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Playful Parenting (thread 2)

post #1 of 138
Thread Starter 
I'm rolling over because the previous thread got so long, and also to tell about a playful parenting weekend workshop I got word about in a newsletter.

You can go to the Playful Parenting website to sign up for the newsletter, but in short, Cohen will be holding a workshop over the weekend of August 13 & 14 in Boston. I would love to go but I think I have a schedule conflict. But I hope he will do more of them in the future.
post #2 of 138
I emailed Cohen before and asked about his speaking schedule...he said he'd travel to North Carolina if he were invited by a group.
I was thinking about maybe contacting a Speech/OT practice which has speakers come...maybe they would be interested and could get a large enough group together.
I would love to go to a conference by him!


My kids have developed a new game...my youngest (18 mos) was starting to push her sister (3 years) and I said, "no pushing people. You can push a stroller." She went and got the stroller and really seemed to get into pushing it. She started to want to push every cart, buggy, stroller in sight. Then the behavior (pushing her sister over) kept coming back. She not aggressive and she didn't seem frustrated or upset. It was a game to her. So I finally caught on. I got down on all fours and said, "go ahead and try to push me over!" of course she was so strong she toppled me right over. I kept getting up and she LOVED this game. Now she asks her sister before pushing. She actually goes up to her puts her hands out and asks, "push?" if my older child says no then she says, "no push" and doesn't do it! If my older child agrees then the two play this push game and so far it hasn't gotten out of hand at all. They've been very careful with each other. I never would have thought!!!
post #3 of 138
He would charge for a trip to NC or he'd come as marketing for his book? I'm sure I could get one of my groups to invite him, tho you know we're all treasury-free. Did y'all talk about $?
post #4 of 138
If anybody goes to the conference, tell us all about it. Conferences are beyond me at this time....

The push game sounds great, Mary-Beth. I play a game like that with DS, called Push Me Down, where we take turns pushing each other down on the bed--struggling hard, of course. It's great for those days when everything seems like a battle.

I got a friend DS's age to play with me the other day, when she was jumping on me a little too roughly (she's big and I am little). We just did the mirror thing with our palms together, trying to follow each others movements, and she giggled a lot. I'm going to remember that trick for when a kid gets wound up--physical contact, but not overwhelming, and somehting you can do with a kid you're not as close to.
post #5 of 138
WHew! Finally, I got through the first thread. Lots of good stuff. I wrote a post the other night called I NEED SUPPORT... I've heard about this book for a while and that night, I was so overwhelmed and upset that I looked up the call number late at night and went and got the book.
First off, this guy is HILARIOUS!!!!!! The book is actually entertaining to me. His career totally intrigues me, how he just goes to people's houses and plays with these kids. My question for him is: WHen are you coming to my house????
So I am totally digging the pp. The past 2 days have been incredible and I feel like we have really bonded on a much deeper level, and surprinsingly enough, I'm less tired than usual... and haven't lost my temper at all.
I'm not even half way through the book but have already been implementing stuff.. How can you not! It's exciting to me.
So I really don't know what I'm doing and I'm pretty young... I hope I'm not playing with fire here... tonight, our little play experience was intense and I don't know what to make of it, if I did it right, or what.
I let him lead the way. He (3.5 yo) wanted to be a baby and boy! was he a baby. but then when he started to confront issues, he'd snap out of it and say, "I'm back again, mom, it's me." and he'd switch characters soooo fast I couldn't keep up. I know his being a baby has something to do with him growing up and being a little sad about that, plus he wants me to gaze at him, coo over him etc.. still. I do this, but him playing like this, means to me that you can never get enough. He just needed his cup filled. BUT, then it got a little scary. He put my glasses on the end of my nose and said I was a granny. I acted like a really annoying granny and REALLY OLD.... He balled up and said that that made him sad. And I said WHy? and he said bc it just made him sad. I think this had something to do with me growing older etc... he told me that when I cry, I look like an old lady. Then we somehow got on the subject of his grandmother... dh's mother, who sometimes keeps him. He's always excited to go stay with her and she's a dynamic, fun, child loving person (I thought!!!!)... He said, "she's mean to me." WIth a frown!!!!! This sort of scared me... I didn't know if I should pry any further. I've never known her to be anything like this. and he has never mentioned anything like this to me and always wants to go over there. Then, suddenly, he insisted that we stop playing and read a book. Did this go all wrong... turned out not so FUN. What should I do????? I hope she hasn't abused him in any way.
I can also tell that he's having issues with daddy who lives with us. His imaginary friend doesn't have a daddy, our cat doesn't have a daddy... I think he feels like he doesn't have one either, bc daddy is busy A LOT and he, himself has problems playing. Do you all have any suggestions for getting daddy involved without making him read the book? He did read ds a book tonight, which was pretty big, sad to say.
One more thing... today, when I pretended to throw a really silly, overly dramatic tantrum, he burst into tears. He thought it was real!!!!! and it was sooo fake and silly seeming to me. I felt terrible. Lots of the stuff in this book, I don't feel like I can do, bc he is so sensitive. Like the wrestling.. he doesn't want to fight me, but we've managed to still do it and it has been fun. I hope I'm not introducing him to violence, but Cohen says that is is good, even if the child is timid and nonviolent.
I know I have tapped into some serious emotions he's feeling right now... I hope I'm doing this right, bc it is all so complex. Thanks and please, feel free to tell me what I'm doing wrong, suggestions, thoughts, all that stuff.
post #6 of 138
Wow, you sound pumped! Good for you. It is really energizing to find a new tool that really helps.

I wonder if your DS would pretend to be a granny--it might be a way for you to hear what he's needing to say. My hunch is that he may just need to be able to express how he feels about Granny's meanness, which might well be not letting him mow her flowerbeds (DS's #1 conflict with HIS grandma)...or might be something in generational style, too.... I find lately that DS seems to prefer playing where he is the grownup and I am him, and he goes back and forth between taking me for motorcycle rides, or saying NO you can't come because there's no carseat. I think it helps him work out all the stress of being the kid all the time--no younger siblings, not even any other kids in the extended family, he probably feels impossibly powerless a lot.

Sometimes it helps DS if I inform him of the game in advance: "I'm going ot be bossy and make rules, and you break the rules and I will chase you." This seems like it would spoil it, but it doesn't for him. He is always giving me scripts like that. Maybe with wrestling or anything you think might be too emotional or intense for him, you could just say what you're up to: "How about you take my playdough and I'll pretend to cry." Also, wrestling can be fun and physical without the aggressive part if he doesn't seem ready for it right now--sometimes DS and I just get on the bed and he climbs on my back and I throw him off, over and over, not really competing, just being wild. And he LOVES it when I fall asleep on him for a pillow, complaining between snores about how wiggly the pillow is.

Those are my ideas--hope something is useful to you. My great triumph today was staying calm thru the no-nap dementia, and eventually getting DS to settle down by taking him for a sudden train trip in the rocking chair. When we were about to Wisconsin, he said, "Why did you start this?" --I could tell he was trying to remember how he ended up relaxed and cooperative when ten minutes earlier he'd been spitting on me and biting chairs... Sometimes damage control is a remarkable acheivement--hang in there!
post #7 of 138
I think you are right about the grandma meannes thing. Today he wants to go see her.
I noticed that he finds it difficult to let me play kid roles and he play mommy roles etc... even daddy roles.
The first couple of days, we were doing playtime 24/7!!! LOL. and now, we've just been doing it a couple times a day. I could tell he was thinking... get real! I write more when I can think of more. and more energy.
post #8 of 138
Hi all--still interested?

I had a good moment the other day. I was getting really stressed at the way DS's uncle was playing catch with him--"keep your eye on the ball, no, grab it, no, don't close your eyes, that was better, just watch..." etc--that kind of thing stressed me out as a kid. DS can usually catch OK but was dropping the ball all the time. I wd usually try to modify the adult behavior, or just be mad, but DS said "come play, Mama!" So I joined the game. I threw really easy slow balls from close to DS, and pretty soon he wouldnt' let DH or the uncle throw to him at all--though he still threw to them. They lost interest, and DS was giggling more and more as we played. Esp when I missed a catch. So I started missing almost all of them, with great drama, and saying oh no, I have butter fingers! Oh, this is hard! Oh, I missed it AGAIN! etc. He was laughing so hard he could hardly stand up. He started coaching me--"Keep your eyes on ME, mama!" And the funny thing was, he started catching the ball almost every time. It was amazing to see how it helped him to relax and focus on me instead of on his performance. I did'nt comment on his catching at all, just acted silly until the game wound down. It felt like a much better way for me to deal with my concerns than the same old same old. Not much dignity involved.... but boy was it fun. This was straight out of the PP book, and it was great.

I finally bought my copy. worth every penny. Er, dollar.

Hope you're all well out there, and getting chances to play.
post #9 of 138
Hey Denise! I was so happy to see the thread up and going again. I love your story! Thanks for sharing it. For us, the "acting like a dolt" thing is huge right now. DS is growing a ton and although it seems to be passing now, has been through a pretty rough "emotional growth spurt" and me acting like the one who can't deal, seems to give him a lot of enjoyment and clearly, he's empowered by it.

We have a new game at the beach. Not new, actually I think its in the book also, but its sooooo helpful. Mainly we just chase each other, take turns being the chaser and the chasee. When he's running away from me he's always just out of my grasp, "Oh, just missed! Darn! Rats!" When I'm running away, he ALWAYS catching me and I do the whole dramatic fall to the ground in a heap., "Uh, ya got me! OOOOHHHH!" He laughs and laughs. Sometimes he asks me to "catch him" so he can make with the drama. Too cute.

The only hazard we've found is when you get a little too DQ with the falling down, you can easily get a mouth full of sand.

Regards,
Em
post #10 of 138
This is such a fun thread. I'm going to have to go read the first one, now!

Meg's been asking me to "juggle" lately. She wants me to pretend to try to pick up too many things at once, and to fall apart as I clumsily drop them one by one, or drop one each time I try to pick up another, all while acting very buffoonish and discombobulated. It just sends her over the edge, which is pretty funny to watch. When I ask her to juggle, she just neatly picks up with a little sniff at the end. Very Mary Poppins.

After I started reading Playful Parenting, I realized that I had been to a workshop with him many, many years ago at Council Grove, in Kansas. It is an invitation-only conference for forward-thinking scientists and therapists and so forth, and Larry Cohen showed up in a clown suit. He was a rip.

Moss's Mommy, I'm starting to think that old=grouchy myself these days. It's been a long week. Glad to hear Gramma isn't quite the meanie you might have thought.

warmly,
Kam, mamamama! to Meg
post #11 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moss's Mommy
First off, this guy is HILARIOUS!!!!!! The book is actually entertaining to me. His career totally intrigues me, how he just goes to people's houses and plays with these kids. My question for him is: WHen are you coming to my house????
i havent read the book yet. havent really needed to but i have no negative words about it. so i had a thought. if we can have super nanny why cant we have a SUPER COHEN who goes instead of super nanny or nanny911. esp. if he did housecalls. reading ur posts would make it a v. positive experience for all parents and it would be child-friendly too.

so will someone contact him and ask him to do a tv show? or do u think we should contact the producers of super nanny. i think for them he might be too expensive.
post #12 of 138
Thanks for sharing your game of catch with us!!! That is such a great story. It takes a lot of self confidence to play like this! Parenting offers such great personal growth opportunities!

Supervee- I didn't ask about fees etc. I would imagine their would be a speaker fee, plus travel expenses. That's standard. But I noticed on his newsletter that he has a sliding scale so that leads me to believe he does his best to make himself available. If a large enough group were interested and had the location we could do it!

I LOVE the idea of Super Cohen!!! I would totally watch!!! Heck, I'd call and try to get on!
post #13 of 138
ALL HAIL SUPER COHEN!

Lately, our biggest important play comes from me just taking the time to play... taking that time EVERY day dramatically decreases the liklihood of an discipline issues. Being that we've played together all day, even one happens to pop up, we can deal with it wonderfully because we're connected and generally feeling good about the relationship. Indeed, a filled love tank = serene (and SILLY!) family life!
post #14 of 138
Oh wow a Playful Parenting thread, why didn't I see this before !
to read through it and then I'll be back to post
post #15 of 138
Oh, is it hard to play the buffoon. I have way too much dignity for my own good. When I can trust that my dignity can handle a little dust, though, I usually end up having more fun, and it's awesome to see what it can do for DS.

Today we played my favorite kind of play--we got clay dirt from the neigbors' construction site, and sand, and dry grass clippings, and made adobe. We built a tiny barn and a house and got really muddy. I explained minimally how to make cob/adobe (not that I know much) and we built it all his way, with chunks of wood for roofs and a toilet in every room. He loved shaping it--decorated it all with gravel, too. I want to go demonstrate in front of a toy store, with a sign that says "have you tried dirt and sticks????" This is the best play stuff there is. So much fun together. And I have PMS, so a day where we are puttering serenely in the grime is really really good.
post #16 of 138
I MUST get this book! It sounds like it's as much fun for the parents as the kids. :LOL

I'll be checking back into this thread soon.
post #17 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise K
Oh, is it hard to play the buffoon. I have way too much dignity for my own good. When I can trust that my dignity can handle a little dust, though, I usually end up having more fun, and it's awesome to see what it can do for DS.
I hear ya on this, Denise. When I see the effects on DS, I know my loss of dignity is worth it! Right now, I'm working on being more PP in public. I'm great with keeping the silly conversation going and playing our way through the grocery store, but when DS is struggling through a social/play outting with other kids, I KNOW it would help him if I would jump in a be the best dolt I can be. But in public its much harder to get my courage up and jump in. I do, but in a much less pronounced way. The other thing that seems to stop me is that if other moms are there, they are wanting to yack away while the kids play. I love a good ol' fashioned coffee clatch mind you, but DS needs me more than I need to chat. I do have support though. When I bow out and play instead of chat with the ladies, I can see the other moms looking on in a positive way rather than, "what in the heck is she doing" way, so that something to keep in mind I suppose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise K
Today we played my favorite kind of play--we got clay dirt from the neigbors' construction site, and sand, and dry grass clippings, and made adobe. We built a tiny barn and a house and got really muddy. I explained minimally how to make cob/adobe (not that I know much) and we built it all his way, with chunks of wood for roofs and a toilet in every room. He loved shaping it--decorated it all with gravel, too. I want to go demonstrate in front of a toy store, with a sign that says "have you tried dirt and sticks????" This is the best play stuff there is. So much fun together. And I have PMS, so a day where we are puttering serenely in the grime is really really good.
Wow, what a great day! Anytime we can put together a fun time during PMS, its a major score! We've been having a series of great days this week and what a nice turn around its been! Today I was a fellow dinosaur (well, everyday), a honey bee and a cowgirl! YEEEHA!

The best,
Em
post #18 of 138
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post #19 of 138
Two moments: Yesterday, amid a yucky kind of day, DS jumps on my back while I'm folding laundry. I stifle annoyance and ask "What do you want, hon?" He answers: "I want to be close and connected with you, like you are very special and we are very close and you are nice." OH, well, I thought, I guess that is a little bit of a hint. "How would you like to be close?" I asked. "Play."

I think he has read this book. So I played with him--a game with 2 racquets, a paper ball, and a scoring system that gave him 32 points and me only 3, except I kept getting backwards points and going to 2 or 1. And I went for a walk with him and I was the voice of the puddle, and we disassembled a broken sewing machine and I was the voice of the bobbin. Even though I was in a funk, I felt like I did manage some good moments.

And then there was today. DS was kooked out from refusing to poop ("I will only poop in the woods"), I was intensely sleepy from cloudy weather, it was 4 p.m. (bad time of day) and I was angry. He kept turning over furniture, wrapping the phone cord around his neck, etc. He would say "Let's play that game with the racquets." Right after doing somethign totally uncool. I could tell he needed some connection. But I was in such a red haze. How do I move from anger to being able to play? What is my answer to the voice in my head that says I'm rewarding bad behavior if I don't act mean?

Maybe it was enough that I didn't hit him. Really. I called my neighbor and she took us out for a walk and distracted us, and then DH was home and I said "I am cooking dinner" and abdicated. But I don't want my acheivement of the day in parenting to be managing not to hit my kid, KWIM? I want to be inspired and effective. I feel like I'm just bumbling and staggering thru every day right now, and getting it right sometimes just by chance.
post #20 of 138
Wow Denise,

There were so many thing about your post that hit home with me. I went through a period like this recently; a good day, a wierd day, a not so good day, then bad day, a decent day, all over the place! I hate the feeling I get the day AFTER having a stellar day when I just can't cope for whatever reason. I feel like such a jekel and hyde and no matter how hard I try to adjust my attitude, there are some days when I just. can. NOT! My heart breaks for DS because I'm pissy and disconnected and I'm the adult. I'm the one who is supposed to pull this thing together because I'm really the only one who can. As the parent, I make the weather no? And... somedays is rains. What can I say? I just don't know what to say about those days when no matter how hard I try to adjust my thinking, nothing seems to help, and mind over matter is a thousand miles away.

I have been reading a lot lately and that's helped. I could be accused of reading way too many parenting books I suppose, but the truth is, when I find one that truly helps me put things into perspective, picking it up once or twice a day and reading a passage or two can really help me change my thinking/actions even after I've started to slip into grumpville. Not always mind you, but a decent amount of the time. Right now it's "Hold On To Your Kids." A couple of months ago it was, "Unconditional Parenting." The other thing is to change our environment, shake up the schedule. Late afternoon can be a bear for us too and lately I've been better at getting us out in mid-afternoon and coming home just before dinner and just prepping something easy. Dinner isn't fancy, but having gotten out late in the day, DS and I are better connected and refreshed.

The only real suggestion I have for you though is this: give yourself a big ol' break. I tend to beat myself up pretty good when I'm going through a time like this, but these times do pass and forgiveness of the self does allow me to relax. The more I beat myself up, the more uptight I become, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remember that you can mend things when you've had a: meal/some space/a good night's sleep and that reconnection is probably just a day away at most. KNOW that YOU hold amazing tools to reconnect in the very best way (PLAY!). And then, take care of youself. Do something nice for yourself. I find when times are tough its usually because I've forgotten to do this and I'm hit with the reality that if I don't take care of myself, I'm useless to those who need me to take care of them.

The best and hang in there, mama!

The best,
Em
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