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Childwise is kicking my butt

21 months, Obiwan
47 months, Nessness

I’ve been told it’s the Terrible Twos, Threenager, F’in Fours and Fearsome Fives. Then things are fun and lovely until the Tumultuous Teens. Well, I’d like to mitigate the f’in fearsomeness as much as can be reasonably expected. Because, if it’s possible, then why not?

I’ve found the Babywise and Toddlerwise series to be quite helpful with the principles they provide to guide parenting decisions and practices. Ms PR foresaw what I might appreciate next and sent me Childwise (THANK YOU!), to assist in parenting three to seven year olds. Well, Hubs and I started reading the book together. We got through the Introduction and reached the list of 15 Childwise principles before feeling a little kicked in the butt. Some of the principles we’re already working on from the earlier books in the series, but some principles really highlight where things aren’t going well right now. We have work to do.

Here’s the 15 Childwise Principles:

  1. Great marriages make great parents – YES. This is difficult in the early “in the trenches” years but I believe it’s so important to be intentional about maintaining connectedness and carving time for each other, above what might be nice for the kids to have. Kids will leave you one day, your spouse shouldn’t.
  2. Use the strength of your leadership early on, and the strength of your relationship later – This opened my eyes a bit….leadership now, relationship later. I’m sure it doesn’t mean that relationship formation isn’t important through ALL the years, but perhaps that leadership from parents now is foundational to having a good relationship later.
  3. Parent now, be friends later – similar to above. And I totally agree, my children will have friends at school, etc, I need to be a parent. My worry is how to be a parent they’ll want to be friends with later.
  4. Instill morality into a child and his behavior will fall into place – This is something I’ve been trying to keep at the back of my mind for a while….related to building character and not conforming behavior.
  5. What you do not yourself desire, do not put before others. Do to others what you would have them do to you – The Silver and Golden Rule. Easy to forget.
  6. Other people count – Yes, we’ve been working on this since they’ve been able to reach for our stuff.
  7. It is not enough to teach your children how to act morally, they must learn how to think morally – And my question is HOW to teach them to think morally?
  8. When teaching virtue, a positive example is better than a thousand lectures – I’ve been terrible with this. My impatience. My curt responses. And Nessness is copying my tone and attitude. SIGHHHHHH.
  9. Discipline is heart food for your child – I hope so
  10. If learning didn’t take place, correction didn’t happen – OMIGOODNESS….have I taught her nothing then?
  11. Allowing a child to progress into his new and expanding world in an orderly fashion greatly enhances learning and decreases the need for correction – I know there are different opinions about this…but this makes sense for me.
  12. Constantly reminding a child to do what is expeced only means you have no expectation – GAAHHHHH. But I thought I had expectations! It must be coming out all wrong.
  13. Verbal affirmation is never redundant – Definitely need to work on this too.
  14. Wise parenting is better than power parenting – Oh I’ve been power parenting for sure and can’t wait to learn how to be wise instead.
  15. An ounce of self-control is better than a pound of trouble – Not exactly sure what this means but self-control is a fabulous thing in this world of self-absorption and self-centeredness.
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Nursing top hack

Maternity clothing stores make a killing. And your choices are limited. I never like to buy something I can only use for one season unless I really need it. I only bought 5 pregnancy tops (on sale) for my two pregnancies. Thyme Maternity sells nursing tops for $35+ and I thought I found a deal on Amazon for $18-$24 until I realized I can hack my own using clothes I already have.

If you use the nursing bras that have the front clips, as opposed to the pull-aside kinds, then you take any spaghetti strap tank top, pull it down to your belly without putting your arms through the straps, then loop the straps around the part of the bra that unclips, throw whatever shirt you want on top and Voila! nursing top! You can lift your shirt to feed without exposing your midsection to drafts or stares. And in my case, my tank is now long enough to hide how I still can’t button some of my pre-pregnancy pants, resorting to the elastic band trick or a belt to hold my unzippered pants up.

What other clothing hacks have you tried?

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Words I Parent By

Don’t start a habit you’ll need to break later.
Start the way you mean to go.

The principle came from BabyWise which I found totally made sense. If I want my kids to sit through a meal at age 6, then I expect them to sit through a meal at age 3 and likewise at age 1…at restaurants and at home. If pulling things off someone else’s bookshelf or coffee table isn’t okay, then it’s not okay at home either. If taking my keys or phone without permission isn’t okay at age 16, then it’s not okay at age 2. It’s unfair to a child to not set rules or expectations at home but then impose them when they’re in a different environment or age. It boils down to being consistent.

Credit Card Parenting: Either you pay your dues now, or you pay it later, but plus interest.
Win the early battles.

Raising little humans is hard. That’s an understatement. There were so many things I wanted to just let go because dealing with tantrums is just not my idea of a good time. But I kept telling myself, if I don’t deal with this now, and correct or modify the attitude/behavior, then it’s just MUCH harder later when they’re a few more years set in their ways. And lippy. And heavier.

Mean what you say, say what you mean.

I saw this quote on a poster in church once. Words mean a lot to me so this stuck with me since as a mantra to live by. It’s particularly impactful when talking to little kids because their brains are making incredible connections that sounds can make words and words mean something and now they can communicate. The few words they have is so important to them. They also take what I say at face value. Do I want to teach them that my words are not to be taken seriously? No. So if I say, “Finish your fruit or we’re not going to the library” then I must mean what I say. This requires really thinking about what threats I can follow through on. Little kids also don’t have concept of “later” so the consequences must be fairly immediate. I’m also trying to be careful about saying exactly what I mean. “Touching public toilets and then touching your face is really gross” as opposed to “You’re so gross.” See the difference? I still say the wrong things but am trying to live by this because I want my kids to believe my words, to take what I say seriously, and to not have to guess at the meaning. I also don’t want my words to wound them. One day, soon, I hope they will be people whose words are true and meaningful as well.

Make parenting decisions centered around your End Goal.

This is a harder one to do. Without an End Goal in mind, it’s easy to just react to whatever situation/crisis/episode my kids unleash on me. My reaction could just be to get them quiet and make it through grocery shopping/church/car ride. But what does that teach them? I can get what I want by making a scene. Mere behavior modification isn’t enough either. Kids are smart and can put on a convincing performance to get their way too. In reading Sacred Parenting (not done yet), I’m challenged to raise kids with good , Christ-like character. Character and behavior are two different things. Character includes attributes like patient, kind, honest, brave, integrity, endures, faithful, etc. This is much harder for me. But that’s my End Goal, so it gives a frame of mind for me to check if my response to my kids will be helpful in moving them towards the End Goal. It helps me make decisions about what to do or not do. This has been a three steps forward, two steps back kind of progress.

What are some words you parent by?

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A couple minutes this NYE

It’s a rare moment that both are napping at the same time, giving me a chance to nap. Even rarer is when I wake and neither of them have woken yet. SCORE! For the few minutes I have before being pulled back into the fray of motherhood, I’m gathering my reflections as the last hours of 2016 count down.

I think living life well with children can be summarized with this one quote I read this year:

If it only takes five minutes to do, do it now.

Because….oh they’re both awake now. See? I need to get better at this. Gotta go! ha ha.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy and Memorable New Year!!

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Ah ha moment

14 months old

It’s dinner time and Nessness is eating pretty well but then gets whinier and starts signing “all done” well before half the meal is complete. She pushes away our hands, the spoon, her plate and keeps signing “all done.” Except I know she’s not done. She didn’t have too big of a snack nor was it too close to dinner. So what’s going on? Does she need to poo? Bring her to the toilet except she doesn’t want to sit on the potty seat. So bring her back to the table where she fights to not sit in the high chair. I decide that I need to win these battles so I bend her legs and strap her in. Now she definitely doesn’t want any dinner. But I know she’s still gotta be hungry. Then I notice beads of sweat in her scalp and that her hair is sticking because it’s damp. Is it because she was fighting me? I use a take-out container lid to fan her and she lights up with big smiles and happy kicks. AH HA. Maybe it’s just because it’s 30C out and we don’t have air conditioning and she’s too hot to sit with a sleeved bib on! I know that feeling…when it’s too hot to eat…so I wash her face with cool water, take off the big bib, wipe her arms down, alternate fanning her with offering spoons of food, and dinner gets finished. Woohoo!

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Sleeping Tips

First couple of months

(Image Not Mine)

Hot Water Bottle : use this to warm baby’s bassinet/crib before putting baby in. That way they’re not shocked by the coolness of their bed after being held in warm arms during a feed. I recommend laying the swaddle blanket in the crib first, then the hot water bag. Swaddle the baby for sleep in the bassinet so they don’t have to transfer from warm arms, to cool swaddle then to warm bed.

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Sleeping Tips

First couple of months

(Image not mine)

Burping well : get that last bit of gas out…burp after feeding from each side or after every 20-30ml of bottle feeding. And I picked this picture because this is where Daddy can really help by giving Mommy a slight break to brush her teeth or grab a bite to eat or tend to sore nipples (use that Lanolin!!). This reverse football hold is really great too:

(Image not mine)