Posts filed under Parenting

Confronting Another Parent In Defense Of Your Child

Let’s face it, we all get defensive with our own kids. Our natural response would look to justify and understand our child’s behavior. If the communication from the other parent came in the form as a text or email it is so difficult to understand their tone and feelings when writing it. You may think you are writing something positive or adding a joke to keep it light but the person on the other end might not take it that way.

Posted on September 16, 2018 and filed under Family, Parenting, School.

Kids on a Plane - Tips to help you not lose your Sh*t!

Kids on a plane. Seems like it could be a title for a thriller movie kind of like Snakes on a Plane. Not sure which one is worse.

Traveling with kids, especially on a plane, can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. Like with everything else you do with kids, proper preparation can cut down on the craziness.

Teach Your Kids How To Set Goals and Crush Them

Goal Setting. It's an essential skill that I wish I was taught sooner in life and a great way to give your kids the tools for success. If you are a troop leader, do you spend time teaching your scouts how to properly set goals? It's one thing to set a troop cookies sales goal and it's another to teach them how to obtain that goal.

As my Brownie scout gets older I see her more driven in working towards what she wants. She declared that her goal for gymnastics was to move up to the competitive team. I was pretty darn excited because all I wanted was for Bella to find something she was truly passionate about that she would start setting goals and working hard towards them. We talked with her coach about what specific things she needed to accomplish and tips on ways to make that happen for her. She was given work outs to do at home to strengthen her arms and core and we added an additional gymnastics class each week. 

We used the same goal setting skills when cookie season rolled around and she set her goal at twice the amount of the previous year. We discussed her results from the previous year and what her game plan was for this year. I asked her what she planned on doing differently to get greater results and she brainstormed her solution such as adding on extra cookie booths, going door to door in different locations, and asking businesses to contribute to the Gift of Caring program.

Smart Goals

I'm sure we have all heard of them by now but have ya taught your kids? Why not start now?

Specific

What exactly do they want? Create a goal statement that includes a time frame and specific measurement. EX. I will sell 500 cookie boxes by the end of March.

Motivation

This can also stand for measurable. Make sure your child understands the WHY. What is the outcome if this goal is accomplished? Is it saving money for a certain item or is it an academic achievement? How will it make them feel? Knowing the WHY will keep them motivated to carry out their goal.

Attainable

Is this goal attainable? Have you laid out the steps and do you have the tools and resources to reach your goal. Do you have a solid plan?

Realistic

Is your goal realistic? Discuss with your kid if the goal is realistic. We don't want to set them up for failure it there goal is to travel to the moon in the next 6 months. While you want to encourage and challenge them to reach outside of their comfort zone you also don't want them to set a goal you know might not be realistic or age appropriate.

Timely

Have them set a specific time frame in which they want to complete their goal. This keeps them on track and accountable. If we don't set deadlines we will most likely procrastinate, especially kids.

Write out your goal plan!

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It's important to write out your goals and set up a plan. Writing it out gives them an opportunity to look back and remember the steps and the motivation behind the goal. You can print your own copy of this simple goal setting sheet below!!

--->Kids Goal Setting Sheet Download Here!<---

What Sensory Processing Looks Like in Our Home

It's not something that I've mentioned before. I cautiously examine the details I share online about my kids, mostly to protect their privacy. Certain stories are fun to share and the regular mommy bloopers are fine but something as personal as this I have been hesitant with.

One of the reasons I did decide to share is because Sensory Processing Disorder is often missed or mistaken for "just being a kid". This too is what I tried to tell myself at her 2 year developmental screening. It was recommended that we seek further evaluation and I laughed and thought how crazy with just a 10 question survey.

Sensory struggles don't just occur with over-stimulation. In many of our instances it occurs with under-stimulation (Hypo-sensitivity). This means that the child is craving more input than what would normally be needed.


It can come in the form of putting everything in her mouth. This comes with licking cars, doorknobs, feet, and more.

It's in the way that she talks and gets frustrated because we still have a hard time making out her words with her language delay.

It's having to break down simple steps each and every time, such as putting on her shoes, because of poor motor planning.

It's the rough house playing and jumping on a trampoline all day to get her energy out in time for bed.

It's doing things impulsively that shows her lack of safety.

It's the screaming in the middle of the night from night terrors even though she is not awake.

It's the fear that she will one day walk out the front door and get lost.

Sound Familiar? This is just the tip of the iceberg.


As I sit here now, after our 4th meltdown of the day (just before bed is a common meltdown) I can hear her start the nightly unwinding. I can hear the grunting and deep breaths as she slowly wears herself out with her repetitious movement. I hear the little pounding of her feet as she jumps up and down in place with a dead stare up to the ceiling. Then she drops it down for her hand gestures on the ground like she is scratching, which is then brought up to her face. She likes to start a gallop next. Back and forth twice and she starts the routine all over again.

Normally you wouldn't think much of a child hopping up and down or galloping back and forth. It's the hand gestures that people notice. It's the intense look she gives them as she puts all of her energy into that movement. That's what draws their stare. She will do this routine for as long as she needs. Sometimes it's just for a couple seconds other times it will last an hour. There is no stopping this behavior. This is called stereotypical behavior and it doesn't just happen before bed. It happens all day long. It's noticeable worse when we're off schedule. 

Schedule is extremely important.

If I had known better, she would have gotten the help she needed. We would have been more educated on how we could help her. We could have changed the way we disciplined her realizing that by not understanding we were only causing more anxiety and self esteem issues in our little girl.

It's a journey and very much a learning experience. I call her my little sensory puzzle as we discover new things about her everyday. It's helpful to understand your child better and realize they are not intentionally careless but their body can't help but be floppy and uncoordinated.

Their actions are not purposefully disobedient. 

I no longer repeatedly holler at my daughter to sit up right in the middle of her chair because I can understand that she constantly needs one foot touching the ground to feel secure and sometimes her short little legs can't do that the way I want her to sit. Each night when I check on her before I would turn down, I would always have to pick her up off the floor as her legs would hang over the bed. Now we have a fun tent in the corner of her room as we learned she is more comfortable sleeping on the floor. Hard surfaces help her sleep better through the night.

It's the little things that you don't even think are things until you realize how they can emotionally impact your child's development. 

This is why I am sharing with you today because this is often misunderstood and goes undiagnosed. Kids are often thought of as problem children and they don't get the help they deserve. It's even harder when they are school aged. As a parent you know your child the best and if you feel in your gut that something is off don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I've heard things like...

"just being a kid?"

"In my day we did exactly that"

"She just has a lot of energy"

"All kids are clumsy"

"She doesn't understand boundaries"

"You are not disciplining her enough"

Imagine if you were a kid who did things that no one understood but you couldn't help yourself. Then imagine getting yelled at day in and day out and feeling so alone. Yeah, my mommy guilt set in! When were finally realized I felt so awful for how we were so blind to her needs.

Don't get me wrong, my child is still a bad a$$ tough girl and she is super smart, but she also needs a little help too.

Recommended reading*...

*affiliate links are included in this post that help support the website.

Posted on April 12, 2016 and filed under Parenting, Raising Girls, Happy Mama.

How to Handle Bullies: What I Tell My Kids About Bullying

When my daughter first started kindergarten I was taken aback with the concept of bullies at this age. I thought kindergarten was a little pre-mature to start the heckling but then I realized that "mean girls" didn't just exist in high school. Within a month I started seeing anxiety and fear wash over her sweet face every morning as I dropped her off at school.

I was torn between the two ideas that 1) kids need to learn some thick skin and tough it out or 2) bully behavior is never a positive socialization experience (which honestly, it's not).

We battled this problem all year long and it started to tugged at my heart. Okay, really it felt like it was ripping it out. I was brought back to memories of when I was a young girl, still in elementary and was oh so worried about what I was wearing and being so intimidated by the popular girl... in 4th grade!

That anxiety was crippling and the thought of my already sensitive daughter having to endure this felt shitty!

Then there was that one day. It was before a Girl Scouts meeting and I was setting up the activities as we started to discuss her concerns about THAT girl in her class. That is when I told her this...

"It's not about you, it's about them."

"No matter how hard it is to believe that, you have to know that it has nothing to do with you"

"Do you know why people bully and tease?"

Blank stare...

"People only try to hurt another person because there is something inside of them that makes them unhappy. There is something so sad that they need to hurt another person to make themselves feel better."

"Sometimes they wish they could have what you have, sometimes they wish they could feel loved like you feel loved. Bullying is NEVER okay but maybe you can try and be the better person and find out why they are sad."

I'll admit, this is not the normal way I feel about these situations and the thought of someone intentionally trying to hurt my kids does bring out the Mama bear in me. 

What I saw from her reaction is that she totally got it. She totally understood and it took the teasing away from her. It took the anxiety and self-doubt out of her mind and brought a sense of confidence.

She realized it wasn't about her and it wasn't because she was less than. It wasn't personal even though it seems so personal.

She smiled and looked comforted.

She looked me in the eyes and said "Mommy, I love you" in a sweet soft voice. 

At the young age of 6, she was learning how to turn the cheek and help those who need love when it's often the hardest.

Posted on February 23, 2016 and filed under Parenting, Raising Girls.

Wittle Birds Cooking Show!!

My girls are fascinated with the video world and it didn't help when the hubby gave EACH of them their own Flip Video camera that he happened to get free through a promotion! 

They love watching YouTube videos (thanks to our smart TV) and have been wanting to record their own for a long time. I was hesitant at first but they had a ton of fun with this! So here it is... their first stab at YouTube stardom..lol  

 

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What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

I wrote this blog post about 2 years ago but in honor of CDH awareness I thought it would be a good repost.

For the most part I try to be optimistic, but I can only be that way for so long until something breaks inside of me and I am just pissed. I get angry when people say the wrong things even though it's with the best intentions and love.

We recently discovered our soon to be third little girl has a heart condition just like her older sister. I got through the crying and depressive stage pretty fast but the anger side of grief is not ready to pass. I am tired of the responses from people looking from the outside in. I just really don't want to talk about the situation but people want to push and say things like "it will all work out" or "you've been through this before so you've got this" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". These all seem like uplifting things to help a grieving parent but they don't help.

The killer one that really turns in my stomach is "God only gives us what he knows we can handle." As someone who has found Christ through my struggles, I find this statement to be false. I do think certain things happen to us with purpose, despite how awful they might be. Regardless, things happen that go beyond the laws of what we can handle and sometimes it does break us. It can break us in tragic ways where one takes their own life and it can break us in smaller ways, where one suffers deep down inside where no one else can see. This is not strength. This is change and not always for the better.

I know that how I'm feeling in the NOW can be off putting and make some people want to turn away. I don't blame them.

I'm struggling.

But please, put your advice aside and just be there when I'm ready to talk. Even if I am never ready to talk, that's okay because sometimes I can talk things out just on my own.

We recently raised funds for our annual Congenital Heart Walk in Chicago. This was the first year that Bella really understood what we were walking for and why. Yes, I walked at 38 weeks pregnant!

Holding her sister's hand as she proudly walked for herself!

What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

1) Just because they've had corrective surgery does not mean they are cured.

2) The first time your child starts complaining of chest pain your world starts to feel like it's caving in.

3) We can be strong and make this look easy but deep inside we are screaming with anxiety.

4) As much as we try not to, we hoover. It's just something we do and we are always on the lookout for something so please don't judge.

5) We blame ourselves. Maybe just in the beginning. Maybe for years. We always question if there was something we could have done differently. Sometimes even after the guilt has gone away it starts to creep back.

6) This is a lifelong battle not just for our kids, but for us as a family and as parents.

7) We pray our children will out live us.

8) This never gets easier to deal with. We live with the constant awareness of the path ahead.

9) Strep throat and other illnesses are scary... Rheumatic fever can affect the heart even in patients that don't have any heart conditions. It can significantly complicate existing heart defects and conditions and all of this from the common strep throat.

10) We are fighters, too. We fight the feelings to cry, to freak out and rush to the ER when something goes wrong. We fight ourselves to stay calm and be brave so our kids can be.

11) We get angry. We get angry that we are up against CHD and it can be a ruthless fight and it impacts the quality of life in all members of the family.

12) It changes the family dynamic. It changes the way we are towards one child over another and everyone picks up on this. Everyone in the family feels this battle.

Thank you for listening and thank you for just being there:)

Baby number 3 is due in less than a week and I hope to have some cute baby pictures soon!!!

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The Best Gift for the Baking Girl Scout!

Have you seen it yet?  We nearly lost it when we saw it in Target.

It's the new Girl Scouts Easy Bake Oven!

For all of your mini chefs or bakers out there this has to be the perfect gift. When I was little I had my own easy bake oven and it was so much fun. I'm mean, really, who did have one?

Posted on November 27, 2015 and filed under Girl scouts, Parenting.

A natural tick and lice deterrent and tips on lice prevention... eek!

It seems that there has been an outbreak of these little buggers in the general Chicago area, including my daughter's school! Last year alone we had several letters sent home... you know the one I'm talking about.... Want to inform you that there has been a reported case of lice in your child's classroom.... 

Well.... this year we were not able to escape it! She got lice... yuck!!

Let me start off by explaining some of the misconceptions about lice.... 

People who get lice are dirty: Um, no. It does NOT mean that you are dirty or unwashed... In fact, you could wash your hair a million times and these suckers would still thrive, because they can hold their breath for hours on end!

Pets carry lice: FALSE! I blamed it on the dog too until I found this out.

I'm not itchy, I must not have it: Just because you don't itch doesn't mean you don't have them. 

It can be cured with over the counter shampoo: hahahaha that's an ugly lie. If you think you just need to rinse with this shampoo and your done, you need to think again. SOMETIMES this method works but if you are solely hoping for a miracle in this method you will be grossly disappointed. 

Suffocate them with oil: We tried this with olive oil and a shower cap. Slept in it overnight and kept it in for a good 12 hours. I stained my pillows and my face broke out but the lice were still there.

Now let me give you the reality...

These creatures on non discriminators, they just want to populate

It's so gross

It's such a pain in the butt

You wouldn't wish this upon your evil nemesis.

Really, it's just bugs in your hair. They don't present any real threat or spread any diseases, just the concept is enough to make your skin crawl, literally.

You need to report it!! People get so ashamed and they want to hid it and the reality is, what if you did spread it? Some poor soul might now be walking around (not necessarily itching) and carry it. Now YOU are more likely to catch it, again! Serves you right if you aren't reporting it! LOL kidding! You're also doing parents a favor of not having that kid spread it to the entire family, because that is a nightmare! With lice, sharing is caring only when it comes to information, NOT HATS!

It takes time and patience to get rid of these pests. It takes a very good eye and a nit comb to successfully get them out.

That means picking each and every last one out by hand.

DAY after DAY for about a week. And then doing the process all over again just to be safe because I'm OCD about it. We did use the over the counter shampoo to at least demobilize the live bugs while we picked them out but it certainly didn't kill them all and it's reported that they have now become more resistant to the shampoo. 

The first initial comb out took 5 hours per child. Get the coloring books and iPad ready. You can use hair gel or conditioner to help run the comb through so the nits come out. I mixed together coconut conditioner, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil. Tea Tree Oil acts as a repellent. Apply it to the scalp and then section off the head with bobby pins or clips. Sectioning off the head is very helpful!

Use gloves while working with conditioner or gel. Wipe your comb after EVERY run through. Remember, I said this was a pain in the butt! It's also very tedious. 

Once you have gone through the entire head of hair, manually go through each section again and REALLY inspect. You will find more...promise ;).

Then give it a good shampoo and blow dry hair. It's said that heat can kill the nits. Once you have dried the hair, get into a good area where light is bright ( outside in the sun is best) and look through that head AGAIN. Pull those nits out. 

The days following, make sure to check for more nits. I went through their hair twice a day and found a few stragglers. If you notices just a couple here and there you probably just missed a few in the first comb out. If you start to notice more nits then you might have missed a live bugger, which is why you will repeat the process in 8-10 days.

Don't forget to wash all jackets and bedding in hot hot water. They say a good vacuuming and housecleaning will do the trick with the rest of the house. I would recommend replacing your brush and bagging up any hair accessories for 2 weeks. Store away any stuffed animals as well and spray the back of car seats (bet you didn't think of that one).

Overall, lice won't invest a house. They need human blood to survive so they won't be hangin out anywhere else unless they happen to fall out and will shortly die after.

Nitpicker will have a new meaning to you!

 

Ways to prevent them from infesting or coming back...

1) Use a Tea Tree Tonic solution (also deters ticks!)

2) Use preventative shampoo

3) Braid long hair

4) Educate your kids on not sharing hats, scarves, hair accessories, jackets, and Girl Scouts vests!

I wish you good luck and I hope that you never ever have to experience in your household. Tree Tree is an effective repellent to discourage those nesters from taking up a home in your child's head. It also helps with ticks, too. So if you are going for a hike or CAMPING, spray some of the tea tree tonic on before you go out!

Posted on November 9, 2015 and filed under Parenting.