Weaning Feelings and Other Big Emotions

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Elle has been weaned from breastfeeding for almost one week now. She is still a little restless at bedtime as she transitions into a new routine, but for the most part I think we’ve completely crossed over. And to put it bluntly I’m all dried up, so that ship has officially sailed.

I am done having babies and nursing. The goat picture will make sense in a minute.

I was talking to my friend with 5 kids, the one who has walked this motherhood journey with me from day one. I was there with her when her first daughter was born and vice versa. She asked me sympathetically how I was feeling, knowing that Elle is our last baby and I will never breastfeed again. I told her I was sincerely fine with this change.

I’ve been pretty vocal about our family planning on the blog, mostly because it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about and sometimes it’s a random blogger on the internet that makes you feel a little less alone. I know this because I’ve gotten comments and emails from women who have opened up about the confusing emotional decision to not have anymore children.

In our case,  I knew Elle was the last one when I was pregnant with her. Shortly after her birth we took the leap into having a permanent birth control procedure. We would love to adopt some day so that makes our finality of being finished having kids a lit more murky. Do I save that cute little dinosaur costume in case we adopt a toddler? But back to the topic of breast feeding, that’s something I know I will never be doing again.

I was ready to be done with breastfeeding. It wasn’t sad for me. I nursed each of my four babies for well over a year and Ezie and Elle were basically two years. So I have paid my dues. I was even starting to resent it a little. That’s how I knew it was time to wean Elle. She’s definitely old enough so that’s not the issue. At this point it is a matter of comfort and bonding. For me I was very uncomfortable being woken up at 2:oo am and I don’t think a disgruntled mother scowling  and murmuring is the most positive bonding experience either.

I worked on a goat farm a long time ago and remember watching a not so tiny kid try to get to its mothers teat. As the mother was trying to back away from her child she would turn and bleat. She was done and the kid was old enough to stop. I feel ya momma goat. Even in the animal kingdom some kids need a little extra push and sometimes mommas gotta bleat.

As far as Elle turning two soon. I’m okay with that too, but I am a little wishy washy in my emotions about no longer having a baby. On the one hand I get sad thinking about aging and grown kids. I reminisce about how cute and innocent those precious early years are.

It’s the end of an era, and even with all of the exhaustion it brings, it is a sweet and delightful era.

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After I had Elle I was so hormonal watching her daily changes and rapid growth that I was really grieving the thought of not experiencing any of that ever again. So I made a list. A tangible list. I wrote down dozens and dozens of reasons why I look forward to having older kids and no more babies. Eventually those sad emotions just went a way and I swung the other direction. I started counting down the years until I would no longer need a babysitter to leave the house for a moment. I dream about running in and out of stores alone.

I had a conversation with friends recently that made realize how lucky I am to have four really awesome empowering pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding experiences. Still, after spending the past decade pregnant or nursing I am just ready for this next chapter. It’s time.

I have so many more thoughts on this transition, but I’ll just have to do part two, or three, or four even, because I may feel different after Elle turns two. I may feel different again when she turns three and I’ve crossed the threshold for longest time I have gone without being pregnant. Sigh. I’ll just keeping feeling and blogging.

Onward we go, upward they grow. Thank you God for this incredible journey.

By | September 11th, 2017|Babies & Toddlers, Motherhood, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Getting Emotional About the Last Baby

While in Texas last week I got to spend some time with Connie (the pastor’s wife at the church where we did ministry for many years). She is the same age as my mom and always has so much valuable wisdom to impart. When talking about motherhood Connie reminisced about her only daughter graduating from High School and leaving for college. This was close to 15 years ago when she was about to become an empty nester and her daughter asked her Are you going to miss this? 

Connie replied

Yes. I am going to miss you, but I have always missed every stage that you have gone through. I missed having a little baby around, I missed the toddler stage, and when you turned 16 and no longer needed me to drive you around I missed that. But then I also always looked forward to the next stage. I get to watch you grow and discover new things.

That’s it. That’s what I have had to remind myself over and over. It’s hard knowing that aside from whatever could happen with potentially adopting a chid we are done having children. Baby Elle is the last time I will experience so many of these things and it’s all happening so fast! I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck over it.

I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and I’ll admit I have done that when I have read lengthy status updates about someones first baby turning one and how the world is ending because their baby is “all grown up”. Then I know plenty of other people that are just shy of detesting babies/toddlers and toast cheerfully to each passage toward independence.

I don’t do change quite so well.

Ten years ago I was so reluctant to have children. I never wanted to disrupt the connection between my husband and I or our childless freedom. I could hardly fathom life tied down with babies. Now that J and I have children of our own our relationship has definitely changed, but it’s become so much deeper and stronger. We both wish we would have started our family sooner!

Then when I had Z my world changed forever as I stepped into the role of mom. I didn’t want to upset that relationship either. I don’t know how many mothers I have talked to who have all said the same thing- I don’t know how I could ever love another child as much as I love this one. Then they had the next child and the love only grew. I do have a soft spot for those first two years of motherhood when it was just Z and I, but there is nothing like getting to watch siblings interact and bond with one another. You not only get to love more children, but you get this amazing gift of watching them bond and love each other. It’s amazing!

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Every stage so far has had it’s pros in cons. You trade in sleepless nights for power struggle days cushioned by adorable phrases of overwhelming cuteness. Then chubby little faces turn into grins with missing teeth. Before you know it you begin to connect on a deeper level and have conversations about history, and ride bikes together, or play board games where you are actually challenged. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, but I see a pattern. It keeps getting better. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

I’m sure this stage of parenting is just like the other stages that I was reluctant to embark upon. If I had only known all the joy and fulfillment that was coming I might not have been so hesitant. I know there are parts of this season of life that I will miss, isn’t that always the case? But for now I am just soaking it all up. Living in this moment that is a gift from God and knowing that there are so many more new and wonderful memories that await.

Of course I sound all sentimental and peaceful now, but we’ll see how I feel in 15 years. Shoot, with the way my emotions swing you can ask me how I feel tomorrow. For now, I can handle the bitter sweet fact that my babies will not stay babies forever.

By | April 7th, 2016|Babies & Toddlers, Motherhood|1 Comment

Create Your Own Speech Therapy Book

When SJ was first diagnosed with hearing loss I was encouraged to create an experience book. Books are a great resource for speech delays anyway, but a book that has pictures and experiences that your child can directly identify with is even better.

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I try to make a new one every year so that we can expand on what she has learned. Here is a look at how easy it is to create and implement.

First Words

The first book was the most basic both in it’s design and the words that were in it. For this one all you need is

  • 4×6 photo album
  • Pictures of your child or objects that are familiar
  • Index cards to spell out the words you are encouraging the child to say

I chose words like hurt along with a picture of SJ with a boo boo

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or sleep with a pic of her sleeping.

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Trash is a word you may not find in your typical “first words” book, but trash (or some people say garbage) is a word we use everyday. That’s the beauty of customizing your own language book. You get to choose what to put in it.

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When we first made this book we weren’t even ready to start with saying words we were mostly working on the ling sounds like “Shhhhhh” for sleeping or “mmmm” for eating. Eventually she learned all the words and it was time to make a new, more advanced book!

First Sentences

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At this point she was learning the names of everyone in the family

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Along with the places we visited frequently (like the grocery store, museum, or school).

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When we started the book we kept it very simple and I had her repeat the words “Breakfast” “Lunch” “Dinner”. Eventually she started saying sentences and so we could expand to say “I see my teacher”. You can show a picture of a friend or a teacher, but it’s more meaningful to the child when they see their friend or their teacher.

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Early Reading and Abstract concepts

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She got this book for her birthday and she absolutely LOVES it. For this book I wanted to put in some sentences that she could read on her own because she is learning to read now. So for example “I love my family” is not expanding her speech because that is a sentence she has been able to say for a while now, but it’s simple enough to read. SJ loves to point to and sound out all the words.

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Then I included parts that are a little more difficult to read, but they are words and ideas that I hope she will start to have a better understanding of. For example, this page says “Sometimes I am sad, but I still obey mommy and daddy because that is a good choice. If I make a bad choice I say I am sorry. Mommy and daddy love me when I am happy or sad. They will always love me.”

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This can certainly apply to any child, not just special needs. My oldest son has recently requested that I make a book for him and I plan to do that next.

Now let’s look at the progression

If the first book says “School”

The next book says “I go to School at Ohio Valley Voices”

Then the next book says “I go to School at Ohio Valley Voices in Loveland Ohio”

It’s been so rewarding to watch SJ learn to communicate. I am really grateful that the idea for this was introduced to me and I hope it can be helpful to others.

Both of the hardback photo books shown here are from Shutterfly and I cannot recommend them enough. Right now there is a promotion going on for a free 8×8 photo book just like the one I’ve shown on here. The coupon code is ” SPRINGONIT “It expires tomorrow (March 22, 2016) so I know that’s not much time, but I will tell you that the Shutterfly website makes it so easy to throw these books together, so it doesn’t take much effort and they turn out beautifully. If you miss this offer you can catch the next one. Just Like Shutterfly on Facebook or sign up for their email to be in the know on the latest deals.

Your child will love seeing their pictures in print and you will love hearing them say all the new words. It’s a simple, but wonderful tool all the way around.

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More Laundry Headed My Way

With a family 5 I do my fair share of laundry, and I am about to do even more.

First of all I’ve got these itty bitty baby girl clothes to wash.

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Aside from the items I got from Carter’s all of this stuff came from a yard sale I went to last weekend. They had a two year old girl that was born in the winter so the stuff was perfect for our baby. The deal was all you could stuff in a grocery sack for $5. Well, call me Doc McSTUFFINS. I was all over it and now we should be set for the first 3 months of clothes.

I am also excited about pulling out the cloth diapers again. Every time you use a cloth diaper the cost per wear goes down and that makes the pay off for the initial investment even better. My cloth diaper stash paid for themselves a long time ago so now it’s just the cost of soap, water, and electricity.

And get this, the cost of soap and dryer time is even lower now since I’ve discovered Eco Nuts.

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I had never heard of this unique product before, but they sent me some stuff to try and it’s perfect timing for me! I’m not going to lie I normally just pick up whatever is on sale when I’m grocery shopping. The one time I am picky about my detergent is when I have baby. I don’t want to ruin the absorbency of my cloth diapers and I don’t want to irritate the delicate newborn skin so I have always been particular about what I use with a newborn.

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Despite the name and the appearance of Eco Nuts they are not really nuts. Though they are called soap nuts they are actually berries from a Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas. Inside the shell of these berries is something called saponin which is a natural cleaning agent that truly does work as a laundry detergent. I have been trying it for a couple months now and I don’t know if I am still used to how out of the ordinary it is, but it does get clothes clean.

You just put 4 or 5 berries in the little sack that is provided and you use the same berries up to ten times.

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They have a guide on their website that is more specific. Don’t worry you don’t have to keep a chalk board and tally each time you use one, you will be able to tell by the way the berries look.

I also got to try out their liquid detergent and wool dryer balls.

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I LOVE the dryer balls because I am pretty much a fan of anything reusable. Also the kids have gotten a kick out of helping with the laundry since I’ve incorporated balls and soap nuts.

Now for the downsides. I know it’s natural and all, but I do miss that artificial perfumy smell that comes with liquid soap and dryer sheets, but I would have gone perfume free when the baby came anyway.I always do.

I also don’t particularly like the hassle of having to make sure I don’t throw the berries in the dryer. HOWEVER, there is a solution to both of these legitimate complaints.

  1. You can add essential oils to the dryer balls if you want fragrance and then you get to pick exactly what scent you want!
  2. The bags usually fall to the bottom of the load on their own making them easy to find (like coins). However it is possible that they could get tangled in with the clothes especially if you are like me and toss your wet clothes into the dryer by the arm full. If you do accidentally dry your soap nuts it’s not going to hurt anything. I have only done it twice. So out of all the benefits of Eco Nuts that really is a small inconvenience.

There is so much more I could say about these products and if you are like me you probably have some questions. The Eco Nuts website is full of information. They have videos, savings comparison chart, cloth diaper details, and local retailers (which makes even more savings when you don’t have to pay shipping). Speaking of savings, right now there is a offer that allows you to get 10% off with the coupon code EcoFall2015 .

If you want to know more go to econutsoap.com . It’s all very fascinating and worth looking into even if you don’t decide to go the organic soap nut route. I am looking forward to see how it works with the baby clothes and cloth diapers and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.IMG_4800

By | September 18th, 2015|Babies, Babies & Toddlers, Frugal Living, Natural Living, Parenting Tips|2 Comments

Carter’s Size 8 and More!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. The opinions stated in this review are genuine. 

When I mentioned that I was doing our back-to-school clothes shopping at Carter’s you all responded with “I love Carter’s” “Carter’s is the best!” or “Us too!”

So maybe I’m not going to tell you anything that you don’t already know, which is that Carter’s clothes are adorable, affordable, convenient, and comfy. But did you know that they now offer a size 8?!

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This is really exciting for my family because Z turns 8 in like a week and he’s starting to wear size 8. So when I went to the Carter’s store a couple of weeks ago it was so convenient. I was able to shop for all 4 of my kids at Carter’s and left with a bag full of bargains.

That’s right, I said all FOUR of my kids because this pregnant mama stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the baby clothes at the front of the store. I couldn’t resist doing a little shopping for the little one coming in 3 months!

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Then I moved onto the size 5 girl clothes because SJ needed some new leggings and a first day of school outfit. There were so many options and I get nervous with this cutie pie because she is by far my pickiest dresser. She came with me though to choose what she liked. Carter’s makes shopping with little ones so easy thanks to their helpful employees, a nice clean layout, and even a little play table to keep the tiny shoppers entertained.

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We both fell in love with the “Shine Like a Star” ensemble.

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I loved how easy they make it to mix and match. I got the whole outfit for 50% off and even stocked up on some cute accessories. SJ rocked this look on her first day of Kindergarten.

Z was due for new shoes, new jeans, some back-to-school tops…the works!

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I found everything I was looking for at Carter’s thanks to the new size 8 and size 3Y shoe options. The adjustable jeans are the best thing ever because growth spurts do happen! He looked stylin’ in his back-to-school clothes and he entered the 2nd grade with confidence.

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Lastly, I also had to pick up a matching outfit for Ezie.Ezie

He really looks up to his big brother and they are still at an age where they love to match so how could I resist.

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I scored all of these items and more at such a great price and I even got $20 worth of coupons at the end (which I already spent by the way).

Now is a great time to stock up on awesome fall fashion sets for your kiddos because the deals are so amazing! First of all you can use this printable coupon or promo code to shop at your local Carter’s store or online and get 25% off your purchase of $40 or more.

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On top of that right now and through the end of August they are running the #CountMeIn Sale with many items up to 50% off and doorbuster savings like $6 leggings, long sleeve tees, or boys terry pants when you buy 2 or more. Then get ready because Labor Day weekend the entire store is 50% off! That’s my kind of a sale.

I already loved Carter’s , but some of these latest improvements have just made me love them that much more.

onthegoAre your kids closets ready for fall? Head on over to Carters.com or the Carter’s store to stock up on the styles you and your on-the-go-gang are sure to love!

By | August 24th, 2015|Babies & Toddlers, Frugal Living, Schooling|7 Comments

Free Signing Time Video

I have great news for you all today! Signing Time has a released a  FREE Back to School Video Download. It’s hard to believe that one of the stars of the show (little Leah) is now going off to college in real life! She was 4 when they started the series and so this free download is in celebration of that wonderful milestone.

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This video is perfect timing to prepare your little one for school while teaching 30+ signs as a bonus. I want to do everything I can to spread the word because I love Signing Time so much and if this video reaches 500,000 new families by October 1st then they will realease a second FREE download.

Downloads are great because sometimes you need that a quick movie available on your phone or tablet when you don’t have wifi access (like on an an airplane). Some of you moms of littles know what I’m talking about!

Just to give a short personal background story, the Signing Time series has been very instrumental to my family and will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only have they helped all three of my children to learn some of the foundations of ASL, but there was a season where I watched the videos over and over, pausing and rewinding parts until they stuck when SJ was first diagnosed deaf. My husband, my parents, and I would all gather around for our Signing Time lessons and we are adults! That was a big part of how I was able to final speak with my baby girl for the first time.

I won’t go into all the details but SJ wasn’t diagnosed until she was 2 and she didn’t get hearing aids until she was 2 1/2 and even then they didn’t help. It was a year before she began to hear via use of cochlear implants! So the first three years of her life sign language was how we communicated.

If you are interested in your child being exposed to sign language for any reason at all (and there are many benefits by the way) then this is a great time to check out Signing Time because the video download is absolutely free. There is no obligation to buy anything and it’s really fast and easy to get on your computer or other electronic device instantly.

Our family owns several Signing Time videos, we also have checked them out from the Library for ones we don’t own. We’ve seen Rachel and the gang on Nickelodeon and PBS as well as Netflix, but coinsidentally the school episode is one that is NOT on Netflix and we don’t own it. SCORE!

If I had to give one critique (it’s not really a critique at all, it’s just a personal difference). We use all the signs from Signing Time except for some of the finger spelling ones. For example there is a video where they teach the sign for “Toy” and they finger spell it “T-O-Y”. I own a signing dictionary and have local deaf friends that sign it the same as “play” but with the letter “T”. That doesn’t mean that finger spelling it is wrong AT ALL, I’m sure it’s more accurate to some degree. ASL is complex in that there are many different regional dialects and acceptable variations.

For SJ we used sign language as a practical bridge for communication and she still is not at a place where any fingerspelling has worked for her. So we are more likely to use what is called a “home sign” before we would learn a bunch of fingerspelling words. From what I understand this is not uncommon for young deaf children the same way hearing children have variations of words that they use before they are able to articulate. I mention all of this because the “Back to School Video” finger spells “Glue” and “Pen’.

Sorry, I’m rambling now, but I really do believe in this program and I’m thrilled to share this awesome deal with all of you. Again, the full length video is “Signing Time Back to School” and you can watch it instantly and download it to keep as your own. Just go to

www.signingtime.com/free-video

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Oh, and don’t forget to share this special offer with all of your friends.

 

 

 

 

It’s Potty Time

My husband and I potty trained willingly at 18 months according to our mothers. So 7 years ago when I had Z I thought that would be how it would go. When he was a year and a half I bought the fancy little toilet that starts singing when you pee in it. I also got a package of big boy underwear, a potty training doll, and M&M’s for rewards. I took pictures of everything and documented the whole process because I would most certainly be blogging about this in a month, teaching other mothers all of the secrets of how to successfully potty train their children.

One month later I was cowering in the linen closet eating a king size bag of M&M’s. I quit!

I tried again about 6 months later because I was pregnant and I was not about to have two children in diapers at once. Not me (typical thoughts of a first time mom). Not long after that I was devouring M&M’s in-between feedings and changing two sets of diapers. That’s right, I had quit round two of potty training Z. However, it wasn’t long after changing a tiny newborn’s diaper that I decided that Z was too big to be in diapers and he was surely ready to be wiping his own bottom. You know how having a newborn makes your other children instantly double in size? It’s a crazy phenomenon. At that point I decided Z was done with diapers, and it turns out this time he finally was. Although, let’s be honest, it was not because I decided it.

I regret almost everything about that experience. He wasn’t ready and I was really pushy. If I learned anything in the midst that whole year of on and off attempts it would be that I need to calm down and have a lot more patience. I have seen moms struggle with potty training a 4 year old, so I am not in the camp that says “wait until they are ready and then they will never have an accident and the whole thing will be effortless”. Sometimes waiting a little longer helps, I’ve also seen it back fire. There is definitely no one right way to do it. You just have to go by what works for you, your child, and in some cases the child care provider even has a say.

Now that I am doing this potty training business for a third time I am experienced enough to know that I have no idea what to expect. I have decided to at least TRY round one with Ezie when he is 2 and a half, which is in a week. I have one week left to do my regular household duties without having to panic about where Ezie is going to do his doodie. The truth is, having a child that can take care of their own toilet needs is glorious, having a child that needs their diaper changed really isn’t that terrible when you are used to it. It’s the in-between stage that will cause an otherwise strong warrior mother to beg for mercy and wave the white flag. Alas, I have one more week before potty training purgatory. I guess it’s time to stock up on M&M’s.


I hope these photos don’t offend anyone. This is a classic shot of brother sister bathroom time before they were old enough to be modest.

PS- I never mentioned anything about potty training SJ, because as many of you know, I didn’t. She was like me I guess, in that she hopped on the toilet as a one and a half year old and never looked back. Sure, she had accidents, and it was always the worst timing when she did. But at least she was self motivated. I already know Ezie does not share the same zeal for the bathroom as his sister did.

By | January 26th, 2015|Babies & Toddlers, Uncategorized|9 Comments

Tackling Those Terrible Tantrums

I went on and on yesterday explaining the mind of a toddler. If you missed it I would encourage you to go back and read it sometime. I consider it Part One of my toddler spin off series. Some of you have been on the edge of your seats waiting for my ultimate toddler tip and I hope you are not too disappointed to hear that I came up with this one all by myself (thank you very much). This also means you should proceed with caution considering it’s like the moonshine of parenting advice. It’s just three simple actions that I have found apply to nearly every tantrum scenario in some form or another. The three words are:

 Correct. Redirect. Disconnect. 

Before we dive in, let me address some potentially controversial points. When I talk about a temper tantrum I am going to assume that we can all use our best judgement to know what a tantrum is compared to a legitimate need, and I am also going to assume that these are for children that do not have any special sensory processing disorders or other special needs because I don’t know what the best approach is in those situations. And lastly I am going to go ahead and specify that this is for around 2-4 year olds. I personally believe that a child younger than 18 months is not manipulating a parent. There is tons of research to support that babies in the first two years of life need nurturing, loving response above anything else. I do not believe in “disconnect” with babies. I will have to stop there or I’ll start another blog post. 


That’s my boy during his two year old photo session. He’s a doll isn’t he? 

Okay, so yesterday we learned that most toddlers are going to act out of control for a couple years. Even though it might be inevitable that does not mean we let them get away with spitting, hitting, biting, screaming, thrashing, yelling… fill in the blank. No way! This is the most crucial time for us to teach our children the right way to handle their emotions and it is a privilege to do so. That is why of course we correct it every time. Even if it takes 100 or more times before we see improvement. 

After we have addressed the issue through correction we can get them to move on to something else which is where the redirect comes in. In some cases this also means relocate. This is the part were we give our child a chance to calm down rather than blow up. 

 However, for those that have strong willed children they are focused on whatever they have their minds set on and they are going to dig their heels into the ground until there are ruts! That means it’s time for you to disconnect. I don’t think you should abandon your screaming child completely or leave them in a dangerous situation, but if you have already addressed the issue then there is no need stir the pot or cater to their disrespect. It’s time to let them ride the wave until they are ready to return to their senses. According to Love and Logic 
The best way to raise a chronically unhappy and poorly behaved kid is to make a habit of giving them a lot of attention or pizzazz when they are misbehaving.” 
Sometimes it’s best for the child to be screaming in their room so the family can go about their business contecting with each other. It won’t be long before your little bug-a-boo (or whatever pet name you have) is totally recuperated and ready to be involved again. 

Keep in mind this isn’t always a 3 step process that has to be done with all three in the same order. Sometimes you just have to correct and disconnect. Other times you don’t have to disconnect at all if the redirect part works. Exactly what this looks like will depend on the age and the situation, but I’ll give a few examples that I have dealt with in the past six years with my children. I’ll put asterisks with links next to the tips that have been previously mentioned in this series.

18-24 Months Old:
The child takes a toy from his playmate. 

Correct: Tell the child “Uh Oh. We don’t take toys. You need to give it back and say sorry.” *Short and simple*

Redirect: Offer the child a different toy.

Disconnect: If the child is throwing a huge fit about it, you may just have to wait out the temper tantrum. Let the toddler know they can continue play time when they calm down and then do not give them attention in response to their whaling.


Two Year old:
The child wants to walk, but you need them to sit in the stroller.
Correct: “I’m sorry you are upset, but mommy is going to push you in the stroller so that you can stay safe with me.” *Enforceable statement*
Redirect: “Do you want to sit and do the buckle yourself or do you want mommy to help?” If they don’t decide in 10 seconds you sit them in the stroller if possible. *Choices*
Disconnect: No time for melt downs. Push that stroller mama! I use this example because I have a two year old and he has to go with me to pick up his brother and sister inside their schools everyday and has to be done in a hurry! The stroller is a life saver for me because he can be buckled in and I can keep moving.  

3 Year Old

You are at a gift shop on Vacation and you are buying batteries. Meanwhile your child has decided to pick out a $45 gigantic stuffed horse.

Correct: “Uh-Oh. That horse can’t come with us! He has to stay here, say bye bye horse”

Redirect: “Do you want to hold these batteries and we can go see some butterflies?”

Disconnect: In the real life story where this took place my daughter threw herself on the ground literally kicking and screaming. I had to check out, so relocating wasn’t an option. I was by myself and she is getting a little too big to try to hold when she’s flailing like that. So she made a huge scene and I stood there calmly knowing that despite what anyone else around me was thinking I was aware that “I control myself, but I don’t control others”. In these situations I will often have people comment “Ewww, that floor is dirty” In a helpful way trying to coerce the chid to get up. I just agree with them and keep controlling myself. No big deal (even if it feels like it is). Eventually it’s over, I haven’t had to spend the night in the store yet. Rest assured, they WILL grow out tot this.

4 Year Old:

I hope your child is mature enough to never, ever throw a fit at this age, but for mothers like me that may have late bloomers here is my advice. They are crossing a bridge developmentally at this age. Try to introduce a lot more of the timer, choices, enforceable statements, and logical consequences, but be feel free to treat them like a toddler if they choose to act like one.

For example, The child is having a great time on a play date until lo and behold it’s over and they have to go home! So they insist that they are not leaving.

Correct: You really love playing with your friend don’t you? Too bad, we have to go home. *empathy primes the pump for learning*


Redirect: Why don’t you see if there is a CD you want to listen to in the car?If they don’t take the redirect bait then go ahead and switch to the relocate tactics. I have been in plenty of situations where I have to use force to break up a play date. If your child is big enough to carry and I pray for your sake they are, then you might have to do what I call the bandaid technique. Just rip it off quick instead of prolonging the agony. In other words grab them and head for the door. Or if not, you’ll have to consider some logical consequences, or enlist your friend to help. My kids always listen to other people for some reason.

Disconnect: You might have to listen to a lot of screaming. The good news is you are in the car so it’s a little easier to ignore because they are stuck in their seat and you don’t have to look at them. 


This is a photo my husband took when I was pregnant with my second and my 2 year old wanted to be carried everywhere! I just couldn’t do that all the time and she is my “throw yourself on the ground tantrumer”. So It took a long time to get anywhere in that season.

I know these might seem obvious and probably not helpful. I wish I had a magic wand, but instead I just get a chance to practice a lot of patience and perseverance.  It’s a wonderful age though. Just consider the Correct, Redirect, and Disconnect approach when facing some of these challenges and last, but not least,

I repeat -This too shall pass!   

 
This is day 21 of a 31 day series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 21st, 2014|Babies & Toddlers, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Inside the Mind of a Toddler

I was planning on writing about the “Terrible Twos” yesterday, but I had so much to say on the topic that I had to do another post in it’s place and break this one up into two parts. That means tweaking my entire 31 days plan. That is how important this topic is to me! 

For the past 20 days I have been talking about some Teachable Parenting methods that rely heavily on Love and Logic principals. The problem is, I know that myself, most of my friends, and many of my readers have preschool age children and the rules of logic don’t apply to them. Well, they do the little ones just haven’t gotten the memo yet. Hope is not lost though, and over the next two days I am going to be focusing specifically on toddler age children. Even if you don’t have toddlers it could give some insight for when you are around them or their exhausted parents. 

I feel like I have read it
all and seen it all, but when it comes to the tricks that stick with toddlers I
can’t tell you one specific thing that I have had consistent success with. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t looking
for solution to the long term goal as much as I was hoping for a “get out of
jail free” card. I’m entering my third round of toddlerhood with my youngest and even though there are parts I am dreading, I feel like this time I am more
prepared than ever. It’s not because I think I know how to fix it, but rather (as
with the theme of this series) I know that I can’t. It is going to take a lot of
patience, a lot of prayer, and a good deal of Ben and Jerry’s therapy. I have
always said God had to balance this age out because they are so stinking cute. 

If
it wasn’t for all the headache and heartache we might just spoil them to pieces and they wouldn’t learn any boundaries at all. What good would that be? This
is the perfect age for them to see cause and effect by pushing every button and
testing every limit.

I so often see moms posting
questions on social media or discussing in real life concerns about how their
cute little tyrant is misbehaving and the mother is despretaly seeking a solution (get out of
jail card). Sometimes there is one, but most of the time the answer is “this too shall pass”. It’s not that you ignore the child’s
needs, your needs, or the learning opportunity that is there, but at the risk
of sounding like the worst parenting advice ever, set your expectations low
until they are 5. In the book Wild Things there is a chapter called The Explorer which deals with advice for boys of this age (2-4) and it says, “Because of where he is in his development, an Explorer is incapable of self-regulating. A common mistake that parents make with Explorers is to place unrealistic expectations on them to control their own behavior. Requiring high levels of self-control at this stage only sets up an Explorer for failure. This is the one part of the journey of boy-hood where we need to expect less from boys and be pleasantly surprised when they self-regulate. We are not suggesting that you have no expectations, just realistic ones.” 

 I know people where age two was a breeze, but three was
hard. I’ve seen the tantrum stage last from 1-4. A lot of people find tremendous
breakthrough at the age of four, but then others swear it’s the climax. If you
say that 5 was your worst stage or anything above that, well then you are just
dealing with a different issue entirely.

I am not saying that 5 is
easy peasy for everybody, but there are a lot of physical and mental changes
that take place by this age. A 5 year olds behavioral issues compared to a 3
year old is apples and oranges. I have learned a great deal about neurological
pathways since my daughter was diagnosed deaf. I wrote a whole piece about the
science of language, which is pretty darn fascinating if you ask me. This
applies to more than just language though. Did you know that a two year old has
double the amount of connections your adult brain does? No fair, right? We all
start out with trillions of neurological pathways and as I mentioned when I
blogged about language, you use it or loose it. So while you see your toddler
busy dumping out a box of cereal, watching Doc Mcstuffins, or napping, their minds are super busy doing neural pruning. This is a really important stage for
learning. It’s all about repetition, routine, limits, and social skills, and NOT academics focused, although I’ll save that for another post. Anyway, the whole point is their brains are still forming and
developing up to age 4, but ESPECIALLY in the first 3 years of life. From what I have researched, the part of the brain that regulates the emotion and controls social behavior (the prefrontal cortex) is one of the last areas to develop and this starts around age 4. Surprise, surprise! 

 By age 5 (without going into detail) things are pretty well set developmentally and your 5 year old has the same brain they will have their entire life. Now they just have to mature and fill it up with the
wisdom and knowledge that comes with time.

Anyway Dr. smarty pants
Michael Potegla, Ph.D. pediatric
neuropsychologist has several years of research and he concludes that you can pretty
much anticipate this “out of control” behavior from about 18 months to 4 years.
If you read the entire article on Parenting.com you can learn more about the
mechanics going on inside that tiny nogen and as mentioned in the book Wild
Things
 “Understanding how your children’s bodies work and develop is a form of
lowing them well.” I couldn’t agree more.

So fear not fellow parents, you are not crazy and your stubborn toddler is not a lost case. They are at a fascinating important stage of development where a potential side effect is grey hair for you. I’ve got a few tips to help get through it though and I’ll have part 2 of toddlerhood tomorrow. Hang in there.

This is day 20 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 20th, 2014|Babies & Toddlers, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Keep it Short and Simple

This week I have shared some practical tips for Teachable Parenting including; Logical ConsequencesHow to Respond to Whining, and Giving Choices. Today’s tip is to avoid lectures and keep things short and simple. All of the three books I have previously sited will give this same advice, especially with very
young children, LESS IS MORE! Sometimes it’s a loving motives that make you want to explain
every detail of why the child is in trouble or can’t do something, but just
remember the Charlie Brown teacher “waaah, waaaah, waaaah, waaah wah” and try to keep
your child from tuning you out. Love and Logic has tons of one liner phrases to
help keep things simple. A simple phrase used both repeatedly and
consistently along with actions is more meaningful. It becomes a conditioned response. A couple examples from Love and Logic are “Uh-Oh” and “Bummer”.
So you would say “uh oh, we
don’t throw our food, looks like your done eating.” And take the plate away.
Or “ I said not to hit
your sister. Bummer. I guess that means you need to leave the living room area since
you aren’t playing nice”
Honestly, I am not very good
at this method, but it’s something to consider. It also gives you a chance to take a breath and think before you react. Danny silk describes it as “One liner phrases that are there for your
sanity. They are a way for you to kick your brain into neutral while the other
person is trying to drive you into the Crazy Ditch”.
One final tip from Wild
Things
. Be concise. The more words a teacher or parent uses, the greater the
odds that a boy will tune you out. Try to keep your verbal instructions to no
more than a minute. And be sure not to layer instructions one after another.”
 As
a girl, I can attest to this being true for both genders in some cases, especially
depending on the age.

Those are just some ideas. It doesn’t come naturally, at least not for me. But sometimes I
have to save my vent sessions for my mom, husband, or Jesus and spare my child so
that they can process rather than tune me out.

This is day 15 of a 31 Day Series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 15th, 2014|Babies & Toddlers, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|7 Comments