Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Your Advice




You know, I wrote this post for a reason. It's because i'm struggling. We've had a good few months of really lovely behaviour around here, gentle hands and everything. But for some reason, out of no where, the young man has had a burst of... umm... spirit?




Photos by you know who during this family session.

Help me mummy friends (and dads), I don't want to mope but I do want your advice*. Give me your BEST parenting know how for the turbo charged child.  What works in your home? what are the best books you have read on the issue? How do you remain calm when the shit hits the fan? 

hheelppppppppppp.

xo

* if you suggest wine, it's cool, i'm already onto it.

80 comments:

  1. Em, All i can say is when i'm losing patience with Jude for what seems like the OPPOSITE reasons sometimes (when he is clingy, needy, whiney and having massive meltdowns about seemingly nothing) i look inward and try and give myself some love.

    It seems a bit selfish, but i am always a better and calmer parent (and human being) when i'm filling up my cup too.

    I find having a long bath, a tea, ditching the housework, calling in the grandparents or Dadda, reading a book (not related to parenting!) going for long walks, taking myself out for a coffee... and many more things - regularly - will help fill me up. Alone time is a need for me, it's the way i process all that's happening in my life and catch my breath. It's easy to put your kids, your work, your relationship before 'alone time' but it will help all of those areas of your life.

    So go fill your cup! Make it happen, no excuses. Even when it seems impossible - that is when it's most important.

    Sending you love. And just as a P.S. - you inspire me, constantly with your honesty, sense of humour and the way you live, decorate, cook, parent, grow things n stuff...

    x

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    1. you know what's up, humpie. I'm with you- i'm a much better parent when i've had some me time. fact.

      xo em

      p.s- thanks for loving all over me at the end there.

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  2. does it make you feel any better if I say I don't cope and I haven't got any tips or advice? nope, didn't think so.

    each period of 'oh wow you have busy boys don't you' ... would push me until I thought I would explode, spontaneously combust and implode at the same time and then without warning it's followed by an amazing period where they BLOW MY MIND with their love and awesomesness and repeat.

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    1. you know that makes me feel better my solidarity sister!

      xo em

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  3. We have all been there.

    I think Zeph is much like Charlie, a screamer as a baby, then not able to sleep, doesn't eat very well, runs on adrenalin, when he gets hurt it's is full on drama etc etc.

    I wasn't very good a coping with him when he was a baby and when Ru came along I practically ignored him for 2 years (post natal depression), and I really struggle at times now.

    But saying this it has become easier.

    Charlie is now 6... he goes to school, gets excited about things like hexbugs, scooby doo and riding his bike.

    In fact teaching him to ride a bike I think has single handedly made his life easier. Once he was up and away he realised he didn't NEED me, didn't need to control situations, lash out or throw tantrums.

    He was in control of his own speed, route and mind. When he went off on his bike he hums the song to Wallace and Gromit.

    He's off in his happy little world.

    Whenever Dan & I are stretched to the limit with our boys we take them out to the woods where they can ride their bike safe and for as long as they like.

    Soon they calm, listen to the trees, the birds, spot squirells and chase dogs.

    This is all I can offer you Em... bikes and fresh air.

    Start with a balance bike.. we got them both a Puky. Fantastic fun.

    Also, I was once told this mantra.... (and I firmly believe it)

    'A happy mummy makes a happy child.'

    Go out and do what makes you happy for a while... then come home smiling.

    It works, believe me.

    Good luck hun.... sending you love (and strength, and wine!) across the net.
    xxx

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    1. Thanks Lou! I actually have a scooter packed away for zephs birthday, might have to drag that sucker out early! Outside time really does work, how do you cope when it's snowing outdoors?

      xo em

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    2. we haven't had much this year thankfully. But I've heard it might dump a load tonight so I will let you know. Days when we can't go out are tough... we end up feeling cooped up and crazy. Lack of garden doesn't help. LEGO is always the way. Hope you find some calm in the crazy today. xxx

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    3. also how do you get this reply thing? I like it! Can't see it on my blog thing. x

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  4. Oh our spirited boys wax and wane like the moon. Mine has been nightmare the last two weeks, he lost his part time job and is in a bit of a funk....its so hard not to react with a temper and yelling(Im very guilty of both) Keeping the spirited ones outside running around as much as possible has helped, plenty of sleep on the flipside for him and you. Preschool or daycare for him to give you and Lady Baby a breather. Vodka instead of wine?? Sorry love hard to give advice ...we just learn to deal with our spirited ones as tiring as it is. Big hugs xx

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    1. oh yes, the old temper. I know it well! Sorry to hear about your boys job- that must be hard for the adolescent ego (and back pocket!).

      xo em

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  5. First of all breathe. My advice may be slightly tainted by the Autism Spectrum factor in our house. Keep doing some things that make you happy and refreshed. Lots of fresh air, exercise, friend plays, hands on activities, pulling apart broken camera's or radio's..... a backyard pile of things to create a space like planks of wood, old metal buckets, flags, pine-cones.... your little mister can create many an imaginative space. Hope that helped xxxx

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    1. wow, amazing selection of activities that i KNOW my young one would LOVE!! I'm going to hit the op shop and find some stuff he can dismantle, real stuff, not toy stuff.

      xo em

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  6. Just know you're amazing. I think that's all the help you need.
    Now... drink up! x

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  7. Oh sweetheart, I'm on struggle street right now too. Today, I yelled and grumped and used time out WAY too much. NOT the sort of Mama I'm wishing to be, but it is SO hard with boys. My youngest one is actually causing the most trouble at the moment. The only thing I will say (and please don't take this as advice, because I actually don't think I'm anyone for giving advice at the mo) is that consistency is the key. Even if that means repeating yourself constantly. I told hubby when he got home this evening that I've started the littlie on a stringent course of discipline... yes, I'm not quite sure who I've become either :o/
    Hope tomorrow is better and the day after that even better Em xo

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    1. nothing worse than feeling like you could be doing a WAY better job. Those days get me down. It's comforting to know that we all go through it through, thats what I love about the blogs- such a great way to share and connect.

      xo

      may your days be easy also!! EASY!! come on, give us a little bit of EASY!!

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  8. I too have a VERY spirited little boy. I have learned to choose my battles and use a loving hand at all times. I will share more of what we deal with privately if you would like.

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    1. best phrase, loving hand. amazing.

      i emailed you- would love more info!

      xo

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  9. as a mum of all girls, i have no advice on raising spirited boys. i do, however, agree with Sarah in that you have to fill your own cup {wine tonight it seems :)}you need to look after yourself well to be able to look after them well. sometimes you need to be a priority, as hard as that may be. the other ladies have it right too - lots of exercise, fresh air and most of all LOVE, which that boy is definitely getting. my husband has cousins that were, what some people would say, spirited...others would say something else - they were absolutely full on from when they woke til their heads hit the pillow at night....but they have grown to be the most wonderful & loving boys their mothers could ever ask for. there is hope. you just need to ride out the now, it goes by in a flash, even when some bad days feel like they go on forever. hope tomorrow is a much better day. hope tomorrow is much better.

    P.S. i'm a bit of a stalker of your blog when i get a chance. you and your family are beautiful. x

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    1. ALL GIRLS, oh mercy, i can only image the wardrobes!

      It really does go by in a flash- it already has. must take heed and enjoy it all. even the hard times. Thanks for the reminder!

      xo

      p.s thanks for your kind words too

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  10. I'm not a mama so I can't help you with parenting advice. what i can say is that all problems somehow seem easier to cope with when you take a step back and allow yourself to breathe for a minute. I say call those wonderful grandparents, have a cup of tea and a bath and take yourself out for a couple of hours of 'me' time (shops, massage, lunching ... whatever does it for you) and then cross that bridge with a full tank of 'you can do this spirit'.

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    1. thats one thing that kids can't change- alone time always rules!!!

      massage, shops, lunching- you've got me dreaming baby!

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  11. Oh Em, it is something most mums go through at times and it makes us act unlike the mothers we wished we were.
    boys can be a little bit more demanding & slightly rougher & more aggressive.
    sometimes we ourselves need the time-out to take a breather & come back more energised.
    use the people around you as support & give yourself some time away from the situation, 10 minutes, 1 hour, whatever you need.
    we do alot of drawing, crafting, imaginative play to calm him down when he gets over excited.
    sending you big, big hugs sweet lady ♥

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    1. It is so universal hey. Crafting is such a great way to be still but 'busy' we love the playdough here, it saves us most days! Your words are always so kind Cathie, it never goes unnoticed.

      xo em

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  12. I have a spirited child. She drove me round the bend as a toddler, and I drove myself mad with the mummy guilts. In hindsight I did my best. Now she is 8 she is all kinds of quirky, individual awesomeness. Spirited kids grow into cool adults. I found the book "Raising you spirited child" by Mary Sheedy Kurchin really helpful, mostly because she put a positive spin on things, when I was being pretty negative about it all.
    xx

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    1. quirky- i could not hope for more in my own children.

      Been reading raising your spirited child- most amazing book ever!!

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  13. I really don't have much advice either, as I struggle sometimes too with this exact issue. Just remember:

    _it's not forever
    _you need to fill your own cup up so you have something to offer
    _you are doing a great job
    _what other people think doesn't matter a jot in the long run
    _you feel this way because you care, and that is a wonderful asset in a human being, and should be essential in a Mum
    _to draw on support from wherever you can, as much as you need to (physical & emotional support)


    Most importantly (and this is one I tell myself in my head every day) the replies to your posts on spirited children proves there are other parents out there of spirited children, so there are people out there who aren't judging you harshly, and are probably looking at you with empathy, thinking 'been there, done that, that poor Mum, look at how great a job she is doing and how well she is handling the situation' or.... alternatively, if you aren't handling it well, and you are about to burst into tears, or have already done so (I've been there done that, most embarrassing) they're probably thinking, 'thank god I'm not the only one, she needs some wine and her feet up'. The whole 'what terrible parenting skills she has' thing would not have crossed their minds at all!

    And for those people who do judge you - it has most likely gone straight out of their minds within 10 minutes, and who cares about their judgement anyway?

    I also constantly remind myself that I'm doing a good job, despite the fact that it's a very rocky road. The very fact that I care, that I'm concerned, that I'm worried, that I'm upset, that it is even affecting me at all means I'm doing a better job than a whole stack of disengaged parents out there.

    As for activities for spirited and highly energetic kids - if you have access to a trampoline, put them on, shut that zipper and let them jump out some of that energy! Getting outdoors as much as possible, running around, swimming, going somewhere you feel comfortable with giving them free-reign for a while. A little garden bed all of their own that they can dig and if possible, dig for worms. They love those squirmy suckers.

    When it's raining, using the lounge cushions to make giant 'landing mats' and letting them jump off the lounge to their hearts content is a great way of using up energy, and also letting them feel like they are in control, and not being held back. I always made it very clear with this one though that it was only for when Mum was around, and it was an occasional thing.

    Hula hoops.

    Putting on loud music and having a dance-off.

    There's a fine line with my little miss when it comes to needing to let that energy out and feel like she has periods where she is not constrained, and with her sometimes being overstimulated, and needing some quiet time to bring herself back, and help her self-regulate. For these times, quiet music, some baroque music is generally the ticket there, then reading together, colouring in, stickers, puzzles, card games (we play memory, she beats me ALL THE TIME, and I'm not even letting her, snap is too loud and active when she needs to calm down) and don't underestimate the simplistic beauty of noughts & crosses. Takes a while to teach them, but the repetitiveness of the game seems to soothe my little miss ( I do let her win sometimes here, she always does the same moves, she can't help it, but the game doesn't last long if she loses constantly!). Basically, anything that will provide enough mental stimulation to keep them there, but in a way that induces focus.

    Also - maybe not the case for you, every child is different - but Miss J is affected by lights, movement, noise etc. So if she needs to bring the level down, but it's too bright, or in a busy area, or very noisy, it just won't happen.

    Chin up - and your new mantra: I am doing a great job, because I care

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    1. 'I am doing a great job, because i care' - love it.

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    2. DANCE OOOFFFFFFFFF! we put the beach boys on this arvo after your excellent advice. Love seeing my kids wiggle. You know its your first point that ets me the most- it's not forever!!!! and it's not is it. there are a few hard days and a few great weeks. cycle repeats.

      xo em

      p.s im doing a great job because i care, im doing a great job because i care.

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  14. Wow such a great amount of really valuable advice here. I am struggling too with a boisterous, spirited four year old. I constantly feel like I have the loudest, cheekiest, naughtiest kiddo at the party. Good to heed the advice saying to ignore those who judge. Sometimes we do feel all alone tho!

    The best advice I read in umpteen parenting books is to remember the child you love, keep them in your head and heart while you count to ten. It helps when they are wee monsters and test patience to the limit. Wine is also good and the support of other mamas- you have amazing readers! Thanks Emily and all of you for sharing, Jo x

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    1. Remember the child you love, keep them in your head and heart while you count to ten. such excellence, 10 seconds and 3 deep breaths can change everything.

      thanks jojo (and yes, wine is good)

      xo em

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  15. Sometimes I give myself a time out from my son. He's always been pretty well behaved except occasionally his "spirit" raises it's head. I tend to yell and lose my patience so the best thing for me to do is walk away for a minute and come back.

    And just remember this too shall pass!

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    1. this too shall pass- i need it tattooed on my butt.... or maybe some where more visible ;)

      xo em

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  16. my experience is that often just before a birthday things go a bit haywire and behaviour hits a wall, I thought I was imagining it when I figured this out with my first but sure enough it has happened with all four. I think it's partly that often around the time they turn a year older they reach some big developmental milestones and it's as if they can't manage these and behaviours which they have previously done ok with. I know for my two spirited small people that others peoples expectations play into it, they hear things like 'you're getting to be a big kid' and 'when you are 3 you'll do this or that' and I know it actually made them a little anxious as well as excited which led to changes in behaviour. With boys you get the added joy of testosterone bursts, rather than a steady trickle of testosterone boys get bursts of it and I think it's a little like bad PMT for us. I find it usually takes a few weeks for the off the wall crazy behaviour which even in my gentle boy means lots of shouting, kicking etc, to settle down again after one of these. My guess is maybe coming up to 3yrs combined with a testosterone
    burst means Zeph's behaviour has changed. I have found lots of physical activity combined with trying to be very routine based for a few weeks often helps. If they know exactly what was going to happen in a day it seems to provide a balance to those out of control feelings, not easy for me though who isn't really a planner and likes sponteneity much more. I hope this helps a little, even when I could't stop the crazy days it did help to maybe understand why they were happening.

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    1. all four. wow. 4. thanks for your perspective- its always just for a season but still such a shock! ahaha poor Zeph with PMT- when both of us have it at the same time its destined to be a disaster!

      xo em

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  17. Oh Em I can remember difficult days when I have felt like a total bitch, wondered where the devil child came from and have been convinced that everything I have done is wrong. Why do we do that to ourselves?
    A few lovely folks have mentioned exercise. A friend and I always used to joke that a boy is like a puppy - they need food (lots), love (lots) and PLENTY of exercise. If they don't get the latter they tend to get into mischief...
    My puppies are now teenagers & I promise you something, like puppies they are very, very sweet and they will remember the food (cake), the love (oh yes) and they remember the fun. They seem to have chosen not to remember the shouty times. Zeph is always going to know that he has an amazing mum who is thoughtful about her role as a mummy and always will want the very best for her beautiful boy. Have some large glasses of wine and make sure you take a peek at him when he is asleep - they are always beautiful then! Big hugs from here x

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    1. first sentence- GOLD!

      such sound advice, thank you karen and also for your encouragement (and wine endorsement).

      WIll have the sleep peek now- can't resist holding his little hand too... so perfect when they are ASLEEP!

      xo em

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  18. I'm still looking for answers for my own little wild-child. If you find any answers I'd love to know! I keep telling myself 'this too will pass' - I'm just not sure if the house (and our sanity) will be intact when it does.
    He can be so sweet and affectionate my heart melts- or he can just seem to want to destroy everything in his path. People tell me it's part of being a toddler - but other toddler's do not seem quite as... bent on testing each and every boundary and rule of gravity!
    The only things I find vaguely helpful are keeping him outside a lot, playing on the trampoline, visiting parks etc, and trying not to let him get sleepy! (That last one doesn't happen all that often as he fights sleep so much - so much to see and do!)
    Yep. Wine is good.
    Passing him on to his dad as soon as he gets home is also good!
    I try to tell myself that if we're just consistent and loving he'lll grow out of it - but in the meantime his little sister is growing up to be a very tough lady as he runs through the house and just bowls her over, or she ducks to avoid being hit with the broom he' using to try to knock down the stuff on top of the cupboard!
    Reading that I'm not the only one dealing with a feisty kid has made me feel a lot less out-on-my-own - thankyou for being honest!

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    1. we are at exactly the same stage Kirsty! Especially with the little sister saga- oh those poor girls!

      we aren't alone... !

      xo em

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  19. Both of my boys are spirited kids, and some days I feel like I'll lose my mind. The most important things I've learned are
    -stop caring about what people think. I know I'm doing my best, and eff all else.
    -know what I need emotionally during their peak spirit phases. I recover with time alone out of the house. It makes a huge difference.
    -remember that the rough patches have expiration dates, and will pass. I remember the hard times before, and how they ended, and it helps, sometimes.

    Good luck. Parenting is not for the weak.

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  20. How old is he? It could be the four year old testosterone rush. They just go all 'man' for a while. Lots of growling etc. It could also be a flexing of muscles, a little bit of power play with the little sister coming along just to remind you who is numero uno. My three all went through it and are now mostly gentle preteens. There is an element of me that just says they are wired differently to us, girls. I did find when the 'feralness' rears its head, speaking in a low calm baby whisperer voice and sitting stroking them or some other quiet physical contact thing can calm them. Mine loved a leg massage. They can't go anywhere when they get a leg massage. I found putting 'man' coloured (blue green) nail polish on them and telling them to be still while it dried could give you a few minutes peace too. Good luck there. In a couple of years you'll be worrying about his reading progress at school. It never ends does it. Babies are really so much easier!

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    1. Annie, thanks so much for your comment- he is just about to turn 3... i think he NEEDS a leg massage! What a fabulous idea!

      xo em

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  21. have you read 'raising boys'? I know its cliche but at least he gives you scientific evidence as to why its 'normal' for boys to act this way.

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    1. yes, i have read it a couple of times. It's so true hey, the behaviour really is normal! I just need to cool it!

      xo em

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  22. Hi Emily, I have very spirited little chappies here too. And with my eldest, Luca, he's a definite kind of spirited, the sensitive kind. I'm only just figuring it out for myself, but it's not sensitive as in shy, but sensitive as in gets overstimulated very easily. Too much going on and he becomes very difficult to handle. As a baby, he enjoyed a good routine of regular naps and regular downtime, otherwise he'd be inconsolable. As a toddler, there were the tantrums and aggression that used to upset me (also because he had severe glue ear which is another story). But now I understand my gorgeous sensitive little boy. As a 4-yr-old he still sleeps 2 hours in the day!!! And still goes down at 7.30-8pm, waking after 7am. He gets resourced from being in the garden with me, watching bugs, collecting crabs, looking for lizards, being in the water and generally being outside. I've discovered how sensitive he really is through a craniosacrel therapist who has really helped him. I'm learning to listen to him more and do less rushing around trying to fill the day. He's just like me, happy pottering. If you want to know more about the craniosacrel therapist, give me a yell. She's local. I'm also reading a book on sensitive children. Let me know too if you want details on that.

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    1. Hi Vanessa, i'd really love the name of that therapist for my gorgeous sensitive boy. :) sarah.humphreys@hotmail.com

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    2. Its a journey to understand them, I agree. But they are wonderful once we get there!

      YEs please i'd love thsoe deets!

      xo em

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  23. I'm going to be honest with you...I SPANK, yes, you read that right, I spank when nothing else works. About once a month, sometimes once a week, but as my children have gotten older, they realize there are rules...and once they step outside the boundaries there are consequences.

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  24. Firstly, I'm sending you biiiiggg hugs. This parenting gig is so much harder than we could have ever imagined isn't it. Know that you're not alone, we are your comrades. Sometimes parenting is like going into battle!
    I agree with what many others have said in that you have to look after yourself first. This is a real tough one for me and i'm only starting to put this into place, but I know in order to make a difference to how I want to parent, I need to take the time for me. It's not about making the time, it's about taking the time. If Dave is anything like my husband, he's always telling me to have my own time, but I had been neglecting to take it. I know I need it though, so when the shit does hit the fan, which it does everyday, I feel a lot more able to cope with it.
    One thing I've been told, which I am trying to remind myself, is that I have to be aware of my own needs and make a conscious decision to make myself a priority.
    These full on kids are so flippin exhausting. My boy is not full on, so I don't know if there is a difference between boys and girls that are full on, But i know in order to try to keep things as peaceful as possible i always need to be one step ahead of Ruby when it comes to activities, on days i cannot be arsed, i end up paying for it. Being outside is very helpful, but when I need her to calm down I'll get out the rice, and I've started to help her to recognise when she is becoming frustrated with something (and hence when she would normally act aggresively), and to go by herself and breathe for a little bit. It doesn't always work and she still throws herself on the floor when I haven't done her hair exactly as she wanted it (for example), but we are both learning. She does take a lot more effort and time than my other children, but the extra effort pays off. I also find that she responds very well and her behaviour is better when I tell her how proud I am of the good things that she does.
    You're doing a terrific job Em, you're not alone, I struggle too xo

    Oh, and have you read this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/dont-carpe-diem_b_1206346.html Resonated with me, hope it does for you too

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  25. Breathe.
    Remember he's just a kid, sometimes expectations are too high and they need to be allowed to be who they are.

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  26. Just so you know, I think that there is not a mother that doesn't deal with frustration at some point. Some of them choose not to tell!!! It is all sunshine and happiness when everything is coasting along smoothly and I find this happens when I am organised, not in a hurry, not preocuppied or busy and not stressed. So for me, if I am working on my stress levels, the kids behaviour improves. Breathe, choose your battles, don't react and remember that the housework can wait. I have resigned to the fact that with three children, my house will never be show home perfect. When they are acting out is when they need you the most so, as much as it annoys me at times to stop what I am doing, I do. And I give them my undivided attention for a bit. Get outside, playdough, colouring, cooking. Also sometimes they are acting out when life is too busy. I have had some success in stopping uneccessary activities to free up the days a bit more.And just one more thing, there emotions are totally relevant to them so sometimes it helps to empathise with them and see things from a childs perspective. Like I said though, we all have our moments.

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  27. So he's been good right?
    He has been stable?
    But now he's hit the skids?

    This means that something is bothering him....and it may not be emotional. Has he had a nasty fall? Is he fighting a virus? Has he just recently had some vaccinations?

    Both Finn and Asha can be pills at times but every time its "extreme" it's a sure sign that they are due to go to a chiropractor who has trained in pediatrics.

    Asha presents with ADHD symptoms.....1 treatment GONE
    Finn will present with pain, slurred speech and becomes a total winger.

    Finn goes every month without fail (but he has got a lot going on). Asha goes every 3 months. I cannot tell you the amount of times the chiropractor has saved Ashas life because I was about to MURDER HER!! ;)

    Heres the link to our guy, He trains chiro's all over Australia and will have a contact close by you. http://neuroimpulse.com/dr-neil-davies.html

    Good Luck with whatever you decide.xx

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    1. you've got it. but i've already said that!

      xoxoxoxo

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  28. I'm sorry to hear that Em, I can see there's been some really good advice here so I won't add my 2 cents (because I don't really know much, except when Rosie's behavior changes it's usually because I'M the one that's stressed and I don't even know it yet). I hope you're also looking after you. xx

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  29. Hey Em, I'm sorry to hear this too. It can really get you down about your parenting, can't it? My sister in law is a child psychologist and this may in no way apply to little J man but with Olive and the physical aggression, I don't give her any warnings, I just whip her away to have a time out with me - regardless of whether she's hitting me in the face, or rolling away screaming on the ground. And we sit for a few minutes and talk about that it's ok to feel these feelings but there are better ways to deal with it. Since I started this regime late last year, Olive has gotten SO much better, but funnily enough, what's actually the most improved is me, because I feel I have some control thanks to my plan of action. I saw someone wrote something about what they eat, too. Carbs/sugar/fruit can have a full on impact on Olive. I try to make sure she gets lots of protein every day to combat the sugar rush off the other things she's eating. That could be something for you to think about. Your wine idea sounds pretty bloody good! Hang in there lady. You're clearly a GREAT Mum. Kellie xx

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    1. Kell, I remember you saying that Olive would at times lose her temper. This seems to be a great way to deal with it. I do isolate him from other children when he has been rough- do you know if its better for them to be encouraged to talk about it or do you do the talking and they listen? I often will put him in his room or give him time out before we 'talk'.... gibve me more info friend!

      xo em

      p.s thinking of hitting the picasso exhibition next week, keen?

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  30. :) I luuurrrvve your honesty! I think ive replyed to something like this you wrote once before. Ive got 2 little boys, very close in age - 16 months. Jasper is 21 months (been in terrible 2's for like a year yo!) and George is 5 months.
    Jasper is pretty dynamo, George is very needy..still on the boob and all. To be honest, i live like a sloth..the house is ALWAYS messy..that kind of gets me down to be honest..but i try suck it up and remind myself its not too important..whats important is your love for them...your mothering...
    What gets me through is a few things...1st; nap-time..I try really hard to 'sync' their sleeps, when I do..i usually sit down on the laptop with a really good coffee and something yummy and I look at yummy blogs like your one and others...I also watch some youtube stuff..in particular "The moms View" (I stumbled across after watching the 'shaytards'..american family,everyday life/type/stuff) real funny entertainment that makes me feel 'normal' as a mother when relating to these ladies ive 'kindof' got to know through watching their stuff. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMomsView/videos.
    Another thing is I (try) take time everyday to do a quick little bible study for myself...I feel God's word grounds me and puts everything in perspective...his words encourage me to go on and be the best mother I can be. I try memorize some good scripture when times are tough. Also...ive heard a book "loving the little years" is good..my bestie recomended it to me, but I have'nt read it yet..(shes got good taste;) heres the link to a little bit of info:) http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Little-Years-Motherhood-Trenches/dp/1591280818
    Let me know if this post was helpful:)
    Saskia xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saskia, so very helpful. Honestly, that reminder to read God's word- its a big one and i feel it missing from my life at the moment. It should be top of the list- im starting today, ask me tomorrow!

      thanks for the links and the encouragement. I love it when a mumma admits that she sits on her rump with cake rather than cleaning the kitchen- thats exactly what I do!

      xo em

      Delete
    2. I'm gonna chime in here, if you don't mind! Saskia is a friend of mine (Hi Sas!) and I could have written exactly the same reply as her! Well, just about anyway... I have 3 babies now - Elliot, 3.5, Rosie, 2, and Tristan, 5m - and our house is a little bit crazy. It's usually not tidy (depending on if we have visitors coming and how important they are!) and that gets me down a bit too, but you're right Sas, you gotta remind yourself of the important things, like spending actual time playing with your kids, not just making sandwiches and turning on the TV. (We have days like this.) In the end, the house is just a house.

      Em, your little man sounds much like my Elliot. A few things have helped with us. The biggest thing is perseverance. Last year I was getting to the point with Elliot where I was becoming stressed and nearly embarrassed when we'd go out to places with our friends (Bible study, Mainly Music etc) because he was so rough with the other kids and didn't seem to get this whole sharing and talking nicely business. I tried to just be as consistent as I could and get the message across that his behaviour was not acceptable: "If you can't play nicely, you don't get to play" etc and then a time out and lots of apologies to the other child. And now that I look back, he doesn't really do that anymore. Yeah, he's still a bit rough and will hit his friends, but I don't have to constantly keep my eyes on him anymore. The point of that ramble? It's a stage. In 3 months (or 1 month, or 6 months, whatever!) you'll look back and go, oh yeah, we're not dealing with that so much anymore!

      Argh, this is a massive essay - sorry! Just a few more brief points: LOVE the Loving the Little Years book. BUY IT! You will not regret spending money on it - I would have paid much more than I did! It is a really awesome book. Read it with a highlighter in hand because you'll be going, "Oh, I so need to remember that!" "Oh, I do that!" etc etc. Also, I have started getting up before my kids in the mornings and I love it! What?! Yes, I love it, and I am so far from a morning person it is laughable. But I relish the chance to get up and have some time to be ME before I'm Mummy. I read my Bible and pray for my husband and children and if there's time left over (ie the kids are still asleep) I do some exercise. Bible reading was something that I hadn't managed to fit in my day - and I was feeling it, like you mentioned you were Em. Now, I feel like I'm calmer and more patient with my kids - especially because I pray for a lot of patience every morning!

      Oh, and in my nap/Elliot-at-kindy time? I sit on my rump and eat cake too. Case in point: all 3 babies sleeping, I'm on the computer with a bag of lollies in front of me. Will exercise tomorrow morning...

      Delete
    3. Yeesh! Sorry for takin' up so much space!

      Delete
    4. JESS!! Oh man, what a wealth of information you have provided me with! I will get that book and ACTUALLY read it! your perspective is invaluable, a glorious essay!

      I gotta ge more of you and Saskia into my days! You guys have the goodness!

      xo em

      Delete
  31. I have 2 spirited boys of my own (4 1/2 and 2 1/2 yo). I've read all the books too. Recently, I've been trying to get him to understand his own feelings and explain them to me. We've been reading the Trace Moroney books together 'When I'm feeling angry, When I'm feeling jealous...' They're aimed at young kids and definitely have helped. My 4 yo has started to say "I'm feeling angry because...." which at least has helped understand some of his reactions. Of course this is after has has calmed down and I've asked him why he hit/kicked his brother, sister or me. I'd definitely recommend them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anon, thats so where it's at- giving them the words to say. I've been trying that too. Lets hope it opens some doors for clearer communication! thanks so much!

      xo em

      Delete
  32. I too have a tricky boy who went through a long complicated phase of feralness from 2-4. I have a slightly unique perspective if you want to email me I am happy to go into more detail for you.I found the spirited child book at 18 months, by 3 we were needing more. melx

    ReplyDelete
  33. Whoops forgot to give you my email - mfowler@hotmail.com.au

    ReplyDelete
  34. Umm... trying to elicit a response from my brain and it's after 10pm...
    One of the better books that I have read was "The Five Love Languages of Your Family" which covers both children and teens (I've not delved into the latter part yet). One of the take-homes for me from that was "Love unconditionally, then discipline". On the days when "it" hits the fan I find if I can send Mr. Small somewhere else for a min or two, or remove myself from the situation for a sec, it gives me time to regroup my thoughts. I'm the parent. I'm the adult. I have to deal with it. Oh, and sometimes I pray - REAL HARD!!! I'm not sure that there is a specific formula, but I have noticed with both of my boys (who are totaly different from each other) that if I spend some quality time with them in the morning, reading, playing, etc. that the whole day seems to run more smoothly.
    You are a fab Mama. And you care enough to ask for help. That's huge.
    Hope tomorrow runs more smoothly for you.
    Sheree xox

    ReplyDelete
  35. Don't forget the impact of the moon. My kids always went crazy around a full moon. Now that 2 of them are older, and one still under two, it still happens!! Maybe keep a record of behaviour in relation to the moon. The first time I heard I also went BULLSHIT!! But give it a go and you might be surprised. We are all affected by nature so why not the kiddos! What we do now, when full moon is approaching we start planning lots of activities and huge sleeps so that it never gets too out of hand, and husband leaves the wine but gets the strong stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Is it also normal for a 1 year old to chuck tantrums??I'm getting a little worried about my little lady!It's too early!We all feel the way you do at times for some reason or another.
    You are a trooper,you'll power on through those harder times lady!
    Bek xx

    ReplyDelete
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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em