Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm Doing Something Right, Part Two

I woke up this morning (on a Monday!) determined to look for the positive in my day.

I think Audrey woke up this morning determined to not allow anything positive into my day.

We had a rough morning, with Audrey being blatantly disobedient and disrespectful and with me losing my temper and yelling at her.  It was very discouraging since I was so excited about my new perspective and attitude about parenting.  In the past, after a rough morning like today, I would have just given up on the day.  I would beat myself up for losing my temper and feel crabby for the rest of the day.

But since I was on a mission to look for things I was doing right, I found myself much more motivated to keep trying to do right things!  It really did make a difference in our day, and by evening, things were much much better than the way we started the day.

So here are some things I did right today:
  • After losing my temper with Audrey this morning, we both apologized and asked for forgiveness.  I gave her a hug, kiss and I love you before school, and we both agreed to re-start the day after school.
  • When Audrey continued to be disobedient after school, I kept my cool and stayed calm and did not yell.
  • I took Isla shopping while Audrey was in school, and she was a super helper and carried my new shoes through the store and all the way to the car.  I gave her lots of compliments for being such a big girl, and she beamed.
  • I let Audrey help me mop the kitchen floor when it would have been much easier and quicker to do it myself.  She was so proud of her work!
  • I gave both girls lots of hugs and kisses and "I love yous" throughout the day.  (I've never noticed this until I started looking for it, but this is something I do a lot and don't even realize it.  I think it's a good thing!)
  •  I talked and laughed and played with the girls after dinner.
  •  I let the girls watch multiple video covers of the song "Let It Go" with me before bed tonight and promised we could make our own video cover of the song tomorrow.
  • I read stories and sang songs to Isla before bed.  (It was Daniel's turn for Audrey)
  • Tonight, Audrey came to me and willingly confessed doing something wrong.  This is something we talk about a lot, because she hates to do it.  I was so proud of her for being honest, and I told her that.
Okay, considering that this was a somewhat "bad" day for us, I think that list is pretty good.  I don't know if I will keep sharing all of my "rights" on here, but I do think I will continue to make the list.  At this point in my life, it is very encouraging to end the day thinking about the positive rather than the negative!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Doing Something Right

As a parent, I have been in a not so good place for a while now.  I feel like I am always out of patience and energy and positive thinking, and that just leaves me crabby most of the time.  Audrey, especially, has been going through a difficult phase, and most days I end the day just feeling like a complete failure as her mom.  I just don't know the best way to discipline/help/teach her.  I don't know if I am doing anything right with either of the girls.  And as a perfectionist, I like to know that I am doing things right.

Our church and small group have been discussing parenting for the last few weeks, and I've been thinking a lot lately about why I am so discouraged and not confident about my abilities as a mother.  I could probably spend all day writing about my thoughts on this subject, but they are still too disjointed to put together in a coherent post.

Instead, I'm going to share with you this great post I read tonight from Hands Free Mama:  When You Get it Right...and When You Don't

You should go and read it all, but if you don't have time, I'll summarize.  She talks about how some parents feel they don't know if they did their job right until their kids are all grown up.  And how she doesn't want to wait until her kids are grown and gone to know that she did something right as a parent.  So she started keeping a list of the little things she did right each day, to remind herself that she is doing at least something right.

I need to do this!  I could easily give you a huge list of all the things I feel that I do WRONG every day, but I don't often stop to think about what I do right.  Surely, I manage to do something right each day??  I could definitely use some more positive thinking in my life these days, so I'm going to give it a try this week.

She also talked about how when we do things wrong, it doesn't necessarily mean we are ruining our children.  I needed to hear that too!  That is such a huge fear of mine.  I'm afraid that something I will do as a parent will totally screw up my girls for the rest of their lives.  Again this post did help to remind me that is not a rational fear.  I especially liked this paragraph:

"I have discovered something about my list of “rights” that relieves a lot of the pressure I often put on myself. And that is this: Perhaps even on the days I don’t get it right, my child is still learning valuable lessons about life, persistence, determination, independence, failure, compassion, grace, and forgiveness. Maybe even when I am not getting it “right,” it doesn’t mean she’s going to turn out all wrong. "

So starting tomorrow, I'm going to look for the "right" in my day and not worry as much about all the "wrong!" 

Friday, February 21, 2014

And we're done.

Potty training day 2 was a bust.  Isla is back in diapers now, and I think we will wait a couple of months before trying again.

The day started off well, as Isla woke up completely dry!  The last time she peed was 5 pm last night, and when she woke up at 6:30 am, her pull up was dry.  Daniel got her to go on the potty, but she was crying and scared and not happy about it.

After that, she didn't want to pee anymore all day.  She started to cry when it was time to go to the potty, and she would stubbornly hold it as long as she physically could.  She didn't even want to pee in a diaper.  It was a complete pee strike.  She ended up having two accidents after holding it for so long, she just couldn't physically do it anymore.  She did make it in the potty twice, but it was a scary thing for her and she wasn't happy about it.  We had to physically hold her on the potty a few times, and that just didn't seem right.

I was starting to worry that if she continued like this she would get a urinary tract infection or end up in the ER with a catheter.   Isla can be stubborn, which we learned early on when she didn't want to turn her head or crawl or walk or talk!!  Little Miss Independent likes to do things in her own time and in her own way.  If she was five and still not potty trained, I might feel the need to force the issue a little more.  But since she is still just two, we decided to hold off on the potty training for now.  We will wait a few months and give it another try; hopefully then it will be a more pleasant and less scary experience for her!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Potty Training, Round 2

I've been saying for the past six weeks that we need to start potty training Isla.  But I have been dragging my feet, because I don't like potty training.  At all.  I could probably make a really long list of reasons why, but here is reason #1:  it messes with my schedule and my freedom.  Even if Isla catches on to potty training in just a couple of days like Audrey did, there is still a long road until she will be totally self sufficient in the bathroom.  And a long road until she will be able to "hold" it until I am ready to take her to the bathroom.  Which means every time she has to go, I have to stop what I am doing and take her immediately.  I know, I know...this is very selfish on my part.  But it's the truth.  I would rather change a diaper any day than deal with the immediacy and consistency demanded by a newly potty trained child.

But, it has to be done sometime.  Why not start today?  We were stuck at home today because Audrey has strep throat.  Audrey was feeling back to normal today, but she couldn't go anywhere until she had been on antibiotics for 24 hours.  So we had the whole day today at home, plus a pretty open weekend.  It seemed like as good a time as any to start.  Except I just didn't want to do it!  (said in my most whiny and obnoxious voice)

I documented Audrey's whole potty training experience in great detail (beginning here).  It was fun to go back and read through that whole process to mentally prepare myself to do it all over again.

I am going with the same strategy for Isla's potty training.  Cut diapers cold turkey.  Wear panties all the time, except at bedtime when she will wear a pull up.  Then give her extra drinks so she has the urge to go more frequently and diligently take her to the potty every 15-20 minutes.

I made a chart so she could put on stickers to mark her progress:  one sticker for every time she sat on the potty, plus one sticker for every time she pooped or peed on the potty.

Here are today's stats.  Sat on the potty: 22 times.  Peed on the potty:  3 times.  Pooped on the potty:  0 times.  Accidents:  3.

Not too shabby for day one!  Early in the day, Isla actually peed on the potty, and I was very impressed.  Isla did NOT like when she went pee in her panties.  She cried and acted scared all three times.  By this afternoon, she stopped having accidents.  But she also stopped going pee.  Looking at her, you could tell that she REALLY needed to go.  But she refused to go in the potty.  And she refused to go in her panties.  After almost two hours of this, I put a diaper on her, thinking she would go in the diaper.  But she still wouldn't go!  Finally she told me she wanted to go on the potty again, and finally she peed on the potty!  So, at least for this afternoon, she had figured out how to hold it.  Now she needs to figure out how to let it go at the right time!  By the end of the day, she was telling me when she needed to go.  Except when we got to the potty, she wouldn't go.

Audrey adds an interesting dynamic to the potty training process.  As a classic oldest child, she loves to be a helper.  She wanted to be in the bathroom watching (and usually touching me) every time Isla tried to go.  She wanted to get books and read books and get stickers and pass out the stickers.  She wanted to tell Isla when to go and how to go and what to do.  It was all amusing at first, but after spending nearly ALL day in our tiny bathroom with both girls, I was really pulling out my hair by the end of the day. 

Isla showed extreme patience in sitting on the potty.  She would easily sit for 15-20 minutes at a time.  We read books and sang songs and read more books and sang more songs, all while Isla just sat there.  I would ask if she wanted to be done, and she would say, "No."  Then I would ask if she needed to pee, and she would say, "Yes."  And then I asked if the pee was ready to come out, and she would say, "Almost."  And we would continue to sit there.  We must have had this conversation 100 times today.  She was much more patient than I was. 

Daniel should be around for most of the day tomorrow and Saturday, and I am more than willing to let him assist in this process.   Or just take over completely!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

I do love holidays.  I'll take any excuse to do some decorating and cooking, something fun and out of the ordinary!  The girls woke up this morning and found a small basket of goodies waiting for them.  Then Daniel made heart shaped chocolate chip pancakes for all of his girls.  Audrey also had a blast getting Valentines from all of her friends at school this morning!  (Our candy supply is now well stocked again).

I saw a blog post recently about a family who had a tradition of eating a candlelit Valentine's dinner together every year.  I thought that sounded like fun...why not give it a try?

When I told Daniel my idea, he wasn't so sure.  Meal times at our house are not always pleasant these days.  The girls are both in a super picky eating stage, and meals can sometimes just end up being a battle and not fun.  There was definite potential for this whole fancy, candlelit dinner to backfire on us.

Honestly, I almost didn't do it.  Audrey threw a big fit  just as I was getting ready to start cooking, which did not make me happy.  Minutes before this, our friends had just invited us over for pizza tonight, and I was tempted to forget the whole family dinner and go hang out with friends instead.  However, I had already set up the table and bought the food, so we decided to proceed with our dinner plans.  Audrey spent some time in her room, then Daniel had a long talk with her, and she came back with a better attitude.

I'm so glad we decided to go ahead with the dinner.  It was a lot of fun!!  Everyone got dressed up...even me and Daniel!  The girls picked their own dresses:  Audrey chose her Elsa dress up dress and Isla chose her Belle dress up dress (which is also the only dress up dress that fits her).  I wore my junior prom dress (it still fits perfectly!), and Daniel wore a tuxedo.

We pretended like we were at a fancy restaurant, showed the girls to their seats and brought them a drink.  We had Shirley Temple-like drinks (made from 7 up, a maraschino cherry, and some juice from the maraschino cherries jar).

Planning the menu was tricky, because I wanted to fix something a little fancier but also something that my girls would eat without complaint.  I went with this cheddar cracker chicken, which we all enjoy.  For Daniel, I made oven roasted potatoes and asparagus, a favorite of his.  (The girls had peas because I wasn't going to fight with them about eating potatoes and asparagus). I was going to make homemade rolls, a favorite of mine, but I ran out of time.  So I just picked up a loaf of Italian bread at the grocery store.  And we had a fancy bowl of fruit on the side.

For dessert, we had pudding trifles with chocolate and vanilla (tinted pink) pudding and whipped cream on top.

The girls did a great job of using polite manners through the whole meal.  All was going perfectly, until the very end.  Audrey wanted to help blow out the candles, but she got a little too close and blew hot wax all over her face.  She was fine, but it was a bit difficult to clean it all off her.  Kind of a bummer way to end our fun evening.

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening together as a family.  I hope this might become a tradition for us!  And tomorrow, Daniel and I get to go out for a date by ourselves.  =)

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Master Bedroom Progress

Our master bedroom got an unexpected update this week.

I have been having sinus and ear pain and pressure pretty consistently for almost a year now.  After a few trips to the doctor without anything being resolved, she sent me to an allergist for testing.  I had the test last week and it turns out that I am "very strongly" allergic to:  dust mites, mold, tree pollen, grass pollen, dogs and cats, with minor reactions to some other things as well.  Who knew?  I've never had traditional allergy symptoms (running nose, sneezing, watery eyes...) so I never really thought allergies could be the culprit.  But it looks like I was wrong.

Along with a nasal spray, daily antihistamines and allergy shots, my doctor very strongly recommended that I change my environment.  You can't really get rid of dust mites and pollen and such, but there are some immediate changes you can make to protect your bedding from dust mites.

I would have loved to get a new mattress (ours is really old), and while getting a new mattress, get a queen sized bed too (we just have a full).  But that wasn't in the budget for now, so instead I bought an encasement cover to go over the mattress and covers for our pillows as well.  The covers are supposed to keep dust mites from getting in or out of the pillows and mattress.  Along with regular hot water washing of sheets and blankets, this is supposed to help with dust mite allergies.

Our comforter is one I bought several years ago when we redid our bedroom in our old house.  It is a very heavy, dense comforter that is dry clean only.  And let's be honest, we never really dry clean it or wash it even.  Which means it is probably a prime place for dust mites.  (Warning:  don't start reading about dust mites, you may never want to go to sleep in your bed again!). 
 (Picture of the old comforter in our old house.  And look at the tiny little Audrey!!)

 I decided it would be best to purchase a new comforter that is more allergy friendly and easier to wash.  And then I needed a duvet cover to make it look pretty.  I was looking for a cover that would match the curtains and pillows I already had, so I didn't have to buy anything else new.

I really like the look of this new duvet cover. I ordered it on sale from Target online.  I was hoping that the colors would match, but you never know when you are ordering online.  It turned out to be just the perfect colors to go with our existing decor!  I think this new cover brightens up the room, and the pattern is a nice mix between masculine and feminine.  Now I kind of want to paint the walls!  And get some decor up on the walls!  I always have a mile long to do list in our house.  I think it will always be a work in progress.  Because once I get everything done on my to do list, I will be ready to change it all again.

On a side note, I've decided to start calling these allergies, "the things that are sucking up all our money."  Between this new bedding, the medicine I was prescribed, and the cost of the doctor's visits and testing and shots, we are feeling a bit broke!

The big question is:  Does the new bedding help my allergies?  I don't know.  So far, I have been feeling okay.  Not great but not as horrible as I have felt in the past.  So maybe the dust mite protection is working?  It's hard to tell if it is the bedding or the meds or something else.  At this point, I am desperate enough to feel normal again, that I will buy anything with the hope that it will make the annoying pain and pressure in my head go away.