Listening To Your Child

Technology, particularly computers, cell phones and social media, has taken the “personal” out of inter-personal relationships.

It makes listening, particularly listening to your child, hard.

It’s hardly arguable that folks are more comfortable posting their thoughts on FaceBook or Twitter than they are in holding an actual conversation with another person, face to face. It is far easier to quick send a text, tweet or message than it is to carve out time for coffee and a personal visit. It can be argued that in today’s culture, people are losing the ability to be social.

As parents, we may have seen evidence of this in today’s teens. How many times do we hear “Teenagers today! They have no respect!”

In fact, you can take the phrase ‘teenagers today’ and end it with almost anything –
‘they have no boundaries!’ ‘
they don’t know what hard work is!’
‘they have no idea!’

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Making Mommas Makes Some Changes

Making Mommas dedicates 2017 to the Parent-Child Bond

For the last 18 years, sometimes to the dismay of my husband, my life has been all about my children.  I have always put everything I had in to that parent-child relationship.  Everything in my day-to-day has always revolved around them, even before I was a stay-at-home mom.  Especially then.

It’s always tough, to balance work and family.  Any mom can tell you that.  Even stay-at-home moms have work they have to do, unless they have house cleaners, grounds keepers and cooks.  To balance all of those household responsibilities with your children’s needs is not easy. Continue reading

Forgive Yourself

forgive yourself

You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.

–          Louise Smith

 

Forgive Yourself.

You are not a perfect mom.  None of us are.

But you are a good mom.

Your child does not need perfection.  Your child needs you.

 

The other day, I lost it.  I mean, I totally lost it.

I am not a spanker.  I do not believe in hitting my children.  And yet, spank I did.

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A Father’s Love Makes the Man

Father's Love

A father’s love is what made my boys in to the young men they are today.

This past Sunday was Father’s Day.  We had nothing special planned, really. We ate a yummy breakfast and my husband spent the day doing what he likes to do; lounging around, hanging out with his boys, tinkering in the garage, and grilling.

I, on the other hand, had tons to do, because I had just returned from a four-day stay with my sister-in-law.  So I sent my oldest out with the youngest two, to play.  That way I could get the brunch dishes done with no one hanging on my legs.  I had a mountain of laundry to do, as one might expect, in a house with eight people in it, and unpacking waiting for me yet as well.

While I’m washing the countless dishes, I glance out the window.  My oldest is shirtless, in the sand box.  Next to him is one of the twins, also shirtless.

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Ten Easy Ways to Create an Awesome Summer Routine

Looking for ten easy ways to create an awesome summer routine for your child? Then you have come to the right place!

Summer is here, and with it, a whole set of new challenges.  Gone are the long, cold nights of dreadful homework, early bedtimes and rude morning awakenings.  The school year can be grueling, for some, but the daily routines involved are necessary for your child’s growth and development.  Those routines, and the opportunity to learn from them, can be misplaced during the summer.

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The Need to Entertain

I have six kids.  The three oldest are in their preteen and teenage years.  The three youngest are in their preschool/toddler years.  There is a BIG difference between the oldest three and the youngest three, when it comes to entertaining themselves.

The oldest three could play by themselves.  I have two out of the youngest three that can not. What makes the difference? Did my parenting change? Does birth order make a difference?  Or is personality a factor?  Maybe it’s our world today.

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Rainy Day Activities

 

(Photo from ourkidsmagazine.com)

I’m not sure if spring is here, or if it’s just a nice little teaser before winter dumps on us again.  But, after playing outside all day Saturday, it was tough to be in the house again on Sunday, while it rained.  Being cooped up all winter long is tough on kids.  Being cooped up on a rainy day, after getting a little taste of warm weather and sunshine, is just down-right mean.  Still, there are ways to enjoy a rainy day.  Below is a list of our favorites.  😉

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Good Morning Sunshine!

I set my alarm for 5:30.  At 4:00 I turned it off.  I have no reason to get up early, except to take advantage of the early morning hours, before the kids get up.  I didn’t reset it. I would get up when my husband got up.  That way, I’d have fifteen minutes to myself before I have to get my 11-year-old up and make his lunch.

We overslept.  I never even heard his alarm go off.  All of a sudden, he flew out of bed with a start.  I immediately thought, “Oh no.  My 11-year-old missed the bus.  I don’t want to drive him in!”

“What time is it?” I asked.

“Seven,” my husband answered.

Oh, well, that’s not so bad, I thought with relief.

“I overslept,” he says, planting a little smooch on my forehead.  “But it was the best sleep I got all night.”

Indeed.

Every time I make plans to get up early, I end up staying up all night.  I should just get things done at night, while the house is asleep, and then sleep in a bit during the morning, huh?  I was listening to a pod cast yesterday, and this gal stated she “gets up early – around 7:30, 8:00 and gets started writing right away”.  I laughed!  That’s early?  But then I learned she stays up until two or three in the morning.  Although I would never willingly stay up that late, I did have her beat last night!

My husband and I watched Breaking Bad (we are hooked!) until almost ten.  And then we resisted the urge to watch another.  I visited with my 17-year-old a bit about his college assignments and then hit the hay.  Thank God I did.

I went to bed early (11:00 to 11:30 is normal for me) so that I could get up early.  I was grateful I went to bed early.  The first couple of hours and the last couple of hours is all the sleep I got.  And sadly, I wish I could say this wasn’t normal, but it has been known to happen at our house a lot.  Not every night.  Not even every week.  But definitely at least once a month. To those of you with twins out there, sorry.  To those of you with twins and a preschooler, well, Good Luck.

Here’s a fun little outline of my night:  🙂

12:30  The three-year-old woke up and crawled in to bed with us.  I got up and put a pull-up on him.  No way was he sleeping in my bed with underwear on!  I hopped back in to bed.  Got all nice and comfy with him.  He asked for a drink.  I got out of bed, got him a cup of water.

20 minutes later……  Baby B wakes up.  I haven’t fallen back asleep yet, but I ask my husband to get him.  I was just up with the three-year-old, after all.  He gets up, slowly. By the time he gets there, Baby B is in a full blown cry.

I find out later that Baby B threw a temper tantrum.  Dad put him down on the living room carpet and just let him cry it out.  This woke up Baby A.  🙁

I get up with Baby A.  Restart his music.  Cuddle and rock him in his bedroom to three songs, then lay him back in his crib awake.  He goes back to sleep.

Dad returns Baby B to his crib – awake, but calm – a bit later.

20 minutes later……  Baby B cries again.  Dad gets up again. Rocks him again.  Lays him back down again.

20 minutes later……  Baby B cries again.  I got up with the three-year-old and Baby A.  My husband got up with Baby B twice.  We were even now, so it was my turn.  I gave him the run-down:

Did you change his diaper?        Yes.

Did you give him Ibuprofen?       No.

Did you numb him up?                No.

So I got Baby B up again, gave him Ibuprofen, numbed up his little mouth (he is teething….just the two canines on the bottom – otherwise, he has a full mitt of teeth!), got him a cup of water, and rocked and cuddled him for a bit.  His spill-proof sippy cup leaked all over me, but I was too tired to change my shirt.  I assumed his jammies were wet, too.  But he had his little hands wrapped around that cup and it was cuddled up next to him. Oh well.  If he woke up again, I’d take care of it.  In to bed he went.

20 minutes later…….  Baby B cries again.  By now it is 3:00 in the morning. We have been up since 12:30.  Screw taking turns – my husband has a long drive to work in the morning.  I’m losing my patience.  I tell my husband that Baby B is going to have to cry himself to sleep.  I go in there, turn his music on and stand with him a bit by his crib.  He immediately stops crying.  I whisper to him that he has to go nu-night.  He wails.  I quickly and sheepishly put him in his crib and duck out before Baby A wakes up to see me.  If I’m not there, Baby A will go right back to sleep.  If he sees me, I lost the game.

I carry the three-year-old, who has been tossing and turning all night in my bed, back down to his bed.  He will sleep better there.  By the time I get back up, Baby B has stopped crying.

I crawl in to bed.  “That was easy,” my husband says.

“Yes,” I answer.  I’m suspicious.

For the next 40 minutes……  Baby B fusses, whines, and cries periodically.  He starts and stops.  I listen for a while.  He eventually starts crying loud enough that I can’t lay in bed and listen.  I head to my old stand-by:  the laundry room.  I like to shut myself in there, switch over the laundry, and fold clothes while the twins cry in the middle of the night. That way it isn’t so torturous for me – I can’t hear them over the noise of the machines.

Only, there is no clothes to fold!  What?!?  I am always behind on laundry!!  I groan in frustration, switch over the wet clothes from the washer in to the empty dryer, and put a new load in the washer.

I then go get Baby B.  I give him gas drops, just in case.  I walk through the house, through the living room, pointing out that everyone is going nu-night.  “Shhh…..” I say.  I show him outside.  “See, it’s dark,” I say, “It’s nu-night time.”  He babbles something and I immediately discourage him, “Shh…. Nu-night time”.  I put my fingers to my lips, “Shhhh…..”  I change his diaper, just in case it is uncomfortable, and check his jammies. They aren’t wet in the diaper area.  I check up by his neck.  Yep, it is slightly wet from his sippy cup.  Normally I’d change that. But tonight, I decide he can tough it out. After all, I’m still wet from his sippy cup too, and I’m quite fine.  I rock him.  Again.

The lull of the washer and dryer hypnotizes me.  Pretty soon I hear heavy breathing from Baby B.  I guess it hypnotized him too.  I put him in his crib and cover him and Baby A up.  I return to bed.

It’s 4:00.  I turn my alarm off.  I drift in and out of sleep for who knows how long, because Baby B still fusses and wines a bit.  But he never actually wakes up crying again.

My biggest worry, during nights like this, especially if I am letting them cry themselves to sleep, is that they are sick.  I envisioned Baby B puking all over me while I was rocking him.  You know?  They can’t tell you what is keeping them from sleeping.  We have to guess at it.  So I numb him, I give him Ibuprofen, gas drops, water, change his diaper in case it’s wet or uncomfortable, check his jammies to make sure they aren’t wet, cover him up, etc.  but I can never tell if he has a queasy tummy, or a headache, or the chills, or a body ache, or his ears hurt, etc.  So it’s good to have some compassion during the middle of the night.  Because you will feel AWEFUL if you let him cry all night long, only to discover he had the stomach flu.  He’ll be crying because his little tummy hurts and he wants his mama, and you will think he’s just being difficult.  It’s such a tight rope.

The nice thing about all-nighters?  They sleep late in the morning.  😉

(Photo from clipartpanda.com)