Turn that Frown Upside Down!


Max has mentioned several times about how in PE class, they do yoga. He calls them animal poses. Max showed me a few of the poses, and it was cute to see him so excited about it, but it didn’t really leave any sort of impression. That all changed today.

I didn’t sleep well last night, so I was pretty grumpy when Max came in and woke me at 7AM. Being his usual energetic self, he wanted to do 100 things when we first got up. I was tired, so I snapped and said no to all his suggestions. I guess Max sensed my bad mood, and he said “Daddy, Mr. Watt says when we feel grumpy or sad, we should do the mouse pose. I was ready to dismiss what he said, but something about what he said intrigued me. So I asked him to show me how to do it. He got down on the floor and demonstrated. I got down next to him and did it along with him. I didn’t get this wave of euphoria, but I did feel less stressed and a little more awake. So I asked Max what other poses he knew and he mentioned the monkey, the snake and the dog. Then I looked on my phone and found several kids yoga videos on YouTube. Max and I did 2 routines. And I have to say, I felt great all day. I was outside with Max most of the day, and had lots of energy. Maybe it was the warm weather that did it, and the yoga was just part of it, but I did feel noticeably happier. Max was also very well behaved, and very appreciative of the time we had together.

I don’t know if I’ll have time to do yoga on a daily basis, but I will definitely keep the snake, dog and mouse poses in my metal rolodex. I found the mouse to be very relaxing and peaceful and it was very easy to do. Max told me that sometimes when he lays in bed at night, if he has trouble falling asleep, he does the mouse pose in his bed and it makes him fall asleep. Who knew a six year old could be so self sufficient. I was very impressed with Max’s interest in the subject and how much he knew about it. And impressed the school he goes to makes this part of the curriculum. Very forward thinking and very smart. A lot of young kids have problems with focus and “too much” energy. The common treatment seems to be to medicate the kids with things like Ritalin. I would much rather see Max learn to control his mood in a natural way. Sure handing someone a pill to control their mood is probably an easier approach, but yoga and meditation are much healthier overall and there are no bad side effects.

The World Around Us

One of the reasons I think a lot of kids, and maybe even some adults lose interesting in furthering their education is that the curriculum doesn’t contain material that relates to the real world. It’s been a long time since I was in Kindergarten, and I’m sure a lot has changed. One thing I really like about the things Max is learning about in school this year, is that many of the subjects can be used in the real world.

Max’s attention is kept when he learns something interesting, something he cares about. So I’m glad to see he is learning about things like telling time, counting money, reading a calendar and of course, reading and writing. Kids want to be a part of the world. When they have no sense of what time of day it is, the time of year, how many days till the weekend or a friends birthday party, it’s hard to relate. So I’m glad Max is learning about the days of the week, the months and seasons of the year, and learning how much things costs. Those are all things that we as adults use in our every day life.

We as adults have schedules based on the hours of the day, both at home and at work. We come to expect certain things at specific times of the year, like holidays, the changing weather and family vacations. We schedule our meals around certain hours of the day, we try to go to bed by a certain hour, and we know when to tune in to our favorite TV shows.

Most of the time, when we fear something, it’s because it’s unknown or we aren’t quite sure about how it works of what it means. So imagine what a scary place the world can be to a young child who doesn’t quite understand how time works. Max hates going to bed at night, but we make a point to get him in bed by 8:30 at the latest. It’s been much easier getting him to go to sleep, now that he knows the basics of telling time. Before he knew this, he had a basic idea of when bedtime would happen based on when we ate dinner. But now he can look at the clock, and know that he has exactly three hours before he needs to go to bed.

Of course all this knowledge is a pandoras box. Rachel and I are bombarded with questions now on a daily basis. Why is snow white? If it’s cold and winter here, why are people in Australia swimming and at the beach? When we watch sports on TV, one of the first questions Max asks is, how cold is it there? And what time is it there. Thank goodness I can ask Siri for the time and temperature to help us out hehe. Max gets very freaked out when he sees football players wearing short sleeves in the freezing cold. If Victor Cruz is wearing short sleeves, why do I need to wear a hat and a heavy jacket?

So anyway, I hope this sort of education style continues through Max’s school years. I think kids stay interesting and want to learn more about the world around them. It’s why science always fascinated me. It also makes me realize how much about the world we take for granted and don’t quite understand. Hearing Max’s questions, which come from seeing things through 6 year old eyes, make me learn things so that I can better explain them to him. It’s all quite fascinating.