Love Languages Discovered

beach heartLast night I came to a realization. My daughter’s love language is “Receiving Gifts.” She had gone out on a Daddy/Daughter date earlier that afternoon and came back with a gift for her little brother. It was a mini toy monster truck. He finally awoke from his nap and Elle was eager to give it to him.

If you aren’t familiar, according to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages. I have only read his book meant for love relationships. It’s pretty cool to recognize what you and your spouse’s love language is so that you can show him your love in a way that he best understands. There is a love language book for parents to discover their children’s language too. I have not read that one but the languages are the same.

This is not the first time she came home with a little present for her little brother, but what struck me was how she explained why she was giving him this souvenir. She told Finn that she was giving him the truck because she loved him, and if she didn’t give him something then it meant she didn’t love him, and she continued to explain that she loved him and that was why he was receiving this gift.

It was surprising to hear her explain love in this way because my husband and I have not shown love to each other in that way. It is not important to us to receive gifts and in some ways we see it a being materialistic.

This little show of affection reminded me of a conversation I had with Elle a couple of weeks back. We were in the grocery store and she saw the floral department. She told me that “it would be really nice if Daddy would buy me some flowers like he did before.” At the time I didn’t think too much about it.

Another inkling that made me think of the love languages was when my hubby gave her a seed that was starting to sprout. He has been working on wheatgrass lately and was sprouting some seeds in a jar. After he inspected the progress he took one little seed out to show Elle, she is so fascinated with all of hubby’s growing projects. He then told her that she could have the seed. She is such a funny little girl. By her response you would think she just got a pony or whatever other prized possession for which a girl could ask. She gasped with awe and gratitude, and for the rest of the night she named the seed and babied the seed as if it were her favorite doll.

giving flower thank youI am super excited to have figured out another dimension to my daughter. It really helps to understand her more deeply. As I expressed this realization to my hubby he made the observation that Finn’s love language is “Acts of Service.” Every evening as we settle in the living room Finn brings Hubby a blanket (we keep it pretty cold in the house, it’s normal to need a blanket at the end of the day). He is also quick to help mommy empty the dishwasher. He always helps sister when we are leaving by bringing her shoes and coat to her. And he gives you this look of appreciation and gratitude if you help him with something as trite as bringing his plate to the table.

How do your children show love? It’s probably the way that they best receive your love too.

Have you discovered your child’s love language?

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Tinker Toy Delight and Old Treasures

Finn’s 2nd birthday landed him with a Tinker Toy set from the grandparents. I really don’t care for the kids accumulating too many toys and things. Even though it does seem to be difficult for me to actually purge their things. I keep saying I’m going to get rid of some toys or at least put some away and try to rotate. Somehow I just can’t seem to make it happen –yet. I really do believe that less is more and when the kiddos have less to play with than they have more imagination.

Case in point… I have already seen flowers, vacuum cleaners, cars, and lawnmowers put together using the Tinker Toys. Elle was busy “vacuuming” for quite some time. All of those building type toys are great. I showed Elle how to make furniture with the wooden blocks and arrange it like a living room or bedroom. Another “building” toy we love in our house is the train set. We like to make different configurations and pretend it travels around doing different jobs or picking up people at the airport and dropping them off at the zoo.

I noticed lately that Elle has been interested in Barbies… well the Disney Princess Barbie dolls to be exact. I enlisted my Mom, who is famous for saving everything, to find just one or two of my Barbies and just a few outfits. She was awesome! She found a small stash of Barbies and stuff and brought it up when she came to visit. We went through the things together after the kids were in bed. I decided I couldn’t let Elle have all that stuff, I knew it would be too much. So we left out one Barbie, one fancy dress, three other outfits, the bed and sheets, and the dog. Everything else is put away for another day. Some of the other items were a picnic table, a gym locker, couch and chair, and more clothes and shoes for the Barbies. Elle was so excited when she found the few pieces on the table in the morning. And there were plenty of hours of play with just those few things.

Mwpid-20150211_180458.jpgy Mom also found a little plastic lunchbox sized container with matchbox cars and McDonald toy cars. These were the Chip & Dale and Looney Toon cars. I LOVED playing with cars as a kid. And I didn’t have a fancy carpet that had the roads mapped out, although I wanted one. But I did have paper and markers and tape. That was one of my favorite ways to play. I built my own “city” by drawing roads and parking lots and houses and there were stores, a church, and a school. It was awesome! When I finally finished taping together my map I played for days making this car go here and that car go there. When the kids opened the box to find these treasures they immediately were driving the cars to the store, the zoo, and back home. I don’t know what it is about those silly little plastic novelty toys but they have truly gotten a lot of use in our house.

Are there any toys you deem timeless and worthy of hours of playtime?

The Fish Tank

It was my daughter’s 5th birthday only a few weeks ago. My hubby and I did not want to spend money on toys and she doesn’t really need anything. Then we thought about how she showed interest in having a fish for a pet. Yes, let’s do that. She will love it and she can learn responsibility too.

Let me tell you little about what our pets looked like growing up. The hubby – a dog, birds, and fish. He tells me stories about how the bird was smart and came to him when called and what a great personality it had. He tells me about his fish and how strong he was, apparently he lived through some kind of an electrical shock. He had a big fish tank with aggressive fish who ate little feeder fish. Me- we always had at least 2 cats and most of the time at least one dog. At one point our house was home to four dogs and four cats. When I was little I had a mouse once and a hamster once. My experience of birds were that they were loud and messy. And with fish you have to care for the tank and keep the water in perfect fish condition. I did win a goldfish at the fair once- had it for about a month… cleaned it’s bowl then it went belly up.

So when we decided to get this fish I made it clear that I did not want a tank that we had to keep clean. Just a simple bowl with some gravel and a plant – and the fish. When we told Elle that it was time for her birthday surprise we explained that we were going to the pet store to get her a fish. She was so super excited. We made the trip to the little pet store and about half an hour later we walked out with four fish (an oscar, 2 cichlids, and a sucker fish), a ten gallon tank complete with filter and all the stuff that goes with it. Yes, we got excited and one fish in a fishbowl turned into four fish in a fish tank. They really grew on me. I have found myself hanging out in the kid’s room just watching the fish. They are pretty cool little things to watch. And it’s even relaxing.

The first week my hubby addedwpid-20150126_104021.jpg another cichlid and some guppies for the oscar to eat. That was probably not the best idea because the tank wasn’t set yet. We ended up losing one of the first cichilds then the sucker fish. It took a little while to get the tank to good living conditions, low ammonia and the right pH. We now have a new sucker fish- she helps to clean the tank. And everyone seems to be doing well. Want to hear about their names? Elle “gave” her brother the oscar fish so when we asked him what he wanted to name it he said “Owl.” He didn’t miss a beat. Elle named the yellow cichlid “Fasty,” the blue cichlid “Jesse,” the sucker fish “Alice.” The ones we lost were named “Lizzie” and “Theresa.” I have no clue where she heard any of those names… except Alice is one of her friends… but I love it.

What was your kid’s first pet?