Oh Paula, Tell People What You Really Think

My mother has told me many times that the problem with kids today is that their teachers and parents suffer from the "Paula Abdul" problem, i.e., they tell kids they are doing a good job, when in fact they are doing an awful job. She says that everyone is "too nice" and that we need to not be afraid to teach children how to do things right. (As you can tell, my mother is the "Simon Cowell" in her analogy.)

Luke is really trying hard to do things on his own. Again, I will emphasize, really trying. This includes things like buckling his car seat, going to the bathroom without my assistance, pouring his own cup of milk, making himself a sandwich, and taking Charlie out of his crib.

I am very happy that he wants to be independent, however, since I'm trying to avoid being a "Paula Abdul," I am also trying to encourage him to do things right. Take for example the table he set for dinner the other night -

I was so impressed that he would just take the initiative and set the table for dinner. He even rearranged the chairs so that I was sitting right next to him. He even put salt and pepper on the table. Yet, when I tried to tell him that we needed to move some plates on the table, he threw a fit. It's almost to the point that I would rather sit at a table like that and eat off of little tiny plastic Ikea plates than to tell him that he did it wrong.

Yes, I have even been guilty of letting him go out in public with his clothes on backwards just to avoid the conflict.

Here is my sweet boy with everything on backwards except for his boots. Oh, and don't tell him not to wear snow boots in the summer. He doesn't like that.

And... this is his reaction after I told him to turn his clothes around.


  1. The only thing I really argue with my kids about whether they are doing it right or not, is swimming. They both think they know how to swim and I take every opportunity to tell them they can't swim worth crap. I have a neice who thinks she can swim and can't, and I've saved her from drowning once, and seen a lifeguard do it twice, and we don't even see those cousins that frequently. The rest of it, meh, what does it matter? I'll eat off little plates if it makes my kid happy. You have to build up a reservoir of good-will to draw on when they're teenagers.

  2. Ya I would wait until he was at least 5 to start tearing him down. I'm impressed with his setting the table skills.

  3. I think it's important to teach kids to do thinks correctly that are age appropriate. The fact that Luke can put plates on the table at all at this point is a bonus so I wouldn't worry too much about doing it perfectly.

  4. Besides he is probably just trying to bring the backwards clothes style back in. And you telling him to turn them around is just squashing his creative style.

  5. Lukes so smart. I'm really impressed. Mom also is guilty of making you never feel good enough ( i still love you mom).. so I think there is a balance, and I think Luke is too young to criticize him on certain things. I love his outfit!

  6. Luke has some serious skills! I taught my boys early that Mom gets to pick their clothes on Sundays, picture days and special outings...other than that everyday is a fashion adventure!

  7. That's so funny. I can't believe he can do all that stuff and he barely just turned three. "Making a sandwich" is the funniest one. Maybe you could use your great creative art skills and make paper placemats with an outlining of the dishes in the right places. Maybe just out of poster board and laminate them if you wanted to. And even tape them on the right spots on the table so they were always there and he just had to fill them in like a puzzel. Then he could learn where they really go. And the night before you could let him pick out his clothes for the next day and put a little colored tape or sticker in the front and tell him that it needs to touch his belly button when he puts them on. I just thought of these, don't know if they really work.

  8. You probably don't remember, but when you were Luke's age I often pinned a button on you which said "I dressed myself today."
    As usual, I'll refrain from saying anything that will detract from the popularity of you and your blog. (Doesn't sound very Simon Cowelish, does it?)

  9. Ok, I'm not laughing at you, but I have a little boy who is the same way. It's partially a personality thing I think. There are times when you have to learn to pick your battles, and the clothes backwards thing, is just worth letting slide more often than not. You would love what I posted on my family blog the other day. It was called documentary of a tantrum, where I had my camera and I documented the major fit that my 20 month old threw. I don't take pleasure in kids throwing tantrums, and I don't let them just slide, but sometimes it's just so funny when they get all worked up over such little things! They're like little adults or something :-)



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