Tag Archives: parenting

Parenting with Love and Logic

27 Feb

Yesterday Dave went to our parenting class by himself because I got in a huge, albeit brief, fight with my mother that morning, who was supposed to babysit for us. It was going to be the last session of a six-week course, but the instructor added on another one next week because we were going too slowly to finish the workbook in time. And I suppose because she liked us too!

The course is pretty much instructing us how to be calm, loving, and funny people in the 21st century. And then how to raise our kids with empathy and responsibility. One of the biggest lessons I’m learning is to not own someone else’s problems, or even their worry. For example, if I am worrying about something my husband needs to do, then he doesn’t have to worry, and then nothing will get accomplished. Except happy moments shed from my advancing years. If I solve all of Walter’s problems, then he will never learn how to do it for himself. Worse yet, I will be telling him with my actions that I don’t think he’s able to!

The idea that I think I will have the hardest time implementing is the basic tenet of the whole premise of Loving and Logic-ing: responding first with empathy. Not anger. Never anger. At least never expressing that anger. Anger is natural, but we must fight against our tendencies to lash out. It is OK to take a moment away from the situation if you are mad. People have memories longer than mice do.

I’d like to say that I’m already a better person because of this class, but so far I just feel called out. I certainly see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is illuminating the dirt and grime in my life. Most of which comes from my own BS.

Parenting with Love and Logic was invented and institutionalized by the Fays, a father and son team. They actually invented the term “helicopter parenting” in the ’70s. Their videos often remind me of stand up comedy routines, interspersed with complete and utter wisdom. Our instructor — or their ambassador, if you will — is a shining example of their ideas. I feel calmer just being around her. And chatting and laughing with the other parents has been wonderful and enlightening. I could meet with this group every week for the rest of the time I’m in Atlanta!

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He is such a great kid to be around. I always want to do right by him.

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Benjamin Franklin and I have a bath date

3 Feb

It’s a rare moment of calm in the house. The house is exceptionally clean since we just had another showing. My mom took Walter with her after a delicious lunch at Stone Soup Kitchen, since he was singing “Mimi’s house Mimi’s house Mimi’s house” all morning and destroying anything I had just cleaned. The dog is sufficiently walked. The cat is sleeping and not meowing. I have a cup of hot raspberry leaf tea, the Hozier album is playing, and I’m contemplating relaxing in a tub with Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin. What an amazing person. Reading that book is opening my mind, and I’m so excited to learn more. Because of this book I’ve already put several more books on my Amazon wish list and a few free ones on my phone’s Kindle.

I just bought a St. Joseph statue off Amazon. Comes with a pre-packaged prayer, which I’m interested in reading. I asked my realtor to look into the tradition, and he sent me back a link about novenas. This is getting serious! I’m glad at least that we have a good relationship with our current realtor, both in buying our new house and selling this one. He’s the only one so far that has been able to work with me, to put it bluntly! But the statue is a good, fun break in the monotony and work that is involved in selling this house.

At a party recently a friend told me about how he and his wife sold their townhome in 8 days, and to be honest it made me incredibly jealous. Another friend said it took them a year, but they were able to move out anyway due to job opportunities that took them to another state. That still sounds like a better situation than living in constant readiness of a showing with a toddler, a dog who sheds like a maniac, and a cat who walks all over the counters devil-may-care. I’m managing to stay calm without too many breakdowns, but this morning I was ready to hail an Uber to send Walt to Nini’s.

Dave and I are taking a six week parenting class entitled Parenting the Love and Logic Way, and so far we’ve learned how to diffuse the situation for arguing and begging kids. That was great advice, but I need something to use on someone who isn’t logical yet. Smart as hell, but also quite emotional, demanding, adventurous, and charming. What a great kid!

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He’s getting really tall already.

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She plays with this thing almost as much as Walter… and usually while he’s sleeping. It isn’t quiet.

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Wait, who’s the baby?

I should just go take a yoga class and remember to live in the moment. Because if I’m not mistaken, I’ve got it really, really lucky. Lots of love, laughter, shelter, food, and warmth in this life!

Things I swore I’d do before I became a parent

4 Sep

It’s fun to look back and see if I actually accomplished my goals.

1. Never use a pacifier

— Kinda! We never relied on pacifiers. But we started using them in the car when Walt was an infant because he screamed bloody murder every second I was driving. Nothing helped… except a pacifier. We didn’t need it after he moved out of his infant car seat at six months.

2. Breastfeed exclusively

— Yes! This one was very difficult. There were times I hated breastfeeding, especially at the beginning and intermittently til Walt was 10 months old. Then it clicked. Maybe because I stopped pumping (a great device if you are out of the house but it stressed me out so much) or because at 10 months they’re starting to eat, so you don’t have to rely 100% on boob. Either way, we’re still nursing now at 2 years+

3. Not have the whole house be one giant playroom

— Nope! There is at least one toy (more like mountains of toys) in every room of the house. Except maybe the bathrooms. Oh, sweet sanctuaries.

4. Immediately put the baby on a sleep/feed schedule so he’ll sleep through the night

–Nope! Ha, ha, am I right?

5. Use cloth diapers

— Kinda! Oh boy did I try. Try and try and try. About six months ago we gave up cause Walt always seemed to have a diaper rash (and I mean always). Now we don’t get frequent rashes, and when he randomly gets them we can use the type of cream that gets rid of them (we had all sorts of natural, cloth friendly creams that did nothing). Oh well. Maybe it’ll work on future babies. I still believe in cloth diapering, and we still use cloth wipes.

6. Natural childbirth

— Yes! 100% drug free, quick birth. I was lucky.

7. Homeschool

— Don’t know yet! I’ve always said I’d put Walt in preschool for early socialization, which we started this month going two days a week and he loves it. I plan on starting around 4 or 5. A lot of people I know homeschool their children, so it doesn’t seem quite as contrary as it once did.

Play Dates

5 May

I see lots of other moms on social media whose children have “best friends”. They’re always so good about getting together with other moms and taking cute pictures of their kids having fun. With cousins living out of town and most of my friends sans kids, it’s been hard to get Walter some friends.

But luckily several months ago, one of our church friends decided to become a stay at home mom, and I was thrilled — play dates aren’t just for kids, you know. Her daughter, M, is a week older than Walt. It’s so fun seeing them interact together. We used to go to story time at the library before it was canceled, and now we attend a Music Class every week. Maybe swim lessons during the summer too? We have also started doing other things like going to the zoo and just playing at home.

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Walt was more interested in the trees and the mulch than the exotic animals.

Whenever M sees Walt, she points at him and says “Wal Wal”.

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Classic. He has no idea what to do with a girl’s attention.

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Aw, see? BFFs. Lots of good times ahead.

The Loneliness of Motherhood

21 Nov

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the loneliness of motherhood. I think it took me about a year to stop feeling lonely all the time (even though I had another person constantly attached to me and a great partner!). It was one of those things that took me by surprise as a new mother. I was just so excited to be pregnant and having a baby, and I knew things would change in my life, but I just wasn’t prepared.

It’s hard to stay connected. At first, people are so excited for you and they want to stop by and hang out with the cuddly new baby. This seems to always happen when the baby is sleeping, so your well-meaning visitors keep you awake and then leave when the baby wakes up and needs to eat, needs a diaper change, needs to cry… and then the visitors stop coming. They resume with their busy lives, and you’re left with a very demanding — albeit very cute — very small human who doesn’t sleep very much.

Day in and day out, they need you to hold them, nurse them, burp them, walk them, interest them, sleep them, etc. etc. etc. until you forget to go outside, even to step out on the front porch. At least that was me for a little while. And just when you’re ready to go outside for a nice walk, it’s either raining or too hot or too cold or too whatever (and Walt hated the stroller too, of course).

Most of my friends don’t have children. The ones that do are full-time working mothers. The few moms I know at home live far enough away that going out during the brief time between feedings and naps seemed like more effort than it was worth. Or their kids were on different nap schedules than Walt, once he had a “schedule.” Add to that that Walter cried like he was being tortured when he was in the car for the first couple months — or if he was held by anyone else besides me or Dave — and I was one isolated mama.

The mommy wars don’t add any pleasantness to the choices you make either. Working moms think stay at home moms are always judging them and looking down at them, and stay at home moms think working moms do the same thing to them too. So where does that leave us? One more island of loneliness on which to perch.

Luckily, there was a light at the end of tunnel (at least for your garden variety lonely), just like there’s a full night’s sleep at the end of the newborn tunnel. Walt and I get out and about, do chores, go to play dates and story times, and we can leave the house in record time if we need to. We still have our nursing relationship, but as he gets older that changes too, into something a little more convenient for both of us (though I hate associating that word). I see my friends more often (with and without baby), and I have a full calendar of work and volunteer stuff to do.

Somehow, enough time will pass that I will want to do this all over again. And I have no idea how two kids will make that loneliness feel. Maybe it won’t be as intense. Maybe it’ll be worse. All I know is being a mama has been the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done with my life. And while every mom probably understands at least a little bit of how I’ve felt, it also seems like there are few people I’ve been able to talk to about this.

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My sweet little buddy!

It’s so easy to worry about every little thing

21 Sep

I was reading other mommy blogs yesterday about developmental milestones and autism spectrum disorders and of course immediately noted all the symptoms Walt was displaying — good thing I will never be a medical student cause I’d just turn into a hypochondriac.

The biggest thing I realized Walt wasn’t doing yet is pointing at things. He reaches for the stuff he wants and goes to get things himself, but he won’t point out mommy, etc. when you ask him to. When I talked to Dave about this, we realized we just aren’t the pointing kind of people. So we decided to make it our job to point out everything we can to Walter.

David, at lunch, pointing: “Are those your peas? Are those your fish sticks? Is that your water? Do you want your water? Point to your water if you want it, or you’ll never get water again.”

On the other hand, Walt knows exactly how we feel about the cat because earlier this morning I distinctly heard him say “bad kitty!” but gave her a few good pats on the back anyway.

What I thought about this Monday.

16 Apr

I will teach my son to be kind, to be generous, and above all, to be good.

He is a sweet soul, ready to be educated in so many ways. He is happy, and he loves. I will continue giving to his natural tendencies. And as my neighbor said the other day to her young daughter, “You can be many things, but disrespectful is not one of them.”

I want Walter to grow up adding to the good in the world. He will not grow up and do something that makes strangers think, “What went wrong with this boy’s parents?” because honestly, if a person does something horrible, I look to the parents. Where were they? Were they negligent, or were they teaching their children these values? Besides the instances of true physical imbalances (whether by genetics or life choices e.g. drugs), the community in which you grow up has to teach you everything you know about morality and choices. Who else is there to lead you besides the people around you?

I will not let my son be a bully. He will not belittle women, people of other races, or anyone else. He will revere his family. My wish for him is to be like his father, fighting for the rights of himself and other people, committed to what our country stands for. Not letting the bad people get away with their actions.

In the midst of all this thinking, Mondays are my chore days. I clean the bathrooms and change the sheets, do laundry and vacuum. Of course there are always mid-week chores, but Mondays I really run around like a crazy person trying to get everything done. It is a good feeling, at the end of a busy day, to relax in a clean house.

I made dinner from a recipe my mother made up. It makes you feel like you are eating at a fancy restaurant. Fried swordfish spiced with trocomare and pepper, on top of a mixed green salad with blackberries, chunks of champagne mango, pepper, and balsamic dressing. The balsamic dressing is 1/4 cup delicious balsamic, 1/3 cup olive oil, and salt to taste.

Easy and so delicious.

I went about my day and made it to the end with all my limbs, surrounded by the people I love. I thank God that the good people in this world far outnumber the bad. But I wonder, sometimes, if humanity is intrinsically good or bad. Why is it so easy for some people to be so evil, to be so careless with other people’s lives? Or are we all good and some people turn on us, like an old, loyal dog who one day ravages his owner? I will never understand the need to harm other people. This world is so fragile, yet filled with so much, it seems sturdy. It seems like it will be here forever.

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Mama’s Recommendations

4 Apr

Inspired by several friends having babies this year, I decided to make a list of the items we’ve used a lot and love.

1. BreathableBaby mesh crib bumper – fits every crib! We tried Carter’s super soft bumper which was soft but it didn’t fit our standard crib well and was too bulky for easy sheet changes, which is a must.
2. Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine (has an audio input wire plus sleep timer)
3. Warm air humidifier (necessary for cold weather and colds). Get one with auto shut off.
4. Changing table with drawers and shelves
5. Charlie Banana one size cloth diapers. Or any cloth diaper! There are so many types out there.
6. OsoCozy flannel baby wipes (to use with homemade diaper spray). Even if you don’t want to do cloth diapers, this is a great way to save money and help out the environment. I got three packs and just throw them in with regular baby laundry. I got a spray bottle from CVS and just use a little bit of soap and water – you can add some drops of baby oil too – for the wipe spray. I think these clean better than disposable wipes.
7. The First Year’s Infant to Toddler Tub with sling
8. Everything Burt’s Bees Baby Bee
9. Bouncy seat – make sure to get one that won’t scrunch them up
10. I have mixed feelings about the Bumbo. I’ve used it a lot with babysitting charges but Walt hated it so we never used it. Same with the Bumper Jumper.
11. Exersaucer! SO useful when they outgrow the bouncy seat but you need your hands free.
12. Clevamama bath towels. Don’t even try to use any others. These are the best. They’re big and wonderful.
13. Catbird Baby Pikkolo carrier. This is so comfortable and fits from newborn+ . I also would get a simple sling for quick and easy in/out needs. I wanted to love the Moby Wrap but Walt didn’t care for it unfortunately. I think we successfully used it for one afternoon, but some babies love it.
14. Graco SnugRide 22. I like the smallest one because it’s the lightest and when they outgrow it (about 6 months) they’re already big enough where you won’t be carrying them around in the bucket seat anyway. Don’t forget the extra car seat base for the second car. It’s only like $30 and will ease your mind.
15. Britax Marathon 70. You won’t need another car seat after this one.
16. Diono Easy View Back Seat Mirror. Love this.
17. Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat. I don’t like the idea of them in a separate high chair. For one thing it takes up a lot of room, and for another I like them at the table we’re eating at.
18. Halo sleepsacks. The small size fits up to 18 lbs (about 6-8 months depending on your baby). Microfleece for cold weather, cotton for warm weather. We have about three in each size and that works for laundry/throwup needs.
19. Summer Infant Swaddleme, again several for peeing/throwing up laundry needs. We only used these until he could fit into the sleepsacks cause I don’t think he really liked to be swaddled. I’ve also heard Halo swaddle blankets are the best for Houdini babies.
20. Several crib sheets. I have and like the Carter’s jersey ones but they’re also really thin. In the future I’ll try to find thicker ones. We put a towel under the crib sheet so we didn’t buy a mattress pad.
21. Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib Mattress
22. Graco Pack ‘n Play – has the bassinet feature for when they’re really little. Kinda big/heavy so if you’re traveling by air a lot I would buy a second or different one.
23. Carter’s Wrap-Me-Up Receiving Blankets – we had a 12 ct rotation. Used them a bunch for the first few months for just about everything, including wrapping him up.
24. LA Baby 4 sided changing pad – and several covers. Don’t forget a travel changing pad (Kushies) and a travel wet clothes/diaper bag (Planet Wise).
25. Lots and lots of sleep n play pajamas. I ended up liking snap ones better than zippers when he got a little bigger because when it’s cold out you don’t have to freeze them all the way to get their diaper off.
26. Boppy pillow. We ended up using this more for playing than nursing cause it was more comfortable to use a regular pillow after a while.
27. Avent double electric pump and manual pump. Both fantastic for different occasions. Very comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can be pumping). Walt also really likes the Avent bottles/nipples the best. We tried Born Free but Walt always struggled with those. Lansinoh milk storage bags and nursing pads. The Nursing Mother’s Companion.
28. Simply Saline nose spray, bulb syringe, baby nail clippers, thermometer
29. Favorite toy ever: Sassy Ring O’Links Rattle Development Toy. I divided them into sets of three and have them all over the house.
30. Leap Frog Learn and Groove music table
31. Also first blocks, Fisher Price donut pyramid, stacking cups, & the Sophie giraffe chew toy is a must
32. Good food processor to make your own baby food. Food trays. Earth’s Best Cereals. Nuk spoons
33. Nuk pacifiers (we only use these for special occasions e.g. at church and in the car). Booginhead Pacigrip, which he likes as much as the pacifier.
34. Monitor. We have the sound-only kind and are just fine with it.
35. Diaper Bag. Such a personal preference. But don’t get one too small or it’s useless.
36. People will give you lots of clothes, blankets, toys, and towels (seriously return the towels and just go for the Clevamama ones. Except for maybe when they’re brand new a smaller towel works well)
37. Boon Grass countertop drying rack, Green Sprouts waterproof bibs (people will give you lots of cloth bibs)
38. Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail. This is a must and inexpensive. It contains the smell SO well and uses normal trash bags so you don’t have to pay for special bags. When we switched to cloth it also holds a reusable diaper pail liner (Planet Wise)
39. Carter’s Hosiery socks – they stay on!
40. Take n Toss spill proof cups (I don’t toss). I like small Pyrex dishes to serve his food in. People will give you cups and plates etc. too.
41. If you use disposables, Costco brand diapers or Pampers Swaddlers for when they’re young.
42. Nellie’s Laundry Soda to wash all your laundry in. No more dryer sheets! Vinegar in the rinse cycle (with a Downy ball).
43. I love the BOB stroller (and it adapts to fit the infant car seat too) but it is really big and heavy. But to take it on walks and stuff it’s fantastic. I will probably get an umbrella stroller for easier travel.

Whew is this it? I’m sure I’ve forgotten something!

And you thought you knew all that January had to offer!

24 Jan

The year is gathering speed and it is already nearing the end of January. The price of green bell peppers has increased by ten cents. The little boy rolls over frequently, but never when we’re looking. The peanut butter Hershey Kiss cookies I made for New Years Eve are long gone (boo). Christmas tree needles haunt the nooks and crannies of the house despite my daily scouting and weekly vacuuming. There are tissues in every single one of my pockets. The little boy has dimples in his cheeks, knees, elbows, and knuckles (all of which I’m proud of). Three of my friends have told me they’re pregnant, due very close to when Walter was due last year. The big yearly to-do list has some checkmarks already.

And, apparently, the Amaryllis isn’t done. What next, will it be getting its Masters in Quantum Physics? It certainly could teach some other plants a thing or two about growing at the speed of light.

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Our classy neighbor is at it again, being the community do-gooder:

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Yes, that is a lovely pile of mirror shards strewn about on the sidewalk outside her door. Of course other people don’t exist that use this particular sidewalk. Side note: what is my shadow doing? Dancing with itself? Turning into two playful cats? Splitting heads?

As time gets faster and faster (because why would it slow down?) I have days where I notice more and days when I’m not so plugged in. But every night when I’m putting my son to sleep I think, “No, not yet, stay up with me a little bit longer! I want to get to know you a little bit more!” and also, thank goodness I’m about to get some me-time… Oh, to be consistent!