Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Someone Has Been Watching Too Much Food Network

Because I think I can create things in the kitchen, when probably I can't. My husband lucks out big time tonight. He won't be home for supper, so I'm making things I know he doesn't like.

It started as a recipe I saw on Pinterest that looked yummy. But I can't be content to just replicate it, I must Improve it.

It's all things my boys like, so keeping my fingers crossed for some Yums tonight.

I made some layers, starting with sliced sweet potatoes, then black beans, corn, diced red peppers, quinoa cooked in tomato sauce, and more sliced sweet potato. I will bake it for a while, then top with tex mex shredded cheese. I may also add some more tomato sauce before the cheese if it's too dry.

I don't think it should suck. But maybe I'll just have some frozen chicken strips on standby just in case.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Surely that doesn't mean ME?

I'm generally a pretty big rule-follower. And it bugs me when other people act like rules don't apply to them. I'm not talking about kid stuff, like kids climbing up slides or playing on playground equipment designed for kids younger than they are (although that kind of stuff irks me). Kids will be kids and I don't really think play should have all those rules enforced. Would be nice for the control freak in me, but I'm aware it's totally unrealistic.

I'm talking about adults selectively ignoring rules. That chaps my lips. Especially rules of courtesy that relate to hygiene, saftey, or spreading communicable diseases, i.e. stuff that can affect me and my kids. I'm having a grouchy day, so in no particular order, here's a list of offenses that annoy me.
  • Socks. If you go to a play place that has signage about requiring socks...WEAR bloody socks! Put socks on your kid! If you don't have any, buy some (most places that require socks also sell socks). Or don't go.
  • Stroller parking. If you're at a zoo, or a playcentre, or somewhere where it is a bad idea to bring your stroller in (this is generally obvious from there being a long line of parked strollers outside, or a sign that says something vague like "Stroller Parking"), how's about you park your stroller and don't try to wedge it where it doesn't fit.
  • Pregnant woman/family parking spots. These are a courtesy thing, not a legally enforced thing, sure. But why be so discourteous to use it if you don't really need it? And if you do use it when you aren't the designated type of user, for heaven's sake don't get all huffy and eyerolly if you have to wait for a legitimate user (say a mom with a stroller and shopping bags and two small kids, one or two of whom are probably demanding something Right Now) to get themselves loaded and unpacked and organized. If you parked beside me, and it takes me a long time to get us to a point where we are not blocking your door, that's not my fault. You could have parked anywhere else.
  • No outside food. Honestly? If you're going somewhere that sells food, don't be surprised if they aren't happy to see you bring in outside food. Most places are happy to make exceptions when necessary, but businesses don't stay in business without sales. This is not rocket science.
  • Smoking areas. I don't even think I need to say more about this. I don't object to anyone's right to smoke, but it's my right not to.
  • Sick kids sharing their germs. If your kids is barfing, being a pudding pants, or has green goo all over their noses or spewing from their mouths, they really don't need to go infect the train table at Indigo. Or anywhere else. Yeah, yeah, I get that it's inconvenient, and it sucks to have to stay home. But it sucks for everyone else too. And some kids are more delicate and what's a minor annoyance to yours can be a hospital visit for another. I can't confirm it but I think we picked up our latest stomach virus at a coffee and play place. I did not enjoy spending all night cleaning up puke and comforting my toddler. But guess what - we stayed home the next day so that someone else wouldn't have that kind of night.
That felt good.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mmm, that is some tasty crow!

Recently I got involved in a debate with some moms about parenting methods. It wasn't a knock down, drag out, but there were two clearly opposing "sides." Basically, some moms recommended a book and using approaches based on this book (Honey, I Wrecked The Kids ) and some others objected and resisted and justified why this would never work and wasn't reasonable. I was on the negative side.

In a nutshell, Honey I Wrecked the Kids talks about democratic parenting and shows how different it is from the dictator parenting we are more familiar with. It highlights some of the long term negative effects that can come from a bossier, less fair, more combative family approach and gives parents tools to listen better, understand more, and get connected to their kids, which ultimately makes everyone happier and more cooperative.

I bought this book at least six months ago and it's been sitting in my kobo app, collecting virtual dust. Finally I decided to start reading it. I haven't really been able to stop thinking about it since I opened it two weeks ago. It is life changing for me. And I think for my kids too.

It seems like so much common sense, but obviously it wasn't so common, because I never thought of it before Alyson Schafer pointed it out to me.

I'm far from an expert yet. I still redline every now and then and lose my mind on the boys, but before this book I was doing it daily. Multiple times a day. I was hating being a stay at home mom and at times desperately looked for a job just so I could stop screwing things up. Now I am able to see attention seeking behavior or power struggles for what they really are and stop myself from engaging in that. I'm better at reframing things and finding win win solutions. I'm just having more fun, and I think they are too.

Which is pretty much everything the moms I was arguing with said, but I had all my reasons why I didn't want to agree. I thought it would be too hard - don't I work hard enough already? I thought it was unrealistic - the world doesn't work that way, sometimes you just have to suck it up and do stuff you don't want to. I thought it would make kids more entitled - you can't expect teachers and coaches and bosses to stand on their heads to get cooperation. But the truth is it really isn't a Herculean effort to laugh more, be optimistic, and listen better.

Again, it's not being used here 100% yet, and my kids still have the odd tantrum. No parenting method can take away the pain and frustration of a toddler cutting 8 teeth at once and not having quite enough words to explain how he feels. And as with anything, change is hard. When a preschooler is used to Mom putting up a fight and giving him attention (even if it's angry attention), and suddenly she stops, it's normal to try harder at first. So we've still had some rough days. But I feel much less guilt now and more as though I'm actually shaping them into normal, happy, emotionally healthy humans.

So...I was wrong! So very wrong. And I've never been so happy to admit that.

If, like I did, you struggle with your kids' behavior, if you hate yelling, if you ever feel like nothing works...drink the kool aid. Read this book. Live this book. Your kids will thank you.