Archive for March, 2010

too much to handle…..

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Just so you’re prepared, I’m probably going to step on some toes and anger some of my readers but that’s a chance I’m going to have to take.

This morning, Laura and I were sitting in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled.  There was a mother with her two young sons sitting near us.  The little boys were not sitting still but they were not being bad either.  The main problem was they were sharing a chair and couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.  Completely understandable for two boys under the age of 5.  Honestly that’s understandable for boys of any age!  I could tell from their mother’s expression that she had run out of patience before she got out of bed this morning.  I can commiserate.  We’ve all had days like that.  Unfortunately her patience meter was not just running low, it was into negative numbers.  When one of the boys poked the other for the fiftieth time she announced that she would “yank off this belt and tear your butt up.”  Of course this got a reaction.  She was neither kidding nor exaggerating.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had followed through right then and there.  The boys sat straight up and didn’t dare breathe.  The reaction from Laura was visceral.  She hid her face in my chest and clung to me with all of her might.  She might not have understood the woman’s words but she understood her tone.  Her message was loud and clear.  It was also clear that those boys knew exactly what she meant.

We had a similar experience just after moving here.  We did not have our washer and dryer hooked up yet so I loaded up baskets of dirty clothes and headed to the laundromat with the girls.  A woman there gave her little boy a spanking that I will never forget right there in the middle of the laundromat.  It was horrible.  This little boy was only about 15 months old.  He had no idea what was happening.  Laura had a reaction similar to the one she had this morning.  She was truly afraid.  Abigail and Hattie couldn’t figure out what was happening and I was without an explanation.  I got my children out of there as fast as I could.

In both cases all that was needed was a little redirection.  The baby boy in the laundromat needed a nap.  Or a little book or toy.  Or a walk around the store.   The boys in the pharmacy needed to be separated.  There was no need in either case to threaten or mistreat.  I was so very sad for those boys…and for their mothers.  I also felt like we were intruding even though we were in a public place.  It seemed like we were watching something that no one is supposed to see…like looking at a car wreck.

I have no problem with discipline.  Sometimes we need more in our house.  Other times I feel like I’m too hard on the girls.  We try to find a balance.  There are times when we’re not patient enough and one or both of us loses our temper.  I can safely say that I’ve never had the thought to hurt my child to “teach a lesson”.  In neither case I mentioned above was this discipline.  This was severe punishment for minor offenses.

I know that spanking was used as the fundamental method of discipline for many years.  Some people still choose that as their primary discipline.  We spank on the rarest of occasions and when we do it is a mild pop on the behind that is meant to send a message, not to leave a physical or emotional scar.  I know that many people were raised differently than I was and that they have chosen to raise their children differently than we have.  I have no issue with that.  But harming, humiliating or terrorizing your child is never justified.  The boy at the laundromat was legitimately afraid.  You could see it in his little round face.

This is a touchy subject but there is a solution for every situation.  Each family is different and each dynamic requires an individual plan.  Discipline requires consistency and patience, limits and boundaries, truth and consequences.  It also requires love and acceptance, forgiveness and praise.  Children have to know what they have done right as well as what they have done wrong.

I try my hardest not to judge people.  Especially those I don’t know.  You never know what the back story might be.   In some occasions I cannot help myself.  My brain sees something and immediately forms an opinion.  It’s up to me to decipher the information and come up with a fair point of view.  I’m sure that these little boys are not thrashed every waking hour of their lives.  I hope they are shown love and affection.  I do know that if my girls ever cowered in fear of me, I would be devastated.

As parents, we are responsible for molding our children in thought, word and deed.  We are supposed to support them and make them feel secure.  It is not an easy task.  It is endless and exhausting.  Children have the job of making us into better parents.  They are responsible for testing us and for pushing our boundaries until the right spot is found for the family fence.  In return for challenging us, children teach us about unconditional love and finding happiness in the simplest of things.  Their part of the bargain is not always easy either.  We parents are stubborn and convinced that we are always right.  (we’re not!)

After all I have said I want to add that I don’t think my views are better than anyone else’s.  They are just MY views.  They do not belong to my parents, my brothers, you or my friends.  They are just my thoughts and opinions.  I am not trying to tell anyone how they should run their life or discipline their children.  I am merely putting my own view of the world out there.  That is the point of this blog.

I am also not a perfect parent.  Far from it.  I lose my temper.  I let things slide that should be dealt with.  I don’t always clean up the mess I just made.  I procrastinate.  I don’t always put the needs of others before my own trivial wants.  I’m human.  So are you.

I love my daughters with all of my being.  Robert and I are so lucky to have them in our life.  I hope that they are confident in their parents and know just how much we love them.  After all, that is the most important part…..

the power of 1…

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

If you have young children, you’re probably familiar with the concept of counting to three to give your child the chance to do something themselves.  For example, “Laura, it’s time to pick a story to read for nap time.”  “I don’t want to.”  “I’m going to count to 3.  If you haven’t picked a story, I’ll pick it for you.”  This usually results in a glare from the 3 year old.  So I say, “ONE.”  And she’s off…running to her room to pick a book.  Heaven forbid Mommy pick the story!  I have yet to get past TWO with Laura.  She hasn’t pushed me that far….yet.  She will eventually, that is a given.  Truth be told, I’ve only gotten to THREE a few times in the eight and a half years that I have been a mother.

The counting tactic still works on Abigail and Hattie, much to my surprise.  Abigail is a procrastinator.  Especially at bed time.  It is not her fault.  She inherited the procrastination gene from both sides.  When bed time rolls around, she is usually giggly and we are no longer feeling tolerant.  She will dance around the living room…or fall on the floor and pretend that she can’t get up…or pretend that she doesn’t hear us…or act like she is “helping” her sisters do something (we know this is an act because her sisters are loud protesters of unwanted “help”).   It doesn’t take me long to get to “ONE!”  She knows that means business.  No more shenanigans.  Mom is done.

Hattie’s crime that results in a “ONE” is usually cleaning up.  She detests cleaning up.  It’s getting better but it still occasionally results in some parental encouragement.

The punishment of getting to THREE isn’t that bad.  Usually it involves time out and losing computer time or dessert.  Maybe it still works because I don’t use it all the time.  Maybe because my tone in the counting game (at least with the older two) is much more serious.  I’m not smiling.  Like I said, when Mom starts counting, Mom is DONE.

Now, I really should get off the computer and get back to de-germing the house from our battle with the cold and fever bug this weekend.  But I don’t want to….but I need to….ONETWO…………

PS – I have to give my husband credit for the idea of this blog.  I dealt out a “ONE” the other night at bed time and he just looked at me and said “the power of one”.  So, thanks honey!

coughing and sneezing as we go….

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I love my children deeply and unconditionally but if I get coughed on, sneezed on, or breathed on anymore this weekend, I’m going to hurt somebody.

Two of my daughters have heinous colds.  The third daughter is starting to sniff so I know her turn is coming.  The older two girls are miserable.  There have been fevers, coughing fits, lots of sighing, runny noses and the occasional loud moan.  I feel horrible for them.  It makes me ache to see them feeling bad.  I would much rather be the sick one watching them dance around from the sofa.  But that is yet another thing I have no control over.  They are sick and feeling awful and there’s not much I can do about it.

Robert was out on errands for the majority of the day yesterday so I was the only “nurse” on duty in our home hospital wing.  I got the girls juice and pampered them while they snuggled on the sofa and watched movies.  I made sure they had medicine when they needed it and did all of those things that moms of ailing children do.  The day went by and everyone seemed to be feeling better.  Of course we had another round of fevers during the night so obviously, we’re not done yet.

Watching your children suffer is one of the banes of parenthood.  Eventually your loved ones will be disappointed or sick or hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Of course, we do not live in an ideal world.  Life is full of heartache, illness, disappointment and sadness.  As parents, we have to let our children learn to deal with these things.  I’m not embarrassed to admit that if it were up to me I would shield them from all of the bullies in life but I know that would lead to disaster!

For now, I just have to plod along refilling juice cups and spraying Lysol as I go.  Hopefully today will be the last day.  We can only hope that everyone rests well and fights off the cold gremlins.  They are certainly nothing to sneeze at!   🙂

swear patrol

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

On Monday I picked Laura up from preschool.  After we had the usual Q & A session about her day, she said “Mommy…you know what?” (long pause) “Russ said butt.”  What exactly was I supposed to say to that?  I was trying not to laugh my own butt off!  So I gathered myself (a lot easier when we’re in the car and she can’t see my face) and said that that was not a nice thing to say.  Laura could not have agreed more.  Still, she told me about Russ’ new favorite word several more times that afternoon.

In the grand scheme of things, “butt” is pretty harmless.  That being said, I don’t want it in my children’s standard vocabulary.  They know the words they are not supposed to say.  At this point in their lives that includes stupid, hate, dumb and shut up.  The last one is on TV a LOT.  I didn’t realize how much until it became an issue.  We do not use that phrase and the girls have only said it once or twice but they hear it more than I’d like.

The funny part is that the girls think it’s their duty to tell us whenever a word on the “do not say” list is uttered.  I thought Laura was going to have a conniption waiting for me to get out of the bathroom this morning so she could tell me that someone had said a bad word.  They have become the curse cops.  They have also associated saying bad words with people who are not nice.  This mostly pertains to Hattie, the kindergartner.  There are several little boys in her class at school who are bad in general.  The majority of the boys in her class (and a couple of the girls) are not sweet little children.  But there are a couple that are bad.  No other word will suffice.  These are the ones who wait for the teacher to turn her back before they throw out their favorite swear word.  Hattie thinks this is repulsive.  Fine by me.  If she can learn to stay away from this type early, she may save herself some heartbreak later on!

So for now I am doing my best not to laugh in my daughters’ faces as they tattle on the latest swearer.  And watch every word I say….the cops are out there!!