Parenting can be hard. That’s an overstatement, and also a statement that is overused. What can we do as parents to get through it all, raise some respectable kiddos, and have a little fun at the same time? The answer, my friends is easy. Just push play, and let the music be your guide.
- Potty training
While potty training my oldest, I found it helpful when she was reluctant to relax and “let it go,” to get her to do a little grunt whilst seated upon the pot. So, what better way to encourage this than to sing “Makem Say Uh” by Master P. I mean, come’on. He is a “master” at this right? So there we sit in the bathroom, singing, “Let me hear you say UH. Uh. Na nanana Na nanana. Let me hear you say Uh uh uhuh Uh uh uh.” We have been known to do this out in public restrooms as well, but have not yet, to our knowledge, been caught in the act. According to “Toilet Training for the Reluctant Child”, providing a distraction while on the toilet can allow for the body to relax and the child to grow more accustomed to letting his or her body complete the task at hand (28). What can be a better distraction than getting down with Master P?
- Giving Directions
My oldest daughter goes by a shortened version of her name, Nic. At times, she tends to get underfoot, and I have a hard time getting her to stay out of my way while I’m trying to clean or accomplish my super important Mom activities. According to Parenting.com, I should have some go to activities ready to place my child in front of when such a situation arises. Instead,when this occurs, I revert to my old skool ways, and sing her a little ditty inspired by some Ludacris.
“Move Nic, get out the way, get out the way Nic, get out the way.”
I only use the refrain, and by no means move into the “Imma bout to punch your… lights out”, so don’t get your panties too twisted, just yet. I’m working on creating some of the “go to” activities.
- Paying Homage To Beloved Stuffy
My daughter has a stuffed giraffe, lovingly bestowed upon her by her uncle. “Giraffey” as he so cleverly has come to be known, is bedraggled and well loved. He is her go to in times of need, and her overall favorite companion. Probably even more favorite than her younger sister. He solves all problems from runny noses, tears, boo boos and general friendship and can take a beating. He has been run over by many a stroller wheel during walks. In short, he is one tough mother-stuffer.
So what else is a mom to do, but give credit where credit is due. And this mom chooses her favorite go to song, “Ice Ice Baby” by the infamous Vanilla Ice.
Let me give you a sample.
Alright stop, collaborate and listen.
Nic is here, you don’t wanna be missing.
Giraffey, grabs ahold of me tightly.
He’s the best stuffy,
Daily and Nightly.
Will he ever stop? Yo! I don’t know.
But we’ll find out, as I grow.
To the extreme, he’s the best stuffy to handle
Turn out the lights, I’m safe from any vandal.
See? This giraffe is legend… wait for it… dairy.
- Finding lost items
Important shit gets lost on daily basis as a Mom. Stuff that must be found immediately. I’m talking like right. Now. It’s always a treat to both the mom and the child with the lost item when that said item is found, (Whoomp! There it is!) and,of course, this deserves a celebratory dance. What better way to commemorate such an occasion than with a little Tag Team? “Let me hear you say Whoomp chak a laka chack a laka chak a laka chak a” It’s important to take the time and show your child that what is important to him or her, is just as important to you. By doing so, it reinforces your value of them and their feelings according to, For The Family in their list of suggestions on how to show love to your child.
Bathtime is either a coveted daily occurrence, or something that causes your child to lash out irrationally and covet the dirt that covers his/her grimy little body. I find that singing about daily tasks tends to make them more intriguing to my youngsters who do not mind my flymom approach to parenting, even though I don’t have great rhythm or a Grammy winning voice. So, my go to artist for bath time is none other than Wreckx-N-Effect.
All I wanna do zooma a zoom zoom zoom and a boom boom
Just take a bath!
The silly onomatopoetic choice of sounds, the repetition, are all inviting to young ones. Care.com states, “ it matters less what toys you’re tossing into the tub, and more that you’re providing plenty of opportunity for your little one to explore all that bath time has to offer.” What could be a greater opportunity for exploration than a little Wreckx-N-Effect?
- Explaining a Process
Kids have about a million questions, and we’re basically working with a blank slate when we have a child. We have to teach them EVERYTHING! How to put on clothes. How to eat. How to poop. How to wipe. It can get a bit mundane, but there’s a key way we try to keep it fresh and invigorating at our house. After all, as the American Psychological Association states, kids do learn by imitation, and so if you give them a fun involved way to learn about the world around them, they will hopefully keep that positive attitude about learning throughout life. In our home, we draw upon the inspiration of Montel Jordan, and we sing, “This is how we do it…” A little hip shaking, a little explanation. A little hip shaking, a little demonstration. A little hip shaking, and we try again. When things don’t go right the first time, we keep it light and make learning new things fun, from the simple to the more difficult, but that’s just how we do it.
- Needing Space
Everyone needs their own space, and when that space is invaded, then shit can hit the fan. I try to teach my children the importance of respecting one another’s space and feelings. Sometimes Child 1 is just in a cranky kind of mood, and she doesn’t want Child 2 all over her or her toys and would rather play alone. Sandbox Learning supports the idea that learning to identify these feelings in oneself and in others is important in understanding how to cope with them. So we talk about feelings when they occur, no matter what kind of feeling they are. We also discuss how to best handle them in that given moment. It’s important for Mom and kids to be able to express themselves freely. Sometimes we like to sing about our feelings, and so if we are stressed and need some space, we sing a little DMX, “Up In Here.”
Ya’ll gon make me lose my mind
Up in here
Up in here
Ya’ll gon make me act a fool
Up in here
Up in here
It works for us.
Now this is a tough one. Some parents think it isn’t good to restrict what their children do, and let them run rather willy-nilly wherever, doing whatever. That’s not how it works in our house. Yes, it is true that toddlers learn by exploring, and need to be given a safe place to do so, but they also need to learn what is safe and what is not safe or appropriate to touch. Their toys. Safe. The credit card machine at the grocery store. Not appropriate. Their special cupboard in the kitchen. Appropriate. Their sister’s eyeball. Not safe. The tricky thing is, toddlers don’t really like to be told no. So, we turn it into a song. “Na na na nana na na Na You can’t touch that.” Thank you M.C. Hammer! Starting with the sound portion, rather than the “you can’t” portion, seems to make the overall message more friendly to my toddlers, and helps. It is not just a direct no, which can get overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t even have to get to the actual words. They just know.
- There Are Many Choices To Be Made
I don’t know about other people’s children, but mine are very opinionated, yet have a hard time deciding what that actual opinion is. Given the choice of picking out a new toy, even something very little such as an Alpaca woven finger puppet, the process can take an eternity. What to wear for the day brings out the true fashionistas in both of them, even if the day’s events only include playing around the house. The only thing which speeds up the process in any way, is to limit their choices. “You can get with this, or you can get with that.” Say it again, Black Sheep! You have helped me so many times. It’s important to give toddlers choices, to allow them some sense of control in a world where so much is taken care of for them.
- Life Is Tough
I don’t want my kiddos to grow up thinking that everything is always going to go their way, they will always get what they want, and there will be no disappointment in life. That just seems cruel and like I’m setting them up for a major break down somewhere down the line. When something comes up that disappoints my little ones, or they are just not going to get their way no matter what they come up with, we talk about it. Well, I sing a little, “It’s a hard knock life for us” courtesy of Jay Z, and then we talk about it.
It’s ok to be disappointed. It’s better not to get all we want all the time. That takes away from how special it is when we do get a special treat or toy or whatever it is that they want. We don’t want to end up like… insert a variety of characters who demonstrate this on children’s television or movies. I haven’t shown them Annie yet, but that’s coming too. The severity of their disappointment often lies in their inability to have control of the situation, and so a child with a high need for control can get swamped by their feelings of disappointment. Modeling how to handle disappointment when it occurs is one of the best steps to learning how to deal with it in a healthy way.
One day, when they are a little older, I hope to show them how fortunate they are, and what it’s like to help those who are less fortunate, but we have to start somewhere. They are only two and three years old.
So there you have it. Call it a soundtrack, if you will, to my style of parenting. Radio edit versions only, of course. As I continue on this journey of motherhood, I hope that my kiddos learn not only some valuable lessons about how to be a kind, compassionate, independent, and contributing member of society, but also, how to drop a mad beat, and get a little fly.