Dinner with a Strong willed child

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Dare I say it? My child is….strong willed. Well, that’s putting it mildly. Any time I ask him to do ANYTHING, it is an epic battle of wills that feels like it may to the death….most likely his. He once was so angry that he wasn’t allowed to crawl under the pew and grab the feet of the people behind us in church that even though he was dragged out into an empty classroom with the door closed, my hubby could still hear him. My hubby was on stage with worship band playing the keyboard at the time…with an ear piece in his ear. Let’s just say I didn’t feel close to God that Sunday.
So here we are at dinner. Everyone is doing fine and I cooked. I made chicken and potatoes and veggies and everything. I sit the girls down and tell them the potatoes are French fries and we’re ready to roll. Then I grab King Toot and, of course, he is unhappy. Of course, because I asked him to do something. Never mind that he’s been begging for food for an hour. I dared to tell him we were going to sit at the table and eat. That’s when he started his high pitched shriek. It could break glass….it does break ear drums. Now, these are a few things we have learned through trial and a massive amount of error. If I ever give in, even once, and just let him scream and ignore it….it eggs him on. He will only escalate more, and more, and more, and more. He has followed me around and pushed on the back of my knees to make me fall. He has thrown things at me, hit me, etc. If I immediately address it right then, he’ll stop. The best punishment for him is isolation. We stick him in his crib and call it “a break” and tell him we’ll check on him in a few minutes to see if he’s ready to come out. If he stands up and says sorry, he has admitted defeat and we’re good to go. He has to say sorry…not just a cease in crying is enough. Trust me, I’ve tried. I mean, I’ve TRIED! But he MUST admit defeat or this battle is not done. It’s like the white surrender flag that he waves to admit that he lost this round.
It’s exhausting. Dinner tonight I spent taking a bite, trying to have a conversation with my (at that moment) sweet girls, and then jumping up to offer him a choice between saying sorry and joining us or staying in his crib. He would just stare at me and scream louder! He was not distressed….he was pissed! I had to do this no less than 10 times. He finally said sorry, I told him what I always do…that I forgive him and I love him no matter what but that it’s not an excuse to act that way. Then he proceeded to lick the ketchup up and eat nothing else and then say “done.”. By that point I was too tired to care and let him down.

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My adorable little monster at dinner.

It’s in these moments I always truly doubt myself. I see all these articles my friends post that all basically say the same thing. They have lovely titles, like peaceful parenting, or enjoy motherhood, or loving your kids. They all recommend something along the lines of: ‘there’s no need for conflict! Let them express their frustration, offer them choices, redirect, get on their level, and as long as you talk it out respectfully to them they will respect you.’ I feel a failure because my house is so often riddled with conflict.

But then I remind myself. I taught for several years. I did those things. I know them well in fact. I use them with my daughters with great success. But they made things worse with my son. So, so, so, so much worse. This is the first big meltdown in two days (plenty of small ones, but those only required going in once or twice). It used to be seven epic meltdowns a day…minimum. He is getting better and I am calmer in dealing with him. It comes down to this: parenting is an art…not a science. There is no magic formula that will magically transform every child. For some, if they were to use the tactics I just mentioned they would have a very different response. Parenting is an art because the materials you have been given differ. Some kids are like soft clay (like Urpling) which require gentle molding…anything harsher will crush them beyond repair. Some are like my son…titanium…and must be melted at a million trillion degrees before they will bend even a little. So I just take a deep breath, dress for battle, and remind my son at the end of each day how much I love him no matter what. Because at the end of the day, I know he will grow up to be a strong leader so I just need to give him the foundation to be a good one.

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At the end of the day, how could I not love this little guy!

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Nostalgia

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It’s a new year and already I’ve had a few fun moments. Like trying to explain our evening prayer and then glancing at Urpling who has a deep look of concentration…looks at me…and then says, “Look what I can do!” and proceeds to stick her entire fist in her mouth. Or going in to the girls’ room to fix their night light and having Sasquatch announce as she’s shielding her eyes from the sudden light, “The light in our room is brighter than the sun!”
I spent a good amount of time looking through old pictures. So as a walk through the previous year as we move on to a new one, here are my favorites:

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This picture makes me laugh every time I see it.

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I love the faces. It captures them so well…

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Cousins…

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Sasquatch is ready for some good ol’ fashioned paintball!

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Mom, look at what I can do! Ummm…very….nice sweetie…

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I’m ready for my close up…

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I think he liked it.

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Ummm….why is he all wet?

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At least it wasn’t the toilet…

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No year is complete without a tea party.

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I thought, “I don’t have any pictures of all three kids together!”. Then I remembered why…

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It’s always good to share.

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Oh good heavens, what is that?!

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Phew. A person.

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That post had it coming.

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Never let a two year old lock themselves in the bathroom. Thankfully this was the worst of the damage…that I’ve found…

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Sasquatch’s manger scene. I think Woody really nailed his role as Joseph…

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…and the baby angels were a nice touch.

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane!

Winter Break

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This post has no clear topic. Just a rambling of all the randomness. But that randomness happened during our “winter break” so I figured it was adequate enough to sum up whatever bizarre things I end up typing about. I’m in a weird mood by the way. A little cantankerous like an old woman sitting on her porch harassing passed bys for sport. Oh, and my autocorrect is on crack. So that may add some spice. I may just skip proof reading this so you can experience my horrific grammar and spelling in all it’s glory. (I promise that I have NOT been drinking, and I did actually end up proof reading this…and you should thank me).
Anyway, I was looking forward to break. I was taking a break from my training, taking a break from counting calories, no school to bring kids to, no Bible studies to get to. I was going to relax and do all those fun, Donna Reed has discovered Pinterest type projects with my kids. We were going to be a fun and picture perfect family for once. I was going to reorganize stuff, bake toffee for everyone I knew, and start 2014 with a clean slate. Then this happened. Sasquatch and Urpling got the stomach flu which took them several days to recover from. If you didn’t bother clicking on the link and reading it because that was sooooo 2007, then let me restate the final sentence, “But it is Christmas Eve and thankfully we all seem to be recovered and healthy and able to celebrate this wonderful season together without any more issues.”. To which I say “HA! Joke’s on you crazy jinx myself lady!”. Because the next morning after writing this blog, I wake up to celebrate my absolute favorite of holidays, made monkey bread, and then raced to the bathroom. Did something I eat disagree with me? I felt fine after this incident so I decided “mind over matter” and we headed to my parents. I always allow myself to splurge on holidays when it comes to food, otherwise I might as well just die because life loses all meaning…or something like that. But my glorious feast consisted of a dollop of mashed potatoes and some cherry jello. I was still doing okay…just not hungry (which should have been a sign for me)…and it hit me. The flu. Not just stomach stuff, but full blown chills/sweats/full body aches/migraine flu. The kind that makes you feel so miserable that you want to write out your last will and testament because you will surely die. Then you remember you already have one, so you just relax and wait for the inevitable white light to guide you home. Only that actually would have been much more peaceful. I couldn’t sleep because I hurt so much. I felt like I had just completed the ironman with no prior training. The next day I felt a million times better, even though I still had a fever and achiness. By the end of the day I was feeling almost normal. Yay! But then I actually ate something for the first time in two days. Big mistake. I was worshiping at the porcelain alter every hour for the next twelve. I felt like a baby…who eats nothing and poops constantly. Where does it come from? Like the magic trick with the handkerchief up the sleeve it just kept coming and coming, beyond all logic.
Long story even longer, I finally recovered. But my mom even had to come help with the kids because I was so sleep deprived that I was afraid the children would do themselves harm while I lay drooling on the sofa in a comatose state. So a week has now gone by without anything fun or even remotely Donna Reed-like. Then we have three days of health. I play games, and start making that toffee for everyone I know. Then the next day I see King Toot on my spot on the couch. I lean over to pick him up and get a wiff. Whoooo! Someone needs a diaper change! I pick him to see nothing but massive amounts of brown. AHHHHHHHHHHHH,!!!!! I can never sit there again! The horror! I clean him up. He the proceeds to have stomach issues. Little tiny squirts every half hour or so, accented with big massive blow outs (much like morse code) that create yet another load of laundry, carpet cleaners to earn their keep, and a plethora of baths. This lasted two days. Then he finally started eating again and I rejoiced. We were almost done! Only to wake up at four in the morning to him crying. Thinking he had pooped, I checked his diaper. Thankfully, it was dry. Relief only lasted a moment as I pondered the strange aroma emanating from my son. I investigate mores lock luck. (wow…I wrote “more closely” CORRECTLY…and autocorrect changes it into that. It’s definitely on crack). King Toot has puked large chunks of partially digested chicken nuggets and banana. Thankful it didn’t have a potent smell, I again bathed him, and cleaned his bedding. Two more days of morse code pooping led to a raw bottom so that he could hardly walk but thankfully no more barf. I have now finished my winter break and he has been healthy for all of two days and still hasn’t pooped normally. So much for a break. We did snuggle a lot as we watched an endless parade of movies while some person was too ill to do much of anything else.

I really don’t post this to complain. As they say, Flu happens…or something like that. But I have been a complete flake. People text me and I don’t even remember. I agree to do things and then remember three days after the date passes. So this tale of woe is an attempt to earn pity from all my friends that I’ve deprived and insulted. Just know that I love you all and I will not let this get me down. Also, that your toffee will be coming. But I figured only a douche would make her friends homemade candy that is made with love, butter, sugar, and the wonderful microbes of stomach flu.

Note: Some positive things did happen. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve looking at lights while the girls hung out the sunroof yelling “Merry Christmas!” to everyone. Sir Smiley and I went on a date to Fogo De Chao. The oasis of joy for all meat lovers, the closest thing to heaven I have yet to experience. They walk around with meat on skewers…high quality meats…of all kinds. Cuts of lamb, sirloin, pork, chicken, filet mignon, etc. We have coasters and when we flip them to green, the meat keeps coming. when were done, we flip them to red. I finished with filet mignon wrapped in bacon. BACON! We also saw The Hobbit. We got to go to a New Years party at a friends house and had a blast. Overall, it was a good vacation and I did get in a ton of snuggles. It was actually a relief to get back into my routine and almost easier and more restful after all that.