Monday, February 13, 2012

For the birds..

We celebrated Valentine's Day this past Friday with the playschool children....I decorated the night before, hanging up a frilly vintage pink garland I found at a garage sale, some strung heart doilies, and a few crocheted hearts made by my dear friend. That's about it as I just wasn't feeling too excited or inspired by this festival. Anyone else?

We mixed up batches of birdseed and gelatin to create these sweet little birdcakes. We used heart shaped cookie cutters to turn them into Valentine's for the birds. They surely deserve a treat, too!

Speaking of a treat, Jay and I will celebrate Valentine's Day at some point this month at one of our favorite local spots, The Bookstore. I love the ambiance as it really is set up like a speakeasy bar...complete with 1930's music, decor, and gin drinks:)

I thank all of you for your well wishes and advice regarding my recent struggles...I do feel a few things need clarification, though...
*The way I wrote about how I feel when W hits me was misleading....I don't think hitting or any other act of physical aggression towards myself or anyone else should be tolerated. If it's in a moment of arms flailing everywhere in frustration, that's different. But if it's intended...such as, you (a young child) look at me and hit me, that's another story. I do put W down every time this happens and I walk away. "Our hands are not for hitting" in an even voice is my stock response. However, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" so I attempt to catch his hands before he hits in the first place. Again, "our hands are not for hitting" or "you just hit me" are my go-to responses. I've also had issues with W hitting other playschool friends, which is challenging, of course. My response to this stems from understanding that young children are constantly imitating the adults who surround them: I use my verbal response (again) "You just hit __________" and "Our hands are not for hitting"...The child who has been struck receives a hug from me. They might also receive an ice pack which has been brought by another friend or some lavender salve to rub on the "boo-boo." W almost always picks up on the emotion and activity and often brings over a tissue to the child, as he assumes the child is sad and therefore crying. He ducks down very close to their face and asks, "Are you ok?" or "all better?" To me, this is the slow progress that I feel is healthy for everyone involved. No one is sent to "time out" (which I feel strongly about, especially for very young children under 3) and everyone's dignity is honored. Of course, there comes a time when other measures may be taken, such as when a child is older, but for 2.5 year old, I am confident with how I handle these situations. That's not to say that I sometimes don't question if they're working, just like nearly everything else in life. I try very hard not to use negative statements or to yell. I don't think this is a sign of weakness on my part or that I'm a "softie". I just believe in discipline that is respectful to everyone involved-- including myself. I feel best when I use the tactics I described above and I believe that the patience and time invested will pay off.
A reader had mentioned boundaries in the comments section and I must express that there are certainly boundaries here and they are followed through each and every time.

"....we must provide appropriate boundaries for the child. When we give direction to the child or make requests of the child, or say that we are going to do something, we must be clear in our thinking, phrase our request in the positive, then stay with the direction and be consistent. If we reverse direction, we
damage the child, we cause nervousness and insecurity. Parents and teaches who are constantly inconsistent, do not allow the child to meet the realities of existence. The child is then educated for a life which does not exist, becomes weak, and is at the mercy of its surroundings and of other people."
-Dorothy Olson

More about young children and conflicts here.

photos from the week..

I hope I didn't sound too defensive; I'm not feeling the need at all. I just wanted to clarify some of the discipline measures I use. While I believe they are working well for us, they may not suit every family or situation, of course.
Please feel free to share any discipline techniques which have worked for you!


  1. I think it's hard to talk about discipline,because everyone has their own opinions and methods. What I have come to understand is there is no special formula. Each child is unique and what works for one doesn't work for another. My youngest is the exact age as your son, and she has the same temperament. She does not respond to aggressive discipline at all, it just escalates, so I 've been trying different things with her, and a more calm and quiet approach is better for her. That doesn't always happen, I'm not perfect and I have 3 other children, but at least I am recognizing the differences! I really like that you tell him we don't use our hands for hitting. I will remember that one :)

    1. Yes, I agree with you here! It's so hard to give "blanket" advice...what I have read here from everyone is inspiring!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself in your post.

    You are such a treasure to all the children that come into your path. You are also such a treasure to me as I navigate being a mom to a 23 month old son myself.

  3. Love your blog! Very inspirational.
    Sounds like your approach to hitting is very age appropriate. It just takes lots and lots and lots of patience :-)

  4. Well,I am with you on this one! I struggled with my C hitting other friends, but it is a learning curve! no worries, most of kids go thru that and it is ok, they will learn that other friends have feelings too and be shouldn't be too selfish!
    You are doing the best you can so don't worry my friend, he will learn soon.
    Big hugs

  5. I treasure those measures you named. I believe it works the best and use it in my daycare too :)

  6. Thank you for your comment on my blog and you are welcome to visit! ;)
    It would be so much fun to visit a colleague so far away!
    I'll continue to follow your blog, it inspires me too!

  7. I love your perspective on child discipline. That's how I raised my daughter and it worked well for us. Things change over time and it's easy to slip from one's path but when ever I return to this method I feel better about myself and I discover it does still work.

  8. A big, big hug to you. I'm sorry you were criticized--the words stung me, too, when I read them. I look to you as a inspiration.

  9. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job handling the situation! I wanted to add my experience with a similar situation. When my oldest was 3 yrs, I started providing care for a family with two children, in addition to my 1 and 3 yr old. I thought it would be a great experience for my oldest to have a playmate(s) and a more social experience, plus some extra income. It proved to be too stressful for my oldest daughter. Her introvert needs were not being met and it was made manifest in negative behavior. The stress of having two more children in our home, sharing her mom, sharing toys, and just being surrounded by others for too long during the day, was reflected in hitting and even biting. At the time I didn't understand just how difficult it was for her, but now that I know her needs better I am able to see that it was extremely overwhelming for her. My youngest daughter (an extrovert) never had or has any of these issues. The book "Raising Your Spirited Child' has a few great chapters on introverts and filling the needs of introverted children as well as how to handle meltdowns and prevent them. It has really helped me understand my daughter's needs. In fact, just this weekend we came home from church and the neighbor wanted to come over and play. I didn't feel good about it but said yes. It was a total mistake (they argued and hardly played), and it just reminded me that my daughter needs to have a down time after being around people before heading into another social situation. Your posts have made me wonder if little W might have a more introverted personality and I just wanted to pass along that book recommendation, as well as say, hang in there! =) Amy


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