Friday, February 27, 2009

Behaviour Modification Program

I’m a strict mom. I like my home life to be harmonious, happy and conflict-free and I don't put up with much crap. I definitely do the “reward the good behaviour” method, but when that doesn’t work I basically have three weapons in my arsenal:

1. Ignore them completely. I don’t respond to whining, fussing or yelling. I sometimes have to remind the little guys that I don’t understand them when they talk in “that voice”, but Lisa knows that when I’m ignoring her, it’s because of her tone. Ignoring them can initially make them more angry, but eventually they get it.

2. Take Stuff Away. A couple of weeks ago Lisa was AWFUL. After one particularly horrendous night, I wrote a list of all the privileges she had. The list had about 20 different things on it, including having friends over, watching TV, playing Barbies, going to friends’ houses including birthday parties, …and the list goes on. There’s another sheet that lists chores and behaviours that will help her earn back the privileges. She knows that if her behaviour is bad enough, The List will be back and she does not want that. Bart will instantly snap out of his tantrum if I threaten to take away his movies for any amount of time. This one isn’t quite as successful with Maggie because she doesn’t have that much that she really cares about losing. One time I told her I would take away all her princess clothes (which she plays with every day) and she went and got a bag to help me gather them up.

3. Time outs. I still do time outs for all the kids, but something I’ve been doing lately is leaving them in all their tantrum glory, going to my room and telling them that I’m taking a time out from them. It freaks them out.

What works for you with your kids? Did your parents do anything that you remember being effective?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What’s going on at your workplace?

I work in a weird place. Today in my building:

*There is a guy in a giant bubble promoting getting a certain vaccine. When I saw him last he was eating his lunch and talking on his cell phone in the bubble.

*There is a disaster demonstration with people screaming, crying and bleeding with fake bricks burying various body parts, some attached, some not.

*There is a bird trapped in the building, chirping and crapping all over the walls.

*There is a breast cancer awareness bake sale where they are selling, among other things, boob cupcakes.

*The chandeliers in the new dentist office are being installed.

*There’s a group offering free popcorn to entice random people into their free lecture on epidemiology.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New appliances!

We finally got our new kitchen appliances on the weekend! We've had the fridge for a few weeks, but the stove took a little longer to arrive.

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True to form, I researched the new appliances, checking pricing and reviews. I knew what features I wanted and knew how much I could get them for at various places. Then, when I got to the store, I changed my mind.

Instead of the fridge with the freezer on the bottom, we got a fridge with no freezer - it's all fridge! We bought a small chest freezer to put in the basement and it has turned out to be a good decision.

The range is the same one I had researched, except that instead of a warming drawer, we went for a full baking drawer (so the bottom drawer is another oven!) It is just so nice to be able to bake again!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kid watching

I love the chance to just watch my kids.

Like when Bart watches Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the 6,712th time, but he’s tired, so instead of getting up and dancing to the songs, he just subtly does the hand motions and head nods.

Or when Maggie is at a birthday party at one of those indoor playground places and she goes toe-to-toe with some bratty older boys who won’t let her get on the slide.

Or when Lisa plays school with her Webkinz and Barbies and she’s so serious and officious about the whole thing.

We’ve gone through a bit of a rough patch with Lisa. She has been kind of awful and we have been a little unforgiving. I actually told her on one particularly bad night that I couldn’t stand the sight of her. It was true in that moment. Her crossed arms, her foul expression, her stubborn body language – they all made me so angry, so exasperated, so overwhelmed with thoughts of ‘I can’t do this’.

Of course, as time softened the impact of that moment, my anger settled, her anger settled. We hugged and spoke softly about the things that were bothering us. I apologized and so did she. I cupped her face in my hands and told her how much I love the sight of her and how my heart skips a beat when I first see her in the morning and when I check in on her when she’s sleeping. She gave me a weak smile, then stuck out her tongue and did some googly eyes. “How about that face. Do you like that one?” She’s got a lot of me in her, that girl.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Entering a new phase

Just a little over eight years ago, I painted the nursery. I chose "French Blue" as a gender-neutral colour that I could live with.

When Lisa was born, the painting was the only thing that was done in the room. I came home from the hospital, surprised to find that Homer had gone out and purchased a change table, a tallboy shelf, baskets, a diaper pail and a baby bath. A couple of months later, we added the crib, a gift from my parents.

The room stayed essentially the same for each addition to our brood. The nursery is the smallest room in the house, so as a new baby moved into the nursery, the big kid would move into his or her own big kid room.

This week, we said goodbye to our nursery and goodbye to our baby days. Our baby is too big for a crib, too old for a nursery.

It was a family affair transforming the room. Maggie's only request was that the room be purple and pink.

It was more emotional for me than I expected, painting over that French Blue. Taking apart the crib, knowing that my baby would never sleep in it again was agonizing.

But then, the new room started to take shape. The purple walls, the bed linens I had found months ago, the little butterfly carpet my sister gave her - they all worked together to create a pretty, fun room. Maggie squealed with delight when she saw it all set up.

She told her friends and teachers at daycare that she had a big girl room that was only hers. This room, the way it's decorated and accessorized just screams MAGGIE. She deserves that.

Sweet dreams, big girl. You'll always be my baby.