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One of Those Days

I woke up this morning not feeling well. I had thought I’d be able to pull myself together to get to church and then the festivities after – I even geared the kids up for the water fun day at church, but I just couldn’t do it. Mike wasn’t feeling well either…and when Burke mentioned his tummy hurt, that was the icing. I went back to bed while my savior of a husband watched the kids.

After a couple-hour nap, I woke up feeling much better and Mike went to work. Burke perked up and we played with bubbles outside for a while. I weeded the 1st garden while the kids played with the Gigaball and the clubhouse…until it started to rain.

At first, the kids were fine in their various toys because they were “inside” … so I went under the canopy and figured we’d all be set. The rain had other ideas…so we ran inside and dried off.

Mike got home and we decided that no one felt like cooking – and since the Red Sox won yesterday, our local 99 restaurant has free kids meals (1 per each adult). We pulled in to the parking lot and discovered that Burke had neglected to put his shoes on. Crap. Okay – back home without even getting out of the car. Maggie and Logan were beside themselves and immediately broke down…which, of course, put us in wonderful moods. Fine – if this is the way everyone is going to act – we’re coming home and staying there!

Luckily, the kids can’t really tell time yet, so we started a bath an hour early, which meant the bed time routine started an hour early…and there are 3 kids in bed! (And 2 adults heading there soon.)

I suppose that’s the price you pay for holding a back yard BBQ that goes a bit past the kids’ typical bed time. It’s worth it at the time, but the following days are killers!

Charting the Waters

Burke and Maggie have picked up a few bad habits, so in trying to break them, I thought a star chart might work.

What are we trying to break? Burke has this way of talking with his teeth clenched/through his nose…and it’s really hard to understand him. He also replies to things he doesn’t like with a high-pitched “Ehhhh!” (I can’t even describe it…). So…we’re trying to get rid of those things.

The funny thing about Maggie’s chart is that she actually asked for it…we originally just wanted to get rid of Burke’s habits and Maggie didn’t want to be left out. Easy enough to find something to get rid of…She screeches when she doesn’t like something.. For example, if Logan takes one of her toys, she screeches instead of saying “Hey! I would like that back, please.” So…we’re working on that.

We started out with 6 stars each. They get one warning of “Okay, here’s your warning. One more time and we remove a star.” They also have the possibility of earning a star back…usually for random stuff like cleaning up without whining about it, or helping each other out…stuff like that.

At the end of the month, if they have 6 stars, they’ll earn the toy of choice (a Gameboy game for Burke and a heart-shaped jewelry box for Maggie).

We’ve also found that the star “threat” works for just about everything…if they’re getting crazy and doing something we don’t like, we can use the warning. It’s great! LOL

Since I took the above picture, Logan requested a star chart as well. His is for potty training. When he uses the potty, he gets a star. If he has an accident one goes away. I’m not sure that he really cares all that much, but he has a chart just like Burke and Maggie – so he’s all good.

Better Behavior

On Monday, my Twins Club had a speaker from The Better Behavior Bureau come talk with us.

It.Was.FANTASTIC.

Jeanine Fitzgerald was conversational, funny, and highly informative. She didn’t mind “interruptions” and answered every single question we all threw at her. We weren’t talked at, we were talked with. And her daughter is now working with her…so I’m thinking that means she’s doing/she did something right with her own kids πŸ™‚

She went over a graph of child temperament, describing where kids might fit in – but making sure we all knew that they probably cross more than one quadrant. She also described the needs for each quadrant and effective positive disciplinary techniques for kids who fall in each quadrant. Holy eye opener!! I wish I had been exposed to this about 3 years ago when we were going through major screaming/anger fits with Burke. We eventually figured out how to better deal with him; but it would have been a lot quicker if I’d known all of this stuff at that point!!

One of the things Jeanine said that made me sit up and take notice was along the lines of “fair does not mean equal.” Kids are different. The needs of one child can be completely different than another. A high-level, material example is just because one kid needs shoes, doesn’t mean the other one does – so the other one shouldn’t necessarily get them. I wish I could remember her exact, complete phrasing….but she basically said that she always told her kids that she’d be fair to them by always providing what they need. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’d always get the same things (typically when they’re older) or be disciplined the same way for doing the same thing (typically when they’re younger).

One other thing Jeanine talked about was the fact that playgrounds used to have activities to help kids to self-regulate. Much of these things are disappearing because they’ve been deemed unsafe…which means that we, as parents, need to provide these “actions” for our kids. Stuff like…spinning (those awesome merry-go-rounds), hanging up-side-down (monkey bars), swinging and going up and down (see-saws), and crashing. There’s more, but I can’t remember all of them. I think I’m going to look into the book she recommended, Take Five by Mary Sue Williams, to find out more about helping kids self-regulate.

Jeanine has a book out too, The Dance of Interaction. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve ordered it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Drawing Class

Burke is starting to really love his drawing class!! Which is a major load off my mind since it was a REALLY rocky start. I wasn’t going to go into it here, partially because I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, and partially because – if I’m honest – I’m a little embarrassed about it. However, I’ve always been honest here and I do try to document things that have been going on…and now that it seems to be behind us, I’m going to write about it so that perhaps if anyone else runs across a similar issue, it will help them out.

When Burke first started going to his drawing class he would argue with us about going. He did NOT want to go … anything else in the world was better. We were baffled because we know he LOVES coloring and drawing. When we asked him why he didn’t want to go he said it was because he didn’t like his teacher. So I’m racking my brains trying to think of anything she may have done or said to him (I’m usually just sitting out in the hall on a bench when he’s in class)…but I can’t think of anything. So we asked why he doesn’t like her. The answer completely shocked us: “I don’t like her skin.” Not said just once…said whenever he was asked why he didn’t like his drawing class. And said to whoever asked…

Now, if you know Mike or me at all – you know that we are probably two of the most accepting people around. (well. unless I have to tell you something more than once – then all bets are off πŸ˜‰ ) So, as you can imagine we were at a loss and just couldn’t figure out where this was coming from.

Needless to say, we still had him go to class. And along the way I’d say things like “I really like your teacher – I think she’s beautiful” (she is) or “Your teacher is so nice!” (she is) or “You’re learning so much from your teacher – it’s really great that she shares all of her knowledge with you…” I wanted to address things without making a bigger deal of it than it might have been for him…does that makes sense? You know…the more you push something, the worse it gets.

For the first few weeks it didn’t really seem to be sinking in … until right before last week’s class when I casually mentioned “What if your mommy had darker skin? Would you not like me then?” I could see the wheels turning…and went on with “Or what if someone didn’t want to talk with you because they didn’t like your freckles…wouldn’t that make you sad?” More wheels going in the head and a quick nod … And then it turned out that he was the only one in class for about 10 minutes, so he had his teacher all to himself for a while…

After that class (on a Monday), the entire way home he was trying to negotiate with me to go again on Wednesday LOL! Except … as soon as we hit our driveway he went back to “I don’t like Drawing Class.” I let it drop because it felt different this time…like he didn’t really mean it; he was just trying to see what I’d say.

Yesterday, the whole way home, he was talking about how he really likes drawing class and when these sessions are over at the end of the month he wants to sign up for more!! And he didn’t change his mind once we hit the driveway either. I had tears in my eyes.

I’m going to chalk it up to fear of the unknown…I guess. Although, I know he hasΒ  friends at school who are all colors of the rainbow. Maybe it’s different when it’s someone of authority? Who knows. I’m just glad that it’s over.

Now – on to the fun stuff where I get to brag! Each week, they study a different artist. (yep, they’re only 4 and know more about various artists than I do at 35…) I don’t remember who it was this week, but it’s someone who studies movement. Burke’s teacher was SO impressed with his drawings this week! She said that he was looking at the artist’s drawings and just “got it” – and she really like his sketch of the guy jumping off the page. πŸ™‚ They do a sketch first and then the ‘real’ drawing goes on ‘real’ paper. (Have I mentioned yet how impressed I am with this class?)

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Jumping off the Page

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The Final Project

And close-ups:

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Anger Management

Funny movie. Not great to deal with in real life.

Burke has been having some trouble lately…he’s been lashing out when he gets angry – and poor Maggie has been the one to take the ‘beating’ from him.

Over the past week, the following things have happened:

  • Maggie beat Burke up the stairs, so he bit her back as hard as he could (major bruises). I’m not sure Maggie even knew they were competing.
  • Maggie was hording the balls, so Burke hit her in the head with a (plastic) baseball bat. He lost fireworks privileges that night. (Our town has two nights of them and he saw the first night, so he knew what he was missing.)
  • Maggie was holding the hose to fill up the kiddie pool and wouldn’t share with Burke (after 10 seconds!)…so he hooked his finger into her mouth and brought her to the ground.

On the flip side, he’s also gone in to soothe Logan on multiple mornings. And the nanny tells me that he had a paper towel tube that he wanted Maggie to look through at him and she wouldn’t. He was using his words and saying “please, Please, PLEASE, Maggie??” And she still wouldn’t. So he said “I’m very angry!” but didn’t take any action. (This was in between the biting incident and the baseball bat incident.)

There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to when he does or doesn’t take action (sometimes he’s tired, sometimes he’s not. Sometimes he’s had too much sugar, other times he hasn’t). All of these situations have produced varying results.

I try to let him know that the anger he is feeling is absolutely okay, but that the action he is taking is not.

Any ideas out there?

Staycation – Day 2

Today was an up and down day. There was: dinner and a movie (sorta), temper tantrums, house cleaning, and then a great gathering of wonderful ladies. I’m TIRED!

We took the twins to their first movie theater movie: Wall-E. It was pretty cute. Their attention was captured by it and they were very good through the whole thing (they ARE my little vidiots πŸ˜‰ ). Burke got a LITTLE antsy toward the end, but he chowed down on popcorn and had a grand time. Logan stayed with the nanny (Brenda).

Then came the time to leave. . . screeching ensued. *sigh* It really makes me not want to bring him anywhere fun when he does this. (we had an episode leaving the park yesterday as well…) I really hope he grows out of this phase FAST.

We dropped them off at home with Brenda and hit home depot. Romantic, huh? πŸ˜‰ And then went for an early dinner at the local Japanese Steak House. YUM-MY!! It’s so much fun to watch someone else cook your meal – and the guy was just a ham. It was so early that no one else was there for the entire meal LOL

We got home and I went into a cleaning/cooking frenzy while Mike watched the kids for a bit. Burke, was, again in fine form. *sigh* In a matter of under two minutes he bit Maggie, tried to pick Logan up by his head, and pinched me. Arg. If this kid lives until his 4th birthday, he’s going to be lucky. It’s a damn good thing he actually has GOOD moments that I try really, really hard to remember about during these episodes.

Then the ladies started to show up. I really love my Mothers of Twins group. πŸ™‚ It’s such a great bunch of people who really just want to be there and offer support to anyone and everyone who needs it. I’m *SO* bad at this (looking at a room and figuring out how many people are there), but there were maybe 18 to 20 people in my living room. I’m so bummed though!! I made Chex Mix yesterday and forgot to put it out!! Oops. Ah well, the kids will like it…

And I’m surprised that we didn’t wake Logan up – we were kind of loud *blush* and I had thought we woke Burke up … who went over to bite Maggie to wake her up (cuz that’s what it sounded like from downstairs when I heard Maggie scream “BURKE BITE ME!!”), but it turns out that Burke wasn’t even awake…so maybe Maggie was just dreaming..? Strange dream though πŸ˜›

Okay – time to clean up…Mike’s done chowing down on the left-over goodies I had out.

PB (Pre-Blog) – Getting Rid of the Pacifiers

It’s a slow day, so I thought I’d write about something I know I would have written about had I been blogging when it happened πŸ™‚ So – this is “Pre-Blog” or PB.

The twins relied on their pacifiers for WAY too long. We were good about not letting them have them at any time except bed time and in the car on long trips. But we were bad about breaking them of the habit at an early age. You see, we just rid them of the habit in May. Yup…almost 3.5 years old and still with the paci. *sigh* But – we did it! And here’s our story.

Since Logan was born, Mike’s been the one to put the twins to bed. We had so many changes in their poor lives that we were trying to do it gradually…Mike was really good to not mention it at night hoping they’d forget, and not give it to them for longer and longer…but they’re like elephants. They always remember πŸ˜›

One morning as I was getting them ready for the day, I happened to notice that Maggie’s paci had a hole in it. I told her that it had a hole so we had to throw it away because it wasn’t safe any more. And I made sure she was watching as I did it. Burke was watching too and said, very seriously to Maggie – with his paci in his mouth, “paciflower broken. Throw away.” tee hee paciflower – I love that!

Mean mommy snipped a hole in Burke’s during the day when he wasn’t looking. Ooooops! Now all paciflowers are broken. They asked about the pacis for about a week, but were pretty good when we reminded them that they were broken.

Perhaps another thing that will scar them for life? Or at least from when they’re finally able to read and stumble on this post….

Monster Spray

A very clever mom taught me about Monster Spray. (She’s also a good friend, a former co-worker, and an essential oil guru – don’t worry, Paula, I won’t mention any names πŸ˜‰ )Β  She said that kids like to be in control – especially when they don’t feel like they have it – and one major time is when there are “monsters” around at night. Her solution? Monster spray! Let your child spray it herself and life will be good. (I’ll give Paula a little plug here…she wrote a book on essential oils: Seasons of Aromatherapy. Well. she’s written a few, but I know the monster spray is in this one.) Okay – back to my point. At one time, I made the monster spray from her book (before I had kids LOL), but we’re just using Febreeze now (Sorry Paula!)

It all started one night a few months ago when Maggie woke up crying and talking about how she was scared of the Cookie Monster. (Yes. The *cookie monster* – of all things!!) We got some “monster spray” out and that seemed to help a little. We doused one corner especially (I think she saw the laundry hamper and decided IT was the monster.)

We now spray before bed every night – everyone has to have at least one squirt if they’re in the room, including mommy and daddy. Figuring out how to make it so that beds, blankets, Dad, kids, etc. don’t get soaked is for another day…

On the subject of bad dreams, one other thing we do for Maggie is to make a big deal about how we must have put her pillow down on the wrong side… And then make a bigger deal (making sure she’s watching) out of turning it over to the “good dream” side. So far, this seems to help too. (I’ll thank my Mom for that idea – I remember her doing it for me πŸ™‚ )

Any other bad dream breakers out there?

Logan has FOMS

As luck would have it, pretty much everyone in the O’Daniel family (my maiden name) has FOMS. What’s FOMS? Fear Of Missing Something. And now Logan has it as well. He can’t STAND to be in a room other than the one the twins are in… even if it’s one of those not-really-a-door-in-between type rooms (like a family/dining area).

I admit it. I have major FOMS. When the twins were born and I was “banished” to the bedroom to tandem nurse them while family was here (it was the only place I was comfortable doing it when I first started out), I was deathly afraid that they’d all be talking about something really cool while I was gone. Same thing when Logan was born. I’d have to take time out to put him to bed (or nurse him away from people so he’d actually nurse). Heaven forbid my family have fun WITHOUT ME!!

I remember when Meghan was younger (she’s now 16) and Sharon and I were still living at home…Meg would REFUSE to go to bed. Yup. FOMS. It was the magical “evening hours” – the fun MUST start once she’s out of the room and up the stairs…right? (I’m pretty sure that was my thinking when I was younger as well…)

In reality, we come by it honestly. We all inherited it from my Dad πŸ™‚ There have been times when Sharon, Cathy, and I get together and Dad knows this…and has to call heheh it’s kinda cute. πŸ™‚ Yes Dad. You have FOMS. It’s nothing to be ashamed of! And I’m sure it goes back a lot further than Dad.

Baby Crack, Thy Name is Cheerios

What is it about Cheerios that make *all* babies go crazy? Bring out that big yellow box and the happy feet start swinging, happy noises start gurgling, and the hands get poised – ready to capture that first one that hits the tray. (It’s actually really cute πŸ™‚ )

Maybe I should change the title of this because the twins still like dry cheerios. Hell, I’ll put some in a cup and “drink” dry cheerios now and again as well. Oh! And I know my older brother does the same thing – in the car on the way to work. And now that I think about it – I had a rabbit that would literally attack me when he saw that yellow box. So I guess it’s not just babies.

Who the heck invented Cheerios anyway? He must be one rich dude by now. Excuse me while I go look this up…………thanks for waiting. Now I know that you’re curious too πŸ™‚

The Cheerios guy, Lester Borchardt, died at age 99 in 2007. And this website states that Cheerios (originally named CheeriOats) almost didn’t happen! wow. That would have been tragic.