Wednesday, June 13, 2007

JUNE 13, 2007

*Act like an idiot
Even the most defiant toddler will take pity on us if we seem like total incompetents. The trick is to convince your child that you should be helped, not resisted

*Be forgetful
If she's refusing to put away her toys, pick up a few and put them not in the toy box but in some other unexpected place, like the bathtub or a kitchen cabinet. She'll likely take pity on you and help you put her stuff where it really belongs.

*Be wrong
Next time you foresee a battle getting your toddler in the stroller, try squeezing into it yourself. Chances are good she'll announce, "That's mine!"

*Be incompetent
Put your coat on backward and place your shoes on your hands. Say, "I'm ready to go, are you?" She'll laugh, straighten you out, and get her own shoes on for once.

*Become a silver-lining expert
Want to avoid disaster? Pretend everything's great. Your attitude, and the way you handle disappointments (big and small), can greatly affect how your child learns to do the same.

*Use positive language.
The right words can lessen the blow of letdowns and make mundane tasks seem interesting and fun.

• Teach your child to look on the bright side himself.
If things don't go right (the cupcakes fell on the floor), ask him to think up something good about the bad situation. He might say he's looking forward to using a different icing color.

*Try reverse psychology
You say "yes," she says "no!" You say "no," she says "yes!" This verbal tug-of-war is frustrating, but actually it's a healthy declaration of her growing independence. When your child doesn't want to wear certain clothes or taste new foods, it's called 'the oppositionalism of toddlerhood.' The solution? If you want your child to do something, like put on her socks, pretend you don't want her to do it.

*Say, "Yes, but..."
Instead of saying no all the time, say, "Yes, you may go outside, but after dinner." Or "Yes, you may ride your big wheel, but we need to wait for the rain to stop."Toddlers are a lot more cooperative if they just know when they can do whatever it is they want.

*Stay a step ahead
Although most toddler battles are caused by hunger, fatigue, or frustration, it's easier to recognize those things after a tantrum starts -- and after a few slices of apple would have saved the day. Keeping your child on an even keel can be relatively simple: Try to make his basic needs -- food, sleep -- a priority, and not something you squeeze into a busy day.

*Put him down for a nap before he seems super tired.

*Feed him several small meals to keep his blood sugar (and mood) level.

*Give him plenty of encouragement -- he'll be less inclined to flip out when something goes wrong or he doesn't get his way. But also think twice before you make life unnecessarily hard on him. If you're thinking of braving the mall with a tired child -- don't. The notion "maybe I can just squeeze in one more errand" has been the downfall of many otherwise rational moms.

I like when people say "money can't buy happiness". . . it's a really nice, idealistic thought. But, let's be honest here. . . if someone handed you a giant sack of cash tomorrow, you'd be pretty damn happy. And now. . . we know how much cash they'd have to put in that sack.

Scientists at the University of London surveyed more than 10,000 people to figure out how much happiness they get from different things in their lives. . . and how much money that happiness is worth. And here's what they found. . .

. . . FRIENDS: Seeing your friends and relatives most days a year provides happiness that's worth $125,700 a year. Seeing them once or twice a week is worth $99,500. Seeing them once or twice a month is worth $68,900.

. . . RELATIONSHIPS: Living with someone brings you $162,460 worth of happiness a year. Being married actually brings LESS happiness, dollar-wise. . . just $106,000.

. . . BREAK-UPS: Being widowed is like LOSING $393,800 a year. Being separated is like losing $113,600 a year. Being divorced is like losing $48,000 a year.

. . . HEALTH: The happiness that comes from having excellent health is worth $598,600. The happiness from good health is $494,300. Having a major disability is like losing $325,000 a year. And a serious illness is like losing $945,000 a year.

So, to figure out how much money it'd take for you to be happy, figure out what you DON'T have from that list. . . add up the dollars. . . and if you got that much in a sack of cash, you'd be completely and totally happy.

Sad news to report this morning: DON HERBERT. . . who taught GENERATIONS of young viewers about sciences as "Mr. Wizard"... died yesterday. He was 89. Herbert had been battling bone cancer.

Herbert originally entertained young Baby Boomers by doing experiments with household items on "Watch Mr. Wizard", which ran from 1951 to 1964. Then there was the more simply titled "Mr. Wizard" from 1972 to 1975. That was followed by "Mr. Wizard's World", which ran on Nickelodeon from 1983 to 1991. Great shows, great man.