Friday, February 25, 2011

Positive Parenting

I went to another discipline class tonight put on by my local Parents as Teachers organization. My mom was nice enough to sit with Ells and she asked how the class was ... Well, unless they are going to come to your house and discipline your kid, I guess it isn't all that helpful. :)

I have been feeling the need for a refresher on my approach to discipline. I really liked the Love and Logic classes I took last spring, but our issues now are so different. The class tonight was similar, but based on Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline books and workshop.

I took away a few good nuggets of info, along with a lot of good reminders of things I already knew I should do. There was a new approach to time out that I need to wrap my head around, but overall I feel like I will just try harder to approach things positively and with an even temper. There was a Q&A session at the end, and I also felt lucky that we don't have a lot of the issues that other parents are dealing with!

My favorite reminder of the night was about genuine encounters. Connection with your child breeds cooperation - make eye contact and touch/hug/cuddle in a playful way. Only 5 minutes a day of focused play with your child will decrease your power struggles by 50%. Intuitive? Yes. BUT - so easy to miss this opportunity on crazy work days.

While we're at it - how are you approaching time out? (And, more importantly, does it seem to work?)

Monday, February 21, 2011

They call her Houdini

Well, it happened.

We had the first experience of diaper-taken-off-in-the-crib. Three times. Last night.

I knew it was coming ... Ells just learned to take her pants off, which she finds endlessly entertaining. She took her diaper off in the living room one night last week while we were cooking dinner. I tried to respond appropriately without inciting her to do it again ... and it seemed to work ... well .... until last night.

The little Miss is a pretty short thing, so the only PJ's that fit her are pants and tops (currently 18-24 months and she is 26 months). We have found her in the morning a few times with no pants on, but the diaper has stayed intact.

Our bedtime routine lately has been super aggravating with lots of ups and downs and back and forths (a topic for another time), so it wasn't anything new to hear her chatting in bed far past her bedtime. I went up to tell her to be quiet and saw a white fluffy thing on the floor. I didn't recall a blanket in her bed that looked like that, then quickly realized what it was. I turned on the light and the sweet little thing was sitting naked in her crib with a sheepish, yet proud, look on her face. Hoping it was a one-time event, I calmly admonished her, re-diapered and re-dressed her, and put her back in bed.

Ten minutes later ... Mommy, mommy, mommy! ... the wet sheets must have done her in this time, as yet again the diaper was on the floor and she had peed in her bed. It is quite the challenge to respond appropriately in this situation - you want to get the point across that it is NOT ok, yet don't want to start a game. Thank goodness we had one pair of footie PJ's in her drawer - they are 2 pieces that snap together at the waist. I thought we had fooled her for sure, and she seem exhausted, so I assumed we were done.

Five minutes later ... I go to check on the noise in her room and find a half-nakey girl in her crib, arm out of her shirt (Flashdance-style) and diaper #3 on the floor. You have to be freaking kidding. Who knew she could do snaps? And, snaps in the back no less? (Congrats on the fine motor skills, little gal). The look on her face was just priceless, almost like, why do my pants keep coming off? She seemed kind of bewildered at the whole thing. :) I couldn't stop laughing, nor could Daddy-O, though we tried to shield our faces as best we could.

Our last attempt seemed to work fine - all the de-pantsing must have worn her out - and she was soon fast asleep. I am off to Old Navy today to get zip up PJ's that we will turn backwards, I guess.

Counting my blessings that 3 diapers off = only 1 set of wet sheets. Hallelujah.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Well, that might be drastic. Kitchen-changing, for sure.

I'm just muddling through the parenting thing these days without much to report, so I'll expand on my family-dinner theme this week ...

I was trying to come up with a Mexican-themed dinner this week to use up the avocados and tomatoes I had on hand. We always have some chicken breasts in the freezer, but I generally don't have any creative uses for them. I thawed a few and thought I would come up with something, then serendipitously came across this technique:

How to Cook Moist & Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time at The Kitchn

They aren't kidding! It worked great for me - truly a revelation. I just added about 1 Tbs of Mexican spices to the flour for some extra flavor, but you could use anything or nothing at all. I squeezed 4 chicken breasts into the pan and we had two for dinner that night, along with two the following night chopped up for tacos - I just rewarmed them in a nonstick skillet.

The best part, though, is that it takes 20 minutes once you put the lid on. You can definitely whip up a side dish or salad, or get your kid's plate ready and the table set while you are waiting for the chicken to finish.

Give it a try!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Save Elmo!

Thanks, Cool Mom Picks, for the title ...
see their article SAVE ELMO! here.

If your child partakes of Sesame Street, or any of the other kid-programming on PBS ...

Or, if you love to spend time in your car because you can listen to NPR ...

Make your opinion known at 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting.

Without getting too political, there is a funding crisis in this country and I fear things are going to get bad, fast. We all need to step up and raise our voices for causes we believe in.

I'm raising my voice about this one .... You?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Family dinner

I've made some effort in the last few weeks to try to get food on the table in an appropriate amount of time for all of us to eat together.


It is really nice.

Ells has been trying to drag out bedtime more and more these days, so even if I am no-nonsense, she is rarely in bed with lights out before 730pm. And even then, there is lots of going up and down to replace socks, or covers, or something else important. Eating dinner at 800pm is too late for me, or my dinner just gets cold due to the constant interruptions.

I also think eating at the table with us makes Ellen a little bit more comfortable with eating at restaurants. We don't eat out with her very often, but I will jinx it and say she has been doing better. Confining her to the inside seat of a booth seems to work best - a little bit of freedom, but she can't run wild.

Finally, I notice that she is more willing to try foods that we are all eating together, rather than if I just give her the leftovers the next day. This isn't rocket science, I know, but nice to see that it sometimes works in practice.

What this does mean for me, though, is that I need to have a few really easy meals planned for the week, and something that seems reasonably kid friendly. We haven't been a big taco family, but that is a great one for all of us. Pasta works pretty well, too. She isn't big on soups (or, I should say, she isn't big on soups at home. She seems to eat them just fine at school). It takes more planning on the front end, but I like getting into the habit a bit more.

What about you? What are your go-to, family-friendly meals?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When you are stuck inside .... for days

A friend posted this on Facebook the other day and I think it is genius:

Type it in, and you should come to the kid's storytime page, with a different story each month (I think).

Generally speaking, I don't agree with the concept of farming out book-reading to strangers; however, I think this is a more educational use of screen time, and it is a novelty for the little ones.

Someone else knows the Pinkalicious story? Amazing!

The current story is Pinkalicious, which Ellen loves and I am growing to despise. There are some good old stories, too, if you look in the archives - a fun way to spend part of an afternoon when you can't go outside for fear you will lose your child in a snow drift.