Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: The Art of Distraction (AKA: What to Do When Your Kids Drive You Nuts)

The Art of Distraction (AKA: What to Do When Your Kids Drive You Nuts)

It seems to me that the most irritating things our kids do are reinforced by our irritation, so they do them MORE! What a terrible, terrible cycle!

Want a great trick to get your kids to stop doing something and to calm yourself down, too? DISTRACT them! Are your kids fighting over a toy? Sing a silly song! Got a whiney-hiney that won't stop the drama? Ask a question that will really get her thinking! When all else fails, say, "Hey, look at THAT!" and point somewhere!

The first time I saw this technique in action was long ago. It was the first time I visited my husband's family, Christmas break my senior year of college. My mother-in-law took care of a few children during the day. Two of them were fighting over a toy. Now, up until that point, the only way I'd ever seen an adult react to that type of situation was to yell, "NOW YOU SHARE!" while pointing an angry finger. Want to know my mother-in-law's response? In a kind, soft voice, she said, "Let's look out the window here at the pretty bird." She walked towards her big front window, pointing to the bird. The two children dropped the toy, toddled over to the window and totally forgot what they were fighting about. It was magic.

Now when Levi starts to fuss because he doesn't want his inhaler, I sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." He starts doing the hand motions and laughs. Adam was mad the other day because he didn't want a haircut, I said, "What kind of cake do you think we should get daddy for his birthday?" He happily started spouting off ideas with a smile.

Sometimes I see parents trying way too hard to get a child to stop something. They correct and talk down yet don't get anything accomplished besides raising their own blood pressure. We have got to remember, first of all, that kids don't always understand our fancy words. You'd be surprised what simple words sound fancy to a toddler.

I learned this when Adam was two years old. One Sunday morning, as I ironed a shirt for Wes, Adam took some plastic hangers off the end of the ironing board and started banging them together. "I need you to put those back on the ironing board," I said. He continued banging, like he didn't hear me. "Adam, I need you to put those back on the ironing board." as said as I went on ironing the shirt. He continued banging the hangers together and walked the opposite direction. This time, through clenched teeth, I growled, "Adam, I told you to put those back on the ironing board!" He set the hangers on my nightstand and sweetly asked, "Mama? Is this the ining board?" My heart sank. My obedient, sweetheart of a child simply didn't understand. In all of his two years of life, I had never named that big object in front of my bedroom window. He had no idea what an ironing board was! We never read a picture book with an ironing board in it and certainly didn't have an ironing board in any of our flash card sets. Our kiddos cannot follow our directions if they don't know what those directions mean.

Another thing I think we all forget when our kids aren't doing what we want is that there is no reason to be angry with a child. None of us should feel like we've got something to prove to someone that can't even sing their ABC's. My boss, Maryln Appelbaum says, "Calm trumps anger." That is so true. Let's all work to be kind and compassionate when correcting behavior. Remember to distract them when you start to get frustrated. It will help them, and it will help you, too!

We are off to finish Daddy's birthday cake!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Good Day, Sunshine!

Who would have thought we'd have the windows open, letting fresh air in during this time of year? It was a beautiful day, and we spent a lot of time outside. Adam really wanted to get the bubble machine out, and that made Levi's day. I have got to remember to try some bubbles when it is freezing out. I read that they will actually freeze and shatter when they pop!! I've got to see that!

We are celebrating a birthday tomorrow at our house. Adam wants to make his daddy a Spiderman cake!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gray Hair and Kool-Aid Mustaches

Maybe these photos are a good reason to stay away from self-portraiture, but I had to share. Last night, after church, I noticed that I was sportin' a Kool-Aid mustache. Cherry Limeade powdered drink has helped me lay off the soda lately, but I might look a little more grown up if I'd go back to Coke Zero.

I am getting a prominent gray streak in my hair, and I am not going to color it.
(Notice a little leftover Kool-Aid mustache from last night? P.S. I got a flash diffuser for $20 but like my tissue paper better most of the time.)

I wouldn't be surprised if I doubled my gray hairs this week. The boys and I took a break from it all today and headed to Monkey Joe's. We needed to be out of the house when someone came to look at it today, and this was a great excuse for me to take a break from everyday life and just play. Here are the highlights from our trip. Hope it makes you smile. I need some smiles & think I will need to watch it a few times before going to bed tonight. Levi was sitting down but fell in the tub and swallowed a bunch of water. Adam grabbed him up and was terrified. He had such a quick reaction and screamed, "MOMMY!!" in panic as he lifted Levi up. I was right there, and Levi was fine, but I am still shaken by all those "what-ifs" that go through a mama's mind and from the chilling sound of Adam's voice at that moment. I am so proud of him for reacting in such a helpful way and for caring so deeply for his little brother.

(Song: "This Life" by MercyMe)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: Three Books a Day

Three Books a Day

(photo by Megan Tibbs, Gypsy Lane Studio)

A couple years ago, I read a great book called "Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Your Children Will Change Their Lives Forever."

Did you know that experts say children need to hear a thousand stories read aloud before they begin to learn to read for themselves? That's right...one THOUSAND stories. If that sounds intimidating, think of it this way, 3 books a day, every day, for a year. That is very doable. You don't even have to read 3 different books each day! Reading "Go Dog Go" all three times is A-OK!

Keep in mind that the television talks AT children, not TO children. Passively hearing words is not the same as the bonding, conversational experience that comes from reading.

So if you aren't already doing this, I encourage you to start today. Three books a day, every day. I have a feeling you will enjoy it as much as your children do!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Careful What You Wish For

Today I'm having the lazy day I have been dreaming about. I was especially dreaming about it last week, when I really felt the need to put my feet up.

Last week, a diamond fell out of my wedding ring. I also dropped my camera in the garage and broke off two of the three threads that keep the lens on. I keep getting a "lens not attached" message and have to hold the lens tight against the body of the camera for the shutter to snap.

Last week, I had a long list of notes to mail, calls to make, and appointments to schedule, none of which got done.

Last week, I spent a LONG time putting together a track for Adam's trains. Although he played with it a lot, I kept having to come put pieces back together and fixing things. If you've never put a train track together, let me tell you, it is not easy! I was so proud of my accomplishment (sad, I know) and was frustrated that even that one little victory couldn't last more than a few minutes.

(He put the trains in their sheds just for this picture.)

Last week, we scrambled to get our house ready for someone coming to view it, who cancelled about 30 minutes before they were supposed to arrive. (The house has been on the market for months, and we haven't had any interested buyers. We want to be able to move wherever Wes gets a new job and don't want to be tied down to the house when that time comes.)

Last week we were supposed to hear back about the budget for Levi's waiver...still no word. I have worked for MONTHS on this and feel so frustrated that all this work is taking so long to prove beneficial for him.

Oh, how I have longed for some time to put my feet up. For months I have thought to myself, "If I could just have ONE day to sleep as long as I wanted...okay, maybe TWO days... If these toys would just stay put for a few hours." I have just needed a little time to catch my breath.

Well, I got what I wished for...the boys are spending a few nights with their grandparents. (This is because Wes has been sick & I was out of town for work this weekend. Then when I got home, I got sick, too!) They won't be back until late tomorrow morning.

My house is clean.

No little fingers are undoing my hard work.

Stuffed animals are neatly stacked in their basket.

Bathtub toys no longer clutter the floor.

The potty seat is hanging in its place

And no toys are being taken from one room to the other.

I didn't get out of bed until 10:30 this morning. I have been lounging on the couch and haven't had to share the TV with anyone. I haven't had to make food for anyone but myself. I checked everything off my to-do list with no interruptions.

And it's not as great as I imagined it would be! I keep waiting for the boys to shatter the silence by waking up from their naps...then I remember that they're not here. Don't get me wrong. I REALLY needed this down time, and I will be wishing for it again one day, but I can't wait to see these little guys again!

And I will be happy to fix the train track when it comes apart again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lives Worth Living

If you aren't familiar with the woman who is a superstar in the eyes of many of us mama's with special needs kiddos, check out her blog. My sister-in-law, Kristy, encouraged me to read Kelle's blog after Levi was born, and I have been a big fan ever since. Kelle & I have emailed back and forth a few times, and she has been an inspiration to me through her blog.

Last year, she raised $100,000 for the National Down Syndrome Society in honor of her daughter's first birthday. This year, the goal is $200,000. I am so excited that Levi is in the special video she made. (Look for him at the 3:00 mark.) Whether you are able to donate or not, I hope the video will make you smile and encourage you to spread the word that our kids are wonderful.

Today, while the boys played in the kids' area at the mall. A pregnant woman seemed especially interested in Levi while he was army crawling. She casually made her way over, we started talking, and she told me her baby might have Ds. Her biggest frustration and disappointment in all of this is that her doctor keeps asking if she's sure she wants to continue the pregnancy. Please help, in any way that you can, to let people know that our children have lives worth living.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Upcycled Diaper Boxes Tutorial

Laundry Room Makeover and Upcycled Diaper Box Tutorial
The "before" photo:

And "after":

And all the rest of the cleaning supplies? Well, here they are... In a shoe organizer hung over the back of the door that goes to the hot water heater. Thank you Pinterest for such a great idea!

Here's how to make your own canvas bins out of diaper boxes. It was super-easy! I was inspired by this blog post that I found on pinterest, but I do not sew (and don't really care much for measuring), so here is what I came up with.

Our Little Helper

As you can see, I've been playing around with the look of my blog. Any suggestion are appreciated. I am also throwing the idea around of adding or changing some content. Do you like the randomness of it all? Would you prefer different topics on different days (like my Tuesday Tidbits, I could add organizing ideas, parenting practices, ect. for different days of the week) or do you like the wide variety of Tuesday Tidbit topics. What about daily or weekly devotional thoughts? Would you tune in and be interested in something like that? I would really like to grow my blog and make it more useful to others. Please share any feedback you have.

Check back tomorrow for my first crafty tutorial!! I'm excited to share it with you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Important Links I Want to Share

Wow! Have I learned a lot today.

If you haven't heard about the hospital in Philadelphia that is refusing to give a kidney transplant to a child because she has is "mentally retarded," click here to read the story, and click here to read what the parents have to say. (I am sharing the story through another blog that I enjoy rather than directly from the where the story was first written. I hope you will take more time to read "Making the Most of Today" and enjoy it like I have.) I know you are thinking that I must not have read the whole story, that there is somehow a misunderstanding. Just read the story. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I truly did not think something like that could happen here in the United States. I cannot even imagine what those parents must have felt as the conversation in that room continued on and got more and more disturbing. Truly unbelievable.

The second link I need to share is for my blogging friends. Please take a moment to read this post. You will learn how to disable "right-click-saves" so that others cannot take photos from your blog and use them elsewhere. I am disgusted to know why this needs to be done, yet appreciated the information and have already disabled "right-click-saves" on my blog, which is really disappointing, because part of the purpose of my blog is for family members to have access to my photos.

And lastly (and this is on a much happier note than the other two links), at the Special Olympics Conference today, I heard a lot about this video.

"Spread the Word to End the Word" is a national campaign to end the use of the word retard or retarded. I didn't realize this campaign started with the Special Olympics (another thing I learned today). You can click here to see the main website. Click the orange button there to sign the pledge. Share a link on your Facebook page. If you teach, get your students to pledge. Have a family discussion about it and pledge as a family. Spread the word to end the word.

A Wonderful Saturday

After a short presentation at the Special Olympics Kentucky Leadership Conference, I met up with the rest of the fam at the DSACK meeting. Then a bunch of us went to eat lunch at Logan's. What a great start to the weekend!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow Day/Crawling with Style

Adam. Loves. Snow. The other day we got just a light dusting of it. He was outside trying to make making snow angels and pouting because he didn't get to catch any snowflakes on his tongue. Today we went out twice to enjoy another dusting of the white stuff. We got to try out the nifty snowball maker he got for Christmas.

Adam enjoyed throwing snowballs at his daddy while he looked out the window to watch us.

He also enjoyed pulling little brother all around in his sled.

And in the past few days, this little guy has gotten stronger and stronger. What a hard worker! Watch him crawl and show off his moves! Brother's got style! (We have been building towers with empty oatmeal boxes in case you are wondering what all those containers are doing in the background!)