October 19, 2017

Teaching Your Child Independence

So many parents worry about their child being to attached, or too independent. Well I would like to talk to you about life lessons in being more self reliant and aware. Now with older children it is a different story, but they are never too young to start with independent ventures. It will help them later in life more than you know. I am not saying cast you 3 year old into the outdoors on their own, but maybe let them dish their own plate at dinner, or pour their own milk. Let you 6 year old walk into the school on their own.

School was a scary one for me I worried about them getting lost or having a bad day because I didn't take them into the school. Well my children were so independent that they would not let me take them in and I just had to realize that they were big girls and were exercising their independence! They go to school everyday and know where everything is way better than I do so what good was I!

I stand by keeping your baby close as long as you can because one day they will drift away, but there is a line that needs to be put into place when it comes to 'babying them'. Some people look at independence as something that we teach our teenagers so they grow more independent well did you know from the baby age up to five is the most crucial learning time for a child? So why wait, start early on with little things and stand by so you can praise their progress.

When it comes to a small child independence isn't them not needing you anymore it is about you teaching them to do the little things on their own. For example, brushing their teeth, you start them off and brush them thoroughly then give them the brush and let them have a try! You do not need to leave the room or anything, just stand by and let them show you how big they are!

I would like to share a few steps that I have taken with my children at different milestones in their life. Now this is just from my own experience and I have had to do them all at different ages with my four children, because like I always say no child is the same. Use what works at whatever stage you feel it fits into and start slow. Patience will be needed to allow your child to feel comfortable. If they see you getting frustrated then guess what?? They stop trying, because they know they are not doing it right and they do not want to upset you!

Step 1 (start here!)

I suggest begining when baby is around 4-6 months with tummy time, down on the floor. Do not run over at the first little noise and pick them up! Let them get flustered a bit. That sounds horrible but that is how they will build their strength to begin moving around and rolling over. If you are picking them up right away then they are not getting the exercise they need to get stronger, and now they know that with a little fuss they get their way...lol Babies are much smarter than most people realize.  

Now after they get that strength and start moving guess what? It is time for you to sit back and see that independence in action. Even as a baby they will suprise you. This is the stage of mischief and eating crap of the floor. Seriously lay on your belly and look around, now every spec of anything you see on that floor is going in your babies mouth. So take a little independence away and make them lunch while you vacuum! Now put up those baby gates and watch them play!! (Be sure to baby proof)

Step 2

So now that you have been run raged keeping up with a mobile baby are you ready to move onto the next milestone? Here comes standing up on the furniture and scooting along the front of the couch. Now this is an important stage as well, because out of instinct we want to catch them, and hold their hands while they walk. Guess what mom? You have to let go! If you hold on they will want you to keep holding on!! I suggest a push toy so they grow independent from you and do it on their own! Now like I said this doesn't mean baby is ready to be alone and doesn't need you it is just preparing them for life. So stand in front of them a few steps and have them follow you! 

Also are you still feeding baby? This would be a great time to hand over the utensils and let them have a try at it! I know they can grab a handful of food and shovel it in, but they will still need to learn all about those utensils so go ahead and let them make a mess! 

Step 3

So now that baby is getting around and turning you into a mom zombie lets talk about independence in the toddler years. These are the most important years so if you do not start until now it will be fine. In reality some are fine not even taking this advice, but I will still share it! During this stage in life Children are so inquisitive so take advantage of that. Do not dodge their why's, even though they drive you crazy. Instead come down to their level and play with them and let them show you what they can do. Play house and let them be the mom, or get them a kitchen set and let them make you fake lunch. Kids love feeling like your happy little helper so let them.
Do not treat them like a baby, because they will not like it, also do not talk to them in baby talk. I have found talking to them and with them like a person and not a pet or baby will give you much better results. It also makes them feel like a big kid and that in-turn leads to that independence I was talking about, because they feel like they can do more being a big kid. 

Step 4

Now this is the final step of teaching independence I will give for the first five years of a Childs life, because I am still working on the next few years with my 6 and 8 year old. Lets begin with preschool and Kindergarten talk. Now here is where it gets super hard. I know it is hard to let go when they go to school. I mean they are your babies and you are putting them in the hands of people you don't really know as well as you think. So how do you give your child a lesson in independence when school starts? 

Let that little on dress themselves, now not everyday, but give them a turn to give it a try no matter how silly they may look. Also velcro will be your friend, but only until they learn to tie. If they cannot tie do not get them tie shoes, I mean seriously it is just frustrating for everyone around!! Next do not take them to their desk and baby them as you leave. Mom as hard as it is you take them to the door and then give them the morning good bye. I know that this is a hard task for some which is why I always encourage starting the independence teachings at a younger age.

They are going to attach to you and not want to let go so of course for the first few days take them in set them down, come down to their level and let them know it is okay and you will be back. Make sure they know you are leaving and you walk out! Do not sneak away or make a crazy dash for the door, because this action can be very traumatizing for a child. Then work on leaving when they are at their locker or their door. It will not happen overnight, so keep working at it!

Now that you have my Steps and you have skimmed through them do not worry about following them to the T, like I said it is different with every child. These are more of a guide and not a rule book. The most important thing to remember is that if you are flustered or not happy neither are they! They look to you for everything so teach them something that will benefit them and you for a life time. Independence is needed at all stages of life and does not mean letting your baby go off on their own, but lessons for both you and your child! As a mom you never want to let go, but since on day we all have to make sure they know everything about independence before that day sneaks up on you! 

October 17, 2017

Becoming Someones Mother

Are you expecting or have you recently given birth to a beautiful little boy/girl? Either way good for you and good luck. Becoming a parent takes a toll, but it is a toll that you will be glad you paid as you watch that beautiful baby bloom into an amazing person. Watching our little ones grow has really got me all sappy lately, because I have discovered a new liking to blogging. With blogging comes photos, and I have been looking at old photos for days now.

When I think back to the day we found out we were going to be parents it is kind of a blur, but I still remember the emotions that took over when I looked at that pee stick. It was a little overwhelming after it really set it. I didn't know if I was ready to be somebodies mother. Do you have any idea what that means? Do you know what a mom does and what will be needed from you to make that babies life amazing? What if I was a horrible mother and my child hated me, or didn't respect me, because I wasn't the mother they wanted?

Well guess what I was fine and now I am a mother of four amazing children, and they are total nightmares at times! Not because of our lack of parenting, but because since becoming a mother I have learned that children are challenging. Even the supermom at the store, that looks like she has it all figured out, is still learning and being challenged by her children day in and day out. Trust me she may look like she has this mom shit down, but guess what inside she wants to scream..lol

So step away from the parenting books and take a breath! I am not saying don't read them, because I do think there is a lot of great information in them. I am just simply saying stop trying to study for an exam that there is no right study guide for. Take it all in slowly and a little at a time. This is not a time crunch to know everything right now. Being a parent is a learning experience that will start the day you find out your are expecting until the end of you time!

I recommend checking out all those blogging moms. Even before I began writing I enjoyed getting on the computer and finding blogs about real moms and their parenting. I was so relieved to see that I was not the only one out there freaking out! There were moms just like me wondering what we were doing wrong, when there was not anything wrong. It was great to read a post and be able to say "OMG I am not the only one!!"

I sometimes think that is where so many people do go wrong though is comparing yourself to supermoms. Which by the way most of those supermoms you see on FaceBook are what I like to call "Social Moms". Which is where they fake a perfect parenting plan and life to trick you into thinking they are better. When really they are not, but it makes them feel good to make you envy them and their fake life they portray on the internet.

A mother is a very special person in a child's life and you should not take it lightly, but you should also not be stressing. I know it sounds crazy, but it is still the advice I give to everyone with those parenting jitters, but when that baby arrives you will figure it all out. You can prepare all you want but life opens a door you didn't even know existed when that beautiful baby takes their first peek into the world. It is a door that is holding back everything you need to be that parent you want to be. It is not perfect and everything is a little fuzzy, but that is because life doesn't want to over whelm you.

As your baby grows everything will become clear in time, because like I said parenting is a learning experience and you will be learning as fast as they are. You can read book after book, but they will not have all the answers. A majority of lessons learned in parenting are learned through trial and error of what works for you and your family. Do not parent a way just because you saw it work wonders for a friend or what have you. Chances are you will not get the same results and will just be wasting your time. You need to find your way and make it work.

October 5, 2017

When Children Play

How do you handle your children when they are behaving like animals? When they are running through the house like wild animals, making noises you would hear in the jungle, and destroying everything in their path? Do you stop the madness with a look, the yell of your voice, or the ring of a bell? Well as a mother of four wild beasts let me give you a little advice....DO NOT STOP THE MADNESS!!!

Join in on the fun! Enjoy a break from being the enforcer, come down to their level and join in on the memories being had. They will remember it for a lifetime! Children are easy to please, and easy to have an amazing time with. Forget about the newest fanciest toy, gadget, or tablet. Have a good time with some family time!

Our children, especially now that it is colder outdoors, get a little stir crazy being inside! I know all children do, and sometimes we will give them a little tech time to calm everyone and catch our bearings. Other times it is time for fun to be had, and memories to be made. Dad is usually the more fun one than mom, but we both have our strong points. Dad usually ends up getting jumped, where as mom isn't a wrestler or pillow fighter. I am the calmer one that usually pulls out the craft box or coloring books...lol

Either way instead of trying to fight a battle that 9 times out of 10 you will lose, why not join in on the fun. Let those little ones run out some of that energy while getting some great photo ops out of them. I enjoy watching our children run and be crazy, so I try to keep up with my camera and shoot as many photos as I can. I can not stress enough how important it is to capture memories, and mom don't forget to get in on as many as you can as well.

Children are only little and crazy for so long, so before they grow and become to cool to play with mom and dad get in there and make some memories. One day they will have social lives, other engagements at school, or even jobs! It is crazy to think about, but I swear every time I blink we are buying a new wardrobe because they sprouted 6 inches and are another year older!! I cannot wait to see the people they become, but for now I am going to cherish the crazy!

I may complain, and I sometimes seem to use them as an excuse to look like a total mom zombie; but I do not actually think it is an excuse but rather a reason. There is a reason I do not spend the time getting all dolled up when it is not necessary. If I spent more time on me I would miss out on way too much with them, so next time it sounds like I regret them, just remember that I am just expressing my way of being a mom.

September 18, 2017

Snoring is not the only sign of sleep apnea!

Hello reader,

I have returned, and I am sorry about the absence, but this momma's schedule gets crazy this time of year. In the time it has been since I last posted my children started school, I started school, and we have gone through a surgery with our youngest daughter. It has been quite the adventure, but now that I have my schedule organized I am back and will be posting more regularly.

We are continuing our journey of helping our daughter get a good night's sleep. For the past two years we have been going through a battle of trying to get our daughter feeling better. If you are not already caught up then for a little back story please read the following posts.

For the avid follower and those that have been following our battle. We are nearing the end! How exciting to finally see the finish line! Last week our daughter went through a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and a turbinoplasty (which is where they cauterize the turbinates in the nose to reduce swelling and open the airway). She is doing amazing and we are so anxious to see how well this surgery has worked. 

Our journey started with chronic migraines and behavioral issues, then later turned in to a case of extremely severe sleep apnea. When we were told that our daughter stops breathing 6 to 7 times in one hour we were in shock. The worst part of this journey was even now that we were aware all we could do was sit back and watch. There was nothing we could do to help her sleep. Now we have reached a point of hope to see our daughter get back to herself, and have fun with her sibling.

She has spent endless hours on the couch, in her bed, in our bed, or simply on the recliner in the living room, because her body was exhausted and her migraines were getting the best of her. It was a horrible sight to see, because she was such a bubbly little girl before it all began. Then she simply became a zombie in from of our eyes, and talk about emotional. 

It was frustrating at time, but once we saw the big picture and knew about what was happening it was just painful for us. We could not even imagine the pain she was feeling, but we knew if we didn't do something we were going to watch her get even worse. She was acting out really bad and we did not realize it was because of the pain she was feeling, but now that we do it all makes sense. I know when I am in pain I get flustered and I am not the nicest person to be around.

With that being said I would just like to reach out to other parent, grandparents, and guardians. I would like to share our story, because for years doctors and parents have overlooked the symptoms of sleep apnea. Our daughter would have been another looked over case had we not found somebody willing to over look the fact that she didn't snore. Our local hospital rejected the request to test her because she was not a snorer, but we were lucky enough to have an amazing neurologist in another town that set us up with a doctor at the hospital he works at.

When we arrived they were all super friendly and were half way convinced that maybe we were looking into this for no reason, because her tonsils were not enlarged, which is the next sign they check for after snoring. He went ahead and did the test anyway just to eliminate it from our list of possibilities. We spent the night with her and when we woke up the next morning our test was over and the sleep tech came in to inform us how it all went, and she informed us that our daughters have very severe sleep apnea for a child.

To my surprise we had our diagnosis, but now what? When I think of sleep apnea I think of old people that have to wear masks, but this was our 4 year old daughter! I had no idea kids could even have sleep apnea, and how will I get her to wear a mask? Well my husband and I asked what we were to do next, and the tech let us know that she would be referred to and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT). 

When we went to the ENT they informed us of surgeries and other possibilities of thing they could correct, because she was still young enough. So last week she went under the knife and is no healing from her corrective surgeries. It will be a few weeks until we can do another sleep study to be sure that surgery was successful. If it was not then we will be starting over and possibly be getting a cpap mask and machine for out daughter. Most children do not have to undergo another test, but because she did not snore before, then we will not have an indicator of whether it worked or not.

The hardest challenge for us was not only the pain, and the behavioral problems, but simply the lack of symptoms we had heard of for sleep apnea. When we read articles and talked to the doctors they are looking for children that snore, are overweight, have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, or restless sleepers. It was not until later that they added in bed wetting and behavioral problems, which were two symptoms we did have, but with her not being a snorer or extremely restless they looked no further.

If you have even a hinkling that your child may have some sort of sleep deprivation, do not hesitate to ask your doctor to do a sleep study. Do not take no for an answer, because I almost did and look what happened. It was our answer and I am so glad that I was determined and was not giving up eliminating or proving the diagnosis. 

You know your child better than anyone, and they look to you for the answer to their...well everything! A child cannot always tell you exactly how they feel or on a scale of one to ten how bad their pain is. Our daughter had severe migraines and we still cannot imagine the pain she feels when she gets one! 

August 21, 2017

How Honest is Too Honest For Children?

Do you teach you children beyond textbook learning? I mean do you teach them about the things they do not learn about in school? The direction I am taking this is learning about the reality of the world around them. Like what drugs really do to people, what is going on in our country, or death. At what age do you talk to your children about these subjects? How early would you say is too early?

Well I have done the google search, and I have talked with my hubby; but are we wrong to be so honest with our children? We have taken a different approach with our children when it comes to the world they live in. Todays kids are finding out so much from technology and kids are sharing these things at school. My daughter is learning about things I didn't even hear of until I was twice her age. Why is this happening?

Well instead of panicking and making up some story about her dead cat, we told her he was hit my a car and we explained death to her. When she was harassed at school I told her that sometimes people are just assholes even if you play the nice card, and sometimes telling a teacher can make it worse. I mean seriously she was six, but I am no idiot, and I will not treat her like one. She is a child and todays world is so much different than when I was that age. I want her to know she can ask us anything, and we will be honest.

So I know some people are thinking we are the worst parents ever, but let me explain. We do not go out of our way to teach them about the bad, but if we are asked we spill. I would rather they learn from us than from some punk kid playing around on google, with not supervision. I do not believe in lying to my children, because then I wouldn't be practicing what I preach. What kind of message is that sending? Not that I really care what others say about our parenting, but seriously society is so ugly and if we hide them from it what will happen when to go out into it?

Even with holidays spirits like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, I have explained them differently to where I am not lying, but I am not taking her childhood innocence either. She knows they will not come if she doesn't sleep, and she knows that when she gets old enough she will know who they are too. Its not a whole crazy lie, but its also not corrupting information, that will ruin their childhood.

For instance, when you child is harassed/bullied at school what do you tell them? I told my daughter to go elsewhere and stay away from that child and if it persisted tell me and we would go to the staff. The first few time I did have her tell a teacher and guess what the harassment got worse to the point she was physically violated by a child at recess, and as afraid as she was she did tell us, and honestly she helped a child that was having a very hard life outside of school and was taking it out on other kids.

I know not every story works out, but for this child it did and now she and my daughter are very good friends and I am so happy that my child was able to see her in a different light after everything that happened. She knew that this little girl needed friends and instead of being a jerk back or hating her for what happened my six year old daughter opened her heart and let that little girl into her life as a friend. It made my heart melt when she told me they were becoming friends.

I like to think it is because of our way of raising her, but maybe she is just a very special little girl. Whatever it is has rubbed off onto her sister, who by the way is a mouthy little jerk...lol Seriously though her little sister befriended one child last year with a weight problem. No one like him and they were always taunting him, so my five year old daughter stood up to his bullies for him and played with him at recess no matter what others had to say! How awesome is that?

I love my children, and I want them to come to their father and I with everything! Call me crazy for wanting to know everything my daughter has going on in her life. I am a helicopter parent and I want my daughter to be comfortable coming to me with ANYTHING!! I know as she grows she will get more distant, but maybe with the honesty we show her now will keep her somewhat close so we can keep her and her siblings safe from the ugliness in this world. I know I can't make them stay forever and they will grow and have their own lives, but I want them to have the best life they can while I have them.

We are not a wealthy family, and cannot take them on a big fancy vacation, or buy them the coolest new toys. We are also so far from perfect; but when it comes to our children they are our world. They always come first! We have changed our lives so much in that last eight years for them and I wouldn't change it for the world! They are amazing little babies and I cannot wait to see them become adults. I cannot wait to see where their lives takes them!

August 16, 2017

Like Father, Like Son

Do you have a son? Do you ever imagine what kind of man he will be when he is older? My son just turned two and he is so smart it is unbelievable. He surprises me everyday with a new word or new wonder. I look at him no as my baby, but now day he will be so much more and have babies of his own. I often wonder what kind of man he will be, as well as what kind of daddy he will be.

I imagine him being like his father, who by the way is an incredible husband, father, and hard worker. He is always there when we need him and he does everything for us. He keeps us safe, works to keep our family safe, warm, and fed. I hope our little boy will watch and learn! He could learn a lot from his daddy and when I see them together it makes my heart melt.

Daddy shows him his ways, and I am happy to watch them grow together. I watch them together, and it is like I get a glimpse of the man my little boy will hopefully someday become. My son has the most amazing dad in the world, who has the patience of...well okay our boy is 2 and it can be hard to have patience when he is moving tools, but you get the point. He is there and the smile on their faces are silent, but they say so much at the same time.

When it comes to our curious little boy he may be moms baby, but he is dads extra set of hands. He is already learning his way around a vehicle, and the shop. He is such great company to his daddy now, but when he is old enough daddy will have it made. His little body will be perfect to fit under all the vehicles, and his hands will be just the right size to fit in all the cracks.

For a man raising their little guy is like looking their retirement in the eye...lol I wonder if my husband can see the man that will take over for him. I imagine in the future while daddy sits and enjoys a cold drink, he will be  watching him do all the work. I am not a dad so maybe I am sending the wrong message, but that is how i picture it, because thats what I see when I look at my girls. Soon they will be cooking and cleaning, while is sit back and watch...lol

These two are so beautiful together and I cannot wait to document them growing together and watching my son learn everything his daddy knows. It will be a beautiful story he will be able to share with a son of his own!! A daddy is a special man that can never be forgotten. Even if daddy is a step daddy it is still special. Like they say so many men can father children, but it takes a special man to be a daddy!! Lets praise all this daddy's and show them how special they really are!! 

August 14, 2017

Life is Precious!

Do you ever just sit back and watch life pass you by? Do you ever just wish there was a pause button in your life; so you can enjoy that beautiful moment for just one more minute? I watch my children playing in the yard, or in the park wishing I could just hold on for a little longer. Now that the summer is ending, it has really hit me that so many moments are going to happen without me. They will be at school for most of the day soon, and I am honestly very sad. I am happy at the same time for the little break I will get, but mostly just sad.

Every time a new school year starts time speeds up and before I know it my kids are another year older. Following that year is an even faster summer, that I can never find enough days for all the adventures I want to share with them. (Sigh) I wish I could just find that damn remote to press pause for just a few moments. Why is it going by so fast, and what happened to my precious little babies that needed mom?

Everyday these beautiful little people I created become more and more independent, and I thought I would be ecstatic about it; but I'm not. I love being needed by my children, because they give me a sense of purpose. What am I going to do when they don't need me anymore? I know they need to be more independent, but I am just not ready to give them that yet. I also know it is about them and not me, but I don't care I am going to be selfish a little longer.

I hope I do not sound like a crazy obsessive mom, because I know I am and I would hate for everyone else to know...lol I just love them so much, and soon it will be so different! My husband and I have started teaching them to have a little more independence and do more for themselves; but mom is not so good at it. I give in and do so much more than I know they need me too, but it is just hard to let go after being home with them daily for the last 4 years.

I try so hard to capture photos and videos of my children thinking it will make the moment last longer, but it doesn't. Don't get me wrong I am glad I have taken all the photos and videos I have, but it is nothing like hitting pause. It makes for a great memory later on, but as for staying in that moment...its no pause button. I use to look at it like a pause button, but I know in reality that it will be years before I see it again, and my children will be so much bigger and wiser!

I preach to everyone to capture that photo or video unedited to share with your children later in life. No one wants all their memories to be edited and posed, because that is not real!! I love having beautiful edited photos to show off on our wall or social media, but I am all about a real picture of our reality. I may not always post them or share them, but I have put them in a little time capsule for our future use!

So take the time to spend precious moments with your family when you can. I know many have busy lives and that makes it hard, but do not let your routine take over your life. You will miss out on so much if you do not step off the main road and enjoy life for what it is. When I look at my children and my husband all I can do is smile, because we may not get to have all the time in the world together; but when we are together life feels so surreal.