Monday, August 25, 2014

Blue Skies on a Monday

It is Monday. I am sitting in the shade of my front porch, on a quilt an aunt made for us when we were first married. My little guy is quiet upstairs in his room now- maybe asleep? His naps are eratic these days, so when those little eyes close, I feel as if I have inherited a family fortune.

The big kids are at school, probably starting some real brain exercises, since it's the second week and introductions are largely over.  Soon there will be snacks and homework, but for now, I'm taking a break. It's what I missed all summer. 

The weather has surprised us with a taste of fall this morning, with leaves shivering and branches shaking. It's by no means cold. It's only the wind. After the extreme heat and humidity of last week, the sun isn't shouting at the earth today- just saying, "Hello." I am so thankful. I cannot get enough of these minutes. These blue skies. The absence of heavy air and clammy skin.

The house is clean, for now. 
I have fed and played with my youngest.
Sidewalk chalk. Scooters. Playground.

So now we rest.

In one hour, I will again mount my pink bicycle and its tagalong trailer to meet my oldest two under the tree at the side of the school. We'll sweat off some attitudes and worries from the day on the fifteen minute return home. We will be too fast for the mosquitoes, I hope.

It's Monday, and I adore it.

Friday, June 06, 2014

The 3 P's for Potty Training and Parenting

The dreaded potty-training started in June. I didn't have to drive the kids to school or activities, so I planned to camp out for a week or two and usher my three-year-old out of diapers. I expected the worst, having experienced this unpretty and stressful stage with two other children. 

But my little guy surprised me. Maybe it was because of his sibling audience. Maybe he was just "ready." Maybe Mom here finally stomped her foot loud enough that he got the message. The little guy pulled up his undies and walked around like a professionalt toilet flusher in less than a week!

I couldn't believe it. Yes, there were a few accidents, but my trainee took over rather quickly on his own.

So grateful and relieved, I thought, "Wow. That's it? My job here is done."

After around 10 years of changing diapers, I was stepping out into a brand new season...

Then, a month in, my son peed on the couch three times in one day. Wet his bed nights in a row. Wouldn't tell me he had to go until it was too late. 

He tricked me! 

Frustrated and discouraged, I was back at square one- setting the potty timer, physically taking the boy to the bathroom, cleaning up messes, and washing extra loads of laundry. 

Potty-training is exhausting and demanding.
So is parenting

The hardest thing in each task is staying objective and keeping my cool. It's the same challenge I face when my kids don't listen, as well as when I'm housebreaking a preschooler.

So how can I lessen negative reactions to repeated offenses? For every aspect of parenting I'm attempting to keep the following P's in mind: 

Put on patience like you put on clothes. Count to ten. Take a deep breath and say, "It's okay." Lower your expectations. You're dealing with kids learning a new skill. It will take some time, so take your time.

Put on a good attitude. Choose a better perspective. Try to make it fun, even if you don't feel like smiling. Have a sense of humor and watch the stress dissolve. Being positive never hurt anybody.

Put your eyes on the goal and keep going until you get there! Focus. As with patience, remember that no matter how long it takes, they will learn. It will just take some longer than others, so those kids just need you to keep at it. Persevere. Don't quit until they get it!

So on the days, when you're tired of telling kids to pick up their trash, remember their manners, or clean their rooms, tell yourself, "Be patient. Stay positive. Persevere."

They will learn. Thank goodness for that! My son figured out bathroom logistics just in time for preschool :-)