Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Positive Parenting for Multiples

So I mentioned I was reading Unconditional Parenting last week. I'm still reading it, though I've slowed my pace a bit. I have 2 hours' commuting a day, which leaves plenty of time to read, but I have podcasts to catch up with (WTF with Marc Maron, Risk, This American Life, Planet Money... seriously, the list of things I feel I must listen to gets longer every week) and sometimes, reading falls by the wayside. I also worry that people will see what I'm reading and think I'm one of those silly, permissive parents that lets their kids get away with murder. "Unconditional"? Bougie yuppie... The ridiculous things that pop in to my head, I swear.

Reading Teacher Tom's post, I'm thinking about the girls, obviously. We are going through a snatching, pushing, mine! phase at our house. The bloggers/educators I've been reading seem to all say that you shouldn't necessarily intervene unless someone's being hurt. You narrate, you don't praise or scold. I think we are possibly a little more adept at this than we might be if we had a singleton... if we were to intervene every time, dang, we'd be intervening every two seconds.

Slightly related: Last night when I went home, I was confronted with a challenge to my attempt to do this positive parenting thing. Bathtime.... argh! The girls have taken to splashing, splashing, splashing. At first I tried the "do that again and you'll have to get out," but they don't really seem to care if I take them out of the tub AND they keep splashing the next time. It's my fault- when they were little, I encouraged the splashing. Now that they're bigger, their splashes are getting puddles on the floor and getting me all wet. This is especially annoying because I usually still have my work clothes on. So telling them to stop and then taking them out doesn't work. They just look you in the eye, laugh, and keep doing it. Then I tried not reacting at all- maybe no attention would get them to stop? That worked for a couple of baths and now we're back to splashing. We got them more bath toys- maybe they were bored? No, they just use the boats we got to dump more water on the floor! In weaker moments, I have yelled- completely ineffective and it makes me feel terrible. Last night, I tried pointing out the water on the floor- I told them it was dangerous and that I didn't like having to clean it up. Next attempt will be separate baths. I have been putting that one off because damn... After dinner, bath, and bedtime routine, Zazie and I still have to clean up and do the dishes and I'd like some evening to chill out. Two baths instead of one just adds to the drudgery time.

I think I need to fast-forward in my book to the part where they talk about ideas for how to put unconditional parenting into action... right now, I'm still in the section about how conditional parenting can affect kids. Problem is, most of these parenting books don't talk about what to do when you've got two kids at the exact developmental stage. It's a whole different ball of wax when it's two-on-one.


  1. YAY ! I have the name url option now.

    OK !! I SO have a post about positive parenting several children let alone multiples. It is SO hard. and there will be days.

    As for the bath time mess. Get a clear curtain liner. When they want to splash...simply close the plastic "shield" and flip the regular curtain up over the bar...this way you can see them and they can splash without pissing anyone off. :) it's a win win. of course...only if you have a shower rod and curtain type bath tub. good luck.

  2. Since Maiya was pretty young and until pretty recently, I would take her in the shower with me. Save water, save time. Don't know how it would work with two. I've always been one of those Unconditional parenting parents, but once the buttons have been pushed too many times, i lose my cool, it's back to the yelling.

  3. The clear shower curtain was a BRILLIANT idea. El freaked a bit the first time I tried to close the curtain, but once she realized she could "pash pash" as much as she wanted, she was ok with it.