Friday, January 18

AP Parenting goes on the road!

Today the kids and I decided that since we have pet rats, we might as well use their smarts to teach them some neat and fun tricks! Since we DON'T have as many smarts as they do, this was met with limited success but I did manage to make a "click" trainer for them, using the top from a jar of apple sauce!! Later in the afternoon I made the mistake of taking the kids out to the store. You'd think I'd have learned from the library van debacle, but to be honest the weather was sooo horrendous this morning I would have been criminal to take them out then. So and therefore we could be found once more chasing Jack up and down the aisles of Petco and wrangling him and wrestling his solid little body at the checkout trying to prevent him from a) leaving the store or b) ripping open any packages he may find. I do believe he is getting worse and I am at a total and utter loss as to how to deal with him. My stress is going down thanks to the hormones, but honestly I'm still stuck. HOW do I deal with this!?!?! It's impossible and incredibly humiliating. So, whilst standing at the checkout I noticed a click trainer! It was MUCH louder than my jar lid and only a buck. I picked it up and added it to my pile thinking I'd use it on JACK. We went on to Target ( I know, I know, I wouldn't have gone anywhere but Home if I had an option. I adore Target but knew that Jack was going to be a nightmare. ) We walked in and the first thing I did was buy a bag of popcorn. I told Jack that as long as he was good he could have a piece. I told him he had to walk with Mama and each time I said "Walk with Mama" and he did, I clicked the clicker and gave him a piece of Popcorn!!! LOL!!!! He was walking along with one hand on the cart and his mouth open...!!! LOL!!! I felt like an idiot and also like some vile parent who treats her child like a dog!!! The clicker was SOOO loud!! It seemed to work for a while until he lost it, I grew hot and tired and we basically just battled our way around and out the store.


Onto Happier News!! We are going to Minnesota in the morning!! What do you mean "Where's the Happier News!!!???" LOL!! Yeah. We're taking the coldest weekend of the season thus far... and we're going somewhere colder yet. For one night. To Swim. !!! If it wasn't that I was going to see one of my dearest friends and someone who can give me some ideas on Jackster and his weirdo behaviour, believe me, I'd be staying home in front of the fire. But no, we're off on a wee road trip! :D

Wish us luck. And please keep me in your thoughts as this particular hotel is laid out in a square and there's nothing Jack loves more than running around and around it hell for leather with one or two adults tearing, panting behind him. * sigh *

Thursday, January 17

AP Moment of the day ~ starts earlier than you think!

Hubby encouraged me to get up first this morning and get a shower right away. It's a good thing to do, get a jump start on the day... I told myself as I was showering!! I stood there, dazed and let the hot water pour over me and consoled myself with the thought that at least I would be able to have some time to pay the bills and get myself ready for the day before the ki......?? Hello?! Jessie??!! JACK!?!?! Good morning Children.... now hop on out the bathroom while Mummy finishes her shower in peace. Yeah. So much for an early start!!! We were all up early BUT it was a great day!!!! We got sooooo much accomplished and we weren't rushed at all... the house remained reasonably tidy, the children were well behaved I DIDN'T YELL ALL DAY!!!!! And I even, and I'm not kidding here, realised I was HUMMING TO MYSELF whilst putting the lettuce back in the fridge!!!!!! LOL!!! I was really amused!!! I did lots of school with the children! I played WITH Jack. I made an effort to be THERE for him and I took his hand a lot and encouraged him to do things with me and help me. It really seemed to help him. For instance tonight the children were racing up to bed. Jack was already really tired poor guy and he fell and banged his nose on the floor. He started to really cry... I tried to comfort him but he would not be consoled. I noticed a basket of laundry waiting to levitate up the stairs and fold itself and return itself to drawers and closets, but since it seemed to have lost it's magical powers I asked Jack if he could help me carry it up... as he was so "Big an' Stwong". His face lit up, he stopped crying and he and I carried the "Vewy Heffy" basket up the stairs. That's distraction folks!! A parenting tool!!! ;D

I think the hormones are finally kicking in because I noticed I don't feel quite so stressed today about things that would have had me yelling even a day or so ago. It does help that I went to bed early last night too....

Early to bed, early to rise,
makes a mom nicer... a pleasant surprise! ;D

Wednesday, January 16

AP Moment of the day ~ Urine a hurry!

Firstly I really want to thank all those people who reached out and contacted me about yesterday's post. It is so sweet of everyone to offer comfort and support and it was and is, very much appreciated. Thank you.

Today was a better day. Overall I think they are improving... obviously there are ups and downs, but the trend is mostly upward!!! I'm trying to not sweat the small stuff. I think I do far too much of that. I'll tell you what. It's very hard being an AP parent when your tool bag has a hole in it and your smallest child seems bound and determined to drive you to the nuthouse ( or jail! )

It's almost funny really. Jessie was such a sweet little girl. She really was no trouble at Jack's age. I certainly don't remember it if she was. She was a treat. Jackster....hmph. Not so! He was fine for the most part today but BOY you can tell when he hits "TIRED" !!! He just gets impossible~!! He'll shout "NO!!" at you and I'm left wondering what on earth I'm going to do now!!! I can't catch the little swine, and if I did, THEN what?!!?! LOL!!! I tried using the Disney voice again and it really does seem to work though it seems horribly false !!! Jessie always looks at me, shocked, when I start it as if I'm about to start levitating and spinning my head around! It certainly doesn't sound much like me, but it does force me to think "nicely". He has to believe that I am being genuinely chipper or he'll just run for the hills! I have to come up with really GOOD reasons why he ought to go pee!!! The fact that he may pee his pants? Not good enough. The fact that I might be mad with him? No concern there. ACCKKKK!! Just GO to the bathroom already!!??! but then it's HOW do we go to the bathroom?? Do we race or do we walk backwards?? Do we hop like Kangaroos or do we crawl like dogs???? Hmmm??? Why should he eat dinner? Get dressed? Put on shoes? Get in the car? Hold my hand on the street? Turn off the TV? Put down the rat? Not throw the ball in the house? Not hit his sister???????

LOL!! It's physically and mentally exhausting just coming up with rationale after rationale and then remembering to implement everything, following through, having a routine. Sticking to a schedule, allowing him choices, letting him do stuff himself, not doing too much for him, helping him succeed, not letting him do everything, showing him (again, because I KNOW he knows ) the difference between stripping the bed and making the bed.... between throwing the ball and rolling the ball, between putting the cushions ON the couch and throwing them off the couch ( and then leaping on it!! ) Aye aye aye.

Sorry all!!! I really didn't start this post with the intention of slithering into a heap of complaints! If I didn't love the kid it would be so much easier!! I'd ship him off to school each day with nary a backward glance. As soon as he came home it would be dinner and then bed!!!! But he's so damn endearing!! He's just like his bloody father. You just can't stay mad at the buggers!!!!! ;D

Grrrrr!!!! Well I keep telling myself it's just a phase. This too, shall pass... this too, shall pass!!
It's my new mantra!!

Tuesday, January 15

Non AP Moment of the day ~ When you reach the end of your rope

...hang on.

Oh dear. I have a horrible confession to make. I actually slapped Jack's legs today. Ugh. My worst parenting moment. What a mess.

In retrospect it was a disaster waiting to happen. It was past lunch time, Jack had eaten, but not as much as I would have liked. He had spent a lot of time playing alone this morning, we were all in the same area, but I wasn't playing 'with' him. He was tired. Very tired. We were behind "schedule", meaning I like to be out the house AND BACK by noon if I can do it, and we had to go to the library van, drop off the recycling, go to the dry cleaners and go to the grocery store. And it was already past two. I was getting fraught, trying to hurry along the kids to my schedule and they were slow as cold molasses. We dropped off the recycling and got to the library van without too many hassles in the end, but once in the van Jack started behaving like a maniac. He's usually fine there and will often fall asleep lying on the van floor reading books! Today he was just into stuff. He took DVD's out of their boxes and refused to give them back. He tried to pull the handle to pull in the step. He tried to DRIVE THE VAN!!! ( it was running of course and he went behind the driver and was on his way to driving it himself! ) I would take him away from the situation and have him yell "NOO!!" go limp and fall to the floor. He weighs a ton and is really hard to maneuver if he doesn't want to go. He started trying to take apart the fire extinguisher then ripped a sign off the wall and threw it through the book drop slot. We were only there a total of twenty minutes! I suppose on reflection I was not handling this well as I was anxious to chat with the library van lady, Rebecca. I hadn't seen her in six weeks and we usually use library day as a chance to catch up and chat. I was embarrassed by Jack and frustrated that we couldn't talk as he was being so difficult. I knew he was tired so I said I would take him out to our van and he and Jessie could wait there for a minute and I'd come back for our books and stuff. I tried to carry him out the van and he again went limp ... I carried him down the steps and across the car park to the van. Along the way he started kicking me and banging his head into me .... I was really hurt and offended and angry and so many other things. I stopped walking and, yelling, I told him to stop it or I would get really angry and he was NOT to kick me. We started walking again and he started kicking me and headbutting me again and he was yelling, I was yelling... and then it happened. I slapped his legs. He started to cry and I just felt angry and devastated. I put him in his seat in the van and Jessie sat next to him. I went back to the library van and tried to cool down. When I returned to the van he looked very contrite. I apologised to him and to Jessie for hitting him. I have NEVER hit my children before and I am appalled how quickly it happened. ( although, as I said, in retrospect it had been building for a while. )

He slept on the way into town and Jessie waited with him in the grocery store parking lot whilst I grabbed what I needed. He slept for a good long time and was a sweetheart all afternoon. At dinner time he started to act up again. He didn't want to eat, he wouldn't sit at the table and so on. My nerves were shot and I was ready to just give up with it all. Suddenly inspiration struck. I'd been listening to Jack playing on the PBS website and the "GOOD JOOOOOB"s were driving me nuts, but I suddenly realised that's what he needed to hear. I've started to talk to the kids as grown ups and forgotten that Jack is only five and really five going on three mentally, so since insisting he eat his food wasn't working I put on my best Pre~School~ trainee voice and said "Hey!!! Jack!!!!! Look HERE!!!!! It's a Tooomato!!! You llllOOOOVE tomatoes don't you?!!? I bet you'd like to eat that one up, wouldn't you!?!?! Can you catch it with your fork?!?!!? You can!?!?! GOOD JOB!!!" he loved it!! He grinned, he smiled.... he ate all his food and then some!!! *sigh* I'm exhausted!!!! Raising Jack is exhausting. There are moments in my day where I wonder why I bother and I really don't like being his Mum..... but every morning, when he scrambles up to get into bed with me and he says "Mornin' Mamma" I forgive him all over again.

This time I hope he forgives me.

Monday, January 14

AP Moment of the day ~ Let go and giggle

I am such a stressed out Mama these days. So many things seem to get to me, so many things, so much "small stuff" ... I'm missing the big picture. I've been very worried about Jessie and her homeschooling, whether she is doing enough, learning enough, smart enough, polite enough, kind enough... ENOUGH!! enough!!! We did a lot of math today, but this time I really made a big effort to sit back and try and let her figure it out for herself. She complained to her Dad that I don't give her enough time to figure it out for herself... Oooops. It comes from my fear of being judged a poor mother AND a poor teacher. As a homeschooler it's hard to get a good feel of where your child "should" be in comparison to other kids. There is such a wide range of normal it's hard to pick out the spot she should be at. Ahaha! you should be right THERE and you ARE so that's GREAT! Mamma rocks. Rather, what happens is one friend's daughter is rocking the times tables, another has all the presidents memorized and their shoe sizes to boot..!! ( not really !!) whereas other friend's children are more artistic and eclectic and kick butt at sciences and general knowledge..... WHERE DO WE FIT!?!?! LOL!! In school at least my child would be in a group of, say, 30 kids. I would know if she was doing better than, worse than or as well as the others! I worry so much that she may fall behind ( and it would be all my fault and everyone (including myself) would blame me if her life gets screwed up 20 years from now!!) that I make myself and her sick with it!! Today though, was a better day. We've been weighing the rats now for 13 days and have a pretty good sample of their growth rate. We had just been writing down their weight each morning. Today I showed Jessie how to plot it on a chart. I made up the chart and she plotted each rat's weight and joined the dots! It looks really impressive and she was pretty proud of it. We're going to go on and try and extrapolate out and see how big the rats would get if they continued at their current rate, we're also going to see who is growing fastest and who has grown the most etc!! It's been a heap of fun. This afternoon I happened to be looking on a math website to see what third grade kids ought to be learning. We'd covered, in one way or another, all the stuff they had mentioned!!! LOL!! And I was worrying!!!!!! So tonight, I let go. We had a great evening playing ghosts and running around giggling and laughing together... Much more healing. I'm going to try a whole new approach to our schooling. More laughing, more living, more fun, less stress.

I'll let you know how it works out!! :D

Sunday, January 13

Kids say the funniest things!

This morning I was prompted to remember my children's first words. Jessie's was HAM! or rather hhhhhHHHHHHHHaaaaammmm !! She loved ham!! :D but I couldn't for the life of me remember Jack's. I wracked my brains until finally I turned to Jessie in exasperation and asked
"Can you remember Jack's first word?"....

She looked at me, perplexed and asked



AP Moment of about a year ago! ~ Standing up for your kids!

This morning as I was considering the comment made by Special K with regard to the dentist's office, I thought back to a couple of times where I was pretty pleased with the way I handled a similar situation.

Jessie had always wanted to learn to ride. A local ranch was offering lessons and I took an excited Jessie along at the appointed time and we watched as the horse was saddled up and she prepared herself for her first time on a horse. The instructor was a nice enough woman... we'd not known her very long and had met her one time before. She got Jessie up on the horse and after only a few minutes she asked Jessie to hold her arms out at her side like airplane wings. Jessie did it quite well. Next Jessie was asked to lean all the way over the side of the horse and touch her toes, first on the left side, then on the right. This is all in an effort to teach her to balance on the horse, but it scared her terribly and she really struggled trying to do it.

"I can't!!" She said, whilst trying her best and not reaching.

"Yes you CAN. Come ON" Insisted the instructor.

Jessie tried again but was really scared and having a hard time reaching all the way down to her feet. She needed to change the way she was sitting and bend from the hips, but again, this was her first time riding!!!

I could tell she was scared and could tell that she was also trying really hard to please the teacher. Before much longer the lesson ended and Jessie and I left the ranch. I asked her how her lesson was and she started to cry.

"I tried to do what she said, but I'm scared I'm going to fall and I can't do it..." she sobbed.

I felt horrible for her and comforted her as best I could whilst I tried to think of what I could do to help the next time.

When the time for the next lesson arrived I took a moment beforehand to speak to the instructor.

" Jessie has been taught by me to not do ANYTHING she doesn't want to do just because someone tells her to, ESPECIALLY if it is something that scares her or doesn't seem safe. She hasn't had time to get to know you yet and you are asking her to do things she doesn't feel safe doing. I think it would be a good idea if maybe you spent the time getting to know each other first so that she can decide for herself if she trusts you, before you ask her to do something that she might feel is dangerous. I would really appreciate it if you would take a little more time to GAIN her trust before you ask her to trust you! "

This seemed to work and I was really pleased to see that the next lesson the instructor went to great lengths to make Jessie feel safe on the horse and to show her that she could be trusted. This was over a year ago now and Jessie LOVES her lessons and her instructor and today they have a great relationship.

Last Halloween our family went to a picnic put on by the company hubby works for, for all the employees. It's a fantastic time on this incredible pumpkin patch with so many activities and things for children to see and do!! We really enjoy it despite the humongous lines to get in!! We met up with another family with two daughters, whom we really like. The girls are a year and two years older than Jessie and have been to the pumpkin patch many a time, so they were very excited to show her around. They wanted Jessie to go into an old mine ( pretend of course!!) which they assured her was very tame and not at all scary. Jessie is pretty wise and does NOT like to be scared. She gets a bit jumpy in the pumpkin patch because it gets dark and there are obviously quite a few scary things about. She refused to go in the mine with the girls. They kept insisting it was not scary and the more they insisted, the more adamant she became that she was NOT going in. ( good for her!! ) The mother of the girls was trying to encourage Jessie to go in and said that it wasn't scary at all.

"Go ON Jessie" she said " Don't be a spoilsport" !!!!


This from the mother of the girls!!!! I looked at Jessie and said to her, "Jessie! Never feel you have to do anything that scares you just because someone tells you to do it or tries to make you feel bad for not doing it, .....even if it IS a grown~up!!!!"

The mother was quite shocked by this, but I was really surprised an adult would say such a thing to a child.

I talked to Jessie about it and said that the girls seemed like they were being sincere and they wouldn't want to scare her, but if she really didn't feel she wanted to do it, then that was OK. Jessie thought about it and I suggested that maybe I would go through with them if that would make her feel better. She thought it would indeed! We all walked through the mine and it really wasn't scary at fact at the end there was an optical illusion where it felt like everything was spinning around you and made us all quite dizzy!! She thought that was great!!! Once we were out she and the girls decided they wanted to go through again and this time I was free to wait outside!!!!!

I hope I am doing the right thing, I don't know. I hope that by allowing Jessie the freedom to follow her instincts she will have confidence in herself for the future.

I guess I won't find out if I did the right thing for another 30 years or so!! ; D It's going to be a long wait!