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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

Archive for June, 2009

Learning to write

Posted by Barack Levin on 24th June 2009

Last night, as my little girl was drawing, she started to draw some letters. She is only three and a half years old, but she knows the letters “O,” “E,” and” A,” which are part of her name. As she was drawing, her big brother came along and told her that she was not writing her full name. He then volunteered to teach her to write. For more than ten minutes, they set together at a table as he showed her what to do and she did it. At the end, we got something very similar to her name.

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Mint Ice Cream

Posted by Barack Levin on 24th June 2009

My little boy went on a field trip yesterday. The big journey was to a local ice cream shop. He and his friends were fascinated by the ice cream machine and the staff who played with them and explained the process.

Each kid was given his turn to make a choice about which ice cream he wanted. My little one chose a green ice cream; I guess he liked the color. When he was given the ice cream, he discovered that it was mint and that he did not like it. He had to share some chocolate ice cream with a friend.

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Bicycles

Posted by Barack Levin on 17th June 2009

My five year old son and I decided to take the training wheels off of his bicycle. When he tried riding his bicycle without the training wheels, I had to run like crazy along the side of him, holding on to both him and the bicycle, so that he did not fall.

He was happy to try riding without the training wheels, but failed at the attempt. He could not keep his balance and made good use of his protective gear as he crashed on the ground.

He tried again the next day. This time, on his first attempt, he just took off and rode by himself. Although he was still not stable, he could ride in a straight line. We were so happy that he reached this milestone; finally, he could ride like a big kid.

It was at this point that I realized something new. It was not enough to teach my kid how to ride his bicycle; I first needed to teach him how to crash safely. Riding a bicycle was easy, but, falling from it was a hard lesson which needed to be learned.

A real lesson in life, for me, as a parent, was that I will need to show my kids how to stand up after they fall.

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Vegetables

Posted by Barack Levin on 17th June 2009

When my little guy was about to start school, we thought that it would be a good idea to take a tour of the school. We visited the library, the gym, the classrooms, the playground and the cafeteria. During the visit, the school’s administration person asked my son several questions and he answered accordingly.

When we got to the cafeteria, her questions revolved around food including vegetables. He told her that he loved to eat everything. She wanted to know which vegetable was his favorite. I knew that he ate almost any vegetable, and I thought that his answer would be a tomato or a cucumber, but to my surprise he said that he loved beets the most. I knew he liked beets, but never expected such an answer.

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Kindergarten

Posted by Barack Levin on 15th June 2009

A few months before my little boy started kindergarten, I took him and his sister for a tour at his new school. Both of them loved the school. My little boy likes to take it all in before he feels comfortable enough to start talking and expressing his feelings. My little girl is more open and chatted most of the tour.

At the end of the tour, when we returned to the car, I asked my little boy if he liked the school and if he wanted to go there. Being a five year old boy, with a developing sense of humor, he said, “No.” and smiled at his sister. So, while driving, I jokingly told him that if he did not want to go to that school, it was fine with me and that we would find him another school. He said, “Okay.” and waited to see what I would do.

I picked up my mobile phone and supposedly called my wife. When she supposedly answered, I supposedly told her that our little boy did not want to go that school and that we needed to find him another one. She supposedly agreed with me.

The whole time, I could hear him in the back of the car, almost screaming,”No, I do want to go to that school.” I turned around, smiled at him and told him not to worry because he was going to go to that school and that I was only joking.

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Carry-on

Posted by Barack Levin on 12th June 2009

One day, I started noticing that my little girl, who was three and a half years old, was refusing to participate in daily chores around the house. When I asked her to bring something or to take something, she would turn her back to me in refusal. Nothing seemed to help.  It was not the same with my little boy, who was five years old. He always liked to help.

I thought that the reason she was not helping was because she did not feel responsible enough. She was not used to carrying things or helping. The solution turned out to be was very simple.

When both of them were younger, I gave them each a small carry-on piece of luggage with wheels to take to school. The carry-ons did not have much of anything in them, but they gave my kids a responsibility and something to remember. I had hoped the result would be that they would raise my kids’ self-esteem and independence.

My girl, for some reason, just left the bag in daycare and never got it back. So, I decided it was time to reintroduce it to her to it, so that she would, once again, roll it back and forth to daycare. I knew that this would help change her behavior.

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Shaving

Posted by Barack Levin on 12th June 2009

I hate shaving. It irritates my skin and leaves it reddish and unpleasant for the rest of the day. As a result, I try to shave once a week or so when the situation has become unbearable. But, I have discovered a new problem. My little girl refuses to kiss me if I haven’t shaved. She claims that the beard tickles and scratches her face. I am faced with a very hard dilemma. If I do not shave, I save my skin, but do not get any kisses from my little girl, or I shave and irritate my skin, but get the lovely kisses from her.

My little girl’s kisses are more important, so now I have to shave twice a week. And whenever I do, I make sure to get my payment for that day, sweet little butterfly kisses on my chick.

Posted in Tips and Advice | 1 Comment »

Bleeding

Posted by Barack Levin on 4th June 2009

My little girl is a bleeder. Her nose bleeds regularly. Her doctor told us that eventually, we will need to burn the veins in her nose to stop the bleeding, but for now we will cope with it. We put some ice on it, clean the area and wait for five minutes. She is used to it now and does not even cry when she bleeds. She simply comes to us for treatment.

Some of our friends came to visit us yesterday with their kids who are nine, seven, and four years old.  We all played in the backyard. The older kid was trying to catch a ball and by mistake, struck his elbow right into my little girl’s nose.

The blow to her nose was so hard, that almost instantly, blood was gushing from her nose all over her dress. The first thing that we did was to lay her down and apply ice, but there was so much blood that she was gagging on it. She could not stop crying and that only made the situation worst.

I had to get her to stop crying. Crying makes the bleeding go faster and contributes to the overall panic feeling of the situation. Telling a kid to stop crying never works; you need to give them a reason why they should stop crying. Usually, if the reason is too complicated, such as, “you need to stop crying if you want to stop the bleeding,” simply does not work. The trick is to have them stop crying another way.

I use a simple technique. I tell them that I do not understand anything they are telling me when they are crying and I ask them to stop crying so that I can understand what happened. It always works. If they still continue to cry and mumble, I always say that I still do not understand what they are saying and that they have to stop crying, if they want me to help them. It always works like magic. When they need to explain what happened, they have to use their brain to give me an explanation and they forget about crying.

This is exactly what happened with her. She started explaining, as the blood was still gushing out, but at least there was no more crying. Then, as if by a magical force, within seconds, we managed to stop the bleeding with ice and wipes. The panic and hysteria that accompanied the situation then vanished and we were able to conclude the event.

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I do not have time

Posted by Barack Levin on 4th June 2009

One of the things I love the most about my kids’ daycare is the art work that they bring home. It gives me a peep into their development, mood and skills. A drawing can tell so much about a kid’s mental state. It is no wonder that psychologists use children’s drawing to find out more about their inner world.

I am always asking my kids to draw something for me in daycare and to show it to me at the end of the day. For the last month or so I did not get any art work from my little girl and I wanted to know why; so, I asked her what she was going to draw for me at school. She said she would try to do something.

At the end of the day, when I picked her up, she had nothing to deliver. When I asked her why, I was very surprised at her reply. I thought she would say that she forgot or did not feel like drawing, but her answer was totally different. She said that she did not have time. I was actually very pleased with this answer. It means that she is having a wonderful time playing, reading, running around and doing what kids need to do and did not have time for her crazy dad’s requests.

So now, every morning, I ask her if she would have time to prepare something for me and she answers that she will, if she has time. Sometimes I do get something, but most of the time, I get nothing. At least now, I know the reason.

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I am cute and I know it

Posted by Barack Levin on 3rd June 2009

I am having a problem with my little girl. The fact that she is very beautiful and extremely cute is a dangerous combination. What makes it even more catastrophic is that she is aware of it. When we are out in the public, people actually stop and tell me that she is beautiful. Teachers favor her over her peers and even kids prefer to play with her over the other kids. I myself do not find her extraordinarily beautiful, but I do find her very cute.

As a result, at home, we try to make sure that we do not favor her over her brother. I try my best to have her do everything that he does and I try not to give her any favoritism.

When she gets older, I know that we will need to deal with this growing problem.

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Molluscum Contagiosum – Take II

Posted by Barack Levin on 3rd June 2009

I have decided to take a different route with this disease. My little boy’s behind was covered with pimple like wounds and it was spreading to his legs. His sister also started showing signs of the disease, but fortunately for us her immune system is stronger and she has no allergies so the disease simply stopped.

I had a meeting with a Chinese doctor and herbalist. She poked my little boy several times (he did not budge) and also gave us a herbal supplement to give him She said that the herbs should last for about 45 days and that within 2 weeks we should see a notice. According to her, western doctors attack the disease. They only see a disease and try to find a solution for that part of the body that was infected. However, Chinese medicine looks at the person as a whole and believes that a disease is a cause of lack in balance in the body. The herbal supplements should help to rebalance the person and get him over the disease.

This specific Chinese doctor also treated me for several illnesses and so far was right on the money with her custom made herbal supplements. So I gave it a try.

To my amazement, after 2 weeks most of the pimples were gone. There are new outbreaks but they are fewer, smaller and do not spread. A week after, and his outbreaks on his legs are gone. Outbreaks on his behind are very few and are fading away. I have about 3 more weeks to go with him but his skin has never looked better since we discovered the disease.

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Attitude

Posted by Barack Levin on 3rd June 2009

My little boy started summer camp. The day care manager called me in and said that she would like to move him and 3 other kids from his pre-k class to be in summer camp with the older kids. I thought it would be a great experience for him to be exposed to some older kids for some time. Since he is the eldest, this will be an opportunity for him not to be the leader of the pack.

The first week of summer camp and we have already witnessed a change. Hs attitude changed. From a nice polite young kid he became more aggressive and started getting an attitude. He would talk back, would take no for an answer and argue with us on things that he has never argued before. The first thing on my mind was to ask at summer camp how he is doing in class. I was informed that he was doing fine and while mostly playing with his friends with pre-k and not the big boys, he still socialize with them every once in a while. From this I understood that his new attitude is not due to a problem in day care but it is rooted someplace else.

I asked him if he was doing good at summer camp and he said yes, and I believe him because he would tell me if something was wrong. I concluded that he is simply mimicking behavior he sees in class among the older kids. This is fine with me as long as he understands his boundaries. I want him to know how to talk back to other people and I definitely do not want other kids o bully him. I think it is very good for him to rough up a little. But when it comes to talking to me and my wife, that is a different story. The attitude has to go away.

So I called him over for a little chat and I told him exactly that. I told him that we understand that he seeing new things in summer camp ad that it is all right with us and he can act this way with his new friends, but when he comes home he has to change his behavior. We told him that we would not tolerate such a behavior at home. He looked at me, nodded and since then he calmed down with us but still has plenty of fun with his friends.

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