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Friday, February 24, 2012

AP #8 - Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Strive for Balance

I feel like we're pretty good at balance. I want to be doing more crafts, but I already know the first year with a baby is pretty much focused on that baby. Jeremy & I might need to schedule a Date Night once a month. But right now, at 6 mo, Livy screams for me at bedtime. And she hasn't done a bottle yet, so she'd come with us.

Some of the tips to maintain balance that I use to measure balance include

  • Take time for yourself: I'm reading at least one book every month. When things get really off kilter, Jeremy watches the kids so I can have a couple hours alone. Last time, I got a mani/pedi. 
  • Eat healthy foods: We are really trying to eat healthy meals and snacks. Less processed food and less sugar. 
  • Exercise regularly: We are both on training plans for various races, and we're supportive of getting the other person out the door (or on the trainer/treadmill) to get the workouts in. It just happened to me the other day: I was crabby and having a rough morning. So instead of steaming around for the whole day, I got on the treadmill as soon as Livy laid down for her first nap. Getting that short run in really helped me feel better the rest of the day.
  • Take naps: When this happens, it's late afternoon. I'll sit down on the couch to nurse Livy and wake up when Jeremy walks in the door. 
  • Take care of yourself: I make sure to take a shower, put on make up, and do my hair every day. 
  • Avoid over-scheduling: So far, the kids are just in swimming. And we have small group. 
  • Get out of the house: This is harder in the winter, especially with the new baby, but we at least get out to swimming every week. And the Eden Prairie mall. And we're trying to schedule some play dates for the next couple weeks.
  • Make realistic goals: (have realistic expectations) I think having realistic expectations for yourself and your kids and your spouse is vital to family balance. Figure out what you can realistically do in one day and don't try to do more than that. 

I'm not sure how Jeremy feels about our family balance. Maybe he'll comment here and tell me :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Encouraging a New Mom

I read this article on GypsyMama one evening and want to pass it on.
  1. Fold her laundry – especially all the socks
  2. Leave immediately when the baby falls asleep so she can nap
  3. Bring chocolate
  4. Don’t tell her to call if she needs anything, just drop by and help with everything
  5. Take the big kids out for a play date
  6. Tell her she’s a hero
  7. Bring her food in disposable dishes so she doesn’t have to deal with washing or returning them
  8. Don’t tell her to carpe diem
  9. Cry with her
  10. Laugh with her
  11. Share details of what you love about her baby
  12. Watch Up All Night with her
  13. Don’t tidy your house before she comes over to visit – it doesn’t help her to think you have it all together
  14. Tell her a day will come when she will sleep again
  15. Make her a 2am nursing station on Pandora
  16. Email her a bunch of fun deals links she can surf while nursing
  17. Make sure she’s actually in 1 out of every 1,000 photos she’s taking 
  18. Take candid pictures of her in the new daily routine
  19. Bring diapers when you visit
  20. Offer to drive her on errands and stay in the car with the baby
  21. Be honest about how hard motherhood can be
  22. Text her encouraging messages throughout the day
  23. Come over and hold the baby so she can have her arms back for a while to do chores or cook or catch up on anything that’s driving her crazy
  24. Tell her to keep her phone on vibrate so you can call without being “that person who woke the baby.”
  25. Don’t let her become isolated in the baby cocoon – invite her and the baby out so she can reconnect with friends
  26. Never expect her to show up anywhere on time
  27. Bring her lip gloss
  28. Massage her neck and shoulders
  29. Run her a hot bath
  30. Don’t imply that breast feeding should be a breezy walk in the park; let her know it’s normal to struggle sometimes getting the hang of it
  31. If she chooses to go the bottle route, please let her do so guilt free
  32. She is just discovering the hard world of mother guilt – please don’t do or say anything to add to that burden
  33. Don’t share any horror stories related to motherhood
  34. Protect her from turning on the news in her first few weeks of being home
  35. Vacuum
  36. Bring fresh flowers
  37. Take out any dried up bouquets
  38. Paint her toe nails
  39. Tell her she’s beautiful
  40. Don’t tell her by now your kids were all sleeping through the night
  41. Especially if by “sleeping through the night” you mean from 1am to 5am.
  42. Remember that your memories of new motherhood have the romantic haze of distance
  43. Wash her dishes without being asked
  44. If you come over for a meal, please bring the meal and then clean it all up afterwards
  45. Let her know it’s normal to stand hunched over a sleeping baby just listening to them breathe
  46. Anytime she is disappointed by her new figure remind her that she grew a human being – that’s a miracle and turns out miracles need room to grow
  47. Don’t bring over any magazines that feature celebrities in swimsuits 6 weeks after giving birth
  48. Ask her what the one chore is around the house she wishes she could get to and do it for her
  49. Always bring your camera when you visit
  50. Print and frame one of the zillion photos she emails of the baby; include baby’s name and birth date 
  51. Bring toys/games over for the older kids when you visit
  52. Tell her it’s OK to feel like you want to quit motherhood some days
  53. But tell her that Trace Adkins is right and she’s gonna miss this one day
  54. Don’t just make a hand print of the baby – make one of mom and/or dad’s too for a fun comparison keepsake
  55. Bring her a Memory Keeper Box for that hospital bracelet, first lock, or even those first few pairs of shoes or favorite toys
  56. If she has to go back to work, assure her God will be watching over that precious baby. She is brave if she gets up while it is still dark to provide for her family
  57. Tell her pizza covers all the food groups
  58. Hold the baby so she can get a shower
  59. Bring over the Pride and Prejudice (BBC Series) boxed set for all those dinner {for the baby} and a movie {for her} months
  60. Ask her which baby items she still needs – get her those instead of the cute clothes you have your eye on
  61. Assure her you understand that while she might know that she’s walking on holy ground, that doesn’t mean she won’t still feel irritated how often that ground is strewn with cracker crumbs and yesterday’s socks
  62. Admit motherhood is one of the hardest things you’ve ever done
  63. Go ahead and quote that goodie-but-oldie, “It’s not brave if you’re not scared.” {Thank you Ben Affleck}
  64. Warn her everyone will have an opinion on how she mothers but at the end of the day, hers is the only one that matters
  65. Assure her motherhood is not graded; some days just surviving is victory enough
  66. Tell her that drive-throughs are the best friends of mothers-with-sleeping-babies everywhere
  67. Keep a pack of Thank You Cards handy in case she freaks out late one night that she hasn’t thanked anyone for all the meal
  68. Never expect a thank you card from a sleep deprived new mom
  69. Tell her there is no such thing as “doing it all.” And especially no such thing as “doing it all perfectly.”
  70. Reassure her that sometimes the love and happiness in a home is directly proportional to the mess.
  71. Send a special prayer, encouragement or blessing addressed to the baby via snail mail
  72. Turn the music up and dance with her and the baby
  73. Suggest that the greatest Pandora station for soothing baby music that mama can also love has to be “Winter Song” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles
  74. Take her (and the baby) for a walk
  75. Stock her fridge with necessities anytime you come over – like milk, bread, eggs, yogurt, ice cream etc – in case she isn’t up for grocery shopping
  76. Watch the baby for her while she goes grocery shopping
  77. Suggest she spend 15 extra minutes just reading in the magazine aisle
  78. Tell her it’s normal to be be smitten with newborn love one minute and weeping with tired the next
  79. Encourage her that a content household is rarely ever a perfect one
  80. Remember to always be kind to the mom on your flight
  81. Bring a goodie bag over for the new mom and not just the baby when you come to visit
  82. If you’re too far to bring over a meal, tell her dinner from her favorite delivery place is on you
  83. Tell her there’s no shame in cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  84. Make up midnight snacks for her to grab when she’s up feeding the baby
  85. Tell her not every photo needs to be perfect – sometimes the closer to real life, the better
  86. Give her the The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood for when she needs to laugh
  87. Give her Devotions for Sacred Parenting: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Parents for when she needs to be inspired
  88. Tell her matching socks are highly overrated
  89. Wash the baby bottles for her
  90. Tell her not to sweat store bought baby food, disposable diapers or pacifiers whatever works, works
  91. Reassure her that perfect is merely a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land
  92. Tell her motherhood should come with a super hero cape, a really cute one with sparkles
  93. Buy her sparkly nail polish
  94. Tell her not to sweat everything Pinterest tells her she should be doing, baking, making and crafting for the baby
  95. Encourage her to embrace PJ days – even if they last for week
  96. Encourage her also to go spend two glorious hours at the hair dresser while you watch the baby
  97. Tell her about all the women who did all these things for you
  98. Assure her that just passing along the encouragement one day is thank you enough
  99. Remind her it’s the ordinary days that make the extraordinary memories
  100. Promise her it will just keep getting better


                                                                                                                                                                        Wednesday, February 22, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #7 - Practice Positive Discipline

                                                                                                                                                                        Practice Positive Discipline

                                                                                                                                                                        There are a few encouragements I keep floating around the house:
                                                                                                                                                                        • Attachment Parenting incorporates the "Golden Rule" of parenting; parents should treat their children the way they want to be treated. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • You have a choice in every single interaction with your child: choose kindness. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • The ultimate goal of discipline is to help children develop self-control and self-discipline.
                                                                                                                                                                        I have several books on my night stand waiting to be read about positive discipline. Some of these are on my reading list for this year. Others will have to wait. But I'm going to read them and implement the things that work. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Playful Parenting
                                                                                                                                                                        • Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves
                                                                                                                                                                        • Unconditional Parenting (the bible of positive discipline)
                                                                                                                                                                        • How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk
                                                                                                                                                                        • The Discipline Book
                                                                                                                                                                        • Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles
                                                                                                                                                                        Here are two other websites I've found really helpful:
                                                                                                                                                                        This is straight from the link to the parenting principle and is so good to remember, I might hang it on the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                        Tools for Positive Discipline

                                                                                                                                                                        • Maintain a positive relationship
                                                                                                                                                                        • Use empathy and respect
                                                                                                                                                                        • Research positive discipline
                                                                                                                                                                        • Understand the unmet need
                                                                                                                                                                        • Work out a solution together
                                                                                                                                                                        • Be proactive
                                                                                                                                                                        • Understand the child's developmental abilities
                                                                                                                                                                        • Create a "yes" environment
                                                                                                                                                                        • Discipline through play
                                                                                                                                                                        • Change things up
                                                                                                                                                                        • State facts rather than making demands
                                                                                                                                                                        • Avoid labeling
                                                                                                                                                                        • Make requests in the affirmative

                                                                                                                                                                        • Allow natural consequences
                                                                                                                                                                        • Use care when offering praise
                                                                                                                                                                        • Use time-in rather than time-out
                                                                                                                                                                        • Use time-in as a parent, too
                                                                                                                                                                        • Talk to a child before intervening
                                                                                                                                                                        • Don't force apologies
                                                                                                                                                                        • Comfort the hurt child first
                                                                                                                                                                        • Offer choices
                                                                                                                                                                        • Be sensitive to strong emotions
                                                                                                                                                                        • Consider carefully before imposing the parent's will
                                                                                                                                                                        • Use logical consequences sparingly and with compassion
                                                                                                                                                                        • Use incentives creatively with older children

                                                                                                                                                                        I think this is where I falter in my parenting the most. I think I tend to be harsh and callous. I want to be patient and kind and gentle, but I think I get mad too fast. I might take it personally when the kids do things like fight with each other, don't listen when I ask them to do something, or empty all the toys in a pile on the playroom floor. 

                                                                                                                                                                        The techniques we use for discipline don't always seem like discipline.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Time Out: a minute per year on the white bench in the kitchen. They aren't allowed to play or talk. And they have to sit there until the timer goes off. When the time is done, we talk with them about why they had to sit there, what the correct action would have been, and if necessary, there are apologies. And always hugs & kisses.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Time In: cuddle them up on our laps until they're ready to get down. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • A Break: this is time alone in the playroom, on the couch, in the bedroom. Untimed. Just go there, read some books, play by yourself. Come down when you're ready. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Try Again: This is for door slamming, yelling, being rude, whining. Usually, I just say "excuse me?" or "when you're done whining, you can ask me again" or I just tell them what to say, "Mom, can I have some milk, please?" 
                                                                                                                                                                        • 1, 2, 3: Jamey is a slow mover. Counting motivates him or at least gives him a warning that I'm serious. 
                                                                                                                                                                        A note on forcing apologies: we do. We are trying to teach them that when you do something that hurts someone else, you have to apologize. I really hope we're also teaching compassion and sensitivity to others. But really, we want them to be polite. 
                                                                                                                                                                        Other things we do when things are getting tense or there is a lot of fighting, yelling, not cooperating 
                                                                                                                                                                        • reading books together
                                                                                                                                                                        • playing a game
                                                                                                                                                                        • finding a snack
                                                                                                                                                                        • coloring/doing school pages
                                                                                                                                                                        • Run & Touch
                                                                                                                                                                        • piling on the big bed. I don't know what it is about this, but if I take all three kids up to our bed and just lay there with them, all's well. We don't nap or call it a "rest" or anything. It usually happens when Livy wakes up from her second nap. We all go up there and snuggle her as she wakes up and nurse. Good time together. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Let's Call Grandma
                                                                                                                                                                        • take a long bath alone (Ivy gets to go first with as many toys as she wants, then it's Jamey's turn)
                                                                                                                                                                        • And when things are particularly tough, we watch a movie or late afternoon PBS cartoons until Daddy gets home and saves us.  


                                                                                                                                                                        Tuesday, February 21, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        Lent

                                                                                                                                                                        Lent starts today, Ash Wednesday, Wednesday, Feb. 22 and goes through Saturday, April 7.

                                                                                                                                                                        Here is a great article about the History of Lent and another on the Season of Lent. And to round it out, here's the wikipedia link on Lent.

                                                                                                                                                                        The act of giving something up for Lent is symbolic to preparing for Christ's sacrifice. When you give something up, it's supposed to be meaningful and difficult to remind you of Christ's difficult, deadly sacrifice.

                                                                                                                                                                        In the past, I've given up coffee, sweets, swearing, and eating out. It's never easy.

                                                                                                                                                                        This year, I'm giving up sweets again. I'm a huge sugar junkie. Sacrificing my sweets will continually remind me of Jesus' sacrifice for me.

                                                                                                                                                                        Friday, February 17, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #6 - Provide Consistent and Loving Care

                                                                                                                                                                        Provide Consistent and Loving Care

                                                                                                                                                                        This is a lot about alternative childcare (not a parent) for working parents. We've had to find babysitters for Date Night, but nothing longer than a few hours once a month or so. I don't know how parents find daycare. I have no insight, tips, or know-how. This article seems to have good info on what to look for in a daycare provider.

                                                                                                                                                                        When we're looking for a babysitter, convenience has been a high priority. Thankfully, we've had high school (now college & beyond) girls living next door. They've been great sitters. Now, my sister is living with us, and she's a great babysitter.

                                                                                                                                                                        I used to leave long detailed notes about bedtime, cuddling, snacks, etc. to make sure everything was done "the right way." Now, I'm just happy to get out of the house. It doesn't matter to me if the kids get Kix and raisins for dinner instead of the pasta I got ready. Or if they missed brushing their teeth because they fell asleep watching a movie. Those things don't happen all the time, and I trust our sitters.

                                                                                                                                                                        We do try to provide consistency between Mom & Dad (and Auntie). In fact, I feel like we work hard to be consistent. It doesn't seem easy to always respond to situations the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Jeremy has given me details about his bath & bedtime routine. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Maybe we need to figure out a set of guidelines about using "Time Out" or "A Break."
                                                                                                                                                                        • Feeding seems to be pretty consistent. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Media rules are clearly defined (no TV before lunch).  
                                                                                                                                                                        • Pick up before you take out more toys.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Put dirty dishes in the sink. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Put dirty clothes in the laundry. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • Hang up coats. Put away shoes, hats, etc. 

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #4 - Use Nurturing Touch

                                                                                                                                                                        Use Nurturing Touch

                                                                                                                                                                        We are aces at this. I love cuddling and snuggling our kids. Jamey sometimes says, "that's enough kisses, Mom." :) Ivy loves getting her back scratched. Jamey sometimes just wants to be held. Livy always wants to be held.

                                                                                                                                                                        Jeremy does horsey rides and tickle games. Jamey likes wrestling these days. Even when we read books, they're on our laps or cuddled close.

                                                                                                                                                                        There is no shortage of nurturing touch in this house.

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #5 - Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

                                                                                                                                                                        Ensure Safe Sleep

                                                                                                                                                                        This, I feel, can be a hot button issue, but it's not about bed-sharing, co-sleeping, or a crib. It's about continuing to meet your child's needs at night.

                                                                                                                                                                        I think, overall, we have rough sleeping in the Solt House. At least it feels like it right now. We go through phases, and we're currently in a harder one.
                                                                                                                                                                        Either Ivy or Jamey wake up during the night. They are getting better, but every night, I have to tell them, "Remember to sleep in your bed all night long." They have been coming into our bed almost every night. At least one of them. I can't have both of them in bed with me & Livy, so if they both wake up, they both have to go back to their own beds. Livy is in bed with me, because it's so easy with night nursing. And I seem to get pretty okay sleep, although lately, I've been craving sleeping all night long without touching anyone. Ivy isn't bad to sleep with; she'll crawl in on Jeremy's side and just sleep all the way over there. Jamey, on the other hand, crawls in right next to me and tries to sleep totally smooshed up against my back. Then I have him there and Livy in the front, and I can't move at all. Now, Ivy's been doing a bit better at night. But Jamey is waking up crying with his covers on the floor. So I have to go in to calm him down and then cover him back up. Livy wakes up about two times between 10 and 7. Through all of this, most nights Jeremy ends up on the couch. Supposedly, I snore (yuck). And he might be the World's Lightest Sleeper. Plus he has early morning workouts at least three times a week, so he doesn't want to wake us up before the crack of dawn. (That's very nice!) 
                                                                                                                                                                        We're working on Ivy & Jamey sleeping more peacefully. Then we can move Auntie Bethany to the basement, and get Livy in the crib in her own room (so she doesn't wake up the Big 2). And then Jeremy can come back to our bed for real. And then maybe, one day, I'll sleep all night again.
                                                                                                                                                                        The first six or so months with a new baby have always been rough in our house with the co-sleeping and then transitioning to the crib. We had a good thing going for a while, but it never lasts.  
                                                                                                                                                                        In following this Principle, we respond to our kids all the time. They still need us, even if it's dark. They need help falling asleep and going back to sleep. I can not let them cry (especially the older two--they'll just get out of bed). This works with "Respond with Sensitivity." We gently take them back to bed, give kisses, get water, tuck in, etc. Whatever they need to get back to sleep calmly. There are nights that I'm grouchier than needed, but we aim to be just as gentle and kind at night as during the day.

                                                                                                                                                                        Our night time routine for Ivy & Jamey:

                                                                                                                                                                        • Bath
                                                                                                                                                                        • Jammies
                                                                                                                                                                        • Brush Teeth
                                                                                                                                                                        • Goodnight kisses
                                                                                                                                                                        • Read one book each while rocking with the parent
                                                                                                                                                                        • Hop in bed
                                                                                                                                                                        • Parent stays in the room until they fall asleep
                                                                                                                                                                        From Bath to Sleeping takes about an hour. They're asleep by 8 and then wake up around 7. 

                                                                                                                                                                        Our night time routine for Livy:
                                                                                                                                                                        • There is none yet. We're working on it, but the girl won't sleep longer than 45 minutes at night unless I'm right there. When we get her room set up, we'll get serious about it. I just don't want to go to bed at 8 or 9, so she takes a short late nap and goes to bed with us at 10:30 or so. 
                                                                                                                                                                        • We will shoot for the 2-3-4 schedule with her. It worked great for Ivy & Jamey, so here's hoping. I'm eager for her to go to bed at 8 so I can have some kid-free time.

                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                        Wednesday, February 15, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #3 - Respond with Sensitivity

                                                                                                                                                                        Respond with Sensitivity

                                                                                                                                                                        This one has taken much longer to write, because it's something I struggle with. Not with the baby, but with the older two.

                                                                                                                                                                        The first part of this principle is all about meeting your baby's needs. I have no problem with holding, cuddling, nursing, sleeping with the baby. Everyone knows that babies have limited communication: crying, mostly. We respond to her (and the other two when they were babies) real quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                        The next two parts I struggle with.

                                                                                                                                                                        Responding to tantrums: I know that when Jamey throws a fit, it could be that he just doesn't know yet how to handle the emotions he's feeling. I get it. I totally believe it. I don't like to "punish" a tantrum. I'd rather sit down and comfort him and help him through it. However, he cries and whines all day long. I just want the constant whining to stop. So he does spend time in his room "until he can stop crying." It takes about 10 seconds. I know it's not the right answer, because two minutes later he's crying about something else. But it really is true that I don't like being with him when all he does is whine.

                                                                                                                                                                        I've just had a thought that maybe this isn't a tantrum. This might be a different issue (not necessarily strong emotion, but I don't know what it is or how to make it stop.) I don't know that either of our big kids ever throw tantrums--like we all imagine a tantrum. Never. No throwing themselves on the ground. 
                                                                                                                                                                        Ivy has collapsed when we've been out of Honey Kix, but that's tired, not tantrum. And I do hold her and talk about getting more at the store or finding something else for breakfast. It doesn't last long. 
                                                                                                                                                                        Jamey does get mad, but his big thing is screaming "NO!" at us. He gets so mad. And then there's no reasoning with him. It's like we have to let it run it's course and then he's fine again. I try to hold him through that, but he doesn't want holding. He wants to stand and scream. I think that's when he goes to his bed until he's done. I don't feel like we shame him or even get upset about it (usually). It's just a "You can be mad, but if you're going to scream like that, you have to do it in your room. Come down when you're ready." 
                                                                                                                                                                         Responding to the older child: A fear I have to squelching expression of emotion. I want our kids to know it's okay to be mad, irritated, sad. It's okay to want to be alone, to be in a bad mood, to need extra loving. How do we foster that freedom of emotion without trampling on the other people in the house?
                                                                                                                                                                        It would never be acceptable for me to throw books because I'm angry. Or hit Jeremy because I'm cranky. Even if I'm just in a bad mood or didn't get enough sleep, there are still expectations to be kind and courteous. How do I reconcile being angry with responding appropriately to the people around me? And how do we teach that to our kids? 

                                                                                                                                                                        I feel like we are pretty low-key, laid-back parents as far as rules go. The kids pretty much have free reign over the house and yard. They can play with just about anything; I encourage them to try new things and be creative; I want them to imagine and do things on their own. I want them to play. This could lead into a long discussion of why I want some land and a fence.

                                                                                                                                                                        I also struggle with playing with the kids. I like to read with them and sometimes I'll color or play a game, but most of the time, I like them to play with each other. I don't feel like I need to always do something with them, but I think that leads to me not doing enough with them.

                                                                                                                                                                        I have been yelling a lot, and I know it. I want to be more sensitive and patient with the kids. I'm taking steps toward both of those.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I know that on days I work out, I'm a much calmer person. It immediately puts me in a better mood. 
                                                                                                                                                                        2. I am recognizing triggers: Ivy being loud at Livy; Jamey whining & crying; tattling--those are the big ones. 
                                                                                                                                                                        3. I know that I need to use a gentler, kinder voice when I'm talking with the kids, even when I'm asking/telling them to do something. 
                                                                                                                                                                        This, it feels like, will always be a work in progress. 

                                                                                                                                                                        Tuesday, February 14, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #2 - Feed with Love & Respect

                                                                                                                                                                        Feed with Love & Respect

                                                                                                                                                                        We've been having some trouble at our house at Dinner Time lately.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. The "I don't like it" whine even before they're tried it
                                                                                                                                                                        2. Playing around on the chairs: hanging off the sides, leaning backwards
                                                                                                                                                                        3. Tipping over sippy cups every 12 seconds
                                                                                                                                                                        4. Throwing or pounding forks & spoons on the table
                                                                                                                                                                        5. Taking only 2-3 bites before they want down
                                                                                                                                                                        6. General fighting, whining, crying, screaming
                                                                                                                                                                        I don't ever have these problems with the kids during the day. They eat breakfast, morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack just fine. All of these "meals" are seated at the table, with at least one adult, and always with the same rules. 
                                                                                                                                                                        1. Don't bang the table
                                                                                                                                                                        2. Cup goes above your plate
                                                                                                                                                                        3. At least 2 bites before "I don't like it"
                                                                                                                                                                        4. "May I get down?" before leaving the table
                                                                                                                                                                        There are some things that we know Jamey doesn't like (lasagna, enchiladas, most soup). Ivy doesn't like black beans. We don't force them to eat things they don't like, and we never make them clear their plate. 

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know what is so different about dinner except that Daddy is there, and that might be more exciting than the kids can handle. We usually eat dinner about 37 seconds after he walks in the door. Maybe we need to wait a while, so they can play before we sit down. Dinner is usually the only meal that I make New Recipes for. Or maybe after eating five meals/snacks, they just aren't that hungry. 

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't want food to be a struggle. I've read through some of the Ellyn Satter website and agree with most of what I've read. I totally agree with the information about Feeding Your Preschooler.

                                                                                                                                                                        I try to let the kids get involved in cooking. Ivy is getting pretty good with the vegetable peeler. And they both get to dish up their own food. 

                                                                                                                                                                        We try to NEVER EVER use food as a reward. I don't think I've ever said, "If you stay close at the store, you can get a treat." I don't want food to be a prize. Along that same line, getting dessert isn't really contingent on eating the meal. Sometimes, I set the dessert out at the same time as dinner and just let them eat. We don't keep junk food in the house; they are welcome to any snacks we have, because they're healthy. And when we do have junk, they can eat as much as they want. I don't want taboos on food (like the forbidden fruit that you just want more of) or to promote sneaking food or lying about how much we ate. 

                                                                                                                                                                        We also don't ever force the kids to eat anything. This battle is just not worth having. I can't force them to eat. I do get annoyed when they complain about the meal without trying it. And when Jamey won't even take one bit of dinner, I have no idea what to do. I don't want to force him to take bites, but I do want him to try it. And I do want to make sure he's not going to bed hungry. 

                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe we're expecting too much? Or maybe this is par for the course with two preschoolers in the house? Maybe we have them sit at the table longer at dinner than other times? 

                                                                                                                                                                        I just want to be providing them with good nutritious options, teaching them to eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full, and encouraging them to try new things. I'd like them to be courteous, too. 

                                                                                                                                                                        Now that I've written this and spent time thinking about how we feed the kids, maybe we're not doing too bad or are, in fact, right on track with our goals. It's just good for me to be able to talk about what we want to be doing and how we're achieving that.

                                                                                                                                                                        Oils

                                                                                                                                                                        While cruising the Internet, I found this post on Eating Rules about cooking oils.

                                                                                                                                                                        We are pretty much an olive oil or vegetable oil family. I'd like to branch out to some other oils, but I've never known what to get or what it's good for. And truth be told, we've had the same bottle of vegetable oil for about 8 months.

                                                                                                                                                                        I use 2 Tb of oil in pancakes. I can't think of anything else I use oil for. Muffins occasionally. And hummus--that's what the olive oil is for.

                                                                                                                                                                        I guess what I'd really like to know is the difference between butter, oil, shortening. Then there's lard. I know nothing of these and just use butter most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                        Sunday, February 12, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                        Celebrating Jamey's 3rd Birthday

                                                                                                                                                                        For Jamey's birthday, we decided to go to the Water Park of America with my family. They provide pizza, chips, pop, and cupcakes. Because we were having cupcakes there, we thought it would be fun to make cookies instead of another cake. 

                                                                                                                                                                        Jamey made about 4 dozen little #3s

                                                                                                                                                                        Cooling before frosting

                                                                                                                                                                        Ivy frosting cookies before the party

                                                                                                                                                                        Yay!

                                                                                                                                                                        We met my family at the water park and stayed for about four hours. 

                                                                                                                                                                        My brothers Noah & Sam, nephew Ezra & Jeremy

                                                                                                                                                                        Livy & Auntie Bethany

                                                                                                                                                                        It was Livy's first time in the pool! 

                                                                                                                                                                        Playing in the kiddie pool

                                                                                                                                                                        Livy & Grandma

                                                                                                                                                                        Water slides with Daddy

                                                                                                                                                                        The birthday boy

                                                                                                                                                                        Grandma brought a present for Ivy, too

                                                                                                                                                                        A little cake

                                                                                                                                                                        After the water park, I thought we still needed a real cake so we could sing "Happy Birthday" and have Jamey blow out a candle. 

                                                                                                                                                                        It was a great day! Lots of fun for all of us. And now our Little Guy is a Big Boy. 

                                                                                                                                                                        AP #1 - Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting

                                                                                                                                                                        Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting

                                                                                                                                                                        It's easy, I think, to prepare for pregnancy & birth. That part is so exciting! It's like planning a wedding. It's easy and fun to plan a wedding; planning a marriage takes much more time, thought, and continual change.

                                                                                                                                                                        My main suggestions here are to take a birth class, read Henci Goer's book "A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth," and hire a doula. I wrote this post more information about birth resources.

                                                                                                                                                                        Parenting is much harder than pregnancy and birth. I've enjoyed the Dr. Sears books, and a few others: Playful Parenting; Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves; and Siblings without Rivalry. I have a long long list of parenting books I want to read and incorporate into our parenting. 

                                                                                                                                                                        I want to be a better parent. I want to be more patient. I want to teach more. I want to respect my kids more.