Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Parenting Fails

It was a fail.  An EPIC fail, really.  It started with the simple request of playing a game on the computer except that request was made during too much chaos so the answer was no.  The result was a temper tantrum and out of control behavior by all of us.  The situation got the best of us.

Abby is currently in the whining, question asking, fight you every step of the way stage.  I do get where she's coming from, if she doesn't understand why we say no then we have a full blown tantrum.  I love that she questions things and even love that she tries to negotiate because I see it as a way for her to work on compromising.

HOWEVER, sometimes the answer is just NO and I am trying to teach her to respect the rules.

I usually try all the basic things to avoid the tantrum.  She knows what to expect throughout the day and knows that there are consequences, like time out, for not listening.

Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to mind time out.  She sits in time out and fake cries.  Really.  I'm not trying to be mean and say her tears aren't real.  There are no tears.  She literally yells, "Waahhh, waaaahhh, wwwwwwaaaaaaaahhhhh," the entire time she sits in time out and if you look at her, she laughs.

So, sometimes things get out of control due to frustration (and a high level of exhaustion).  As I watched the situation spiral out of control, which was evident by the fact that Abby was putting all of her toys in a garbage bag so she could play on the computer, I thought about where it all went so wrong.

I realized that sometimes Abby just won't get it.  It is my job to teach her things but it is also my job to phrase things in a way she will understand.  I can not talk to her as easily as I talk to an adult because I have to make sure to choose my words carefully so that I am clear.

I also realized that making idle threats (like, "how about we throw away all your favorites toys just so you can play on the computer), WILL BACK FIRE.  I knew this already, but now it's painfully obvious that I need to work on it.

What do you do when you realize the situation is hopeless?  We changed scenery.  I had her put her shoes on, while in pjs and in the midst of a tantrum, and take a walk outside with me.  She got confused, which stopped the tantrum.  I told her that we weren't going to talk while we walked up the street, we needed to be quiet to think (this was for me more than for her).

After we walked and thought for a moment, I looked down at her and realized that she is still so little.  I think I forget that now that Lilly is here.  She seems so much older.  I scooped her up and apologized.  I admitted that I let things get out of control and that wasn't fair to her.  We had a heart to heart in simple, short sentences while I carried her back inside.

Before, we walked through the door, she looked at me and apologized.  Without me asking her, she said she wanted to take her toys out of the garbage bags and that's just what she did when we got back inside.

From fail to save... in the end we got where we needed to be, but it sure was a bumpy ride!  I am now trying to notice when I'm losing control or she is so caught up in emotion that she can't even hear me.  When that moment hits, I have her go sit on her bed.  I tell her that she's not in trouble but we both need a minute to calm down and then we will talk.

It's been working (knock on wood).  She is much easier to talk to and I am able to remain in control of the situation.

How do you handle your parenting fails?  How do you stay calm during a tantrum?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Best Excuse to Skip Clean Up Time!

Abby spent most of yesterday afternoon creating a zoo for her dinosaurs (which I guess would technically be Jurassic Park).  She did not want to clean up before bed and finally came up with the excuse that they are sleeping and needed stay on the coffee table in their cages.

How could I argue with that reasoning?  They're even laying down!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Take on Pinterest

The internet has made millions of great (and not so great) ideas readily accessible.  I read so many sites that I often forget where I found something.  Sometimes everything just kind of meshes together and there is no one source.  That's the great thing about the internet, we're able to share and learn from one another.

Which is why I LOVE Pinterest.  A place to organize all of those sites that I come across.  A virtual idea board with pictures that link to the original site.  I use it for decorating ideas, organizing ideas, gift ideas, EVERYTHING!  My husband (who doesn't even have a facebook page) uses my boards to post pics of stuff he wants... go ahead and check out my "My Style" board, he has the world thinking I want a whole closet of New England sports team tshirt!

I have featured a couple of ideas that I found on Pinterest but, as I mentioned the other day, there is a bit of controversy surrounding Pinterest.  I admitted it already, but I still do not fully understand all of it. Here's a post from the SITS Girls that not only has great information but also links to some great articles that give even more info!

My opinion is that there are very few things in life that are completely original.  We are all inspired by something and we should always give credit to that inspiration.  I do not believe we should COPY another and try to pass it off as our own nor should we ignore what inspired our ideas.

I don't see the ideas that I reproduced from Pinterest as stealing but as sharing.  I am sharing my experience creating a project with my readers.  I fully admit that most of the things I work on with Abby is not my idea.  I saw it somewhere else and either repeated it or put my own spin on it.  I always give credit back to the original site (not to Pinterest).

I hope I'm not missing the point here but I think that's the basic point to all of this:  give credit where credit is due.

Reading all these articles today, really got me thinking about how Pinterest is really changing the whole idea of internet safety.  I post pictures of my girls and talk about where I live all the time.  I also ignore all the advice I hear about watermarking my photos so that they are not used for purposes other than my blog.  It hit me today that sites like Pinterest can make a single photo reach a whole lot more monitors than my little blog here reaches in a year.

It not only has me thinking that it's time to stop being lazy and actually watermark my photos but also think a bit more carefully about what I put on my site.  When you are blogging, you are sharing with the world and what someone does with an image is out of my control once that image goes live.  Will Abby or Lilly be embarrassed to see or read something I posted.  If I post a video, would they appreciate that it went viral 10 years from now?

I guess this whole Pinterest thing has really made me realize how connected we all are and how easy it is to blindly walk into a sticky situation you may not know existed.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this!

Sanity Saver: Shaving Cream Bath Paints

Sometimes, I run out of fun ideas.  Sometimes, I get bored playing toy story or dinosaurs or babies.  So, I have been trying to come up with projects to keep Abby busy and save my ears from hearing, "Play with Mama," one more time.  I call these projects my 'Sanity Savers'.

First, let me just say how grateful I am for the internet because I would never have come up with the leprechaun trap or fish on my own.  Sure they're simple but my tired brain just isn't that creative.  I have no idea what I would do without the help of fellow bloggers who come up with fun ideas for me... Thank you and I will always be sure to mention where I got my ideas from!

Today was one of those days and after dinner I knew I had to come up with something or it was going to be a long night.  I decided to try out Shaving Cream Bath Paints since we always do bath time right after dinner.  I found it via Pinterest (can you tell I love, love, LOVE Pinterest?) but here's the link to the original site.

As Abby was eating dinner I made her some bath tub paints.  All you need is some shaving cream (mine was $1 at Target) and some food die.  I mixed them in plastic cups so that I could just throw the mess away when she was finished.

When she was done eating, I let her paint her heart out on the tub.  At first, she didn't like getting messy but by the end she was painting her belly yellow!  She probably played for a good half hour and then she played for another 15 minutes with her bath toys after she got all cleaned up.  She's already asking what colors we'll have next time!
I would love to hear what some of your Sanity Savers are.  How do you keep your little ones busy?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Found the Perfect Pet on Pinterest

We made it through our little fish situation relatively damage free.  Except Abby has not wanted to use the reward system that earned her the fish (not surprising, dead fish are the worst reward ever!) and she has not asked for her replacement fish yet.

So, I decided to go ahead and make that little fake fish at the bottom of my fish post.  I found it on Pinterest, but the original idea comes from here.

It seemed easy enough, using magnets and a paper clip to make the fish float and wiggle.  Except, anything that has to do with a fish in this house does not work out very well.  To begin with, I couldn't find a fish bowl with a lid so I used a candle jar.

First, I couldn't get the magnets to stick.  Then, Abby stuck them to the floor while I tried to glue them.  Once they were all glued into place, I'm guessing that they just weren't strong enough.

So, I improvised.  Our fish's string is stuck to the lid so it looks like it's floating.  To make it wiggle, you move the jar.  Not quite the same but close enough.

Abby loves it, even without magnets, and now she has a fish that will survive while we're on vacation!

Thank you Pinterest for being a source of awesome ideas - now can you please change your terms which I will not pretend to even begin to understand but I know it has a lot of people all bent out of shape and deleting their boards.

Oh, and you can follow me on Pinterest, here!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!

Things are certainly different now that I have kids.  Especially the holidays.  I find myself doing way more than I ever thought just to make the day feel a little more special.  As a kid, St. Patrick's Day meant our home would be filled with the scent of corned beef and cabbage.  Not one of my favorite meals (or smells) but it was our tradition and it's become a fond memory.

Since I knew Abby wouldn't eat corned beef and cabbage (we're on a hotdog and pizza diet at the moment), I had to come up with a different plan.  One a bit more toddler friendly.  I came across the idea of Leprechaun traps on Pinterest.  You can get creative and come up with your own but I wasn't feeling too creative so I used this idea as my starting point.

We found a nice size rock outside and painted it gold to try and lure the leprechaun into our trap.

Instead of getting trapped he left gold covered chocolate coins!

The rock was SUPPOSEDLY taken by the leprechaun but APPARENTLY we did not get rid of the rock.  Abby found the rock somewhere and I found her playing with it later... oops!

I covered up the blunder by saying that the leprechaun must have realized it wasn't real gold so he left it.  I guess leprechauns don't fall for any tricks!

That crafty leprechaun also left some green jello (which Abby thought was more fun to play in than eat), pistachio pudding, and he even turned our pancakes and eggs green!

Note to self... make sure the rock is gone next time (it's equivalent to leaving Santa's cookies out on Christmas morning)!  Also, do not take pictures of the leprechaun footprint making if your child loves to look at pictures of herself.

I forgot about these and had to quickly click through so she didn't catch them.  I think I was successful but can't be too sure since she catches on to everything!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hello Spring!!!

Abby was waiting all winter for snow.  She couldn't wait to get out and make snow angels and a snowman.  Here in Maryland, we didn't get enough to do much more than look at.

She knew that when we went to Massachusetts, her Mema and Papa would give her snow and by some miracle they were able to make that happen.

She got to sled
 and make her snowman (a small one at least).

Except the snow didn't quite live up to her expectations.  She didn't like making snow angels and was pretty disappointed when she danced around her snowman and it didn't come alive like Frosty.

Nope, I don't think my girl is the winter weather type.  Warm days, like the ones we have had this past week, are much more her style.

Walking on the beach, playing in the yard, going to the park... those are the things that she loves and we have been making sure to take advantage of every day.

Oh, and Lilly just couldn't be any happier with the change of scenery!

Hope your enjoying the spring weather where you live!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

How Not to Handle the Death of a Fish

  1. Don't lie and leave the dead fish in your kid's room until it goes to the doctor's the next day.  You will then also have to transport the dead (possibly smelly) fish to the hospital in it's very own 'hospital bed' and try to distract your kid while you explain what happened to the employee.
  2. Do not replace the dead fish with the same fish to trick your kid.  If the first fish died 5 hours after getting home, then the second one probably will too.  Maybe all of those fish are sick or maybe it's something with your water at home but your best bet is a new fish.  To get a new fish, you have to make sure you didn't make mistake #1.  Unless you don't mind transporting the dead fish in a 'hospital bed' to the pet store on a daily basis.
  3. When the employee tells you that said fish is not durable, believe them.  A non durable fish is probably not the best pet for a toddler.  Unfortunately, we found this out after we made mistake #1 so we had no choice but to replace the not so durable fish.
Abby's fish, Nemo, was a Neon Tetra and he was her reward for doing her chores.  


I, of course, was by myself when Nemo 2 died and had to break the news to her.  Which I thought she handled well until she went looking for him in the washing machine the next day.  She loved that fish (really 2 fish) for the 5 hours it was alive each day.  It was heart breaking to hear her final good byes.  

I promised her a replacement someday.  First we have to get our tank ready and get the water tested before we pick something out so we pick a fish that will do well here.  I have to admit that I'm a nervous wreck for her to ask for another because I just have this bad feeling it'll suffer the same fate.  

Honestly, for the amount of money and time we invested (3 mornings at the pet store), I wish we would have promised her a cat... those have 9 lives right?

Or I found an even better alternative.  One that I don't have worry about when we leave for vacation:

Through the wonders of magnets, this thing floats and evens moves (or shimmies as the site says).

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Source: via Kajsa on Pinterest

There was no amount of coffee that would make Abby's 5:50 am wake up call ok (Mommmmmmyyyyyy, come get meeee).  It has been way too many nights of Lilly sleeping only 3 hours at a time.  My body is tired, my brain is mush.  Last night I actually fell asleep feeding Lilly and woke up with bottle in hand and her nestled in the crook of my arm with no memory of the time I actually got up to get her.  (For the record, it scared the hell out of me and she will no longer be getting nighttime feedings in my bed).

Thankfully, Dan gave me the opportunity to nap today for 2 hours and I feel like a new woman!

It's now 9 pm and my girls are asleep (for now).  Dan and my sister are working.  The only sounds I hear are the dishwasher and the dryer.

Silence is a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Heart Faces: Beautiful Black and White

Photo Challenge Submission
This is one of my favorite pictures of Abby.  I took while she was playing dress up and I was actually surprised to have captured it.  She's pretty quick and I get a lot of pictures of the back of her head but I'm learning that as long as I take a million pictures then I am bound to get a good one!

Pop on over to the iheartfaces community to check out some stunning B&W photos!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Focus Friday

"Whatever we focus on is bound to expand. Where we see the negative, we call forth more negative. And where we see the positive, we call forth more positive. Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately. Having won and lost, I now win more soberly. Having tasted the bitter, I now savor the sweet."
 Marianne Williamson 

I haven't done a Focus Friday lately because things have been a bit crazy (there are times that Friday comes and goes before I realize it was here).  Visiting with family this past week has reminded where my focus needs to be.  It's also reminded me that my job as a parent is to teach my girls how to enjoy what's around them.  Carving out time for family and treating family with respect is somewhat of a learned behavior.  If I do not make the effort to be around loved ones then they will not learn how important these people really are.

There are times that make me realize how disconnected we can be from one another.  Everyone is on their laptop, iPhone, or some other device and not really enjoying the people right in front of them.  I am guilty, especially in the mornings when I'm tired and it's so much easier to sit, drink my coffee, and go online while Abby watches tv.  

There was a moment this past week (or I should say a few hours) when me and the girls were the only ones not sucked in by technology.  I realized that everyone was really missing out.  Our visit was long but short in the sense that we only visit a few times a year.  We wouldn't be there next week and wouldn't see each other again until April or possibly sometime after.  I know when given a choice between technology or family we would all choose family but how often do our actions show something different?

I'm going to make a conscious effort to increase my quality time with my family.  Cell phone off and computer hidden away.  Today I took the girls outside to enjoy the first signs of Spring.  Yes, I know it's March 1st but I was outside in short sleeves... for those of you up North, please don't hate! 
I took time to make a delicious, healthy lunch while Abby played with her dinosaurs.  
Now, while both girls are napping, I have time to write without interruption.  By the time they wake up, I'll feel rested and ready to focus on these two little ladies:

Do you sometimes find yourself not living in the moment?  How do you make time for your family each day?


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