Parenting Tip #4

Take a deep breath. When you are about to yell, stop and breath. Take a second to think about if it is really worth yelling or if a different reaction may be better.

A few days ago, Leah had one of those days where she totally gave me a run for my money. Everything I asked her to do took forever because she would not cooperate. After struggling for twenty minutes to get her dressed, the last thing I wanted to do was chase her around with a comb trying to brush her hair. When she dove under the kitchen table to hide I just about lost it! But instead I took a deep breath, gently pulled her out, and put her into a time-out.

Time-outs are very effective for my daughter. I believe every child is different and some methods of discipline work better than others depending on that child’s personality. Leah gets a two-minute time-out right now. She usually starts off pouting, or even screaming, but by the end of the two minutes she is remorseful. I always ask her why she was in time-out to make sure she understands what she did wrong. On the rare occasion that she is unable to tell me, I explain it to her. Then she must say that she’s sorry and give a hug. It works like a charm 99% of the time!

Anyway, that fateful day, Leah wound up in time-out no less than four times! By the end of the day by deep breaths got longer and deeper as I struggled not to lose control. I had to remind myself that she is just a kid. She was having an off day. I was having an off day. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us. I have been told that I have the patience of a saint. I don’t know about that. I just love my daughter and I understand that she has bad days.

I am not perfect. I have had days where I totally lost it and flipped out and yelled at her. But the thing is, I don’t feel good at the end of those days. I feel horrible. There are better ways to handle it. Leah and I had such a rough day last week, but at the end of that day I still felt pretty good. I still got a kiss and hug, and my daughter was still my happy little girl.

Take a deep breath. Decide if it’s worth it.

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Moving Tips

My husband and I recently bought a mobile home. We are still waiting on all the paperwork to go through, but we were told that we can look forward to moving in 3-4 weeks! It has been awhile since we moved, and it’s our first time moving since becoming parents. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the paperwork and the thought of packing our entire life up into boxes.

A good friend of mine also just bought a house and started sending me moving tips. Today she compiled an entire list of very useful moving tips. I plan on using each and every one of these to help me stay organized, and I thought I would share them here.

Here is the list of Moving Tips for Parents or anyone else, written by Ashley:

Tip # 1: Plastic bins are your best friend. They are waterproof so your things can be moved in the rain. Even better, if you have plastic bins you can see what is in each bin. (Although you should still label what room each bin goes in.)

Tip # 2: As you’re packing boxes, pick them up intermittently to make sure you’re not making them too heavy. Nothing worse than packing a box, sealing it, and then realizing you can’t move it to your stack of boxes.

Tip # 3: Small boxes are great for breakable items. It keeps the fragile stuff compact so there’s no jiggling around.

Tip # 4: Don’t pack your towels or bedding. Use them as padding to wrap your breakables. It acts as bubble wrap, it’s free, and it gets packed all at the same time.

Tip # 5: Stock up on all sizes of Ziploc bags. You will be amazed at how many bottles of liquid you have open in your house. (And they do spill when they fall sideways, even if it’s a spill proof top!)

Tip # 6: Garbage Bags are your friend. They are perfect for packing clothes, plus they are flexible so you can squeeze them into a car and it won’t make your clothes smell like boxes and bins sometimes do.

Tip # 7: About 3 days before the big move, get a duffel bag or a suitcase and pack 1 weeks worth of clothes for each person in your family. Just like you’re going on a vacation. Also for children pack a small bag of select toys. That way when you move, you don’t need to unpack every bag of clothes to find the ONE bag all of your underwear is in.

Tip # 8: Label EVERYTHING!! Clearly label what room each box is going in.  For the Kitchen boxes, write a list on each box of the things inside. That way you know exactly where your coffee pot is or your toaster oven.

Tip # 9: Pack like things together. There’s nothing worse then trying to unpack a box that has stuff for 5 different rooms in it. When packing put your box/bin in 1 room and never leave that room until the box is full.

Tip # 10: If possible, clear out a portion of 1 room (preferably near the exterior door you will be going in and out of to pack vehicles). This will be where you stack your boxes. No matter what room they came from or are going to in your new house, stack them all together.

Tip # 11: When you are unloading your moving vehicle (whatever it may be) move the furniture to the rooms they will stay. Put all your boxes in 1 location. This saves you from explaining to friends and family what rooms in your house will be your bedroom, your child’s bedroom, etc. Plus it saves time. You can get more moved in 1 day if everything is moved from point A to the truck to point B.

Tip # 12:  Use this move as a chance to purge your belongings. We all have more stuff then we really need. And even if you’re moving into a house with more space, there’s no point in filling it with stuff you don’t need.  If you aren’t going to use it within 1 year from your moving date, don’t move it.

Tip # 13: Pack the stuff you won’t use for a while first. If it’s after the holidays, pack all your holiday decorations first. Most of the time they are already packed away in boxes but make sure the boxes are sealed.  If you are moving in the summer, pack away all your winter clothes. You have to start somewhere.

Tip # 14: If you have a basement or attic, move everything out of those locations as soon as you find out you’re moving. Your house may be super cluttered for a while but your back and legs will thank you. This way you’re not going up and down stairs 20 times or more in 1 day. Take your time and do it over 1 week.

Tip # 15:  Get yourself a roll of masking tape and a sharpie. The masking tape is great for putting on a box or bin because it is easily removable after your move. Label the masking tape instead of the bin itself. This way you can reuse the boxes and bins for a future move or storage.

Tip # 16: Buy packing tape and use it to tape the seams on all of your boxes. Packing tape is best, it won’t break.

Tip # 17: Buy at least 2 box cutters. Place 1 in the center console of your vehicle and one in your spouse’s car. This way when you go to unpack boxes you’re not trying to use scissors (dangerous) and you aren’t trying to find the box you packed the box cutters in.

Tip # 18: Before you unhook all the cables from your TV, take a picture of the way that the cables go into the TV and game consoles,  DVD player, etc. If possible, take a piece of masking tape and wrap it around the cord at both ends and label it “HDMI port 2 TV” and the other end “HDMI port DVD Player”. This way your TV is set up the same way it is currently at your new house.

Tip # 19: Make sure you go to the post office and have your address changed. This should be done 7 days prior to moving. You can choose the date when they should start forwarding your mail.

Tip # 20: If you have young children or animals try and get someone who is not helping you move (a Grandmother) to take them to their house for the day. Or try and schedule moving day for a day when you child is at school or day care. It can be very frightening to a child to see everything leaving their room and house. Even if you tell them where it’s going, they may not understand.

Tip # 21: Pack a cooler or bin of drinks and quick snacks for your movers. Plan on ordering a pizza or grabbing subs your first night in your new house and have a box of cereal and milk ready for the morning.

Tip # 22: As much as you want to get your house unpacked first, unpack your child’s room first. They need to feel like this is their home. You don’t have to unpack everything, but make sure that their bed is put together and they have some of their toys ready to play with. This will also keep them busy when you’re unpacking your house.

Tip # 23: If you have friends helping you move and there will be many vehicles going between your old and new houses, print out directions to your new house for each vehicle. Nothing worse than getting lost on moving day.

Tip # 24: Put 2 roles of toilet paper in your car right now. This way there is toilet paper as soon as you get to your new house.

Tip # 25: Label each box on 2 sides and on the top. This way no matter how many boxes it’s squeezed between, you can read what room the box goes in.

Tip # 26: When you get to your new house and all of your boxes are in that one location, move each box into the room it belongs before you unpack anything. This way you can really see how much stuff you need to fit in that room or tiny closet and it will help you see if you need to purge more.

Tip # 27: Start the packing process early. This will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed on the days leading up to moving day,

Tip #28: Call 1 week prior to move and schedule a date for the utilities to be put into your name.

Parenting Tip #3

Make your own date night.

Feeling like you’ve worn out the babysitter lately with necessary things like doctor’s appointments or family/work obligations? Need a night out with your husband? Dave and I have perfected date night without needing a sitter. We do this about once a week. What we do is make sure Leah is nice and tuckered out by playing with her all day long. We feed her dinner at the normal time and sit with her, but we don’t eat. Then we get her into bed and asleep by 8, and we have the rest of the night for our date.

I cook while Dave sets up a small table in the livingroom with a makeshift table-cloth and a candle for ambience. Then, we get to eat, talk, laugh and do everything as though we were out in a restaurant, kid-free. We don’t have to over-extend our babysitters or spend money and our daughter can have the whole day with one or both of us and sleep soundly in her own bed. Sure, we still need to get out once in a while, but that gets tough to do all the time as a parent.

Every couple needs quality time together, but once kids are part of the mix you have to get creative sometimes. Redbox and Netflix are also your friends!

Parenting Tip #2

Always blame the waitress. Yes, that’s it.

It also works for salesmen, doctors, nurses, or basically anyone else.

We’ve all been there as parents. You’re in a public place with your child and they are not cooperating in some way. Well, my advice is to use some random stranger as the bad guy to get your kid to obey. The person you use won’t be the wiser.

Here is an example. We were at Friendly’s for lunch and Leah would not eat her meal. I told her that the waitress would not bring her ice-cream unless she ate so many bites of macaroni and so many bites of applesauce. I then made her macaroni talk and say things like “Quick, hide us in your mouth before the waitress sees us!” She ate more than I ever expected her to eat, and then was too full to eat much of the ice-cream!

Another example: My mom and I were shopping at a furniture store for Leah’s big girl bed. She was having fun climbing and playing on a lofted bed, but not having found anything, my mom and I were ready to move on to another store. Leah did not want to go, so my mom pointed out a salesman and told Leah “That mean guy won’t let us keep playing on the bed if we’re not going to buy one so we have to go to another fun store and try out more beds!”

I have also blamed doctors for giving her medicine, nurses for giving her shots, and finally, retail workers who might kick us out of the store and yell at us if she doesn’t hold my hand. It may sound horrible to some of you, but it works. Leah will most likely  never see any of these people again and I get to enjoy her company and get her to obey me without having an argument.

One last thing, never, ever use the other parent with this strategy (or anyone your child knows and loves). It is mean and undermines that person’s authority with the child.

Oh, the things she comes out with!

A few days ago we were playing at the park when Leah had to go potty. We had to drive down the road to a gas station that has the worst parking lot ever. It is situated on a corner and has entrances and exits on 2 sides despite the fact that it’s tiny. As my husband tried to back out, someone else was trying to pull in and a third person was trying to pull away from a gas pump. I began loudly grumbling about crappy parking lots and people not knowing how to drive.

All of a sudden, Leah piped up from her carseat, “It’s OKAY, mommy! CALM DOWN! They are just old people.”

I nearly died laughing.

Then, in her continued efforts to make me feel about going to school and putting her in daycare, she randomly asked me yesterday, “Mommy, how do you do it?”

Confused, I asked, “How do I do what?”

“How do you weave me at daycare aww awone?”

On the one hand, that was a little heartbreaking, but I really had to laugh because A.) where does she get this stuff?, and B.) I know that she is fine at daycare. Her teachers tell me all the time that she has a great day and has fun and barely asks for me anymore. She just loves to make stuff up and try to make me feel bad! She is too smart!

Parenting Tip #1

Today while I was at lunch with my bestie, I told her that I am going to start keeping track of my “parenting wisdom” and writing down tips for her. She loved the idea, and it occurred to me later that I should post my tips here.

So here is tip #1, my best parenting skill: Switch strategies until you find one that works. Seriously, it’s that simple. Think about it, with a tiny infant who is crying you have to keep trying different things sometimes before you figure out what was bothering the baby. Nothing really changes when your baby becomes a toddler or your toddler becomes a kid (okay, a lot changes, but this strategy still works!)

This is what we had to do with bedtime, and sometimes still must do. If you have read my blog from the start then you know everything we went through and all of the things we tried to get Leah to go to bed without hassle and sleep in her own bed all night. Even now, every few months she will start to give us a hard time again. When this happens I have to completely revamp and re-perfect her bedtime routine. Until I find one that works. After a few days my daughter goes to bed like a little angel again.

It works with getting her to eat as well. For awhile we got her to eat meals by calling them “super snacks” rather than breakfast, lunch, or dinner. That stopped working, so we got strict and strongly enforced the re-heating of every meal she didn’t eat.

The best part of this parenting tip is that it can be applied to almost any situation. All it takes is a little bit of creativity!

Versatile Blogger Award

Earlier this week I found out that I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award! I am honored by this nomination, and so excited! My blog started out as just a creative release and a way to archive my motherhood memories, especially the amusing ones. I was shocked when I started to get subscribers. People are actually reading what I write– and enjoying it! I would love to give a huge thank you to whatsupyournose for nominating me for this award. She is another mom blogger who shares tales of her two daughters and heartwarming mommy moments. I hope that she enjoys reading my blog as much as I enjoy reading hers.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this award along to 15 or 20.(I don’t have that many, but I have found a few!)

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Seven strange and unusual things about me….

1. I wish that I lived during the 50’s. Seriously, give me an apron and a vacuum cleaner and forget about all this equality for women in the workplace and I would be one happy camper. I am happiest taking care of my home and my child.

2. I used to ballroom dance, and for awhile I daydreamed about teaching dance someday.

3. I was born the day after my mom’s birthday. She actually went into labor on her birthday, but I apparently wanted my own day! I love celebrating with her each year, though.

4. My sense of humor is very mixed. I have an irreverent (and borderline inappropriate) side from my mom and step-dad, and a dry sarcastic side from my dad. One thing I have learned from my dad, though, is that we are both hilarious. And nobody can tell me otherwise.

5. I love playing with dolls, especially barbies. I played with them way older than the average girl, and I am eagerly awaiting my daughter’s 3rd birthday so that I can get her some barbies (and so I can play again!)

6. I have to make lists for everything. If I don’t write things down, sometimes I can’t stop repeating them over and over in my head for fear of forgetting.

7. I was a total teacher’s pet all throughout school. I guess I could just relate since my mom is a teacher, and I often told other students off when they complained about their grades and tried to blame the teacher.

Now it’s time for me to pass the award on to a few other bloggers. As evidenced by how often I post on my own blog, I don’t have a ton of time to read other blogs right now. I subscribe to and read whatsupyournose, of course, but I haven’t had a ton of time to browse and find more blogs that I love. When I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, I did some research and looking around and I came across Vicky…The Northern Chicky. She is a mom to five girls who writes both with passion and frankness about her motherhood experience and the touch decision of whether to move to Cape Cod or Myrtle Beach. I would like to nominate her for the award and I have also subscribed and look forward to reading more of her blog.

I am also nominating Covered in Chalk Dust, A Tale of Two Teachers. It is mom’s blog about teaching journalism and is both well written and entertaining. I am also nominating Careykid’s Blog, which is a blog maintained by my mom and her student’s. These kids are so dedicated to learning journalism and sometimes have intelligent discussions on topics that are beyond their years. It is a testament to my mom’s teaching as well as the student’s passion about their own studies. I can’t wait to see what blogs they nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award!