Monday, June 21, 2010


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


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!