Tag Archives: Raising Children

40 Days without yelling

Starts now! Well… tomorrow.

Although this Catholic girl may not go to church every Sunday (or any, really) it doesn’t take away from part of my heritage. The Catholic part. The part that taught me every year for 40 days I need to give up meat on Fridays and sacrifice something to make me a better person. I always have a hard time deciding what to give up because if I give up the simple I feel like I haven’t grown in those 40 days and if I’m going to give something up for 40 days, I should get something out of it. To date one of the hardest things I have given up was parmesan cheese. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but this girl has a cheese problem. That little green bottle of “cheese dust” (as Molly calls it) gets put on way too much food. It was a sacrifice!

This year I decided on something that not only will help me shape a new habit but it will rid me of an old one and maybe make my house a happier place. I’m not going to yell, especially at the kids, for 40 days. Not that I yell at them non-stop. Far from it. I’m actually surprised how much patience I’ve gained over the past couple of years, but there are still the moments that I have crossed my threshold and the yelling starts. Unfortunately, I tend to go straight to Jerry Springer guest once the yelling starts. I’m sure it’s not pretty and it’s not what I want my kids to remember, because I know they won’t remember the 30 minutes of carrying on because I accidentally threw away some sacred piece of string they were saving but they will remember how mom just flipped out over nothing. I now understand why my mom once told me “I hope you choke on it!” as I continued to eat snacks before dinner. 

The bigger question is, how do i do this? The answer… I have no idea. I’m hoping some breathing, “mommy time outs” and exercise will keep me going. I also hope that it helps change the dynamic of our house as Stampy is joining in on the challenge. If nothing else I have a built in support system until Easter.

Do you give anything up for Lent? What would your biggest challenge be?

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Everything changes

Most of my mom friends can agree that we don’t like change. And by “we” I really mean “our kids”. I live in a house with one child that could care less about changes. School? Whatever. Daylight savings? Bring it on. Christmas break? No problem. Then there is the other one. I recently wrote about a rough week where I had been bitten, punched, scratched, and more. But that post was only the tip of the iceberg. It was a 2 box month. Boxes of wine, that is.

Naturally, the first thing I ask when things go wrong day after day is “what has changed?”. The problem was everything changed. We stopped going to OT, we were discharged from behavioral therapy, it was Christmas, school was canceled, the list of changes never ended. Naturally we waited for school to start up again and our daily routine to kick in, but that didn’t help. We bought a sensory swing, that only somewhat helped. It left me scratching my head. What changed?

Then it hit me. Nothing changed for Molly, things changed for Charlie. Our little Charlie had a monumentous change that actually affected all of us. He stopped napping. Surprisingly Stampy and I loved that change. I never thought I would love the day we lost nap time but I do. I love not being bound down by the clock. No worrying about scheduling things around naptime anymore. We are free! That freedom though took away something special for Molly, her one on one time with us. Everyday when Charlie napped Molly got distraction free attention from us. We read, we played games, we did crafts, she watched TV while I played on Facebook and Pinterest, but it was quiet and down time. She lost that. She lost that special time, she lost that time to herself. Now her whole day revolves around sharing everything from toys to attention.

She didn’t like it. I can’t blame her. I miss my “alone” time too.

Sensational Christmas morning

I remember being a kid and waiting not so patiently for Christmas morning. I remember my brother and I trying so hard to stay awake to hear Santa and waking up at 4 am and waiting until our parents would allow us to go downstairs. I couldn’t wait for the presents, to see what exciting things Santa left. Christmas morning was awesome.

Naturally when I had kids I couldn’t wait to relive that moment. I was excited to see the reaction of all their new gifts and toys under the tree. This video is a pretty good representation of every Christmas morning, except the fact that no one is crying this year and it didn’t take 20 minutes of coaxing to get the kids even near their gifts. In fact the kids actually opened their gifts this year, so it is a step in the right direction. I have high hopes for Charlie next year that he will actually be excited on Christmas morning. I only assume Molly will be questioning the existence of Santa by then. This year she already wants to know why Santa built her a chalkboard last year on the wall and this year brought her one on an easel. Santa needs to get his stuff together.

On the bright side, we don’t have kids waking us up at 4:30 AM to collect their bounty.

Embracing Christmas

It’s no secret around here that I’m not a fan of a certain December holiday. I make no attempts to hide the fact that I really dislike Christmas. Somehow long ago I thought it was my duty to make sure everyone had a fantastic holiday and the aftermath just meant that I did not. Then, I had my normal pre-Christmas breakdown but I did something that I don’t usually do, I went over to my schedule at work and I took time off. Not because we had therapy, not for a doctor’s appointment or a school function, but just because I needed some time. Granted it was for the week after Christmas, but I took days off work for me. And it felt good.

Then it snowballed.

I found myself saying I couldn’t go to parties. Not because I had something else to do, but because I didn’t want to.

I found myself accepting the Christmas gifts we could afford and not stressing that it wasn’t enough. The kids have plenty.

I found myself not stressing when certain people didn’t provide ideas for gifts. These people will get what they get. And maybe without a gift receipt to return it.

I found myself making the kids chicken nuggets or sandwiches for dinner because Christmas baking or activities made us late for dinner.

I found myself baking less and accepting the fact that a batch of cookies turned out less than perfect.

I found myself not caring that the kids didn’t sit on Santa’s lap. Neither of them, they were both terrified.

I found myself actually living up to my so-called belief that things don’t have to be perfect.

And it felt good.

I didn’t scream “I HATE CHRISTMAS” this year. Not once. Although I did freak out a little and send my husband a text that read “I JUST WANT TO BAKE F%$&^% COOKIES”, but no one is perfect.

I’m completely prepared for the fact that once again my kids may be afraid of Christmas morning. Or maybe just Molly will. She’ll come around and when she does we will be opening our presents under the tree. Then I hope my family is prepared that I will be drinking wine out of a new wine sippy cup Santa will be leaving in my stocking. After all it’s Christmas and what kind of holiday would it be if there weren’t some day drinking involved.

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10 Things SPD has taught me

While I was pregnant I read a lot of books. Books about pregnancy, books about parenting, about sleeping, about feeding, etc etc etc. Then Molly came and I learned that I wasted a lot of time. Molly doesn’t fit into a mold and she definitely doesn’t care about what the latest experts have to say because she has her own game plan. Of course it would help if she could hand over her user manual, but she won’t, so until then I just watch and learn and hope I’m picking up the right lessons in life.

1. Cereal is appropriate for any meal or snack. Also, surprisingly, you can survive on said diet and have rock hard abs. I might make millions one day from marketing it as the newest diet fad.

2. Surround yourself with people and things that make you happy. Never in my life have I met someone that openly avoids things and people they dislike. I think how much better life would be if adults could have the same kind of freedom.

3. The world is a scary place and there is nothing wrong with carrying someone that needs your help or asking to be carried.

4. Headphones don’t need music attached. Sometimes they just block out the world. Maybe I should just buy ear muffs for her.

5.  Sleep is vital. I actually knew this one and am really happy my children agree and get a good 12 hours a night. I can be kind of bitchy and whiny without sleep.

6. Noises are awful, unless she is making it. Apparently loud banging or high pitched shrieking is okay if you make the noise. Anyone else is unacceptable.

7.Sunglasses inside aren’t just for hangovers

8. Pick your battles. This goes for the kids as well as adults or other parents. Sometimes it really is easier to say “Ok” even when you don’t agree and save your energy for the things that matter.

9. No matter what the weather is outside, clothing is optional inside. .

10. Rules are made to be followed. However, feel free to bend them as much as you can get away with. Never in my life have I met someone that can follow rules so closely but then manipulate her way into breaking them without actually breaking them. I need to learn a few lessons of manipulation from this girl. Case in point, we started a house rule about inappropriate touching. After discussing it Molly asked for a hug and then proudly announced that “My chin touched your boobies!”This girl is clever.

Dining with Charlie

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Last night I was having dinner with the kids. A meal I prepared myself, with nut free ingredients in our allergen free home. Charlie started to cough and cough and cough. Now it was the cough that sounded like something went down the wrong pipe and if that had been Molly coughing, I most likely would’ve told her to get something to drink but it was Charlie so instead I started to internally panic. I realized that most non-food allergy parents miss out on this psychosis, so I thought I would share my train of thought with you after I heard Charlie coughing for the next 5 minutes.

Why is he coughing?

Why is he still coughing

Oh God, did a factory cross contaminate?

Did I read the french fry label?

Did someone put their hand in the peanut bin and then touch the broccoli at the grocery store?

He is still coughing.

Wait, he has been coughing all day. Is he sick?

Does he need a drink?

Yes, get a drink.

Is his face red? Is it getting redder? Oh, right, he is coughing.

Has he developed a new allergy?

What did I put in the meatballs?

Is your lip swelling?

No.

Is that a hive?

Seriously, have his lips always been that puffy?

Phew, coughing stopped.

Breathe, breathe, breathe

Please don’t vomit. Please don’t vomit.

I should check for hives.

That was seriously 5 minutes. The rest of the evening was keeping one eye on him in case he started breaking out in hives or vomiting. The fun never ends here.

It gets better

When I was first pregnant with Molly and had horrible morning all day sickness, people would tell me just wait til your back hurts or your ankles swell. Then those things happened and I wished for pregnancy to be over and people would tell me to enjoy it while I can because my boobs were going to start hurting while I was breastfeeding and on and on. Then Molly came and was colicky and fussy and had difficulty eating and wouldn’t sleep. Ever. I wished for her to be older so it would be easier and I always got the same reply “It doesn’t get easier, just different”. At each stage where there were problems there was an older, wiser mom telling me it was only going to get worse. “Just wait” they would say. And I see it on Facebook now, a mom struggling with a stage their child is in and her status comment box is filled with “just wait” type of replies. I’ll have to admit, I’ve said those things, I’ve replied those things. I didn’t know any different.

Now I do.

I’m here to tell you it does get better. It’s not fair for us “veteran” moms to warn those coming up the road behind us how bad it’s going to be. That doesn’t make what they are going through any better, it just brings on impending doom. I would think “oh God, I can barely handle this, how am I going to handle it when it gets worse?”. Now, I see that look of desperation in my friends’ eyes. They are dealing with sleepless nights and 2 year olds and we say, “just wait til their 3”. What good does that do? We should warn our friends of things they can prepare for: hemorrhoids, sore nipples, constipation, running out of wipes in public when your child has a blow out, tricks so you aren’t losing the pacifier at 4am, or how best to soothe a cough. These are things they can prepare for. These are the things they should be warned about.

I was scared when I was warned that my crawling baby would become a walker. She did and she got faster, but along with her speed also brought independence. I liked independence.

I was worried when I was going to have to start table food because the kids would throw it every where. They did. It made a mess, but I also could eat a few bites of semi-warm food while they entertained themselves with how far a pea can fly across the room.

I was worried when my ever persistent 2 year old became a 3 year old. Really worried. I had a whole year to learn how to deal with temper tantrums and demanding tempers. Things became easier to deal with because with the extra year came extra patience and confidence. Or at least the ability to know that they will survive if I go into another room and leave them to scream by themselves.

So don’t worry new moms, whatever parenthood problem you are struggling with, that problem will get better. Sure new ones will come along, but that’s life and we can deal with life. Each day and month that goes by, you grow confidence and with confidence comes a much better way to deal with what you are going through. Those first nights of teething will seem horrible, but when the molars come in you will dose with ibuprofen and not even think about it. That first tantrum in the store you will sweat and turn red and be mad, but by the 15th and a year later you will walk out of that store with confidence smiling at people as you go by. Or you will walk out and cry in your car instead of the store. Either way, it gets better. And when you just want privacy in the bathroom, well… I can’t help you there, I only assume at some point that too will get better.

From now on, when your less experienced friend has woes and complaints about a trying stage in her child’s life, instead of filling her head of how it’s going to get 10,000 times worse, try lending an ear and taking her hand and putting a glass of wine in it. I’m sure she would much rather hear “I know what you are going through. Drink up” than “just you wait”.