A little bit of everything

Category: Parenting

Entrepreneurship with kids

Most things you can read on entrepreneurship lead you to believe that it’s an activity for young adults, at their twenties, without kids, or compromises whatsoever.

There’s evidence that’s not always the case (although it often is).

There’s no doubt that it’s easier to commit yourself to a new creation if you don’t have chains holding you, or if there are not “stiff” dinner hours, or diapers to be changed. On top of that, the younger one is, the least he/she has to loose so it’s easier to bet everything… And, usually, as people grow they become more savvy and less prone to jump into the unknown… believe me, when I say being an entrepreneur is pretty much jumping to the unknown, not knowing if the pool will have water once you land.

However, you don’t have to be young, single, with no compromises to begin a start up. Some people might even argue that you’re better at it when you’re not such a “loose guy”, because you do have a lot to loose and that will make you outsmart yourself, push your limits, think twice but think better about your moves. Others would add that if you’re older, you’re wiser (at least you hope so), and therefore your chances to succeed will be enhanced. I’m not sure if that’s the case or not, but I began some neat things at a not so young age, with kids, and compromises…lots of them. And I’m loving it!

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Holidays with kids… Heaven and Hell

Spending time with your kids is one of the best gifts of all. There’s no doubt about it.

During most of the year, all those who work away from home, strive to come up sooner so that they can spend more time with their kids. This would be a good time to talk about quality time and what to do or not with your kids. Or some chit-chat about the importance of quality time vs just lots of time. At least that’s what all those who can’t have lots of hours per day with their offspring advocate, isn’t it? It’s not how many hours you spend with them, but how good those hours are… both for you and for them. But this post is not about that, so I’ll talk about it some other time…

It’s about that time of year when finally you can spend more than a hour or two per day with those beautiful beings you call your own. Finally you don’t have to go to the office every morning and you wake up with their kisses in the morning and their jumps, up and down, in your bed. When you thought you could sleep in a little, they won’t let you… and that’s marvelous.

And now you can play with them. You have time to be the king in their little games, or play the dwarf as your daughter is the Snow White, or the big bad wolf to the Little Red Riding Hood.

But, as the day goes by, the bed of roses you thought you were in starts showing its thorns. If you’re a stay-at-home dad/mom you’re already used to how confusing and messy parts of the day can be. If your relation with your kids is just 1 or 2 hours each day, you’re not used to it. And like most of the things in life, it depends on how you look at it to define if it’s a bearable moment that will go by or if it will drive your crazy after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m far for perfect and I don’t mean that I can make a messy place become an ethereal house. Nor do I have any magical theory on how to calm down a bunch of super-excited kids, who are on vacation and for whom this is a change in their routine too. But I do think, that something similar to an enchantment happens when one comes to accept things more easily and doesn’t over-stress about kids acting like… kids. And the funny thing is, when you decide to  take things more calmly, things actually tend to calm down.

 

The book that makes us dream and grow!

I was wondering which book would represent the kind of person I would like each of my kids to be. If I were to choose only one book that would encompass the most important things I would like my children to learn, this would be that one.

I’m sure most of you have already read this book. This is not even a recommendation, but above all a reminder. Because, most of the times we forget, right? At least I do. And, if nothing else, this post is my private reminder. From now on, I’ll have somewhere to come to and remember what the important things in life are. And, if nothing else, those are the things I want my kids to know and learn:

  1. Be happy
  2. Make others happy (it will help a lot with the previous one)
  3. Listen to what other’s tell you, but make your own decision
  4. Learn to fly 🙂

Laces and velcro

I am really thankful for velcro. It really helped my life! It’s so much easier for my son to put on his shoes, nowadays. Thanks to velcro.

One of my favorite things about being a father is watching my kids grow and see how they learn new things. I just love it, when I understand there’s something more one of my kids learned. It’s just amazing the number of things they learn every month, every week, every day. It’s particularly interesting their capacity to learn things even when no one is teaching them. It’s a strange sensation to see that, as they grow up, they learn more and more things outside your house. Outside the family circle. Away from you.

However, most of the things, they learn from you. They learn with you. And they expect you to be able to teach them.

And then, there are shoelaces! They’re not easy. It takes a while to learn it. To make them perfect.

How do you teach your kids to lace their shoes? You don’t. Because we have velcro. Thanks, George de Mestral. Thank you very much!

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Why do kids swear?

I recently wrote a post on how kids see the swearing restrictions we impose on them. This post was written on another blog where I try to reproduce kids voices. What I write over there doesn’t aspire to be serious nor does it intend to even represent my opinions on each subject.

Disclaimer done, so I need to say I obviously think parents should impose language limitations to their children.I do believe in good-manners and I try to raise my children to be well-mannered. I think we shouldn’t impose ourselves on others, and that’s what being well-bred is about.

On that post in Limetree Kids, I (intentionally) used a fallacy. I assumed there were words which purpose would be lost if they were not used currently. The assumption was that all words purpose was to be used on regular basis, which obviously is not the case. I won’t go in much details about swearing, the benefits of it, how it evolved through years and so on… I’ll leave it to another post. I promise I’ll come to this later.

But what interests me right now is to understand why do kids swear? What moves them towards it?

I guess there are two reasons that push kids into swearing, especially during their second / third year of life: first thing, it’s a new thing to them. You can almost sense their savoring the words as they say it, particularly because they understand by the adults’ reactions that they shouldn’t be saying those words at all. Secondly, it’s their defying attitude. Many times, they are testing us; they want to see what’s our limit. And so, they are doing it to make sure we notice them. Because they feel noticed when they do bad things and you have to scold them.

Should we let them do it? I don’t think so.

Do I overreact when my kids do it? I try not to. I’ve come to understand that the more you rise up against it, the more they’ll do it. So I try not to make a big deal out of it. Yes, I’ll tell them it’s wrong. Yes, I’ll let them know I don’t like it and make them stop when they start saying it (and little kids don’t use the word once. They repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it, until they make it impossible for you to ignore it). But in the end I try to wave it and change the subject, ask a question about something else, or deviate their attention into something different.

What do you think? Is this a good solution? Let me know…

Kids and luggage

It’s always a war when we decide to go somewhere with our kids. And I know, from my empirical knowledge gathered from hundreds of conversations with fellow parents, that it’s the same with every family in the world. Deciding on what to take with you when you’re taking you’re kids somewhere is always a thrill. And usually ends up with either me or my wife saying “ok, forget it. Take whatever you want, I don’t care.”

So it’s a problem, which means it bugs me and I would like to be able to fix it. It can even bring all kinds of “great ramifications” to add complexity to the situation, like when you don’t have suitcases big enough, or a car big enough, or when your back hurts and you don’t want to carry tons of luggage around…

One alternative I have already discussed with my wife is the “travel light option”. She doesn’t quite agree and we’re still in the process of me trying to convince her, but we’re getting somewhere. And I’ve already discussed this option with some friends who have decided to adopt this “travel style” when going with the kids.

Last week I read a great post on how to do it. If you want my advice, I’d leave this post you’re reading and jump right at that one. It’s more educative and I’m quite certain you’ll find it better written than mine. However, if you’re my parent, my relative, my friend or whatever, and have to stuck with me because you know I’m pulling the quiz on this in a few days: here is the link so that you can go there later 🙂

The logic of this “travel light option” is very simple: there’s nothing your kids will really need that you must take with you when traveling. Nothing. Ok, except that pacifier my daughter can’t live without. And that Tiger my son needs to be able to go to sleep. And the blanket I have to carry everywhere, so that my baby daughter doesn’t cry at night. Except these 3 articles, there’s nothing your kids will really need that you must always take with you. You can always get a new t-shirt for them if you come to the conclusion you didn’t bring enough shirts. You can always wash the ones you take. Kids don’t need 100 different toys for one weekend. They don’t have to take all their closet because it might be warm, or cold, it might rain, or be windy, or whatever. You don’t have to consider you might be invited to a glamorous party with them so you must take that beautiful dress you once bought for your princess, although she never used it. Or that special shirt you don’t even allow your kid to wear regularly because it might get… used (!?). Look, this joke is not on you, it’s on me! I’m this guy (well, my wife helps a tiny bit).

So the thing is: you can’t cover all the options for all the possible situations. And so, let’s just cover the ones from the 95% percentile. What do they always need? Underwear, pants, shirts, socks and shoes. Sweaters and coats if it’s winter or it might be cold – and might be cold means the meteorologists really say it’s going to be under 20ºC / 70ºF. Otherwise you don’t need it. Yes, it might rain. It might. And I could meet Charlize Theron while we’re there, but I’m not taking that special shirt I bought for that occasion (although I might take that one, just in case).

And even those 3 articles I told you about (pacifier, Tiger and blanket)… even those ones, I think I’ll leave them at home next time. Maybe that will help my kids to grow away from them. And if we really have a great time together, I bet they won’t miss them at all…

Why did I start this blog?

That’s a damn good question.

I like to write. I’ve always written my thoughts on several different platforms.

I think it’s important to write down your thoughts for you to see them flourish. I think it’s important to speak them out loud to actually understand if they’re good or bad. And I think it’s the best way to “clean the dust” out of those thoughts.

So I didn’t start the blog because I have a very important message to put through. I didn’t start this blog because I have big thoughts and it would be a shame if I wouldn’t share them with the world. On the contrary, I’m not even sure if there’s something here worth for you to read. Although I hope so, it will be for you to decide.

I started this blog out of self-interest. Sorry to tell you this, but I think I should state my interests upfront. I guess it will save me from the law suits 🙂

There are two main reasons why I think speaking out loud helps me improve my reasoning on things:

1. It always helps to share my thoughts with someone.

I usually do it with my business partner. And I’m not even talking about listening to other person’s arguments, thoughts and ideas. I’m just saying that it’s easier to evaluate my ideas and thoughts if I “listen” to them. Even when it’s coming from my own mouth. It definitely happens to me. I usually tell my friends that for this particular aspect I don’t even need them to actually listen to me. I joke that I’ll just print their silhouette in hard card and speak to their figure, because that’s just it. I just need to listen to what I’m saying. Most of the times, that’s enough to understand if there’s something on my ideas or not…

2. It’s good to hear other arguments on any thought you have.

And that’s only possible if you tell someone what you’re thinking. It enhances the good ideas. And it helps me understand why some ideas are bad. It puts my reasoning to the test. Let’s me know which are the counter-arguments. Allows me to analyze those arguments, and think about them. On the other hand, if the idea is of some value it helps me to grow its power. Others’ opinions will build on it, and will strengthen the original concept.

So, this blog is my “hard card silhouette”. In here I’ll test my ideas and try to understand if there’s some value in them or not.

This means that most things I’ll write here might be wrong. Many things will definitely be wrong. But for the sake of the blog, even when I find this out, I won’t delete them. They’ll be here, for anyone to be able to read them and comment on them. I may eventually write a new post on the same subject to clarify my position or my developments on something. Or not.

For all this, I’m sorry, and I hope you apologize me for the frailty of what you can read here… but al least I’m honest about it, right?

I also hope, you will help me with the second part – your arguments. I long for your critiques to my ideas.

I guess this is a pretty straightforward disclaimer. None of what you’ll find here is an advice. None of what you’ll read here is the word of an expert.

But in the end, we can both become a little bit more knowledgeable about something 🙂

Welcome, let’s get started!

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