Monday, February 13, 2017

Sick Life/Parenting

We've been sick around these parents. Hello, my name is Lindsay and I have been sick for approximately 15 weeks now. But on top of it we all had really bad colds, sore throats, tons of runny nose junk, etc. Since I was keeping Ruth home from school I decided to make sure it wasn't strep (our friends whose house we had been at had all gotten confirmation of strep) and they never actually tested any of my kids, but put Ruth on antibiotics for an ear infection and Will on antibiotics to help his lungs breathe. Also, nebulizer with albuterol, because always with that boy. 
Here is what they did all day for three days straight while the beautiful 80 degree sunshine was outside. Little People. I swear, my kids revive those toys over and over and over again. Lately it is because they mix them up with the doll house toys AND the trains AND the *insert any other kind of little type of person toy* and make one huge town of toys.
Molly fell asleep while reading beside me on the couch one day and it was super cute. Don't worry, it's just mac 'n cheese on her shirt.
The nebulizer has actually been quite easy this time around. I thought about asking for those kid inhalers but then forgot before we left. This kid just sits down, pours in his own albuterol (after I twist it open), puts it on his head, turns it on, and proudly does it 'all by himself' and then asks five billion times if the water is all out yet so he can be finished, haha.

This room has been full of bins, first Christmas bins, then warmer weather clothes bins (because, ya know, it did get down to 65 a couple of days and I had to scrounge out sweaters for everyone), and then we got a free stroller and infant carseat, and etc., etc. My point is this room, beyond being our food storage room and Sterling's study room, is also the holding ground for all items that should be put away but aren't. I spent a GOOD chunk of time one afternoon sorting and cleaning. And look how empty it is now!

I told Molly to go get dressed and she yelled 'NO!" and ran away. I walked passed a few minutes later to open the pantry door to throw something in the garbage and she was hiding in there. It was HILARIOUS.

A mother duck and all her adorable ducklings. We watched them for quite some time on our Sunday morning walk this week. We went in our pajamas because last week when we walked after getting in our Sunday clothes it was too hot and we were all sweating. A walk in pajamas is a good Sunday tradition I think.

Will colored this man today and I LOVE IT SOOO MUCH!

On to some parenting things. My kids have not been the easiest lately. I keep reminding myself that it is probably in large portion to the fact that I have been sick forever and not in my own best state for handling them. But that aside, they really have some things we have been wanting to work on. And because I cannot shut a yelling/kicking 4 yr old in his room every time he hears the word 'no', and because I cannot send a dramatic, emotional melting-down 5 yr old to her bed every time she cannot handle circumstances being out of her control, I have been TRYING very hard to do some research. My number one go-to lately has been Why? Because I loved their joy school curriculum and also--they do podcasts. And because I have been feeling slightly better, to help me and my children's relationship, we have started up our gym pass again and I can take my kids to the play area that they love while I get at least an hour to myself. And my podcast. Which makes me feel productive (because I'm not being very productive as far as working out because this pregnancy has been HARD on my body) and also give me a few good tips now and again. 

A friend of mine recently posted on instagram that their daughter was REALLY struggling with melting down/tantrums/out of control issues. My comment? I tried to make sure she felt completely supported. This particular mama had been to a therapist, talked to their pediatrician, talked to the 1st grade teacher, and was trying her very best. Now, as parents, I hope we all realize that unless you've parented a child like that, you cannot understand what it is like (and I mean this across the board with ANYTHING in parenting...each kid is so different). And since this is her oldest, and seems quite similar to my oldest, I wanted to provide sisterhood. I also told her "this is the HARDEST because it makes you feel like you have to be the perfect, patient parent because you are the adult in the situation, but you can't be, because we are not perfect. Insert mom guilt. But just keep trying! It takes a lot of strength and effort, but every day we just keep at it!" So for all you parents who have easy, submissive children--you can stop reading now. 

Listening to podcasts has at least given me a 'sisterhood' in my frustrations in parenting, but I feel like I still don't have a very good handle on actual tips. BUT it does help me stop and think more often, because discussions are more in the forefront of my mind, and it does help me turn situations around more quickly. So win/win. Here are two recent tips I HAVE gleaned and instigated and so far are going SMASHINGLY well:
The Gunny Sack. I guess this is from a Richard and Linda Eyre book. Which I should probably read. I feel like I am telling my kids things 500 times and they STILL seem surprised when I finally loose my cool. This bag EATS toys. So-my kids are at a really great age for this, yours may not be. But you sit them down and tell them the story of Gunny Sack. He is ALWAYS hungry. He especially loves toys. When mom has asked the kids to clean up, and all the toys are still out, Gunny Sack loves to come out and STARTS EATING TOYS! (now what I loved about this podcast is the lady saying that "If you think my kids immediately thought it was a fun game and started cleaning up their toys, you're wrong. The first few times Gunny Sack appeared there was a lot of weeping and wailing. And even though he makes fewer appearances now, it can still cause a lot of turmoil.") The toys that get eaten are eaten until Saturday, when Gunny Sack is too full and spits them all back out to be put away. If you are interested there is even a song. I could find it on youtube, but only random little kids singing it in their home. Still, you get the gist.  This has helped our family in the fact that it helped me ease my tension, because I have something to do besides wanting to send all my children to their room forever because I am so tired of nobody listening to me. It also gives the kids very clear cut signals of what is going to happen, and what the consequences are--in a good 4 yr old understandable way.

This is the second one we have recently instigated. I have done jars before. Bean jars mostly. If you are good you get a bean, if you are bad, a bean gets taken out, when you get to the top you get a prize, etc. Essentially the same as a sticker chart, which we have also done. What I liked about this one is it is for the whole family---good for us right now as we have one child constantly succeeding at charts and one always falling behind and he is still a little young to keep up so its a hard balance---and it only rewards good behavior, it doesn't punish bad. Because we do a lot of punishing around here lately. Point in case, today he-who-will-not-be-named was having a really hard time right before lunch. I asked him to apologize for hitting his sister and he yelled 'no!' and then threw his arms up and down, quite vehemently, several times. I said (and I have to give myself kudos for being very patient this morning, I am not always this calm and collected when they throw tantrums like that) "If you cannot stop hitting your arms, you will have to go in time out." He hit his arms again, so I took him calmly to the corner, grabbed his little blue stool, and sat him down and told him he could come out when he was ready to apologize. He wailed and cried for a bit. Then he quietly came and stood by me. I told him if he was ready to come out he had to apologize. He did. A few minutes later I asked him to clean something up off the floor so we could be ready for lunch. Repeat. Again, back to the corner telling him when he was ready to help, he could come out. About two minutes after that I said he couldn't have a cookie until after he ate his mac 'n cheese. Repeat. Again, in the corner. DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL LIKE THEIR LIFE REPEATS EVERY TWO MINUTES OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN?!!?!?!?!  BUUUUUT....
We introduced this 'Love Jar'. In fact, he put all the stickers on it himself this afternoon while Ruthie worked on her Valentine's box for school. The purpose of the Love Jar is that whenever you are asked to do something by a parent, you respond with "I'd love to!" and each time you do, you get to put a fluffy ball in the jar. You do not LOSE fluffy balls for not saying it, it is just to encourage a more pleasant conversation when directions are given. In fact, it brought me up short a couple times when I was getting frustrated and I said something like "R, will you just get all this -motioning to the mountain of stuffed animals and blankets' OUT of my kitchen until after dinner?!?!?" And she said "I'd love to!" I instantly felt bad that I hadn't even said please and my tone of voice was definitely not pleasant. The excitement of putting a ball in then encouraged other family members to want to put them in, too. (to the point that when she remembered to say it at bedtime when I asked them to put their pajamas on, and he did not, there was a major meltdown...what can I say, we're not perfect over here.) But I like having something in our home that just encourages that good behavior. Because then I don't have to sit there and say "If you don't do this or this, you will lose another bean!" or "If you don't leave the playground right now like I asked, you will lose another bean!" I don't have to be on top of it all day long like that. If they remember, they get to put one in, and they are excited, but I don't have to do much parenting at all.
Oh, and once the jar is full, because everyone contributed, everyone gets the prize. I told my kids it would be the frozen yogurt--where you get to put whatever toppings on. They are very excited about it.

There are my parenting sagas. I know that little things like that work for a while, then they don't, and you have to constantly rework systems. But we were really needing some pick-me-ups on parenting over here lately, and those have been helpful, so I thought I would share. Also, I thought I would share my favorite children's book, because Will loves it lately, which I love, because it is MY favorite, and I thought it my civic duty to let the world know that this book is out there. 

The end.

PS I know you are probably all as desperately sad as me that these are all lame phone photos. Please bear with me. I would also love to be looking at beautiful camera photos. Someday. (I really, really, really hate people who steal.)


Kami said...

Steal pictures? Is that what you meant. And hope your things help. My day has gone like this--Hush Frodo!!! Hush Lando!!! Jubal STOP!!!!

And now I'm really not commenting anymore unless you comment on my blog.
The end.

The Haws Family said...

No. Steal my camera.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful you have a phone to take pics with and share!!!!! Good ideas. Don't give up. Don't quit. You can do it.
My only advice is to hug and kiss them as much as possible - especially when you don't feel like it.
I love you!!! Thanks for sharing.