Monday, May 6, 2013

Handling Toddler Meltdowns-Bethany

I stumbled across this blog shared on my friend's Facebook page. A fantastic read and I will absolutely be putting these tips to good use :-) To make this entry a little more interesting, I'll post my favorites.

Acknowledge your own feelings and remind yourself that this isn't an emergency.
 It's so easy for me to get caught up in my emotions. To forget that feelings are temporary, no matter how extreme or never-ending they may seem. This could go along with my rule of "Counting to 10" when all I want to do is flip out (Like I did two days ago). When something is broken or a child won't stop screaming or acting up, I should stop, count to ten and acknowledge that, "Hey, I'm upset at whatever is happening. This emotion will pass, and it's not worth yelling over. The damage of yelling is far worse than this one sucky moment."

Remind yourself that expressing feelings is a GOOD thing. 
This is so important! I had a lot of issues growing up where I just bottled up my feelings. With a certain person in my life, this led to a huge blowup when I was 18. It was ugly, and I didn't know how to handle that overwhelming load of emotion. Feelings are so natural, they should never be shoved down and ignored. I want to teach my kids that whatever they are's ok...we'll tackle it together and find the best way to express them. I've started this with my 4 1/2 year old stepson, Landon. When he gets angry, he tends to raise his fists in frustration. I am working with him to let him know that it is ok to be frustrated with something, or at someone (Like when Little Sister hits him or has a toy that he wants). Instead of making fists, or hitting back, I want him to find a better way to express his feelings. Like using his words, or coming to me or Daddy, or even screaming into a pillow.

The rest of her entry is great as well, but those two really stuck out for me!

My Day Two is going swimmingly so far. Poor Savannah got a papercut when I let her play with a piece of scrap paper. A Lightening McQueen bandaide and tons of kisses later, and we're all better <3

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The yell snuck up on me-Bethany

Today should have been Day Twelve of no yelling. Instead, I am restarting on Day One.

I blew it last night.

It had been a really good day. Laying on a blanket in the grass with the girls, reading books and enjoying the sunshine. A splurge on pizza for dinner. My girls were happy, and I was happy. Chris was at a class all day so it was just us three.

And then Savannah got sleepy. For the past few weeks she has really been fighting going to bed. Arching her back, screaming, spitting out her paci, biting me if I try to nurse her to sleep. It takes a lot of patience and lullabies to get her to sleep. She's just like I was as a baby (and a kid) I never wanted to miss anything. So the best way to get her to sleep is to have a quiet surrounding.

With a 2 1/2 year old? HA!
Nevaeh is usually so good about keeping her voice down when I ask her to. She'll come running into our room in the morning and if she sees that Savannah is still sleeping, she'll put her finger to her lips and whisper, "Shh! baby sister still sleeping!" Likewise, if I am trying to get her to sleep, Nevaeh is usually good at being relatively quiet.

She was last night too, during the hour it took for me to get Savannah to sleep. Rocking, bouncing, walking, butt patting, shh'ing, singing. Putting her down in her crib once to use the bathroom and hoping she'd just fall asleep (hahaha...ha). Finally her eyes grew very heavy and she stopped fighting. Stared at me with a sleepy grin while I sang her Her Song.

Just a little more...her eyes were almost closed....

There. Thank God. She was asleep.

"MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!! MOOOOOMMYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Instant awake. Crying. Stress.

Without even stopping to think about why Nevaeh had screamed my name, I shouted, "DAMMIT Nevaeh! She was asleep! I just got her to sleep! You just woke her up! ARRRRRRRGGGGGGG!"

That's all it took, was one moment to completely lose my cool. I was so beyond frustrated.

I sent her to bed. A bit nicer but still loaded with frustration. I told her I would be in to get her into her PJ's when I got Savannah back to sleep. Which took all of 5 minutes. She was already so sleepy, it wouldn't have taken that long to get her back to sleep.

So why did I yell?! I snapped. I didn't even think about it. I was just so frustrated for that hour, working to keep from getting upset at my sweet little baby. Then I finally had that relief of her falling asleep, and then it was undone. And I just snapped.

The yell snuck up on me.

I laid Savannah in her crib and went in to Nevaeh's room. She had a super sad look on her face, and my heart was so broken. Her feelings were hurt. I realized I had never even asked her what she needed earlier when she yelled for me.

"I am so sorry Nevaeh. I am so sorry that I yelled at you."
"It's ok, Mommy. I forgive you." She looked me in the eyes and I felt that unconditional love pour from her. I cried. Here she was, so ready to just love her mommy and forgive having her feelings hurt for no good reason at all. My sweet, sweet girl. I hugged her to me, told her I loved her a million times over. I lightly explained that Mommy had been frustrated, and should not have taken it out on her. She stroked my hair and gave me hugs back. All this compassion in such a small little girl. I felt so undeserving at that moment! I snuggled her until she fell asleep, then sat myself down to reflect on my undoing.

It was unfair. I yelled for nothing. I'll never know why she shouted for me. Probably to show me something she did or made or saw. Something innocent and sweet, I'm sure.

Today is Day One, and I have a new determination. I don't want to see that hurt expression on her face. Ever, especially when I'm the one that caused it.

Day One, Orange Rhino. I can do this!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Orange Rhino Challenge...It's not just for the kids.... -Erika

Let me be honest.....
1. I can't seem to get past day one. I am not having any luck getting my yelling under control
2. Most of the time when I'm yelling at my kids, it's because I'm frustrated or angry about something that has nothing to do with them.

Hows is this fair?

It's not. I'm starting to learn that the Orange Rhino Challenge isn't just about not yelling at the kids, it's about making a lifestyle change. Changing the way I handle frustration, changing the way I discipline my children. I really want to do this. The one time I went 2 days without yelling I noticed an improvement in Timmy's behavior, so why is this not enough for me to be able to get it right.

Today, I yelled at Timmy for spraying vegetable oil in the kitchen. I got mad at him for bringing too many toys in the living room. How ridiculous is that? The worst part is, I'm in a bad mood because today has been so busy, because I still have a ton of stuff to do and it feels like I have no time to do it. I put off some housework to enjoy some time with my kids, but I blew it when we got home and I wasn't nice to my toddler. 

I really need to think about what kind of mother I want to be. I LOVE my kids! I'm so blessed to get to stay home with them. On a beautiful day like today, I got to pack our lunch for an afternoon at the park. I want my kids to grow up feeling like Mom is an active participant in their lives, and I am quite successful at that, away from the home. They deserve so much more of my attention at home. Most of the attention paid is negative, that is how often I'm mad. It has to stop. 

I CAN do better, I NEED to do better! 

The Orange Rhino Challenge is challenging me more ways than I ever expected! It's not just for the kids, it's for me.