January 27, 2011

So far, so good

The schedule is working! It's not smooth sailing, by any means, but I've been pleasantly surprised by how well K is responding. The first day I unveiled the schedule, he was really excited and wanted to check it all day long. He still does and is in such a better mood as a result of the greater sense of control and understanding of what to expect from his day.

I still don't have the strength to wake them up every morning if they are still sleeping (which is maybe 1 day in 7). It goes against just about every instinct in me, the product of compounded lack of sleep, I'm sure. And I still have some trouble staying on task when I'm tired or have other things to do. So there's plenty of room for improvement.

The good parts have been wonderful, though. My husband or I are doing at least an hour of homeschool each day with K. He's loving the learning and attention of that time. And I'm finding that I'm much less scared of having him home now that I'm actually doing it. The theory of schooling him got a bit intimidating. Putting it into practice is showing the benefits of this time with him: how much he likes it, getting to watch him learn, being a part of shaping his love of learning, etc. We still haven't made a concrete decision, but I feel more informed already!

Another benefit is that K ends up watching less TV. We're busier and have limits on when he can watch, so even when he CAN he often doesn't WANT to anymore. And that also means less noise in the house. Win, win!

I'm optimistic about the future of this. I'm very happy to see something like this working. Sometimes it seems like nothing will change for the better-at least that's what my pessimistic tendencies tell me. It's good to be proven wrong!

January 9, 2011

A little rant

For all my frustrations with parenting and schedules, I have to say (with a grumble) that I'm really not too bad at either one! That is what really gets me! Our house is not a free-for-all. Meals and bedtimes are relatively normal. I play with my kids and teach them. I work hard to teach manners, lead by example, to discipline and most of all to love and affirm them.

As against the grain as it is to say, since parents (moms in particular) are pretty hard on themselves, I AM a good mom to my boys! I think I'd want to be my kid.

But, there are obvious issues we are facing that have to be dealt with. So, I've broken down (or gotten smart, not sure which) and made a written, semi-detailed schedule for us to follow.

I'm going to do something extreme (for me) and wake my kids up at a certain time each day. I pray, pray, pray, pray that in doing this we can set an internal wake up clock for the kids and have some normalcy to the start of our day. If I can have some guarantee of when they will wake up, I might be able to wake up before them and get myself centered for the day. Maybe that will help them sleep better. And if both of them can have a good idea of what the order of things are each morning, we can try to eliminate some of the whining, boredom and laziness that often creeps in. If K can know when it is play time, when it is time to learn and when it is time to clean or eat, maybe he'll grumble less. If mealtimes are at an enforced time, at the table and all together, maybe I can cut down on K's constant asking for snacks, as well as his tendency to eat while moving around (making a huge mess).

I have big hopes for this. I've often made lists and plans for my own time, but I don't usually try to set things up for other people. I'm praying hard that this will make a difference. That I can stick with it and turn at least a few things in life around for the good.

January 8, 2011


The last month sure has kicked my butt! Between the holidays and sickness and parenting struggles and traveling, I haven't found the time to write anything. Hopefully it will settle down shortly.

S is growing by leaps and bounds lately. He's been crawling for a month and a half and has just started pulling himself up on things. I'm very curious to see when he starts walking. So far he's been on roughly the same track developmentally as his big brother, which means he might start walking in about 2 months. Only time will tell, though! He's got almost 4 teeth (and doesn't handle the teething process to well). Sleeping got worse again due to teething and sickness. This winter has been brutal in terms of colds and flu! I'm still so thankful that that is the only kind of sickness my kids (and us parents) have to deal with right now. It's a pain, but so much better than being in the hospital for anything, or dealing with a more serious illness!

Two really fun things about S right now are the way he giggles about things and talks to himself, and the way he expresses his love to all of us. He makes lots of little sounds all the time-humming and mumbling to himself when he's sleepy or eating or playing. He also has started doing a little giggle to himself or about the things other people are doing. Sometimes when he notices someone doing something, he just starts giggling. It's very cute! As a lovey-dovey little baby, he loves to get and give kisses. As he gets stronger it's gotten a little more painful, but also more cute. He'll grab the sides of my neck, pull my face to himself and "kiss" my mouth with his slobbery little mouth! Or, if he can't manage to find my mouth, my chin or jaw works, too. It's painful and wet, but still very sweet. He'll do it to other people too.

K is changing on what seems like a day to day basis as well. I'm becoming very aware of the fact that he'll be 5 in a few months! He's such a little boy now. All limbs and attitude, discovery and mischief. He says some of the funniest things and uses new words all the time. When I get frustrated, I usually say "dang it". The other day K got frustrated and said, "This is so dang it!" Gotta love the way they apply things!

The two biggest issues with him now are what to do about school next year and how to continue to mold his attitude (manners, listening, obeying, etc). The school issue I'm extremely split on. I've always planned to homeschool, especially in the beginning. I know boys are often treated unfairly in school since the educational system doesn't leave much room for running around and getting energy out or letting kids be more free with their creativity. K is a strong-willed, very active boy and while I would like to see how a trained teacher would reign him in, I also worry that he would be squelched. I also know my own weaknesses and what greater cause for guilt is there than the idea that you are teaching your child wrong-whether by giving in too much or not knowing what exactly he needs? I plan to visit the local school and get a better idea of what it is like and do some more research into a curriculum for homeschool, then make a decision. These next couple of months are a bit intimidating on that front.

Then there is the discipline issue. I still keep coming back to the routine thing in this area, like so many others. I try very hard to give some structure to our days: meal times, bedtime, time on the computer and in front of the TV, play time, etc, etc. I always feel I come up short. I don't know if it will get better once S is bigger and able to follow a similar routine. But I see so clearly how missing sleep, quiet time, meal time or play time windows end up with K acting out, getting snotty, or having some sort of tantrum. I just keep reminding myself to stay consistent and try again when I fail.

Whew, this parenting thing is just so dang complicated!

But I also try to remember to enjoy the little wonders of children: the cuddles and giggles, the trust and love they show us, watching them grow and learn, seeing the times they put what we've taught them into practice (he DOES listen!), seeing myself and my husband reflected in their personalities and faces. I'm never one to over romanticize things (usually the opposite, actually), but there are some truly amazing moments to be had as a parent!