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My Challenge, My Love - Page 10

post #181 of 913
Thread Starter 
Dang it, TEAKS. I was hoping I had a twin out there!

After my really positive post last night, after feeling so positive and hopeful and all that (which I think was/is reflected in the way I express my feelings on this thread), today was JUST DREADFUL. I am posting this b/c I want everyone to know, especially the newer mamas to this thread that have challenging children, that I AM SOOOOOO IN THE TRENCHES with you. We're up, we're down, we're never really *just okay*. Bears started the day off with spitting in my face. And ended with a grand mal tantrum that included public urination (him, not me), screaming (him and a little me), and major, major tears (him, and later, ME).

Thanks for everyone continuuing with this thread.
post #182 of 913
Well darling, as long as the public urination wasn't you- the day wasn't all that bad now was it?

It is so important to keep things in perspective.

My nearly 4 year, who I have always considered easy going, is driving me absolutely nuts. I thought I was so wise and so patient and "cured" as a yeller. Well, I was just waiting for the endless questions stage to start losing it regularly. Luckily so far, I just blow a gasket for a second, not saying anything too horrible and then pull it together. Someone recently told me that the answer is to lose it and recover fast enough that no one really notices how crazy you are. Thats my goal and I am sticking to it.

Love to all wonderfully, challenged mommas and the ones they love.

Maureen
post #183 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
Someone recently told me that the answer is to lose it and recover fast enough that no one really notices how crazy you are.
Oh that is so great! That's kind of what I've been doing lately, since suddenly our paradise is not so wonderful. I'm doing things like yelling "DD1!!!!" then quickly getting myself together to continue the sentence in a calm manner. : It's an improvement.

Bearsmama, I'm glad the help you've gotten so far resonates with you and I hope it continues to help. I wanted to say that I'm a talker/lecturer too, and my kids really need me to just shut up and I have such a hard time with that. They respond so well to "say it once, shut up, act" (even if the action is just waiting), but I have such a hard time with that. I get the old verbal diarrhea started, then they tune me out, and it all goes downhill from there. I've stopped to listen to myself, and I want to tune me out too.

Oh, and I'm right there with you in a rough patch here. We've gone from "wonderful, maybe she's outgrowing it all, our home is becoming peaceful and harmonious" to "oh my god, here we go again, so much for her outgrowing it, and so much for zen and the art of parenting." Some days I just want to
post #184 of 913
hello, mamas!

I've been lurking for some time and as a pp mentioned, getting such support, and good ideas, and ... well, here I go

even though intellectually I *know* that my children are not unusual (per se!) it is so HARD to be the family that people roll their eyes at and say things like "well, you've certainly got your hands full!" etc. Sigh. And in general, the community we live in mean it in a supportive, well-intentioned way! We have two phenomenal, dynamic, spirited, DIFFICULT there I've said it sons, just 6 and just 3 1/2.

All of your honesty, love, appreciation, frustration and tenderness resonates out of your posts, and I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks that there is this forum for me to touch into, and remember just how wonderful my children are, and even better, how wonderful they WILL be - and how much work I can and will and need to do with myself.

Oh, and I get verbal diarrhea too ... do you suppose that trait is a given for mothers with challenging children???

Barbara

edited to add that when DS #1 was 3 a common response to my description of our ... dance ... was "I think he needs to see a counsellor, psychiatrist, etc." and you know, if may have helped us at the time, but we have come through the other side ... and now it is DS #2 that we hear that about.
post #185 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Oh that is so great! That's kind of what I've been doing lately, since suddenly our paradise is not so wonderful. I'm doing things like yelling "DD1!!!!" then quickly getting myself together to continue the sentence in a calm manner. : It's an improvement.
I've been doing a bit of that too. My yelling is a fairly good sized issue for us as a family (I apparently rubbed off on everyone... even DH who wasn't a yeller when we met). So I approached the kids, specifically my DD, last week and we've made an agreement to try really hard to take it down a notch. I'm still slipping up but trying to recover mid sentence. My DD just looks at me funny but hey... at least she sees I'm making an effort to change my tone. Not yelling is a constant struggle for me.

I'm also a talker. I really have this need to feel like my point is being made. I think they tuned me out a looong time ago!

Fingers crossed, our good days will continue for a while longer. Cole's only major incident lately has been hitting his brother in the head with a rock a couple of days ago. Lots of blood but no real damage. Maybe now he'll take the no throwing rocks rule seriously.
post #186 of 913
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
Someone recently told me that the answer is to lose it and recover fast enough that no one really notices how crazy you are.


I love this. And I think on our good days this is what I aim for.

Maureen-Sorry your easy going one ain't so easy going right now.

sledg & emblmgrl-You know, one of the things the doc stressed to us at our initial visit is that kids like Bears don't respond well to words. They respond to action and little words. Does this sound like your DCs? An example of this was that at the end of our session the doc asked if we felt that he had connected with Bears. It was clear from their interactions that they had. We said YES. And he reminded us that he spoke very little to him-said very few words. This made sense to me.

jordmoder-I have MAJOR verybal diarrhea sometimes. Can't you all tell by my often long-winded posts???? : Glad you're coming out of lurkdom. I'm glad this thread has been a help to you.

More when I can ladies. Not like you all need a blow-by-blow of our days, but after a horrid day yesterday, Today was a DREAM. A DREAM. Weird.

post #187 of 913
Wow, I hadn't thought of the verbal diarrhea thing... I was so much this way with Nate. One thing lots of Mommas on this thread share is being very verbal. Maybe our kids' natural learning style and our natural parenting style are just seriously at odds. When I first learned about oral processing problems, I started leaving Nate notes (he was about 8- this won't work with 3 year olds) and giving directions simply and clearly while touching him, and making sure he understood and could repeat back. I still know that when I start to lecture him, I lose him. If he calls for a favor (usually money) I always start in with blah, blah, blah about have you gotten a job, what are you doing, how are you sleeping, and he will usually say "You know, I don't really need this right now." I find it is what I think of as "mothering" him- my lectures are all I have anymore. Something to work on, I suppose.
post #188 of 913
Thread Starter 
Hi Maureen : You know, in Raising Your Spirited Child (and other books and info on our challenging kids) they talk a lot about using short, specific requests. Like, "Shoes, now." "Remember: Coat.", etc. I TOTALLY lose Bears when I start talking too much. I'm trying to remember to talk less. And trying desperately to remember what you said above abour recovering quickly from losing it. That's key for me. I can start to lecture, etc. Yuck.

I think one of the many challenges of having kids like ours is that there doesn't seem to be a recipe for a good day. Yes, I know the ingredients for a bad day sometimes (little sleep on both of our parts, being sick, etc). But when things were so great yesterday I couldn't (and still can't) put my finger on what I did or what he did to make this happen. It just WAS. And perhaps after a string of these kind of days I'll see some sort of pattern. But often times ya just don't know.

Still so thrilled that this thread is still alive and kicking!
post #189 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
Maybe our kids' natural learning style and our natural parenting style are just seriously at odds.
Interesting. I've always thought that my whole way of being and my daughter's way of being are seriously at odds, but that's probably a gross exaggeration. Along the same lines, I love the idea of Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication, and all the talking a la "How to Talk So Your Child Will Listen..."-it appeals to me, and to my verbose and feelings-oriented nature. But all that talking is so not effective with my dd1 most of the time. Works great with my son, though. Actually, as I'm thinking of it these things can work if dd1 is calm-as a preventive talk or a post-episode talk now that she's older-provided I keep it short.
post #190 of 913
I am also guilty of talking too much. But honestly, I sometimes don't know *how* to show rather than talk. I struggle with it a lot.

Example: DD is very good about waiting on the slide at the playground until the child in front of her is off. Trouble is, too many of the kids slide down and then run back up, again and again. And there is poor dd waiting and waiting and waiting and then other kids will walk around her to slide down the slide. So I had to keep asking the kids to each take turns please, and it was dd's turn. And I told dd that while it was nice for her to wait for others, if she waited too long she wasn't getting her turn. And still she sat.
Finally I just had to tell her "Your turn, go!" And she did.

Obviously, that worked better, keeping the talking short and simple.
But I want her to know the why behind it. To explain what's going on.

Usually I wait for dd to ask questions, but I struggle to balance offering explanations and waiting for the questions.

DD is sensitive and can get overwhelmed when playing with other kids. She LOVES to seek out other kids, but has trouble asserting herself. I try to be on hand to help out. But I want to do so in a way that rather than her waiting for me to come in and fix the situation, I want to give her the tools to eventually handle the situation herself.

Does any of this make sense? Am I coming across? Because I have just once again demonstrated the verbal diarrhea syndrome.
post #191 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
sledg & emblmgrl-You know, one of the things the doc stressed to us at our initial visit is that kids like Bears don't respond well to words. They respond to action and little words. Does this sound like your DCs?
Bearsmama, I meant to respond to this yesterday but it was a nutty day and I forgot. This totally sounds like my dd1 when she's "upset". She's funny, because when she's calm and relaxed (and dh and I are too) she responds so well to talking. Talking is not something that helps in the midst of crisis. We can explain gravity with words, talk about all kinds of fascinating things, and we can in calm moments talk about feelings and expectations. But once it comes to redirecting her when she's yelling or hitting or helping her when she's upset, words just make it all worse. Definitely stepping in to act or just being there in a silent but supportive way (depending on the situation) is the way to go. It's as though she's already got enough to do processing her own experience, and words overload her.

loon13, I've been in similar situations with my dd and I think that while you're at the slide the best thing to do is say "your turn, go!". I figure that out at the playground there's so much going on that keeping it simple is best. Later when we're in the car or at home we can talk about how to take turns, and maybe role-play. And I figure that even if we don't get into deep explanations, the simple guidance about when to take a turn combined with their observations of other kids teaches them a lot. I'm learning, slowly but surely, that simple is often better. It doesn't all have to be rocket science.

Teaching assertiveness is something I'm often confused about. I would not describe myself as assertive, even though I can and often do make sure my own needs get met. I have no idea how to teach assertiveness, so I'm muddling through trying my best. I figure part of it is encouraging my kids to speak up to make sure their needs are met, and part of it is modeling by making sure I'm speaking up to make sure my own needs are met.

Ooooh, on a related topic, I finally made it to a meeting of the local chapter of Attachment Parenting International. I've been meaning to go for years now, and I finally did it. They had a guest speaker who talked about Non-Violent Communication and it was wonderful. I read the book awhile back, and it seemed so wordy but I learned the most amazing thing from this meeting: communication does not have to be wordy! (Of course I've just been very wordy again )
post #192 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Teaching assertiveness is something I'm often confused about. I would not describe myself as assertive, even though I can and often do make sure my own needs get met. I have no idea how to teach assertiveness, so I'm muddling through trying my best. I figure part of it is encouraging my kids to speak up to make sure their needs are met, and part of it is modeling by making sure I'm speaking up to make sure my own needs are met.
Hi - I'm new to this thread, I hope you don't mind me popping in. So many things here, I can relate to. Maybe I'll talk about my spirited girl a little more later (kinda short on time - hers, not mine KWIM! ), but wanted to comment on the above.

This is something that I struggle with too. DD tends to be fairly aggressive in some situations (younger kids, kids her age, us, one-on-one situations), but will hang back in other situations (larger groups, older kids) and I've found it very hard to balance teaching her self-control (she is a big hitter, pusher, grabber) with asserting her own needs. I read something in 'Parenting without Punishment' that hit home to me, something about when you use punishment - it extinguishes the behaviour in ALL situations. While I would like change her hitting behaviour with playdates, I certainly wouldn't mind her hitting her way out of a stranger trying to coax her into a car. But how you do this is beyond me.

Gotta run......
post #193 of 913
Hi all,

Just having a catch up on here - seem to be many challenged Mamas out there who are finding support here, fab.

BearsMama - thankyou for the reply and of course I know you don't mean to scare me re: baby no2 - I really appreciate knowing about these experiences. I definately feel concerned about the impact it will have. The baby was unplanned - we always wanted a second child but perhaps not so soon.

Myself and DH are pretty highly strung generally and don't react too well to stress. I sometimes think DS1 is this way because of us, but also something you said in a previous post struck a chord. It was a difficult labour, delivered by ventouse in the end (was a homebirth transfer) then he had a seizure shortly after birth and in hindsight didn't have much contact from me, due to being in special care for a lot of the time - although we have a very close bond and there were no issues with bonding. Anyway - it does cross my mind from time to time how much effect this has had on him. A fairly mild experience compared to what some people go through but nonetheless - you just don't know the implications do you?

As I said - he's very attached, co-sleeps and breastfeeds - and I have swung between trying to wean him in every sense of the word ie from the bed, the breast etc - to then feeling 'no, this doesn't feel right' and we will manage when no2 arrives. Am I kidding myself...................?! ;-) I want the transition to be as smooth as possible (don't we all) but how do I prepare for that....................? It's looking increasingly like tandem nursing which in principle shouldn't be a problem, but 'needs being met' for all of us is going to be hard.

One of DS1's main traits is to just shout, point and demand until he has got what it is he wants. He's 18mths and doesn't talk much so that is his way of communicating at the moment. So, for eg: 6am, breakfast time - putting his breakfast together and he is just constantly whining, shouting, pointing, until it is done. The pressure is immense especially at that time of the morning. He does that sort of thing often - at the supermarket if he sees something he recognizes, not neccessarily unhealthy, bananas or raisins for instance - he will just kick up a complete stink until he has it. Do I just give it him or do I endure an hour of him shouting?

I try soooooooooooooooo hard to be patient, and lots of things here run through my mind about how his behaviour triggers feelings in you related to your upbringing or past etc (loved all that) and how you can choose how you react. But it's not easy.

Thanks for some really interesting posts everyone - please keep this going - it keeps me inspired. Sending good vibes to everyone having a toughie at the mo.

Justine
post #194 of 913
Justine, I'm glad this thread is helpful to you and so many other mamas. I have just a couple of thoughts about the birth of your new baby. You mentioned deciding to (then deciding not to) wean your little one from the bed, etc. and I just wanted to mention that in my own experience it was actually helpful, in terms of adjustment to a new sibling, to continue letting older sibs sleep with us and nurse if they wanted to and whatever other comforting things they enjoyed pre-baby. It helped to talk a lot about the new baby coming (what it would be like, how mom and dad would be spending lots of time nursing, holding baby, etc., how the kids could help, hold and, when baby gets older play, with baby), read books about new babies, watch videos of babies being born, and after the baby was born to talk about how the older siblings felt two ways about the baby (loving the baby and wishing the baby would go away). My oldest was 23 months old when my second was born, and the first 3-4 months seemed easy (baby slept in the sling all day and dd1 still had as much attention as she wanted) then all hell broke loose. My middle child was 27 months when my third was born. Both kids had an easier transition with the third baby, in part because we prepared more and afterward talked about feelings much, much more than we did when my 2nd was born. "Needs being met" is going to take some practice and creativity, but you'll find a rhythm and figure it out.

About the pointing and shouting, well it's just hard for an 18 month old to delay gratification. My 22 month old is definitely more impatient than I remember my older two being at this age, and what I do is stand firm if she can't have whatever it is right now but offer her other things to do/hold while talking to her calmly. For several months now she has helped out at the grocery store by holding lists or holding cans/boxes. She likes this, she's just curious about lots of things and wants to touch/explore/be like us (and I always make sure she has eaten before we go to the grocery store so she isn't hungry while we're there). If it's a matter of waiting, I try to talk to her in a soothing voice to let her know it's coming (lots of "yes, it's coming") and if I can try to distract her. Mostly it's a matter of not letting the whining/screaming get to me and/or finding a way to distract her.

I found that when it comes to choosing how I react, the critical skill I needed to learn first was how to just pause and observe without judging both what was happening around me and what I was thinking and feeling. That moment (or several moments) of observation helped me calm down and see a lot of things more clearly. Then I could see the other possibilities.
post #195 of 913
Hey everyone... just a pop in on assertiveness. Believe it or not, I too struggle with assertiveness. My mom is a pushy broad but she struggled to actually ask for what she needed, she just got mad if she didn't get it. Expected people to know what she wanted. I am like that. An old boyfriend said that I whispered my needs.

Simple place to start... when the kids in my family say "I'm hungry" I always say "I'm cute". My point being so what if your hungry. Then they know to ask for what they need. It is a joke but it is interesting how my sisters kids are all indirect with asking for their needs. I also ask Joey "Did you ask Daddy to help you?" and often find that he is frustrated before even asking for help. We are working on everyone around here asking for what they need or just suffering in silence. For me it helped to figure out that I have some insane fear that if I ask, someone will say no and then... what? No isn't that horrible is it? So if I find that I am hesitiating, I think through the no I am fearing. I think it is really hard with unassertive parents to raise assertive kids so this is one we have to work on personally and then model. Otherwise when they do ask for what they need clearly and directly, we are going to feel really uncomfortable and not support them as we want to.

Can I just say... I love this thread!!! I just wish you were all sitting around my living room sharing a good bottle of wine and my fabulous cheese cake.
post #196 of 913
I'm kind of sick with a nasty bug, so I can only take a minute, but I just wanted to nod along with the recent directions this thread has taken. TEAK, too, responds well to talking when we are talking calmly about interesting things, but my lectures actually make things worse when things are hard.

What Maureen just said about meeting needs rings so true with me. I whisper my needs and I want to teach my daughters better than that. Something to work on...

I'm just glad I can't pass my crud on to any of you via this forum...
post #197 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I'm learning, slowly but surely, that simple is often better. It doesn't all have to be rocket science.
Yeah, I'm learning that, too. As demonstrated by my "Your turn, go!" solution.

I do notice that the older dd gets the easier it is to talk about things after the fact or before the fact.
I think that's why I sometimes started explaining/talking too much,when dd was younger. If I didn't do so when the situation was relevant (i.e. happening *rightnow*), she didn't seem to be able to connect one with the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Teaching assertiveness is something I'm often confused about. I would not describe myself as assertive, even though I can and often do make sure my own needs get met. I have no idea how to teach assertiveness, so I'm muddling through trying my best. I figure part of it is encouraging my kids to speak up to make sure their needs are met, and part of it is modeling by making sure I'm speaking up to make sure my own needs are met.

I'm not very assertive. That is, I would like to be more so. I find I can be assertive when it comes to intervening on my child's behalf. "mother bear" syndrom, KWIM?
But for myself, it's harder to speak up for me.

Maureen, cheesecake sounds oh-so-yum.

TEAK's Mom, I hope you feel better. Sending you some yummy virtual homemade soup and some hugs.

Justine: at 18 months, it's hard to little ones to be patient. My dd still has a hard time waiting, but at 3.5 it's a lot better than at 1.5. Hang in there. It gets better!


Loon
post #198 of 913
Ok- this is completely Off Topic... which is weird since this topic has morphed...

Last night my husband and I left 3 1/2 year old Joey and my still nursing 20 month old Zach with my dearest friend from 5 pm until 11 this morning so that we could go to dinner, a movie and stay at a hotel for our 5th anniversary celebration. Except for the worries, the guilt and the full breasts... it was fantastic. So here is my complaint... my babe slept for 12 hours- waking once for a quick bottle. : I don't even know how to feel. On one hand I am so thankful that it went so fantastic (might be able to do it again soon) but on the other hand I have been suffering through sleepless restless nonstop nursing nights that I don't think are good for anyone. Aurgh!!!

On Topic- Do you think there is a real parenting article in here somewhere? The stuff that we are figuring out is so important and not available anywhere. I want to start writing for publication... maybe we should try putting the best stuff about parenting "spirited" kids together and write and article for Mothering.
post #199 of 913
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamas!

Boy, I just thought I'd check in and there is soooo much to respond to.

First, I am really thrilled and amazed at how this thread just keeps going and going and going and going...

Also, TEAKS: HUGS. Gosh, it sucks being sick. Especially for us mamas. Please take good care of yourself. I'd love to be able to bring you some soup and bread!

About the wordiness again-I remember saying something to Bears one time in front of my MIL. Something like, "Bears, SHOES.NOW." And my MIL said something like, "What is he, a dog?". To her, it sounded harsh. And of course, I wasn't even being harsh, i was being clear. I, too, read How to Talk. And of course, it resonated with me, but just like sledg says, it resonated with ME. And I don't think it's something that works for Bears. We can talk about feelings at very specific times. And it's on his terms, not mine. Sure, it seems to be meeting one of *my* needs at any given time, but am I really effectively parenting my son this way?

Maureen-Your night out sounds just great. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. I have a fantasy of doing something big, like a weekend away (GASP!) for our 10th. But I have two years to wait. About the night nursing thing, have you read Dr. Jay Gordon's stuff on this?? (he has a website, too: drjaygordon.com, I think) Although his technique didn't quite work for us, his words did (we didn't really follow through with it). He talks about how at some point, these very attached babie grow to be toddlers who on *some* level are ready to learn that although their needs are very, very important, there are other people in the family and that everyone is important. Everyone gets a "vote" as he says. oh, and wine? cheescake? You obviously know me better than I think!

Okay, I have so much more here to resppond to, but the little one is up and I have him in my lap and it's hard to type.

One quick book recommendation-Hallowell's Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness. I know, I know, this from the woman who says she shouldn't read anymore parenting books. But this, to me, is the best i've read in a long time. Basically giving me reassurance that kids are resilient and that being human teaches them something. Not quite through it yet.

More when I can. Sleep well,ladies.
post #200 of 913
it really sounds as if you are working very hard at it and doing a really great job too. You know trying to make the effort again and again does count for something - I respect you for keeping on when the energy needed seems so great
one thing I wanted to say was - don't be so hard on yourself, don't critisise yourself so much - you are doing a lot, you are doing most things really well and maybe you need to try to appreciate this and have some compassion and warmth for yourself in this struggle .............?'
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