Kiss Strike

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A couple months ago I mentioned that Super F didn’t want me to kiss him in public anymore. It was heartbreaking to say the least, but I knew the day would come. Fast-forward to last week when he asked me not to kiss him at home. I thought, it’s okay, it will pass. Two days later, he still declined my kisses – even at bedtime! I wasn’t sure whether he was trying to get me to beg him to let me give him a goodnight kiss, assert his independence, or just having fun seeing how long he could keep me from kissing him.

My initial urge was to kiss him anyway. But, then I thought about it for a few minutes, and realized this was a teaching opportunity for me. I told him that it was his choice whether he wanted a kiss or not, and if he said no, then that means no. I told him I wouldn’t make him if he didn’t want to. I wanted him to understand that when someone says “no” when it comes to their bodies and personal space/intimacy, that it means no. I want him to respect others and their feelings.

So, after a couple of days and reserving my “best for last” (he ALWAYS wants to be last when saying goodbye) kisses for Daddy, he finally relented and let me start kissing him goodbye and goodnight again.

Briana

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I wants…

So, last week I told you that we took Super F to see Marvel Universe Live as part of his birthday gift. Well, we splurged a little and got really good seats, so on the way in to see the show, I mentioned to him that we weren’t going to purchasing any souvenirs during the show, and that I didn’t want to hear any begging. He agreed. So, we walk in and are immediately inundated with souvenir stand after souvenir stand on the way to our seats.

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Super F immediately asks for a plastic sword. We tell him no. We walk past the next stand, same request. Repeat 5 more times as we make our way to our seats. I gently explain to him how much time I would have to spend at work to make enough to pay for the sword. That gets him thinking for a few minutes and he stops asking about it…until intermission, when the vendor walked past our seats selling the darn sword again!

How do you handle souvenirs and the “I wants” with your kids at events like this?

P.S. He did NOT get the sword…

image credit: http://www.examiner.com

Birthday Experiences

This year Super F turned 7. We decided that he had plenty of stuff (i.e. toys) and wanted to do something a little different for his birthday this year. So, instead of toys, we got him experiences. He has had a passion for cheetahs for the last couple of years, and we found a program at a zoo that offered a behind the scenes tour of the cheetah exhibit. So, we jumped at the opportunity and bought tickets for the day after Super F’s birthday. We sent him on a treasure hunt for the tickets (another great way for kids to practice their reading/reasoning skills!) and took him the next day. He was excited to get so close to the cheetahs, find out their names, and then get to feed one (through the fence of course).

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Afterwards, he said it was a dream come true, and the experience was “phenomenal”. I’m sure it’s a day he will remember much longer than he would have remembered any toy we got him. We also surprised him with tickets to see Marvel Universe Live, since he is BIG superhero fan (more on that next week).

What are your ideas for a “stuff” free birthday?

Briana

 

936

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That’s the number of Saturdays we get with our kids between birth and when they turn 18. Less than 1,000 Saturdays before they become adults. Since I work full time Monday through Friday, my weekend are pretty sacred to me already. I had never thought about how finite those weekends were until I saw another mom mention it. It’s amazing how fast those Saturdays go. Now that Super F is 7, we only have 572 left! It got me thinking about how I’ve spent those first 364 Saturdays, and whether I’ve made the most of them. We have definitely had some fantastic Saturdays in those years, but I’m sure some were squandered away. Now that I know the number, I’m going to do my best to fill those Saturdays with some awesome memories for him to carry with him after we hit the 936th one.

Briana

 

photo credit: http://maanumberaday.blogspot.com/2013/01/936.html

Marble Jar Miracle!

I wrote before about my attempt at a reward chart for Super F and how it caused things to get worse rather than better, so we stopped using the chart. I had been looking for other ways to get him to take responsibility for himself, his behavior, and his things, and to encourage him to “go above and beyond” with what he does to help around the house.

The new idea came to me thanks to the former nanny and mom of a boy in Super F’s swim class. She said she had spent 15 years as a nanny, and in those years she learned that there is no single approach that works with all kids, and to just keep trying different things until I find what works with Super F. She suggested a marble jar, so I went home and googled the marble jar system, made sure Dean was on board with trying it out (because you have to have a united front on these things), and purchased this one from Amazon.

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We started it the day it arrived and explained to Super F that good behavior would help him earn marbles, but that not following directions would cause him to lose marbles. The most important part of this system is letting him put in and take out the marbles himself. We have been using the system for nearly three weeks now, and he is getting close to filling the jar for his first reward.

What I like about this system is that he is seeing tangible progress towards his reward as he watches the jar fill up. He is also involved in the system by putting in and taking out marbles so he instantly sees how his behavior impacts his goal in filling the jar. Also, it is easy to remind him to think about the marbles when he is struggling with making good choices. It’s also very easy to customize this system depending on the type of behaviors you want to see in your child. Whether you are potty training and your child gets a marble each time they make it to the potty, or trying to get your teenager to stop leaving dirty clothes on the floor by giving them a marble each day that they put it in the hamper, it’s easy to make it work for all ages.

Briana

image credit: http://www.amazon.com

I’m Addicted To…

I’ve been trying hard to instill a love of reading in Super F (and I think it’s working! He’s been spotted reading quietly on his own on multiple occasions now), and so I try to get him new books he will enjoy on a regular basis. I was raised around a lot of books. Both of my parents loved to read, and family excursions were often to book stores where we would spend a couple of hours looking at books and finding the ones we wanted to read. We would each come out with our own bag to tide us over until our next trip. Interspersed in there were trips to the library to check out an armful of books at a time. So, it’s no surprise that I’m following down this same path with Super F.

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Which leads me to the box of books I have purchased for his upcoming birthday over the last few months. I may have gone a little overboard…but I can’t help it. I think I might have a book addiction.

Is there something you have become addicted to buying for your kids? Maybe cute bows for your little girls curls, or shoes for your boy like a friend of mine, or maybe matchbox cars that remind you of your childhood? The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem, so share your addiction with me here…

Briana

image credit: comicbooksandcats.com

Thumbs up

Thumbs Up

I scan the parking lot as I get Baby C2 out of the van. I see Andy struggling with H. Not sure what is going on, I give Andy a thumps up. He gives it back. H must be acting like a typical toddler, but otherwise all is good in the neighborhood.

This scene plays out a lot of ways on a lot of days. As parents, especially working parents, Andy and I have had to develop the art of silent communication. We try not to yell in our family, we don’t want to alarm our children and sometimes we are in a big hurry. Our thumps up, down or sideways signs helps us both know what is happening and if we need to change course or the other person may need help.

I don’t remember exactly how it started. I know that we used it a little bit prior to having kids. Now it feels like we use it every day. When one of us gives the sideways thumb it means things are going south. When it is a thumbs down, we (as Dee would say) stop, drop and… run for help.

Do you have a code for your family? How does it help you communicate?

Peace, Love and Show Me Your Thumb,

Kristen

Image Credit: Grist.org

 

Yes Day!

So much of our time as parents involves telling our kids no to things. No, don’t touch the hot stove. No, you can’t play video games all day. No, you can’t watch tv. No, you can’t have ice cream for breakfast. Sometimes, it’s nice for kids to hear “yes” for a change.

Enter the book “Yes Day”by Amy Rosenthal that Super F’s preschool introduced him to. In it, the parents allow the child one “Yes Day” per year where all of their silly requests are granted. After reading this book, I have tried hard to say yes to Super F more often, and attempt to limit the “no” responses to things that really matter. So, when he asks if he can stand up at the dinner table while he eats, or wear his shirt inside out because it looks cool, I say yes, because in the grand scheme of things it’s not going to hurt himself or anyone else. Dean and I usually reserve Super F’s annual Yes Day for his birthday.

What about you? Have you ever done a Yes Day? What are some of the strangest requests your kids have had?

Briana

A Win for Equality

Kennedy gay marriageToday SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) made a landmark decision. Like Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education, Obergefell v. Ohio will shape our history and be studied for years.

This decision does not impact my ability to live my life. I am not gay. I don’t have gay family members. However, it is still important to me.

I do have gay friends and I am glad that our country is starting to support them as an equal class the way they have started to support women and different ethnicities. I say started because the fight for equality is a process that spans decades and even centuries.

It is also important to me because I feel it  makes the US a country where empathy for differences, alongside the ability for self-acceptance, is NOW not just something we discuss; it is something we actually believe. This decision helps make a kinder world for my children and it helps me teach them about the importance of accepting everyone.

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Obergefell on the phone with President Obama

A lot of people in this country will be upset with this decision. They view it as an affront to their religious beliefs. I am a deeply spiritual person, but to me it isn’t about religion. The word marriage has many meanings and only some of these meanings are religious. In the context of our legal society marriage is the term for a contract between two people which provides them undeniable rights underneath the laws of the United States. Doesn’t everyone deserve that?

That is why this decision, for me, is about equality. And I want to raise my sons in a nation where everyone is equal regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Not that we don’t have a lot of work.  A little over a week ago, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson all welcomed someone very different from themselves into their bible study. Their gesture of kindness and love cost them their lives at the hands of a domestic terrorist. Their deaths are a national tragedy and show just how much work we still have.

That is why today, for me, is not just about a man legally being able to marry another man or a woman legally being able to marry another woman. Today is about our country working toward equality. It is a process, but as a mother raising children I am thankful that it is one that is still moving forward.

Peace, Love, and Equality,

Kristen

Image credit: cnn.com

Parenting Fail 

Today was one of those days. It started out with me hitting snooze. I was tired, exhausted actually. I should have gotten up and losing those extra ten minutes hurt me. Instead of getting myself together I was woken up by Baby C2 who needed to be fed. Then he wanted to be held and played with. The “schedule” went down the drain.

I had a huge meeting today which meant I had to be more than business presentable, I had look put together.  This caused me to wake H up late and subsequently rush him. Do you know what it looks like when you rush a toddler? As you can imagine disaster ensued. 

When we arrived at school I realized I forgot it was water play day. I had reminders set on my phone. I had calendars & emails. I just didn’t remember as I set to start out the day. This left poor H without a bathing suit or a shirt. I received an F.

Next I reach into the diaper bag to grab Baby C2’s bottles for the day. There are no bottles. Andy forgot to put them in the bag and I forgot to check on them. Once again I received an F.

Because of all of the delays and mishaps I couldn’t pump before my 5 hour meeting. Let’s just say this caused a bit of pain. Finally, I forgot to grab my breakfast.

My day was officially a hot mess.

Fortunately, Andy was able to bring the bottles and a swimsuit. I grabbed a bagel and made it to my meeting right on time. I wasn’t able to pump, but I made it through the first meeting and pumped quickly before the second one.

I started the day off feeling like a failure, but I recovered nicely with the help of my hubby and some fancy maneuvering. 

Are your kids, loved, fed and well taken care of? If the answer is yes, just remember there is no F in parenting.

Tell me about your crazy day? I know there are better stories out there.

Peace, Love & Recovering,

Kristen