Monthly Archives: January 2011

Magnificent Monday

Many People view Monday negatively. If I had a Monday to Friday job I probably wouldn’t like Monday’s very much either. I stay home, and Ryan works shift. So Monday’s only rarely mean back to work. However, today does mean back to work.

It’s a wonderful day. The house will get back in order, the girls will be more calm, snacks will be delivered to the princesses before they ask. The floors will be cleaner, the dishes will be done, laundry done. I’ll be very busy.

Cinderella arrives at the ball

When Ryan’s home I do a whole lot less. I usually take a glorious nap. But the floors aren’t as clean as I prefer. Instead of cleaning the floors, Ryan plays with the girls. Which means more mess, that doesn’t get noticed until I wake up. When I wake up, I could either clean, or spend time with my family, or possibly take a chance to read if the girls are busy on their own. Ryan could clean, or he could take a chance to do something for himself.

Then it’s time for lunch, snack, dinner – food of some type. A quick tidy and more mess happens. But I didn’t have to cook the food. Instead I helped the girls or sat down while Ryan worked in the kitchen.

When someone gets hurt, they usually come to Mommy. I certainly seem to get the majority of the tears. Which means I take a break after the tears are dried and the smiles return. It’s tough when Daddy gets the happy excited girls, and I get the super sized emotions.

While I’m helping the girls, Ryan tends to watch, he doesn’t clean. But he sees how I help the girls calm down. After all I do spend a lot more time with them and he doesn’t always understand that when someone is crying about a missing toy they need cuddles more than the actual toy.

When the tears are dried and the girls run to play on their own, Ryan doesn’t clean. I can’t know, but I suspect he feels a bit jealous, left out, when the girls need Mommy and push him away. After the tears are done, he doesn’t want to clean. Instead he takes the time to recharge his hurt feelings.

By the end of the day the majority of the mess is still around the house, but the girls had plenty of snuggle time with Daddy, and extra craft time with Mommy. They had a chance to do things that are too difficult for me to help them with on my own during the week.

Mess stresses me out. So first thing in the morning when Ryan’s at work. I clean. The house isn’t perfect. In fact there are toys everywhere, but things are organized and a small mess is easy to clean as it happens. The house could be cleaner, but then I’d need to enforce so many rules about what the girls could or couldn’t do. I’d need to spend more time away from them, rather than learning who they are, and how to help them through big emotions.

Today is a Marvelous Monday. The house is cleaner than when I woke up, the girls are fed, princess hair and make-up has been fashioned, a giant castle has been built in the basement, a toddler size ‘pool’ appeared in the family room. Aliens have taken over the living room, and most of the supplies we need to make pigs have been gathered. But most wonderful of all is that my husband called home and said he’d go out of his way to pick up the groceries today, it’s so cold that he doesn’t want to worry about me, and the girls, out. Now I don’t have to take the girls into town on such a miserable day. Instead I get to stay home and relax. Play, cook, clean. I get to be Mommy.

Princesses Magzins and Cinderella's Castle

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Postpartum Disorders

There are many things I wish I knew before having children. How difficult it would be, how wonderful, how rewarding, how humbling. But most importantly I wish I’d known about Postpartum/Perinatal Mood Disorders.

Oh sure, I’d heard of baby blues. I think most women have. It starts shortly after birth, you feel miserable for two weeks, then things get better. (Please note: I’m not trying to be flippant or belittle the way a woman experiencing this feels). I’d even heard of postpartum depression. It can start up to a year after the birth of baby, it lasts longer than baby blues and the symptoms are more severe. Then there’s postpartum psychosis. You know what that is – it’s when moms kill themselves or the ones they love. (I’m referring to the cases we tend to hear about – the most severe form).

Honestly, even as a nurse, I didn’t really know much more than that. In our area, when a woman has a baby they screen for postpartum depression (PPD) at every appointment for either mom or baby. During the first few months as a new mommy I had one nurse suggest I had PPD. So I took the screening again. Each time I took the screening things came back normal, not borderline, but normal.

At the time I didn’t know there were other forms of postpartum disorders. I certainly didn’t know the screening tool used isn’t capable of screening for those disorders.

Which disorders do I mean? Postpartum Anxiety Disorder, Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Panic Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It wasn’t until after the birth of our second baby that I discovered these existed.

It was a cold winter day. We were stuck in the house. I needed to wash the floors, I needed to clean. I don’t remember much more than that. I do recall that if I told Ella to stop something, she’d do it more. If I said sit, she’d jump. And the more upset I got, the more she laughed at me. Ryan was at work. I was exhausted, the house was a mess, and I wanted so badly to make my little girl stop smiling. I wanted her to feel as miserable as I felt. However, my saving grace was that I knew doing that was wrong. I knew that even a little swat would be a bad idea. I had no idea what to do. I had no one. So I called the crisis line. I thought if I  talked to someone for five minutes ‘d calm down and they could give me some ideas on how to get through the day. I needed the support of someone that agreed hitting my child was wrong.

What I needed and what I got were two different things. First, they called my husband to come home from work, sent the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to my house until he could get there. The person on the the phone told me everyone had bad days, and I should suck it up!  She also told me I likely had PPD. Before Ryan got home I was also told that until a psychological profile could be done and a home visist follow up completed I needed to have someone with me at all times, or my children would be removed from my home.

I was devastated. I’d had a bad day. I asked for help. I never hit my children. Not even a small little smack. Despite the thoughts in my head, I knew it was wrong. I couldn’t do it. I asked for help, to make it so I wasn’t thinking like that. Because I called I could loose my precious girls. Yet the people around the corner frequently hit their children and they also get approved to foster? Would my girls end up in a home like that? My entire world crumbled around me.

Ryan stayed home, we saw the nurse, I passed the screening, again. The follow-up completed and we were apologized too and told I did the right thing to call and please call if I ever feel like that again. Even on my worst days I’,d lock myself behind a door, but I wouldn’t ask for help again. (I later found out the person I talked to wasn’t actually part of the support team, she over-stepped her job description, she was supposed to forward my call to someone else, but choose not to. Please do call for help if you need it).

However things really didn’t get better for me. For us. I needed to clean constantly. But only certain things. I had a crawling baby – the floor had to be clean enough for her to eat off of. And heaven help anyone that attempted to load my dishwasher for me. It had to be done just so – or else. Each night I checked the doors and windows several times, and if Ryan was home, I often made him check them as well. I slept with a baseball bat close at hand – for protection. I don’t even want to mention the thoughts that went through  my head when I went to the mall. I was a nervous wreck – and it effected my family.

It really wasn’t like me – but by then I’d been like that for over three years. It started after we lost our first baby, and the longer I went untreated the worse it became.

Shortly after that I saw a naturopath. I discovered I had under-treated Hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s I started taking cytomel as well as increasing my synthroid. Things improved. Drastically. I also discovered I have celiac’s disease. As I cut gluten out of my diet things continued to improve.

I looked online for information. Read blogs. What I found made me angry. Thyroid disorders are very common during and after pregnancy and account for a lot of mood fluctuations. I also discovered all those other postpartum disorders.

Realizing that I controlled my thoughts, not the other way around, helped immensely. It wasn’t easy, but I’d manage to leave the floors unswept for an extra two hours each day. I’d let Ryan load the dishwasher, and I wouldn’t rearrange (much). I made a point of getting back outside, walking, breathing deeply. I still needed to keep the buggy enclosed so the girls didn’t get dirty or cold, but I was able to open the side vents without cringing. Things improved.

Then one day they got a whole lot worse.

It was one of the worst days of my life. I have no idea what triggered it, but I couldn’t handle anything anymore. I banged my head on the wall, I wanted so bad to hurt someone, anyone. I paced liked a tiger in a cage. I knew hitting was wrong. I knew it only made things worse, but that was all I could think of that might help release the way I felt. I wanted to hit something. I threw stuff. Anything out of place got thrown. Things broke. I tried to calm down, but everytime I’d start to calm down something else happened to trigger an outburst.

My thyroid was off again. I adjusted my medication doses and things improved again. It took a few episodes like that to discover the subtle warning signs.

As of right now I feel more and more like my old self again. I’m able to go to bed without checking the doors and windows a million times. The girls can have craft time without me warning them not to make a mess. I even help make the mess. Ryan loads the dishwasher, and the only time I need to rearrange is when something really is in the wrong spot (i.e. covering the water spout).

It’s been a long road. A scary road. A road we don’t want to find ourselves traveling again.

Ryan hasn’t said anything, but I think he’s nervous it’ll happen again. Right now I cling to the knowledge that we have; we know what triggered it in the past. We can treat it so much faster this time around.

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Thanks, But No Thanks

I have a problem that’s bothered me for over four years now. The longer it sits and festers, the worse I feel about it. The worse I feel about myself – and certain others. I want to make this problem go away, but have no idea what to do, without hurting someone.

While pregnant with our first we were given advice. Unwanted advice. Advice that went against all current research. Advice that was at least twenty-five years old. We smiled and nodded and figured it didn’t matter if we listened or not, it wasn’t anyone’s business, but our own, how we parented.

It never occurred to us that we’d have to deal with that decision for the next 4+ years. Why, I ask myself, didn’t I tell the person they were wrong and that we neither appreciated, nor wanted their advice?

I didn’t, because my husband has a more gentle soul than I do. He requested that I just keep quiet. This approach worked well with other advice givers. No point getting anyone upset with us when we’re entering a period of our lives when love, help, and support would be really beneficial.

Ryan really is wise sometimes. Though this decision has backfired a hundred times over. Even to the point of creating a lot of tension in our relationship. Now instead of merely trying to TELL us how to parent, the person in question tries to show us how to parent our own children.

Once Ella fell and scraped her hand (there was blood). She started to cry, so I picked her up and started to cuddle her. This person steps in and says, “Oh, no need to cry, you’re not hurt. Show us you’re a big girl.”

Ella rarely cries when she falls over, when she does it’s a big deal. She might be tired or hungry, unable to cope with spills as easily, but she could also be hurt. Either way, if her first reaction is crying, I respond. She might be hurt more than seems apparent to me. Even if she isn’t, I can’t tell her how much pain she feels. Telling a crying child there’s no reason to cry is cruel. Obviously they feel like there’s a reason. Who am I to tell my child whether she should feel sad, angry, happy, or indifferent?

Personally, if I fall hard enough to bleed, I cry. So why is a toddler expected to ‘suck it up’?

I can understand waiting to react, until you know what a small child’s reaction might be. Some children look to mom and dad to find out how to respond in a certain situation. I do the same thing. No point in panicking if my little girl isn’t upset. However if she is upset, I respond.

There are other ways this person tries to show, or tell us how to parent. We have very different ideals. We also want very different outcomes. But even if we wanted the same outcome, it doesn’t mean we’d have to do things the same way. After all science has since proven certain methods of parenting are more successful than others.

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that these are my children. I am their mother, I might take advice from some people, but it is my choice to accept or not. Just as others can take my advice or not.

My question for you is: When someone (close friend or family member) doesn’t take the hint to back off, how do you tactfully tell them to mind their own business and to respect your way of parenting?

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Mommy, I Need The Shotgun

Today was a good day. Though I wasn’t sure I’d survive based on the first forty-five minutes. The girls woke up and ate. Then Agatha wanted to play Ella’s game (no this isn’t where she asked for the shotgun).

Ella didn’t mind, until Agatha started making up rules. Ella did NOT want Agatha to play her game that way. So Ella decided to join in, but insisted on being the one making up rules. Agatha was… unimpressed.

Ella decided if she couldn’t be in charge, she didn’t want to be around. She wanted shows.

Most of the time I have no issue allowing shows, but something told me that wouldn’t be a good idea. Instead I offered more cuddles and asked Ella to choose something else (If she would have insisted I wouldn’t have said ‘NO’ to shows). I ticked off a list of choices. She decided on crafts. So I pulled out our craft bin, and pretty much anything I could find that might be used to build something. Ella started sifting through everything until she found the items she needed to make what she wanted.

She turned to me and politely asked, “Mommy, can I have the shotgun?”

Using the shotgun

I was at a loss. First, we don’t even own a shotgun, or any gun for that matter. In fact I’m not even sure where she’s heard of one before. And why she wanted one for craft time was beyond me.

In case you’re wondering, a low temp glue gun still burns if you touch it. Sigh. Ella figured that out pretty quick. I, on the other hand, am covered in burns. But two hours of our morning were spent happily creating. Ella was so proud that she  used one of my tools all by herself and Agatha was ecstatic with her new toy.

Agatha's Bird

Okay, I did the bird, but Agatha very carefully supervised to make sure it was done right. She was busy painting and colouring at the same time. Sponges, bubble wrap, fingers, and crayons were the mediums that allowed her to turn out colourful masterpieces.

Bubble Wrap

The girls were both happy to create what they wanted without anyone telling them what to do, that they needed to do it a different way. They were happy to create without anyone warning them to be neat and tidy (clean-up only took a few minutes more than my normal morning clean).

At home, I’ve never really tried telling them how to do a craft, but at playgroups, or the brief stint at playschool, the children are always told (not by me) what to create, and how to create it. The playschool even went so far as to have someone ‘help’ the child make sure everything was done properly. It drove me nuts.

I much prefer allowing creative lisence and giving them the trust to use some items that might be considered too dangerous for them. Agatha loves to cut, but child safety scissors suck. They don’t cut at all. So out come my shears. She loves them and hasn’t cut herself, yet. Ella likes to glue, but white glue is messy and really doesn’t hold. Glue sticks are fun, but again they can only hold so much, and once the glue comes out of the tube it’s too sticky to deal with. Hot glue, however, can hold heavier items together and lets her actually play with her finished product, rather than just setting it on a shelf to stare at.

Children need the opportunity to stretch their abilities. They need to know a parent trusts them to try, is there to help them if they need it. Waiting to allow a child to use certain items until they’re ‘old enough’ doesn’t prevent injury, it just postpones it. In the meantime the limitations are stifling, creating is less fun, and there is less pride in the finished product.

What have you allowed your children to do that others might find too dangerous for the age?

Have your children mixed up words in a humorous way? Please share.

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Wave Over Wave

I posted something similar to this a few weeks ago on a pregnancy site I frequent.

Many women are afraid of giving birth. They’ve been lead to believe it will be the most painful experience of their life (It isn’t). Many women believe that if you don’t have an epidural, the pain is impossible to bear (it isn’t). Many women think I’m nuts (I’m not) because there is no way on earth I’d get an epidural and that I don’t find labour and delivery to be that bad. In fact I kind of enjoy it. At least the first two were pretty amazing experiences.

One woman posted about needing to give birth without an epidural. She was looking for ways to cope with the pain.I had two analogies for her – both of which I use when in labour.

First, I am a runner (or at least I was once upon a non-pregnant time). I love to run. But it’s one of the most painful things I’ve done. I’d say the most painful I’ve done willingly. In many ways running hurts more than giving birth. When running, I focus on the next step. It’s a lot easier to keep running the race when there’s only one step to think about. If things are difficult and you focus on how far away the finish line is, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. It’s easy to stop and walk. But if you say just one more step, that’s easy. After that step, one more is easy as well. All you need is just one more step – eventually the finish line is there and all you took is one more step. Ultimately that thought pattern helped me finish races, and place in races that I might otherwise have given up on. A contraction is just one more step.

I am a runner. Being a runner means I will cross the finish line. But the analogy that I use to enjoy the race, the one I can visualize in my mind, the one that brings peace, is the sea.

A dark stormy sea crashing upon the shore, chaotic and bent on destroying all in it’s path. That’s what labour could be like. But if you step back and watch the waves crash on the shore you’ll see it isn’t really as chaotic as you think. There’s a pattern.  The waves roll in from the left, from the right, in ‘V’ formation. One after another tumbles in from the East, making their way down the length of the beach. The clouds overhead swirl, but the waves maintain their pattern. Rising out of the depths of the sea, small white caps form only to rise up, 3ft, 6ft, higher and higher. Swelling, churning, tumbling toward shore. But they don’t maintain that height. The waves crash and disappear as the water rolls back out to sea. That small piece of beach has a reprieve while the waves move down the beach. Another wave will come, but in that moment the sand settles. The sea might try to batter the land, but it only reaches so far before it recedes again.

Labour is the storm. Each contraction is a wave. It starts out small, it gets bigger and bigger, it swells, but it doesn’t stay at peak for long. It tapers off. The grip loosens and the contraction ends. There is a space between the contractions. Depending on the storm the space might be long or short, but there is a space to take a breath before the next wave rolls in. Use the space to admire the storm – to see the beauty in the clouds, to hear the music of the waves.

The storm won’t last long and you don’t want to miss it.

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Here We Go, Go, Go On An Adventure

There’s a lot of controversy over children and television viewing. The vast majority of studies show links between screen time and ADHD, higher BMI, poorer school performance, and decreased social skills. Most professionals seem to agree: Don’t let children younger than two watch any television, and only one to two hours of television for children older than two.

There is a part of me that agrees, but there is a much larger part of me that questions the results of these studies.

The majority of the studies look at screen time alone. Some look at screen time and content. One looked at background television and the possible effect on development. But there are very few that look at family interaction as well as screen time.

When a study points out that the vast majority of parents using ‘educational’ DVDs or programs do so with the intent to spend time away from the children, I question which is actually the cause of developmental concerns. Babies as young as three months are put in a swing or seat and stationed in front of the TV for half an hour or longer so mom can do the dishes or have a cup of coffee. As the children age, the amount of screen time increases so mom can have more time to herself. Personally I suspect that has more of an impact than actual television.

Babies need interaction. In order to learn language they need to be talked to – and listened to. In order to learn to stand and walk a baby needs a caregiver to hold him up and let him bounce, let him try walking. A baby spending time on the floor with nothing but toys typically won’t crawl as quickly as a baby on the floor with another human close by. Babies, humans in general, need interaction to survive.

It might be possible for some babies to reach developmental milestones despite being placed into a jumper for the majority of the day, despite never having someone try to talk WITH her, despite being placed in front of the television for entertainment, but I suspect those babies are very rare individuals.

In our home we don’t limit TV. Of course the majority of the time spent with the TV on is spent together. We talk about the shows, ask the girls what they thought happened, if they’ve had something similar happen to them. Some shows spark such a huge interest that the next several weeks are spent focusing on the topic and learning as much as possible.

Ella carefully chiseling out her dinosaur bones.

Ella spent a huge portion of time digging up her dinosaur bones from the garden last spring. She then chiseled, washed, and brushed the chalk away until her bones were clean. Her interest in dinosaurs in waning now, but watching television brought the subject to life enough that she wanted to learn more. She wanted to be a paleontologist.

Right now our girls, Ella in particular, are spending large amounts of time in front of screens of one type or another. To some extent I feel guilty. I know less time would be spent in front of a device if I were able to participate in their interests more. But for now all I can offer are my own capabilities. The two are not the same. However, my guilt is overshadowed by watching my little girls blossom before me.

Even though we aren’t getting out much right now, we aren’t seeing other children, the girls are practicing social interactions. They watch shows and see how the characters act, what they say. Then while they play they use the same words, behaviours to try them out. Sometimes we react as expected, sometimes we pretend that we don’t want to share, or say hello etc. The girls take a concept from the show, they expand it, they learn from it. All the while we’re there beside them.

Today the girls watched an episode of “The Cat in The Hat Knows A Lot About That” about bees and honey. The information had been presented before, but the show brought it alive. Agatha (2.5) excitedly came up to me, “Mommy, bees make honey with their spit.” So tomorrow we’ll watch the same show again, and after we’ll pretend to be bees. We’ll build the comb, we’ll find our flowers, the girls will get their chance to spit to their hearts content – and after we’ll have some bread and honey.

If we wanted we could expand on the information. Youtube has videos of bees working, building, making that we could watch. Once the weather warms up the nature center has a beehive enclosed in plastiglas so it’s possible to see the bees working on the hive.

When spring arrives if the interest is still there we could plant different flowers and see which attracts bees more. Or go to the river valley and see what we find there.

I don’t believe the problem is television. I believe the problem is more the limitations parents set on television. It is so much more than a babysitter, it’s a stepping stone. Take what you see, what your children see and expand on it.

Your little boy loves “Thomas”? Go to a trail yard. A Rail museum. Build your own railroad in the backyard. Not a table top one, but give him a  nice size hammer and some boards, then have something available for tracks. Let him build. Tell him about John Henry. See where that story takes you. You’d be surprised what the smallest children pick up on. Tell them the truth. What you don’t know, look up together.

Use your imagination, join your children in their interests and see how fast they blossom.

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Another Stellar Moment in Parenting

I’d like to make an excuse or two for my behaviour. After all I’m very pregnant and don’t move as well as I used to. However, I know that no matter what I say, all I have is an excuse. There is no justifiable reason why I did what I did. What I did was wrong. It was mean. It was a panicked effort to try to make the girls do what I wanted them to do.

The initial problem is my guilt. Moving has become increasingly difficult the past few weeks and I’m not playing with the girls the way I used to, and definitely not the way they want me to. I have a big belly, and they’re aware of that. They both do what they can to be gentle and watch out for their growing brother or sister, but at 2.5 and 4 sometimes they forget to slow down before leaping into my arms.

Our day starts out pretty basic, but as soon as the girls want me to do something I can’t, they head down and turn on shows. Agatha will come back upstairs and join me in whatever I’m doing – usually cleaning of some sort. Or she’ll grab a book and ask me to read to her. I can do that – so I do. Sometimes she’ll turn on the computer and play games, or ask for the ipod or explorer. It all depends on her mood. Ella, on the other hand, will stay downstairs and watch shows all day long. She doesn’t venture back upstairs unless she has to.

If I go downstairs to do something, she’ll join me. If I’m cleaning up their toys, she’ll come over and either help or start playing with something and ask me to join in. It’s not easy sitting on the floor, but I do accept her invitation for at least fifteen minutes – longer if there isn’t too much pain. But ultimately she’s in front of the TV most days for the majority of the day.

This evening, after Ryan left for work, the guilt overwhelmed me. I wasn’t engaging her enough. So I brought the phone, computer, snacks, water and some books downstairs and sat down on the couch. I had everything set up when Ella stopped watching her shows and came over asking to Bop! me. (She loves “Goblins in the Castle’)

Of course I said “Yes.” My plan was working. I met her in her space and I was more important than the TV. That’s a pretty amazing feeling. So we played a Bopping game for a while, then it morphed into a magic game, then into something else. All total we played for over an hour where she was physically active – with me. It was great.

Then Ella said, “I’m Hungry.”

“Supper’s upstairs, it’s too messy for the basement.”

“Can I watch more shows first?”

“Okay, but when you’re done, turn off the TV because after we eat it’s time for bed.” Agatha and I went upstairs on our own.

A few moments later Ella joined us.

As they ate, I realized that the Explorer was covered in some sort of slimy goo, and the game cartridge was missing. No one knew where it was. I was upset and instantly started lecturing Agatha (like that would do any good!). But Ella stepped in and said she’s the one who removed the game, not Agatha. She didn’t remember where she took it out, or where she left it.

It’s her game, her system, so why I got so upset is beyond me. I started yelling. I said if she didn’t find the game then there would be no more TV, no more computer, no more ipod, and definitely no more explorer. In order to use the toys she needed to show she could be responsible and respectful of the items. She started crying. And of course hurting her like that wasn’t enough. I then went into a rant about how messy her blanket was, and she couldn’t use it that night, she needed to find something different. Yes, the blanket was dirty, but all of the bedding is due for a wash, so did it really matter if she used it one more night, and then had it washed during the day tomorrow? I behaved poorly. I put items higher on the priority list than my dear Baby Girl.

I’m sure many of you might read this and think I did the ‘right’ thing. If she can’t take care of her toys, then she shouldn’t get to have them.

However by taking away her toys I prevent her learning how to take care of them. Also the explorer, ipod, TV, and computers are all different. She misplaced the explorer game, she did not damage the TV, or anything else for that matter.

Luckily, I realized this and back tracked. I apologized for what I said, and told her the other items were not taken away, but that she still couldn’t use the explorer until the game was found. She cried and told me how upset she was, it’s so special to her, because she got it as a present. I hugged her and assured her I would help her find the game in the morning, but also let her know that I hoped she’d take better care of her toys in the future so this doesn’t happen.

That was a better approach, but I still missed one very important thing. I focused on the game, not her. The game wasn’t in the machine, but I never once asked her why. I automatically jumped to our ‘rule’ that if the game was taken out it needed to be put into the case – that is kept in a cupboard the girls can’t reach. She’d taken the game out, because Agatha kept pulling it out and leaving it on the floor. So Ella took the game, and put it somewhere safe so that it wouldn’t get broken, but so she could still play it when it was her turn on the explorer.

Even though I negated some of the damage my yelling and punishing did, bedtime was difficult. The girls were both well beyond tired and that lead to fighting. Ella just wanted to lie down ready to listen to the story, Agatha kept Roaring at her. Ella cried, screamed, and Agatha did it more. I started to scream again. For some reason my brain seemed to think that screaming at them to be quiet would actually help. Again, I realized my mistake, turned and walked out of the room. I stayed out until the urge to do anything drastic passed, then I walked back in – all ready for bed.

Agatha was still roaring, so I ignored her. I cuddled Ella, her needs seemed to be more pressing. We talked about how she was feeling so tired and how I was concerned she might have chosen to watch too many shows that night. We talked, both expressing our views. I let her know I wouldn’t make her stop watching shows, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to watch them if she was left feeling sad or angry in the end. She nodded and asked to read the story.

I began reading the book and Agatha quieted down, Ella snuggled up beside me, and just as her eyes drifted closed, she looked up, smiled and said, “I love you Mommy.”

Just as Agatha was about to drift off to sleep, she reached up, hugged me, lifted my shirt and kissed my belly, then promptly fell over asleep.

It was a rough night, but it could have been so much worse. By realizing I was the one error I was able to change what I was saying and doing and prevent so much heartache. Nothing is worse then watching my little girls fall asleep with frowns on their faces.

I must have done something right

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