Podcast Episode 006: Show notes: Dark Day – School reality – playgrounds -toilet training

Podcast Episode 006
Dark Days – Pre-school
Playgrounds – Toilet training

Show notes for Episode 006: Dark Day + What about School for Ella? + Which playgrounds are best? US or Czech? + Toilet Training ups and downs.

**For those who tuned into the podcast on 12/26-12/29/18, excuse us for our imperfections. My husband accidentally uploaded our other podcast on corporate life. It is now corrected, and IP podcast is back in place. Cheers!

In IP Podcast 006, we start by getting real with you about our reality with child support, where Ariel shows her less than happy or relaxed mood, for a change. Then, we move into pre-recorded tid bits. A mash up of 3 topics that have been coming up, lately.

How school decisions are made in different cultures, according to family values and realities. How do you make decisions about putting kids in school early?

Playgrounds in US vs. Czech Republic and what that means about our responsibilities and realities and how that effects us and children when traveling or living in either place.

Toilet Training
Everyone has to go through it at some point. This is our reality at moment and for past 1.5 years! Ella goes in waves related to what is happening in our lives and who she is with.

Next…. The podcast and thoughts:

Our Dark Day
When we originally recorded for this podcast, life and hope were pretty bright. Then, just before the holidays we got some bad news which made our job search and creating space much more oppressive. So, my opening and closing of the podcast is a bit harsher and heavy to normal days. Yet, as an imperfect human, mom and podcaster, that is just part of the reality

Dark days with child support ruling:

We have been having a freaking rough Christmas. Our Christmas weekend was launched with quite a few tears and a lot of shock after trying to get a fair deal with the other families we are supporting through child and adult child-support payments after unexpected job loss.    Yet, people and court doesn’t always feel fair. 

Different countries – Different Values – Different view on reality
The truth is, that often there isn’t balance and fairness felt on both sides at the same time. I have watched many men and women get unfair and raw deals in divorce and post divorce realities. In this case, it’s surprising that the reality of a 50+ year old general manager/ managing director being fired, applying for countless positions and finding nothing, isn’t part of the equation. I don’t have words. Some people simply lie and get away with it. Karma and fate will decide how things roll. We just take a deep breath and move forward.

That’s life.  We are just dealing with it one day at a time. More on this, some other time. Just wanted you to understand Ariel’s dark mood.

We are thankful for the angels that have shown up when we needed them most. And, a big, big thank you to the Polakova, Polak family for taking us in, this Christmas, it really meant a lot to us.

We didn’t expect things to go quite like that, and at Christmas, but that is that:). Hope you had good holidays.

Below is a mix of our thoughts and words from our podcast:

Expats and Pre-school:
Regarding school, we will not be putting Ella in school any time, soon.

1. Because we no longer have the money for it. And, as expats living in a country where the language spoken, neither of us speaks perfectly, we would like at least a bi-lingual school for Ella to have balance and for us to be able to communicate, fully.

2.  We aren’t in a hurry to stick Ella into school because we like her, and support her to be who she is meant to be and aren’t morning people. No offense to those who make a different decision. We thankfully enjoy her and vice versa. As the average mentality is that rules means you force someone to conform and follow, rather than to follow body needs and energy and so on, we would like to wait. She has plenty of time for this notion and has rules at home, though they may not align fully with the culture around us. Getting up at 6 or 7 isn’t what the 3 of us are up for.

3. Ella is a unique character, so the right time will show itself. The right place and group of people will come to us. Then, we will know its time. Maybe by that time, money will present itself, so we have more choices for her and as well for us to both work, when needed.

From the Imperfect Parenting podcast:

We are finally alone as the podcast begins. Thanks to our lovely babysitter we can talk right now. Nice to not be needed, nice to focus.  Hard for Ariel to hear Mats say its nice to not have El around.
Nice that its a calm moment, decent sleep, nothing we have to do.Its been a while since we have.

Our thoughts on Pre-school and Ella
Everyone asks about why Ella isn’t in school. Why do you think people ask this all the time?
As teacher, Ariel has seen kids who are ready and not and you just know.
What about Ella?

Ella happy to be a part of other things and groups. She likes to follow rules and help and to get people cooperating.

Ariel experiences that there is a reaction to any activity done with Ella  Is it just Ella? Or do others also experience this or not notice that that it happens? Or, is this happening because Ella is an HSP person. 

What reaction to activity does Ella have?
Ella is more clingy when home and at night, screaming in the night. Etc. Cuddling up the next day after some hours with a babysitter. Doesn’t want mom and dad separated. She wants us all together, the next ddays.

So, if this is like this after just a few hours of babysitting each week, so what would regular school be like.

As well, the attitude of the teaching style and allowing Ella to be who she is, rather than fitting into some box of how she must be for their school, is important to Ariel. Following boundaries and rules is not the issue.

So, it doesn’t feel like right time.

Yes, of course, Ariel would like more time for self and work.

School expectations
Yes, Ariel might be that pain in the ass parent as far as expectations of the school and attitudes and environment. Having been a school teacher, at same time Ariel is sympathetic, so not unreasonable.
We would need the school to have some core values aligned with ours.Some schools are super ridged. The kids have to only eat their food and when they say. Of course, you have to have a schedule to function. At the same time, we have seen kids squirming around when they are not ready for a nap at 12, when Ella is ready at 14:00, just doesn’t make sense. Or, like the lady Mats spoke with who after one day kicked her kid out of the school for not being ready. Whereas when Ariel was at the International school of Prague we had them for a long time before that was even an option. But, maybe that is also the difference in tuition.
There is so much happening when kids are reacting.

Different body clocks
Plus are we ready for that 20 year run of crazy schedule? Getting up so early?

The day we recorded, Ella woke before 6, then needs to nap by 9:30 latest and she would be losing it at the pre-school if forced into another schedule. That just doesn’t work. Because her body is still working on her best schedule.

Maybe this why Ariel’s mom put her into Pre-school much later. Every kid has different needs.

Would like Ella to be toilet trained, so it’s easier. We would like her to know more who she is, listen to her body for eating, etc. We are still working some things out. We are aware its different with caregivers than parents as kids know which buttons to push, etc. She is interactive, likes to help and connect, yet she has strong ideas.

Mats works with Ella’s strong ideas by putting Ella in front of the tv.
Tv, Puffin Rock, Pippi, sometimes. Sadly tv is used sometimes and other times she is losing it and we say, “no”.
Like sugar, we try to limit intake. But, when there is a melt down, you sometimes wait it out and then, give it to her to get a break. Never thought that would happen.

No phone and tablet. Mats mostly follows that. Ariel is no way on that.

Why do people put kids into school early?
1. Because they need to work
2. They need time for their own sanity, activities and space
3. Space for partnership
4. Space for friends and other family

Kid/life/work/balance, ha ha.
We don’t now how it is for you, but, our intentions are strong.  
Yet, somewhere along the line, an unexpected line was crossed.  Ariel had things sorted up to a point when Ella was smaller.  In beginning, she used to read, paint, etc. She was always independent.

Now, kid/life balance is super tough. Jana Chan and Ariel speak about this in later January podcast.  She doesn’t even have a reading book anymore and am so overwhelmed by the state of the house that it is really hard to keep work-kid/life balance sorted. Forget the house. It’s madness, now.

Lost mom, alert
These days all things are connected I used to do more, but.. the writing, painting etc, but now everything is for something and not just for me its for Ella, the podcast or something.
It makes Ariel crazy.  It wasn’t going to happen to her. Ha, ha, right?
Ariel is working on getting it all back. This feeling of being lost, has to end as it’s effecting their relationship.

Is it a man thing or a role within the relationship thing?
Ariel feels Mats does what he wants me to do regardless of Ella’s own reality. If Mats has an idea in his mind, he will do it anyway. Like she is screaming and he is making himself a juice at the same time. Sometimes doing what you need to is important. Othertimes, a small pause can also be help.

That is tough for Ariel. How many mom’s accidentally put themselves last? Doesn’t happen as often with my male friends or those taking on the masculine role.

Mats talks about an example where it worked out that he just pushed through and Ella was fine after. That is super. And, sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes, yes, you have to be the parent and decide, yet considering the child’s experience is as well often important for parent understanding and investing in future moments that can be easier with your kids.

Mats just pushes Ella out sometimes as it takes too long to negotiate.

French Style parenting: Intimidation or disciplined?
To Mats’ older kids he was much stronger with no negotiating as that was his exes style which ruled the house.

Ariel isn’t in agreement that Mats’ exes screaming French style is always the best way with kids/family. At least, it isn’t her current choice with Mats.
It’s crap to say Mats’ previous kids are/were perfect, that is simply not true. Every parent has their own idea of what is best. No one is perfect.

Ariel witnessed on many occasions the result of this style was big fear. Worst times that came forward were her step-son stressing out when he would get pants dirty playing or forget something at our house. It was like the world was ending, which made Ariel sad and in the end buy play clothes for him so he could relax and just wash the darn clothes when needed.

Another time that brought Ariel to tears was when he was at his Farmor’s (Mats’ mom’s) place and he was being silly and broke something. When Ariel turned around he was hiding nearly under the couch and be, crying sure that I was going to scream at him, etc as he was used to. The reality was not like that at all, instead Ariel spoke with him calmly about what had happened, encouraged a hug and apology to grandma and eventual replacement of what was broken (though that still has yet to be done. Someday). Just a different.

So, though we spoke about cutting all this out as the reality is that Mats doesn’t want to push buttons with his ex, yet after recent events we decided to keep to our intentions of being “raw, real and unfiltered”.

Normal in France = Calling CPS in U.S.A.
Mats is trying to be fair to ex, as she is just being normal French person.

What is normal in France would be a call to police in US. Kids in France learn to fear and be in decorum etc.
 What you would hear..”that’s enough! I will give you a little smack.” A standard phrase in French.
Even in U.S. you have authoritarian and do the same, no doubt.

But, Northern Cal it’s not like that, and it goes to other extremes.

Many of mom friends say they need the break and miss their kids.

Mats gets rare moment in time without job, so now he gets more clearly who Ella is.

Mats doesn’t  ache for his kid in the way a mom does. Is it about the 9 months we carry the kids?

Is it a difference between men and women? Or, is it not gender related at all?
More often its not about someone in relationship is different.. 
Ask our couple friends.. not in stereotype couple parent.
Gray day.  Now its tome for baking, mulled wine..
I want to make a slide out of the stairs

What have you experienced, listeners?

It’s a gray day. It’s time to watch colorful movies, drink mulled wine for the cold day and “make a slide out of the stairs” like when I was a kid at my aunt Miranda’s.


Kids interactivity in shops
Ella needs more family bonding time and shopping is great for that, ironically.
Off to DM Drogerie/drug store, where Ella can take her own mini cart, she loves it. She gets to be independent where she can do everything from start to finish.
In U.S. they have an attached car to the shopping cart, not the same freedom.

Playgrounds in U.S. vs. Czechia
Mats notices that it seems like a crazy reality with lock down for swings like the kids are flying to the mood and they are set super high.  Ariel is sure it is often to do with making swings available to all kinds of people, disabilities and all, yet all kids like to use those special swings.

Here, in Czechia, baby swings are set much lower.  The good things is that the kids can go in them alone. Maybe that is why it is different in U.S.

The risk factor is in general higher in Europe. People are expected to actually pay attention and parent and it’s not part of the culture to sue people( mostly because nearly no one has any success).

More freedom in Czech, but likely more accidents. Though I have rarely, if ever seen this.

We have more gated in, playgrounds, in Czechia. It’s super cool and sometimes they even have a live attendant! They open and close the playgrounds. It’s actually fairly cool as usually all things are in good condition and no needles, dog poop, etc around, which is a lovely feeling to be able to relax as a parent.

Really, we aren’t down on U.S. playgrounds. It’s great to have things that are safe and to, in most places, be able to go to a playground whenever you like. Actually, as an adult, it’s super nice to use the swings, in the night with friends, but that is something else.

Toilet Training Frenzy

Over a year ago potty training, started. It was going really well, then between travel, stressful moments, unexpectedly having to move, then Mats lost his job, then on it’s been on and off and on and off.

Dad goes and so does Ella
The strangest thing is how when Mats left to be with his son, and suddenly Ella started to be more into toilet training and was doing REALLY well, doing all things on her own, even wiping. Then, Mats came back and almost nothing. Then, again when he left, again.

When Ariel had to slow down a lot because she was going through medical issues, Ella was again doing toilet alone and super helpful. El didn’t want to talk about it, just do it like a big girl. Refused even a night diaper each night. I would have to put it on with one hand while she slept. She didn’t even want any praise. Now, again, she won’t do it at all. Then, again and then not!

Toilet training helpers
“Elmo can use the Potty!” Yes, I am usually anti Elmo, sorry, Elmo, but this talking book popped up as the only semi-appealing fun thing for toilet training at a discount store, so I grabbed it and Ella liked it a lot as it’s a press and play.

It was so natural when she was doing it. And, there are little toilets are by each toilet we have. We tried talking, nope. So?

Why do kids start and stop toilet training?
Why is Ella stopping? Weather and more clothing? Sleep issues, changes at home, stress, drama other?  I am back in action after 6 weeks of being slower, so I am in action again, trying to get things done. Could be so many factors, not just you going away.
But, why does Ella improve each time Mats goes away?  Maybe to help Ariel when it’s just the two of them? Or, because its a calmer reality with only mom, where she gets to be more in her own flow of things? No idea.

So, how will things go, moving forward? Mats is again going to see his son and thinks maybe Ella will not only start potty training, but maybe start riding her balance bike, as well.

Good bye 2018. Hello, 2019
Ariel says, “fuck 2018”. The darkest day of the year has passed. Solstice came and now each day more light. Each day more alignment with the path that we are meant to be on. 2019 is going to be different. Are you ready for it? I hope so.

Thanks everyone for listening.

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