The rules of sharing

The rules of sharingPlayground season is open in Berlin.

Between now and October, playgrounds will be full of families and there’s a lot of super interesting things happening for my foreign eyes.

First, there are a lot of playgrounds. Off the top of my head, I can count 12 playgrounds on a radius of one kilometer from where we live, including a dragon-themed, a witch-themed, a fire-station-themed and a train-themed playground.

All playgrounds have some place for adults to sit. Parents (mostly mothers during the week, and mostly fathers on Saturdays) sit around, chatting with friends or with other parents, having a coffee, while the kids play. Parents also play with the kids, but not the whole time. Maybe they hang around with the kid making sand castles, then push them on the swing, and then sit down for a bit of a chat, while the kids roam free.

I like how the kids take their toys and play with the sand here. I also like how they learn basic rules forliving in a society in a playful context, and that most parents only intervene if things get ugly (read: physical).

I love observing the kids playing, and how the parents react to different things that happen, and the most interesting thing of all is the sharing of toys.

Imagine The Older One is playing with his toys and a kid comes around and asks for the bucket (or just takes it!!). Of course The Older One, as a normal almost-three year old, takes it back, shouts “Mine” or comes to me for help.

And many parents, me included a while back, would kneel down and tell The Older One: “Yes this is your bucket, but the boy wants to play with it for a little bit and then he will bring it back. All is good, we can share! Maybe the boy also has something you would like to play with?”

And that is what I used to tell him too.

But then…I imagined: I would go out to the park, take some books, some food, maybe some pencils to make some drawings. And an adult would come and just take my pencils and the drawing pad, or a book, or my apple. He could ask, or not, but basically he would take the things I brought on purpose “to play with”.

How would you feel? I would be super mad, and I would probably try to politely tell him “Get away, this is my stuff and I am using it”.

Now back to The Older One, and the bucket.

It is important that The Older One learns that he can share, and that sharing can be a wonderful thing. So now, I tell him: “Yes, these are all your things. Also your bucket. If you let the boy play with that bucket for a bit I am sure he will feel happier and it will be because of you! I think it is lovely to share our toys sometimes and I would love if you would try sharing your bucket with the boy and see how you feel. But it’s your bucket, and it’s your choice!”.

And you know what? It doesn’t always work, The Older One doesn’t always want to share. Easier with friends and even that way we do have some sharing issues sometimes. But that is fine for me, because he knows he can choose to share if he would like and that sharing goes both ways, and at the end of the day that is the most important thing for me.


Relaxing tourism with a toddler who likes running

Picture1We went for a city break in Barcelona recently and I got a lot of looks and muffled comments when I used a wrist-child-harness with The Older One.

It always annoys me that people judge without knowing anything about the situation. This time though, I was smiling, because they had no idea how much fun we were having walking from Pl. Catalunya till the Casa Batlló.

A lot of children, even if quite adventurous back home, are much quieter when they go to another city/country. Not The Older One. He has the same curiosity and tendency to get distracted with everything. Walking with him is great if we have the time, and if we are not in one of the busiest places of one of the main touristic cities in Europe.

This time it was wonderful to be able to look around when he would point at something, and see things, and chat about them. He dislikes going hand in hand, and he loved the harness because he was allowed to walk a little bit faster or a bit slower than me, and be close to me whilst still taking in the surroundings.

I lived in Barcelona (a long time ago) and have walked that way dozens of times. Still, it was like doing it for the first time. Because the taxis are not pale yellow like in Berlin, and yes you can climb onto the book sculpture but no, the pages of the book don’t have drawings and so on and so on.

The child harness is now on my travel checklist. We called it “linha” in portuguese, which makes me smille because in portuguese “estar na linha” (“stay in the line”) would be used when someone behaves well.

These days

These days 6 17th Feb

Some of these parenting tips are hilarious. Others are very serious. My absolute favourite is “Always put yourself first”, because it is SO important and SO hard to do!

Have you heard of this app that helps women finding female friendships? I think it is such a great idea! I often see (in internet forums) women asking for advice on very private and intimate matters from complete strangers. It makes me think maybe they don’t have any friends they can talk to about certain things. Now what about an app like that for men?

[photo credit: João Monteiro]

Good night, good day, good night

Good night, good day, good night

Sleep is the most luxurious thing most parents of small children can think of. A nice uninterrupted night of sleep.

I was reading these tips and thinking if any of them can apply to us, crowd of owls. And number 12: “Consider segmented sleep” made me curious.

So I did a bit of google-action and this is called Polyphasic sleep and it is a THING!

There are a lot of different types of Polyphasic sleep solutions, such as the Segmented Sleep – Biphasic (3,5 hours asleep, 2h awake, 3,5h asleep, 15 awake) or the Everyman Sleep (3,5h asleep, 3,7h awake, 0,3h asleep, 3,7h awake, 0,3h asleep, 6h awake, 0,3h asleep, 6,2h awake).

I think this is super interesting, and much more suited for  parents of young children and babies than the traditional “8 hours sleep” night.

Might give it a go. Would you consider it?

The baby is cold

We were dressing up the baby and realised the baby doesn’t have a jacket. So we made one. Reaaaaally quickly.

Sewing jacket for baby 1 The yellow side

We used the baby’s t-shirt to draw the pattern.

Sewing jacket for baby 3 The yellow side

We cut it, chose a fabric and then made some magic with the sewing machine.

Sewing jacket for baby 4 The yellow side

I was told the baby was very happy.

Sewing jacket for baby 5 The yellow side Sewing jacket for baby 6 The yellow side

Let’s hope the baby doesn’t complain about having shorts and no shoes.

(It makes me happy that The Older One knows more or less how the process of making clothes happens. But more than that, it makes happy that he knows that clothes are made by someone, somewhere. They don’t just appear.)

These days…

These days 2 19th Jan

.This reminds me of the time we had someone unblocking our kitchen pipe. He gave a list of instructions to my husband, on how to avoid future problems, and started by saying “You must tell your wife that she has to use a sieve when washing up, etc etc”.

All parents of small children will cringe when reading this. Unless you are lucky. Very lucky

(Photo credit: Jim DiGritz)