Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Constant Learning January 27, 2010

I am getting tired of myself and the way I think. Instead of keeping an open mind about a decision, I filter out what I don’t want to hear and filter in what I do want to hear.

Case in point…
Last year we were trying to decide on a school for Brianna. I was dead set on enrolling her in a Christian school. There was absolutely no way on earth anyone could convince me otherwise. I was actually disgusted in my heart at anyone who was a Christian who sent their child(ren) to a public school; especially one in our county. Not disgusted in a way that caused friction, but disgusted in a way that made me feel sorry for their kids. Maybe disgusted is too strong of a word. Probably more like pity.

So, we (I) found a Christian school for Brianna and we (I) enrolled her. Rich even tried to talk me out of it. I would have none of that. My statement was, “I will eat Ramen noodles and live in a box before I’d ever send my kid to a public school”.

Now let me tell you a thing or two about my daughter. She is shy. Painfully so at times. I can see when she is about to crawl all up inside herself and I want to drag her back out. She is darling. Very sweet and kind and considerate and helpful and thoughtful. She has a temper, but that rarely shows unless she is in the company of those she loves. She is obedient and agreeable; especially in an instructional setting. At school, she does not speak unless spoken to and she does not get in trouble. She is the model student…. a pleasure for any teacher who has had the privilege of having her in class.

Fast-forward…
Starting around October, I suppose, Brianna’s attitude started changing. It was gradual, but it was noticeable to me. Her school hours for Kindergarten (yes, she is only 5 yrs old) were 8 to 12 with a snack and recess included in that time. She wasn’t in school for very long at all. However, despite the short days at school, she would come home an absolute grouch. It got so bad that shortly before the Christmas 2 week break she was even raising her voice at my 1 year old because (Brianna’s words) “his baby talking is getting on my nerves and he is laughing at me and I don’t like it”. I started noticing that it would take her near 2 hours each day after school to normalize. She would say hurtful things to her 3 1/2 yr old brother and pick at him repeatedly and sometimes relentlessly until he was crying or I heard what was going on and could intervene. She started raising her voice to me and hardly an afternoon went by without her receiving some sort of punishment. She cried a lot and started reverting back to throwing temper tantrums. At.Five.Years.Old.

At first, I thought it might be a phase. What did I know? She is my first born so everything that’s new to her is new to me too. So, I started asking my friends with kids around her age if their kids were going through this attitude adjustment too. Only one person gave the slightest hint that her child is grouchy from time to time after school. But, her child’s circumstances are different than Brianna’s (he is in school and an aftercare program so by the time he gets home he has been away from home 9-ish hours and he’s hungry — entirely understandable).

One day, after babysitting a handful of kids, Rich and I took our kids over to a friend’s house for a fun little Christmas party. During that visit, I got to talk to a woman who probably has no idea that our conversation opened my eyes wide to the possibility that my precious Brianna was being ruined by her school. I don’t think the thought had occurred to me until then.

I started researching. I am like that. I talked to teachers in our public school system as well as our neighboring school system. I talked to parents who had removed their kids from Christian schools and put them in public schools. I made phone calls. I wrote e-mails. I visited message boards. I did it all. I had a million questions and a billion worries. What I found out stunned me. My daughter was stressed out and only 5 years old. The environment and curriculum she was subjected to at a Christian school was suffocating her sense of self and creativity.

I prayed. I asked God to stop me from making another biased decision. I wanted to be objective. I wanted Him in the lead. And, lead He did.

Wow!

Fast forward…
I quickly set about enrolling her in a local charter school. Last week, I enrolled her in the charter, withdrew her from the Christian school, and prayed hard that I had made the right decision. There were many confirmations, actually. First of all, the women who work in the front office of the charter are born-again Christians. I will not explain how I know this for fear that they could be somehow reprimanded. It is between me and them and that’s that. I am happy about it and God used them (w/out them knowing it) to confirm my decision to enroll her in the charter.

The first day of school was a long one for me. Brianna is now in school a full day. I was concerned about that. There was a little bit of anxiety in my heart over an extra 2 1/2 hours at school and eating lunch there instead of at home. Would she know what to do and where to go? Would she get tired and worn out? Would the kids accept “the new shy girl” who just walked into their lives? Would her teacher be sensitive to Brianna’s personality? I had so many fears for her.

When I pulled up to pick her up, I couldn’t even get the question out of my mouth about her day when she burst into the van and blurted out, “Mommy, thank you SO MUCH for sending me to this new school. I LOVE IT!!”

“Awesome” can’t even describe the way I felt when I heard those words. I almost cried and silently offered up praise to my God. Thank you Jesus. She had a great day!

Nothing has changed since then. She has had great day after great day. She is happy and smiling every afternoon when I pick her up. She is eager to go to school in the morning (at the other school she would sometimes beg me to keep her home). Her attitude is back to normal and she is teaching her brother some of the things she is learning. She has made a few friends and can’t wait to do her homework (she didn’t even have homework at the last school).

It’s fantastic.

I am so pleased it gives me goosebumps. The Lord worked in that from beginning to end… guiding me, putting the right people in my path, and giving me peace when I was looking for even the slightest hesitation.

However, behind that happiness for Brianna lingers an anger for that other school. I want to lash out at them. How dare they treat those kids like that and charge their parents tuition making them think that their education is somehow superior. It’s not superior. It’s inferior.

Be careful, friends. Watch how your kids behave. It will tell you volumes about what happens when you aren’t looking. Don’t let anything out of your radar. A small child’s happiness or unhappiness is easy to decipher if you are watching.

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Getting ME Back September 20, 2009

So I go through periods of time (short, thankfully) where I feel downhearted. Not completely overwhelmed with depression, but feelings of darkness. The last two weeks have been like that. Sorta.

Last night I either had a dream or I had a moment of lucidity as I tossed back onto my back to keep the snot in my head and not on my pillow. I have a cold. Again.
So I had this moment of seeing myself; not as I am, but as I long to be.

Healthy.

I was fit. I had muscle tone. I had a tan. I was smiling. I had energy. I was full of life.
And, I realized right then and there that the person I was seeing IS me.
And, even though I’m going through this rough patch of feeling like my body has fallen apart, it really is just that… a rough patch. Because I am not comfortable with fat. I do not tolerate unhealthy. I am not lazy nor am I a glutton.

So I am over it. If you see me today, I am over 150 pounds. I feel fat. I feel ugly. I feel like I am barely making it most days because I have no energy and I keep getting sick. I have felt stuck in this yuck for over a year. And. I am SO done feeling this way.

I will breastfeed Jaxon for exactly 4 more months. I have to say that for the first 10 weeks I thought of breastfeeding as a loving sacrifice. After that, I felt extremely happy that I stuck it out because I started to really love it. In fact, I loved it so much that when I had to start feeding my son baby food from a jar I was upset and I cried because he wouldn’t need me at the breast as much. Now that he is 8 months old and I feel like half of a normal human being again, I want to be done. It is now just a convenience for me. I don’t see it necessary emotionally for either of us. It is the greatest form of nutrition for him and that I will never deny. But, emotionally we don’t need it anymore. It feels like I’m just feeding him now. I don’t know how to describe it, really. I guess “routine” is a good word to describe how it feels.

Anyway… I don’t consider nursing my son the reason for my downheartedness. Don’t get me wrong. But, the nursing has kept me in this state of being that I am unhappy with. I can’t take certain meds to feel better, it is taxing my immune system despite what you “experts” say, I am stillĀ  fat so the magic breastfeeding-makes-the-weight-melt-off is baloney in my book… and on and on. Because of the extra weight my foot is not healing the way it should. I can’t lose without using my foot. It’s a vicious cycle that is tiring me to the core.

And, before anyone startsĀ  bashing me for eating fast food… find another chick to assault. I am a vegetarian 3/4 of the time. I only consume fish occasionally and my diet is well-rounded with my carbohydrate intake consisting primarily of fiber rich, whole grains and fruits. Save yourself the aggrivation of trying to pinpoint my problem as being anything other than breastfeeding. Pregnancy sucks and robs me of my nutrition and it has become apparant that breastfeeding does the same thing to me. It’s awful.

I didn’t realize until recently that one very important part of my mental well-being is my physical well-being. The two are intricately tied. Since I feel sluggish and I hate the way I look with my fat stomach and fat rear end… I am not healthy emotionally either.

Sure other things work their way into that equation, but the main thing is that I am physically unhealthy. Everything else is just another ingredient.

Awareness.

I am glad I see this now. It is relieving in a sense. I probably have about a year left of being “this” way physically. I am not done nursing Jack until January and, even then, weening is a process.

A woman once told me that it took her 3 years to get her body back after her last child was born. She breastfed too. I hope it doesn’t take 3 years. But, I will do what it takes to get mine back.

Healthy. Vibrant. Strong.
That is me. I am ready.

 

The Spanking July 28, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

“Spare the rod, spoil the child”

kate-gosselin-spanking-daughter-picture8

Kate Gosselin spanking daughter via Google images

Recently, I was able to voice my opinion on this subject. Spanking the children. The conversation wasn’t really about whether or not it is right or wrong. A person I know made a statement of disgust over a couple of women who were bragging about the types of physical disciplines they used on their children. They tried to back it up with Scripture. Man, I hate it when that happens. I almost didn’t join the discussion, but I get really ticked off when less than educated people try to use Scripture to back up their stupidity and poor judgment.

Solomon does write about disciplining children in Proverbs. There may be other places in the OT which talk about child-rearing too. I don’t recall where though.

However, using a “rod” to beat your children with because it’s in the Bible is disgusting to me. Following that logic, then I suppose it’s ok to make 700 virgins your concubines too, right? I mean, it’s in the Bible stupid. Duh! And, when we fast we should wear sackcloth and cover ourselves with ashes.

I’m just getting started. But, before I continue, let me say this. If you hit your kids with your fists or an object, I believe you need help. That, my dear reader, is abuse. If you twist their arms, jerk them, shake them, slap them, poke them so hard a bruise appears… you are being abusive. I do not condone that and I never will.

Now, having said all of that, I do not believe there is anything wrong with spanking a child when done correctly. Am I perfect? Unfortunately, no. I have made some mistakes in disciplining my lovelies. Fortunately, they have been very few and my conviction was immediate and my confession as immediate as possible. My apologies have been accepted because my kids were kinder and more loving than they should have been… because I was wrong.

I am not an expert. But, I have strong beliefs that a loving, nurturing, and joyful home is important for everyone in the family. We all have bad days. Some days kids behave very well. Some days I need a couple glasses of wine before bed. The same goes for them. Not the wine. But, the mood swings. We’re imperfect humans. I try to remain aware of this and give them the benefit of the doubt. However, I absolutely will not tolerate defiance or blatant disrespect.

When I spank my kids I swat once on the buttocks with an open hand. Before I spank, I give plenty of warning and opportunities for them to make the right choices. Spanking is a last resort. I might threaten to spank and count to three, however, I rarely have to follow through with it. When I do have to spank, I do not enjoy it. I feel it is a necessity for proper discipline and control in the home. It sends my message in a hurry and I can count on one hand when one of my children has continued their improper behavior beyond the spanking. In those rare cases, I have repeated the steps to another spanking — warn, give opportunity to make the right choice, count to three, spank. It is their choice. Behave and submit to my authority, or be punished.

I also do not threaten to do anything to my kids that I don’t FULLY intend to follow through on. I don’t tell them I’ll break their arm or rip out their hair or any of that verbal crap (which is abusive language, IMO, but that’s another subject altogether). I warn. I follow through with my threat. End of story.

My kids know that I am not messing around.

It works for us.

My daughter has had less spankings than my son. She responds better to time-outs in her room and I allow her to scream to the tops of her lungs in there as long as her door is shut. She blows off her steam and then comes out and we have a calm conversation about her behavior followed by lots of hugs and kisses and compliments. I can’t remember the last time I spanked her.

My son is not the same. He’s about half and half. Nothing jolts him into obedience like being spanked. Thankfully, he has learned self-control enough that I don’t spank him daily. In fact, if I kept track I’ll bet I don’t even spank him every other day. He is really learning, and being sent to his room is starting to work.

Do we draw lines? I don’t think so. I believe it’s pretty matter of fact. You are either constructively demanding obedience in your home or you are being too lenient or too abusive. Kids need discipline. Without it they will become spoiled and will have very little respect or trust for authority. You cannot negotiate with a 3 year old. You cannot.

You are the parent. You need to act like it.

What say you?

 

Need Breastfeeding Support? April 22, 2009

Go here: Custom-Made Milk

And don’t delay!
I would not have made it this far breastfeeding my little Jaxon if not for her help and the help of those like her.
Run. Don’t walk. Go now!

breastfeedingbaby

 

For Them to Carry On December 8, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:33 am
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Dear Future In-Laws to My Child,

My husband and I have raised our kids to the best of our ability. We have brought them up in a loving environment which promotes self-expression and acceptance. We have encouraged them to become whoever they desire to become as long as they work hard and honor God. We have enabled them to receive the best education we could afford. We have taught them through our own actions to be generous people. We promise that your child is safe in our family and in a relationship with our child.

Our kids were taught not to judge a person based on their appearance. In fact, appearance received as much merit in our family as the length of someone’s eyelashes. It has been irrelevant. We have taught them to determine if a person is of proper character based on their actions alone. We have encouraged them to align themselves with people who have integrity.

Our kids were taught that hard work and hard practice are the ingredients for success.

Our kids were taught to love others regardless of how those people treated them. We have told them that it is ok not to like someone, but that they are still to be kind to that person.

Our kids grew up in an environment filled with outward affection and howling laughter. We hug, we kiss, we snuggle. We laugh, we crack up, we giggle. They are happy and content people. They have always been surrounded by love and acceptance.

Our kids were taught that getting an education is important to career success. We have told them throughout their lives, starting when they were toddlers, that they can be whatever they want to be as long as they do well in school and respect their teachers.

Our kids were taught that hospitality is part of friendship. Our home has always been a place to celebrate life whether through birthdays, holidays, or just because we can days. We open our doors and welcome groups of people to share meals and good times with us. They have many friends and our home has served as a safe place for them their whole lives.

Our kids were taught to have compassion for the needy people of this world. They know how fortunate they are and desire to share their good fortune with others. They are not selfish or self-centered. They are generous and caring.

Our kids were taught from birth to present time about Jesus Christ. They have received Christian educations. They have been involved in many youth activities geered towards shepherding their hearts so that they would long to serve God all of their lives. They started memorizing Bible verses at a very young age and have cultivated personal relationships with Christ their Savior. Of all the things we have taught our kids, this is the most important to us.

Our kids are not perfect. But they are good enough.

Rest assured that your child has chosen a more than suitable spouse and we will do everything we can to be there for them whenever they need us.

Welcome to the family.

Respectfully,
Heidi Reed

What would
you add?

 

Footsie December 3, 2008

As I was driving to yet another doctor’s appointment, I felt something hard at the very tippy top of my stomach. Neat! Head? No. Butt? No. Foot? Yes!!

I used to play games with Brianna when she was in utero. She’d push her foot to my stomach at the top. I’d rub it. She’d leave it there for a minute while I rubbed. She’d move it for a minute or two and then she’d do it again. Over and over we’d do this almost daily at the end of my pregnancy. She still loves to have her feet rubbed.

Jeremy would push his feet up and then start circling them around. I couldn’t rub his feet because as soon as I did he’d hide them from me. Once he was born I found out why. The boy is super ticklish. Cute, huh?

This baby seemed to like having a foot rub. I loved feeling the tiny little foot pushing on me. It’s so small. Seemed about 4 or 5 inches from toes to heel. Adorable.

It’s moving all over the place right now. Just when I start to think it has run out of room the womb gymnastics begin again. This is my favorite part about being pregnant. This is how I bond with my babies before they are born. This is something only I can experience with him or her. Others can feel it move if I tell them where to put their hand. But I know each and every little twitch. It’s me and the baby right now. So sweet and precious. Moments I won’t forget. Just us.

pregnant-belly

Google Images

 

I am So Glad it Worked November 18, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 5:36 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I told you about meeting Summer at the playground. Well let me tell you what happened after she left.

I got tired very quickly of pushing my kids on the swings. It takes a lot out of me to do anything physical right now. I say this as my back throbs and I can barely walk after babysitting all day and a super long drive home. Anyway, I told the kids I needed to sit down on the bench and to please play on the other stuff there. They did fine for the first 20 minutes. Then I decided it was inching ever too close to naptime and we needed to leave.

I gave the usual 5 minute warning. “Kids, we are leaving in 5 minutes.”
“You have 3 minutes left.”
“One more minute.”
“Alright, turkeys, it’s time to go now.”

The response at that point is usually “one more minute, mom, pleassssse?”

I give in. Always. I give in. What’s another 60 seconds?

Brianna has been telling me on a daily basis “you’re not my mom, I’m not your daughter anymore” when she isn’t getting her way. I’ve tried many different ways of handling this. I’ve even laughed it off and told her she’s being ridiculous. I’ve never made a big deal of it because I don’t want her to think for a second that she’s getting to me. Well, that tactic wasn’t working. And even though she wasn’t hurting my feelings I needed to get her to stop saying that and be more respectful. But how?

Yesterday after they asked for “one more minute, mom” I said “alright, guys, let’s go” and started walking towards the gate. They, of course, threw into hysterics like I was asking them to walk across burning coals on bare feet. For crying out loud! I get no respect [in my best Rodney Dangerfield voice].

Brianna plants her feet, puts her hands on her hips, and screams “you are NOT my mom and I don’t love you anymore”.

Four heads turned to see my reaction — all of them parents.

I laughed and said “is that right”. She said “yes and I’m not your daughter”.
“Are you sure, Brianna, because that means I won’t be responsible for feeding you lunch.”
“I’m sure” she tells me.
“Ok let’s go” I say and open the gate.

She stomps out of the play area and down the stairs into the van. Once inside and safely out of range of parents that might hear me I say “when we get home I will make a phone call and get you a new mommy”.

She. Freaked. Out.

I mean she went ballistic. She wanted daddy.

“No, honey, if I’m not your mommy then daddy is not your daddy. I’ll get you a new daddy too and while I’m at it this also means Jeremy is not your brother and the new baby is not your sibling so you’ll have to hope that your new parents have kids so you can have siblings.”

She cried and kicked and screamed and begged me to be her mommy again.

I said “no and call me Heidi — don’t call me mommy because I am no longer your mommy. Call daddy Rich because he is not your daddy either.”

I think she swallowed her tongue right then. Silence. Well, silence all except for the funny noises she was making as her breathing had been interrupted by the massive earth quake she was causing herself.

I tried not to laugh. Is that evil? I seriously had to stifle it in a big, big way. But somehow I knew this was working. I knew it. I just knew it.

We got about a mile from home when she started apologizing. I told her “thank you for doing that and remember your manners when you meet your new mommy and daddy later today”.

She. Freaked. Out. All. Over. Again.
Balllllllisssssticccc!!

I shoved away the twinge of guilt and the desire to hug her and kiss her and reassure her. I fought the urge to comfort her — and it was there this time.

We got home and daddy came out to help me unload everyone and everything. She looked like she was going to pass out from anger, frustration, fear… all sorts of emotions and her eyes told me she was in agony. I felt bad. I did, but I didn’t stop. I fought it again.

Daddy was not liking what I was doing and asked me twice to stop. I didn’t stop. I told him “she will learn not to ever say those hateful things to me again and this is how I intend to make her stop”. He rolled his eyes at me and I could tell he was very much less than pleased. He hugged her and told her everything would be ok and that she just needed a nap.

Finally, after putting Jeremy down for his nap, I took her by the hand and led her to her room and put her in her bed. I didn’t do my normal lovie routine though. I warned her that if she ever said “you’re not my mommy” to me again that I would pull down her pants and spank her rear end right there in the middle of wherever we are “and I’m not kidding so don’t you dare try it”.

When she woke up from her nap we cuddled, I explained that there is no way I’d give her to another mommy or daddy ever, that she is a very important part of our family, we love her very much, and that she can live with us her whole life if she wants to. BUT!!!! “Do not ever say hateful things to me again because those words hurt mommy and I love you with all my heart.”

She hasn’t said it since.

Twice she almost did, but she caught herself and just walked away with her hands on her hips.

She learned.

It was harsh.

It was hard.

But it worked.

Ever had to pull
out the tough love
card to get through
to your kid?