Confessions of a Middleagedmom

surviving motherhood in the “middle ages”

New Strategy for Princess September 25, 2009

Filed under: 1-2-3 Magic,children,dad,discipline,family,moms,preschool,time out — middleagedmom @ 12:15 am
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Recently Princess has decided to demonstrate her independence at home and at school.

Translation: She wants to do what she wants when she wants to.

Princess has always been pretty easy to discipline. She usually complies with our rules and expectations. Then all of a sudden (over the last 2 weeks) she’s been saying “NO” to almost everything. Along with the “NO” comes the whining and the fussing.

Mr. MaD and I were like, “What the heck is going on?”

Last week when I picked her up from school I told her teacher about the change in her behavior. She said that she noticed that Princess said “NO” to her that same day. I explained that I didn’t know where all of this was coming from. Then she told me that she thinks Princess has learned it from another student in class who says, “NO” and talks back with a “potty” mouth.

My first thought was “Just great! Princess has to follow the student who has inappropriate behavior!” I guess that comes along with territory when you send your child to preschool.

In the last 2 days, Princess has decided to “step it up a notch” at school. She has decided that she does not have to sit at Circle Time. Instead, she walks around or plays around. During nap time, she doesn’t sleep. Instead, she talks, laughs, or walks around. The teacher has tried putting her on time out but Princess has decided that she doesn’t need a time out. 

When I received her daily report for the last 2 days, I was so upset and frustrated. We’ve talked to Princess about her behavior. We tell her our expectations every day before she goes to school. Mr. MaD reminds her again when he drops her off. When we asked her what she is supposed to do, she can tell us.

So last night I told Mr. MaD that whatever we (teacher and us) are doing is not working for Princess. For some reason, the time out is not working at school. I think it wasn’t the right motivation.

After rereading some of the 1-2-3 Magic book, I decided we needed to use a strategy for what is referred to as a Start behavior.

So…I decided to make Princess a goal sheet. Something very simple and focused on  the 2 areas that she is struggling with. I made it for one day just to see if it would work. I decided that her reward would be playing an online game on the computer when she gets home from school.

What a difference a day and a reward makes! Today, Princess sat nicely in Circle Time with her hands in her lap and she even participated. Then a nap time she slept. Wow! I was so proud of her. I could tell that she was proud of herself too.

She was very excited to play the Curious George game on the computer. (By the way, it’s for the PBS site.)

I sure hope this works again tomorrow! If not, I don’t know what I’ll do next.

Any suggestions?

Here’s a sample of the Goal Sheet.

goal sheet


Terrible Twos – Late Start? May 4, 2008

Filed under: 1-2-3 Magic,baby,children,discipline,family,moms,time out,toddlers — middleagedmom @ 5:28 pm

When Princess was younger, around 1 year of age, I remember our pediatrician asking us about tantrums.  At the time her behavior was pretty good, so I told the doctor that she does get upset but usually doesn’t stay upset for very long. She didn’t really do some of those tantrum-like behaviors that I know other kids have – kicking or stomping their feet, banging their heads, pounding their hands, etc.  Our pediatrician told us that it’s okay for her to get upset and cry and fuss but if it doesn’t last too long and if she doesn’t get really worked up then she probably isn’t having a tantrum. He also mentioned that since she wasn’t doing it at age 1 then she probably wouldn’t do it later.

Yeah, right!

Recently, Princess has been showing us the dreaded tantrum behavior. When she gets upset, especially if she doesn’t have her way, she lies on the ground and starts kicking her legs. Sometimes, she’ll kick her toy. Usually if I scold her about the kicking she stops. I’m not sure what’s going on but I don’t like it. The interesting thing is that is just started appearing within the last month or so…she’s already 2.5 years old.  I told Mr. MaD that I must be spoiling her since she knows that the tantrum behavior will probably get her what she wants, that’s why she continues to do it. (Yeah, I know, I need Supernanny!) I mentioned to Mr. MaD that sometimes when I’m home alone with the 2 girls (which is everyday) I can’t fight every battle with Princess, esp. if Baby is crying and fussing too. I also realized that we need a new time-out spot since we will soon give the crib to Baby. I’ve used the crib as her time-out spot in the past and that worked well because I didn’t have to force her to stay in one place. She doesn’t try to climb out of her crib.

It just so happened that I recently read a comment left by Deg on my post “To Discipline or not to discipline” and that reminded me about the book 1-2-3 Magic that I need to reread again. I know that I spoil Princess, I am the first to admit it. Yes, sometimes it is easier to just give in esp. when I’m feeling stressed. Sometimes I just feel sorry for her since Baby arrived too. Yep, I’m a softy when it comes to Princess. How ironic is that? I used to be such a critic of spoiled children…and look at me now! I apologize to all those parents who I ever passed judgement on.

So, I’m back to the drawing board when it comes to discipline. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.  Obviously, the parent needs more training then the child!


Generation Gap? October 25, 2007

Filed under: 1-2-3 Magic,baby,children,discipline,family,moms,toddlers — middleagedmom @ 10:10 pm
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I just had a conversation with my girlfriend who has a son that’s 2 years old. The conversation consisted of the usual topics – eating, discipline, sleeping, tantrums, etc.

The major issue that seems to be arising with her son is sleeping. He just recently turned 2 but is able to climb out of his crib already.  This has been a big problem because once out of the crib he is able to open his bedroom door and leave his room. Apparently, they have a door handle rather than a door knob. So, he just pulls the handle down and the door is open. Often times, he will leave his room when he wakes up during his nap or at night. I’ve suggested a crib tent but she is not comfortable with the idea. We’ve discussed the use of a gate in front of the door to keep him in his room. She said that another friend suggested holding the door closed when he tries to open it but that’s kind of difficult if it happens in the middle of the night.  Another suggestion is to change the door handle to a door knob so that he will at least stay in his room.

A comment that arose out of this conversation was that her friend’s doctor is older so he comes from the old school of thought…very straightforward and strict. The doctor is the one who suggested that her friend hold the door closed to keep her child in the room. My girlfriend says that parenting styles were different back then and that since the doctor is older he comes from the old school.  She claims that her own pediatrician is more leanient (since he is younger) although she has never discussed this sleep issue with her pediatrician.

My thoughts are that if her son waking up and leaving the room is a problem then she should “fix” it. I suggested that she “fix” it sooner than later. Children learn quickly what is acceptable behavior so I’m sure he has learned that it is okay to get out of the crib and go look for mommy or daddy.

I wonder if it really makes a difference if you’re from the “old school”or the “new school”? Maybe the younger generation (us) have come to believe that we can talk to or reason with our children about everything. Maybe we believe that if we are more patient or we give them more lee-way (sp?) or we don’t let them cry that we are saving our children from years of torment and frustration. The funny thing is that when you talk to the older generation (our parents or grandparents) they don’t understand why our children can’t fall asleep on their own or why they don’t stay in their room at night or why they throw tantrums. (Remember my mother’s comments when we were at the toy store with Princess.) In “their” days, you didn’t spoil your children. There was a clear sense of who the parent was and who the child was. I’m not saying they did it all correctly, esp. since they believed in spanking a lot more than we do. (Believe me, I know this from personal experience.)

The funny thing is that as a child I knew who I needed to listen to and who I needed to show respect to.  I listened to my parents and grandparents. There was no such thing as “talking back” to your elders. Another funny thing is that in the “old” days there weren’t very many parenting books around. Now, there are hundereds of parenting books with hundreds of options on how to “handle” your children. Yet, we as parents are still confused about how to deal with the everyday issues of raising our children.

So who’s right?

P.S. I have suggested the 2 books I’ve mentioned before – 1,2,3 Magic and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

P.S.S I apologize if this post is a little long-winded and confusing, I’m writing after taking benadryl so I’m a little drowsy.


First Snack Bento…Finally! October 5, 2007

snack bento1 Here’s my very first snack bento in my “cute style” bento container that I purchased for $1.99. It comes with a little divider. It contains fresh fruit (pineapple, honeydew melon, cantalope, apples, and grapes) and multi-grain crackers and organic fig newmans. I decided to put the pineapple and honeydew melon in the little foil food cup to keep the juices intact. I also brought along some string cheese which is not in the photo. I also stashed a little toothpick in the container. Too bad I don’t have those cute little plastic animal picks yet!

snack bento1a

Today was a good day to attempt packing a little bento for my daughter since daddy (Mr. MaD) was off of work. My daughter (whom I shall refer to as Princess) had her gymnastics class this morning and after class we would be doing some errands. The bento container was packed in a little collapsible cooler bag with a small ice pack.

After gymnastics class, Princess ate some of her bento. She enjoyed the grapes, crackers, and esp. the fig newmans. I got in a few bites of the  pineapple, apple, and honeydew melons. I must say it held up well and I can’t wait to try my hand at another bento.

Later, we decided to meet grandma at the toy store since grandma was anxious to  purchase something “big” for Princess’s recent 2nd birthday. Well I don’t know about the rest of you but going to the toy store can be a little stressful… for the parents of course. Princess has the habit of choosing something she likes and holding on to it for a long time. These toy stores always have display toys out so that the children can play with them. (Probably part of the store’s plan to get the children to “convince” the parents that they need more things than what they came for.) So at the first stop in the store Princess decides to pick up a toy train from the display train table and a crayon from the display easel. That was fine since I was busy picking out some Crayola products (triangle crayons and a Color Wonder set) for her. In the meantime, Mr. MaD was loading up the huge easel that we decided to get for Princess from grandma. We also got her some Aquadoodle stamps to add to her Aquadoodle set at home. Apparently she had enough of this area because when we asked her to put away the toy train and the crayon she complied with the 1st request! Hooray, score 1 for the parents!

The next stop was the bike section… no, we did not intend to buy her a bike but we wanted to keep her occupied while grandma and I shopped for an upcoming baby shower gift. Princess loves bicycles and tricycles! She thinks she is big girl so she should be able to ride a big girl bike. Then there are those motorized cars for children! Whew, that was it! One look at those cars and “driving” is where she wanted to be. Mr. MaD said, “no” since he was afraid she would hit her head on the shelf above it. Princess being determined to get into the car,  started with the dreaded protest whining. Then came the protest sit down technique! So there we were…three adults and one whining toddler in the middle of the aisle. Grandma decided to comment on the situation by telling Princess, “Your mother and uncle (meaning me and my brother) never acted like that in the toy store when they were your age.” Hmmm…was that comment for Princess or for me? Okay, I know what your’e thinking. Why didn’t we put her on a time-out? Well, like I said before I haven’t really gotten the discipline thing down yet.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t finished reading the 1-2-3 Magic book either. In the end, we gave in and let her get into that car. Voila, the whining stopped! Hooray, score 10 for Princess and 0 for the parents!

I can hear it now. Princess is sp_____! Hey, don’t blame her. Let’s face it, it’s the parent’s fault. I can take it. I know what I need to do. I just haven’t done it yet. By the way, did I mention that our pediatrician just gave us 2 articles to read about discipline and spoiling your child. Hee, hee, hee! No, he didn’t specifically give it to us. He gives all his patients articles on interest based on the development/age of the child. I must admit that those articles are quite appropriate for us.

After purchasing all of Princess’s goodies (those mentioned above and 2 new Baby Einstein DVDs), we decided to get some lunch. We were all starving. Frankly, I needed a little break after our time at the toy store. Lunch went well and we all enjoyed ourselves. Princess fell asleep on the drive home….a nice quiet ride for mommy and daddy.

 P.S. Good news on the bento front! My brother informed me that he mailed my bento stuff (Lock & Lock bento sets and Zojirushi bento set) so I should be getting it shortly. I’ll post photos when I receive my box of goodies.


To Discipline or Not to Discipline…that is the Question September 22, 2007

Yesterday was the first day I have ever used a time-out for my daughter! That’s how frustrated I was. I always knew the day would come but I thought it wouldn’t happen yet. Although I know some parents who have been using time-outs for a while now (since their children were around 1 year old), most of the parents who I know don’t really use any kind of structured discipline with their toddlers. Needless to say, I never really put any real thought into a “discipline plan” for our household. Not to say that I have never said, “no” to my daughter or asked her to stop doing something. I have…many times! Usually, she stops or I can distract her with something else. But not this day!

Let me backtrack a bit to give you some background info on my little one. For a while now she has been excited about using sign language. We’ve introduced her to sign language through books and videos. (Yes, we do let our daughter watch TV. That’s a whole post topic in itself!) She really enjoys “Signing Time” with Rachael Coleman and Baby Einstein. Since watching the Baby Einstein “Baby Wordsworth” video, she has learned the sign for computer. She’s always thought the computer was fun especially banging on the keyboards. But now…she constantly wants to get to the computer and she insists that she sit at it (like an adult) and bang on the keys. Of course, she also insists that the screen be on (in the past it didn’t really matter if it was on or off). Her recent growth spurt as allowed her to climb on the office chair by herself and swivel around to face the computer.

Well yesterday morning she woke up full of energy but a little fussy due to interrupted sleep the night before ( a couple of bouts of crying). She refused to eat her breakfast after I made it. She insisted that she did not want to leave the family room to go to the kitchen. So I decided to give her a little time to herself and go check my email in the other room. Not long after I hear the “pitter-patter” of toddler feet heading my way! So I quickly turn off the screen trying to fool her into thinking that the computer was off. No such luck! I guess she is smarter than I think. She excitedly climbs on the chair and starts banging on the keyboard. I quickly tell her, “The computer is off. Let’s go eat breakfast!” Then she starts, “Wait! Wait! Wait!” Next comes the whining and banging on the computer screen! I attempt to carry her off the chair and she wiggles out of my hands and back up to the chair with “Wait! Wait! Wait!” over and over again. Yikes! Yes, I know…I shouldn’t have even entered this room and attempt to use the computer in the first place.  So I quickly picked her up and carried her reluctant body straight to her crib and put her in. There she stayed with the light on and the door open crying and whining. In the meantime, I sat in the kitchen listening to her wailing cry on the baby monitor thinking, “Hmmm, how long should I leave her…2 minutes for her age? Or until she stops crying?” Not knowing the correct method I decided to let her stay for 2 minutes. When I took her out she was still whimpering a little but was anxious to get out of the crib. I gave her a hug and told her that she needs to listen to mommy.  Whew, that was stressful for ME! Probably more so than for her. I have to admit I felt a little guilty about the whole incident. Yes, I know I know…I’m spoiling my daughter! You can’t blame me since I’m a middleaged mom who has waited many years to have a child! (Again, a whole other story!)

That evening I headed straight to the bookstore for a book that was recommended to me. It’s called 1-2-3 Magic Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.   (Don’t you like the word magic…if only it was that easy.) Let’s face it I was in desperate need of a plan of action before my daughter became the sole dictator of my home. As soon as I got home, I dived right into the book to get some quick tips. Of course I knew that it wouldn’t really be quick but I needed something to make me feel like I was doing the parent thing correctly.

At this point, I’m half way through the book. I did learn a few things so far. First, there is a distinction between “Stop” and “Start” behaviors. Second, do not talk or show emotion when using the techniques.  Third, these children are not “little adults” in disguise.

Believe me I can’t wait to get to the end and get started with my daughter. It’s for my own sanity as much as it is for her growth. I’ll be sure to tell you more when I’m done reading this book. If anyone out there has read it and can share some insights, I’d love to hear from you!