I’ve been delving more into Simplicity Parenting, but am still in chapter four – I need to read it in spurts! I’ve also been working on some knitting when I have time, and I finally painted those picture frames (finished product pictures soon, hopefully). Our lil’ book club has started its discussion on chapter two, and I’m sharing my thoughts here.
The part of the chapter that most spoke to me was towards the end. I don’t have the book in front of me and I forget the exact words, but basically, I’m not responsible for making my children better. I started tearing up as I read that. So often when my kids are acting out I take it personally, feel like I messed up somehow, need to FIX it. Just like when they’re sick, you care for and nurture them, but you don’t heal them by yourself. And you may not see positive results immediately.
Just like some of the other mamas mentioned, I too can tell when my kiddos aren’t themselves. And people are often surprised when I put my family before other obligations or frivolities. One of my friends expects me to drop my children off with a family member or babysitter when she wants to do something. It seems the growing trend to think of children more as accessories to be taken out and put away when convenient.
I try to keep things “quieted down” most of the time anyway, as the chapter suggests when your child is experiencing a “soul fever,” but I do often feel like we need to be Doing Something. I try to remember: less is more, rather than if something is good more must be better.
There are days (it seems to coincide with PMS, but since I’m not regular there’s no predictable pattern) when I get so upset with my children and have my own outbursts – but mamas rarely get time-outs! I find it difficult to shower affection on my kids when they are “the least deserving.” I’m working on this, but for the most part I consider myself an even-keel, matter-of-fact kind of person.
I, too, would be interested in some of Rachel’s discipline techniques. I never thought I would use time-outs with my children, but I often send my 3-year-old to her room when she’s being fussy and won’t comply (I also employ the “count to 10” warning). She can come out when she stops fussing, ready to be a good girl and apologize. If there’s some more serious infraction – hitting or outright disrespect – we’ll often get down to our daughter’s level and try to speak calmly about what’s expected and ask for an apology. If the behavior persists, then we tell her she’ll get a spanking unless she complies. She’s gotten a few spankings. We always explain what’s expected of her and why she got punished.
Ah, mealtimes – I’ve gone all over the spectrum with this one! In the past I’ve gotten so upset with my kids for not eating their meals, telling them they couldn’t leave the table till they had eaten. Other times (and this is what I aim for), I don’t make a big deal about it – provide healthy food, realize they will eat when they’re hungry, put away leftovers, and don’t pander to their food whims. For a picky eater I particuarly enjoyed Rachel’s ”bite for each year” idea (since Gwendolyn is three, she would need to take three bites before she decides she doesn’t like it). The chapter I’m reading now speaks to simplifying food choices, which may also help with picky eaters. And not to get too far ahead of myself, but I’m seriously thinking of employing a weekly meal schedule; not only will it take the stress off my trying to figure out what to make every night, but it will provide a sense of rhythm for the kids. I am getting ahead of myself!
Now… how to handle grandparents who give them treats?
At the library today, I got talking with one of the librarians, telling them how Gwen is such a little diva. She has to be a princess and wear twirly skirts and constantly checks out the ruffles on her sleeves to the point of preening. They told me about the book Cinderalla Ate My Daughter, and whereas some of the things might not apply to our family since we don’t watch TV our keep up with the latest trend, I’d be interested in reading it.