Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday Night

Thursday morning I visited my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law.  Confused yet?

My sister-in-law’s family has become real family to us.  We feel so much comfort and acceptance around them.  They love us and we love them.  I would have never expected to feel so close to family so far removed, but it works.  Why not hang on to a good thing?

My sister-in-law’s (brother’s wife) brother and his wife had twin boys just over a month ago.  Knowing how difficult the adjustment can be with just one baby, I wanted to do what I could to help while I had some time off from school.  I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting, talking and spending time together.  I have also enjoyed spending time and helping with the boys and seeing them grow and change over the past 3 weeks.

But on the drive home, I didn’t feel so wonderful.  And I just felt worse throughout the day.

You see, about a week after my trip to the ER for passing a kidney stone, I was back in immediate care for some severe vertigo.  The doctor said I had a double ear infection.  But at my follow up a week later, my regular doctor said she suspected my Eustachian tubes were both blocked through some swelling. She said anytime my sinuses are congested, I would get vertigo.  I don’t have many allergies, but it seems I am allergic to something in the sub-tropical greenhouse at the Chicago Botanic Garden which I experienced when we went there for Mother’s Day.  And yesterday. Not a full out vertigo attack, but definitely something (maybe from some of the dust from the drilling I did to hang new curtain rods).  I also feel water moving in my ears from time to time and a strange pulsating sound/feeling.  It looks like a trip to the ENT is in order soon.

Mothers Day-25

In the afternoon, I walked to school to pick up the kids thinking some exercise and fresh air would do me some good.  I brought each child a small gift I had purchased earlier that day.  I have to say that just about everyday when I pick up my kids from school it is like a great reunion.  I am so so happy to see them and there are hugs and kisses, handholding and lots of stories about their day.  Call me a sap, but I tend to make a big deal out of the small things with my children.  I love them so and miss them during the day while they are at school. 

Unfortunately, it was hot hot hot outside and I was not feeling so great by the time we got home.  I tried to rest in bed as best I could with two kids.

I bribed them to clean their rooms with “prizes”.  How could I resist those cute toys near the checkout at Hobby Lobby?  After much resistance, both rooms were cleaned. 

I took them to their gymnastics classes.  I watched for a while and then worked on my crotchet project to help the time pass.  I could not wait to get back home.  I always feel better being at home when I’m tired or not feeling well.

I was going to grab some dinner for the kids at “gasp” a fast food restaurant to make things easier on me, but they both wanted mac and cheese.  So my buddy Miles was my sous-chef at home.  Ella took a shower and didn’t get all the soap out of her hair, so I rinsed it out at the kitchen sink and Miles cooked.  She danced around the kitchen while Miles focused on his mac and cheese duties. 

Every day with my children is a gift.  I rejoice and celebrate even the mundane everyday things.  To me, they are not mundane.  I prefer to live in the moment.  Because for the most part, things are really good.  How do I know that will last forever?  Well, one way or another, it won’t.  If I learn to find joy in small things now, I hope it will always be easy to do so in the future.

I leave you with a small segment of our evening in pictures…


Mothers Day-35Mothers Day-36Mothers Day-33Mothers Day-32Mothers Day-30Mothers Day-29Mothers Day-28

Mothers Day-27Mothers Day-31

Do you celebrate the everyday?  Do you live in the moment?

Enjoy your day and savor the small things.  Find beauty where you’d least expect it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Parenting, Sometimes…

is hard.  But please read on …kristiandellasquare

Ella and Mommy – circa 2009

When my children were much younger, I read three different parenting books… 1 2 3 Magic, On Becoming Toddlerwise ~ Parenting Your 18-24 Month Old, and Parenting with Love and Logic.

While I felt the most connection with 1 2 3 Magic and have used many of the philosophies successfully with my own children, I kept some interesting ideas in the back of my mind from Parenting with Love and Logic.  A few weeks ago, I implemented one of its methods… Natural Consequences.

To paraphrase from their website:

Often, parenting advice is given in order to strive to keep children comfortable and foster high-self esteem through mere praise.  However, it has been found that confidence is born out of struggle and achievement, not simply through external praise.  It is important to allow children the opportunities to approach situations independently in order to give them the freedom to learn how to tackle their own problems under the care of an adult.

In the Love and Logic philosophy, a child will regard their parents as “good” and their own poor decisions as “bad”.  Not only will a child learn to expect natural negative consequence from negative behavior, they will have created an inner strength to stand against peer pressure.

Here is the recent dilemma in which I used the Natural Consequence method of discipline:

My kids (ages 6 1/2 and 8) have been expected (by us, their parents) to do more independently.  They are capable and we want them to learn age-appropriate responsibility.  In the morning before school they dress themselves, fix their breakfast, eat, and get ready to leave in a timely manner.  At least that is what is expected, and overall they are pretty good about it.  At this point, I give gentle reminders to get moving, and I pack their lunches and folders in their backpacks, or instruct them to do so if time permits.  I also drive, bike, or walk them to school.

One particular morning Ella was moving slow after she got dressed.  I reminded her to make sure to eat soon before it was time to leave.  I came downstairs to find her lounging in a chair reading a book.  I assumed she already ate breakfast as she had plenty of time to do so since I reminded her.  I told her it was time to get her shoes and coat on to leave.

She informed me that she hadn’t eaten yet.

I told her that this one time I would give her money to get breakfast at school, but I would not do this again.  And I meant it.  I put $1.50 worth quarters in an envelope (I didn’t have a one dollar bill on me), sealed it and suggested she put it in her backpack so it wouldn’t get lost. 

Next, I asked the kids to go outside and get in the car - I’d be there in a few seconds.  When I went outside, Ella was playing around in the yard.  I reminded her that I had told her to get in the car and asked why was she in the yard?  She replied with an “I don’t know” and a desperate remark that she had dropped her quarters.  When I told her to go pick them up, she went back into the yard and started searching in the grass.  I then told her “Oh, no, we don’t have time to look in the grass, it’s time to go.”  In the car I told her that I was sorry that she couldn’t have breakfast that day, but she had made a couple of bad decisions.

It killed me that she was going without breakfast.  No breakfast is just not healthy and makes for a cranky, poorly functioning child.  And I did feel worried, sad and guilty.  But I kept telling myself that this, more than anything, would be an unforgettable lesson and I bet she would be much more cognizant of her time in the mornings from then on.

I told her teacher about this incident (apologizing in case Ella was a bear that morning – which apparently she wasn’t) and she actually praised me saying she wished she’d used such methods earlier with her high schooler who does not feel a healthy sense of self-responsibility.

I talked later with Ella to remind her that she wasn’t stupid (as she seemed to feel she was) but rather that she made some bad choices and that she was free to make better choices.  She hasn’t missed breakfast since.

Though parenting can be painful at times, I know that if we are purposeful about what we do, it is good for our children in the end.  No one will ever be a perfect parent, but at least we can try to do our best along this journey!


1 2 3 Magic – by Thomas W. Phelan

On Becoming Toddlerwise ~ Parenting Your 18-24 Month Old – by Gary Ezzo, Robert Bucknam

Parenting with Love and Logic – by Foster Cline, Jim Fay

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