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
Tags: , ,

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

Advertisements
 

Parents Need a Playgroup Rulebook September 10, 2009

I am sure that I’m not the only mother out there who has experienced “inappropriate” behavior of children and parents while in a playgroup or class.

Some might say I’m overprotective (that’s already confirmed), others may say that it’s because I’m a middleaged mother (not as laid back).

Whatever the reason, I still believe there should be a rulebook for parents and children at every playgroup and class. Maybe it should be given to every parent as soon as they give birth to their child. Then again, you would think that most things are common sense.

So why all the ranting?

Earlier this week, Baby and I were at her music and movement class. The class happened to be blowing bubbles to music. She was standing right in front of me and attempting to blow bubbles. A few seconds into it, a little boy comes right up to us and snatches her bubble wand right out of her hand. Baby was really good about it. She didn’t fuss or cry. I, on the other hand, was a little peeved about it since his mother was sitting on the side chatting with another mother while this happened. I gently removed the bubble wand out of his hand and said, “I’m sorry, she’s using that bubble wand.” Then his mother walks up and tells him, “Don’t take other people’s things. Use your own.” Nice try, mom, but a little too late!

I don’t really want to be the one to “correct” other people’s children. I think their own parents should do it.

In another class that Baby is attending there’s a little girl who constantly pushes other children. She’ll nudge her way in between a child and a toy then push the child away. Last week, Baby happened to be playing by a rocking toy. She was rocking it back and forth with her hands rather than sit on it. The little girl came up to Baby and pushed her hand off the toy. Baby just stared at her. At first I stood by and watched to see what would happen. Then the little girl did it again. This time she did it harder! So I went up to her and said, “Sorry, but she’s playing with it right now.” So, what was her mother doing? Nothing! She was standing right there watching the whole thing and letting her daughter push my daughter, TWICE! What’s wrong with that picture?

Okay, it’s not only the child’s behavior but the parent’s behavior (or lack of) that is so bewildering.  It even happens with grandparents.

At the same music and movement class, Baby was getting ready to put away her bubble blower when the teacher started collecting them. She went up to give it back but the teacher walked away in the opposite direction so Baby came back to me. I told her to wait patiently and go back up. Just then a grandmother comes right up to us and grabs the bubble blower out of Baby’s hand. She didn’t say a word…she just grabbed it. I quickly grabbed her arm and nicely said, “Oh, she can put it away by herself.” So she smiled and gave it back to Baby. OH MY GOSH! All the other children are putting the bubble blowers away by themselves. Why would she grab Baby’s and do it for her? She has her OWN grandchild to worry about, why does she need to worry about my child? I know that some of you are thinking that she was just trying to help. If that’s the case, why didn’t see ask first?

Another time in a class, the teacher happened to be reading a story to the children and using the flannel board. She gave all the children an animal to put up on the flannel board when their animal came up in the story. During the story, a little girl went up to a couple of the children and took the animals right out of their hands. They never had a turn to go up to the board because the little girl wanted to do it for them! Her mother didn’t stand up to stop her. She did tell her not to do it and even told her to give it back to the other children. Did she listen? NO! That’s it…nothing else from the mother.

 As a parent, I try very hard to be considerate of other children and parents. Usually, I don’t touch any child without asking first. Once when we were playing with the parachute a little boy was sitting in a dangerous place, so before I moved him I asked his mom is she wanted me to move him. She gave me permission to do so. Or if Baby happens to want to play with something that someone else is already using, I tell her that she needs to find something else to use until it’s her turn. She has been really good about not taking things away from other children, except her sister.

So, I’m proposing a universal rule book for every child and parent. Well, maybe it should just be for parents.

Let’s start with…

Rule #1 – Please oversee your child at all times! (Don’t sit on the side chatting with our friend while your child steals something from someone else!)

Rule #2 – Please discipline your child when he/she uses inappropriate physical behavior, like pushing and shoving!

Rule #3 – Assist another child (that’s not your own relative) if you’re asked to assist or given permission, unless safety is an issue.

How’s that for starters? I could go on and on with more examples and rules.

What about you? What would you add to the Rulebook?

 

MYOB! September 3, 2009

Filed under: baby,children,discipline,family,middleaged,moms,sisters,Uncategorized — middleagedmom @ 11:30 pm
Tags: ,

If you’re a parent, then you’ve probably experienced a child crying or screaming in a public place. It really doesn’t matter whether the child is crying because he/she is having a tantrum, tired, or just fell and scraped a knee. As a parent, you ALWAYS feel self-conscious and sometimes embarrassed.  Partly because you know that people around you are staring at you and your child.

So, what does a parent do?

I have to say that I’ve experienced this more than once. A lot of my stress during these crying episodes in public really have to do with where we are. If we are somewhere that’s quite loud or filled with lots of children, then I’m not usually as stressed about it. I’ll usually let my child cry and fuss until they settle down. It usually doesn’t last too long.

If we happen to be in a place that is quiet, then my stress level flies off the charts. Once when we were at Barnes and Noble, Baby decided that she wanted to climb and play on the “stage’ area in the Children’s section. She was actually copying her sister. The difference? When I asked Princess to stop playing , she did. When I asked Baby to stop playing, she had a little tantrum. She first started fussing and then it turned to full on crying. She refused to move away from the “stage” area so I told Mr. MaD to get her off. When he did, she decided that she should squirm around and flail her arms and legs. She did this all while still crying. I finally told Mr. MaD to take her outside until she settles down.

Now if this had happened in an airplane, I don’t know what I would do. You can’t really escape to anywhere else. Sometimes, it’s just plain inconvenient to pick up and leave. If I were in line at a grocery store and the next person to pay, I probably wouldn’t leave. I’d probably let her cry. Then I’d try to talk to her to calm her down or I’d try to distract her.

I think as parents we have a responsibility to respect other people’s feelings and personal space to a degree. If I had to take my child away from a situation/place because she is crying, I would never get anything done. Maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but  you know what I mean.  I also believe that other people need to respect my personal space and my feelings. It’s easy for strangers to judge a parent’s choices and a child’s behavior. It would be nice to see a little more compassion from other people.

So what would you do if you saw/heard a child crying in a public place?

Would you be like the man in Georgia who took matters into his own hands while shopping at Wal Mart? His philosophy of life doesn’t include the idea that one should mind their own business. He decided to first tell the mother that she should make her child be quiet. When that suggestion didn’t work, he went up to the little girl and slapped her in the face approximately 4 times. Unbelievable! He was arrested for cruelty toward a minor. His comment to the mother, “See I told you I would shut her up. “

 

Are those “Crocodile Tears”? July 9, 2008

Filed under: baby,children,discipline,family,moms,time out,toddlers,Uncategorized — middleagedmom @ 10:07 pm

First comes the whimper, then the fuss, then the moans, then the screams, then the tears. By then, it is full on crying mode and I don’t mean the whimper cry. My children’s cries make me cringe. So much so that I can feel the back of my neck tensing up.

Okay, I’m not saying that I don’t like to ever see my children cry. I actually can ignore it especially when I’m putting Princess on time-out and she is screaming her head off.

So when does it bother me?

  • at the doctor’s office when my girls are getting their shots-poor things
  • the first time I left Princess at Sunday School by herself (by the way, they asked me to pick her up because she was crying so much)
  • when Baby is crying and I can’t soothe her
  • when I’m in public and everyone is staring at me with the look
  • when Mr. MaD took Princess to preschool for an “orientation day” and had her stay by herself to take a nap (I’ll tell you more about preschool later)
  • when Baby starts crying because Princess is crying-they are so in sync when it comes to crying
  • anytime the girls are sick, in pain, sad, or scared

Just last week we were at Sam’s Club doing some shopping. It was crowded because it was just before the 4th of July. Princess happened to take a late short afternoon nap that day but we headed out right before our usual dinner time. We got to Sam’s and I had to process some pictures so Mr. MaD took Princess and Baby around the store. Well, Princess was not happy about leaving me so she started to fuss.  It’s a good thing the picture processing didn’t take too long. So we headed off down the aisles and did some shopping for a few things. Soon Princess was asking for milk. Well, unfortunately, this time I left her milk in the car. I usually carry a drink and snack with me into the store just in case. Of course, the 1 time I leave it in the car she starts to fuss. I was able to appease her for a little while then when we finally got in line to pay…she let it loose.  The cashier lines were so long! The wailing began and I kept telling Princess to stop crying because we were almost done and she could have some milk in the car. Nope! No deal! I just had to ignore it, even if no one else could. Yep, all eyes were on us! I’m sure everyone was thinking that I had either just scolded my child or that my child was so spoiled. It’s a good thing that Baby was sleeping in her infant seat and did not wake up or else I’d have 2 crying children on my hands. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. That even took a long time because the line out the door was so long too! Ugh! By the time we got out of the store and was driving home, it was something like 2 hours past their usual dinner time. So, I guess I can’t totally blame her for fussing!

 

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!

 

Being a Middleagedmom Raising a Daughter December 13, 2007

Filed under: children,Christianity,dad,discipline,family,moms,toddlers — middleagedmom @ 8:35 pm
Tags: ,

Recently, we were driving on the freeway and a “hot rod” Corvette sped by us. I told Mr. MaD that I must be getting old because the loud roar of the engine drove me crazy with irritation. Then I said, “When Princess grows up, I don’t want her to date a guy who drives a hot rod car!” Mr. MaD laughed.

I know that I’m getting old because those “hot rod” cars really irritate me. They are so loud, esp. when you’re trying to sleep at night. One of our neighbors has a boyfriend with a car like that and believe me, it is loud at 3:00am when you’re trying to sleep, even with the air conditioner on.  Not only are the cars loud, usually the stereos in those cars are blaring too!

So, what will I say when Princess asks me, “Mom, did you ever date a guy who drove a hot rod car?” What will I say? Well, in my younger days I used to have a really good guy friend who drove a hot rod car. He used to race it at the race track too! Yes, I did ride around with him in that car. So…what will I say?

When I was around 30 years old, I remember one of my girlfriends who had a teenage daughter tell me that she would have to tell her daughter some “little white lies” about her past. Why? Well, let’s just say that my girlfriend was a wild thing in her younger days. Now as a mother, she didn’t want her daughter to repeat some of her past behaviors, esp. since times have changed since we were younger.

Let’s face it. As time goes on and we, mothers, get older we either forget or choose to forget what it was like to be a teenager/young adult. As for me, I wasn’t quite an angel myself. Of course, I don’t want to be asked those hard questions by Princess. I really don’t want to lie either. So, do I regret some of my choices? I can’t say regret is the right word but I do wish sometimes that I made a different choice. Believe me, I’m glad that God is a God who forgives.

As a mother, we want to protect our daughters. We want them to make all the right choices in life. We only want the best for them. Of course, they have to learn on their own and make mistakes too. But, let’s face it…times are different now. We can’t just let our children have the same freedoms we did. We live in a very dangerous world with dangerous people. So, what’s a mother to do? I guess we raise our daughters the best we can with a strong sense of self (self-confidence), pride in themselves and their actions, integrity, honesty, compassion, morals and values. We pray everyday for God to protect and guide them. Then we trust…trust them and trust God!

 

Generation Gap? October 25, 2007

Filed under: 1-2-3 Magic,baby,children,discipline,family,moms,toddlers — middleagedmom @ 10:10 pm
Tags: , ,

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.