Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gentle Discipline

I have been reading (as much reading as I can do with a 110% full life) about gentle discipline and I really think that the concepts make a lot of sense, however I had been struggling with the execution. A lot of the ideas that I have come across are for older children and not a two-year old. The basic point is to do away with the punitive consequences without becoming permissive of "bad" behavior.

It was a lot harder when I was keeping my niece, because I think I was simply way outnumbered and Smug-Baby had to share me with everyone. It has been easier since I am down to just one child in addition to my own. I think that doing away with all the time-outs has really helped and I'm not really sure why. Also, trying to take some deep breath's and remember that I am the adult and she is the child and if she is having a meltdown, then there is something going on in her little world.

I haven't had a screaming meltdown of my own in a long time :)

I have been trying to read a chapter each evening just to help keep the principles and ideals fresh in my head. I have found that by asking Smug-Baby how she is feeling helps her to calm down. Sometimes, she can't put it into words and responds when I try to help her by telling her that she is feeling frustrated or sad or disappointed.

The whole basis of gentle discipline is kindness and firmness. Being firm in what I expect of her but done in a kind way. As an example, the other afternoon, she woke from her nap and told me she was hungry. I gave her a few options for lunch and she choose a scrambled egg. By the time I had the egg on the plate for her, she had decided that she wanted french toast instead. I explained that I had made her the egg like she had asked and she needed to eat that. She cried and threw the plate on the floor. Without getting angry (and I really wasn't mad, I didn't need to hide my anger) I told her that I was sorry that she had changed her mind, but she had to eat the eggs and I picked them up on and put them back on the plate for her. I would have made her pick them up, but she was hysterical and I didn't think it was the time for that lesson. Over the next several hours, she would come to me asking for food and I would give her the eggs.

At one point, she was crying but said she would eat the eggs, however, as she started to eat them, she started gagging and choking and spitting them all over the floor along with her water cup. I did give her the dish towel and had her clean up the water, while I picked up the spit out eggs and tossed them. I cuddled her until she finished crying and was calm, then I put her in front of the eggs again. She refused to eat them.

Finally, as I was prepping dinner, she climbed up to the table and ate most of the eggs. Without comment, without crying. While she was eating them, I heated up french toast (she had been asking for them all day) and as she finished the eggs, I laid the toast in front of her and she ate that too. I hugged her and kissed her and told her I was proud of her for eating the eggs and thanked her for not wasting food.

I never got mad, yelled, jerked her around or anything like that. And, I really wasn't mad, it wasn't like I needed to count to 10 or anything, I was totally calm and in control the whole time. It was like I knew that this was a pivotal lesson for her and my whole job was to make sure that she learned it the way I wanted her to. I didn't want to let her think that she was getting to me, or that she could get her way with enough crying, and that really helped in keeping myself calm. It was stressful and a long, unhappy afternoon and I wouldn't want to do it every day, but it was a success in the end.

My children need to trust me and know that I mean what I say. They need to trust me, and if they can't trust me to not lie to them about little things and that I will follow through when I say something, how will they trust me with the big things that they will face in their lives? That kind of trust starts now, when they are very small.

I try never to yell at Smug-Baby, because I want her to know that a yell from me is very serious, like don't run out into the road serious. I don't want her to learn to tune me out because I yell all the time. I want her to know that there are rules that must be followed, so I have to follow them myself. So, now, I only eat on the couch when she is sleeping :)

My children are not just children, they are future adults and they need to know how to behave, how to treat others and most importantly what is acceptable treatment for them to receive from others. That's my job!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Flying Low

Maybe it's just that people with small children aren't supposed to have sparkling clean homes, but I have really been feeling discouraged this week. I am kept jumping almost all day long just to keep up with the daily "have to do's" and I am not anywhere closer to fitting in even one 15 minutes zone cleaning session each day or anything physical each day.

When I set the timer and start trying to organize something like my bathroom drawers, Smug-Baby wants to "help" and ends up dumping out everything I have just gotten straight, or she has a mental melt-down and I have to hold and rock her until she is feeling herself again, or Little-Smug wants to nurse or is tired of playing in his swing or is unhappy being worn because I'm not moving around enough.

I downloaded some workout videos, abs, butt, and chest, to my phone, each one takes less than 10 minutes and isn't too complex. Except, when I start doing push-ups, Smug-Baby climbs onto my back. When I start doing bridge lifts (for the butt) she lies across my chest and when I start doing crunches, she starts to cry and needs me to hold her hand. Its almost like she can sense that I am going to do something for myself and since that would make me happy, she has to put an end to it.

The treadmill is downstairs and the only time that I have to run or walk is in the early mornings before Smug-Hub leaves for work. This means getting up before everyone else after not getting a good nights sleep because Little-Smug is waking to nurse 10+ times in the night, Smug-Baby comes into our room at some point and that wakes me up and Smug-Hub stays up late and when he comes to bed, that wakes me up too. Not to mention, Smug-Baby kicks sometimes and Smug-Hub snores!!

OK, so I have to get up early, by 6:00am at least, say I do that, I still have to get downstairs without waking anyone. Currently, Little-Smug doesn't like to sleep unless my boob is smashed into his face, so within 15 minutes of my getting out of bed, he's up. This would be fine, except that Smug-Hub sleeps like the dead and wouldn't wake up if the poor boy were crying! The crying would, however, wake Smug-Baby and then she would be in a crap-tastic mood all morning!

I actually speak from experience on this! Smug-Hub would have to get up (and stay up, which is the bigger issue) to be available for the kids and he doesn't seem capable of this.

Now, for the bright side; in about 18 short months, my son will be to the stage my daughter is now. She is currently playing on her own for longer stretches that allow me time for tasks not focused completely on her. When my son also reaches this stage in his development, and my daughter is even more self-sufficient, then I will have a lot more time to devote to my home and myself.

18 months isn't that long a time and do I really want to spend this very short, little baby time in my son's life on a cleaning routine? The dirt will still be there waiting for me when he is a bit older. My body will still have the ability to get back into shape.

Other good news? I am really getting comfortable with my morning, afternoon and evening routines that keep the clutter at bay and the cockroaches out of my kitchen. The house looks mostly decent, if not deeply clean, we have clean clothes, clean dishes and a clean place to bathe.

So, I am still flying, I am still going to keep up with my daily tasks and keep my house clutter free (mostly) and fairly clean. I am still going to keep my eyes and mind open to any spaces of free time that present themselves to dig into a deeper task that needs doing. But the change comes in my mindset. I choose to have a less than pristine home. I choose to have a flabby body. I choose to spend this amazing, fleeting time while my children are very small soaking up their newness, bathing in their development and floating in their love.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Son

When Smug-Baby was born, I posted almost daily about her progress and monthly updates of what she was doing and any milestones for that month. Here it is, the day before my son turns 5 months old and I haven't posted even one month about him and how he is doing and growing.

I'm ashamed! I swore I wouldn't be the typical parent who takes thousands of pictures of the first child and none of the second. I wouldn't be the mom who filled up the baby book for the first and didn't even buy one for the second. But that is just what I have become. I'm too busy and too tired and all the other excuses... That being said,

My son is one super amazing kid! He asks so little of me, hardly ever cries and sits happily while I get stuff down around the house. He is currently fighting some mucus and is coughing a bit and has a slightly runny nose. He is also being very fussy the last few days, drooling and chewing on everything, so I feel like teething may be upon us.

He is still sleeping really well at night, waking only to latch on and never is even really awake, just eyes closed, searching for the breast. He rolled over for the first time on September 8th and has started pushing himself around the floor by a mixture of rolling and scooting on his head!

He is such a happy baby and smiles at everyone. He does this little shy guy thing, where he will look at someone, smile and then turn his head into my shoulder like he is shy and flirty. It's totally cute!

He will reach up and grab my face when I lean in for kisses and suck on my cheeks or nose, whatever he can angle into his mouth. When he gets really hungry and I get him latched on to nurse, he will always suck really hard for a few seconds and then pull off to smile at me with love and appreciation. This often results in him getting a face full of squirting milk, but he doesn't care :)