Two to Three Kids!

We welcomed Gigi into our lives a little over a week ago. So far she is the most amazing baby ever.  Just a generally happy little girl.  She sleeps through Sweetpea and Elle’s anti-quiet playtime and generally goes with whatever is going on.  Before having her, 3 didn’t seem to bad. Now we’re a week or so into it all and … as a good friend said…having more children is still introducing a new person to your routine.  So yes things area bit slower, take a little longer, but so far so good.

Zoey_Negishi Park_Sept 2017_3
Elle LOVES Gigi

My only real concern is Elle.  She LOVES baby G.  She seriously thinks Gigi is her real live baby.  Allot of my time is spent protecting Gigi from Elle.  In an effort to make interactions positive, we’re focusing on gentle touches and loving sister…but not LOVING sister.  So lots of watching there.

Sweetpea is an INCREDIBLE help

Sweetpea argues with me to help more.  I don’t want her to feel burdened by siblings or helping but she seriously wants to.  I have to make an effort to not ask her for too much.  She will go and do so much.  I’d rather she still be four.

So that leaves me.  I thought I’d be honest.  Physically, consistent with the past, I’m about 10 lbs from my pre-baby weight.  That will go away soon due to breastfeeding.  I bring this up because the first indication someone sees is physical.  So it looks like everything is great.  The problem is sometimes there is more than physical.  For me, post baby can be a time of difficulty.  I do great on the physical return to myself, it’s the brain part that’s difficult.  I get anxious.  Post Sweetpea I didn’t realize that not everyone experiences anxiety/depression.  So this time, I’m focusing on establishing a routine, doing something every day for me, task management, organization, taking vitamins, getting out of the house in the mornings (when I’m anxious).  Things seem to be progressing better than in the past…which is so good.  I’ll be solo-parenting here soon so the better off I am…I’d really appreciate it.

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“Let’s Compromise Mom.”

Probably not what I was expecting my then two year old Sweetpea to say.  I remember looking at her and thinking who. are. you???????? Oh yeah that’s right, you’re echoing things I say.  As Sweetpea has grown, so has her logic, her vocabulary, her curiosity, and her capability.

The Body
Mom, Can you tell me what this does?

This past week preschool had a “wear your favorite color” to class day…Sweetpea’s response, “Mom, I need something spectacular to wear tomorrow.”  We ultimately settled settled on a favorite dress…Then follow this by the excitement that it’s her day to do her laundry…It’s moments like these I remember but also forget Sweetpea is 4.  I forget what 4 is supposed to mean.

Sister Playing

Then I slow down from the hundred other things I’m supposed to be doing and watch a quiet moment between sisters.  I look at what they’re playing with and realize four and one are….four and one.   It’s me calming down and being patient.  It’s realizing that though I told someone to put their toys away (seventeen hundred times), someone probably didn’t register it or see their toys on the floor.  It’s realizing that the “water on the stone” still applies.  It’s remembering that Daniel Tiger is still an interesting show.

Stacking toy
One day this won’t be a major accomplishment or even a toy in our house

Thoughts on Three Girls

“George must be so disappointed”…Ok let’s start with how on earth am I supposed to respond to that? I have a wonderful growing girl who is trying to kick her way into this world.  How am I supposed to say to my baby that she is somehow less because she is a girl…?!!!?! I mean she’s a person (moral debate aside)…am I supposed to apologize for her existence?  Ok that got serious fast.  But seriously people!  We are so excited to have #3.

Welcome to the craziness Baby 3

I have read articles on how hard it is going from one to two and so on and so forth.  Ask me again in 3 months but for now the thought of three does not daunt me.  Sure there will be growing pains but all in all, I’ll babywear #3 (if she’s into that), hold Elle’s hand and monitor Sweetpea’s big girl-ness.  We’ll be a little bit later, a little bit slower, have lots of spilled milk, tons of amazing kid and/or adult temper tantrums, lack of sleep and general learning curve fun.  But in there we will be a family.  Sweetpea will try to parent, Elle will try to take baby 3’s attention and baby 3…well I’m thinking I’ve got another spunky kid…so maybe she’ll be difficult or not.   Sweetpea has already been telling me how if Elle tries to hit/bite/scratch baby 3 she will just pick up baby 3….um no.  Please not….yet atleast.  Sometimes I think having kids is about accepting the mess, the chaos, seeing the end goal and just realizing my “me” time has compressed to 5 minutes in the morning while trying to apply eye liner with a 1 year old trying to climb my leg.  (I WILL PUT ON MAKE UP….so if you see me with bright red lipstick and uneven eye liner just know that was my me minute).

Zoey_Kishine Park_May 2017_2
Elle wants so badly to keep up with Sweetpea

As I reflect on having three, I am so glad to have children a smidge later in life.  I am so enjoying the small moments.  In college and in my career circa my 20s having children and pregnancy were so negative, that pregnancy with Sweetpea though exciting (she was/is so wanted) was extremely hard to accept (I hate to admit that now).  At the time, I feel I had been trained that to be pregnant…you might as well just count yourself out…just horrible.  My job has since changed, my bosses fully accept (and wholeheartedly support) the fact that we’re expecting Baby 3, that I will require time to pump, that there will be baby sick days, that I will take 6 weeks off.  I feel that with this pregnancy, despite the fact that it has been significantly more difficult than the last ones, has truly been a blessing.  With each little kick I just feel so happy to have Baby 3.  It’s truly been a journey.

Sankeien Park_At Night_May 27th_1
It has been hard this time through to realize my limitations: reduce travel, reduce exploring, and just sloooooooooow down and then slow down more.


Ok fine, George was at work for 24 hours and I will admit I was going to have Kraft Mac-n-Cheese for dinner with frozen veggies of Sweetpea’s choice.  This was after one of those stereotypical evenings that are supposed to break you down.  I dumped Elle’s milk for the next day on the counter, dropped two eggs out of the fridge (I wasn’t even using eggs…how did that even happen?)…and now Elle’s screaming (shrieking?) for more food was starting to really get to me.   So it was crisis mode.  I needed meat now.   Just because I have an instapot pressure cooker does not mean that I have seventeen hours to chop, grind, prep for the perfect dinner.  I need dinner NOW!!!!!!


Chicken NOW by me

Two large chicken breasts

1/2 – 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (you can make your own if you’d like!)

20 oz can of chopped pineapples with juice (do fresh if you can…I couldn’t today!)

  1. Place chicken in the pot
  2. Pour in BBQ sauce
  3. Dump pineapples, pineapple juice in and stir
  4. Press the poultry function (it will say 15 minutes but it takes another 15 minutes to pressurize up…so it’s not completely instant but while it was cooking bananas, rice, green beans were eaten)
  5. De-pressurize naturally or vent (be careful!)…I vented
  6. Check internal temp of the chicken (yup I threw in frozen chicken this time and it was perfect temperature wise)
  7. If you have a minute more, you can make a sauce out of the pineapple/BBQ sauce mixture that cooked under pressure.
    1. Either use the Instapot saute function(with the lid off) or place about 1 cup of the liquid in a stovetop pot.  Separately, stir 1-2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in a small cup with another 1/4 cup of the liquid to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture in with the 1 cup you put in the pot (or left in the Instapot) and stir on medium heat.  Cook until you have the right consistency.  (Add more cornstarch if you want a thicker sauce or add more liquid to thin it).  These days I have been serving dinner with rice and veggies as well.

Oh and yes Elle inhaled it.

20 Thoughts on Working At Home (Part Time)

When on earth are two little people in bed at the same time — an hour early.  Let’s start with never.  Wow.  So I’ve been thinking about this post for a while.  First, that work at home myth where you know you have your kid quietly playing in the other room or the sweet pictures saying how wonderful it is to work at home with your baby.  I don’t know what those people are smoking but below is how it works for me.

A year or so ago, I found out we were moving out of our Country to a far away land.  I did the unthinkable — I told my boss as he offered me a promotion.  For me, being upfront and honest is very important.  It’s just me.  Most people advised against telling him.  I just couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t.  This is the second time I’ve had to tell my future employer that I will need to work from home in the near future.  Anyhow, a very difficult move later and I’ve been working at home now for a little over six months.  I thought I would share some thoughts. After having Sweetpea I realized that a daily routine is apparently imperative for me.  So this is mine these days:

My Goal Every Weekday

Since we’re anywhere from 13-15 hours ahead of “home”, calls at midnight should mean that kids are asleep.  I would be willing to bet that if I have an important call, someone will have a nightmare, fell out of bed, be hungry, have an accident or need a hug.  (Seriously when do you wake up at midnight kid!!!)

Lessons Learned:

  1. The computer will stop working when you need it to work — write down the conference call phone number (obviously read the material before the call).
    1. Oh don’t forget to charge your phone/laptop prior to meetings 🙂
  2. Keep a local day planner (to where you live) and reference your meetings with your coworkers in their time zone (this is confusing)
  3. Map out your meetings at the beginning of the week in your local time zone
  4. Plan, predict, prioritize…everything (that’s not just true of working at home)
  5. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! (But don’t be a pain in the a$$)
  6. Learn to eat and drink water while working.  I struggling with taking any type of break when I’m working at home.  I’ve actually lost something like 10 pounds because I just don’t eat.
  7. Anticipate problems…that computer upgrade that was announced a week ahead of time…contact your help desk to get it done early.
  8. Actively participate in conference calls…but don’t talk just to hear yourself talk.
  9. Continue to look out for peers and friends as if you were in the office…hey did you see this training that’s coming up? I thought of you.
  10. Find a peer to peer sharing service such as Business Skype/Microsoft Lync to screen share or “talk” with your co-workers (but don’t be a pain!).
  11. Volunteer for things! You can do things even when you’re not physically present in the office.
  12. At some point you will need to print/scan when you’re at home…have that option available.
  13. If you have kids, anticipate problems: START ALL CALLS ON MUTE — For that midnight call you never have — that your kids never wake up for — but do for some reason….it’s fun I promise.
    1. Have a backup plan when they do wake up.  I often have “Daniel Tiger” on pause during my nighttime calls in the off chance Sweetpea wakes up and wants to chat.
  14. Coffee, coffee, coffee.  In all seriousness if you have to wake up at night…avoid the temptation to drink a cup.  Drink water!
  15. If you encounter a problem with your hours during the day (when your boss is sleeping), tell him/her just as if you were in the office.  It’s about building trust.
  16. Avoid the temptation to schedule things during the week that make your work at home schedule impossible.  You’re not a Stay At Home parent so you really can’t meet at 10am on Tuesday unless you re-prioritize your hours (and let your boss know).
  17. Make your work fun!  Get out your white board and think through your thoughts as you would in the office.
    1. Keep a running log of what you do every day! That way if someone wants to know…you can tell them!
  18. Try to sent grammatically correct emails to co-workers, friends and your boss etc.  Your emails represent you now.
  19. Realize that what you thought was obvious via email might be lost in translation.  So if it’s a sensitive topic try to have it via the phone, video conference or some real type method…as if you were walking to someone’s office.
  20. If you/your kids are sick…take a sick day.  No kid wants to remember mom/dad ignoring them when they’re sick.  So if you can…take the sick day.

Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts

So to say life has been smidgen intense is an understatement.

  1. Moved to another country
  2. Had a second child
  3. Learned how to use the pressure cooker
  4. Found some awesome crock pot and pressure cooker recipes

(I really like the “Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts” concept.  Each paper cut/fun moment isn’t in itself difficult…but a thousand of them…sometimes it can be a bit much.  George mentioned this concept when talking about parenting…I think it fits well)

So until my camera is fixed, I will just write about my fun morning today.

We woke up at 5:45- 6am (or was it really 3am when Sweetpea joined the three of us in our queen sized bed?…I was almost kicked off the bed how many times?).  I know for certain that at around 6am, we all saw George off to work.  George thankfully had taken out today’s trash and walked the dogs.

Because Trash is Easy
Because Trash is Easy:  We have four trash cans.

Any rational person would think getting to preschool by 9 should (SHOULD) be a breeze.

…I really want to encourage curiosity in Sweetpea.  So while we are eating breakfast, she starts to teach me how food is processed in our body.  A very important part of the morning.  So we watched a 3 minute video on the digestive system.  We’ll see what I get taught later today on said video.  Our little sponge likes to teach me.  (Her latest interest is the Solar System and planets — Thank you Magic School Bus!).

You’d think 3 minutes wouldn’t impact the morning but somehow it was 7 and then 7:30 (wait yes I do…I talked to my sister amid seventeen thousand interruptions :)). Shower later, I insist on putting on my makeup (which might only be moisturizer and some eye make up with a side of … one-day-I’ll-look-polished *sigh*) while Sweetpea finishes showering in our non slip shower by herself.

Standing in my robe, I realize that a) Sweetpea is ready to leave, b) <<what is the blog name for baby #2?>> is ready and c) I haven’t made Sweetpea’s lunch for preschool.  I hate feeling disheveled.  I mean being a mom is the most rewarding and amazing thing I have ever done, but for goodness sakes I’m still a person here.  So fine.  It’s 8:45am.  We should be in the car now.  I take a minute to pretend to be put together.  Sweetpea picks out my earrings, bracelet and watch and we go to the kitchen to make lunch.  I REFUSE to spend hours making a cute lunch. I just don’t have hours to make that perfect bento box (and I get shamed for it by Sweetpea’s teacher…).

We get outside, it’s raining (thankfully I checked the weather so we’re good). We get to the car…yup.  I forgot Sweetpea’s lunch.  Back to the house.

Then preschool.  One of the mom’s offers to watch baby 2 while I drop off Sweetpea.  Can you ask any other day???!!! Here I am scrambling to repack Sweetpea’s backpack, it’s raining, Sweetpea just kissed baby 2 who is now screaming bloody murder, and we are staying calm.  It’s really not that big of a deal.  No one has died, nothing major got ruined.  It’s actually quite comical.  So yes baby 2 will be carried and not in the car seat.  So wrapped in her amazing blanket, we walk down the hill (after my friend realizes it’s a lost cause :)).  Oh you know my umbrella topples over, I tell Sweetpea to put her umbrella up…so she lifts her arm with her closed umbrella (touche child I didn’t say open it…the rain coat will do).

The clock at preschool says 9:23am.

I call my Mom to thank her for years of fun mornings.




Three Year Old Thoughts

Somehow Sweetpea is three now! I’m finding a lot of the things I wanted her to internalize…she has.  Which is good! It’s great until she uses the same logic, words, thoughts back to you.   This is great!  So when I’m all piping mad about something, having the where with all to hear her say “Mommy, belly breathe.”….Yes that’s what I want you to do too big girl.  So lead by example Mommy.  Anyhow, I wanted to tack on some new-ish thoughts I have on parenting (in addition to my Two Year Old Words).

1. Options

I like the idea of presenting Sweetpea with options.  Life has options right? — so you should be able to make good decisions based off of the options in front of you.  Well…sometimes you really have to wear your jacket because it’s just cold out and you WILL get sick.  I could go for the she’ll figure out the consequence route but sometimes I really don’t want to give her an option.  So we’ve started instituting “sometimes there are options but sometimes there are none. ” So I tell Sweetpea, if I say “can you” or “would you like to” or any other such open ended statement…you have the option of choosing.  If I tell you “Sweetpea go do X”…there is no option.  You will do X.  Why? Because I told you to.  I will give you three seconds to decide to do X.  If you don’t do X, then……….I’m still working on the then part.  But it usually means things like “you will not get the treat you want.” I’ve started thinking about this no option element because sometimes in life an authority figure will tell you to do something.  You can question it, ask why, but if you want to do something…you pretty much have to do it.

2. Decisions

I really want Sweetpea to make her own decisions.  She should think through her decisions and be proud of them.  I have a problem with indecisiveness.  Make a decision and move forward.  If your decision was a bad one, learn from it.  So in conjunction with the above option route, if you make a decision…either own it or learn from it.  Goodness that sounds harsh.  I want her to make strong decisions.  Thinking through the consequence of your decision is important.  You can make good decisions (that aren’t ours either).  Take pride in your thoughts and be you.

3. Who is in Charge?

This has been a big one over the last six months.  Sweetpea is an independent little lady who likes to tell people what to do and parent other children.  If someone sets a rule, she will ENFORCE it.  We’ve talked about who is in charge…You can ask Sweetpea “Who is in charge?”…She will say “I am in charge of me and Mommy/Daddy are also in charge of me.” (When she’s mad at me she’ll say Daddy…).  So we’ve tried to stress if another friend is doing something they’re not supposed to do…it’s not your job to correct them.  Sometimes when she doesn’t want to follow the “order” mentioned in #1 of this post, I’ll ask her “Sweetpea, who is in charge.” That’s usually when I get “Daddy”…So we talk about it and then we work through the frustration of being told what to do…and she does what she needs to do.

4. Respect

I really think it’s a two way street.  As Sweetpea has become more capable in verbalizing her thoughts and feelings, I feel that giving her room to be herself is imperative.  To me, this means that when she has a thought or something to share, it’s important that she share them and be heard.  However, we’re working on not interrupting.  I…am the worst at that.  It’s extremely rude!  So we say “Excuse me” and wait.  Sometimes this means she says “Excuse me” fifty times to someone who isn’t listening…I think being heard is important (as is standing up for yourself when someone isn’t listening).  Someone can be me, George, a friend…It’s a matter of giving and receiving respect.  We’re all working on this.

5. Compromise and Whining

I REALLY hate whining.  I hate the “pa-leeeeeeeeeaaaaaassssssssseee”.  No.  If you want something and I say yes…well be patient.  This means if I say no, I really have to mean it.  A “no” needs to be reasonable, defensible and logical.  So I have to think through what I say yes or no to.  It takes a minute!  So she’ll work herself up over something and start whining.  I look at her and say “ok let’s start over.”  She’ll raise up on her tip toes, calm down, and say “Mom, it really means a lot to me to have Y.” (It is usually yogurt and after 3-4 servings…you really need to have something else!)  So then I institute a redirection or compromise.  Compromising is a good concept I think but sometimes I think I’ve taken it too far.  I’m still working on what this means.  Basically sometimes we can compromise, but sometimes it’s just not an option.  We’ve really tried to focus on when to compromise and when not to.

7. Name that emotion!

I think being able to describe your emotions is healthy.  So we’ve spent time trying to describe how finishing a puzzle makes us feel, or how stubbing our toe….Maybe I’m wrong but I think when you’re able to relate to your emotions it’s good.  I’d rather her be able to say what is wrong rather than blow up over everything that doesn’t make sense.

8. Hey! You did exactly what I wanted you to do!!

It’s equally important to me that she be able to be proud of herself and accomplish things.  Our struggle of late has been “I can’t I can’t I can’t.”  I’m not sure where it’s coming from.  So I try to sit down next to her and help her solve her problems.  Our latest one has been putting her shoes on.  She’s more than capable of putting them on herself.  So I’ve found that my little lady needs to be shown things (which is completely the opposite of who I was as a child).  So I try to breathe, and help her put on her shoes and then say “SEE!!! You can do hard things can’t you!” Then I ask her how it makes her feel and we go on with our day.  Maybe she just needs the extra attention.

7. TV

This one is difficult for me.  I didn’t have a TV growing up (until the age of 12ish).  I think creativity and activities are important.  I’m trying to work on a sense of balance.  So we’ve come up with the rule of Saturday and Sunday you can watch TV.  Sommmetimes during the week we watch Daniel Tiger as well.  But I think the key is to remember moderation.

8. Screen Time

Another tricky and contentious topic.  At the end of the day, laptops, tablets, phones (and who knows what she’ll have) will be part of her life.  I don’t think she should spend hours with a tablet/phone/whatnot, but I do think that having the opportunity to play here and there with one is probably important too.  If anything I’m worse than she is.  So I need to temper my own screen time.  We’ve invested a few dollars (less than $10) in some aps that seem to be good.  We like Luminosity and Daniel Tiger games so far.  I also downloaded a logic game and a drawing letters game both of which she loves.  So I just try to guide the screen time experience. Balance.

9. Sugar

Something I also struggle with is my own sugar intake…So in an effort to teach balance and moderation, we talk about having 3 sweets a day.  I’m thinking of purchasing a food pyramid and trying to use that to gauge balance.  Maybe that’s over the top but it will help me also follow what she’s eaten in a day.  I more or less count calories for her so I’m on top of whether she will be hungry (read sleep through the night or not) or not.  So in an effort to make sure it’s a balance, I’ve been thinking of getting a poster so she can look at it and try to learn to moderate her own diet.  I figure it’s important to start young.

New Years Resolution: Do Nothing (ish)

Does your significant other do things that just make no sense to you?  George over the last (goodness) 12 and a half years has sent me articles upon articles to read.  It probably has taken me about 10-12 of those years to realize that this was a way we can connect with each other and discuss cool ideas, thoughts, news, life.  So needless to say, I’ve religiously started reading them and commenting on them.

One such article was  We both want to live a healthy, organized, happy life but often opt for laziness (which includes chocolate, Doritos, ignoring the dishes…)–because after a long stressful day the last thing you want to do is be accountable or disciplined.  This particular article had one line that really resonated with me :”try to disrupt your environment, even just a little bit.”

I can make small changes!

I even like the picture for this post.  It’s so representative of what I want to do this next year: how about cropping it, centering it, taking the time to make it a really good image.

Small changes 2016!

It’s Been a Minute!

We recently moved from our fun city-town to new country-town.  This new, wondrous, scary, different, amazing, curious place has had me spinning since the move process started.  But we’re settled now!

I plan on learning how to It's Been a Minute!cook with a pressure cooker soon (sale notice compliments of Sweetpea started Montessori preschool, I now work part time, and baby-to-be is doing great!    I’ve started freezing new slow cooker recipes so I’m hoping to post a bunch of winners soon!  We recently tried a slow cooker Strogonoff…it was good but just not Strogonoff.  So back to the drawing board on that one.   More to come!

Two Year Old Words

I realized recently that what is happening today with our little lady will be forgotten in time.  I wanted to write about some of the decisions we have made about our Sweetpea.  This post is for me to reflect on where I feel we are in the realm of parenting.  We are not perfect but we’re trying to thoughtfully make decisions.

So discipline.  I struggle with the concept of discipline for our independent, curious, smart, strong willed little lady.  I tend to think of discipline and parenting like a riverbed.  This riverbed in my mind’s eye has definite banks that prevent water from going over them.  It is possible for the water to go outside of the banks, but in general the water follows the path set in front of it.  The manner in which the water gets from point a to point b is not something that truly concerns me as long as water does not slosh over the predetermined banks.  So the parallel to discipline is I try to set rules that are the banks. Thou shalt not cross over them.  But the consequence is….? I truly have not been able to answer that yet.  I believe there is a major move either to spank and also another major move not to.  I tend towards the: not to.  So in an effort to help our little lady stay within her bounds we have a couple rules and phrases to reinforce concepts.


1. No Means No.

This means when I say no, I have to really think through the “no” and then defend it.  I’m not always great at this so it is a challenge to me to maintain consistency and have reasoning behind why I am saying no.  For example, recently we were at a red light and Sweetpea had dropped something in the car while buckled into her carseat.  She asked me to pick it up.  I absentmindedly stated that I could not pick it up.  Her response was, “We at red light.  We can pick things up at red lights.” — echoing words I had said in the past.  Touche little lady.  I try to subscribe to the idea that just because it’s difficult or more work for me to think through my thoughts, decisions, actions, that should not matter.  A thoughtful decision should stand.

2. Yes Means Yes!

I truly hate whining.  I think it is annoying and just awful.  So when Sweetpea asks for X and I say yes.  And then asks for X again within two seconds.  I stop and explain to her that Mommy said yes but sometimes we have to wait for X.  So please be patient and then you will have X.

3. Stop Means Stop.   <<<Pretty Pretty Pretty Please!!!!>>>

We are working on this one.  I REALLY want her to stop when I say stop.  She gets this about 50% of the time.  I try to use Stop in the realm of you’re about to get hit by a car kind of concept.  Sometimes we get it…sometimes we don’t.  So as my mother used to say, it’s water on the stone.  I’m hoping this one sticks sooner rather than later.

Phrases To Reinforce Concepts:

1. Listening Ears:

Daycare taught me this one.  The child turns on their ears by physically putting their fingers near their ears to simulate turning on their ears (or turning a dial or flipping a light switch).  I feel it’s another way of saying you need to listen to me, are you listening?  This has been an invaluable tool.  Situations often go like this: “Sweetpea we are going to go to the park.  When we get to the park, will you have your listening ears on?” She decides.  Usually yes seeing as she wants to go to the park.  We get to the park and her favorite trick is to runaway.  So she runs away.  I run after her.  She thinks it’s hilarious.  I catch up with her (out of breath) and sit down with her and we have a serious conversation about listening ears.  Something on the order of, “When we came to the park we agreed you would have listening ears.  I see that running away looks like great fun but I asked you to listen and I see that you have not listened.  You have two options: keep your listening ears on or we leave.  And by keeping your listening ears on, that means I need you to stop when Mommy asks you to stop. What would you like to do.” She then states she does want to have listening ears on and so it continues.  Note: this example I do feel that I might need to leave the park because I did ask her to have them on and she did not.  So maybe this example is not good but the point is having her listen to me.  I do think this is an area I need to improve on for myself. If I said something I need to stick with it.

2. Focusing Feet:

I feel as though my mornings have alot of intensity to them as do my evenings.  Focusing feet is my way of saying pay attention to where you are walking because we need to stay focused to stay on track.

3. Respectful Voices:

I really like this one.  I got this one from my very good friend and mother of four.  There are times when I get screamed at by our lovely Sweetpea.  Usually around something she wants intensely, like a cracker or a toy or some other item of imperative importance.  So what usually happens is we are driving home, and she wants something.  Rather than saying, “May I please have X” sometimes it comes out as “MOMMY, I WANT X.” To which I reply “Oh my, those are not respectful voices, when you have respectful voices and can ask nicely I can listen to you, but when you yell at Mommy I cannot respond to you.”  She continues to yell for a couple minutes about “X!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” To which I say, “I will not respond to you until you have respectful voices.” So she continues to yell and usually realizes she is getting no where.  The minute she says “Mommy, may I have X please.” I respond and usually give her what she wants.

4. You Can Do Hard Work:

(Also from my good friend mentioned above) Maybe I am wrong but I don’t think there is a switch that happens in life where someone goes from being a child/teen to an adult.  There is no ceremony really that says okay you now have confidence, independence, decision making skills and an ability to think for yourself.   So I try really hard to reinforce to her that she CAN do difficult tasks.  There are times she will be working on something and will be struggling on it (but I know that I have seen her do it or I believe the task is within her abilities).  When I see this, I try to say her I believe in you Sweetpea, I know you can do hard work.  Sometimes she will respond with but I am frustrated.  So I tell her okay then try wiggling it or turning it you can do hard things.  I find that she will watch something I do and then imitate.  I really don’t want to foster a “I give up the minute I confront perceived difficulty.”  I truly want to foster concentration skills, thoughtful consideration, and problem solving skills.  I do let her know if she needs help, that I am here to help.  So when she gets frustrated, I tell her, “If you need help you need to ask me for help.”  I don’t mean to say I just let her struggle, but I try to build her confidence in herself that she can do difficult tasks.

5. Hug It Out:

This is about 2 days old for us.  Recently I forget what our issue was but both Sweetpea and I were frustrated over something.  I forget what the something was.  So I told her we should hug it out so we could just get over our respective frustrations for each other and move on with a clean slate.

6. You Can Do ________:

I am trying to erase “DON’T DO THAT” from my vocabulary.  Instead, I try to say “You CAN hold my hand when we cross the street” or “You CAN put a little salt on your vegetables” and such.  I think having a positive boundary instead of a negative one is so strong.

7. I am so glad you made a decision that makes you happy:

I think decision making skills are extremely important.  We do subscribe to the concept of options.  So when presented with a behavior that is frustrating etc., we often say something like “You can either have listening ears or we are going to leave.” She often chooses what is more advantageous to her which is also usually what I want her to do.  We are trying to avoid praising her alignment with what we said to do and celebrate her ability to make a decision.  I just don’t want her to be 15 and choosing what someone said to do instead of choosing what she thinks was the better decision.

8. I have a Compromise/Deal for you:

This one comes from my mother. Life happens where we both want to do something or go somewhere and something is going to have to give.  Of late this usually revolves around treats.  I do not want her to eat chocolate, candies and treats all day every day.  So she might ask for just that.  I look at her and tell her “Ok, I have a compromise.  I see you want to have chocolate/candies/treats, if that is something you would like to have I need you to eat your dinner (or this portion of your dinner) first and then you may have one piece of chocolate.” I must use this enough because she recently told me “Mommy I have compromise you.” I looked at her and said, “Ok and what is your compromise?”….”I wear flip-flops.” I looked at her and thought well there’s no harm in flip-flops right now so this does not need to be world war 3 so we decided this was fine as long as she had listening ears….

9. Opening Doors

This is more of a concept.  Our little lady seems to want to read.  She oftentimes picks up books and gets frustrated and states “I can’t do it.” So we purchased some first time reading books (she loves them).  I feel that instead of waiting for the child to verbalize “May I have some reading books.” It is important for me to pay attention and look for clues and try to solve/anticipate next steps instead of waiting for the door to be knocked on.  I might miss the knock.  I also don’t want to negatively pressure her into going through doors when she isn’t ready or interested.  So I think this one is a delicate balance.

10. Pausing to Teach

I feel giving her the tools to do what she can is important but so is recognizing when she could use some coaching.  I’m not amazing at this but it’s something I working on doing.  I never wanted to be told what to do and so I tend to expect her to be the same.  I have to train myself that she is clearly not me (nor do I want her to be) so therefore I need to be sensitive to her needs.

Things I’m thinking about: 

1. Telephone Calls – How to ensure when I am on the phone Sweetpea does not feel left out or ignored

2. Conversations – Learning how to respect when others are talking

3. What does it mean to have a special day – If it’s someone else’s birthday should Sweetpea get a trinket too (so as not to feel left out or upset)?….I’m tending towards no but I am thinking on this one.

4. Space – Is it a good thing to allow someone space when they ask for space (even if they are 2.5 years old).

5. What do I do when Sweetpea actually pushes over those banks.  Life does, in fact, have rules and if you break them you can go to jail/receive fines etc etc.

6. What to do when Sweetpea completely acts out in front of other people and is completely rude and difficult.

Apparently I had a few things to say.

Wholesome Living: Finding Balance