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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

Discipline Its different for each child. Thirsties

Let me begin by saying that I am by no means a parenting or discipline expert. I’m only speaking from experience. I have two children and both are completely different from each other. Brennan, my oldest, thrives on competition and positive rewards. He’s very similar to me in what motivates him and how he processes the world. Kendall, my youngest (until the Gummy Bear, #3, arrives), is much like my husband. She doesn’t want to be nagged and she likes the feeling of control. She’s also incredibly stubborn. I’m hoping this will be a good thing when she’s older; hopefully she’ll be like my husband who rarely felt peer pressure as a teenager.

For Brennan, I quickly learned that what motivated him more than the threat of a time out was the thought of earning rocks that went in a jar for making wise choices. I wrote about it once on here. As he’s aged the motivation has changed from the Wise Choice jar to being able to reason with him about the consequences he’ll encounter should he choose to disobey the rules. For example, being the oldest sibling, he’ll often see Kendall playing with a toy that’s “his” and even though he’s had no interest in it for the past week, he’ll decide that he must have the toy. Not tomorrow, or in an hour, but immediately. Rather than threaten him with a time out, I simply remind him that if he does not share then he will lose his screen privileges. Yes, screen time is a big motivating factor for my five year old. As much as I sometimes want the break that my Kindle Fire (*cough, cough* baby-sitter) gives me, if Brennan’s acting out it’s the first thing to go.

Kendall, on the other hand, thrives on choices and doing things “myself.” When Brennan was her age (two-and-a-half-years-old) I tried letting him make choices but it just overwhelmed his little brain. If I said, “You can have Mommy read you a story now or you can directly go to bed,” he couldn’t comprehend the choices that came with that’ it’s like he became paralyzed by the possibilities. He over-thought every decision. Kendall gets it though and she likes to think that she’s the one who’s in charge. We’ve been having problems with her quieting down for her nap time lately. I can give her a choice like I did with Brennan to either read a story or go to bed and she instantly chooses a story. I noticed the same thing with potty training her; I had to stop asking her if she had to go potty every 20 minutes because she just wouldn’t go. Once I stopped asking her, she went on her own. Once she was able to choose her underwear and put them on herself, she stopped wetting her pants because she had chosen them. She is totally her father’s daughter: Don’t tell me what to do because I will resist if you push me too far. She needs to own it.

As far as consequences go for Brennan and Kendall, time outs work for both them for the big things. We consider big things for our kids to be anything that puts them in danger or harms another person. If you hit your sister, it’s to the “bad behavior chair” you go. (We call it the bad behavior chair because we want for the kids to know that they’re being punished for their behavior, not for who they are as a person.) You run out into the street after a warning, we’re going inside immediately and to the bad behavior chair. We definitely pick and choose our battles wisely and not every act of misconduct warrants a time out. Save the big consequences for the big offenses. One of my favorite parenting books about discipline is Love and Logic. The approach is very realistic; the consequence does fit the “crime” in a logical way. It’s not over-dramatic.

Most importantly do what works for your family and remember that our job as parents is to raise children who will grow up to be capable adults living in this society. Do you discipline differently for each of your children?

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers and I want for my children to understand that. The day of love can be used to celebrate friendships and family relationships. I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day; although I think it mainly has to do with the colors associated with Valentine’s Day. As a tomboy it was nice to get a day where everything was pink, red and white. With the origins of Valentine’s Day being rooted in the Catholic faith, the holiday originally had nothing to do with the love that we think associate it with. St. Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest who lived during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius the second. Claudius had a law that prohibited young couples from getting married because the thought of the day was that young, unmarried soldiers fought more effectively than those soldiers who had families. St. Valentine married these young couples in secret proclaiming that it was better for couples to marry in the church than outside of it where it was allowed to have polygamist marriages. Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned, and tortured for his acts of love. The saint is remembered for taking a stand and helping those who were not allowed to marry the person they loved and I think we can all appreciate that for more than a sappy love fest holiday.

Here are some fun ways to help your little ones get excited about celebrating their love for their friends and family!

I made these pretty hearts for our dining room after finding them on Pinterest. It was difficult to find the original blog post with the directions but it can be found here on Jill Ruth & Co.

Book page hearts for Valentines Day. Thirsties Blog

 

I love this idea from Growing a Jeweled Rose. It would be especially perfect for the wee ones in your home; a Valentine sensory bath!

Valentine's Day Bath. Growing a Jeweled Rose

Participate in doing acts of love for others as a family. I love this idea from Make and Takes, and there’s even a tutorial!

Coloring-Rice-Red-for-a-Valentines-Day-Craft. Make and Takes

Create some Valentine’s crafts together as a family! Growing a Jeweled Rose has a compiled a list of great, easy Valentine’s Day crafts for the whole family to do together.

Valentine Crafts. growing a jeweled rose

This one is my personal favorite, send a hug to a family member or friend who’s far away! You can find the instructions on Paging Supermom.

SendAHugTeaser2-578x898

 

How will you be teaching your kids about Valentine’s Day?

22 weeks. I’ll be 22 weeks on Tuesday and I feel like I’m sleeping as well as I would if I were in the last weeks of my pregnancy. Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Thirsties BlogWhy? One little nuisance called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This is an ailment that some people have to deal with all the time, pregnant or not; I feel for you seriously if you’re living with this 24/7. If you aren’t familiar with CTS, I’ll explain it to you in easy non-medical terms (we’re all parents, right? Sometimes I just don’t want to think more than I have to!):

Everyone has a nerve in their hand that helps control the muscle at the base of your thumb (look at your hand and move your thumb, see it?). The nerve runs through a bony canal or “tunnel” called the carpal tunnel. The extra blood and fluid that your body produces during pregnancy causes pressure on the tunnel and makes it smaller. That makes the nerve that runs through it compressed. The compression causes the pins and needles and numbness feeling in your hand. CTS is most common in people who have occupations that require repetitive movements like typing on a computer or working on an assembly line.

It’s common to be worse at night; which is partly why I’ve been sleeping so terribly. Most CTS symptoms develop in the second trimester but with this pregnancy I noticed it right away. It was one of the signs that made me think I was pregnant. I didn’t have it with my first pregnancy but I definitely did in my second pregnancy. If you’ve had CTS with a pregnancy it’s more likely to happen with subsequent pregnancies.

So what can you do? There are a few things that can help you cope with this annoying pregnancy problem. One of those things is wearing a wrist brace at night. This helps position your hand so that the tunnel the nerve runs through remains opened and not compressed by the water and blood redistributing in your body. Your doctor can help you in choosing the correct wrist brace.

You can also try shaking your hands out periodically during the day. You can hang your hand over the bed at night and shake it out. If you can actually remember to do this in the middle of the night, let me know your trick. It’s hard enough for me to make it to the bathroom in one piece let alone hang my hand over the side of the bed and shake it!

I’m going to give the wrist brace a try. I know it’ll take some getting used to but it’s got to be better than what I have been doing…which is nothing, other than repositioning myself what feels like 100 times a night. Have you experienced pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? What helped you relieve the numbness and tingling feeling?

Waiting to Find Out The GenderBy the time you read this I’ve already had my 20 week ultrasound appointment. It’s bright and early this morning. Hopefully all will be well with the Gummy Bear (the nickname that I’ve given this little life growing in my womb). With my past two pregnancies I met this appointment with anticipation and hope. I so badly wanted a baby girl when I was pregnant for the second time that I went against the plan my husband and I had developed for our second pregnancy.

You see, my husband has always wanted to have the experience of being in the delivery room and hearing the doctor or nurse say, “it’s a….” But, I was so sick with morning sickness during my first pregnancy that I reasoned with him that finding out the gender would help break up the long (or at least what felt like a long) pregnancy a bit. It was beginning to feel like it would never end and I was miserable. We agreed then to find out. When I got pregnant with baby number two we decided that we’d let it be a surprise. Okay, I wasn’t ever really on board with the idea but I wanted to make my husband happy. It was his turn after all; surely I could give him this one little desire.

Well, when push came to shove, and the closer we got to the ultrasound, the more desperately I wanted to know the gender of my baby. We had tried to conceive a girl and I, for some reason, was obsessed with whether or not it worked. The ultrasound was in the afternoon and my husband was going to meet me at the appointment. He was 20 minutes late so I got all checked in and started chatting with the ultrasound tech. She asked me if we were going to find out the gender of the baby and I explained to her that I wanted to know but my husband didn’t. We had agreed that we would have her write it down on a piece of paper and then we’d seal the envelope. She looked at me and said, “Well, he doesn’t need to know that you know.” Just like Eve in the Garden of Eden with the serpent, I enthusiastically agreed, “Okay!” And just like that, I found out that I was having a little girl. I lasted about ten minutes pretending to not know the gender of our baby; then I broke down and told him that I already knew.181786_581932580919_5815278_n

Today’s ultrasound will go differently: Ben, my husband, will drive into the appointment with me since it’s in the morning. We’ll tell the ultrasound tech that we don’t want to know the gender and that will be it. Now that I’m closer to the possibility of knowing, the temptation to know is getting stronger. My best friend happens to be due the same day as me and she found out what she was having this past Friday. One of my neighbor’s had a gender reveal party on Saturday. It could be my turn today but love and respect for my husband has me waiting until the birth which could be the end of May. Hopefully I won’t drive my control-freak-self too crazy before then…

Did you wait to find out the gender of your baby? Was it worth the wait?

Cold winter scene. thirstiesGreetings from the arctic! Today, Monday, Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton, has closed all schools thanks to the frigid arctic blast that’s happening outside. Sure, the children are elated and most of us parents are a little disappointed. School resumed after winter break just last Thursday and now we have yet another day off. Worse off, with a low of -22* and a windchill of -50*, experts are saying that skin will freeze in five minutes. There is no way my kids will be venturing outside tomorrow if I have anything to say about it!

So what’s a mom to do when the weather is dangerously cold? Here are a few things I’ve done before that seem to be a hit with my kids, as well as a few suggested ideas from my friends!

Bring the snow inside and experiment with colors! One of my favorite things to do in the winter, especially since I’m not a fan of cold weather, is to grab a few of my pots and wooden spoons and bring the snow inside. Then I mix some water with food coloring in a spray bottle and let the kids go to town! They spray the snow, eat the snow, and eventually spray themselves in the face. You can do this in the kitchen with some towels covering the floor to make cleanup easier or in the bathtub. (pictured below)snow coloring fun. thirsties

Make Snow Ice Cream : A few of my Minnesota friends do this on a regular basis and while we won’t have freshly fallen snow tomorrow, perhaps you will. It’s very easy to make and only requires four ingredients – freshly fallen snow, white sugar, milk and vanilla. I’m sure that if you aren’t using refined sugar you can substitute it with honey. Here’s a recipe from AllRecipes.com.

Have a PJ party all day with movies and popcorn! What better way to a homebound day than curled up with a few good movies, some popcorn and your comfiest clothes? You could do any number of things other than watching a movie – play games, read books, color. The important thing in my opinion is that you’re making the day special by doing something out of the ordinary, staying in your PJs.

Cookie baking day! Make this occasion different by letting the kids really help out. They can pick the kind of cookies to bake, put in the ingredients and of course lick the spoon!

Bring out that Play-Doh! Let them make a mess and play with that sometimes crumbly dough.

Like I said, these are just a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing. What is your favorite indoor activity when getting out of the house is simply out of the question?