Friday, April 6, 2012


Hi everyone, I know I've been lacking on my posts, but I cannot believe how busy I am. I never knew that being a stay-at-home mom was such a crazy job. And challenging. The days fly by, and I can't even get my own to-do list done for the day. I'm managing to keep the house fairly clean, and I make all three meals a day (we quickly realized that taking a family of four out to eat is both a chore and expensive), and best of all, at the end of each day, I have happy kids that hug, and kiss me goodnight.

You know how we call it "practicing medicine" because it truly is a trial and error process? Well they should call it "practicing parenting" too. I don't always know what is going to work for these girls. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don't know them that well. Let's be honest. Most people carry their kid for nine months, get to plan how things are going to go in their mind. Then, the kid comes out, doesn't do a whole lot except eat, sleep, and poop. You fall in love. Then they cry more and sleep less, but they start to smile, and coo. Their first words are usually either "mama" or "dada" and by then you are in love.

Once they start walking they are super cute and have just enough hair for you to do a little style. Everyone is still pretty much in love with them, family and friends were around a ton when you left the hospital, and though their home visits have dwindled your little one is still the center of attention. As they start to become more mobile you are constantly saying "no-no" to them in a loving voice, they learn what you will and will not allow from before they even know how to talk.

By the time the terrible two's and three's hit, you are so in love with them, and know them so well that you grumble through it. Well ladies, this is where my journey began. My three year old is sassy, and sometimes bites and hits to try to achieve her goal. My four year old has moved into the smart misbehavior. This means she knows what to say and do to try and manipulate her way out of trouble. Guess what? I'm lucky because these behaviors are normal for their age group. I'm unlucky because on top of their developmental frustrations, I'm learning how to manage them without knowing these kids very well. All in all? I'm getting it. We've been trying different techniques and consequences to get the girls to follow the rules we want them to follow. But, sadly, they've had lots of different expectations in their short lives, and they're adjusting too.

Some days are grueling, and some are amazing. But that's parenthood. When I get overwhelmed I stop and say to myself "parenting is supposed to be fun, so relax, take this moment for what it is and move forward." A friend of mine gave me a great book suggestion about caring for kids who've not been in your home since birth. She adopted children at the same ages as mine, and has had the same struggles. It's called "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: 7 basic steps to turning conflict into cooperation" by, Becky Bailey. I have also read "Love and Logic." These books are great in theory, but let's be honest, sometimes you don't control your anger, and you yell and send your kid to time out. That's life. All I can ever do is be the best mommy I can be, and make the best decision I can in any given moment.

Here are a few things I've learned:

Don't get upset and reprimand your child until you ask them why they chose to do a certain thing. My four year old put toilet paper in the bathtub with her the other night. I was so's a mess to clean up when wet. But, I asked her "why" and she said, "because I peed in the tub and had to wipe." Well that's actually a good answer. She didn't get in trouble, but she had to clean it up.

Distraction works wonders. If an altercation between the kids is about to happen, or they're heading to do something that is going to get them in trouble, distract them. "look out the window, what's that" or "do you want to take small steps or big steps out of the mud?" these are ways to achieve the goal you want without having to yell or say NO.

Do-overs are helpful. If the kids don't treat each other respectfully, and one pushes the other one out of the way, I'll say "do-over" and make them go back and do it the right way. One will use her words instead of pushing and say, "please move" and then the other one will. I try to teach.

Be consistent. I follow the same schedule each day. They eat at the same times, sleep at the same time, had a bedtime and morning routine. I also discipline consistently for the same issue. Hitting always gets a time out. Tantrums will always get the kids sent to their rooms. I see less of these things, cause they know the punishment.

Ignore the negatives, praise the positive. If one is doing the right thing, and the other is not, I pay A LOT of attention to the one doing the right thing, and ignore the other one. This way they don't attention seek by doing bad things.

That's my bag o tricks for now. Sometimes nothing works. Then I breathe, and pray.

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