Thursday, January 31, 2013

Speak Softly

We have come to the end of our first month of 2013.  How are all your resolutions coming?  So far, so good here!

My parenting resolution this month was Speak Softly.  By that I meant that I would not only try to keep my voice quiet, avoid yelling, but also to keep my words soft,  by avoiding negative or hurtful words.  Children are so sensitive, even the slightest sharp word aimed at a child can be very hurtful.  This resolution required me to think or pause before responding to my children.  This is easier at some times than others.  When, for example, my toddler is dipping his fingers into the gross sludge in the bottom of the dirty dishwasher and then tasting them, it is very hard to pause and then respond calmly, and quietly.  Needless to say there were a few days that I didn't feel I could check of this resolution during my nightly resolution assessment.  But for the most part this resolution worked.
It is amazing how we can model self-control with our children to teach them to control themselves.  When our children see us flip our lids, not only do they often feel very scared, but this teaches them that shouting and loosing control is an appropriate response to anger or stressful situations.  When we instead remain calm, we teach self-control and show respect to our children.  Sometimes speaking softly meant that I would simply walk away, calm down, and then return to the situation to deal with it more calmly.  Other times it meant just letting go, choosing my battles.  To my surprise, my children were able to resolve problems on their own, and learn from their experiences without my involvement at all.  If I had intervened, especially with anger, I am sure the results would not have been as good.

The biggest surprise for me was how effective just using a calm and quiet tone of voice can be.  Even when I was angry or upset with my children, when I kept my voice calm and talked to them softly, I could feel myself calm down much more quickly than if I had yelled and screamed at them.

All in all, this is a resolution that I hope to continue forever.  When I spoke softly, I felt like I was being a better parent, I am pretty sure my children appreciated it and they responded by speaking more softly themselves, and I felt like I had an overall sense of peace.  In keeping with this idea of what I say to my children, next month my parenting resolution will be to Avoid Nagging!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Still Toileting...

Our little guy is 21 months now.  I can honestly say that we are still in the learning phase of the toileting process.  He is in cloth underpants during all his waking hours still, and in diapers for sleep.   I can't say that I am happy to still be in the midst of this process, but I am not all that surprised either.  He has been on a schedule of his own from day one.

Don't get me wrong, things have improved greatly.  He now uses words to communicate his need to go, and he even tells us before it happens most times.  There are many days, I would say about seven in ten days, that he is completely dry all day.  That is to say that we make it to the potty on time every time.  These days are usually days that we are not away from the house too much, and when we are out, he is able to use the potty in our van when needed.  It really is as simple as getting him to the potty when he needs to go, or when I know he hasn't been in a while.  Life often interrupts this simple plan.  On the days where we miss the window and he goes in his pants it seems to start a vicious cycle that continues throughout the day.  I am not sure why, but it seems like if the timing gets off, then we just can't get back on.  It is strange to go from three dry days in a row to a TEN wet underpants day, strange and discouraging.  So that is where we are at right now.  We have many great days and the occasional terrible day.  I am thankful that he is able to tell when he needs to go, and that he feels very comfortable using the potty in the van when we are out.

He is also working really hard this last few weeks on dressing and undressing himself, a crucial part of complete toilet learning.  I make sure he wears loose, elastic waste pants that he can pull up and down himself, at least somewhat.  He is really interested in practicing this skill and only asks for help when he has really tried hard himself.  I am really proud of him and his progress; and I am proud of the rest of the family for the patience and perseverance that is required when toileting.  I am sure that it will all just be a memory very soon, so for now I am trying to focus on positive side of it all.  Like how many kisses and hugs and sweet words I get while I sit on the floor of the bathroom in front of the potty with my little guy!  They really do grow up so fast!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


It seams everyone is making compartmental resolutions this year.  I found myself doing it after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I picked six areas of my life that I will focus on and then pick one specific resolution to work on in each category each month.  They will mostly be simple, achievable things that I feel will make myself and the people around me happier or healthier.  I have to say healthier, because cutting refined sugar out of our diet this month has not made for very many happy remarks!

One of my areas of focus is Parenting.  I will be focusing on one resolution each month that I feel will make me a better parent.  Like all the others, these will be fairly easy to do, yet still very impactful.  Each month I will share my resolutions and how they are working out.  I have taken my ideas from books I have read, other parenting blogs, and my past experiences.  Here is my list:
  • Speak Softly
  • Forgive AND Forget
  • Act - Don't React
  • Pick My Battles
  • Take Care Of Me Too!
  • Slow Down
  • Play Together
  • Create Together
  • Avoid Nagging
  • Do New Things Together
  • Accentuate The Positive
  • Give Them My Full Attention
There it is.  I will blog about each resolution in detail while I am working on it.  Feel free to join me on this  journey to being a better parent.