Monday, February 13, 2012

Things I've Noticed

Over the past few months, I've been observing myself and my family. Here's some of the things I've learned.

  • I like to be in control (WHAT!?!?!)
  • I nag, badger, speak sternly (my kids call it yelling) to get my way
  • I feel unappreciated most days
  • When the kids are fighting, yelling, screaming, instigating each other, I have a hard time staying out of it
  • I feel like if I could get this "parenting thing" right my kids wouldn't do the above and we'd all be happy and helpful and kind to each other
  • When we are all peaceful and kind, the whole family has more fun together
  • I want to say "yes" to everything my kids ask from me
  • Feel bad when I have to say "no"
  • Compares my worse to others best
  • Has a hard time overcoming the "what will the neighbors think" thing
  • Feels freer when I pass give up a chore to the kids
Sweetie Heart
  • When she feels discouraged she tries to bring everyone down with her
  • She can, when she puts her mind (and prayers) to it, overcome her anger and frustration with others
  • She is quick to react with her temper (see above)
  • She is quick to reset if time is taken with her alone to help her feel connected
  • She feels like she needs to be perfect (hmm, I wonder where she gets that)
  • Time has no meaning, unless it's her time
  • She feels entitled in some things but not everything
  • She has a subtle way of making people engage in a battle with her
  • When something is bothering her she attacks the family without cause
  • She is reliant on verbal cues (ie reminding) to get stuff done and easily "forgets" to do stuff whether she's asked to or it is routine
Sweet Girl
  • When she gets mad or discouraged, she screams to make everyone else miserable
  • When screaming doesn't work, she goes to her room to be alone and resets on her own
  • Does not respond well to verbal cues
  • Responds well to a bell to signal the next step (contribution time)
  • Whines to get her way
  • Time doesn't matter. The future works itself out without her and she's usually fine with that
  • Wants verbal cues to keep her on schedule in the morning
  • Is very generous and loving
  • When asked nicely with respond in kind

Little Man
  • Asks for help doing things he can do by himself
  • Whines and tantrums to get his way. When ignored moves on and forgets it and moves on
  • Screams when Sweet Girl takes his things away to get his way
  • Throws more tantrums when Sweetie Heart is here because she gives into him
  • Like to play in his room alone before taking his nap
  • Is content on his own in his room in the morning
  • Is more capable then I ask him to be

I'm sure there are a ton more. I need to focus more on the positive things, like the fact they can and do make themselves a hot breakfast most mornings all by themselves. They make their own lunches. They help me make dinner. They help can and do play well together most of the time. They do their own laundry. They bathe themselves. They pick out their own clothes and dress themselves. They do their contributions very well. They know 'how' to do lots of stuff, they just don't.

I am hearing small statements of entitlement. Which really bothers me. But it isn't all their fault. I know that I made that beast. Now I need to tame it. Not with retaliation, but with kindness. I should probably start by apologizing that I taught them that first ans then move forward from there. Here is a great post I just read.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I just read a post/ article (how do I figure out which it is?) called "Is My Kid entitled? How to Tell" and it really intrigued me. When I saw the headline I had to go and read it so I could find out if my kids are entitled.

I found out that it's not an easy answer. Are they ever? The answer is yes and no. When I look at the behavior my kids exhibit, sometimes they do act entitled and sometimes they don't. Hmmm, what's a mom to do?

My answer is to reflect. As I look back on my kids and their behavior, I have to say that in the past they have acted more entitled than they do now. I credit the education I got through the Parenting on Track Program and my own and Webby's personal conviction to teach our kids that life will not just be handed to you. Upon reflection, however, I figured out that's exactly what I was doing. There is a difference in inviting your kids to participate in their lives and asking their opinion, or what they want on everything.

I remember as a new mom going to the store and my little cherub saying she wanted something and I would get it for her. "She's only little once," my mind would tell me. Or, "Who doesn't want a little treat every now and then. Surely, she deserves it. She's just spent time at the grocery store with me." Or worst of all, "I want that, too. So I'll use her desires to fulfill my wants." No, a treat every now in then does not make an entitled child. But what about every week. I remember asking my 2 year old what she wanted for lunch. Not a big deal, she has her preferences. But I would also make 2 dinners. One for Webby and I and one for her. Because, honestly, how could I possibly require a child to eat an adult meal. Not that she didn't do it all the time, but when she didn't want to then it was different. I remember my mom telling me she ask my daughter what she wanted to eat and she said, "Cajun Salmon." Nuff said.

So what about now? How is it different? I don't really have all the answers. I can tell you I make one meal for dinner. If you like it , great! If not, too bad. The next meal comes around eventually. No snacks in between and no, you can't have a spoon full of peanut butter and some bread. Breakfast and lunch, on the whole, my kids are in charge of fixing for themselves.

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to teach my kids how to do laundry. I figured out recently, that laundry was one of those things that was making problems with my relationship with my kids. I would do the laundry or "help" them with the laundry. Then I would separate the clothes into individual baskets and stack them in my room or their room. In either place the baskets would just sit until I said I needed them again. Then the clothes would be dumped on the floor with the dirty clothes (yes, there was a hamper in there) and it would get all mixed up and I'd end up washing clean clothes. Does that make anyone else angry? If they baskets were in my room then they would take out the clothes they wanted, when they wanted them. You get the picture.

Now honestly, I don't want something stupid like laundry getting in the way of our relationship. So I came up with this solution.

Each child gets 1 ticket each week. That ticket is good for 1 wash and 1 dry. They don't have to use their ticket and they can keep collecting them as they want up to 5 tickets. If they need to wash something but don't have a ticket they can pay $1 for each wash and or dry. New tickets go in one side, used tickets or money goes in the other. They can separate their clothes by colors and share the responsibility or they can throw all their stuff into one load (that's what I did in college.) I won't say a word about any of it, unless they leave their stuff in the washer or dryer. They can leave it clean in the basket or fold and put it away. Whatever, it's their stuff. They have been trained how to take care of their stuff. What they decide to do is their decision. How nice it is to not have that on my back anymore.

Why did I tell you that? I have no idea. It just came to my head and I posted it. That's how I roll sometimes.

Take a few minutes, if you haven't already, and go read that article (I decided it was an article.) It's very insightful.

Friday, February 3, 2012


What 3 blog posts in 1 week!? Of course, one of them wasn't done by me and the other only contained pictures...but still.

Just wanted to share something funny. Last night Sweet Girl (6) was saying family prayer. She tends to make them more of a personal prayer said with the family but it's good practice. Today we are going to church to do a bit of organizing in the library. We told the kids about it last night at dinner. They will be eating dinner and watching a movie while Webby and I (hopefully) get the work done quickly.

During her prayer she said, "Pray that we will be able to watch "Megamind." Pray that we can have a picnic. Pray that we can wear pants." At which point Sweetie Heart and I busted up laughing. She stopped praying for a minute but continued as we tried to contain our laughter. I wasn't mocking her. It just seemed so unrelated. After the prayer, she looked at me quizzically and said, "What's funny?" Webby gave her a hug and basically said he understood what she was saying. I didn't get it. She was praying that they could wear pants to the church instead of a dress, which we do for church and other events at church.

Here's another cute one.

Did you catch it?

Love that kid!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading and Reflections

This is a guest post from Webby

I love this picture.

Here we see the power of connection between teacher and student, transcendent of subject, building on a legacy of trust and service.

Elder Johnson, as with his companion, and countless, yet numbered unto God, other Missionaries have profoundly influenced and blessed our family. Through their devoted service, whether scrubbing our basement walls, showing forth the love of God by sharing a story with one of His daughters, or encouraging us to consider and work for the eternal welfare of ourselves and our neighbors; the will of Our Father in Heaven is manifest.

Sweetie Heart, 2 in this picture, is now 9 and has a strong, increasing desire to serve as a Missionary in due time; with such wonderful influences as the many Missionaries we have been privileged to serve and share time with, it is easy to understand – if you haven’t recently had Missionaries to your home to eat a meal and share testimony of the Savior, I implore you to do so, and promise blessings if you will. The other day, Sweetie Heart brought this picture to Mama, which inspired a search resulting in this discovery: last fall, Brother Johnson, now a soldier, still serving in the way he has undoubtedly been directed by the Lord; returned to his beautiful family from a time in Iraq – here is the link to pictures that shared this happy news with us. How grateful we are to see him with such blessings as an eternal companion and children. Without being name specific, we have prayed much for the welfare of him and his family. We are grateful for the abundance granted us, and for those who serve to preserve such as we enjoy – may we all strive to give more freely and more freedom to all.

Next guest post: Service coordination between Vermont and Zimbabwe.