Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Choices, choices

I highly recommend that you read a book or take a class on discipline if you haven't yet.

Just sayin' that you might need it sometime soon. REAL SOON.

I previously mentioned the Love and Logic classes I took here, here and here. Girly was just about 15 months at the time, so we really weren't having any significant discipline issues, but I wanted to have some tools to fall back on. And, yes, the tools are unwrapped and in use.

I need to sit down and review the fine details, but it is really nice to have an idea about how to respond in the moment without feeling (more) flustered. We are still pretty successful with re-directing and changing the subject, but there are an increasing number of behaviors that need to be firmly addressed.

Say, for example, on our walk the other day. Girly likes to navigate - "this way! that way!" - and I turned a corner without her consent and - WHOA - watch out. She roared her terrible roar and gnashed her terrible teeth (Where The Wild Thing Are, anyone?) for the entire next block. She has this determined version of NO!!, in which she shouts/shrieks NO!, turns red and stiffens her body. It actually takes most of my restraint not to bust out laughing at her. The straps of her stroller could barely contain her and the poor lady sweeping her driveway sweetly said, "what's the matter?"

Never you mind, lady, just out for a stroll with a wild coyote. That's all.

So ... since we were nowhere close to home and I was tiring of the screaming, oh the incessant screaming, I turned to CHOICES. Magic, I tell you!

I have been trying to institute a lot of choices in our house - black plum or red plum? purple cup or yellow cup? left shoe or right shoe? Anything and everything, but they generally haven't been in the midst of a meltdown. We got to the end of the block and I let Girly choose - which way? Straight or left? She picked, she calmed down, and I patted myself on the back. I let her choose again at our next junction and she was perfectly calm. You obviously can't do this forever, or you would end up in China, but the beauty is this: when we reached the corner where we had to turn left to head toward home I just warned her and said, "Mommy's going to choose this time. Let's go left!" I was enthusiastic, she went with it, and then I almost fell over in shock because there wasn't any screaming!

It won't always work, of course, but I was sure glad I had invested some time a few months earlier. Saved my bacon (and my sanity)!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dippity do dah

I promise this isn't a post about early waking.

Except, that, well, I've been about to tear my hair out with all the early waking!

Let's focus on a solution, then, shall we?

Our Girl always asks to eat the second we get her out of her crib. I think some of this is habit, but I also truly think she is hungry, as evidenced by the ungodly amount of food she consumes first thing in the morning.

I've tried all my usual tricks to get her to stay in her bed (quietly): Cry it out. Go in and lay her back down and tell her to sleep. Go get her and have her sleep in our bed (which works on occasion, but usually results in her kicking my face). Try to reason with her and tell her that if it is still dark outside she needs to stay in her crib quietly. (Ha, Ha. And, oh yeah, HA again). Have her play with her toys in her pack n' play in mommy's room while mommy sleeps. Put books in her own crib to play with ...

My newest notion is that I've been wondering if a grumbly stomach has been contributing to her waking up. She eats a lot during the day and generally eats a pretty good volume of food at dinner, but it is mostly fruit and veggies, which doesn't necessarily sustain her for 12 hours. She used to be a cheese monster, but now turns her nose up at cheese, unless it comes in a grilled cheese sammy form. She doesn't eat very much meat and usually refuses meatballs or deli meat or the like.

So, time to get creative with the protein-pushing!

I roasted a chicken in the crock pot (btw - you should do this if you have the time. It is the same price as a rotisserie chicken and you can get a better quality chicken. Just clean out the cavity, rinse and pat dry, rub the skin with spices, put it in a crockpot on high or med-high for about 4 hours and forget it. No liquid or anything!) and Huz was cleaning the meat off the bones while I made Girly dinner. She asked to "eat that!" and I gave her a taste, though she never liked it in the past. She kind of picked at the meat, then I offered her ketchup and mustard and she couldn't get enough! The shredded chicken pieces are perfect for dipping.

I have been trying to avoid most condiments, with the thought being that I wanted her to eat her food as it was and not to always have to add something to it to make it appealing. I've gotten over myself, though, now that I have witnessed the wonders of sauces! She would just eat the ketchup and mustard straight with her fork, so I had to remind her to dip and bite, dip and bite, but she did eat it all up. And, she slept till 6:00am for two mornings in a row! Success! (And, yes, 6:00 is pretty much the best I can hope for ...)

So, if you haven't started the dips yet, you may want to check them out! I am trying to focus on 'healthier' things, like mustard and salsa, but the occasional drizzle of real maple syrup on roasted squash isn't such a bad thing, either.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome to B.B.C.

No, not the British Broadcasting Corporation. Our Girly has been enrolled in Behavior Boot Camp this week!

I took the week off work to stay home with her as she recovered from the fluke-y illness. Though she is still yellowish, her personality has mostly returned. For the better, and for the worse.

Our girl is truly mostly a delight - reasonably even-tempered and very well behaved for a child her age. She is content to play independently and she has lately been totally fascinated with moving little bits of things (crayons, noodles, balls) all over the house. The loveliness of a little girl, I tell you!

That being said, the NO!! has returned with full-force. It was almost a month ago that this bug entered our lives and Girly started to act, not exactly sick, but certainly not like herself. She ate and drank less and less, to the point where she would have part of a banana and a few ounces of milk. All Day. In an effort to get some calories in, I offered anything and everything that I thought she would eat or drink and I catered to her every whim. Popsicles? Two flavors? Sure!

Now, though, I can see her appetite is back and she is just expressing opinions about what she prefers (to put it nicely). We are back to offering a reasonable meal or snack, milk only when sitting at the table, and she can take it or leave it. After a bit of leaving it, she is now taking it. :)

She was also EXTRA cuddly, which I have to admit was super sweet. "Mama Huggie", "Mama Carry" ... awww .... okay. She would curl up on my shoulder every night and refuse books, just wanting to snuggle. I felt badly that she was sick, but I squeezed in every squeeze I could because I knew it wouldn't last forever.

Now, though, if Girly doesn't want to do something (like walk up the stairs or walk at the zoo), it's "Mama Carry". If I tell her No, she plops down dramatically and cries, and then puts her arms out - "Mama Huggie!". Cute, but No.

Just reinforces the fact that discipline and consistency will take you a long way in this parenting gig. Fortunately, she still responds pretty quickly to a little adjusting at this age. Don't you wish everyone was that way?

Monday, August 9, 2010

We know what we are talking about

Girly has gone and caught herself some type of rare illness (or, rather, a common illness with a rare complication. Semantics.) Regardless, I thought it was worth a brief reminder that parents should trust themselves when it comes to the health of our children.

Our daycare provider called last week to say that our girl's eyes were yellow. Not that she had yellow gunky eyes, but rather that the whites of her eyes were yellow. Uh Oh. I work in the health care field and instantly knew this was a problem, but I think most parents would draw the same conclusion. I promptly called our pediatrician's office and, 4 hours later, their triage nurse informed me this was normal and to push fluids.

I begged to differ.

I knew she needed lab work and fortunately had the contacts to make it happen without our pediatrician's office, but it was frustrating nonetheless. We got the tests we needed and our pediatrician was very responsive the next day and got Girly some additional tests very promptly. No harm was done by the fact that she wasn't seen right away, but things might not have been the same for another family.

My point is this: you know your child better than anyone else does. If something seems very unusual or very wrong, it may very well be. It is okay to NICELY persist in getting your child seen if you really think they need it. I always think that a nice, understanding parent is taken more seriously than a parent who rants and raves unnecessarily. It is worth the cost of an office co-pay to have your concerns addressed. And, if you find that your doctor's office just isn't responsive to your concerns, maybe it is time to find a new doctor. There are so many good ones out there - it has to be one of the most important things you can do for your child.

Another side point: take your immunization card to all of your well-visits to get updated. I have done this only sporadically and forgot it at our last visit. Even though Girly has been immunized on the regular schedule, I wasn't sure exactly what shots she had. It would have been helpful to know and I will do a better job next time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New vocabulary

Are any of you reading Rants from Mommyland?

It's really f-ing funny. Moms need funny. A LOT OF IT.

I was introduced to the Rants from another blog I read, and specifically the MommyLand Desk Reference post. Trust me - read a few of them when you need a pick me up. It does the trick.

A few of my favorites:

Indoor Homeless People: pet name for Kate's washed, brushed, rich, satiated children AKA the small people who have no jobs and beg you for everything, but do it inside your house.

Turtle Herding: The act of getting small children to go anywhere. Worse than herding cats, as cats actually move. Also see; excruciating.

T-Box: A Target Wine Box. They come in different flavors, colors, and sizes. Lydia is particularly fond of the littlest ones, which are also called: "mommy juice boxes", because they look exactly like the kind of juice boxes you give your kids except that these are filled with awesomeness.

Speaking of ... I'm off to the T-Box.


Monday, August 2, 2010

'Special' dinner

We are facing our first food strike with the Girl and it isn't a ton of fun. I think there are a lot of issues at play - more (MORE) teeth, maybe a GI bug?, being 20 months old - so it's just a perfect storm.

On a happier note, I will pass along a food tradition that we will definitely be implementing in our house some day.

My mom is a great cook and we had homemade, delicious family dinners most nights of the week all during our childhood. (And, really, our teenhood and adulthood, too). I will say, though, that I often looked forward to the 'special dinner' that we had a few Sunday nights each month.

'Special dinner' at our house consisted of microwave popcorn, veggies and dip, cut-up fruit, cheese and crackers ... you get the idea. We prepped our plates and often sat in my parents' room and watched National Geographic or 60 Minutes or something of the sort. I thought it was great! And, now, as the primary cook at our house, I see the beauty in the simplicity!

I have a friend who makes nachos every now and then and camps out with her husband and daughter in front of the TV. It's a special treat and simple for the cook - what's not to love?

How about a picnic on a blanket on your living room floor?

Girly is a little ways away from this - can't quite trust her to stay seated and not throw food - but I sure do look forward to it.

What fun food traditions did you have growing up?