Parenting

When We Feel Things Deeply

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Last October, my brother broke his ankle. Not just a little bit……like shattered it! He needed surgery and got a plate and seven screws! It took months to recover and lots of family support. Well recently, he was having pain again, and after some investigation, the doctor discovered that the bone was growing around the plate and causing pain! Ugh. So he got to have another surgery…..and that was today. I was at my mom’s with the kids (substitute teaching…..homeschool style) and helping make sure that everyone had help where they needed it. And the day was just a little crazy……seriously! Everyone was having issues randomly! And I just couldn’t understand what was going on. Even Pup and my little sister (who is the same age) who usually run off to play, just weren’t. Then, my brother got home and people went nuts…..it was like a celebrity was returing home ( yes I had my camera and was the paparazzi)! There was a flurry of activity and excited chatter as we got him on the bed and stuffed with pillows and packed with ice. All the while, the little girls were sitting near by watching him very intently. When the activity calmed down, my mom looked at the girls and told them that they could hug my brother. They were scared at first, but they did! When my little sister hugged him she burst into laughing tears (you know…..where you are laughing and crying at the same time?). It was then that I realized that the poor buggers were scared, unsure of how he would be, and worried about what would happen. Suddenly it all clicked. The kids were all worried……and when people are worried they don’t always operate at their best. And I think that was going on. Even at young ages kids can and are very capable of understanding when something is not right. They pick up on the tensions and the stress that flows around difficult situations. They don’t often tell us their thoughts and so as adults we think that they live in the happy bliss of not knowing. In reality, they do know, even without total understanding. Kids often don’t have the words to express their feeling so they just let it out……in ways that we don’t always appreciate! 🙂 It is always interesting to me to see behavior is a new way…..or to see it for what it is. I was really frustrated with my kids (and siblings at some points) and now I see that they were all waiting and worried…..not just being a pain. So here is a lesson for me…..sometimes bad behavior is just deep feelings, being felt deeply, by deeply beautiful people!

Have you ever noticed something like this with your kids? Do they seem to get mean when things are hard?

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Why Stay at Home?

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Today I read a post by Danielle at Today’s the Best Day about being a stay at home mom. She shared her reasons for dropping her career and becoming a stay at home mom. It made me think about why I stay home. Like she says in her post, I HATE the mommmy wars. There is no one right way to parent or live as a family. We are all doing our very best for our kids and my best wont be yours! What we do here, may never work at your house and that is perfect! If we could all do the same thing, then the world would never work at all. For me, I never had a real career and my plan was always to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to see my little people grow from itty bitty babies to the young women they will become. I want to see their happy smiles, their moments of discovery, and to help them through the hard times. I want to laught with them, and cry with them. They are part of me and my husband and I want them to be a part of our life. I even went father with this idea them some people and kept them home to homeschool them. We are now learning together and becoming better people together too. For me it is a blessing to be a mom at home. This is what I remind myself of when the days are hard and the insecurities set it. I am not perfect and they know that! We have times when I feel like I am bombing it pretty badly and that being home doesn’t make me a productive person. I yell and they get snippy with me (and each other). And I feel awful when I spend more time on the computer then I should. But what I am learning is we are working together on this. They see me loose it , but they also see me apologize. We can work on changing tones of voice and the way we respond to each other moment by moment. We work on it all day, not just bit by bit when they get home from school! I am in the thick of it all the time and as my mom always told us, if you cant be nice to everyone a home, you cant be nice to other people! So we work……some days we work harder then others! But we are also happy! Isnt that what life is really truly about though? Living together, working to be better, and learning all the way? It is the thought that keeps me going day by day, and even without a paycheck, I feel like this is a gift I am giving to my girls and to the community. I am giving them a chance to be kind, real, able to think outside of the typical ideas, and to know how to better themselves. It is not an instant process, it is a long one, and I am blessed!

What about you? Do you stay home? Why do you do what you do?

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Parenting in Dark Places

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Things have been quite here because we are frankly not doing anything new or fun or exciting! Bunny is working on her book work, Pup is bopping along with up working on those elusive letter sounds, and I have been taking pictures in an attempt to become a photographer of sorts. But really not much of that is fun, child related blog post material. We are all still up to our thighs (literally) in snow and we cant get out to do much right now! Plus I have been very unmotivated to do fun things. I read a blog post called Parenting from the Dark Pit and oh, did it ring true for me! The author describes barely being able to bit back the loud PG-13 rated comments that she feels like throwing at her kids as they sit in the toys she has already asked them to pick up. And Oh, have I been there! The Dark Pit is a place. It is a place that seems to pop up in my journey here and there and I hate it. In fact I feel rather guilty that I am there. I have amazing kids, a husband whose love and support should win prizes, and really nothing that I should ever complain about. The things that are troubling me are all part of the life I have chosen and the one that makes me happy. But I am coming to realize that happiness comes in many forms and sometimes happiness is the deep calm that is under the raging currant above. Happiness can be a deep layer. Just like love isn’t always warm and fuzzy, sometimes it is just plain challenging and hard. I have been married for almost 9 years and in those years I have learned that love is not a feeling. Sometimes you feel close, in love and romantic, and sometimes you feel like being alone would be the best thing. None of that changes the love. The love is there in the darkest day and the brightest ones even though the feeling ebb and flow like the waves on a beach. Parenting is like that too. No one says that but it really is. Some days your love your darling kids with all the fiber of your being. Each moment in happy and you want to play and sing with them. Someday the sound of their voice will just make you want to hide. I hate to say that but it is true. Almost every mom I have ever met has felt this before. You love them, would die for them, but sometimes you just want the little bits to go away. How mat time do you need to answer that question? Why cant you just tie your own shoe? Your patience gets thin and maybe you yell (I do). It doesn’t help much, but somehow it does. Maybe you stay in this place of chaos held together with love and bits of routine for a while or maybe it is just a day. But, as I have discovered, the lightness appears again. Maybe it is a new routine, or a good long cry, or even a best friend that says the right thing that makes that happen, but I always does. Up and down, up and down, is the name of the game. Dark and light. Each place is a part of the journey and one that you cannot control. Its so easy to say I ill never yell again or I will always use positive parenting to fix what is happening here, but there are no “always” in parenting. The only “always” is the love, short of that anything can change and change it does. The trick is to let it g. Hanging on to the guilt only makes you feel worse and makes the dark darker. This I know. It is the choice to let it go and try some more. Love…..it is the only constant here! Relationships are a two way street. Sometime parenting doesn’t feel like that. We listen to our kids problems, kiss their boos, forgive their mistakes, and help them with anything they need. We do this as automatically as breathing, but sometime they are going to be the ones forgiving, listening, and helping us. And we need to let them. I am not saying dump your problems on them and share your deepest thoughts, merely that you give them a chance to forgive you for your yelling (make sure you ask for it) and let them do those little things that kids can do to make you feel special. Maybe its a note, a gift, a hug, or a snuggle. Whatever it is kids want to be in a relationship that is real. A relationship that is a two way street. Only if we show love even though we want to scream, and only if we ask them to forgive the times we messed up are they going to learn that this is how life is. Life is not perfect. There are no parenting (or life) formulas that will give you the best result all of them time. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t, and sometime they only work for a period of time. The trick is not box yourself into one plan, or parenting style. There are no happiness guarantees, but if you have love underneath it all, you can keep going with grace and dignity….or at least with humility when you mess it up good! So here are my prayer for you all in your journey and I ask for yours for me!

Taking Time Tuesday~ Mommy Time!

Well once again, I am late in my Tuesday Linky Party!!!! 🙁 I am so sorry to all of you who are interested in linking up! I promise to get better at this! I dont know how things keep getting so mixed up in my head! This week I have done something that needed to be done here! I have a bad habit of not spending time playing with the girls. There are a million other things that I feel like  I need to do and I just forget! So I made a Mommy Time Jar! This jar is filled with fun simple activities to do with the girls whenever we have a few extra moments! It is sitting conveniently next to my computer so I dont forget it! 😉 The girls are really excited about it and to tell the truth so am I! I think we may even make a Daddy Time Jar too!

 
What is in my are of fun? Here is a list of what I put in the jar:
 
Bake a snack
Take a walk
Paint nails
Paint a Picture
Do a project
Play a Game
Build a Fort
Build a Puzzle
Read a Story
 
That is what I have for now, but I need a few more idea of fun that we can do easily and on the fly! If you have one, please leave a comment! I would love to have a few more!
 
Now its your turn! What did you do this week with or for your kids? Link up and share! I love to hear your ideas!!!
 


Montessori Monday~ Parenting Expirments

It is about time for some parenting posts! As I have been cleaning my house, I have also been not spending as much time with my little sweeties. And as any other little sweeties out there, they tend to become a little less sweet when I have less time for them. None of this is new news, but it is something that I need to do. So I found a parenting book by Amy McCready. She is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. Deb at Living Montessori Now offered one of her webinare a while back to her readers and it was really good! However, the program is a bit pricey and I didnt want to spend that kind of money. So when an email from her company showed up in my inbox talking about her book, I jumped at it! When I found out my library had it, I was over the moon! If you have been a long time reader you will know that I have used the standard time-out method for years! It was pretty successful and easy to keep up with. But as Bunny has gotten older, I have found that it is not working at all. So it was off to find a new solution. I tried all sorts of things and nothing worked or seemed to be a good fit. So when the webinare came up, I jumped at the chance to get a new idea. I loved everything that Amy had to say and it fit in SO well with all the Montessori methods. So I have been reading all about this positive parenting and I like it. However it is really hard! It is all about what you do. The basis of this is that each child need to have significance (to feel needed and that he can contribute to the family for real) and power (some control over their life). It is also based on the idea that the only person you can control is yourself. We cannot make our kids do anything that they dont want to ( we could I guess, but that seems rather mean to force food down a kids throat or something like that). So that leaves us to change ourselves and to interact with respect for the feeling of our kids in the moment. It all about preparing the home for them to be independent and to empower them to be their best. We do it with words, training, and love. The book has a million wonderful stories and awesome ideas. It seems easy, but then I get the kids involved!
All of this sounds like a beautiful ideal, but in real life it get rather tricky! When your three year old punches your six year old because the six year old yelled at her. Urgh!!!! What do you do? I would usually put both in time out~ one for yelling, one for punching. But I’m not sure how this is supposed to play out. What do I say? How do we resolve this without me screaming at both of them to stop (since they can hear my normal voice)? What about when your six year old runs to her room screaming “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!!!!!!” Sigh. I talked to them. I talked about the power of words and how we say them. I talked about how to hitting is not kind and we never do it. I gave consequences “If you scream at someone or use a mean tone of voice, I will not talk to you at all until you are talking kindly.” It worked, or at least it made an impression! Bunny really was not happy with the idea that I would not listen if she screamed. Maybe it will help her find a way to express herself better in the moment! But what do you do for hitting? Or other behavior where there is no good natural consequence? I will keep reading and hopefully find the answers!
This method of parenting is not just about rules and consequences. It is also about how to build a great relationship with your kids as you go. That is what is appealing to me. I want my girls to feel that I am there to listen to all their ideas, thoughts, and problems. The very first step of this program was to spend 10 minutes of time with each child personally. Time for them, doing what they want to, and making sure that it is just you and them. This gives them that sense of significance and also gives them the knowledge that they will have time with you everyday just for them! Right now, we are doing it at bedtime. They pick a story and we talk about their day. They love this time so much!!!! Bunny even started telling me the little secretes in her heart. I realized that this exactly what I need to do for them. When they are teenagers, having time that they know will be just for them with mom will be so important. It will help me make sure that I am a present person for them later too.
All of this is going to help my plan this year for schooling. My goal is to provide a very freedom based, low stress school experience for the girls this year. I got all the materials, I have my plans almost done, but now I need to make sure that my kids have the maturity and peace to do just that! I can plan till every moment in my day is mapped out, but if the kids are not listening, or I start yelling because things aren’t going the way I think that they should, it will all be a waste of time. My school year depends on our ability to work together in love and kindness! Without it, learning becomes a chore and we are all going to be rather miserable!
So those are my rather scattered thought about positive parenting. Do you use positive parenting in your home? What are your thoughts on it? Do you have tips or “trick of the trade” that work in your family? I love to hear your thoughts on this important subject! Be sure to comment with your thoughts! I am linking this up to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now so we can get a conversation going! Oh, and let me know what you think of the new blog layout! I would love to hear what my awesome readers think! Happy Parenting!!!!
If you are looking for what we have been up to with Montessori, you can check out these posts!
Our New Materials are Here!
Bunny’s Big Kid Montessori Bedroom

The Million Dollar Question

Well I didn’t get a chance to blog last night because I was still writing my Valentine’s Day Post over at Peace, Love, and Blessing! Yesterday was a work day for us, and although it started out well, it didn’t end as well as it did on Monday! The kids were just off the walls and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I felt like all I did was run interference all day long. I redirected more then they did anything and I was so exhausted by the end of an hour. Tadpole is just unable to be around anything that can be moved without throwing it or beating someone over the head with it. So, as much as I really really didn’t want to, I sat him in a booster seat for quite a bit of the work day. I gave him different trays and works. It sort of worked, but if really was a rough day! So I am asking all of you out there with older kids and younger kids, how do you do it? How do you keep everyone in the school room and keep them happy and working?  I just cant seem to find the elusive combination of interesting work, enough time, and keeping everyone working together. I literally just cant seem to do it. I know that Bug and Tadpole are only here two days a week, but there has to be a way to make everyone work together without hurting each other. When its just my girls everything is really fine, so I know that I they can work, but you add the other two and I just cant seem to keep them working together. So what do you do when there are younger kiddos disrupting all efforts toward good work? I guess its the million dollar question, but I am hoping that someone has an idea! 🙂 For those of you who stopped by for more then a shameless begging for help, here are few pictures of the work that we did get done!



Intentional Parenting

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I’d build self-esteem first, and the new house later.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love.
(Five in a Row Website)
This Poem is a beautiful thing and I found it on a blog link my mom sent to me. It sums up all the things that have been swirling in my head as God is forcing me to look at what I do and how I do it. The woman from this blog, Elizabeth, has a awesome method of parenting. She doesnt do peaceful parenting, or gentle parenting (although those things are important to her) she does intentional parenting. When I read her Kindergarten Post about what she does with her little ones I could see that to her the work most important for young kids is working with an adult that loves the child. She said that she takes the time to be there for her kids all day. I dont mean that she is in the same room, I mean that she available to them whenever they need her. This made me think. As I stay at home, homeschooling mom, I am always here, but am I really here? Am I available to talk about nothing with my kids, to sit and look through a book, to giggle and tickle, to play and create together? Or am I focused on my computer, my cleaning, my plans to do things? As I pondered this over the past few days I have found that it is more the latter, and I want it to be more of the former! I want my kids to have me. So I am making a small change in how I parent. I am going to be with my kids more. They are a gift to me and my life. They are not a burden. So I will work with them, not around them, I will join in their stories and game. I will do projects with them and include them in mine. Just because they are learning to be independent doesnt mean that they are not in need of my time and true presence. This all ties in with my other post about a Montessori Homeschool and how it is a different environment then that of a school. This, I am realizing as the summer moves on, is a good thing! It is a beautiful difference that needs to be embraced, not fought! I can use all the Montessori teaching methods, but in a way that is going to be best for my kids and my home! It is freeing! It is peaceful because I am not trying to make our house something its not. We are a family and we are able to do things together. So our practical life work can truly be practical. For example, we are “spring” cleaning the house this week, and both my girls are helping. We are doing it together! Talking and working together. And while we are together they are learning how to wring a rag, how to carry a bucket, how to dust, how to carry things carefully, etc. They are learning practical life the way that it easiest to learn at home. I dont need to set up scrubbing work right now, because they are learning to scrub with me! It is natural and easy. Now this doesnt mean I use my kids as work horses (although Bunny is expected to work a bit more then she may want to) but they are ok working with me. These are the things that I am going to really work on more especially as we begin school. We will work together, laugh together, and have fun together. This is my goal! 🙂
Please stop by a visit Elizabeth’s blog “In the Heart of my Home” here.
garlits_293@mailxu.com odenheimer.sadie