I do not blame the little guy. I am sure it does. Vinegar is after all an alcohol and when applied on scarred skin must hurt.

 

I decided to give it a try. First, I put 1/3 Vinegar in the old medicine bottle I had for him (after emptying it of course). I filled the rest with water to dilute the Vinegar. I showed it to my son and said it is a new medication. Since it comes in the same medication bottle he is used to, he accepted it. I looked him right in the eye and said that it is going to sting a little, but not too much. He started crying. I told him that I want to try on a clear piece of skin. He agreed. I poured some on a cotton pad and gently touched his foot. Obviously he was anxious, but felt no pain. “Did you feel anything?” I asked. “No”, he replies. I take the pad and try in a different area. Again, nothing. Slowly I work my way towards the first red spot. I reach it and touch it with the pad. “Now?” I ask. “Nothing” he says. Slowly but surely I continued to the rest of the red spots around his butt and legs. One of them hurt him and he tells me so, but not crying, just indicating that it stings. I simply bend over close to it and blow some air on it and the pain is gone.

 

The next day, same thing. The day after, I increase the concentration. Now it is 50:50 and I also ask my son to bring the medication. It has become a game for him. Now I have a new trick. I ask him to lift his finger every time it hurts him. He does so every once in a while and I slow down, but again, no cries and no complaining. He is now gotten to the idea that it stings a little and does not mind.

 

I only hope that the Vinegar will indeed do its job.

Incoming search terms:

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You are not my mom and dad

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd February 2009

Two days ago, my wife went somewhere with a friend of hers and I took the two little monsters to a eat dinner at a restaurant. We went to our favorite place. It is an all you can eat salad bar and my kids love it. They eat almost any type of vegetable. They love zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, celery, broccoli, chick peas, carrots and more. My son is not fond of mushrooms, but his sister loves to eat them raw. They also like this place because they have excellent soups and at the end, they can have some ice cream. All in all, it is a very balanced meal for them and me.

We sat down after filling our plates with vegetables. I finished my plate fairly fast and left them alone to get myself some soup. On my way to the soup stand, I realized that I needed to teach them what to do if a stranger approaches them when I am not with them.

When I got back, I told them, “I have something to tell you.” My little boy immediately said, “I know what you want to tell us.” Puzzled, I told him to go ahead and tell me. He turned to his sister and said, “If Mom and Dad are not here and someone comes to take us, we tell him no and push his hand.” I was speechless. He knew exactly what I wanted to tell them.

“Good thinking,“ I told him, “but there is more to this.” I continued his line of thought. “If a stranger comes to you, it is not enough to say, ‘No.’ You also need to shout out loud, ‘this is not my mom and dad.’ I was barely able to finish my explanation, when both of my little monsters started yelling out with all their might “You are not my mom and dad. You are not my mom and dad.” They are good kids. They wanted to show me they understood what I had just explained.

Timing is not one of their strengths. Fortunately enough for me, the restaurant was not full and their voices were not very loud. However, diners sitting close to us looked puzzled. I was amused. It was a good thing that I did not teach them about this while we were next to a police station. I calmed them down and we continued on with our meal.

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Morning Dress Crisis

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd February 2009

My little daughter is a little over three years old and is usually all cuddles and smiles in the morning, but, today, she woke up in a bad mood. I guess, just as an adult who wakes up every once in a while on the wrong side of the bed, she did the same this morning. She did not give me her morning hug and kiss, but instead, she only wanted Mommy. I poured her some milk, warmed up pancakes from the day before and served it with some marmalade, which was made by my mother-in- law. My daughter ate the pancakes, but when she saw that my wife was leaving the house to go to work, she started crying.

She was still in her pajamas, so I took her to her room to get dressed. I knew the best way to stop a kid from crying was to change the subject.  She was crying because her mother had left and she wanted her to be there, so I needed to find a distraction. As I dressed her, I come across another problem, which again was a result of her specific mood this morning. She did not want to wear the dress that my wife had left out for her. I tend not to pay too much attention to my younger kids’ rants regarding their clothes. My wife knows how to dress them and I did not think that, at my daughter’s age, at seven thirty in the morning, she should be given the option to go through her closet to find clothes that she wanted to wear. Her clothes are laid out in the morning, and these are the clothes she is going to wear for the day. The dress in question was a greenish button up dress. It had buttons that looked like Tic Tacs and she had worn it countless times.

I told her to put on her underwear and panties. She stopped crying and focused on that. After she was done, I put on her shirt and buttoned it. Now, it was the time for the dress. I picked it up and she started crying, “I do not like this dress.” “Let’s try it on and see what happens.” I replied. She obeyed and put it on.

Now, it was time to make her laugh and for her to forget about the dress situation. She was in tears as I buttoned the first “Tic Tac” button. As it snapped in place, I let out a cry, “Ouch, it hurt my finger.” She looked puzzled. “When I closed your button, it hurt my finger.” I said. The first step was accomplished. She had stopped crying and was looking at me. I went for the second button. She waited anxiously to see what would happen. I snapped it in and again yelled that it had hurt my finger. Now, my little girl was laughing. She realized that it was a game and it amused her. I continued to the third button and did the same thing. At that point, she knew what was going to happen and as she heard the snapping of the button, she started laughing. I finished buttoning the dress. We hugged and kissed.

The crisis was averted. She was herself again. She was dressed up in the dress that she did not want to wear and had forgotten that her mom had gone to work. We left to go to day care.

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Welcome to my blog.

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd February 2009

My son was born in May 2004. Since I work from home, my wife and I decided that, for the first twelve months, I would stay at home with him. We felt that it was very important for one of us to be with him for that long, before we put him in day care. We wanted to give him a good basis for life. Also, we strongly believe that it is the parents’ responsibility to raise a baby.

So, I became a stay at home, work from home, dad. During that year, I found out that I have a hidden talent. Some people have a talent for drawing, others for learning new languages and some for playing chess. I discovered that I have a talent for understanding kids and their needs and most importantly, I have a talent to bond with kids almost instantly. Furthermore, I discovered that I can use this talent to influence kids in order to change or shape their behavior. Simply put, I have a talent for parenting.

Since then, I have been looking around and have seen many examples of the result of bad parenting. I see kids who are overweight, kids who do not eat their vegetables or fruits, kids who do not know how to fall asleep on their own, kids who do not listen to their parents and kids with many other unwanted behaviors. But most importantly, I see kids who have no boundaries. I also see how parents treat their kids and mistakes they make.  I can see how parents are inconsistent in their parenting approaches, give the wrong signals and do not pay attention to details.

I do not consider myself an expert or a person who has degrees in the field of parenting, but I do consider myself a self-educated parent. I have made my mistakes, as well, with my kids, but I always know how to spot them in time and I know how to adjust my thought process.

Every parent will of course tell you that his kids are the best, but when I compare other kids to mine and hear the feedback that I get from other parents concerning my kids and my techniques, I am led to believe that indeed, I am very successfully raising my kids the right way. I am using this blog to document my experiences, share my knowledge and assist other parents.

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