Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I just started leading the music in Primary, which is our church's Sunday school for children. Just in case you think we Mormon's take ourselves too seriously watch this little ditty to help the children learn the names of the world wide leadership of our church.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Random

Lots has happened. Squeak's ear has healed nicely. Each time I have tried to get a picture he turns his head and smiles at me. He knows the drill, you smile at a camera!

Sweet Girl got glasses this past month. She is extremely far sighted so much so that her eye muscles were always stretched and it was giving her a headache. She is doing pretty well with them and likes them...most of the time.

Sweet Heart has made some huge steps. She has earned the privilege to have friends come over and have sleep overs once a month and to go to her friends' houses. She has worked hard on developing a morning routine so she can get to school on time. I downloaded (for free) and student control journal (it's a PDF at the bottom of the page on the right hand sidebar.) She has set to work on that and seems to be figuring what will work for you. Now she is getting up with an alarm clock! She only needs reminding a little in the morning. She helped me bring the the groceries the other day...without being asked! She is getting along better with Sweet Girl (part of the P&R.) She is managing her time so much better. She is learning to communicate better.

It's all a bunch of baby steps which lead to big steps. I asked her what respect looked like to her. She said hugs and kisses and getting help when she asks for it. I have noticed that respect is offering help and being listened to.

I had both of the girls take the 5 love languages for kids assessment online (also free.) That put some insight into their needs right now. I took it myself about 6 months ago and took it again. Things have changed a bit. More good information.

We got sweetie Heart a cell phone. Yes, I know she's only 8. But when I asked myself, "What would it take for Sweetie Heart to feel more confident in walking and going places alone?" a cell phone was the answer. Also because she walks to school alone and home from school some days it keeps her safe because she can call me.

Here's a conversation we had this week:

SH: Mom, what does hot mean?
M: You know what hot means.
SH: No, I don't.
:::You see where this is going, right?
M: Can you use it in a sentence?
SH: Kat said, so and so actor, is hot.
M:(trying not to laugh) Well, that means someone is handsome.
SH: Ohhh, I get it. I think he's cute, too.

And here's an experience:
I signed Sweetie Heart up for a free martial arts class at the school. She didn't really want to do it, but it is focusing on bullying and since she's already had a bit of that go on a couple of years ago Webby & I feel it is important. Plus, she is beautiful and smart and oft times those kids are the ones targeted.

She went last week and liked it pretty well, but didn't want to go this week. She told me she didn't want to go. I asked why, but she didn't have a reason. So I told her she needed to go. I was at the grocery store when I got a call from her cell phone. It was her teacher saying that Sweetie Heart was crying and didn't want to go. I told her she didn't have to go, but I was at the store so she was going to have to wait for me.

When I arrived at the school I sat down next to her and asked her what was going on. She said she didn't know, she was just tired and didn't want to go. So I was firm and kind, I told her she didn't have to go. If she decided to come home she would need to go to bed 30 minutes earlier. The choice was hers to make. She grumped a bit. She stalled. I told her we needed to go. She mumbled that she would go. I offered to take her down, she took my hand and we went down to the gym (they were still stretching when she went in.) Several friends said, "Yeah, 'Sweetie Heart' is here."

When I went to pick her up she stormed pasted me, arms crossed, giving me a dirty look. We got into the car and drove home. I didn't say anything about it. We just all moved forward. Seems like after a couple of minutes she moved on too. That's when she helped me bring in the groceries.

Enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just Call Him Vinnie

We've had our fair share of difficulty here lately. First, 2 weekends ago the kids got sick. All with different things mind you. But they all went down at the same time. From Saturday night to Sunday morning I went from one child to the next, finally getting 2.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep at 4:30am. I was able to take a 2 hour nap late Sunday morning and ended up falling into bed at 7:30pm Sunday night. It was rough. Then we had a couple of relapses the beginning of last week.

I thought all of that was hard but it was nothing!

Yesterday I went through the hardest thing thus far. Yesterday morning all was going pretty well. Sweetie Heart had left for school and I became inspired to get things in order at my house. So I spent a couple of minutes signing up for FLY Lady emails again and put on my apron. Before I got to cleaning my sink I needed to start pita bread. Squeak was crawling around and has been loving climbing up the stool, so I offered it to him. I have very fond memories of Sweetie Heart and I cooking together and I thought it would be fun. So I pulled out the stool, put some flour on the counter and proceeded to get started.

He kept reaching for the sink and him leaning off the side of the stool to get there was making me nervous, so I pushed to stool in front of the double sink, handed him a measuring cup and a spoon and went on my marry way. There was stuff in the other side of the sink but I didn't think he would be able to reach any of it. I stepped out of the room for a minute to help Sweet Girl do something.


I heard the crash of a glass breaking, a thump of Squeak hitting the floor and a scream. I ran back into the kitchen to see his head near a large piece of broken glass. I prayed that he wasn't hurt. I quickly picked him up taking a quick glance to see if he was hurt. I took him out of the room and looked at the side of his face. That's when I noticed his ear lobe was cut open! I quickly put my had over his ear and held him tight. I asked Sweet Girl to hurry and get me a phone and called 911. They were quick to respond and even called Webby to tell him what was going on. The rescue squad took one look at him and said we needed to get to the hospital. I held a clean bandage to his ear and took a ride.


In the ER they nurses and doctors were great. They asked questions and helped. Asked me how I was doing. Since it wasn't critical, they wanted to wait until 1pm to sew him up because they needed to put him under for it so he wouldn't move around. So I held him with my hand on that bandage from somewhere around 10am until 1pm when they took him. My muscles were screaming last night while my heart was breaking for my sweet little boy. It took them 45 minutes to sew him up. His ear was cut from the lobe almost all the way to the top and almost all the way through. The doctor said if it had gone 2mm deeper his ear would have come off! The doctor didn't even count how many stitches, he just said there were lots. There were a bunch inside to sew the cartilage up, which my primary care doctor told me was in 3 pieces, and then the outside. He didn't put a bandage on it because he said Squeak would probably just try to pull it off.


Squeak is doing amazingly well. He was feeling pretty well last night ate dinner, crawled around and stuff. He went to bed at 7:30pm and slept through until 5:30 this morning. He's been his old self today. I was going to try carry him around all day today, but realized pretty early that wasn't going to work. That boy is a mover. I even found him climbing on that blasted stool again!

All in all he did great! He never freaked out (I kind of did.) He cried a bit but not as much as I expected. He was even clapping and trying to climb away while we waited in the ER for surgery.

video

You know what they say...Chicks dig scars.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What in Blue Blazes!!

Are you ready for this one?

We have mice. They live in our basement. Now you know this is going to be great story don't you?

I don't like mice much. If they live somewhere else I am fine with them. But they love my kitchen and I don't love them there. So I set traps. My old method of disposal was to grab the spent trap with a bag stuck over my hand, turn inside out and throw away. I got this great hint from my friend Dorothy. Set the trap then put it in a paper lunch sack. That way when the trap has been spent you just close up the end of the bag and toss it out. This works great unless the mouse still has use of most of his legs.

Last night I put a trap bag on the kitchen counter where he left traces of himself last night. This morning when I checked the bag the trap was gone. What?!?! Well, you know what that means don't you. The mouse didn't die and dragged that trap somewhere! I was not looking forward to finding him later. Then I moved my container of tomatoes and saw the trap and mouse. I quickly took care of it. The End.

Okay, that's not what happened. I jumped away and screamed. Seriously, what did I think he was going to do, attack me?? I always jump and scream. This, of course, brought the girls attention the attention to the trap and mouse. They wanted to see. Okaaaay, knock yourselves out. That's when they noticed that it wasn't dead. I had assumed that it had died there, it hadn't. Oh goody!

So I grabbed a plastic bag and prepared/ braced myself. That's when the chaos ensued. The girls had seen the mouse and it was soooo cute. So now I'm about to kill a poor, defenseless, cute little animal. It doesn't help we were talking about having a pet this morning at breakfast. Correction, they were talking about having a pet. I was talking about how much they cost and that, no we weren't getting on any time soon. Only the mouses leg had gotten trapped so he was able to use his other 3 to drag the trap across the counter.

I look at Sweetie Heart. She is standing there stiffly, looking at me, a little red in the face. I know that look, that is anger, full blown about to burst. She asks me to let it go. That would require me to get near it, not a chance! She offers to do it, but I don't feel like I can do that either because what if it bits her, who knows what kind of diseases it is carrying. The plague was carried my mice you know. Okay, that's a bit over blown, but still. Plus it will probably die anyway, and if it didn't then it will just come back into my house. No, thanks. To her credit she did stay composed. She offered other solutions. I wish I could have said yes to one of them.

I hear Sweet Girls reaction before I see which is a full blown temper tantrum and begging fest asking if we can please keep it because it's soooo cute. There is a red face, tears, but most of all the eardrum piercing screams.

I walk into the other room. Sweetie Heart is still standing there and calls to me that the mouse has run back into the bag! Miracle of miracles. I ask her to tip the bag up so he can run out. I grab the stapler and staple the bag shut before anything else can happen and take the mouse out of the house.

The antics continue. I go upstairs and phone Webby to see if he has any suggestions. They follow continuing their behavior. He chuckles. Honestly, I would too if someone else were telling me this story. He talked to them a bit. He explains things to both of them separately. Sweetie Heart does her best to explain to him why he is wrong and giving her solutions. Sweet Girl actually seems to get it. Huh.

So that is the end of the story. Did you laugh. I think I will now.

Off to set another trap.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Capable

Have I ever told you how capable my kids are? No? Well, they are just look at this!

I think the greatest thing is Sweetie Heart figured out how to hang her own clothes on the line.



Sweet Girl usually asks to do the laundry on her own. She even helps me! If I was sure she would use too much detergent I would just let her do it all on her own. I have total confidence that she will be doing laundry all by herself in the next 2 years. That will make her 7! Score! Yet another reason I love my front loader!

video

After I took the video and pictures both the girls asked if I took them to show to Vicki. They know me so well!

movies

Since it worked here are some more!

video



video

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Ditty

This is a song Sweetie Heart made up and she and Sweet Girl preformed the other night. Sweetie Heart has an amazing talent! And see how well they get along when they aren't fighting!


video

If this upload works expect more videos soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bad and Better

Last week was bad. It was oh so bad I ended each day completely spent, physically and emotionally. I don't know what is was, but it started first thing Monday morning (after the daddy daughter vacation). I listened to momTV and got a little advice from Vicki. This week has been remarkably better.

Actually, I would say amazingly better. I am beginning to notice things about my kids. Good things!

  • Sweet Girl (5)can start the dishwasher all by herself
  • Sweetie Heart (8) takes more pride in her work/ contribution when someone notices it has been done
  • Sweet Girl is quick to recover from most things and will apologize if needed
  • Sweetie Heart is willing to help when she is asked
  • Both girls want attention from me and when I take the time to sit and read or play a game they get along better and play well with each other
  • Redirecting and distracting them from negative behavior lightens the mood and helps everyone to move on
  • They can both pack their own suitcases for a trip
  • Sweet Girl can wrap a present all by herself, including cutting the correct sized piece of gift wrap without mutilating the whole role
I also noticed:
  • Sweetie Heart begins to attack others when she feels she is being attacked (verbally or physically), feels not listened or feels that things are not fair.
  • Sweet Girl screams to get her way or to get her sister in trouble
I'll tell you a little story.

There once was a little girl who had an big brother. That big brother was 3 years older then her and didn't seem very keen on having a little sister. When she was learning to sit up the big brother would walk by and bump her so she would topple over. Poor, poor little girl. :(

Mother told big brother that he better be nice to the little sister or she would get even. Time passed, little sister got older. When big brother would do something to little sister she would scream. When she would scream big brother would get in trouble. Sometimes big brother maintained that he didn't do anything.

One day little sister (who wasn't so little anymore) was sitting on the landing in her house. She didn't know where big brother was. She screamed. Mother and father (who were downstairs) yelled for big brother to leave her alone. Big brother was walked in from the next room and said, "I didn't do anything!" Mother and father looked at big brother, standing next to them. Then they looked at little sister sitting on the landing. The gig was up! But it was fun while it lasted.

Did you like that story? I just made it up. Not really, little sister was me and big brother was...well my big brother.

This week I've taken some time to observe my kids.

Squeak has begun to cry when I put him to bed or put him down so I can do other things. Sweetie Heart, in an effort to help, runs to him and picks him up and frets over him. She doesn't want him to cry.

I noticed this week that Sweet Girl is instigating her big sister. She was lying on my bed next to me one morning. Everything was peachy. Then her sister comes in and lays across the end of the bed. All of a sudden Sweet Girl needed her feet to be right where Sweetie Heart's head was. She started to whine and scream and then they got physical with each other. Honestly, I didn't interfere. If they are going to start stuff like that they are going to have to finish it.

I am noticing that she does this a lot. She starts stuff when I'm not around. When Sweetie Heart reacts she whines or screams. If I don't respond she comes to me and tells me what happened omitting her part in it. Vicki recommended that I question her motives. So the last time I asked her what she was going to do about it. She said she didn't know. I told her that I thought she was leaving parts out and that it sounded to me that she was just trying to get her sister in trouble. She ended up just walking away and finding something else to do away from her sister. Brilliant!

With Sweetie Heart if I ignore the negative behavior she tends to move on quicker. Vicki told me to "spit in her soup." That is to say, when she says something she knows isn't true (mama doesn't love me) to agree with her. This week something happened, I can't remember what and Sweetie Heart said, "I know mama doesn't love me!" (grump, grump). In a kind voice i said, "I am so glad you finally figured it out. You are right. It is such a relief that I don't have to pretend anymore." I want to reiterate that I was not mean about it. I said it with relief in my voice, very kindly. And do you know what happened? Nothing. She didn't say it again and hasn't since Tuesday. She knows it isn't true and I've told and shown her lots of times since then that I do love her.

In case anyone is worried, I do step in when I need to. I am not taking a backseat in parenting. I am just choosing when to get involved. I am still involved too much, but I'm doing my best to act and react smarter. I'm just going to admit it right now. My kids are smarter than me.

The End

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back at It

Webby and Sweetie Heart returned home last night at 9. She got to bed around 10. It sounds like they had a ton of fun, lots of late nights and laughs. All great things. She said she missed me though. Funny that's what she says about when she's in school, too. I think I need to dig a little deeper.

Everyone was up by 7am. The fighting commenced at 9. It's been on and off since then and it's only 12:30. I have no idea how it started. Maybe me mentioning that she needed to take a shower because of the salt water in her hair. And she needed to wash her hair. All I remember is she started by telling me she was NOT going to take a shower. I didn't respond. Que picking in Sweet Girl to get my attention. She yells at me that I hate her, and that I don't listen. Blah, blah blah. You know how it goes.

So I took Vicki advice and picked her up to connect with her. Took her downstairs and put her in my lap and hugged her. Talked to her about how she was feeling. How it must be hard to come home from vacation. She said she wished she and I could go back, just us. Wished she had her own room. Wished she could sleep on the inside porch. Wished we could build a house. I wished all the stuff with her, too. Then I asked her what kind of house she would like. She told me a little and then wanted to draw me a picture. So we moved on. Great!

Until she started picking...again. I just get so tired of it. Finally she got in the shower. I decided it would be good to ask her about what she feels her place is in the family. We talked about who she was in the family (daughter, sister, artist, singer, cooker, good with babies, has more responsibilities.) How she feels in the family (angry, frustrated, a little aggressive.)

I dug a little deeper. I grabbed a notebook and while she was showering I asked her some questions and wrote down the answers.

When she's angry she gets aggressive to punish because she feels like that person deserves it. Angry when Sweet Girl bosses her because Sweetie Heart is older. Feels like Sweet Girl gets away with stuff and she only does sometimes. Sweet Girl gets away with things because she doesn't tell the whole story and omits when she did to instigate it or retaliate. Sweetie Heart doesn't bother telling me what happened because I'll just tell her to put it on the problem board.

She gets frustrated when Sweet Girl doesn't let her in their room to get something when (I love this part) she was probably would have left. IE she doesn't leave to punish her. So there is unfairness. And gets frustrated when Sweet Girl tells her she's not nice, etc. (Acts older)

One thing she said was, " Because she made me mad I feel like she deserves something." Then she asked me, "Do you ever feel that way?" When I answered in the affirmative she said, "Good that means you understand and I'm very glad." She really needs understood.

I asked her about the Problem Board we use to problem solve for Family Meeting. She doesn't like it. When I tell her to put it on the board she usually doesn't because in her words, "It doesn't work!" We will agree on solutions but when there is a problem they won't do what we all agreed to do. I even look stuff up our Problem Solving book when there is a problem.

Here's what she says about it. It's like solving problems on her own because the parents give silly answers that we know won;t be chosen so it's like she is solving the problems by herself. She doesn't feel like her answers are that great. She doesn't know what to do, that's why it's on the board. And she wants it to be like homework. When she has a problem and asks she gets help, but when there's a problem at home or with her sister she doesn't get help solving it. And on a personal note Sweet Girl will only vote yes for her own solutions.

Lots if good information to process. They are now playing (mostly) quietly upstairs. If only I could get the fire out of my belly and relax from this morning's fights.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Enlightenment

The last few days have been very enlightening for me. Webby and Sweetie Heart went on a little daddy daughter vacation. Webby and I decided that this would be a great way to connect with our children during important times in their lives. We have decided that when our children turn 8, that being the year they get baptized in our church, they will go on a vacation with the opposite sex parent. Then when they turn 16, they will go on a vacation with the same sex parent. We'd like to do it at 12 as well, but we'll have to see how finances are in 4 years. These vacations are for our children not for us. But lacking scope Webby decided to make a few suggestions and they have been in Boston since Wednesday. I spoke with Sweetie Heart briefly and she said she is having a blast!

Anyway, while they have been away I have been here with the remaining 2 children. And you know what it has been great! We have had a pretty good time ourselves. We are just doing what we normally do with a few perks. I seem to have time warped back in to the mother I was 4+ years ago. Sweetie Heart and I did lots of fun things when she was little. Even when Sweet Girl came along and was little we were still getting out and I felt pretty peaceful, on the whole, of who I was as a parent. No things were not perfect, but they were pretty good. Anyone who knows me also knows shortly after Sweet Girl was born we ended up in family therapy for problem we were having with Sweetie Heart. No, I am not glossing over or forgetting that. But I felt I was holding it together easier on the most part at that time.

What I have noticed about myself is this. When there isn't fighting in the home, I am peaceful. When I don't have to worry about children hitting each other, I not on edge waiting for it. When there isn't sibling contention, there is less screaming and whining. And all these things make it so I want to get out and do things. I want to involve the children in doing stuff with me. I am willing to help (most of the time) when it is requested. Funny how that works.

I am actively working to be more peaceful. I am working on reconnecting with my inner child. If I can re-experience my childhood with my kids we will all be so much happier! I am reading a book called Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw. This was text for a class I took in college. If I had actually done the work while in college I would be a different person now. As it is, I am doing it now. One thing he points out is that all children go through these stage of spark, they need to do them. One of those things is getting messy.

I hate being messy. Dirt, grime, stickiness, mud...it's enough to get me to send you to the sink. And you best not get it on my or your clothes. But yesterday afternoon was different. I sat in the grass with the kids. Sweet Girl wanted to play in a pot that had dirt in it. Then she decided she needed water. I admit I tried to sway her, but she persisted and I let her. We stirred it up with little shovels. Added more water...rewind repeat. Squeak saw us and crawled over to be a part of the action. Sweet Girl got all squeally, "No, no! Don't put your hands in there!" I told her it was fine, maybe we all should do it. Squeak was up to is elbows splashing mud all over himself and me. It wasn't until I put my hands in that Sweet Girl did, too. It appears she has picked up on my disdain for yuckiness and has been holding back. We all had a great time in the mud! We rinsed off with the watering can. We came in and I put them in the bath to clean up. More fun splashing about and eating the bubbles (I used to do that!)

So here's to me doing my best to let my children be.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Leavings and Epiphanies

Like my new picture? It was taken during DNSN week. This would be what Sweet Girl left at the table after breakfast, snack and lunch. I broke and made her clear it off before dinner. When she saw the picture in iphoto the other night she said, "Huh? Why did you take that picture? Are you going to show it to Vicki?" That girl knows me so well.

These leavings are pretty typical at our house. Most eating is done in the kitchen. I don't like food all over the house. It makes a mess and makes me crazy. Plus we have mice in the basement. I don't think they'd mind going all over the house looking for food and it send shivers up my spin just thinking about it. Both of the girls are capable of clearing there own places and loading the dishwasher. More often then not they don't. Of course, I do remind them so they don't have to remember. But when I leave it and another meal comes around they tend to just move the old bowls off their space (ie, into my and Webby's space) to make room for new dishes. When that doesn't fly, Sweetie Heart grumps but clears, Sweet Girls whines and says it's "too hard and there is too much stuff." I'd have to agree. But she does end up doing it.

On to my epiphany. I spelled that correctly without the help of spell check! (thank you very much!) We went to spend the evening with some friends of ours. All of their children are grown, the youngest is 21 and is the only one living at home. She and I were talking about parenting. One of the things she said to me was that her parents were always yelling. When she was little she went to see Mary Poppins in the theatre. When she left she decided that she wanted to be like Mary Poppins when she was a mom. Huh. It dawned on me, that I too, want to be like Mary Poppins. Think about that for a minute. Maybe you should watch it again and see what I mean.

Another epiphany. They has a friend's two small children staying with them for the weekend. She said she just loved it when people brought their small children over for them to watch. She just loves the little ones so much. She always spoke the the children respectfully, even when they were going against the rules. She would just remind them of the rule and guide them to have it done. Then she commented that when she raised her voice just a little the children always responded to her. They took her seriously. She wasn't sure why that was because they didn't with there own parents. To which I responded that it was probably because she didn't raise her voice very often, so when she did they paid attention and knew it was important.

DUH!
No wonder my kids blow me off when I raise my voice. I raise my voice quite often. I nag and remind all the time. So when it's important they just think it's just the same old, same old. They don't realize it's important. My friends, that is dangerous. Whether I'm telling them to hurry up or don't go in the street because a car is coming, it sounds the same.

Much to think about!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Observing Others

The other night I was taking a walk with Sweetie Heart. As we walked up to town another family crosses our path. This family consisted of a mother (looking a bit haggard), father, older brother (maybe 4) and little sister (2 or 3). They crossed the street with the parents holding the children's hands. When they were back on the sidewalk the little girl said to her mother, "Can I have my hand? Can I have my hand?" To Which her mother responded briskly, "No, because I don't trust you."

Now don't get me wrong, I have so been there. Long days, fatigue, just wanting to have a good time with my family but...sometimes the kids don't cooperate. Sometimes going out thakes more effort than staying in. But they were together. But what I thought was, what is the message this mother is sending to her daughter at such a young age. Will she grow into this expectation, this belief that her mother just gave her.

It made me pause and think. I know I have said the exact same things. Since PonT though I think I'm doing better. I took the time to think about how I can say things. How can I say thing in a encouraging way? So instead I could say, "I would love to give you your had. However, I am concerned for your safety on these busy streets. When you can show me that you can stay close when we are near traffic then you can have your hand." or "Yes, as soon as we are at (a particular destination) or you can show me you will stay close." I'm not sure yet, but I'm reframing here.

I need to look closer at the message I am sending to my children by my words and actions.

Here's the thing that has always confused me. The things that my kids do that push my buttons are the same things I did when I was a kids. My siblings and I fought like cats and dogs. We yelled and screamed at each other. I threw terrible tantrums. We manipulated each other. I whined and pouted. I didn't do my chores or put them off to as late as possible. The list goes on.
I was talking to Webby about it and he made an interesting observation. He said maybe the reason they bug me so much is because I am feeling guilt over the fact that I did them, too. Now that I am older I can see how much they probably bothered my parents, brother, sister and I feel bad about that. Puts things on a new level.

The question is, when I forgive myself for doing those things will the guilt go away and thereby the button go away as well. Once I look at it and say, I was a kids. Kids act that way sometimes and I was just doing what worked for me. Will I be able to ignore the button or reframe it. And does it seems reasonable that when I stop reacting to those things they will disappear from my house. Does that sound right or just crazy?

More posts to come.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 6

Can't think of a witter title. Today has over all has been good. However...

There have been a few things that pushed me a bit too far. First off Sweetie Heart tried to pants me, well technically it was skirt me. Thankfully we were at home. She thought it was oh so funny, Me? Not so much. Second and probably third and so on, I went to have some lunch. When I went to the kitchen the table was covered with their breakfast/ snack remnants. So I piled them all up on their places. They didn't like that much. Sweetie Heart says, "These are my scissors. They are yours."

me:Yes, but you used them last.
SH: No, I didn't
me:yes you did to open the berry package.
SH:no I didn't Sweet Girls did
me: no she didn't I say you use them
SH: no I didn't

It goes on. Yes, I entangled with her. I stopped and closed my eyes to ask a blessing on my lunch. While my eyes were closed she put the scissors close to my ear and opened and shut the quickly a couple of times. I snatched them out of her hand and threw them across the room. (Yes, I know.) "You broke them!" she said. I was fuming. As calmly as possible I ask her if she could think of a reason why I wouldn't like that. No. I got up and went out to the porch to eat my lunch. She closed the door behind and and locked it. She's been doing this for a few months trying to get my goat. I just pretend I don't notice and wait for her to get bored and open the door. Today was no different.

This girl is screaming for attention! Any kind will do.

This evening we noticed some bruises on Sweet Girl's arm. Webby look quizzically, and it dawned on me, Sweet Heart has been pinching Sweet Girl when she gets mad at her. I hate this. It really stinks. I just read the blog post Vicki recommended. Boy does it hit me right in the gut!

This evening I asked how her contribution was going.

sh: It's not.
me: why not?
SH: I've been busy with stuff.
Webby: Like what?
SH: Art camp, playing, reading.... It's boring.
Webby: We can help you to be less busy.
me: What would happen if I was too busy to make dinner?
SH: I'd make some.

Not doing laundry did finally catch up with her tonight. She needed to shower but didn't have any clean underwear to change into. So she came down to ask if I had any. It's not my contribution I reminded her. So she decided she wasn't going to shower because "what's the use if she was going to have to put on dirty underwear!" Okay. Rinse and repeat. Finally, she asked how long it would take to was and dry a load of laundry. So here she sit and almost 10pm waiting for her underwear to get done drying so she can go to bed. She's tired, she knows she is. But don't worry she's got a good book to keep her company. Webby and I are headed to bed. It will be interesting to see what she does being up alone.

Maybe I'll try that.

At dinner time there was an even bigger mess at the table. I moved everything to the girls places and set the table for Webby and myself. Sweet Girl came in and started whining. About how much stuff was on her place. "It's too hard." She whined. This is her new catch phrase. She uses it whenever a task looks big or she doesn't want to do it. I told it she just needed to move on thing at a time. (directing, I know) She did it and set her place. She didn't want to eat dinner and asked to be excused, she said she was tired and went upstairs to play. Later she showed up dressed to ride her bike, she wasn't tired after all.

Lots of good stuff too, I just can't think right now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Observations

This morning Sweetie Heart said to me, "I love do nothing. say nothing week because you don't nag me and your not bossy." Well, there you have it. I know the kids love the freedom to do or not do.

Yesterday, we pretty good. Sweetie Heart got to art camp on time. We went to the library for lunch. On the way home I asked them what they wanted to do. "GO TO THE POOL!" So I asked if they could be ready in 20 minutes. You bet! They were ready before I was. They came in and changed into their swim suits in the living room, leaving their clothes scattered. The couch was filled with board games Sweet Girl got out but didn't play or put away. There was still breakfast dishes on the table. But off we went and we had a great time staying cool in the pool.

When we got home I fixed dinner. The menu hasn't gotten done yet. Sweet Girl talks about it, seems all she wants is buttery noodles, pasta and soup. The first couple of days this week I asked her what we were having and then fixed it at the last minute. I decided this was too much interfering so I was just going to make what I wanted if she didn't tell me ahead of time. So last night I made beans, collard greens and rice with kale chips. They loved the rice ans kale chips, not so much the beans and greens. Webby had them eat some. When Sweet Girl didn't finish her rice they had a bit of a stand off that ended with her dropping her bowl and breaking it.

Webby mentioned he was going to put her to bed early because he didn't want to deal with her. I so get this. I even do this sometimes when he's not home. I asked not to make it feel like a punishment. I needed to go to an activity with the young women that I go to church with so I left. Upon my return I asked how things went. He said they all played games until it was time for bed. And then they put themselves to bed.

I think a big trigger for Webby and I is waste. We have a tight food budget, so when we see the kids waste so much food it drives us crazy. When we see them eat a half of a loaf of bread and a stick of butter in a day, it drives us crazy. When we see them take a bunch of food and then not finish it, well you get the point. We rent right now and have a very small yard, so we don't compost. It all just goes in the garbage. The other thing is responsibility for their stuff. They just get done and seem to drop stuff where ever. We have a small place so when this happens it effects everyone.

The other night their room was trashed. I was just happy it was in their room and no the living room. In the past we have made them pick up their room every day. I let it go and didn't say anything. Webby came home and saw it and asked me if this was really acceptable to them. I said apparently. So he shut the door and didn't say another word about it! Yea, Webby! He's doing DNSN in his own way. The girls know that we will not go in and tuck them in at night if the floor is messy. At bed time Sweetie Heart came to me and said, "Sweet Girl's stuff is all over the floor and I can barely get to the ladder to get to my bed!" :( I asked her what she could do and she walked off. When I went in to check on them before I went to bed the floor was clean! Now it might be under the bed or in the closet but it was clean enough for me not to trip when giving them a kiss.

Another observation I made this week is that Sweet Girl always wants me to help her. She do stuff by herself and sometimes she does, but often she asks for help. When she needs help with stuff she only wants me to help her. Not Webby or her sister, only me even if I am unavailable or unwilling to help. AND she's willing to scream, cry or wait until I can or will help her. Funny though, if I won't help her and she throws a tantrum, she usually stalks off to her room crying about fairness, calms down then comes down to apologize.

Well, that's all for now!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do Nothing, Say Nothing...again

I am doing the program again. Yes, I am. Several of my bloggy friends are doing it, too. Thanks for the inspiration ladies! It's funny how a little moral support goes a long way.

This is a challenging week to start this. Sweetie Heart has art camp this week, so she needs to be at the school at 9am. Yesterday, I woke her up. She has a hard time getting herself up, or so I tell myself. This morning, however, when I went in she was laying in bed reading. don't know for how long. I did ask what time she wanted to leave so I could be ready and moved forward. I did what I needed to do so Squeak and I would be ready on time.

She moseyed down stairs at 8:15 am and asked if she could make puff pancake. I told her she didn't have time. Oops. Sweet Girl asked if she could make eggs. She did for her and her sister, but they weren't done until 8:35. This makes me absolutely CRAZY! She got done eating by the time she wanted to leave 8:50 but she still needed to brush her teeth, get a snack and water and out her shoes on. I told Sweet Girl to put her shoes on so we could go. She wanted to stay home. Uh, no. She's only almost 5. Then she could only find one of the shoes she wanted to wear and no other shoe would do. She screamed, cried and carried on for awhile. She had a pair of shoes on the porch so finally I pulled her out of the house, locked to door behind me and said we were leaving. She screamed for us to wait, pulled on her shoes and caught up.

Sweetie Heart complained that Sweet Girl was making her late! Now that really makes my blood boil. She had plenty of time to get and be ready on time, even early. She wasn't even ready until 9:05 and class starts at 9. But then she put the blame on someone else. This isn't new. It happened pretty often when she was late for school last year.

What I've realized the last few days is that I talk way too much! I am constantly reminding, asking, advising, hurrying etc. my kids. They ask for permission for everything! Can I have toast for breakfast. They tell me everything. I'm going to the bathroom. It makes DNSN week really hard. Am I supposed to answer them? I'm thinking not, but what's a girl to do?

They also do not clean up after themselves very well. They did keep it confined to their bedroom today so I won't complain. Webby came home and closed their door. I did ask them to stay out of my room because I don't want them to trash it.

We aren't abandoning the things that work. We still had family meeting this week and picked contributions. I haven't seen them get done yet though. Sweetie Heart has laundry and I anticipate that it won't get done this week. I'm ready to do the adult and Squeak's laundry when necessary. It may not effect them though because they have so many clothes. We shall see. Sweet Girl is on the menu so I asked her what we were having for dinner earlier today, since I make it. I made the soup and biscuits. When dinner time came she asked where the corn was. I told her I didn't remember because it wasn't written down. She went to write it down, she can't spell yet, by the way, but she likes to write down a bunch of letters.

So onward. Wish me luck. I think I'll break out the tape for tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Crazies

Yes, that is what we are. Two out of the last 3 weeks we have had company. Swim lessons started and ended. We've had lots of late nights and lack of contributions getting done. But honestly, I get it. Who wants to work when there are people to play with and fun to be had. The girls did pretty well helping when asked. There was a bit of attitude, but I think it's kind of like the slumber party. They were showing off for their older cousins. And we've had a long weekend to recover...thankfully! But it was such a blast! We love having Webby's family over for a visit!

Swim lessons have always been a bit of a sore spot for me. My kids tend to fight me on them. I get frustrated and see red when they refuse to participate and learn. I didn't pay for them to sit on the side! I know...I know.... My kids didn't ask to take the lesson, I put them in against their will. But I have my own story about this. I never really learned how to swim. I can keep myself a float but I'm not confident at all. There were times that I bowed out of activities with friends because of it. There are things I will probably never do, like scuba dive, because of it. So I want my kids to learn to swim, plus it's a safety issue. So I keep putting them in.

After a couple of years of fighting me, Sweetie Heart is doing better. But she lacks confidence so she doesn't even do her best sometimes. She just sits on the side. Sweet Girl was okay the first couple of days, but then a daycare center signed up a bunch of kids and it went from 5 kids to 12+. That wasn't so good for her. I just kept taking them even though I was having a bunch of push back (I don't want to go! They don't even help! I'm not going!) I had to leave a few times. Really it's better that way because if I'm not there to see what they aren't doing then my blood doesn't boil. But of course, they want me to stay. Neither of them passed their levels. We'll give it a go again next year. I'm thinking about private lessons next year

Monday, June 21, 2010

Success!!

Well, We just had the best time on Friday and Saturday! No...really! It was a blast.

Right before the party my dad called and gave me the best advice. He told me to relax and have fun. He also made me aware that Sweetie Heart was going to be dismissive towards me. But that she didn't really mean it, she would just be showing off to her friends. He also reminded me to remember how it I acted when I had parties as a kids. Great advice along with all the others I received! Thanks!

I realize that the dismissive-ness, eye-rolling, whatever attitude is a Button of mine, so keeping that in mind allowed me to keep my cool. Before the party started I ask Sweetie Heart what things were okay for Sweet Girl to be involved in. I asked Sweetie Heart to please tell me if Sweet Girl was too involved so that I could involve her elsewhere instead of hitting or yelling at her. That worked really well. Webby took Sweet Girl on a picnic dinner over to the playground and they stayed and played after. She came home later and decorated her cake with Webby and then watched the movie with the girls. He then took her on a backyard camp out with him. I really think it is key to have a plan on what to do with the other child(ren) in the house when one person is having a sleep over.

They started the party eating Popsicles and playing outside. I let go of control and made it a yes day. Can we have Popsicles before dinner? Yes. Can we have another one? Yes. For me to be okay I did have a few plans to keep them busy. I am not a crafty person. I cook! So I get kids involved with cooking stuff. The girls all made personal pizzas. While those were cooking they frosted and decorated mini 3 layer cakes, which was Sweetie Heart's idea. Decorating cupcakes has been something I have always done for a great craft/ time consuming party idea. That way the kids get cake the way they like it and then they can eat it! Very fun!

The kids played outside most of the evening and smeared chocolate on their faces at one point. I just smiled and took pictures. There was a ton of giggling and and loudness, which can get on my nerves, but again I just let go and smiled. I loved the advice I got from tealara and midwifemama, who told me to go with the flow and too look at how much fun they were having when I wanted to get frustrated. That helped me to stay cool.

I attempted to get them to settle in to bed at 11:20pm. Yeah...right! Try 1:45am! They kept getting up to play. I told them I didn't mind then staying up so long as they weren't loud. I did make them keep the lights off, which in retrospect I should have just let go. I came down a number of times to ask them to quiet down and to get back in bed. It's the biggest problem with having a small house.

I woke them at 7am to have breakfast. Monkey bread, scrambled eggs, cantaloupe, blueberries, and raspberries. Then they went back outside to play more. One girl came in to sneak some leftover candy. I handed it to her and said she could take it outside to share. I swear I saw more big eyes on faces last weekend. It was all so fun! Not that I want to do another this week. But when it's time, it'll be great!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

T - 26 Hours

Until the first ever slumber party at our home.

As I posted before Sweetie Heart had $40 budget. An adult friend gave her another $10 for the party. I took her to the store with her list and this is what she bought:
  • M&M's
  • Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Mini Mint Patties
  • Swedish Fish
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Sun Chips
  • Corn Chips
  • Pepperoni
  • Eggs
  • Popsicles
  • Cheese (2lbs)
  • Cantelope
  • Blueberries
  • Cream Cheese (x2) to make frosting
I think that's it. The party starts at 4pm. They will be making mini pizzas and decorating mini layer cakes and eating Popsicles. They will play games, outside if weather permits and watch a movie. We are going to have a great time!!

Webby will be entertaining Sweet Girl and be camping out in the backyard with her. But he'll be here for backup if I need him. He was honest with me about this being mine to do with Sweetie Heart. I get it. Four 8 year olds in a house can be a lot to handle especially if you're a man who only had 1 older brother.

Any last minute advice from you seasoned parents?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keeping Kids on Track | Seven Days

Keeping Kids on Track | Seven Days

Here's an interview with Vicki Hoefle: Parent Educator, developer of the Parenting on Track Program and my BFF. Enjoy!

It's All Good

I've been busy posting all my...not sure what to call them. They are really problems, just little bumps in the road. I also want to post about all the great and unexpected stuff going on here.

About a month ago I bought some craft sticks to write the contributions on. Now when it's time to choose new contributions everyone grabs a stick. It's easier then the pieces of paper I was using and much better (for my sanity) then arguing who's going to do what. I decided to add a couple. There are 4 of us doing contribution and 6 contribution. The rules are: you can trade with anyone at the table and you can pick a 2nd contribution if you want. If you don't like the 2nd one you can put it back in the pot but it can't be traded for the 1st on drawn. I really want everyone to learn how to do everything. I think this is the best way to facilitate that.

Our Contribution list is: Kitchen, Living Room, Bathroom, Floors, Laundry and Meals. I might add to these in the future. Sweetie Heart has really wanted to choose the Meals contribution. I told her she didn't have to draw it to do it, but she really wants to draw it. Three weeks ago she took her draw (kitchen), she decided she wanted to draw again to see if she could get meals and she did! She was so excited!

The next morning before school I asked her what we were having for dinner that night. She looked at me like oh! I need to do that now? She started naming stuff off she like to eat. I told her I didn't have some of the ingredients we needed for those meals. I gave her this form (that was tough to find again!) and she went to work. There are certain things we eat certain night. For example: Monday is pasta night, Wednesday is breakfast for dinner, Friday is pizza night and Sunday is rice and stir fried veggies. We then talked about what we had on hand and could make meals out of.



Honestly, I hate meal planning. I like cooking but meal planning, at least for right now, is difficult for me right now. I like to be able to look at the list and know what I'm making. The added bonus is that she is choosing food she likes to eat so I don't get the complaints about not liking the food. Hurray!




Sweet Girl is showing great skills with the laundry. Have I ever told you how much I LOVE my front loader. I have a very basic model and it is wonderful. It has all the dials and dispensers on the front right above the door so even small people can fill it and turn the knobs. The dryer sits right next to it so it's easy to move clothes from one to the other.

Right now expectations are pretty low. If they have the kitchen it means they have to set and clear the table. We tend to have a problem with the girls clearing their places. Now it someone doesn't clear their place it is cleared by the person with the kitchen contribution. In the last 3 week Sweetie Heart has drawn kitchen twice. It makes her made when she has to clear other people's places. Last week she very nicely asked us to please clear our own places. Sweet Girl can be a bit contrary. She said no and walked away.

This week Sweet Girl drew kitchen. I have intentionally left a bowl or fork on the table for her to clear. I was wondering what Sweetie Heart would do. Yesterday morning she cleared her place without even thinking about it (success!!) Yesterday evening, however, she leaned over and quietly asked me if she had to clear her place. I told her it was up to her. She said, "Sweet Girl hasn't cleared her place so I'm not going to clear mine." Fair enough.

Last week Sweetie Heart drew the living room. So she needed to keep it picked up in the evening. That also means she can put stuff in the lost and found if it's not put away. That was the first week she was doing meals, too. At Family Meeting I told her I appreciated that she had kept the living room clean and helped me with the meals. She turned to me and said, "Yea, except I haven't been doing the living room." I responded, "Isn't it nice when we all do our part so one person isn't left to pick up after everyone." Just a little food for thought.

Webby and I are working with the kids while they are doing their contributions. Ultimately, we have to do what is left over, so we are taking the time to work with them. Webby commented to me the other day. He said that it is easier to do a more thorough job on things (like the kitchen) because the rest of the house it clean. It doesn't seem so futile. When you can get something done knowing that you are going to move into the next room and it's going to be clean makes us all so much happier.

We just keep moving forward. It's not always easy. We have break downs and tantrums. Things get hard. We keep moving forward (and sometimes backward) doing our best to "Keep Calm and Carry On!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Scissors

Need I say more?!

Let me say that this is the 2nd time this has happened. The last time she was 3. She's 4.5 yo now and it takes forever to grow out. Looks like a couple 4 inches. Same place, right behind the right ear, about mid ear.

Sweet Girl: : big grin on her face, laughing, hands me a big clump of hair: I was cutting dollies hair and I cut mine, too!
me: ::Big gasp::
SG: Looks down at the floor with a sad face. Now knows she shouldn't have done it.
me: I thought you wanted to grow your hair out. Now we're going to have to cut it.
SG: ::Still looking at the floor:: I don't want to grow it out.
me: ::pause:: You don't have to cut your hair off if you don't want to. Please don't cut your hair anyone. Do you think that's a reasonable request?
SG: ::no answer::
me: You can think about it and let me know. Please go and get the scissors and bring them back downstairs.
SG: ::Brings puts the scissors away and agrees that her not cutting her hair is a reasonable request::

I think I pulled out of that one pretty well. I starting going over the top, caught myself just in time, and redirected.

Whew, that was a close one.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Hairy Eyeball

There are a lot of things for me to post about. I think blog posts all the time. When I finally sit down to write one I tend to forget. This one is freshest.

Yesterday Sweet Girl, squeak and I went to help a friend, who is graduating from high school and her family is moving, go through her stuff. You know how hard it is to get rid of your stuff and here she is preparing for 2 big life changers. So I asked what I could do to help her and she asked if I would come over and help her go through some of her stuff. I digress.

We left their place in just enough time to get home and walk over to get Sweetie Heart for school. We were cutting it a bit close so I wasn't sure if I'd just be driving to the school or if I would have enough time to get home and pack the baby up and walk over. We ended up having time to walk.

It's about a 30 minute drive and on the way home both kids fell asleep. I don't blame them, I was tired, too. I started talking to Sweet Girl when we were getting close, but it didn't seem to matter. So we pulled in and I opened the doors to the van. Sweet Girls' eyes popped open with a look of panic in them. I soothingly told her we were home and needed to go pick up her sister. She could either walk or ride her bike. She started screaming that she didn't want to do either. She wanted to drive!!! I calmly explained that we were going to walk and that she could choose to ride her bike if she wanted, but when I came back out if she didn't have her bike out she would be choosing to walk.

I took Squeak in the house and put him on my back in the ergo. When I came back out she was standing outside the van, telling me that she was not going to go. I'm talking arms crossed, foot stomping, yelling at me. I kept my cool and took her gently by the arm and explained that she would be going with me. I explained that I understood that she was tired and wanted to be home. We would be able to be back home as soon as we picked up her sister.

She screamed. She tried to pull away. She tried to dig in her heals. And I pulled her along. We were going to the school, so of course, there were lots of people out. People driving by. People on their porches. People picking up their own kids. Sweet Girls continued the whole. way. there! I just smiled. I waved at people I knew. And I kept reassuring her that we would be going home as soon as we picked up sister.

When we were a block and a half away from the school, a half a block from the corner I was approaching, I saw a woman stop. This was someone I didn't know. Great. She stood there a minute and watched us approach then she slowly walked on.

In front of the school is a large yard area. I'd say it's about a half a block long. As I approached the school I let go of Sweet Girl. I wanted to see what she would do if I let go and continued to the school. I expected that she would take a few steps and then follow me. I was wrong. She said, "I'm going home. RIGHT! NOW!" and started walking to the street. I had to run to catch her. She was going to go home by herself! Now remember I had a 17lb baby on my back. Not an easy thing to do. Would she have followed through with walking all the way back home? I don't know. But I think that falls under the "physically dangerous" headings so I did what I had to to get her to stay with me. I took her by the arm again and guided her to the school. I tried to distract her to no avail.

As I looked towards the school, waiting for Sweetie Heart to emerge I noticed that the same woman (the one I didn't) was watching me from inside the school. She just stood there and watched me for a few minutes. I guess I passed her test when she saw me talking to other parents with me gripping this child by the arm. Then she disappeared.

All in all I am glad that someone would stop and take notice of a screaming child being dragged along by an adult. But I also felt a little judged, not just by her but by teachers, by other parents and adults, by my neighbors. But I kept my head up and kept taking steps forward.

I also see my child as very strong willed. She will not be a victim. She will fight back and defend. She has the courage to do what needs to be done to get what she wants...even at 4 1/2.

PS. dad you don't have to call me. I'm okay. It will all be fine. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Mama, can I...

have a slumber party for my birthday this year?" Sweetie Heart asked.

Are you kidding me?? You're too young! You can't handle it! Not a chance!

Those were the things that I thought, but I kept it all to myself. What I said was, "I'll have to talk to papa about that." I needed some time to sort it all out. In the beginning I was thinking about all the reasons why she couldn't have a slumber party. I was working up my list of justifications for saying no. Then I remembered that I had told her when she was 5 that she could have/ go to slumber parties when she turned 8 or was in the 3rd grade. Umm, that's this year!!

Then I watched momTV on Democratic Parenting (dated 5/25/10). One of the things Vicki said that really struck a cord with me wast this. Kids need to have a voice in their lives. They need to feel and know that they get to make decisions about their lives. This got me to thinking. I am a dictator and I'm permissive. Bad combo. I want to be democratic and to do so I need to listen and hear what the kids are saying and consider what they say. They need to know that I believe in them and respect their choices. The only way I can do that is by letting them do the things they want to do...especially if they've really thought it through. I was reminded of this blog post Vicki did on "Letting Go" and I realized it was time for me to let go of this little piece.

When Sweetie Heart came home from school (I still hadn't talked to Webby about it) I asked her what her plan was. No plan, no party. Honestly, though, how could I say no if she had a plan?

Here's her plan:
  • 3 friends (I know all of them and their mothers)
  • dropped off at 3:45
  • play at pay ground until 5
  • come home and make pizza and have cake and ice cream
  • play more at the home
  • watch a short movie
  • go to bed at 8:45 (sideways glance at me to see my reaction. I stayed passive and just nodded my head.)
"What about the morning?" I ask.
  • have breakfast (can't remember what she suggested, but I can figure that out)
  • pick up at 9...maybe 11?? My response: 11 is too late for me. 9 then!
SH: Can I have the slumber party?
me: I still need to talk to papa.

She totally had a plan. Webby and I talked and the party is a go. I'm giving her a $40 budget to buy the stuff (food, snacks, drinks, ice cream etc) for the party. She will go with me to buy all the stuff. It should be lots of fun.

They grow up so fast and it's hard to let go. But I know this is how she is going to learn how to navigate her life. It will open the doors to her coming to me and asking to do the things she wants to do. It will instill confidence in herself and her abilities to think things out, make a plan and follow through.

Next up: She wants a pet!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Contributions

I just wanted to give a little update about our contributions.

Since starting contributions it's been on and off. I expected too much from the kids. I expected perfection from the get go. It was pointed out to me that kids are afraid to do things right or 100% in the beginning. That is because if they do it "right" or 100% from the get go then there is expectation from me as a parent that they will always do so. And they will get in trouble if they don't. Well, that makes a lot of sense.

I've tried out a bunch of different ways. I've reminded, badgered, nagged and fussed. Well, those ways didn't work. I've set up my expectations of what should be done and then gotten crabby when it was done to my expectations. Duh, I keep setting myself up.

This time around it's been a bit different. I went to the dollar store and picked up some craft sticks. I wrote 6 different contributions on those and now we each pick a stick there are only 4 of us so there are a couple to spare. We can trade but only with what is out on the table. I have made it a point to cheer when I get something I like and grumble a little when I get something I don't like. I think this helps the kids know that even I have my preferences. But I still have to do things I don't like doing.

The first week Webby pulled laundry we talked later. He said he didn't see how he was going to do it because he is gone all day. I told him I wanted to the kids to see how he made it work for him. He put loads of laundry in in the morning before work (when the kids could see him do it.) He asked me to help switch laundry over. He took baskets up after he got home. He ironed! The next week Sweetie Heart picked laundry. She said she couldn't do it. I sat down with her and told her she didn't have to do it my way (2 loads of laundry twice a week) she could do it whatever way worked for her. We problem solved it together. She decided that she could put a load in before school 4 days a week. She asked me if I could switch it over and fold it and then she would deliver it when she got home. My laundry schedule has now changed. It doesn't really work for me to do 2 loads twice a week. But really I'm flexible. Now laundry works for everyone in the family!

I am doing my best to keep my expectations relatively low. I can't expect Sweetie Heart to clean the entire kitchen yet. She hasn't been doing it long enough to feel able to do that. This morning I asked her if it seem reasonable that she could set and clear the table for every meal she was home for. Yes! She did ask if I would help her. I told her that I would be in the kitchen cleaning up with her.

After breakfast came to an end she walked away. We were about leave for school when I noticed she hadn't done it. I reminded her about her contribution. She said she didn't have time. I told her she had plenty of time. One of the problems we have is with the kids clearing their places. Last week Webby and I decided that we would take care of it for them and the next time they pulled kitchen we could allow natural consequences to occur. Today Sweet Girl left her breakfast dishes on the table. Sweetie Heart said she "didn't have to" clear her place. I reminded her that she agreed to clear the table and that included her sister's place. I also pointed out that I had been clearing her place the week before. Probably shouldn't have done that. I had, "That sounds like a problem for you. Go put it on the problem solving board" all ready. But she didn't complain. She didn't even grump about it. She just did it! I was shocked!

Sweet Girl has been a trooper through all of her contributions. She doesn't usually remember, but I either remind her or use, "Yes, as soon as..." and that seems to be working pretty well. I am working right next to her, taking the time to train. I have noticed that once I start sometimes she slows down and just watches me. That makes me crazy. Kind of like the Tom Sawyer thing. So I stop and let her know that when she is ready to work too I will come back. She was on floors last week. She did one upstairs and one downstairs everyday!!

Kids are so smart! They catch on so quickly. It's hard to train but worth all of the energy and patience (or lack there of) to do it. It makes me really excited for when Squeak starts to walk. Because you know what Vicki says, "If they can walk they can work!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gever Tulley on 5 dangerous things for kids | Video on TED.com

Gever Tulley on 5 dangerous things for kids | Video on TED.com

Questions



Can we go camping tonight? That was the question that was asked Friday night. Well...why not! I don't really camp but if Webby was willing, I had no problem with it. So they three of them camped in the back yard and had a blast!

We're making memories here!





Sweetie Heart asked ma anther interesting question the other night. She said, "What would you do if I failed (did bad) in school." I'm trying to remember if she used the word failed. I dug a little deeper. Asked a few questions: what subject, are you doing bad at school? Apparently it was just a general question. I'm sure she is doing fine at school. The question was an "all of school" question. I sat down with her and told her we would need to change a few things. First thing we would do is sit down and talk about why she wasn't doing well. We would need to problem solve from there. Things would have to change a little though. She wouldn't be able to activities after school, except for mentoring. During mentoring she would need to work on homework instead of playing. She would need to come home after school and do homework every night and not play first. She might need also tutor.

Interesting question though. I wonder why she asked it. It may go to the root of acceptance for her. She wants/ needs to know that no matter what we will love her and be by her side. If this ever happens I hope that I can stay calm and not react poorly. I hope I can go into it as matter-of-factly as I did when answering her question.

Squeak is doing great! He is growing like crazy! He really is an amazing little man. He's 8 months now, how time has flown. He started saying "mama" about a month ago. He says "dada" a little too. But then the kids call Webby "papa" so we'll have to listen for that later. He's just started moving about on the floor. He's got the pushing himself backward thing down pretty well. He's lets me know when he's backed himself up against something by short little cries. He's also sitting up some and can turn himself in a circle when he's on his belly. He's showing us how un-baby proof the house is. He can now see what he wants, get himself there and pull stuff down so he can chew on it. He also has the cutest laugh and loves to play peek-a-boo!




Friday, May 14, 2010

Preview to Summer

Vicki recently wrote a post about summer vacation. Summer can go one of two ways. It can looked forward to and be tons of fun or it can painful and dreaded. I usually go into summer hoping for the best but expecting the worse.

But I love this about making a plan for the summer. Have everyone write down their expectations for the summer. Then you sit down together and actually make a plan. A Road Map for the summer! It's genius really. And yet so simple. I thought to myself, "Well, duh"! So we're going to do this. I am so excited!

I also realize it's about attitude. Like how my attitude made for stressful vacation, when everything else was going so well. My attitude for the summer will effect how it will go.

I feel like yesterday was a preview to summer. Sweet Girl came down with a fever yesterday afternoon. She slept most of the day. Webby had a meeting in the evening so he wasn't going to be home until late. Sweetie Heart met with her mentor after school. There was no school the next day. Hmm, it can go whatever way I want it to. So we had dinner early, honestly evening almost always goes better when we eat dinner before 5pm. Yes, I know it's crazy...but it's true.

After we cleaned up I put Squeak to bed, cleaned up the kitchen, and had the girls brush teeth. Sweet Girl was ready to get back in bed, so I put her there. Sweetie Heart asked if I would play with her outside. Yes! Everything was done that needed done right then so out we went.

She made up a game where we threw a ball in the air and tried to get it to bounce off the roof of our 2 story garage/ barn thing. Kind of like basket ball without the bouncing since we were in the grass. We each tried to keep the ball from each other. There was a bit of wrestling, a bit of tickling and lots of laughing! We had been out for a little bit when I noticed Sweet Girl at the door. She heard us outside laughing. She came down to investigate. She watched us for a little bit then announced that her head and belly were feeling better and she was going to get her shoes. Really I had to laugh. She didn't want to be left out.

Sweet Girl couldn't find her shoes, but I told her it was fine for her to be out in the grass in her feetie jammies. She wasn't really up to running around so we took a break and sat down and threw the ball back a forth. We had so much fun running around and playing. Lots of laughing!! We need so much more of that!

We came in around 7:20pm. Bedtime is usually 7pm, so this was a treat. I put Sweet Girl back to bed. Sweet Girl asked if I would read a little to her. I said yes. She was surprised! She said, "I didn't really expect that you would say yes!" So we read until almost 8pm. As I was tucking her in to bed. She said, "I had so much fun playing and wrestling with you tonight." I did, too!

This is what I want summer to look like. Fun! Laid back! Lots of laughter! I also want to have everyone working together so I am not required to do all the work. If we are able to work together we are going to have a blast this summer!! I can't wait!!