Archive for February, 2008

Discipline in Action

Just in case, you haven’t had enough of my thoughts on discipline, I thought I’d describe a few very typical scenarios in our house.

In the mornings when we need to get somewhere in a timely matter, it can be a little bit of a struggle if the children and I are not working towards the same goal (namely for me: getting ready and leaving on time; and usually for them: have fun & possibly also eat). Pro-actively, I will attempt to make our getting ready as much fun as possible. We might play a game of who can get dressed fastest or make a silly face while getting dressed. We might also sing a song about cleaning up or putting on shoes. In deciding what to wear, warnings and choices are of utmost with Eila. I’ll usually tell her: “We need to get ready for preschool, so in two minutes we are going to go to the bathroom and then get dressed. Would you like to wear pants or a dress?” She almost always chooses dress, so then we head to the closet and I pick out two and say: “Would you like the dog dress or the circle dress?” or she will immediately tell me which one she prefers, and I rarely care. If I want her to wear pants; I will specify why and give her the pick of the drawer. She is much more likely to be agreeable and cooperate with my goal in this way. The GBD 5 Steps are a great tool for when choices aren’t working. Step 4 is to help her and so I do. I’ll get out her clothes and help her put them on so that we can leave when we need to – hopefully, not in a mean way, but because she isn’t able to do it herself, just like I help Josiah.

Another troublesome issue for many folks is eating. I really like the idea that I control when and where my child eats and s/he controls how much. I choose what s/he can eat and she chooses what (from what’s in front of her) s/he does eat. For Eila, this works great because she likes to eat and is almost always hungry. She enjoys a wide variety of foods and is willing to try one bite (which is sort of a rule) of anything and almost always wants more after that first bite, but if not that’s fine. Josiah, on the other hand, does not eat well. So for him, I offer the same wide variety that the rest of us eat with at least one food that I know he likes each day. I offer him foods whenever he asks and it’s reasonable (this is the same for Eila), which is usually every 2 hours. If he wants to eat, he must do so at the table, but since sitting for more than 30 seconds is beyond his ability at this time, he can come and go as often as he likes until I put the food away (usually when Eila is done eating.) As for attempting to break the eating protocol, it’s very simply taking food away. In most cases, the kids are done eating anyway and if not, they can try again by sitting at the table and behaving appropriately and get their food back without much ado. It works very well. I tend not to stress about messes while eating, but if they are goofing off, they are done because I don’t like to clean unnecessarily (or really at all.) We try to act in the way that we want the kids to act and they want to act like us, so it works out.

When the kids don’t listen and don’t obey, when they hit each other, climb on dressers, throw hard & pointy objects and put valuables in the dirty toilet, when they whine, cry, yell, or act disrespectfully and unlovingly (is this even a word – you know what I mean), what happens?
Often there are several phases in the process.

Recently, Josiah has been going through a bit of a challenging stage – testing limits over and over again. He is climbing up the dresser and standing on top, looking out the window or just admiring the new perspective. At first I took him down and clearly told him “NO! You may not climb on the dresser. You can climb on the couch or on the bed.” Then, when he did it again, we repeated this with several “NO”s and put him in his crib for a bit. When he did it again, we repeated the admonition and he stood in the corner for a brief time out. When he did it again (the third time in just 6 waking hours), he went in his crib for a full minute with a simple “No!”. He now says “No, No, No” after he climbs up, which shows me that he at least knows that this is not okay, but isn’t able to stop himself, so if he does it again, I’ll move the dresser. I hope I won’t have to.

Now, Eila is an exceptionally whiny child when she is tired. Most of the time, she is extremely well-spoken for a preschooler, but when tired, she barely manages 2-3 words together and uses either a baby voice or a whiny voice, neither of which I have much patience for. As she has gotten older and I’ve gotten a little bit wiser, things have changed… I used to get really annoyed and just lose it. Now, it takes a bit longer for me to lose it, and before I do, I usually will do a few things to help her cope. First, I offer food or sleep or potty. If she doesn’t choose, I might choose for her by saying: “Do you need to go potty? (wait for answer) Let’s have a little snack or would you like to go back to sleep. If you can’t decide or ask nicely, I’ll just tuck you back in bed.” In the event that she is still cranky after a bowl of cereal- her favorite snack, I offer a little cuddle with Mama (which is often what she really wants, but can’t voice it). When Eila is whining at a store or friend’s house, I’ll simply talk to her calmly (sometimes) with two choices: speak with a nice voice and clearly say what she wants or play/sit/walk quietly. If that doesn’t work, we wrap up and head home as soon as possible because she needs to sleep! When we get home, I’ll put her in her room and let her change into pajamas if she wants (and she always does), then say: “You can read books quietly in your bed or sleep in your bed – I’d like you to sleep, but whichever you do is fine. We all need to take a break for a bit.”

Finally, the sticky issue of other people’s kids… I like the policy of each person taking care of their own kid. When someone hurts my kid, though, it’s really hard not to want to “help” the other parent. I have to resist because I know that each mom knows her kid best and what works with him/her, and plus, I need to take care of my own hurt kid. If I’m watching someone else’s kids, they are have the same rules and respect that my kids do – with a little more grace. The golden rule “Treat others as you want to be treated” works with parenting too.

Basically, where there is love, grace abounds and so do limits that have to be enforced. The more I learn, the more I have to adjust my expectations and know that I have more to learn!



Do you see the family resemblance? Here is my mother and myself with my sister’s kids.
Aunt Shannon, Grandma, Elliana & Andy

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Friday’s Feast

Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone? If so, what did you do and who was your victim?
In my youth I did several practical jokes (none of which I remember and always because of peer pressure!), but I’m so sensitive and hate being the butt of jokes, so I tend not to want to do them to others either.

What do your salt and pepper shakers look like?
Salt is in a clear glass shaker with a cobalt blue top and bottom. The pepper is conveniently in the container in which I purchased it…

Where is the next place you plan to visit (on vacation or business)?
I am very excited to visit the Walls to see my new nephew, niece and sisters (and maybe my brother-in-law too).

Main Course
What kind of lotion or cream do you use to keep your hands from getting too dry?
I used to use Lubriderm, but have recently switched to Eucerin.

Make up a dessert, tell us its ingredients, and give it a name.
This is my favorite late night snack: Club crackers slathered in peanut butter dipped in a
steaming mug of hot chocolate. I call it Cookie Substitute.

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Clear Night

Shaky shot of the lunar eclipse from our deck.
Last night was the most amazing and rare treat in our backyard. We were able to see stars! Since the Wal-mart and Target went in around the corner, with their excess of lights, we have had very few nights where there is not a single cloud to deflect light and allow us to see the sky in all its glory… Even more amazing was the lunar eclipse, which I was able to shiver and share with my husband, the geek. In my opinion, there is nothing more clear than seeing the wonders of the heavens to inspire praise for God and His magnificent creation! I hope you were able to enjoy it too.


Time Drain

Of all the things that I do, like taking care of my children, cooking, cleaning, exercising, reading, attending meetings, hanging out with my husband, etc. The thing that takes the most time and is the least productive must be anything related to the computer.

No matter how quickly I plan to check something, it invariably leads to something else and I spend 20 minutes looking at random things that were not at all related to what I intended to do on the computer, which I may or may not have actually done.

Facebook, reading blogs, and checking email are my serious down falls. It is easy to waste away hours just looking at what other people are doing and then reading about what people they know might be up to… Oh well. I’m allowed several guilty pleasures, right? As long as they don’t get in the way of my responsibilities… Does the bathroom really need to be clean?


Friday’s Feast


Name one thing that is unique about you.

This is surprisingly hard to specify. I know that I am definitely not like anyone else, but it isn’t just one thing that makes it so, but the combination of all the various parts and traits that make me me. To identify one thing, I can only think of the relationships that I have, namely I’m Brian’s wife and Eila and Josiah’s mom.


Fill in the blank: My favorite _________ is __________ but I like _________ too.

My favorite cookie is chocolate & peanut butter chip but I like oatmeal cookies too.


What type of wood do you have for your home’s furnishings?

All different, but our bedroom is cherry wood.

Main Course

Who do you talk to most often on the phone?

Probably my husband.


What level of responsibility do you have in your job?

I can’t get any more responsibility in being a mother or wife or daughter or friend.

Enjoy the meal; join in here.

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My Diet Plan

Some women wonder how to lose all their baby weight and get back their girlish figure. This is what worked for me; it might work for you too:
1. Tandem Nursing
2. Exercise at least twice a week, especially while holding one or two kids (not including running after kids or walking with friends or at the zoo or shopping or cleaning.)
3. Drink a glass of water whenever you think you might be hungry, then eat.
4. Get the stomach flu, more than once really helps (but not much fun!)
5. Never weigh yourself.

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Practicalities of Discipline

I’m finally following up the rest of my thoughts on disciplining, and these are my findings so far, based on my flawed usage and my kids.

What works (in my order of preference and use):
GBD 5 Steps
Love & Logic, Conscious Discipline 1 and Conscious Discipline 2 (Choices with natural or logical consequences)
Giving Time to Adjust to Change

What doesn’t work:
Telling them what to do and then punishing (time outs, loss of priviledges)
Asking them to do something and telling the consequence of not complying – Eila will almost always choose the consequence no matter what it is!

I’ve found that having too many rules or too much info, doesn’t work, but Eila needs to know what to expect and what’s coming up. Josiah is starting to want that as well, as he gets to the point where he can understand that there are some things he can do and some things he cannot do.

Yee House Rules:
Treat others with love and respect. (We do not hit or push or kick other people at any time for any reason.)
Listen and obey.
When we’re done playing, we clean-up.
We go to our room when we can’t behave appropriately.
No climbing on moving things (like ride-on trucks) or big furniture (like dressers or tables).
No eating or wearing shoes (princess shoes included) while jumping. (This rule changes with the season – it was previously: Only throw soft balls.)
Only play on the computer with Mama or Papa.
Ask before you take (especially for food, but also applies to toys & taking turns).

There are always consequences for not following the rules. The most common one is no more jumping. Followed closely by “We can play with that after we clean up this.”

Finally, the most important rules (which are the silly rules):
No Smiling.
No Laughing.
No Having Fun.

As our kids get a little older, I’d like to implement “Our 24 Family Ways” from the Clarkson family, which I discovered in the back of Sally Clarkson’s The Mission of Motherhood.

So, for some real life examples, you’ll have to await another day.

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Last year was the first time I “gave up something for Lent”. Having grown up in a Baptist and then Presbyterian church, I didn’t really know much about Lent at all except that my Catholic school friends didn’t eat meat on Fridays or eat chocolate in the month or so before Easter. It seemed strange, but sparked no further musings at that time.

In college, I read Richard Foster’s fabulous book The Celebration of Discipline, which made me start to think about fasting and prayer as more than just something that real fanatics would do. More recently, as a nursing woman fasting isn’t really a healthy option for me, so I wanted to do a sort of modified prayer and fast. In the end, I decided to fast from something that I had regularly and use that time to meditate on Scriptures and pray. I realized that this is exactly what Lent is all about.

Fasting is a way to focus on Christ and the sacrifice He made for people everywhere to have a right relationship with God. Giving something up for Lent is really fasting and preparing for the celebration of Christ’s death and victory over death and all evil in His resurrection – a time when many people who might be really in need of hope might be likely to look in the only place they’ll find the real deal.

So, again this year, I’m fasting and praying with a focus on family. Last year, I gave up cookies, which was really tough. This year is proving to be an equally well-chose vice: hot chocolate. Apparently, I have been drinking a cup of hot cocoa every night this winter and so now I won’t be drinking my hot chocolate, but I will be enjoying a time of refreshing and warmth with my God despite the cold around me.

Are you giving anything up for Lent?

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What Has This World Come To?

So, I’ve been wondering about how much worse things could get in this crazy world before the end is here…

Every time I turn around, I hear about someone else who is dealing with some horrible situation. The problems range from spousal abuse to sexual infidelity to freak accidents to drugs and addictions to hopelessness and depression. It is sad and scary to hear about friends who are dealing with such serious issues – that really hurt.

I was thinking about what I could and should do to help. First, I’m praying for them and for real and lasting change in their situations. Also, I’m trying to be a friend, whether that means listening or watching kids or providing meals or money or a safe place – whatever physical needs I can meet, I will. And, then I realized that I could provide some resources for help. I enjoy researching and so it makes sense that I would find the help that others have already provided and point those who need it in that direction. In my opinion, the best source of info is always the Bible and talking with God!

Here are some of the sites that might be interesting to anyone or helpful if you know someone going through a really hard time right now:
Are you an Abuser? (Quiz)
Are you being abused? (Quiz)
Suite 101
You are a Target, not a Victim
Living with Someone in Depression
Addiction Help

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