Monday, November 24, 2008

Randomness

I would like to ask that you keep praying about Boss' job for next year. The fundraising to keep the school open and operating is not going well, but we have heard there might be some other options that the board of directors is considering to keep the school open. Boss LOVES his job, and it is my prayer that he gets to keep doing what he loves to do.

Anyway, with me not knowing if we will be homeschooling next year or not, I have been trying to get my hands on all of the school stuff (teaching materials) that I can. Emma has already learned so very much in her one semester of preschool, and I have been so impressed. She can write all of her letters and numbers, make all of the letter sounds, and she is learning to blend the sounds together in order to learn to read. It is awesome to watch it all come together for her! I just love the methods that her teacher has used, and I have been keeping all of her papers so that I can use these ideas for Kate when the time comes.

Here are some cute rhymes to teach your children when helping them to learn to write numbers :

1 Down you run and one is done.

2 Around and down and back this way.
Two is fun to make each day.

3 Around a tree.
Around a tree.
This is how to make a three.

4 Down and over and down some more.
This is how to make a four.

5 Short neck, belly fat. Number five
wears a hat.

6 Down a line and around in a loop.
See how six rolls a hula hoop?

7 Over to the right and down from Heaven,that is how to make a seven.

8 Make an "S" but do not wait, Go back
up and you have an eight.

9 Make an egg, and then a line.
Now you have a fancy nine.

Also, a sleep update. I am seeing small improvements! Last night, Kate slept from 7:30 pm until 5:30 am. That's 10 solid hours, with no waking in between! Way to go Kate! For the most part, I have had her in bed by 8:30 every night and she has been going right to sleep. Until today, she was still waking around 4:30 am, but I was making her stay in bed until 5 am, before allowing her to start the day.. I have also been making sure that she naps no longer than two hours each afternoon, and that it is not too late in the day. As I said, I definitely see improvements, so we will keep plugging a long.

Tomorrow is the last day of school before Thanksgiving break and I am so excited! This year ALL of the big girls will be getting to visit their families for the holidays and I am so happy for them! Their behavior has come so far this last year. So, that also means that we get to spend the holiday with just our little family, so that will be a nice break and change. We will be spending the time with some of our family and good friends. Bring on the holidays! Have a good week, friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being a Parent Won't Control MY Life

A few years ago, Boss and I went out to dinner with some friends of ours and their two year old daughter. I was newly pregnant with our first daughter, Emma, and was living in raising a child is going to be so easy, I don't see what all the fuss is about land. Remember that land? The one where you had a pre pregnancy figure and your face lacked lines because you actually slept eight consecutive hours a night? Ahh...ignorance sure was bliss. Back to my story.

So, we arrived at our table for dinner, but before our friend's daughter even had a chance to misbehave, the wife whisked her to the back of the restaurant and started pacing with her. I must have given the husband a perplexed look, because he just laughed and said, We now eat in shifts. That way (insert child's name here) stays entertained, and we each get a turn to eat in peace. You just wait and see. Your turn is coming soon. Excuse me? Was he really suggesting that just because Boss and I were about to become parents, that our eating in a restaurant together days were over?

We continued our meal, and when it was over, Boss and I asked our friends if they wanted to get dessert. Just at that moment, the wife must have looked at her watch and realized that it was past their child's bedtime, because I promise you, they were out of that restaurant in two minutes flat with words of, Oh no, now her schedule will be off, and This is going to ruin the rest of the week, ringing loudly behind them. As expecting parents, this couples behavior towards their child was alarming! I am pretty sure Boss and I enjoyed our dessert in peace that night and talked about how we were NEVER going to be like that couple and let our child control our lives. Not us. Becoming parents wouldn't change our lives! I was an on the go, go with the flow type of girl, and schedules and routines really just weren't for me. My life would not change at all. I was sure of it.

Four short (yet incredibly long, all at the very same time) years later, I have found that it is time I eat my words. Yesterday, I bought my very first self help/parenting book. It is called The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers, and I am hoping and praying that it has all of the answers that I need, because here is the truth..... I am a parent and Emma and Kate are beginning to control my life. Two little pint sized girls are beginning to send Boss and I over the edge with their sleeping (or lack thereof) habits. It is time for us to regain control.

Here is a sneak peak in to a typical night at our house... (but if I share this, you must promise not to judge too harshly!)

9:00 PM - All of the big girls head to their rooms, and I begin to think about getting my kids to bed. Sometimes, they get a bath in the evening, or sometimes, we just put on jammies and bathe in the morning.

9:30 PM - I put the girls on the couch in front of the Goodnight Show on PBS, and get angry when they constantly get off the couch and are hyper, all the while praying that they will simply fall asleep while watching, so that I don't have to deal with bedtime.

10:00 PM - I put Kate in bed.

10:15 PM - Emma gets in bed with us until she falls asleep, and then I move her to a pallet on the floor beside our bed.

10:15 - 4:00 AM - Emma tries to get back in our bed several times, and I am constantly putting her back on her pallet.

4:30 AM - Kate wakes up for the morning and won't go back to sleep. She eats breakfast, plays, and watches cartoons.

7:00 AM - Kate crashes just as the rest of the house is waking up. Boss and I are grumpy before the day has even begun. And this has been going on for two years now. Seriously.

(Wow, I'm embarrassed to read about how out of control our nights have been!! Who wears the pants in this relationship? Wait, silly question. I think it's quite obvious.)

The time has come for me to develop what I once despised...a routine. I will now be one of those parents who will leave an event early, so that my child can make it home in time for bed.

Here are some things we are going to try:

* I am moving dinner to a set time of five o'clock, so that I have plenty of time to have a peaceful bedtime routine with the girls.

* We will have snack, bathe, get jammies on, brush teeth, read stories, sing songs and pray at the same time, and in the same order, every night. I am eliminating ALL nighttime TV, even from my big girls, so there isn't noise, stimulation, and commotion in the living room.

* Bedtime will be at 8:30 PM. (Did you know the author of this book says that for most young children, their natural bedtime is between 6:30 and 7:30 PM? Are you kidding me? That would be awesome, but we'll try for 8:30.

* I haven't decided if I will walk Emma back to her bed every time she gets out, or let her crawl in with us for now, as long as she starts out in her bed. I may want to tackle Kate's problems of sleeping past 4:30 AM, before moving on to Emma.

* When Kate wakes, we won't let her crash for her morning nap at 7 am. This has been torture for all of us the past three days! We also won't let her eat breakfast right away. She has to wait until the rest of the family is up. Hopefully, her body will begin adjusting to this new schedule, and over the next few months we will begin to see some changes.

So there you have it. We are now on a very strict evening schedule. If you see us out at one of Boss' games and I rush out the door at half time, it is because my children now have a bedtime and I have joined ranks with the parents I found weird only four short years ago. And if your children sleep perfectly, and you knew the wisdom of having a schedule and routine long ago, then I'm not sure I want to hear from you....maybe in a few months when my children are sleeping well, too. Then we can talk.

On a serious note, being a good mom is the most important thing in the world to me and I just want to do a good job. As with everything else in life, I am learning as I go.