Monday, April 19, 2010

From Revelation to Revolution!

I needed that! HOPE. Trying to prevent my little shit-sparks from morphing into a raging shit-fire-storm... *(See embeded vid to understand my inspiration! Make sure the wee-ones aren't around for the language.)
*Shit Waves

As I've described previously - Myla is beyond strong-willed. Even when I wouldn't "give-in" - she'd go the extra mile to make me as miserable as possible - along with her... It's as though she thought, "Hey, if I'm going to suffer, you are too!" 

I was talking (read: crying) to Joel about it one day - saying that I can't handle the sensation in the back of my neck of my blood-pressure rising  ANY more! He responded, "Maybe we need some classes or something..." Just then, we found the latest catalogs in the mail for our local community-ed offerings. I had little hope as we sifted through the pages. Could there really be a class that would actually apply to this situation???

YES! It's a little miracle titled "Parenting with Love and Logic" - How to Discipline Kids without Losing their Love and Respect" (based on a book written by Jim Fay - which was also included!) The philosophy is based on allowing kids to make some decisions, and learn from their mistakes (while the price-tag is still small) - and become responsible and self-reliant - all while keeping your own sanity in tact... After reading the description - with my jaw still on the floor over the fact that this actually exists (and affordably), I didn't hesitate to log-on to the website and sign us up!! 

I left the class feeling elated. I couldn't believe how simply adjusting your thinking and wording so slightly might truly revolutionize your parenting ability and connection with your kids! Some examples:
 ~Choose "thinking words": Avoid "fighting words" [ie: "Please sit down, we are going to eat." VS "We will eat as soon as you are seated." OR, "Clean your room so we can go shopping." VS "I'll be happy to take you shopping as soon as your room is clean."
 ~Using "Enforceable Statements" [ie: "I keep the toys that I pick up" OR "I give allowance to those who finish their chores"] They then make a choice about following-through - and once you enforce the natural consequences of the less ideal option, they learn responsibility. And, they are their own "bad-guy" if they make the wrong choice.
  ~Sharing control through (limited) choices [ie: "Are you going to brush your teeth , or put on your PJ's first?" OR "Do you want peas or carrots with dinner?" Or the one I've been using on Addie for a while now already, "Do you want to hold my hand on the stairs, or have me carry you?"] AWE-SOME!
 ~Going 'brain-dead' when kids start to argue about the limits we've set. [ie: answering "I know" to every argument... That's not fair... "I know". I hate you.... "I know". They soon realize there's no point in arguing, because it's not going to get them anywhere, and you avoid allowing them to push your buttons (JUST what I need! Myla would argue about the color of the sky-)
 ~Locking it all in with genuine empathy... [ie: "This is so sad" OR "I bet it feels that way"] Shielding them from all negativity enables them, and also sets them up for failure when the choices become more significant later in life... This process allows you to work with them to provide tools to becoming successful adolescents and adults!! Joy.

The above is merely a very brief overview or introduction to this process. It's great that we were able to pick up so much from a class, and the notes provided to us by the teachers, until we have time to read through the book and reinforce what we've learned. All-in-all - it's the best $45 we've invested! It's been working really well (even with Myla, to my amazement!) She still tests the limits, but is quickly seeing a new movement taking place. Part of it is our need to really re-think our approach when we want to "command" them (I was the "drill-sergeant-parent") - turning it into an enforceable statement instead... It's the trick of knowing what to say in the heat of the moment, - to avoid the heat! So, it will only continue to become easier with time. In any case, I can't believe how simple it can be, and how well this works. Kids need to feel like you find them capable, and they need to have opportunities to learn to trust themselves as well. It's a win-win! 

TIP: Addie used to throw fits after I'd give her the breakfast option she'd ask for... screaming "no, no, no!" I couldn't figure it out... until finally - I realized. She wanted a choice. (She'd already been given a choice of foods, but Myla was also choosing which spoon she wanted, and what color bowl or plate...) So I held up two different color bowls. She picked one, I placed the oatmeal inside, and wallah - she was happy again! Giving them little options like that keeps everyone happy. Kind of along the principles of this Love & Logic approach.... I dig!
A QUOTE: "That discipline which corrects the eagerness of worldly passions, which fortifies the heart with virtuous principles, which enlightens the mind with useful knowledge, and furnishes to it matter of enjoyment from within itself, is of more consequence to real felicity than all the provisions which we can make of the goods of fortune." ~ROBERT BRIDGES
WHIDFML: After 6 years in our home, Joel and I painted the kitchen cabinets & ceiling, and replaced the God-awful puke-inducing light-fixture that I wouldn't even bring myself to switch on! LOVE it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Diapy-Butts: One Down! (Sort Of)

We're only buying diapers for one... and a half. (We still put Myla in diaps for bed - since she doesn't yet wake up from the need to go.) 
Myla's been in underware for about a month now. The first couple of weeks were my test of diligence in the laundry department. Limited training-pants-style-underware (and limited denim) meant routine washings for that duration.
However! We have since graduated to regular use of the p.o.t.t.y! Score - 3 points for mom and dad (and lots of candy, treats, and prizes for the potty-star!)
How'd we finally do it, you ask? Well... we just put them on her. (Very tricky amidst the kicks, wails, and attempted running away...) Auntie Kimmy and her friend Sammy kicked things into high gear one day when they "encouraged" (read: forced and then tried to calm and comfort her). Eventually, she realized how much easier it was to just go on the potty - rather than wetting herself and/or crying hysterically over something that was inevitable. 
We'd watch for the signs... Sitting in the Buddha position, wiggling from side to side. We'd set her on, try to calm her, and she'd ultimately have to give in to nature. 
Now - She comes up and tells me (although indirectly - at least it's a step!) by saying, "Hi Mommy," While holding herself. Hm... Whatever. I'll take it! She even sat like a big girl on the big potty at the store the other day!! [insert glowing pride here]
Once she really has this mastered, we're onto number 2 -- Addie that is. Perhaps being taught by her big sister will make that transition that much easier for us??? I won't hold my breath... but I might just dig out the Margarita mix and PLAN on kicking-back somewhat for round-two ;) She's much less dramatic, so I have some level of hope here!

TIP: Mini-potty seats that fit on top of the regular ones are miracles! She took to this much better than a small version of a potty. They run about $7 at Walmart - and have a carrying handle and everything; Very travel-friendly.....
A QUOTE: "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." ~Andy Warhol
WHIDFML: Enjoyed the opportunity for a lazy-day - among the lightening and thunder, rain, and little girls sleeping-in!! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2 Sweet(ies)

Sometimes these little ladies take my breath away with their thoughtfulness. They seem so little to really understand many things, still - and yet, they are learning so fast. They never cease to amaze me. Just a couple of recent, memorable - emotional moments to denote... and look back on fondly...
On our recent trip to FL, Myla and Addie spent one full day with Grandma Roxane and Aunt Debbie while mom and dad went on a FL date! As if that wasn't gift-enough... upon our return we learned that Myla really wanted to pick out something special for mom and dad. They found a souvenier back-scratcher for daddy - which he had actually already tested and approved of, but had not purchased. And for mommy, a PRINCESS mug! It depicts images of each of the favored Disney princesses - against a pretty pink background. This was not only considerate, but rather thoughtful. She knows I drink tea almost daily, and that I enjoy coffee on the weekends fairly regularly. I have a small collection of favorite mugs for just such indulgences. I drink my coffee in the princess mug every weekend now - and my heart melts a little bit each time, as I remember how I acquired it :)

Addie adores her big sister - even though her big sister is often very dictating. While outside the other evening, she was playing with some small felt toys in the shape of crayons; It's a color-learning toy. Addie immediately came running to Myla holding one out and offering excitedly, "Here you go Myla, the PINK one!" Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Myla's favorite color is pink. These are the moments that make an impact. But really - so many occur that I'm fearful I'll forget some over time. Now, all I have to do is re-visit my own babbling blog, and I'm good!

TIP: Memories are precious. Often the details get lost or fuzzy in our busy lives, particularly over time. I started a baby-blog as soon as Myla was born - dedicated to both of my girls now. I regularly update it with various memorable conversations, milestones, and of course - lots of photos! It's almost like an online baby-book. I've kept up with this more diligently than I have with those baby-books, actually. And, I keep the privacy settings so that only the family/ friends that I wish to view it are able to. They can log-in and catch-up with the happenings any time they like! The family loves it as well! I highly recommend it.
A QUOTE: A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead
WHIDFML: Joel and I sat out on the deck in the evening (a few times already! - We're making it a regular thing all season long) and just talked and laughed together ~ Love it!

My Way or the Highway

AH! Her face... so innocent, right? Well - she has her moments... charming, funny, clever... and occasionally thoughtful too! But this girl is the embodiment of the term "my way or the highway", generally speaking. 
'Twas a weekend morning, after a grueling few weeks of daddy working-sleeping-working-sleeping, and after a celebratory bonfire and dinner hosted here for grandma's birthday the previous night. Of course, even after being put to bed later than usual so she, too, could enjoy a toasted marshmallow, she awoke far too early. (It was later than her norm, but she needed more... trust me on this one! *And so did we.*) 
"Daddy", She whispered, "Can we go downstairs and watch a show and eat a snack?" 
"ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz", came daddy's reply. 
"Myla", I yelled in a whisper, "Let daddy get some more sleep. He's been working hard, and we both need some more rest this morning. Lay here and rest with us..." 
Myla: "Nooooooo" (in a hushed, but pressing tone)... "I want to go downstairs."
Me: "Not yet, Myla. Rest some more - you're tired too."
Myla: "I don't like to rest anymore." 
Me: "Then go back to bed."
Myla: "I don't like my bed."
Me: "Then go downstairs by yourself. You know how to turn on the TV."
Myla: "I don't like to be by myself."

Me: "Bailey is down there." (Family Dog)
Myla: "I want you to come with me."
Me: "Not just yet, Myla... A few more minutes...."
Myla: "This is NOT gooooooood." 
Me: [Silent laughter, to avoid waking Joel............. Okay. Now I'm up.]

TIP: Sometimes it's easier to just get up with the kid - and perhaps rest on the couch? than it is to argue ;)
A QUOTE: “The fundamental qualities for good execution of a plan is first; intelligence; then discernment and judgment, which enable one to recognize the best method as to attain it; the singleness of purpose; and, lastly, what is most essential of all, will-stubborn will.” ~Marshal Ferdinand Foch
“Time has a way of demonstrating that the most stubborn are the most intelligent” ~Yevgeny Yevtushenko
WHIDFML: Got some things accomplished... followed-by getting some plans made for accomplishing some additional things :)

Too Much of a Good Thing...

As it turns out, I learned the hard way that I wasn't carved out for SINGLE-parenthood! (Usually - the perk of single-parenting is that the kids visit their other parent for portions of the week!!) Joel worked lots of O.T. in the last couple... 14 days straight, to be exact, with many extra hours in there per day as well. It just so happened that my MIL wasn't able to take the girlies for their weekly visits for "Grandbaby day" during those same 2 weeks... Add to that some extended-family drama, some additionally unusual topsy-turvy scheduling, and a pinch of sleep-lacking... and it all adds up to a debilitating migraine by week's end (both weeks - 'gulp'). Thank God for my family's dedication - as they stepped-in to tackle child-rearing when my bod said, "No more for you, lady! One word: BED."

I did get a family-friend kind of "trained-in" for future babysitting sessions. I know the girls next door are in the process of learning that as well. But I think timing is of the essence with these things. 

Here's what it really boils down to though: BALANCE. (Have I not stressed its importance enough??) I had a severe lack of balance for that time-frame, and once the scales tilt too far to one side, it's harder to get it back to level again. 

I mean clearly - I love my daughters. I adore them! I couldn't imagine not having the experience of motherhood, and I'm grateful that I've been able to achieve my dream of being home with them while they grow. However - balance is still necessary to my ability to function properly. I love chocolate - but if it was all I was able to eat for 2 weeks straight, I bet I'd need a break from that too! I need a little down-time in between... that's all. 

SO - I broke my own "rule"... Though unintentional and well - without choice, really - I was reminded by nature why I am so diligent about maintaining balance in my life. And it's refreshing to have it back again - as well as to realize that I'm doing the right thing - for myself and for them!

TIP: Never doubt your instincts!
A QUOTE (or 2!): “Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~Barbara De Angelis
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
WHIDFML: Enjoyed a breve'. It is truly my "comfort-food drink". I'd blow up by a thousand pounds drinking daily breves before I'd ever become an alcoholic!!