Tag Archives: Parenting

Upping the Game

So I have finished reading Transforming the Difficult Child: the Nurtured Heart approach by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley.

I am implementing the point system laid out in the book in the hopes that my children learn some more motivation and also a better sense of worth and accomplishment. It has been a week since we started and I feel I might have made it too easy.. but they are excited, so that is good.

Tomorrow my middle child is cashing in his points to take the others to the indoor amusement park! I am going to be sore for days.. climbing through hamster tubes and tunnels and rope bridges might be too much for me. Last time we went I came home, gave them lunch, and fell asleep for hours.

Today I had the neighbor (who is also a dear friend) babysit the children in the morning while I did some Christmas shopping. I fell asleep in the afternoon and I woke up grateful that I was now able to do this, without the children getting into any mischief. Their growing maturity has made my life so much easier, I was thinking.

I sat down for a snack and a peek at a book and my youngest told me to come look at the living room. I asked her what for, did she clean it? And she nodded in assent. I stood at the doorway and saw there was something on the floor that wasn´t there before my nap. She had taken apart a draft sock (the things you use to block drafts in windows and doors) and thrown the innards (rice) all over the living room. She made sure to get handfuls in corners and behind furniture and had strewn the rest everywhere she could.

I sent her up to her room and got out the vacuum and quickly discovered that I could not get it all up. I sent her brother up to fetch her to pick it up grain by grain in the corners and along the wall but she had fallen asleep. I woke her up, set her on her feet gently and told her she had some work to do before she had any rest.

She did pick it up the best she could. I have no idea what she made that mess for in the first place. I will ask her tomorrow. I hope she sleeps in. This is probably the first time in her life that I have interrupted her nap when we were home and had no where to go.

Today my oldest child figured out how to link the babysitter´s laptop with our home computer and play games online together. I assume all he did was add a server address, but the sitter was still impressed. I hope he always has this ease with computers. He got on when he was thirteen months old and has wanted to do nothing but since then. I have him block coding (which he loves) in Minecraft and have asked him to please use straight Java instead, but he likes the ease of blocks. Maybe I can get him into another language with another project that will force him to learn it directly.

I think they are doing well. Far better than they used to be. Going dairy free has helped Middle Child immensely. The sitter we had today was concerned about Middle Child´s sleep, as he has never slept well in his life until the past six months. She brought over some essential oils that are supposed to calm and help with sleep, and he loves them. I had to argue with him patiently and logically until he would release the little jar and put it on a table next to his bed. He wanted to sleep with it in his hand so he could smell it. He said thank you immediately, too. He usually does not say thank you when he gets a gift, he often says he does not want it or acts disappointed. We have been practicing how to receive gifts, but this was spontaneous. He was really pleased. Such a lovely girl to have as my closest neighbor. I am so lucky.

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Filed under ADHD, ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting

To The Zoo!

Today we went to the zoo, the children and my mother.

I had my mother in a wheelchair, so she would not tire. I had the children taking turns in a stroller, so they would not tire, which I suppose backfired on me, since they had to push each other, too.

When it got too much for the children I pushed the stroller a ways, parked the kids there, and went back for the wheelchair.

It was a fantastic workout. I think I burnt half my caloric intake. I bet I looked a mess, but I was really happy, and never tired.

They whined a lot in the beginning, Middle Child was tired to begin with. I think he gets more rest than I know in the day care, and for certain he gets a nap.

Overall, I think they did well. I did have to dose them twice in the day with various forms of ice cream to keep their strength up. I have to add ice cream sandwiches to the list of things they like.

We did not see as much of the animals as I wanted, but we did explore some fantastic play spaces, which I did want to accomplish this visit. There are four very different play areas and they spent significant time in each of them.

My mother tired after two hours, and I am not sure why, since she never even walked a block, but we set her by the sharks to have a little nap while we gazed at weird ocean creatures nearby and explored faux tidal pools. She perked up an hour later and we went outside for one last long play before we left.

I got a membership. Which might not be the best investment I ever made, since the zoo is much further than my comfort zone, but I figure it will force me to go back and get my money’s worth.

I can keep my kids in a triangle of three small towns, but I probably shouldn’t.

Hopefully we can see all the animals before my membership expires. We have only explored half of the zoo!

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Regression and Excuses

Middle Child hit Oldest Child today. When asked why, he told me “I just can’t control my anger!”

Not gonna fly, I told him. He lost some privileges, made his apologies and I let him know in no uncertain terms that nothing is going to slide around here. When the tears came out I comforted him. I told him I know he will make the right choice next time, and keep his video game privileges.

He stood up for his sister against a bully a minute after the hitting incident, and I did not let that go unnoticed. I reminded him of all the times he had stood up for his siblings this summer and let him know how proud I was- but I waited an hour after he was reprimanded. Just so I knew he would be receptive. He told me it was hard for him to stand up against bullying when he was younger. I told him I knew he would keep doing it, that he is acting like a hero. As he should, coming from a family of heroes.

His sister cried her little heart out before she came in for the evening. Her best neighborhood friend had cruelly covered up her hard work, a dirt puddle that she had created as a gift for the friend. Something to do with pretending to be lemurs. Middle Child assures me that his sister experienced an act of cruelty.

It could have been retaliation. I did tell the children not to pull down the sapling they were messing with. I did tell The Baby she was not allowed to hurt trees, which caused her to blurt out that it was not her who pulled off the bark, but rather Best Neighborhood Friend. I had nothing to say to that. It would be up to her friend’s mother. But her friend might have been embarrassed on being ratted out.

If The Baby were older I would explain it all to her.

Instead one of the older girls who had experienced similar cruelty from the same individual had a small heart to heart with her and then she came in smiling.

So we had some good with the bad this evening. I much prefer that to only bad.

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Friday with the Child Psychologist

Today both boys had an appointment with the child psychologist.

She asked me what we should be working on today, and I reminded her of the current issues. I asked my middle child what he should be working on, in case I missed something, and he said he is about ready to graduate. Not the answer I expected.

After session, she told me she thought he might be ready to cease his sessions with her. She told me she remembers how they were when they first started with her, middle son at two years ago and oldest child at a year ago.

She said they were bouncing off of things. Had no focus. Became upset every minute. Did not share. Argued with everyone and each other.

Middle child did not talk about his father and did not want to discuss his feelings AT ALL for a year.

I was surprised she felt he might be done with therapy. He is doing remarkably well right now, true, but I just did not know if it were due to his medication or due to his emotional growth.

She walked us to the door and turned to me and looked me in the eyes and said “good job”.

Last week a social worker visited us in our home and attributed my kid’s good behaviour to good parenting.

After years of criticisms from their father, my father, the shelter staff- I can scarcely believe it.

I hope the children do. They worked really hard to get here.

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November Notes for the Psychologist

We have started a tally sheet, at my son’s request. When I catch them doing good, they get a mark under their name. I have added descriptions, too, because I want to reinforce those behaviours. I read them off to the kids from time to time. On the side is a list of rewards for tallies, but I have yet to put up a price sheet for those rewards. I intend to do family rewards, rather than individual rewards, because I am trying to teach them to celebrate one win as a family win. The tally sheet that they have at daycare is set up so that they can have a tally mark erased over bad behaviour. I am not doing that.

The children have become more affectionate since I quit coffee, as I have become more attentive, less distracted, less irritable. Of course they are responding, they are sensitive and smart children. I get told that I am loved, every hour, by one or the other of the youngest two.

Changes in schedule still upset middle child. Having a class on Saturday morning last week and this week has made it all more manageable for him. Last weekend he did still have a bit of a tantrum and even said, during it, ¨Why can’t every day be the same, I hate this!¨ So at least he is recognizing some of the problem. I did tell him I understood. It was hard, and suggested some alternatives to tantrums, and he requested some alone time. What a huge improvement. I am so glad he is putting up boundaries and asking for what he needs.

Middle child has been showing self control and self regulation, even at daycare. He was punched and did not punch the other child back. He went to his favorite teacher and with tears streaming down his face related the incident and how he controlled himself and she responded appropriately. I am still deeply in love with this daycare and the staff. I do need to make sure that he understands to report bullying, though. His older brother is now reporting teasing and abuse, which is good. I don’t care about tattling, I want to know when children are hurting each other, so I can redirect them to separate activities and take action if necessary. I do not agree with ignoring tattling. It is absolutely criminal to be left on your own to handle abuse when you are smaller or less able than the abuser.

When the children do not clean up after themselves, things that are directly their responsibility (like dropped food or coats thrown on the floor), I do it for them after a few failed reminders and then announce they have lost a quarter from their allowance. I then take the quarter from their allowance cup in front of them and put it into my change holder. Huge messes, like intentionally thrown boxes of Legos get a dollar charge, but thankfully those are rare, because the children ask for help if they are overwhelmed.

I have started a family calendar, doubling the calendar they use as a sticker rewards chart for brushing teeth and doing homework to also announce days off of school or days they have activities. Now that they can read, we can coordinate better, there are less surprises.

Middle Child’s meds do still seem to be working. Next week I have to show Oldest Son’s referral to the psychiatrist to have an evaluation done per the county’s request.

The children have asked about their father a little bit last month, we hit an anniversary and they got thoughtful. They know he is not safe to be around, but they worry about his health, as he is sick, and so I did reassure them that the kind of sick he has is not usually fatal and it is treatable if their father chooses to treat it. I did share with them some things that their father liked, like foods and so on, and the Oldest said ¨You mean before he got mean?¨, and I just said ¨Yes, before then.¨ I never said their father was mean. Not once. But they are capable of interpreting what they remember, so I did not correct him. I am not going to take the tact of insisting that their father is so disabled by illness that he is not responsible in any way for his choices. They remember.

That is a lot of stuff. I am glad to be able to report mostly good things this time. So glad that I could cry. None of them are hitting me anymore. It is incredible. Well, the baby did try a few days ago. I did dare to put her in her car seat when she wanted to run around in circles in the parking lot.

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Washing a Toddler’s Hair

¨I want to see the shampoo, Mommy.¨

¨It’s on your head, sweetie, you cannot see it now.¨

¨I could see it if I had a ladder.¨

¨I don’t think even a ladder would help you to see the top of your head, honey.¨

¨If I had a really, really, really big ladder- then I could.¨

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Praise

¨Mommy, you are a little bit cool. But I am ten pounds cooler than you.¨ says my middle child- on the way to parkour tag. I bet I never would have got that praise if I did not play it with him. Especially since I outweigh him by a hundred pounds.

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