Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rabbit Hole

We went way down the Rabbit Hole tonight. It was bad! After it was over I just kind of shut down. What more is there to do? I really can't remember the last time we went down the Rabbit Hole, which is good. It used to happen on a daily basis, sometimes a couple of times a day. So this is a dramatic improvement. But when it does happen it makes me feel so bad.

Sweetie heart and I did things to each other that we both feel bad about. We both apologized and we both forgave each other.

The activating event for me is the attacks that happen on her younger sister. Don't get me wrong, most of the time Sweet Girl can hold her own and she fights back. But there are times when being bigger means that you can and will hurt someone. As I watched it all play out, I sat on the sidelines letting them go at it verbally, even though it makes me absolutely crazy listening to them bicker. When the fist hitting started I stepped in...not so patiently, I might add. All the little stuff adds up and it didn't go so well. Sweetie Heart was in the Rabbit Hole and I totally went down with her.

Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

Library Update

We went to the library today. Sweet Girl decided before we went that she was going to hangout in the office instead of going to story time. She spent the whole time in the office. She didn't even go in after to get the craft. Ms. G spent the little time I was in there ignoring me. It's happened before, it always gets better.

Mostly I think Ms. G feels bad that Sweet Girl doesn't want to go to story time. She loves my girls and my family. It's not personal. Sweet Girl just knows what she likes and what she can handle. She is at choice and she choose herself over what others want for her. This will help to make her an amazing adult!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

That Girl...

never ceases to amaze me. This Parenting on Track thing really does work. And what's even better is that the earlier you start the easier it is for kids to get it. I have found that Sweet Girl is mush easier to teach and encourage her through the changes then it is with Sweetie Heart. they are both doing so great with all the changes. And things just keep changing and getting better.

I have two stories that really go to show that our kids are geniuses and, when we take the time to ask, they really do have the best solutions.

This first story has taken a bit of time for me to metabolize. I think you'll see why.

As many of you know I have a passion for libraries and reading. When we moved her 3 1/2 years ago I started volunteering at the library. I took both of the girls with me they were 4 & 18 months at the time. They really have grown up at the library. They know and love the librarians and volunteers. Both of my girls have a special relationship with the head librarian. They love to spend time hanging out in her office and she loves having them.

We haven't been to the library for a while. It's probably been over a month. Sweet Girl had to earn the privilege to go by being ready to leave places when I said it was time. Last week she asked if we could go. She has been improving so I decided it was time to go again and see what happened. This isn't really the story, but she did great.

We went on story time day. Sweet Girl hasn't gone to story time for awhile. She's one of the oldest. She doesn't really know the kids her age because she didn't get into preschool this year and she really doesn't like big crowds. And let me tell you, there are a ton of kids and parents there. She tends to spend most of story time in the office and comes out when almost everyone is gone to do the craft. In the past I have heard the librarian tell Sweet Girl if she wasn't going to come to story time she wasn't going to be allowed to do the craft. Sweet Girl's response was to go with her for about 5 minutes and then come back to the office and say she didn't want to do the craft anyway. Good Girl!

This past week was more of the same. We went, she hung out in the office until the end and then came out to ask for the craft. I happened to be in there feeding Squeak when this all went down. It showed considerable restraint, all thing considered. Ms. G was cleaning up the craft table and putting the room back in order. When Sweet Girl asked for the craft she kind of ignored her, looking over her head ans such. Sweet Girl was persistent and asked again. Ms. G couldn't keep ignoring her because let's face it I was in the room. She gave her one. Sweet Girl asked for one for her big sister. Ms. G responded that pretty soon she was going to give one to Sweetie Heart but not to her because if she wanted to do the craft she was going to have to go to all of story time. I hate it when adults do stuff to kids. Totally one of my buttons.

After we came home I sat down with Sweet Girl to talk about it. I asked her how it made her feel when Ms. G said that. She said it made it feel mad. Sweet Girl's go to emotions are happy and sad. She doesn't really delineate more than that. So her saying it made her mad is really saying something. We talked about what we could do. We could go on a different morning or just go realizing that she might not get the craft or she could go to story time. She asked if Ms. G would be there on Wednesday mornings. I told her no she doesn't work that morning. She said she wanted to go on Wednesday. Hmm.

I revisited it on Tuesday. She said she wanted to go on Thursday because she wanted to do the craft. I asked if she wanted to go to story time. She said no, but she wanted to do the craft. I reminded her of what was said and she said, "But mom, she gave me the craft." Very true.

I've been going over it in my mind. Webby and I have talked about it. I've considered talking to Ms. G or the head librarian. I've considered not going on Thursdays so it's not even an issue. I've thought about stepping in and telling Sweetie Heart she has to go to story time. But you know what I decided? I'm just going to let it play out. Ms. G will either follow through or she won't. Either way Sweetie Heart will learn something. Do you know what else I realized? I do this all the time. I decide who I want to be around everyday. I decide whether or not to let someone else move me in the direction they want me to go. This is really good information for Sweetie Heart. And really, she already shown me that manipulation doesn't really work on her. She's a fighter, that one. If she feels forced or isn't asked in the right way, she says no and fights! But when asked if when would be willing or asked nicely she almost always happily complies. She's an amazing little girl!

Sweetie Heart is doing great with less clothes. The other day she handed me some clothes. I told her to put it in the hamper and she told me it was one of her "special outfits", it was dirty and needed washed. Hurray!! She's getting it and so am I!

She wants an later bed time. According to her, all of her friends stay up later then she does. She also gets up a lot earlier then they do, but that's beside the point. I started to make up a P&R for her. I decided to ask Vicki about it. Basically, she told me to butt out (in the nice Vicki way) and let Sweet Heart do it for herself. So we sat down after school today. I told her what my expectations were and let her make up her own P&R. Then I explained a Roadmap to her and she kind of did one of those. It's going to take a bit of tweaking but I'm really excited to see what happens! One of the things she decided to do was put up little signs all over the house that say "Think First." They are to remind her to think about what she needs to do everyday or earn her privilege. As she was explaining them to me she said, "Like your 'Keep Calm And Carry On' signs mom." She really is watching and observing and copying.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Little Story

This afternoon we finally put together Sweetie Hearts "favorite outfits." She asked me again to make sure that I would keep at least one of them clean for her at all times. She had no qualms putting her dirty shirt in the laundry tonight.

As we were going through the clothes and getting rid of some she doesn't want anymore, Sweet Girl was bouncing on her bed and entertaining herself. She's great at that! We weren't really paying much attention to her or what she was doing. Then I heard her say, "Who wrote an H on the wall? I didn't do it" I looked up to see he a big capital H written on the wall on brown colored pencil. I looked over at her and she was holding a brown colored pencil. She repeated, "I didn't do it. Someone came in and wrote on the wall."

She's been doing quite a bit of blaming others when she does something she shouldn't or thinks she might get in trouble for. She says her grandma did it (invisible friend), or blame it on an actual friend saying they just left or did it the last time they were here and we just now noticed. In the past both the writing on the wall and the lying would have sent me into a lecture about how we aren't supposed to have coloring stuff upstairs (for this very reason), how now she was going to have to clean it up (which she did have to do) and it would really be to make her feel bad. Today was different. Maybe Vicki was on my shoulder. I just looked at her and said that I knew that she did in and that she needed to get an eraser to clean it off the wall. She went and got an eraser and said she tried to do it. I'm going to assume she actually did try, but I wouldn't bet the bank on it. Then she asked me for help. I got a different eraser and we went back to the wall. I erased a little to show her it worked. She asked for the eraser and took over. I never did go back to see how it went. Guess I'll check in the morning.

How was that for firm but kind!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not Me!

It's been another interesting week. The contributions haven't been going all that great. They only do them if I remind them. That said, I haven't been doing my contributions either. Yes, I know I can't expect my kids to do what I will not.

This week at Family Meeting contributions went out. Sweetie Heart got assigned the living room. "I don't want the living room," she says. Funny all last week when it was my contribution and she had the kitchen she said she wanted the living room. Sweet Girl was assigned the floors. Now I realize it is hard for a 4 year old to sweep a floor. We did cut down a broom so it is more manageable for the kids to use. She has done it one day. She was complaining about it because I told her she could do it or sit on the stairs. She defied me with words, pouted and when that didn't work she asked me to help her. And we swept the floor together.

One thing Vicki pointed out was when kids are learning to do something they are afraid to do too much. They are afraid that if they do it too well and consistently then we will expect them to do it to the same standard all the time. She suggested a time line for it. Write down a time line for doing the contribution without reminding. Something like 3 times in 7 days. But we figure it out together and when that gets to be getting done then up it. So I'm going to work on that.

I have also heard, "That's not my contribution!" What am I supposed to say to that. They are are right. So I have been accepting that and moving on. Sometimes if I ask, "Would you be willing..." then they will, but when I ask that way I have to be and am willing for them to say no. It's just frustrating when we are trying to get ready to go some place and no one wants to help get things done so we can go.

Making It Work

I've been doing my best to encourage Sweetie Heart write down lists of the things she needs to to every day. Sometimes she will write stuff down, but then she doesn't look at the list or cross things off. She still forgets to look at it or even do it unless I remind (read tell) her. She gets distracted from the very thing that is supposed to help her to not get distracted.

I realize that I need to do a little more modeling of behavior. The kids pick up my...ahem bad...behavior why do the good stuff too. Lists help me stay organized and remember things I need to do. I love crossing stuff off a list. Making the list is the hard thing. Huh, it appears she is just like me.

So I taped an overhead sheet to my refrigerator and have been making lists on it all morning. Maybe if she sees me doing it she'll want to do it too.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Tale of Two Baskets ~ Revisited

I talked to Vicki about this. Actually, she said we needed to talk. Let me get my notes. Yes, I took notes!

For Sweetie Heart who doesn't like to change her clothes. She's a minimalist! Duh! She likes what she likes. At this point she doesn't care what others think, which can also be good. However, she does need to change her clothes. Vicki said I need to sit down with Sweetie Heart and talk to her about her favorite outfit. Acknowledge that it is her favorite and she wants to wear it all the time. But that I am in charge of keeping her clothes clean and I can't do that when she wears it all the time. So if she brings the outfit to me I will make sure it is clean for her to wear. However, if I don't get to it or she doesn't bring it to me after she's worn it twice, she needs to have a backup outfit. She picks out a backup outfit and a second backup outfit. I commit to having at least one of these outfits clean at all long as she brings the outfit(s) to me to be washed.

I talked to Sweetie Heart about that this morning. She got super excited about it! When I told her that I would commit to making sure one of those outfits were clean at all times, she got super excited. In retrospect, I think she had a look of relief on her face. Finally I was getting her! Now this is going to take some changes for me. I usually do laundry twice a week, Mondays lights and Fridays darks and whites. So I will need to schedule out the fill in laundry (towel, sheets etc) for random times during the week and throw her clothes in those loads. And now that I look at it, no wonder she keeps wearing the same clothes even when they are dirty. She wants to keep wearing them, but knows she won't get them back for a week. DUH! Then she still has to wear something else and remember what laundry day it is and what if the outfit is dark and light. Very confusing. So we appear to have worked this out.

For Sweet Girl, the girl of many outfits. Vicki said she has too much to choose from and that she only needs seven outfits. I agree whole heartedly! We just went through her clothes last week. I got rid of a bin full of stuff. We were also doing the switch over though. I think she still has too much stuff. She definitely has more than seven outfits. And seeing as I just folded a big laundry basket full of her clothes Monday it would appear so. So maybe I will have her pick out her seven favorite outfits and see how that goes. I'll probably put stuff in a box and see if she asks for any of it. See what is manageable and what she can keep off the floor.

She's at that age where she loves everything. So when I ask if she likes something and wants to keep it she says, "YES! YES!" That gets us nowhere fast. But then again when I get rid of stuff she doesn't usually ask for it. Maybe she wants to be a minimalist, too. She just doesn't know how to with all the stuff. She also loves gifts, so when people give us their outgrown clothes she wants to keep them. I am grateful for the generosity of my friends and family. I understand that the kids like to have "new" clothes. That means I need to let go of the old stuff. I don't have to save so much stuff. Hurray!!

I like what Lori S. said. When your kids get old enough/ willing to do their own laundry let it go. But Sweet Girl is 4. She does help me do laundry, but does not take the initiative to do it on her own. I don't expect her to at this age. But when she's ready to do that, I'm all for it!

So that's where I am. Great information! Thanks Vicki!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Choices & Appreciations

I just got the smack down from Flockmother yesterday. Not me personally, but I took it to heart. She was talking about school and how her kids navigate the morning routine...or not. At the end of her post she said this:
Ok, here’s the thing about school. Stop pretending that school isn’t a choice. EVERYTHING is a choice. And your kids know it. Every morning when I wake up I choose my marriage, my family, my job, my house, and my pets. I choose my life. Every day. No one is threatening me, tying me up, or pushing me around. I choose, and so do our kids.
How many times have I told Sweetie Heart the not going to school is not a choice? I can't even tell you how many. It was at least three times last week and once this week. When things start getting tough in the morning (ie: she's going to be late, hasn't packed her lunch etc) she starts in on how she doesn't want to go to school, she doesn't like school.

Flockmother has let her kids choose to stay home from school. Yikes! She is a brave, brave woman. I honestly don't know how that would go here. I'm so afraid that Sweetie Heart would like being home all the time. She has said on numerous occasions that she wishes I would home school her. I just don't have the patience to do that. I can recognize that in me. Plus, whenever I try to teach her something she complains and refuses. What do I let her do if she is at home? Do I just let her play with her sister? Do I make her work or stay in bed? Do I call the school and tell them she's not coming? And what reason do I give?

Maybe just the suggestion that she can stay home is enough to get her to go. Maybe it's the fight and the tears and the interaction that she's wanting. I do know that when she is home she just wants me to play with her and I have so many other things that I need to get done I don't have the time or energy to do that. Plus then there is the fighting to get my attention. Hmm. I need to think a bit more about this.

This week's momTV cut out but it was about Problem Solving during Family Meeting. I'm putting up a piece of paper to write down the problems that are coming to me. Sweetie Heart expressed to me that it would be obvious that the problem was with her sister, even if she didn't use her name, because there is only two of them. So smart that girl! I told her she could have a problem with Webby or myself as well. I want her to know she can express problems about her parents as well.

As the parents, we've been using the problem solving to air our complaints. I was reminded that it isn't our time. This time is only for our kids. If we, as parents, have a problem with something our kids are doing then we just need to make it their problem. Webby and I were talking about this last night. Often the kids will come to us and say they don't feel good. They complain about every bump and bruise and minor discomfort. Sweet Girl says she's sick so she needs to eat in the living room and watch movies all day. (We have a family rule that we have pizza & movie night every Friday. We don't watch movies during the week or during the day.) We're thinking that the next time it happens we will scoop them up and take them to their room. Stating that when we are sick or hurt we need to stay in bed and rest. They have the freedom to come out if they are feeling better. This will either become a problem to be solved at family meeting or it will cause extinction of the behavior.

I am also putting up a piece of paper to write down appreciations during the week. Vicki talked about this on momTV (3/9/10). So many times we forget the things we appreciate about our kids and our kids about us when it come family meeting time. So the same things get said over and over again. So we can bring that list to family meeting. The other thing she pointed out is that if you have the list as your kids walk by they see thier name and stop to read what someone appreciates about them. And they say to themselves, "Hey, yeah, I do do that!" or "Someone finally noticed that." Everyone loves to be appreciated. Flockmother had a great experience with this. She also recommended that that we appreciate our spouse at least three times a day. I would say we need to do that for every member of the family, but that probably falls under the Crucial C's.

It should be an exciting week.