Saturday, July 31, 2010


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,'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.

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


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