Cherish Your Cherubs: Praise

It is week 4 of joining in with the lovely Naomi at Seven Cherubs for the Cherish Your Cherish Project. To date, I have Recorded, Remembered & Interviewed my cherubs. This week’s project was to up the ante in the Praise stakes. I will stop short of saying that this venture was a complete failure. It was definitely more challenging than I anticipated.

I think we are usually pretty good at praising the boys. I’m conscious of developing their self esteem, especially the Wilful One, who can be quite sensitive and takes criticism poorly sometimes (he gets it from his father, I’m sure).  I know how well he responds to praise and positive feedback so I try to employ positive reinforcement with both of them as much as I can. He has a star chart and a rather complex rewards system which he responds well to (he loves complex) and in the evening we reflect on the day with a focus on the positives.

As for Bam Bam, I love it how he is like a puppy when praised. He gets this little body wriggle, just like our dog does when he’s expecting a treat. He’s so often a little terror, it’s a lovely contrast and I really must make more of an effort to bring out the best in my baby boy.

However, it’s a sad truth that our ability to support, cherish and provide a positive environment for our family is intrinsically linked to our own state of mind and sense of well being. In my case, both of have been in poor shape this week. I confess to being very short tempered with the boys. With a head full of ickyness, I’ve been especially intolerant to noise and meaningless chatter. I have caught myself many times talking to the Wilful One in a very critical tone. I’ve always felt horrid afterwards but haven’t been able to stop myself.

Children are so forgiving though, aren’t they? My little-big man knows how sick Mummy has been. Overall, he’s been very patient with me and tolerated my scolding without the narky attitude that has been making an appearance lately (he’s 4 going on 14).  I know he has appreciated when I have managed to acknowledge and praise the times he played nicely with his brother or did what he’s been asked without fuss or heel-dragging.

I have been more mindful of saying sorry to both of them for being a grump and thanking them for their efforts to help mummy out. There have been lots of extra cuddles and “I love you’s”.  It’s so lovely that they realise sick mummies need TLC too.

This week I also braved up and asked a question of the Wilful One which I omitted from the Interview last week. “How am I doing as your mummy & what can I do better?”   His answer: “You are awesome but you could smile more”. Sweet and not surprising given this week.  Noted and taken on board, little man.

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After the tone

I often wish I had my own personal answering service when I need a few quiet moments to myself.

You know, when you’re indulging in life’s little luxuries like having a shower, going to the loo or trying to get through to Telstra tech support on the phone.

In lieu of a real answering service, the message I play in my head goes something like this:

“I’m sorry, Mummy isn’t available to answer your question/whinge/demand at the moment. Feel free to ask your father or sort it out amongst yourselves. Please remember Mummy cares, just not right now.”

Do you sometimes wish you had an answering service or is it just me? What would your message say?

 

 

Image from here

Little Big Man

 

This little man has it all sorted out. He reckons he knows what life is all about. When he grows up he wants to:

  • be a brick layer like his daddy (over his parent’s dead bodies)
  • be a rockstar (that’s more like it!)
  • get married and have his own kids so he can be the “boss” (obviously his father’s delusions of grandeur are rubbing off)

This afternoon on the way home we were discussing how one of  his pre-prep teachers is going to have a baby soon. It’s always rather enlightening discussing the pregnancy/birth process with Will. It’s not a new topic, having had several pregnant carers at daycare and of course having a baby brother. For me it’s a discussion fraught with peril as my rather astute little boy can tell when things don’t add up and is very good at asking hard-hitting questions. Forget being a rock star, I foresee a career in journalism.

As a result, I’ve been fairly candid in telling him about the facts (leaving out the actual copulation part, of course) and this afternoon’s conversation hit a few of his most favourite highlights – the egg, the baby eating and pooping “inside” and of course how the baby eventually “pops” out.

I still have scars from the discussion that surrounding the grand finale. I will never forget him asking “If girls bits do that, then what is my willy good for?”

Oh good lord. Luckily he let it rest when I told him he’d find out when he was bigger.

Today he declared that he had a “daddy tummy” which is apparently pretty useless as opposed to a mummy tummy.  This really got him thinking and the rest of the conversation went something like this:

Will: When I get bigger and find a mummy of my own to marry, I’ll miss you (also a common theme)

Me: I’ll miss you, too but we will still see each other

Will: I promise I’ll tell you where we live so you can come & have sleep over holidays

Me: I hope you live near the beach then

Will: I hope so, too. But maybe the mummy I marry will choose somewhere else to live…

Me: speechless!

How does he come up with this stuff? And why didn’t I get the memo that the mummy gets to choose where we live? Pack your bags kids we are moving to the beach!!

What little gems do your kids come out with? What do they want to be when they grow up?

Bubbles

Yesterday was not a good day.

The moment their little eyes popped open my boys were in full monster mode.

Unfortunately, due to lack of sleep & a touch of the lurgy, I wasn’t at the top of my game (common of late) and a few poorly managed incidents early in the piece seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day.

By mid afternoon things were at an all time low. I had managed to get the house work done but still needed to go to the post office & supermarket. A prospect I was not looking forward to with two monsters in tow. I was also looking down the barrel of a solo mission through witching hour & bedtime as The Man was off doing… man-things.

So, I did what any self respecting mummy-0n-the-edge would do. I resorted to bribery.

Aren’t kids fickle? The simple offer of blowing bubbles & a gingerbread man on our safe return home turned my little antagonists into little angels instantly. With only one near-miss, I managed to get them in the car, around the shops & home again incident free.

Of course my little angels disappeared with the crumbs of the gingerbread man & the pop of the last bubble, but I did manage to capture a few snaps of the small slice of magic that graced our otherwise ill-fated day.

Does bribery work for your kids? What’s their bribe of preference?

Spit it out!

Courtesy of stylehive.com

I did a brave thing  last night. I took another step in saying bye-bye to my baby and threw away the dummies.

This was a hard thing to do but probably more so for me than for Nick.  The Man has been keen to get rid of them for ages and has managed to wean him from them for night sleeps. Mind you, he is also much better at managing at tired, cranky BamBam and being firm with him when needed.

Me… well, I’ve probably mentioned before that when it comes to Nick, I’m a bit of a pushover. Let’s call it a preference for the path of least resistance!  Will was pretty easy when it came to sleep and we said goodbye to the dummy with no fuss at 18  months.  However, it was a long hard road training Nick to put himself to sleep for naps WITH the dummy. Now that he’s got it down pat I’m not so keen to revisit nap time hysteria. Of course if the antics are dramatic enough driving me to capitulate and give him a dummy, he’s asleep in minutes and I can relax with a cuppa!   This little repertoire has of course created a self-fulfilling prophecy and hence the reason they had to go – to remove the temptation from me as well as Nick!Courtesy of stylehive.com

In my own defence, I must say I’ve held out so long in consideration for his other carers too. My poor mum & his daycare teachers will no doubt struggle for a while as well. I really didn’t see his dummy “habit” as an overly bad thing. He only had it for naps and to calm him after a particularly horrendous meltdown (which he’s quite prone to at present, unfortunately). I do not however, want him to get to a stage where he demands it constantly and I can see that this is where we are heading.

The Man reminds me it will only be a week or so of discomfort for all until “dum-dum” is a distant memory, but I have my doubts. Nick is a very stubborn little man.  But the deed is done and we will find out soon enough.

As a parent is there something you’ve been reluctant to give up in favour of the path of least resistance? I’d love to hear your stories!

Bye-bye Baby

Where has my baby gone? Did I pick up the wrong child from kindy? Because surely there has been some mix-up. This blonde, blue-eyed creature in front of me certainly resembles my baby boy but it cannot be him. Who is this talking, tantruming toddler who all of a sudden no longer likes a stroller and wants to sleep in a big boy bed. Where did my baby go?

Nick at 3 months

I know the answer, of course. My baby is gone forever because Nick has turned two. On the day of his birthday it was like a physical change came over him. One of the most noticeable things was the words that started popping out of his mouth. For months we have been growing equal parts concerned and frustrated as Nick seemed to refuse to talk. His handful of words were used rarely in favour for loud yelling and pointing until the dim-witted adult in question (usual myself) managed to guess what he was demanding.

“Water, milk, banana???”

 “No”, “no”, “NO!”

Until eventually we hit the jackpot… “YEP!” 

But all of a sudden the words are coming more easily. Although predominately one syllable and still used sparingly, punctuated with his trademark yell, his language is certainly progressing.  The word that brought this home (& cracked us up) came one night when I dished up something he found undesirable for dinner. He pushed his plate away, climbed down from the table and pointed at the pantry. As clear as day he demanded, “WEETBIX!”.

Celebrating his 2nd b'day. Brimming with attitude & cuteness!

 

My baby is definitely growing up and will have no trouble at all making his way in this world.

Time flies…

I find it amazing how being a parent really does make time fly.  So all consuming is the business of being mummy that I seem to lose days, weeks & even months of my babies’ lives.  Not babies. Not anymore. I am keenly aware of this fact as we embark on the next stage of my boys’ lives – room sharing. I have been so eager for this co-habitation to happen in order to maximise space in our small house. However, on reflection it has occurred to me that I have been subconsciously wishing the time away when in fact I should have been cherishing all the “lasts” associated with this transition. The last night my “baby” spent in the nursery. The last midnight soothing cuddle without fear of disturbing his brother. And the last morning of having at least one child sleep past 7am!

As each milestone passes there seems to be more precious moments that have slipped through my fingers. But as much as I regret the imminent passing of the “baby days”, I eagerly anticipate the days of freedom that having preschoolers brings. Roll on those nap-free, pram-free and NAPPY-free days!!

I just hope whilst looking forward to the future I can also learn to live in the moment and break the cycle of wishing away the days.