Friday, July 30, 2010

How To Make Kids Listen

If anyone has the secret ingredient to getting kids to listen I am ALL ears! I cannot tell you how many times today I told my kids to clean up the playroom. I will tell my kids to do something and they'll blatantly ignore me, whine, walk away, start to listen and then stop... it gets to the point that I'm raising my voice and I hate that. I don't want to be THAT mom. I get whiny, raise my voice and belt out "Why can't you two listen?!" in frustration.

So I have a few ideas for getting kids to listen. Though most of the time I don't think of these in the heat of the moment maybe you will recall them in your own battles!

-Offer an incentive! Remind them that when they're done it is snack time or movie time or craft time or park time or whatever you have planned.

-Give them a 5-minute warning. Tell them they have five minute to finish up and then it is time to clean up instead of just springing something on them. It gives them time to switch gears and transition to a new activity more calmly. Kids do better knowing "what comes next".

-Make it fun! Turn on some music, set a timer and have them race to clean up. This is probably the one I use the most that works the most. Instead of raising my voice in anger I raise it in a sing-songy voice. I try to turn my frustration into fun.

-Get down and dirty. And by that I mean sometimes you're going to have to roll up your sleeves and just help. Kids under the age of 6 can be easily overwhelmed by a large mess. So much so that they shut down and can't figure out where to start. This reminds me of hoarders whose homes are full of piles and piles of stuff. They become so overwhelmed and just can't figure out how to unbury themselves from all their junk. So even if you're busy with something else or have other things to do you may have to suck it up and help the little ones organize. They need guidance and leadership. Showing it to them early on may mean having more clean and organized adolescents, teens and adults later on.

-Make it routine. Always have cleanup at the same time everyday (before dinner or bedtime perhaps).

I hate being disciplinary too. But I know I have to do it. Elaina has gotten to this phase where she'll tearfully tell me, "You don't like me! You always tell me to do things and I don't like it!" Etc., etc. It's so hard not to become defensive and bite back with your own stinging statement but it is so important to stay calm. I just tell her, "Elaina, Mommy loves you. When I tell you to do something it is because I love you. And when you get in trouble it is because you didn't listen to Mommy. Mommy needs you to listen so that you're safe."

And with all of this it is so important to follow through. If you tell your child that they won't get dessert for not eating their peas then they don't get dessert. If you tell your child they can't play outside until they clean up the crayons all over the table then they don't play outside until they clean up. I cannot tell you how many times in a fatigue haze I'd tell my kids, "Just go and play" and it is biting me in the behind. Operation Follow Through has been back in full swing and even though I get lots of temper tantrums from my 3-year-old toddler I know in the end it is helping to provide her stability and predictability in such an unpredictable world.

So what are your tips?! How do you get your kids to listen when it is important? Not just when it is cleanup time but whenever?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting so big!

Zoë is 9-months-old now! We tried and tried baby food but she doesn't like it. I think she's going to skip baby food like Abby did. She does eat her Gerber stars (those puffs that dissolve) and her sisters try to sneak them as well.

She is still nursing and nursing and nursing! She really hasn't had a moment where she's refused to eat or that I felt she may want to wean. Quite the opposite. She is in love with my boobs. I'm sure she'll love to hear that when she is older! Anyway I still haven't had a period and I actually think my PCOS is rearing its ugly head so I've been back in weight-loss mode. I think we want to start trying for another baby in November, after she turns a year old. Daddy wants a boy so we'll see what happens! In the meantime I'm focusing on the weight loss and trying to get this baby to eat some food so we're not nursing so much (so my period will hopefully show up! Must have at least 6 hours between one feed per day/night for your body to begin regulating).

She is also still sleeping in our bed. I have moments where I feel ready for her to be out but most of the time it really doesn't bother me. It has really started to bother Daniel though. I think he wants his wife back! We've been focusing on getting her in the crib for nap time and still no luck. I'm not a "let them cry it out" kind of mom. It's just not for me so telling me to do it is only going to make me go cross-eyed in frustration. I think once they reach a certain age, over a year, that is fine. Before then they're just babies. All they know is you and the comfort of your arms. Weaning her slowly is fine with me. We've got time! Before I know it she'll be older and in her own room. So for now I am cherishing having my baby in my arms.

Zoë is a crawling machine and loves to put anything and everything in her mouth. I can't tell you how many times I've caught her chewing on the dog's bone... *GAG* I'm a bit of a germophobe,  taking courses in microbiology will do that to you, so it grosses me out so bad!

Her eyes are still blue, too! I wonder if they'll darken, lighten, stay the same or change to green like mine did. I definitely don't think she'll be brown-eyed like her sisters. And she still has her birthmarks though they've definitely faded quite a bit. No one really asks about them unless they're under the age of 10. But it makes me wonder- do only blue-eyed babies get stork bites? Because all the babies I know with them have blue eyes!

Being able to put her down to play for a bit is such a nice reprieve. I can get things done! Granted I have to chase after her and grab her with soapy hands while doing the dishes if she gets into the dog's water bowl or starts eating cat food............ seriously she is so fast! I've broken out the gate to keep her from trying to digest every little fiber or dust bunny she finds.

Oh and PS- Our black kitty is not a girl.... he's a boy! His boy parts decided to drop recently. Right now he's sporting a pink collar but at least it has skulls on it. He is still nameless, too. I like Solomon and Daniel likes Jackson (after a Stargate character). We shall see who wins! For a guy who claims to hate cats and didn't want me to bring this one in he sure does have a strong opinion about his name!!!

Here are my boys! Hanging out in the cat condo. I'm surprised Beckett let him up there. I don't think he got to sit there for very long. Ha ha! That is Beckett's spot and he has made that very clear.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Own Shelter!

I think word is getting around the neighborhood that we take good care of animals because this sweet little black kitten decided to taken up residence on our front porch. Throughout the day I'd see her mournfully mewing at me through our big window. So, as I do with all strays, I put out a little food and thought she'd be on her merry way.

Except she's been out there for almost an entire week. I finally decided yesterday to get flea medication and bathe her. It has gotten to the point that I go and check to make sure she's still out there. If we're already feeding her she may as well come in, right? I made sure she went in the litter box before relaxing enough to let her roam. She went twice!

 After her bath! She's so tiny she looked like a little wet rat. She did REALLY good for the bath, too. She just stood there, unsure of what to do. But at least she didn't fight and claw me!

So we are looking for a family to take her but for now she's inside. It was 2 years ago in August that Beckett, our Siamese, found us. Must just be the season strays come and beg at the door!

I've dubbed the kitty Iona (i-yawn-uh). It was a name on my baby list but Daniel didn't like it so I am using it for the kitty because I LOVE it! She's got long, thick black fur and gold eyes. Her eyes are so expressive and beautiful, as you can see above.

My girls have begged for her to come in and Daniel wouldn't relent. Finally I told him I was giving her a bath and that I'd put her back outside afterward if that was what he truly wanted. I think he secretly likes her. He won't admit it but if I say, "Do you want me to put her back out?" he just says he doesn't want to talk about the cat and changes the subject. Awwwww, he's a sucker too (he called me a sucker). He refuses to tell me to put her out!

We aren't calling her ours and are still looking for a family to take her. If no one takes her in a couple weeks we'll re-evaluate and see if we can afford another pet. Isn't she just adorable? Elaina loves snuggling with her!

Beckett chose us. I wonder if Iona has chosen us as well or if we're to be the medium to finding her a forever home. Either way she is with us for now! Sam has tried to dominate her in a way I thought only male dogs tried to dominate. Ha ha! And Beckett is very cautious. I can tell he is upset with me. But he will get over it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I've enabled the captcha when leaving comments. If you see a strange comment with something clickable on it do NOT click on it. They are spammers. I'm trying to find them all and delete them but just a word of caution.

So hi! How are you? I'm pretty good!

We've been working on demolishing our downstairs bathroom and remodeling the kitchen. When I say remodel I actually mean FINISHING the kitchen. There's nothing to really move or change. I painted the cabinets black and the walls are green with plum accents. It is coming together nicely. We're going to put down some vinyl that looks like granite.

I will post pictures soon of the before, during and after!

All of this is hopes of someday moving soon! I'm ready to move on I think. More on that later, though. We're off to Home Depot!!!