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Ask Sherry: Little Bun Behaving in Public + TV Talk

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If I remember correctly you said he’s well-behaved when you’re out in public.

Yes, our son is quite well-behaved. We are working on the manners/politeness bit to say “Hello how are you”, and to remember Please, Thank You (we don’t go out often to begin with, nor meet people but especially now with Covid), and he has taken to waving to everyone especially babies in strollers, and smiling under his mask to whom he sees in lieu of speaking because of Covid (the spit can carry the virus, he learned..)

Is your little boy more well-behaved because you don’t own a TV and you don’t own traditional cable? I have this theory that kids are influenced by TV a lot, like the parents who were happy that Caillou got canceled.

To be honest, I do not think so. I mean, I want to think that we are fabulous parents *preen preen* (just kidding) but I cannot be sure. Maybe it had some part to do with it, but I did let him watch YouTube videos at a young age, I let him listen to those nursery rhymes and songs with pictures, and even now, I have subscriptions to let him watch shows on Apple TV and so on.

I let him have the iPad at a young age, there was no limit more or less because I am a parent who is tired and cannot do childcare 24/7. My partner is the one who wanted to limit things a bit more and I snapped back to him that he needs to step TF up then because it is me or the babysitting screen.

That said, whatever he watches, is not what he chooses on his own – I definitely review what is there and then decide if it is appropriate content for him at this age. There are barely any commercials because I am paying for each episode, so this means he isn’t influenced by seeing toys or candy as an example. I noticed this being a big thing because when we were watching on YouTube and instead of skipping ads, he’d watch them and then parrot back the brand names and so on.

I honestly think he is well-behaved from other factors such as expectations and discipline we have set out for him at home and outside. We take him out (I mean pre-COVID that is), but it wasn’t all the time, it wasn’t to all the stores, we didn’t drag him everywhere with us because one parent would stay in with him and the other would go out and get things done.

So when he actually did come out with us, he treated it like an adventure or an outing, no matter how boring it was. He’s also a bit more of a homebody and it okay staying inside while we go out, sometimes preferring it.

Whenever we were outside, I also made sure to enforce the rule of: If you misbehave, you aren’t coming back to the park for a week. I had to do this twice I think, and he finally got it. It was harder to enforce when he was younger, as they don’t understand sharing, and so on, but he certainly understood that if he didn’t listen to me, he would be in big trouble which would mean revoking his privileges.

Lastly, it is him. He’s just a generally sweet natured, good child who likes rules for the most part and listening to them. We have a thing in our household where we have rules, but it’s more of a structure for parenting. We don’t get mad over every little thing he does that is “wrong”. If he makes a mistake, or is a bit naughty, it is fine with us; in French we call this bêtise which is more like a minor thing.

But when it is serious things, like making sure to check before running into a road, or not going near a hot stove or near parents who are handling hot water and cooking and not paying attention to kids running around the kitchen, we are SERIOUS. We bring out the serious face, voice and he knows the difference. When we are serious, he steps in line because he knows we don’t just get SERIOUS for any reason. It must be very dangerous or terrible for us to do this.

So when we are outside, we have our SERIOUS faces on to warn him before he misbehaves badly or is starting to veer down that path. I have most definitely hauled him into the car and buckled in a screaming, squirming child to drive him in the middle of an outing, cutting it short because of his behaviour.

Why did you sell your TV? What was the reasoning behind it? I’m guessing you watch shows on your tablet or phone?

Yes. 100%. We don’t need a TV, so we use computer monitors, and Apple TV hookup. We buy the shows or subscriptions and then watch them on the monitor. Or we buy them via other channels like Amazon and watch them ad hoc.

Also, I don’t actually watch shows on my tablet or phone (too small), more on a computer. I feel like this is the setup most people have, so we can choose the shows we want. I hate the idea of paying for shows I do not need in a package of TV shows, when all I want is let’s say HGTV. I’d rather just pay for those channels.

Lastly, I can also watch shows online – on Food Network Canada, I watched Top Chef Canada, and Slice.ca also has episodes for free. Even documentaries are online, which is nice.

Also how do you network and build connections?

I work in an entire different business from consulting, I work in graphic design, however any networking or connecting tips would help. How do you balance out being an approachable and friendly professional without being taken advantage of?

Graphic design is not as easy. People think you can just whip up designs for free and it takes you no time (meaning: holds no value for them versus whatever else they’re paying for). They think they can do the same work with the same skill (*eyeroll*).

My best advice would be to first and foremost, not work for free. If you work pro bono, it has to be for something you believe in, maybe a cause like a charity as a donation, or if it is to add prestige to your portfolio, like you did designs for some big company or organization that is very recognizable.

Once you weed out those freeloaders, you can simply just connect with other freelancers in graphic design, or even showcase work on Instagram, and create quotes or graphics there, that others can share.

A quite popular artist, whom I adore is Sasa Elebea for instance or Sally Spratt of Lust List. I know they are more artists than graphic designers as a job, but they did start just drawing out for fun, and posting on Instagram, and once their work was shared, it seemed to just take off. Now they run businesses drawing what they want to sell in greeting cards, stickers, magnets, calendars… Another woman I know, does drawings of beloved pets for people and she cannot keep up with demand.

It could be something to think about, and could be a way to showcase your portfolio with your artistic flair. You never know. Otherwise, you’re just going to have to be polite and say: Excellent, my rates are ____ and I can quote you ____ for this project. Please let me know at your earliest convenience.

You stay polite, but you ask to be paid (circling back to my point to not work for free). Networking is really just meeting up with people to chat. Even just being in your regular coffee shop, chatting with the baristas there, maybe they know people who need help, or you just keep and eye/ear our for design work, PLUS, ask around and keep family/friends in the loop that you are looking for work. No shame in hustling there.

Lots of other places to sell your skills as well like Fiverr (I like that site a lot) for instance. I was very pleased with the freelancer I hired off there. He wasn’t cheap for helping me create the list I needed, but he was worth every penny.

Good luck.

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