Sincerity is key.

Being sincere is a great tool.

I find that being sincere with my daughter has helped us create a greater bond over the years. This bond is something that is deeply embedded in us, regardless of me being her father. It’s like a second thread that is parallel to me being her parent.

It’s hard to even imagine a me with her without that bond.

When I enter a field, while she is playing a sport, she gives me those eyes that say everything about how she feels at that moment:

the small squinty eyes, that there’s mischief afoot

the small round eyes that means there’s something wrong that happened

the surprised eyes that she just did something wrong and kinda wants me to know

the eye roll that means, whatever, you’re here, and I love you

the casual eyes that simply say You’re here, but I’m accomplishing something here daddy, watch and learn!

All these eyes, I find come out of a mutual respect that we have for one another, through an understanding of how we handle situations in a crisis. Which brings me to a technique that I have been using sparingly over the years, as over using it, might make it lose some of its meaning.

During some extreme emotional build ups, there is often very little to do to be able to bring a child’s mind down to reality. What I found to be a very intimate way to connect with my daughter and bring her back down to me, is this:

Gently press, palm out, fingers extended, on her belly

I take a deep, obvious breath first, then another while locking in on her eyes

Then I ask her to take a deep breath, then once obliged, I explain the technique to her to breathe from as deep in her belly as she can, expand her belly if possible as well, all the while me mimicking and doing what I am asking

Once tensions are relieved, I give her a hug, and tell her that if she wants to talk about it, we can, and if not, we can talk about it some other time

There is no real trick for this to work, as each situation is different, some might require a stronger tone, some a softer tone, and even sometimes I would recommend trying this before something bad happens, and even after, in between, etc. I find it adds more sincerity to it when it’s not done exclusively when something bad happens.

This creates a strong bond between her and I, and I hope that it helps assemble her ideas and thoughts during a crisis, not only with me, but with others. I feel that these small actions bring us closer together, and make our actions speak volumes.

Making Toys Come To Life!

Toys, right?

Children go through phases, and they want toys, and often, the toys that kids like, go through trends. Trends often don’t last, and the toys get pushed aside. Kids input meaning into their toys based on their friendships, or sadly, based on what they see through adverts.

Skilled advertising brings life to toys, but this can also be achieve by you.

Bring life to a toy, almost any toy. I’ll tell you what I did, and I’m sure that you will be able to do the same.

I went to get the most esoteric toy I could find, it was a plushfull doll that came  from another continent. Orange, unrecognizable, and soft. It is made of layers of material, and was utterly undesirable.

I started by introducing my daughter to the toy. We named it, Cremilla. Then, the toy was gently pushed aside by my daughter. It had no clothes, it oozed a desire to be put into a corner and never to be seen again.

When my daughter left for the day (she often went places) I started to prepare a drawing of Cremilla, with her other toys. They had a tea party, and Cremilla was the host of the party. They danced, and pranced. It was a simple drawing, with the only character that had color (orange) was Cremilla.

I placed the toys in a setting of the drawing. (The same effect could be made with a picture, but less lasting, because my daughter can add to the drawing, and draw more in/on it.0

When my daughter saw the drawing, Cremilla started to peak her interest. ‘What is this toy doing when I leave? What will it do next?’

I started to deliver some rewards that I usually give her, through Cremilla (Cremilla would have notes written under it “go see under the bathroom sink” and chocolate would be under the sink, or “if you do your homework, go see your dad, he will have something for you.) These small diversions and interactions introduced by a toy, would bring so much meaning to this otherwise undesirable toy.

This effect can be made to almost any level with almost any toy.

What I enjoyed the most with my daughter, is that I started this process before she could read. So when a note was found, she would come see me with the note, and ask me to read it to her. Which in turn accelerated her desire to learn how to read, and the content of the notes. It was magical, and she would often disregard any negative feelings felt towards me (when she would have to finish her vegetables, for example) and instead want to know what her toy was trying to say to her.

This toy was so unique to her, and brought her so much joy, and brought us closer together.

This can be achieved for many reasons, including saving money on toys, and her having the most unique toy in her group of friends, siblings, etc, or it could be to bring you closer together, or even to mend fences between a dysfunctional parental relationship.

Cremilla became magical, the toy  knew things I didn’t know, and could do things that I could not do.

The magic is endless, and at your fingertips!