Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cultural Parenting

I had the most fascinating discussions this week about parenting. I helped in Jacob’s classroom yesterday and then joined him for lunch. Since Gina is away for a week holiday Ashlyn came along. My Chinese friend Zoey was in the classroom as well yesterday so we sat together with our kids at lunch. Jacob sat with his lunch box on my right. I bought a little yogurt cup for Ashlyn and since she’s too short to sit and eat I placed her on my left and held my arm around her waist while she ate her yogurt. With my right hand I cut and ate my chimichanga. Nothing special and I would bet every American mother could picture the scene as normal.


After a bit, Zoey commented how amazing that was. “Huh?” was my very intelligent response. “She can feed herself?” I looked at Ashlyn to confirm what she meant. “Yes,” I said, still not sure I understood. Then she told me they spoon feed their kids until they are quite old. As in 7 years old. I’m sure my face must have had shock and horror. “WHAT?!?!?!” Regaining my composure I asked, “Why?” Basically I gathered it was because they needed it because they didn’t know how. My smarty pants self wanted to say that’s because you won’t let them. Hehe. It’s just not what I was taught was normal.


My neighbor, Chinese-Singaporean, has her helper follow her 5 year old around the yard as he plays and she spoon feeds him. At first I took this as beyond ridiculous and bordering on abusive to the helper to make her appease a child in that way so he could be so lazy. Imagine my surprise when, after months of seeing the helper do it, I saw the mother do it. I was floored. It must be cultural. It wasn’t a make the helper do it thing, it was a someone must feed the child kind of thing. Wow!


Then I went to a coffee later this week with two other moms, one Malay and the other Indian. The Malay mother said she had been strongly spoken to about helping her child. Mom and child both seem to have a serious separation anxiety producing crying fits on a daily basis, frankly it’s a bit nuts because he’s fit as a fiddle as soon as she’s gone from sight. So she was asked by staff about feeding him and told he needs to physically lift a spoon with food on the spoon and put it in HIS OWN mouth. The Indian mother concurred she had had the very same experience the year before.


She shared her experience about how letting her son do that had turned meal time into a happy time, as she put it, “he had such JOY in meal time” after he became independent. The two moms talked over other issues I hadn’t ever thought of. They felt putting a TV on during meals or providing a game or some coloring sheet and crayons was vital to meal time because the kids were so bored they got naughty and always were in trouble. They had to do something to keep the kids minds and or hands out of trouble.


All this has been so fascinating to me. On this one, I’m choosing the Western way. And in the end, I think the new mom will see how much better it is. She already tells her own kid, “See, Jacob can put his own pants/shirt/shoes on.” And other things like that. I LOVE that my kids are independent. I’m a bit more than most, expecting my 4 year old to be able to take the trash to the road and wash his own plate and put it in the dishwasher, but wherever a parent may fall on the spectrum I bet we could all expect a bit more – if we take the time to lovingly teach them how to do the things they are capable of doing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Boring Love

Jacob is having a rough time lately. I think the root cause is the talk of moving our family. He's a worrier by nature and I think he's feeling unsettled. I tried to cut the move talk because we genuinely think there is a chance we won't move until June. The construction delays on the project are most certainly in our favor and school is already paid for the year. Plus that's what we want. So because we want it I'm using all my positive brain waves to will it into reality.

Each morning at the bus stop or as we leave the house he gets real clingy and teary eyed and tells me how much he wants to stay home and he doesn't like school anymore. He has decided the main culprit is Mr Geoff. That's plain nuts to tell the truth. Mr Geoff is the perceptual motor guy as in PE. And not just wiggle and run like when I was a kid. This is expensive private school with targeted goals for them to learn gross motor skills and balance and such with SUPER cool equipment. They even call it Mr Geoff's Fun Room and it's full of all the stuff PE teachers in the US would only dream of. Bright and colorful bouncing, climbing, tossing things made sturdy to withstand preschool loving. HOW COULD HE NOT WANT TO GO TO MR GEOFF's FUN ROOM? 

Turns out he claims it's the exercise at the beginning that's so terrible. It hurts his legs to sit and open and close his legs in front of him. Then it was it was too hard. Then it was just too boring.

We talked it out yet another day and I convinced him to get on the bus. I told him sometimes we have to do things we don't love, like eat vegetables or do exercises with Mr. Geoff so we can have desert or play the fun games. He gave me a big huh and his parting words as we saw the bus approaching our stop were, "Mom, I really do love you every day even though it's SOOOO boring to love you I just still do it."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shoes Tied - Take Two

Brian and I are 0 for 2 on teaching kids to the their shoes. Ben showed us one day out of the blue that he taught himself and this week Madison surprised us by showing us she could tie her shoes. Apparently Gina taught her.

Now we are trying to figure out how to get out of teaching Jacob and Ashlyn too. 

First Grade UN Day Project

Each child must decorate their plain skin toned doll (they painted to match their own skin). The costume should be from your heritage and culture. Maddie decided she didn't want a cowboy this year so she chose a pioneer woman which actually fits exceptionally well considering we have a touch of mormon pioneer stock, though as Grandma Robinson always reminded us we were the smart ones and waited until the transcontinental railroad was completed across the beautiful USA.

Madison was great with ideas then I had to invent paper patterns of everything out of my head. From the dress to hair to bonnet and apron she was really involved. She did her very first ever needle and thread sewing project. She stitched the skirt together on her doll and I showed her how to gather it to make ruffles. She was incredibly impressed with how awesome it looked. She also learned how to braid yarn hair and was very pleased with the success. She also tied the red hair bows and designed the dolls arms. She wouldn't glue anything in place though because we used a hot glue gun and I kept burning myself with it so she was too scared to touch it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Jacob was reading to me this morning from his Hooked on Phonics before school. He was laying on the floor in the kitchen while I packed lunches and snacks.

The page was the "id" combination so he was reading "rid, lid, did" when he stopped short and said, "This is the one we need to use to say ID-iot. See...

you just need a few more letters to make the 'iot' part."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ashlyn Tries Warm Clothes

17 Aug 2013
This morning we are taking the kids to Snow City to go sledding and be cold for a change. Five of us are really excited. Ashlyn however is just confused. She went from this:

(a diaper, hat and gloves). To so bundled up she couldn't walk properly.

 I'm sure she was thinking "What the heck? What's wrong with my clothes? I can't walk!" And like all my babies and toddlers, she kinda hated the whole thing. Either Brian or I had to hold her the whole time. And the boots were so big on her that we put her sandals on them put them inside her boots. And the didn't stay on anyway so she couldn't walk on the slippery ice. Her coat was huge and her hands only went half way down the sleeves. She did look adorable in her snow cap though. Of course no cameras are allowed so we have no pictures to show. They have a ton of photographers that snap photos that you can then purchase. At $20 each we passed. We had a great time sledding though and want to try it again. Preferably in the actual great outdoors. 

Sick Mama

"...for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." (Mosiah 4:27)

But that's what I have been doing. Running faster than I had strength. Taking phone calls through dinner and bit eating with my kids. Getting the kids to bed and then working 5 hours more each night knowing I would still have to get up at 6:00 to get them to school on time. Not having a date with my husband or really even seeing him after work for the last three weeks because I was glued to the computer screen and phone. I missed him and he was there standing next to me the whole time washing dishes, making weekend meals and doing bath time. He's the best. 

I really thought that with Gina here I could so this Cub Scout registrar thing but it totally kicked my butt. Last event was yesterday afternoon and all that is left is to put the last 30 names in the rosters. Nearly done but my body finally protested. I have been vomiting for 2 hours. A much lighter case but very reminiscent of when I killed myself at YW camp three years ago. When it was done my body let go and I was so, so sick. Slept for 36 hours and vomited for 24 hours and got so weak I could barely stand to go to the toilet to throw up again.

I am grateful for Gina still though. That's where I would have been without her. Wanting to check into a hospital. I cant imagine doing this with having to di laundry, dishes and cooking on top of it. i thonk the main problem is that I planned to do lots of the work in the day but I never got the time. Ashlyn still needed to be played with, kids still needed pick up and drop off and doctor and dentists kept needing to be visited. So where to go from here? I love helping out and doing great things for groups that I believe in, but I obviously can't find my happy, healthy limit.

Now poor Brian has to go to his morning church meetings and return back home to grab our kids for services. That adds another hour to his day of just driving. Because we only have one car I can't even deliver them on my own. I thought his suffering was supposed to end yesterday. Super Man is going to have to be super just one more day I guess. And I predict he wil do it with a smile. He didn't complain about his mid-night duty tonight. He's a saint in my eyes and I love him to pieces. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More Signs of Assimilation

I sign my emails with “Best Regards” now. And reply to items simply with “Noted” as my only comment to let someone know I got the message. Used to sound so formal and standoffish to me. My other one that really did use to kinda hurt my feelings was when someone would send a “Gentle Reminder” to do something. I know they said gentle, but if you have to say that are you really being gentle? It felt so pushy. Haven’t gotten to the gentle reminder stage of assimilation yet, but maybe someday I will.