Movie (Snuggle) Time!

The kids love the movie Cars. We had a busy morning of playing outside in the really, really cold (I was hoping to freeze Oliver into a nap, unsuccessfully), and this afternoon I had promised Hazel that we could watch a movie. It’s really hard to say no when she asks to “wotch a mooooooovie”.

I put on the movie, hoping that I’d be able to get some unpacking and organizing done, but Hazel said she wanted me to sit on the couch with her. I figured her attention span wouldn’t last too long, so I would sit with her for a couple of minutes and then when she got up to wander around, I’d get up and get to work.

But she just melted into me. She put her arms around me, lay her head on my chest, and said, “I love you, Mommy.”

So I watched her beautiful face while she watched Lightning McQueen, noticing her nearly-translucent skin, the way the light from the TV reflected in her eyes, how her face shape is so similar to Oliver’s, and just enjoyed the feel of my incredible daughter snuggled up with me to watch a movie. And I hoped it would never end, because one day she’s going to grow up, and I don’t know that I’m ever going to be ready for that to happen.

Time Out for Oliver

I feel like there’s something LDS related to Time Out (Time Out for Women?  Time Out for Love?), which I have no idea what it is, but the title stuck, and that’s why I titled this post what I did.  (Oh, and it’s about time outs, too.)

So, time out.  I mentioned here that the way that I do time out is different than it used to be.  Most books and magazines that I’ve read recommend giving time out for a minute per year of age.  I’ve also heard theories of letting your kid be in time out until they’re ready to get out and behave.  I don’t really do either of those.

I’m going to illustrate the way that I do time out with a couple of typical examples in our home.

1.  Oliver gets angry that Hazel is playing with one of his toys.  He snatches it from her, and then hits her.  Hitting is one of those ‘don’t pass go’ cards straight to time out.  He usually gets really upset about having to go to time out, and I often have to carry him over there.  He sits in the designated time out spot by the door, facing the wall, and I usually st behind him and hold him while he’s crying and carrying on.  I try not to talk to him until he’s managed to calm down a bit, and if I do talk to him, it’s usually to say  (or whisper) that we’ll talk when he’s calmed down.  (Aside: Sometimes he’ll shriek that he IS CALMED DOWN, and I have a hard time not laughing.)  When he stops freaking out about being in time out, we talk about why he’s there.  I ask him why he got sent to time out, and he’ll tell me that he hit Hazel.  Sometimes he tries to interject with, “I hit Hazel, but…” and I interrupt him and tell him that there aren’t any buts because we don’t hit.  And we talk about why we don’t hit–that it hurts people, that we don’t want to hurt people, that he loves Hazel, even when he’s angry with her, and that she is smaller than him, so hitting her isn’t fair, and that there are better ways of dealing with a problem than hitting.  If I still have his attention, I try to talk to him about what he could do instead.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

2.  I ask Oliver to please get his shoes so we can go outside, and he yells at me, “No!  YOU do it!”.  Now, my problem here isn’t that he didn’t obey me, but the way that he told me.  If he had asked me politely, and I wasn’t doing something else, I wouldn’t really have a problem with doing it.  But I won’t let me three year old boss me around.  Then we’re stuck in a battle of wills where he’s said he won’t do it, and I won’t back down because that wold be a parenting nightmare.  So, we often wind up with a statement of, “Oliver, if you don’t get your shoes by the time I count to five, you’re going to go to time out.”  I don’t love putting him in time out for this, but I’m not sure what else to do when it’s a stand off.  So, I wind up having to carry him to time out if he doesn’t do it.  Again, I sit with him, and when he’s ready, we talk about why he’s in time out, and what he could have done instead–he could have politely asked.  Or he could have said, “Mommy, I’m in the middle of putting my cars in my bookbag; can I do it when I’ve finished?”  Here, it’s a matter of learning how to speak to each other respectfully, so we talk about why we don’t talk to each other that way.

It sounds kind of touchy feely, I guess, but maybe that’s okay.  Mostly, we try to adapt our punishment to make sure that we and the kids know why they’re being punished, and also try to modify it so that they aren’t being abandoned and forced out of the family because they acted out.  I don’t want my kids to feel like we don’t love them as much or want to be around them when they’re behaving badly.  I don’t want them to think that my love is conditional on perfect behavior, because it’s not.  So, I love them harder when they’re rotten, and try really hard to stay calm.

And I apologize when I yell at them or snap at them.  Because I want to treat them with respect too.  And I want them to know that they deserve to be treated with respect.

Today’s Oliverism/Hazeliloquy

Oliver and Hazel were arguing over a toy, and Oliver got mad, and said, “Hazel!  Go to Time Out!”

Hazel, who has never been sentenced to time out, walked dutifully over to the time out corner and sat down.

… I had to have a conversation with Oliver about how he doesn’t get to be the boss of Hazel, and certainly doesn’t get to send her to time out.  I am pretty sure Hazel was just excited to finally get some punishment around here.

Parenting Tip!

I am no god of parenting, and I screw up all the time.  But occasionally I stumble on something that magically works.  Yesterday was one of those days, and it worked again today.  I thought I’d share for the other parents out there who might struggle with the same.

Oliver is three.  He wants everything he sees.  He wants everything he’s not holding.  He has had a blue doll stroller (they were all the rage last year among the toddler set in NYC) for a year, and he and Hazel wind up fighting over it.  So, and because Hazel so rarely gets anything new (besides clothes), I got her a doll stroller.  She loves it.

Of course, that means that Oliver wants it.  He only wants hers; his is unacceptable.  Hazel only wants to play with hers too, which means that I am having the same fight, but now I’m $13 poorer and frustrated because I have two freaking doll strollers.

So, because the pink one is Hazel’s, and we generally institute a ‘you have to share, but you don’t have to share what you’re playing with rightnow or what you love most’ policy, Hazel doesn’t have to share her pink stroller.  Which leads to mega-tantrums by Oliver.  And if you know anything about our housing situation, you’ll know that that could lead to us getting evicted from our apartment.

When Oliver was throwing his tantrum, I kept my cool (woohoo!), and we talked about it.  He said that he really wanted a pink stroller.  I explained to him that we couldn’t go out and get him a pink stroller right then, but that we could start a list of the things that he wants, so that if we’re ever out and want to get him a treat, he can pick something off of the list.

So we made a special “Oliver’s Wish List”, and when he gets upset about something he wants, we add it to the list, and it seems to calm him down and I guess it makes him feel heard and understood.  Right now, his list consists of three things–a scooter, a pink stroller, and a remote controlled Thomas train (I love advertising and its effects on children *cue eye-roll*).

The Potty

Oliver has begun potty training.  If he is naked, he’s a superstar and goes and sits on the potty ever time he feels the need to pass gas.

Wearing underwear, on the other hand–he doesn’t care.  He just lets loose.

It’s gross.  But I’m plowing through it.  But when he’s potty trained, I’m getting the carpet cleaned.  😀

A Study on Bad Timing

Because I am on a flexible work arrangement at work, when I worked mad, crazy hours during busy season, I was able to choose two weeks to take off later in the year without taking official vacation days.

Because Kullervo was graduating in May, I chose the first two weeks in June, thinking that we would have some time together as a family, that I would have nice time in the early summer with the kids to play outside all day, every day before the brutality of summertime hit.  This worked conveniently around the schedule of my current client at work, and it was going to be perfect.

Then Kullervo’s summer annual training with the National Guard changed its dates, so the entire second week that I am off from work, he is gone.

Then we realized the awfulness of bar exam studying, and how it makes law school look like half-day kindergarten.

Still, I have these two weeks to play outside with the kids, “chalking” (as Oliver calls it), taking nature walks, swimming in the pool, basking in the sun (with tons of sunscreen, of course).

It rained for the ENTIRE first week that I was off.  All of this past week has been rain.  Every day.  All day.  If it’s not raining, it’s pouring.  If it’s not pouring, it’s drizzling.  If it’s not drizzling, there’s lightning.  If there’s none of the above, it’s nighttime and nobody realizes it.  And the forecast calls for nothing but rain for the next 10 days.

On top of that, Oliver developed what may be his worst diaper rash ever.  It was so bad that changing his diaper either took two people, or took one person holding him down using acrobatic-style leg calisthenics while he screamed bloody murder, “Don’t hurt me!  Don’t hurt my bum!” and I was certain that someone was going to report us to child services.  The diaper rash turned out to possibly be a blessing in disguise, because it finally convinced Oliver to attempt to use his potty.  And if he’s naked, he’ll use it without accident.  If he’s wearing anything, he’ll just let loose.  (I figure it’s a step in the right direction, right?)

And, because there has to be an ‘and’ here, Hazel appears to be teething, and hasn’t slept for more than about 30 minutes at a stretch at night for at least three nights in a row, which, of course, means that Kullervo and I haven’t slept for more than about 30 minutes at a stretch, and because the first night Kullervo didn’t realize, my boobs are so sore from nursing her every 30 minutes all night long that I remembered why I am fine to wait awhile before having another new baby, because the first few weeks of nursing are a horrible time.

But being inside with two kids all day makes them whiny.  And yell-y.  And bored.  They’re so bored they don’t want to watch TV.  They’re so bored that at the suggestion of a movie, Oliver says, “Um, how about we do something else, okay?”

So, that was last week.  Today, because God realized that I was really, really, really, really, really, really going to need it, it did not rain.  We dropped Kullervo off at Army this morning and headed for the zoo.  We went to the zoo, threw some tantrums, saw four animals (a free zoo makes going with toddlers much more enjoyable, because who cares if you only see four animals and your kids are much more concerned with the HUGE ant they saw walking by the window when they were looking at the bear sloth?), had an argument, chased some birds, and then came home for lunch.  After naptime, we went and tried out a couple of playgrounds we hadn’t been to in awhile (verdict: the first one was ghetto and I worried that we would be eaten by zombie drug addicts or something, and the second one was great with a lot of kids and parents who didn’t appear to judge me as I tried to keep both of my children from dying while perched on high playground surfaces and who lended a hand when it appeared that both were trying to dive off of opposite ends at the same time), and then came home right at dinnertime.

But, because we had to say goodbye to Kullervo for two weeks today, I have been an emotional wrecking ball today and desperately worked to not show the kids so they didn’t get freaked out.  I’ve been tired–I napped right along with the kids today, and it was AMAZING!–and on the verge of tears all day.

So, now I have rambled on and on and on and should probably re-read this before I post it because probably huge sections of it aren’t even going to make sense, but whatever.

Interfaith Marriage

It’s not as if I hadn’t thought much about interfaith marriage before. When Kullervo began doubting the LDS church, I was still a steadfast Mormon. We were living with his parents at the time, and stayed up late many nights talking about how we would relate to each other, how we would navigate church waters, and, most importantly, what we wanted for Oliver, who at the time was only about five months old.

It has been an ongoing dialogue since then. I found my church home at Cedar Ridge Community Church, but for awhile Kullervo was pretty sure he leaned towards more traditional, liturgical types of worship. And, as it turns out… I really don’t love the liturgy. So, there was the dilemma of where to go to worship when we actually prefer different styles of worshiping. But, then we were still both considering ourselves Christian.

However, Kullervo has discovered that he is, and always has been, a pagan. And I am still a Christian.

I was reading Jack’s blog the other day, and saw that at the top was written “Interfaith Marriage”, and I realized that, officially, I am a part of one.

Honestly, I’m not sure what it will mean for us. But it seems significant to realize. We still have to figure out the best way to raise the kids so that they will be open minded, tolerant people who have minds of their own and will realize that Christianity is truuuuuuue (hahaha! just kinda kidding!). Seriously, though, it’s something that we need to consider and kind of hammer down (inasmuch as you can hammer anything about parenting down, besides windowsills) while the kids are still fairly young.