{Nee Asks} Save my Sanity!

Ok peeps, I am in desperate need of some parenting advice. My child’s life is in danger.

See this sweet innocent face?

 

I could throttle it most days.

It is well documented on this blog that the Wilful One and I both possess the procrastination gene. But since turning 5, the boy’s has gone into overdrive.

He is such a bright, enthusiastic child who loves to have purpose and responsibility. Generally.

However, recently the most simple tasks have become drawn out beyond belief. Tidying up. Getting dressed. Getting a drink. Going to the toilet. Putting. On. Bloody. Shoes. ARGH!

If faffing around was an olympic sport I’d been signing him up pronto. He’d bring home the gold every time.

Having a tendency to dawdle myself, I am more tolerant than most and I have tried a number of things to try to help him get moving.

I step out tasks in order of events (he likes a plan), make it a game/race, pre-prepare as much as possible, offer rewards and of course, lots of good old threats. This morning I heard myself tell him he would be taken to school in his underwear if he wasn’t dressed by the time I got to the door!

So, I beseech you, for the sake of my son and that of my sanity, tell me your tips for keeping procrastination-prone youngsters on task and focused.

 

 

Toilet training trials and tribulations

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Toilet training has to be one of the most trying periods for parents of small children (in excellent company with sleep deprivation, breast feeding and teething, just to name a few).

Bam Bam is currently 32 months old. We have been toilet training for months and we have reached a stalemate. He knows what to do. He knows when to do it. He just isn’t interested in doing it on someone else’s terms.

As with many things, I thought toilet training would be easier with the second child. As with many things relating to the second child, I was dead wrong.

Bam Bam constantly forces me to reevaluate what I think I know about parenting.

Here are some things I know about toilet training from experiences past and present:

I know toilet training a child who responds to bribes rewards (The Wilful One) is much easier than training one that doesn’t (guess who).

I know that sometimes the most menial things can push you to the brink.

I know that a correctly deposited #2 is worthy of celebrations of epic proportions.

I know I have reserves of patience I never knew existed.

I know creative negotiation is a lot more effective than demands or threats but can be much harder to initiate.

I know my reluctance to deal with a few days weeks months period of puddles on the floor perpetuates the use of pull ups as an “easy option” for both of us.

I know I need to bite the bullet and face the puddles.

I know he’ll do it “when he’s ready”.

I know that it will be before he’s 18, even though it doesn’t feel like it some days.

I know this too shall pass.

What do you know about toilet training? Any tips for a hard case?

Linking up with Kellie @ The Good, The Bad & The Unnecessary for Things I Know

Née xx

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.

Why I’m seeing (& wearing) red for Daniel Morcombe

Daniel Morcombe Foundation (official page)

In a past life I worked in a forensic lab. I’ve read first hand accounts of horrendous crimes and handled blood stained clothing and weapons. I’ve seen dead bodies, typed postmortem reports and dealt with coroners, police and grieving relatives.

I found the work interesting and fulfilling but I always said I could never work there after having kids. The last few days have proved why.

Something happens when u become a parent. You become inexplicably linked to all other parents through the shared experience of having a child. When you bring a life into this world you want nothing more than to love it and keep it safe. Every time something bad happens to another child your heart breaks a little, not just for that child and family, but because it shows us that our worst fears really can come true.

Daniel Morcombe went missing 4 years before my first child was born. I’m ashamed to admit I wasn’t very effected at the time. Maybe I thought he had just runaway. Perhaps I had become a little immune to crime and tragedy. I think it is mainly because I was not looking through the eyes of a parent.

It was only through watching the news coverage of the inquest and in recent days the arrest of the suspected perpetrator, that I have become so acutely aware and emotionally effected by what happened to Daniel.

The Morcombes are amazing people. Through their plight they have found the strength to do an invaluable service to our community by raising awareness on child safety through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and have truly created a lasting legacy for their son.

That beautiful boy is in the mind of parents everywhere as they kiss their child goodbye for school and tuck them safe in their bed at night.

I hope that the next few days brings news that Daniel can be put to rest, that his family can have closure and that the miscreant who did this can be put behind bars to rot.

My boys and I are wearing red for Daniel today. I hope you are too.

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.

Room 4 2

Our house is quite small. When both the boys were babies the nursery was the tiny room off the kitchen. When we first decked the room out in preparation for The Wilful One’s arrival it was my favourite spot in the house. Everything was new and fresh and it had such a serene feel. I would just sit in the rocking chair and bliss out. Ah, how glorious those last days of your first pregnancy are when you are oblivious to the chaos & mayhem that is about to descend upon your once peaceful life!

Anyway, when The Wilful One turned two we moved him into his ‘big boy’ room. This is technically the master bedroom in the house & had lots of room for his king single bed and masses of toys. It also made way for the nursery’s newest occupant. But with two young boys and a ridiculous amount of toys, there was the inevitable “creep” out into the living room. There were baskets of toys lining our living room wall & although the boys were very good at tidying every night, their very presence drove me mad.

Now I’m not a clean freak by any measure (as my husband & the ‘junk room’ can attest) but I do like defined living spaces. So I was keen for the boys to come of an age where they could share a room and the toys could be given a dedicated space. This time came in November when we moved Bam Bam’s cot into The Wilful One’s room in preparation for the boys having to room share on our Christmas holidays. The nursery was consequently turned into a dedicated toy room and everyone was happy.

There was one small side effect from this much-anticipated event that I hadn’t bargained on. Early starts. Not being a morning person, I had invested much energy in training my boys in the fine art of sleeping in. The Wilful One was easy enough and stuck pretty consistently to a 7.30am wake up time from an early age. This is a reasonable hour that I can deal with. Bam Bam on the other hand has always liked to mix things up. He has gone through periods of 5am wake ups which would be followed by a few weeks of 9am (bliss!). The beauty of them having their own bedrooms was of course that I could attend to them without disturbing the other and even convince them to lay back down for a while if I was REALLY lucky.

But alas, in my hasty quest to reclaim the living room I overlooked this very important factor! Bam Bam started becoming a regular early bird on our holidays and so it began.

Consequently, we now have a pretty much guaranteed 5.30am wake up. There seems to be some unwritten wake up roster between them and if it isn’t one it will be the other. Of course in the majority of cases the individual in question will make enough of a racket to disturb the other.

For a long time I’ve clung to the disillusionment that I will become a morning person through the course of parenting. I’m sad to say this is not the case. I guess in the grander scheme of things I’m only 4.5 years into this parenting caper and have a long time to work on adapting my body clock. I’m sure by the time the boys become teenagers and start sleeping till lunch time I’ll be itching to be up and vacuuming or going for a jog or whatever it is that enthusiastic early risers do with all those extra daylight hours. In the meantime, I’ll continue to walk around in a daze guzzling coffee & popping multivitamins.

Roll on puberty!

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.

Did I say that out loud?

At what point did I become this thought disordered, fuzzy-headed, tongue-tied individual? I used to be relatively cool, calm and collected – or at least give the impression of being so. I always managed to carry out intelligent and relevant dialogue in most settings and could adjust my demeanour to reflect the situational context eg. professional at work, relaxed and easy going in a social setting, etc.

Nowadays though I’m in a perpetual state of mental disorganisation; never able to find the right words, forever losing my train of thought mid-sentence and constantly forgetting the simplest things. The most perplexing development, however, is that my ability to articulate thoughts and feelings in an appropriate manner to an appropriate (and receptive) audience seems to have dissipated completely. I now suffer from a chronic case of foot-in-mouth.

Why today, for example, would I tell a prospective new childcare service that my 4 year old has neurotic tendencies and his brother is a thug who shouldn’t be trusted in a room with small babies?! These aren’t things that reflect well on my children or myself and aren’t even necessarily that accurate out of context (well… BamBam  probably is a thug regardless of context).  Somehow my internal filter for processing such thoughts as they pop into my head has completely disappeared. Even while they are escaping my lips I am thinking “Mouth is open, should be closed!”. I know most people have such moments but this state of random, inappropriate disclosure seems to be never ending for me.

I have no doubt that motherhood and all it brings (sleep deprivation, constant multi-tasking and a trillion competing demands) has absolutely everything to do with my memory loss & occasional thought disorder. But what of this perpetual stream of inner most thoughts flowing uncensored through my mouth? When will it end??

A new chapter

Welcome to my latest platform for literary ventilation! I found writing my original blog Weighting for a Miracle so incredibly cathartic (and still do – never fear dedicated readers, it will continue) so I have decided to take the plunge and expand my blogging repertoire.

I have been dreadfully remiss in documenting the little gems of my children’s early years, which are rapidly slipping by. As such, the general focus of this blog will be my day-to-day observations on parenting and the joys and challenges it brings. Although I’m sure to throw in some random unrelated rants every now and then.  

I love feedback so please feel free to leave me comments. Thanks for stopping by 🙂