Family · Parenting · Perspective

Lists, Lies, and Toilet Brushes

Lists. I would assume that most of the world uses them to keep on track. Simple little reminders of what needs to be done or what has already been accomplished.

giphy1I, personally, still use a paper, spiral bound planner for my family’s functions. The reminders and feeling like I constantly HAVE to keep my phone with me prevents me from adding this part of my life to my digital almost-sidekick. I also love the feel of the paper under my pencil or pen and get a thrill out of opening a new package of highlighters. Office supply junkies – you know what I’m talking about ūüėČ

We’ve tried multiple lists at our house to help keep us on task, on schedule, organized, and functioning. These are usually for extra, non-daily projects or encouraging good behavior.

A few days of reacting like this Moana meme, but set at about 6:58am…¬†lists bloghad me considering ways to make our mornings a little smoother.

My creative, kind, morning-hating, 7 year old little boy tipped the scales this morning. He wants terribly to be more independent and for us to “stop telling him what to do.” Apparently, we are being bossy by asking him to wear shoes to school. Alrighty then…

His heavy-weight, scale tipping moment occurred this morning when he LIED to me about brushing his teeth.

I was across the room when I started asking. I hadn’t seen him go into that bathroom yet this morning. I was closing the distance, repeating my question. I warned him that lying would be a bad choice. He insisted that he had brushed them and looked sad.

Then I knelt next to him, asking him if it hurt his feelings that I didn’t believe him. I took his hand and calmly told him that I was sorry if it hurt his feelings, but when he argues (a problem lately) it makes me doubt him. I told him I would try harder to believe him and that he should try harder to respond appropriately when we talk.

Then I walked to the bathroom to put in my contacts. I reached up and felt his toothbrush – DRY. These bristles had NOT touched teeth this morning.

giphy2

He didn’t lie out of anger, fear, exhaustion, or any of the other emotions listed on the parenting sites,”Love and Logic,” and Grace-Based Parenting books I’ve read.

He lied out of defiance. He lied because we are “bossing” him. He lied because to him, this was an act of “I’m going to win this at all costs because I’m independent.”

All costs indeed. — All our toilets will be shiny and clean tonight.

Trust will have to be earned back.

Lying is NOT tolerated at our house. I’m a truth teller – even if it hurts – and sometimes it does. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. We are consistent in our actions and words that the truth is always better than a lie. Less harm comes from just being honest than when you choose to lie then get caught or snowball it and THEN get caught.

After brainstorming and doing some research on lying and defiance, I decided we are back to the plan of a list. He’s a solid reader, thus can read his new list.

lists.jpg

As you can see, this is not rocket science. We are asking for daily, basic functions on school days. He has from 6:25 – 7:00am to complete his morning tasks, 5 days a week. The tasks are laid out. I will strive to give him the independence to accomplish these without my prompting within his given timeframe.

Evening activities are simple as well. We’ve already been doing all of these for a month. Homework is finished between 4-5pm depending on when I get out of the office. If we push homework later, it doubles the amount of time and exponentially increases the drama.

Time after these tasks are done is free. Do whatever you want. Play. Jump. Sing. Ride bikes. Read books. Puzzles. Whatever.

Who said this parenting stuff was easy??? Seriously. Raise your hand.

I’m hoping that by giving him the independence to get these tasks done and check them off the list, it will help fill his autonomy bucket. If his bucket is full, maybe it will stem the tide of arguing. Hopefully, this will result in realizing there is no need to lie about brushing teeth.

*sigh*

Onward.

Much love– Jen

 

 

 

Family · Perspective

Shockers and Wolverines- Lessons in Baseball

Week 3 of summer break. Three more lessons for mom.

Miss M had her 3rd T-ball game last night. It followed closely on the heels of her brother’s 4th coach pitch game. Monday night is baseball night! 94 degrees F with about a 90% humidity. It was a scorcher.

At the Wolverines’ game, we witnessed an unassisted triple play by one of our little guys on 3rd base. He caught the pop-up, tagged his base and then tagged the runner from 2nd. He was tagging everybody wearing green within an arm’s length! T hit all three times and had some¬†solid plays fielding as well.

If you can’t tell, I’m incredibly proud of all the kids on both my son and daughter’s teams. The kids mix from multiple schools,¬†numerous classrooms, and a variety of family situations. Each group has united as a team that supports each other, chants and cheers,¬†and appear to be having a good time!

Lesson #1) It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time.

This is my spreadsheet. I keep track of who is playing infield and outfield for each gameIMG_1539 for the coach pitch kids. My husband is the head coach, so I assign the positions. All 13 boys play at the same time. We stack the outfield with extras. Everybody bats each inning.

Regardless of the fact that the ball is actually making it to the outfield and those kids are seeing action, there are kids who don’t want to play out there. This isn’t the major league. We don’t even keep score. Everybody sees equal infield and outfield playing time on a rotating basis. Why rotating? Because there aren’t 13 infield positions…

If somebody absolutely does NOT want to play a position -which has happened-¬†or we¬†feel that a child isn’t physically safe in a position due to physical limitations, I’m trying to honor that.

Lesson #2) Always make a trip to the bathroom before the game mandatory for 4-7yr old girls.

We learned this one the hard way the first two games. We lost a third of our team in the 3rd inning, twice. Last night, Coach Julia asked the girls to make a run to the bathroom before we headed into the dugout. Half the team went. We when, I was the escort, arrived at the bathroom, half of the other team was already there in line. The entire game started 5 minutes late due to the line in the ladies room!

Lesson #3) Sometimes Mom has to stay in the dugout.

Mady Slugger

Last night in the 1st inning of my daughter’s game, she and I were standing in center field. (Coaches are spread throughout the outfield for t-ball games.) She looked up at me and asked me to hold her.

“Well honey, I can tonight when we get home, but right now we are on the baseball field. You need to watch the ball and get ready for it.” But MOMMY!

“You need to stand out here to help your team or I will have to stay in the dugout.”

At that, she did focus in and start paying attention. She ran after almost every ball that came off the tee. However, the next inning, I traded with another mom/coach and stayed in the dugout.

She is able to do this. This is where I needed to step back. It was a bittersweet moment. She’s mature enough to be on the field, but still¬†wants me when she’s feeling a bit unsure. This was a teachable moment for both of us. Trust.

 

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Pink Sequins

Pink sequins. That’s what my daughter chose to wear this morning for school.

pink sequins2We could have argued about it. The pink sequins adorn her dance recital costume – a pink sequined sleeveless leotard with a pink glittered tulle skirt. She chose to pair it with a pair of faux-denim jeggings, her favorite Minnie Mouse sandals, and a mint colored bow. She asked for a “ballerina bun” in her hair. Glowing with happiness, she was pretty proud of the fashion statement she put together .

There was no argument this morning. The outfit covers everything it needs to. It fits our 3 rules about dressing for school:

  1. Covers all the necessary body parts.
  2. At least close to seasonally appropriate.
  3. No major holes or stains.

It’s not just that I’m tired and nursing a migraine for the second day. It isn’t just that this is the end of the line for this year’s school. “Pick your battles” doesn’t completely cover it. Although she is absolutely adorable and made her dad melt when she pranced out in it, that’s also not it.

This is about trust. Yes, you read that right. How could letting her kid wear a pink sequined dance costume to school be about trust?

It occurred to me a few days ago that I’m constantly asking begging my children to make good choices about things that we, as adults,¬†care about. Her father and I have high expectations for both children’s decision making skills. This situation was something that SHE has strong feelings about.

My little fashionista followed our rules about how to dress appropriately. She picked out the outfit herself. She dressed herself. These are big things for a four year old! This was her saying “Look mom! TRUST me! I’m listening!”

This was a BIG deal in her little world.

Pink Sequins

One of the most eye-opening moments as a parent comes when you realize that this little child is, in fact, a little person with unique opinions, big feelings, and an original personality. Inquisitive, stubborn children grow into complex, intelligent adults who make millions of choices. As a parent, it is my job to guide and trust her on these small glittery choices. By doing so, someday she will make larger decisions with faith in herself.

Moment by moment, she’s growing up.