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.