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Monday, August 30, 2010

Discipline for the Three of Us

If you read my blog semi-regularly, you've probably deduced that I do not just show the perfect side of my life.  I feel like this is the place I want moms to be able to come and see that they are not alone in their parenting struggles.  So, here I am, about to share my newest and most frustrating parenting struggle.

Addie won't take a time out to save her life.  I tried everything to get her to realize that this is not play time.  She just continues hitting/biting/screaming/throwing as soon as she gets out, because apparently my reaction is funny.  I've tried different reactions: calm and collected, angry and yelling, sad and hurt. 

We've been battling the time out issue for a few months now, right around the time that it became necessary to teach her right and wrong.  All of my other mommy friends seem to have flown through this transition easily, giving me the advice of "If she runs out of time out, just put her back and make her stay there until her time is up."  and "All kids run out of time out at first, you have to teach her that that is not okay, even if it means you have to stand behind her the first few times and make sure she doesn't move."  The thing is, even after months of time outs, Addie still runs right out.  Nothing I have done will make her stay in time out.  Eventually, we came up with the rule that after she ran out of time out 3 times, we put her in her room with the door closed until her time out was done.  This worked really well for awhile, but it may have hurt us in the long run.  Now, Addie can reach on top of her shelves and dresser, and can open the door and come out. That means even if I put a spinny-thing on her door knob or stand on the other side holding the door closed, she can still get into things to entertain herself in her room.

When good girls stay in time out, they get special tattoo stickers as a reward! Can you be a good girl in time out?

Tonight though, after a friend seeing just how out of hand our time out situation is, I had to come up with a new plan. I mean, she recommended that I watch Nanny 911.  Things can't be so out of control that I need Nanny 911.  They just can't.  I can't be at that point, because that means I'm one of those parents that doesn't have control of her child. I can't be that mom.

Once Addie went to bed, I opened up the trusty Google.com website and typed in "toddler time outs".  A whole slew of websites came up, so I decided to go with the site I trusted in the newborn stage.  I needed something that wasn't a parenting forum, I just wanted advice this time straight from the experts.  Advice from other parents hasn't worked so far in this situation, so why turn to virtual moms, right? (no offense).

I found this article called "Time-Outs: How to Make Them Work".  It looked perfect, and you know what? It may be perfect.  The second paragraph almost made me cry tears of relief that I wasn't alone.

Because toddlers find it hard to sit still, trying to make your little one stay in a certain place for a prescribed length of time may well disintegrate into a chase scene. Here's what happens: Your child runs away from his time-out spot. You catch him, then struggle to make him stay in one place. You threaten, he laughs, delighted with this new game — or cries, frustrated by the requirement. You grab, he bolts. Meanwhile, because he has a short attention span, your toddler forgets why you wanted him to sit still in the first place. Instead of helping your child regain his self-control, you find yourself in a power struggle.

This is it! This is exactly what happens in our house! So it is normal!

According to the article, this scene means that your child is not developmentally ready for a traditional time out.  Instead, they recommend things called "positive time out," meaning you just remove them from the frustrating situation and have time to calm down together.  Things like reading a book or doing a puzzle or listening to calming music.  The main goal is to allow both of you a minute or two to calm down and stop focusing on the "bad" activity.

The article reminds you right away that time out is not a punishment, but "an opportunity for your child to learn how to cope with frustration and modify his behavior."   It stresses that this is a more positive way to discipline and teach, rather than yelling and spanking which are considered more negative attention.

I honestly don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.  It fits so well with how I've parented from the beginning.  It will take some patience and practice, but Willie and I have come up with a new game plan.

Based on what we read tonight, we are going to give up on the traditional time outs for now.  When Addie gets out of hand, we will try reading a book or going to another room for some quiet time together first.  We will both practice not yelling and raising our temper at her over typical toddler behavior, because we don't want to encourage negative attention.

In return, we have also talked and decided that we need to go back to taking a more active role in our parenting.  I think during all of our hard times during the first year, we got so excited once Addie could entertain herself that we both backed away and "took a break."  I feel awful admitting it, but often at home I just leave Addie to her toys and do my thing, be it shop work or chores around the house.  I get frustrated when she wants attention from me, and tell her to go play.  I toss out some crayons or crackers and continue what I was doing. 

Working from home-especially working on my own business-is very stressful and time consuming, and it's beginning to show.  My life feels a little out of control lately in many aspects.  It's time to get back to the basics.  I'm going to be setting times to work, and times to play.  I'm going to come up with activities to do with Addie, and we'll have some structured play time in our day again.  After all, what is the point of staying home with my daughter if I don't take the time to enjoy it?

So, I felt like I needed to lay all of this out in the open.  This is my new promise to myself, and I feel like laying it all out here on my blog will help hold myself accountable.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Well, I promised myself (and all of you), that I would learn to knit.

I got started shortly after that attempting a pattern for a rolled brim beanie.  Let's just say it was a major fail.  Not because I can't handle knitting or anything, just because I didn't have the right needle, and-quite honestly-I may have been getting ahead of myself on stitch techniques.

The pattern called for a stockinette stitch, which is where you knit one row, turn, and purl the next row.  For those of you that don't know the first thing about knit, that's when all of those little "v" stitches line up on one side.  Really, this should be simple.  I mean knitting is two stitches.  That's it.  That's all I need to learn..well, apparently that and how to count and pay attention.

My problem with the stockinette stitch was that I kept losing track of what row I was on.  Was I supposed to knit or purl? Who knows! So it got really random.  After about 15 rows I looked down and noticed that my hat was taking on a pattern that it shouldn't have. Hmm...I ripped out the rows, and then realized I didn't know how to pick the stitches back up and start from there.

I ended up giving up the hat, swearing that I would come back and work on it again after my Port Townsend show.  Well, that show was last weekend!

I did pick up the knitting needles again, I'm proud to say.  Only this time, I decided to start with a very basic knit item.  A garter stitch scarf.  I learned the process through my Stitch n Bitch book.  It's actually the first thing she suggests you make...but you know me!

So, even though I decided to go back and do this very basic pattern that I was sure I would hate by the end of it, I still chose to make some changes.  Again, you know me!!  I can't make anything as simple as it should be.  The pattern in the book called for huge ginormous needles and extra bulky yarn, neither of which I had on hand.  I'm not about to go out and buy knitting supplies until I get into it.  I didn't with crochet, and I won't with knitting!  So, I decided to go with some yarn I had left over from making some newborn cocoon bowls and size 10 needles instead.

For this scarf, I wanted something big and bulky.  I cast on 30 to make this scarf extra wide, and I am now knitting every row in a garter stitch.  I'm so proud of myself! As you can see, I've even changed colors.  Successfully.

Now the weather just needs to cool off some so I can wrap this around my neck and enjoy my hard work. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CUTEure Blog

Finally! My new blog is up and running.  Feel free to head over there and "follow." I'll love you for a super long time if you do :)



Saturday, August 7, 2010

How Do I Do it All?

Wow, it's been two weeks since my last post.  Well, so much for that goal of writing at least twice a week.  That lasted...uhh...a week?

These days, I keep finding myself thinking of that part in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  You know the part where Hermione breaks out the necklace that let's her be in multiple places at once and travel backwards in time?  I so need one of those.  Maybe then I would write more.

You see, I want to blog.  Really and truly.  I've blogged in my head so many times the last few weeks and then written on my mental checklist, remember to blog.  The only thing is, I forget what I wanted to write by the time I get a chance to really sit down and think.

I get very few "free" hours in my day.  More than some, less than others. Unfortunately, during those few "free" hours, I have so many things I want and need to get done that I've had to prioritize way more than I'd like.  I mean, really.  Addie falls asleep and Willie runs off to work and I feel like my brain is going to explode with the to-do list that pops into it at that very moment:

I've got to get as much stock pumped out as humanly possible before August 21st, but oh wait I have all of these new ideas in my head that I want to make, don't forget you really need to blog.  Oh but your etsy team blog is being neglected as well, and you still haven't made a team treasury for this month. Don't forget Mom's birthday! Weren't you going to make her some booties? Mt. Fold-Me is starting to rumble...I fear it will explode off the couch any day now, but what's that smell in the kitchen? Man, I guess I need to do the dishes.  If I'm going to do the dishes I should really give the kitchen a really thorough cleaning.  I mean, then I could go ahead and vacuum too...oh wait...I'd have to clean up all of these toys first. Where is the cat? I hope he didn't get out again. Oh boy speaking of getting out, we've got to get groceries I should probably make a list.  It looks nice out today, it would be a great day for Addie to wear that dress that I never madeScrew it. Nap time's over now anyway.

A lot of people ask me how I do it all.  You know, the blog, the pictures, the house, the kid, the cooking, the cleaning, the baking, the business, the play dates, the social life, the entertaining, the hiking trips, the marriage....

Truth is...I don't.  I don't even make a dent in it all.  Most days it's just priorities and what my mom calls the "flight of the bumblebee" when I realize company is coming over.  I take care of the priorities; my daughter, my husband, my business, and living our lives.  The rest of it I usually just hope will fall into place on it's own.  Usually it does...at least somewhat.  Just...don't surprise me with a spontaneous visit.  That would just be embarrassing.