Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Recommendation: Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-to-Heart Connection

So I read this parenting book from cover to cover. I've shocked myself because although I read loads of fiction and plenty of biographies, I rarely read a "self-help" book of any kind. And I certainly don't read the whole book. The Bradley Method Birthing book...nope, I skimmed it. What to Expect When You're expecting...I read month one and never opened it again. My mother-in-law has sent plenty of good parenting books my way which sit on my bed side table which displays my good intentions, but they never really get read. I think mostly I parent by intuition, and I try to pick up ideas and thoughts from conversations with other moms or teachers (or supernanny).
This book caught my attention after a friend read it and kept mentioning it in her facebook status updates. I was skeptical at first, but then remembered another book she had suggested to me years ago. We both delivered our first child in the fall of 2004, she had delivered in a birth center without pain medication and I had a c-section. We saw each other not long after our births, she shared about her experience and after hearing about my c-section she encouraged me to read this book called Supernatural Childbirth. I'm not sure exactly what was said, but I definitely remember feeling angry and thinking, "You're about two months too late. You make it sound so easy just to make the choice to have a baby at home and effectively say no to all major interventions. I made the best choices I knew how to make and waded through a lot of pain to try to have a natural childbirth. You are in outer-space if you think that a pain free childbirth is even possible."
I don't think my friend had any intention to hurt my feelings, and I'm sure she had no clue how alone and sad I felt about what happened when my daughter was born. She was maybe the first real person I knew who had a birth outside of a hospital, and she certainly got me thinking. Eventually, I got pregnant again, and by that point, we were planted in San Antonio where home birth and midwives are quite prevalent (at least compared to Indy). I met loads of people who had delivered at home, and even a few who had a VBAC at home. The decision to go this direction was super scary, and the book she had recommended came to mind. I stumbled across it at a used book store and read it three or four times while I was pregnant with Julian. It spoke of praying for and having faith for the outcome you want for you pregnancy and delivery...even to the point of praying for a painless delivery. I didn't have faith for that while pregnant with Julian, but with Schroeder and Maggie, I certainly prayed for a short, easy, as close to pain free delivery as possible, the kind of delivery that Jewish women had in Exodus Chapter 1. You can read my delivery stories for both of them to see how that turned out.
So after a year of hearing about this book, I finally jumped on Amazon and ordered "Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-to-Heart Connection".

This book made me do what I think all "self-help" books should. It made me think. I've shared on several occasions that I struggle with anger while parenting. I mentioned earlier in the year that I was trying to focus on the word peace in regards to it in my home, specifically with my kids. I think I kept going back to anger because it was a form of power over my kids. When I didn't have the energy to do anything else, I used anger because it worked (sometimes, sort of, and definitely on a short term basis).
This book made me think about power. I'm convinced that parenting has nothing to do with controlling a child's behavior and has everything to do about teaching a child to control their own behavior. It's a subtle difference, but a powerful one, I think. I was using anger (usually in the form of shouting) to control my child's behavior. But now I'm not controlling their behavior but instead guiding them to control their own behavior, then all of a sudden yelling isn't necessary. The need for it is eliminated. I'm also more focused on controlling my own behavior, keeping my own temper, not throwing a fit myself. I can only control myself not my kids. This also negates the use of shouting 95% of the time.
This book made me think about giving my kids options on how to accomplish an ultimate goal. What's important is the ultimate goal. Many times there are many valid paths to it. This would give the kids room to have power over themselves and to problem solve. Power over one self is freedom and kids need and will demand freedom. Did I mention that giving options or being open to my kids suggesting alternative paths to the same goal is extremely difficult? "Are you arguing with me?" "Are you trying to undermine my authority?" "Who is the parent here?" "I'm the parent!" Yep, this conversation is common in our household, and, yes, I would definitely use the phrase undermine my authority to my children. Why not boost their vocabulary in the process?I'm trying to learn to say. "That's fine. If you have a better plan, execute it. I think you are smart and resourceful, but if you need help to think a plan through, I'm here. Peace out."
This book made me think about discipline and that it doesn't have to hurt. It simply needs to help them learn good habits and good decision making. Keep the ultimate goal in mind, a human being that is healthy, happy, and a productive member of society (or something like that).
I attend a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at a church on the south side. This year, the heart of the leaders is to help each mom grow in her own mommyhood. We all have different styles and opinions. We all have different kids, too. So we aren't there to compare but to encourage each other. This book has encouraged me so I'm passing it along. Read it from cover to cover. No skimming!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Magic Kingdom

D'arcy was my excited baby who was watching the clock to make sure we headed out when we said we were going to. She wanted to buy little bits of everything. She wanted to go on rides, rides, rides. She wanted to get everyone's autograph. I love her enthusiasm and her joy in being a little girl.
I didn't get to spend much time with my little Schroe man. He rode with Daddy or Poppy on all the rides. He had a hard time waiting in line, but his awesome bandanna sure did prompt some awes. His little shriek of joy when he spotted Jesse in the parade stands out in my mind, though.
Julian was always at my side ready to hold my hand or snag a hug. He quietly enjoyed the rides. He said the carousel was his favorite. He almost bought a signature book but decided he wanted to save all his money to get some LEGOs. Surprise. At the end of the day, he did spend a bit of his money on some pirate Mickey ears.
Loved that Maggie Lu got to ride to come on some rides with us. All day, she wanted to walk on her own and sit on her own. She sat beside me as we rode through It's a Small World and she bounced up and down to the music. We brought out Mickey ears for her and instead of fussing and taking them off, she happily looked cute in them.
Goodnight Magic Kingdom...we'll be back soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kids say the darndest things...

I apologize that five out of the last ten of my posts have been "Kids say the darndest things...". I think I've been to busy to write anything more substantial. We left for vacation last Thursday and stopped in Atlanta to spend a couple nights with some dear friends, the Knoltes. We were friends with them for probably 4 years before we discovered their last name did not start with a K and by that point we had already started to fondly refer to them as the ka-noltes so the K remains on Christmas Cards and blog posts.
On the way to Atlanta, we try to ease the pain of the "are we there, yet?" question by giving D'arcy a map with the route highlighted and asked her to read the road signs to follow our progress. She seemed to do fairly well and announced to us as we entered Atlanta that Exit could be broken into two words, egg and zit. Huh?
Anyway, I shared this next story with my mother-in-law and she asked if I was going to share this one on the blog. It was embarrassing enough to begin with... but here goes. The Knoltes took us to the Martin Luther King Jr museum which was profound and inspiring and thought provoking. We were in the room with pictures and memorabilia from MLK's death and funeral. There was a floral cross which also contained some vines, you know, a very large arrangement that would stand beside a casket. Schroeder came into the room and immediately said "He's gone." when he saw the cross. I'm guessing he was referring to Jesus. Then he said something horrifying but in reference to the vines on the cross. He said, "it's a monkey. hoo hoo ha ha." Um...what? Everyone in the room is appropriately somber and thoughtful about this very sensitive topic and, I'm sorry, what did you say?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kids say the darndest things...

D'arcy: "Mom, one of my friends at school's dad lost his job so I gave my friend one of your business cards to give to her dad."

Me: "Ummmm...why? So I could give him a job?"

D'arcy: "Yeah."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We went to the zoo for a Stephen's company picnic. There was face painting. The order in which they got their faces painted shows the personality of my kids. D'arcy immediately asked to have hers painted as soon as she saw the opportunity was available to her. She even wanted something else done on her arm or something. Schroeder was asked if he wanted his done, and was kind of like, "sure...yeah...let's go." Julian was asked and said no because he wasn't sure having paint in his eyes sounded like much fun. At the last second, he decided that, yeah, maybe he wanted his done. Before you see the pictures of the kids, you must first be forced to look at some pictures that I took that I think are pretty.

I think this is one of my all time favorite pictures of Schroe. It is definitely being printed!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Julian is 5!

Julian turned 5 this week. He made it clear that he wanted a LEGO birthday. D'arcy mentioned that maybe he should have Peyton Manning on his birthday cake. This is what he had to say about that, "D'arcy, what part of LEGO birthday do you not understand? LEGO birthdays are when everything is LEGOS." That made it clear that he was serious about this topic.
So I invited Gabriel, my sister's son, and Jared, my cousin's son, to come with us to the LEGO store at the Castleton mall and then out for dinner at Steak n' Shake. The boys had a chance to make three mini figures and pick out a very small LEGO set. They enjoyed just breathing in the LEGOs, though. Even though Jared is eight, Gabe is seven, and Julian is only five, they obviously spoke a common language. Although their conversation consisted mostly of LEGO talk, some other topics came up. At one point, Jared and Gabe were talking about what they were learning in school. Julian says, "My sister writes her name in cursive." Jared says this is impossible because you don't learn cursive until 3rd grade and D'arcy is in 2nd. Julian replies, "Well, she's really smart." AWWW...sweet.
Early in the evening, I asked the boys to hold hands and jump off a bench for a picture. Julian grabs their hands and says "We hold hands because we're buddies."
I love that Julian is at an age where he has buddies and his own interests but he still calls me mommy and has no problem holding my hand walking through the mall to the LEGO store.
Right now, Julian loves LEGOs and Star Wars but is also a big fan of Adele. Yeah, that's right, the british singer. When her songs come on, his head starts thumping. He also likes McDonald's happy meals (mostly just for the toy), corn tortilla chips, Mario Cart, wearing pajamas, playing with the dudes at church (most specifically Brandon), "reading" Batman books, going to the coffee shop with Daddy, greeting Maggie Lu with a good morning kiss, cowboy boots, and, of course, hanging out with Gabriel.
He's a different kind of kid then D'arcy. He's a lot more tentative about things. This summer, he didn't think water slides were a good idea and preferred to just putz around in the water at the water park. He still isn't convinced that Disney World is going to be fun and cool rides won't convince him. I'm sure he'll come home with a different opinion, though. It is challenging to balance pushing him to try new things out of his comfort level and letting him do what he wants.
He's also different from D'arcy in that he never has a good excuse or argument for his bad behavior, but he does have a temper. He's quick to raise his voice and say mean things. He's just like....ME. I already knew this about myself, but it's never pretty to see it reflected in my son. It's certainly something I plan to work on myself and help him to work on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tea Party

I spent Monday ripping through photos trying to get like five sessions finished. The kids were left to occupy themselves while I watched from my desk. Once D'arcy got home, Julian asked if they could have a tea party outside while they ate their snack. Sure, whatever. He got the picnic blanket out, and assembled a variety of snacks to be consumed. Once he was done, he invited D'arcy and Schroe to join him on the lawn. When it was time to go pick Stephen up from work, I went outside to gather the kids up and this was the tea party I discovered. It seems pajamas were allowed, along with guns, toy story characters and pickles.

Kids say the darndest things...

I've been taking the babies to The Indianapolis Children's Museum a morning or two a week. It's a great opportunity just to focus on them at this sweet age while the older kids are busy being schooled. Normally we just hang in the playscape, but this morning I took them to the frog exhibit. I guess Schroeder needs some schooling of his own because he struggled to tell me what animal we were looking at. At first he called them bugs. Then he really focused and noticed the quality that really defines them, their webbed feet. Then he shouts out, "It's Spiderman!"