Monday, May 31, 2010

Think Prevention First

On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years

"While we discuss many discipline options, we desire that our readers think prevention first and foremost" (On Becoming Childwise, page 11).

Prevention is not a new concept to us in life, much less to us in parenting. And yet, just like in life, we find ourselves reacting to situations rather than focusing on prevention. Reactive parenting leads to basically band-aid solutions. By that, I mean that we are covering a situation with a band-aid rather than healing the wound (nothing against band-aids, they are great for minor injuries, just not when stitches are required :) ). It is better to move your finger out of the way before the knife gets there than to cover up the deep wound with a band-aid.

I know, we can't always prevent. That just isn't possible. But that needs to be our first effort.

The idea of prevention also isn't new to this blog. I have several articles that discuss the concept of prevention.

You can learn how to prevent tantrums and mis-behavior by reading Ask & Tell. You can prevent unwanted behavior from escalating with the tips found in What and Where. Get your child in the habit of accepting what mom has to say by teaching "Yes Mom." Another great trick for prevention is Training In Times of Non-conflict.

Of course, the ultimate in prevention is to start your preventative thinking from day one. Both Babywise and The Baby Whisperer talk about this. I have a post inspired by thoughts from the Baby Whisperer called "Start As You Mean To Go On." I also have a post inspired by the -wise series titled "Prevention." The principles in these posts apply to any prevention situation. Another early concept from the wise series is Proactive and Directive parenting, as opposed to reactive parenting.

We want to avoid the trap of Credit Card Parenting from the very beginning.

So there is a lot on this blog for you to turn to for more on prevention.

Childwise points out that "Preventing wayward behavior...[means]...not creating the conditions that pull children off-track[. This] translates into less correction you will need to do" (page 11). What does this mean for you?

Let's think about the idea of logical consequences. Many of you are seeking help with discipline and want to understand how to apply logical consequences better. Last Friday, I wrote a post with ideas for logical consequences surrounding problems with diaper changes. Do you remember my main point in that post? It was to distract baby during diaper change, and distract from the beginning of it. You don't want to wait until baby is throwing a fit to give her a toy to distract her with. You give it to her as soon as she is on her back, maybe even before.

Remember, also, how I mentioned that with my girls, I was trying to give them toys at the diaper change by about 4 weeks old? My experienced mommy brain knows it is much easier to prevent behavior than to correct behavior. That idea to prevent takes over the knowledge I have that a four week old can't even hold a toy during a diaper change :)

As the first quote in this post says, "...think prevention first and foremost."

As I have been thinking about and writing this post, I have thought a lot about my own children. I really for the most part do not have discipline problems. Yes, sometimes they do things they shouldn't. We have our moments, but for the most part, things are pretty smooth around here.

I think a lot, if not most or all, of the credit for that goes straight to prevention. I am a person who easily sees the domino effect from a decision. I can quickly follow a pattern in my head of "I X, then y, then z..." I can follow that to the end. Prevention comes quite naturally to me.

The first step in understanding prevention is to acknowledge that actions have consequences. You must realize that what you do will impact your child's behavior, for better or worse. As Childwise says, don't create situations that pull your child off track.

I think sometimes acknowledging prevention means that you have to make sacrifices. I know that keeping a child up past her bedtime will mean she will get mischievous and grumpy. This does no create an atmosphere for obedience and cooperation.

I think prevention also means you get to know yourself as well as your child. Preschoolwise comments that it is better to say yes to something before your child whines, not after. So if you know you will give in to something if your child whines, say yes before she whines. Prevent the whining. I think sometimes we say no hoping she won't whine about it, but if you know you will give in, just say yes the first time. Rest assured if you know you will give in, she knows even better.

This means you need to know your child and know how she reacts in different situations. Does she get cranky if a meal is late? Are you going out close to a meal? Then bring snacks. Prevent the meltdown.

Prevention doesn't mean your child always gets what she wants in order to never make her sad or upset. It means respecting her needs and not giving in to tantrums. There will be times you will say no and she will not be happy. This is when you will stand your ground. You will say no when it is necessary, so you can have the strength of will to not bow to hers.

If you are having major discipline issues, I would suggest you focus your efforts more on preventing behavior than addressing behavior. If you have no issues yet, I suggest you get in the mindset of prevention so you can stay on that path throughout the years.

Keep in mind that prevention is the most difficult with the oldest child unless you have a lot of experiences with young children. You don't necessarily know that X and Y lead to Z, so you will do things that you later realize was unwise. You will get the hang of it.

Remember, think prevention first.


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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Product Review: Bamboo Junction [Giveaway]

Item: Clothing, accessories, bedding, etc. made from Bamboo

Company: Bamboo Junction

Have you ever felt clothing made from bamboo? It is very soft. Very soft. Here is a bit about this company:

After discovering the softest baby clothes we’ve ever felt made from Bamboo, we decided to build a marketplace of luxury, quality bamboo merchandise at affordable prices. Bamboo Junction offers an exciting selection of products from baby to linens with more products being added all the time!

One quick note: There are thousands of species of bamboo all over the world. Bamboo Junction is a “panda-friendly” zone. The Bamboo used to make things like fabric and cutting boards is not the same species that pandas eat.

Bamboo Junction has all sorts of products made from bamboo.

There are cute little lovies:


There are clothes for your kids baby on through child, as well as clothes for mom and clothes for dad. I got this little shirt for Kaitlyn. It is so soft and so adorable! It washes well.
There are various accessories, like these scarves. They have scarves for babies as well as scarves for moms.



In addition, they have sheets, candles, shams, towels, beach towels, blankets, bathrobes, wash clothes, kitchen towels, cutting boards, socks, and more!

Today, Bamboo Junction is offering you a giveaway! They are giving away an organic Baby Bambu Bamboo hooded blanket in your choice of white, sage, or violet:



Would you like to win one? Here is your chance!

For Your First Entry:
Become a follower of this blog. Then leave a comment. If you are already a follower (the thing where your cute face pops up with all the other cute faces of people following), comment telling me so.

Sample Entry
I am a follower!


For Your Second Entry:
Go to the Bamboo Junction website. Look around and come back and comment telling us what your favorite thing they offer is.

Sample Entry
I really want to get my hands on a microfiber kitchen towel!


For Your Third Entry:
"Like" this blog on Facebook. Already do? Tell me so. Comment saying you follow through Facebook.

Sample Entry
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For Your Fourth Entry:
Blog about the giveaway with a link to this post! You need to have a blog in order to blog about it. Once you have posted your blog, leave a comment with a link to the blog.
Sample Entry
I blogged it! valscreations.blogspot.com


For Your Fifth Entry:
Grab my button and put it on your blog. Then leave a comment saying you did so with a link to your blog. Already have it? Comment saying so.

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For Your Sixth Entry:
Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post. Then leave a comment saying you did so. Include your Twitter ID (not mine). (HINT: You can click on the share button at the bottom of the post and choose Twitter. It will automatically set you up with the tweet!).

Sample Entry
I tweeted it! @valplowman


Entry Rules
  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry.
  • You must leave a separate comment for each entry. This is not so I can get lots of comments--it is because it makes it a million times easier to choose a winner. It takes less time, and less time is good.
  • You don't have to do all seven entries...for example, if you just want to tweet about it but don't want to enter through the other methods, you can just do entry four.
  • One entry per comment.
  • Up to six entries per person.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will remove your entry.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM Friday, June 4 Mountain Standard Time.
  • The winner will be randomly selected at random.org
  • The winner will be announced Saturday, June 5.
  • If you would like, you can add your email address to your entry. If you are the winner, I will email you to let you know. You do not need to add your email address in order to win. I understand not everyone wants to share their email addresses with the world. I will announce the winner on the blog, so you can check the blog Saturday to find out if you won.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Logical Consequences: The Diaper Change

image source
Back in April, I asked you readers for specific situations you needed help applying logical consequences in, and we got quite the response! I am taking each scenario and breaking down how I would react and have reacted.

Scenario #2:

Kicking during diaper changes.

Let's go ahead and just broaden this to all difficulties during diaper changes. Not all children will specifically kick, but all will do something. Some might try to roll over. Some try to sit up. Some arch the back. Some grab at the diaper...oh the list goes on.

This is another one of those things that is just going to happen. It will. Your child starts life out laying relatively still as you change the diaper, but one day, she will start to squirm and cause you trouble.

First of all, let's discuss something. Do what you can to keep things clean and your child safe. Don't leave the child unattended at the changing table or on any surface. Perhaps buckling the child down will help keep your child more still (though not more happy). If you change your child on the floor or other surface that is not "baby deification proof," put a pad under your baby or something so if and when baby creates a mess with the wiggling, it won't be so traumatic for you.

Next, I think the best thing to do with these diaper changes is to keep the child distracted. Distract, distract, distract. A baby does not want to hold still for a diaper change. Does she need to? Absolutely. But this isn't a situation that requires complete reverence.

If any experienced mom is like me, she finds herself trying to had her four week old a toy before she changes the diaper. I did this with both of my girls. I would put them down for a diaper change and try to give them a toy...then I realized they couldn't hold a toy yet :) It is so much a part of the habit of diaper changes, it is what we do.

Keep some interesting toys at the changing table. Rotate often. I will also hand McKenna the new diaper to hold or her diaper cream. She likes to "brush" her hair currently, so I will give her a brush while I change her diaper. Distract, distract, distract.

Sing songs. Engage your child. Talk about what you are doing. Explain you are taking her pants off. Talk about her having a messy diaper, then talk about it being fresh and clean. This is an opportunity to teach opposites and various concepts.

Distract, distract, distract.

Despite your best distracting efforts, there will be times your baby will not have it. She will not be deterred! I have had this problem with McKenna at times. This happens when she wants to sit up. Well, I just can't change her diaper sitting up. I am not that talented. So I lay her back down, hand her something to play with, and tell her to stay down. I do this in a firm voice. I give her "the look." I do not give in. You can't really give in with situations like this; the diaper must be changed.

Now, let's discuss when the behavior moves from simply wanting to play to outright anger at the situation. Your child might kick in anger. She might throw a fit. She might scream. In this situation, I would simply look at the child with "the look," tell her that's a no, and keep going. If your child kicks you, I would grab the foot, lay it back where it should go, and say, "That's a no. You do not kick Mama."

If she is crying out of sadness rather than anger, I would talk to her as you change her diaper and say, "I know this isn't fun. Mommy is hurrying as fast as she can. You can play as soon as Mommy gets you all clean."

If your child is old enough to understand, you can give warnings. "In one minute, we are going to change your diaper, then you can play again."

If your child tends to make a messy diaper right when she wakes up, you can change her before any fun even begins.

The older the child, the firmer I would be with not being allowed to move around during the diaper change.

I think this is a situation that will be easier remedied if your child obeys you in other areas. Your child needs to know that when mom says no, it means no. So be consistent in all areas of life, not just the diaper change. If screaming and crying can get her out of other things, she will try it for diaper changes, too.

As a recap, here are some dos:
  • Do distract. Go to the toy or other item to play with first. Also, sing songs, count toes, count how many seconds it takes, etc.
  • Do go fast. Go as fast as you can go.
  • Do be firm.
  • Do be consistent. Don't delay the diaper change if the fits come.
  • Do repeat. You might have to do these things over and over again before your child gets it.
  • Do warn. Give your child fair warning before the diaper change if she is old enough to understand it.
My Stories
I don't really have any standout experiences with this. It is something my oldest and youngest did do or does right now. Kaitlyn wasn't really ever too bad about this for the most part.

Right now, it is prevalent in the life of barely 14 month old McKenna. She always wants to sit up. I lay her back down over, and over, and over again. It takes time, consistency, and patience. If I can give her something of interest, she will be just fine. But if I expect her to lay still with nothing to do, I will be laying down the little girl soon.

This time period requires patience. You can both work through this. Hang in there!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ideas For Showing Words of Affirmation

The Five Love Languages of Children

I forgot to add this to the post last week, and I think it must be added. Here are some concrete ideas for ways to show words of affirmation:
  • Put a note in the lunchbox, backpack, pocket, etc.
  • Mention specific things you see your child do that you like.
  • Ask what your child wants to be when he grows up. Then comment on things about him that will make him a good XYZ.
  • Record yourself telling your child how much he means to you.
  • At special occasions, tell your child how much he means to you.
  • Create a drawing or painting of what you love about your child.
  • Display things your child has made or photos of things your child has made. Let your child know why you love it.
  • If you aren't home with your child, call your child randomly in the day just to say I love you.
  • Have a special name of affection that is only for your child.
  • Tell your child "I love you" consistently.
  • Leave notes around the house to tell your child you love him.
  • Share things you love about your child with others when your child is present.
  • Create an encouragement jar. Drop notes of things you love about your child in it.
  • When your child messes up, express in words that you knew of your child's good intentions first.
Our Experiences
As I mentioned in the last post, my husband and son both are words of affirmation people. Here are a few experiences we have had with these things.

At Brayden's birthday this last week, I had the family go around and say what they love about him. We had all of his grandparents and one great grandparent there, along with his sisters and my husband and me. We all took turns saying what we loved about Brayden. He sat there with a shy little smile. I know he loved every minute of it.

My husband loves it when I leave notes for him around the house or in his things he takes to work. He also loves text messages or emails telling him I love him.

One Valentine's Day, I made a jar full of reasons I love my husband. I told him he could reach in there and pull a paper out anytime to be reminded that I love him and why.

Do you have any additional ideas or experiences you have with words of affirmation? Please share!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Staying Sane As A SAHM

one way I maintain sanity is to do things with friends and no kids--
Grown up conversations!
I had a reader ask me what I do to stay sane as a stay at home mom (SAHM). What a great topic!

I think one of the hardest things about having your first baby is that sudden, total isolation you experience. You go from interacting with people at work or school to being home alone all day with a person who doesn't even smile at you, much less talk to you. Getting out isn't easy to do. You either have to pack up a ton of stuff or try to leave with someone like Dad home with the baby, which we all know results in mom stressing the entire time she is gone. And if you are a breastfeeding mother...well...that makes leaving even harder.

These feelings of isolation are common to all mothers, no matter what your parenting style. When Brayden was born, I didn't start following Babywise fully until he was about 9 weeks. I didn't start trying to implement any sort of "pattern" to his day until he was about 4 or o5 weeks. Shooting for a schedule/routine happened more around 7 or 8 weeks. And I felt isolated.

For me, he was my hardest baby to adjust to simply because I had no one to talk to for most of the day. We had just moved to a new neighborhood when Brayden was about 2 weeks old. I knew no one. My parents lived 1.5 hours away. I was the first among my close friends to have a baby, so they were all still working and living lives as usual. My husband was in school and working--gone from before 7 AM until after 8 PM Monday through Saturday...I was alone. When my girls were born, life was much different. I was amazed at even what a difference a little talking two year old could do for my day.

Okay, reminiscing over (but if you are enjoying the ramblings of having a new baby being hard, see the post "A New Baby Is Hard"). Becoming a SAHM is an adjustment. As a SAHM, "There are moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration. Mothers may feel they receive little or no appreciation for the choice they have made. Sometimes even husbands seem to have no idea of the demands upon their wives.” source

How do we do this job and maintain who we are, who we want to be, and our sanity? Like all topics involved with parenting, I don't think this is something one post on a blog can cover (if this topic is of interest to you, please be sure to read Motherhood: Some Uplifting Words). But hopefully I can give you some ideas, and hopefully you readers will be able to share your own ideas of how you stay sane.
  • Maintain Hobbies: Before you had children, you had interests. Did you like to read? Did you like to sew? Scrapbook? Sing? Run? What is it that made you you. Do what you can to maintain these hobbies and interests. I know it is really hard to work these things in as you adjust to a newborn, but sometime around 3-6 months, you should be able to start getting a little bit of hobby time in there. Some babies are really easy newborns and allow you to jump in sooner.
  • Start Hobbies: It is never too late to pick up a new hobby. A few months ago, I started to crochet. Now I crochet like crazy. A year ago, I started to run. I wouldn't call myself a runner, but it isn't something I shudder at anymore :). I have plans to take a Master Gardner class and a Photography class with friends in the future. You can always learn new things. Youtube is amazing. You can learn anything off of youtube :)
  • Stay Connected: Stay connected to your friends and family. Call people on the phone. Send emails. Stay updated on blogs, etc. Don't cut yourself off.
  • Social Networking: Some people might enjoy social networking through various sites. Perhaps Facebook would be your fun. Maybe you would enjoy a Yahoo! group or a site like Babycenter.com. On sites like these, you can find moms who have similar parenting philosophies, moms who sew, moms who are your same religion, moms who have suffered loss, moms with babies born in the same month as yours...you can connect with people who have similar interests to yours.
  • Mommy and Me Classes: Some moms really enjoy things like Mommy and Me classes. Maybe swimming lessons would be your answer. A lot of times, these classes are more for mom's sanity than baby's overall improvement, but a happy mom is a better mom :)
  • Play Groups: Do you have a good friend or group of friends you could have play groups with? When Brayden was a baby, my friend Kelli and I got together almost weekly for a play day. It was fun for our boys and fun for us. You could also organize something simple and weekly like a day at the park each week. My church does a day at the park every week where moms who want to come, bring a lunch, and visit while the kids play at the park.
  • Go Outside: There is something about fresh air and sunshine that helps bring you back to reality sometimes. One of the only things that got Brayden and me through our long days was a daily walk.
  • Get Out: Get out of the house sometimes. You know how going grocery shopping is an "out" for moms? Sad but true. Leaving your house reminds you that the world is bigger than your house and that your "problems" aren't so earth shattering after all.
  • Exercise: Get some sort of exercise. Tracy Hogg recommends going for walks each day postpartum. I can see why. You get the benefit of fresh air, getting out, and getting your blood flowing. As you can, you can start adding exercise to your day. I remember one night after McKenna was born (she was about three months old), I was feeling overwhelmed and kind of panicky. I ended up going for a run, and when I came back home, I was totally fine. No more worries.
  • Serve Others: One of the best ways to forget your own problems is to serve others. Volunteer how and where you can. This can be as simple as bringing a neighbor extra treats. Serve others, but don't think you need to become superwoman who does everything for everyone. As a mom with young children, you have limitations. But you can still serve some even with young children.
  • Entertain Friends: Have friends over. You will have fun and you will worry about something other than your children.
  • Enjoy the Moment: Enjoy each day for what its. The time you have as a parent of young children is so short in comparison to your entire life. Something I hear consistently from older people is that they wish they had spent more time with their children. Does it get monotonous? Yes. Is it thrilling? Not always. But it is such a short tick on your timeline of life. While trying to maintain sanity, don't go so far that you look past these children you are staying home to raise.
  • Focus on What Matters: If you are feeling overwhelmed, cut out the things that are not necessary. You would be amazed what you can cut out of your life and the world keeps on functioning.
  • Read Books: Reading books is a great way to stimulate the mind.
  • Read Newspapers: Stay current with local, national, and world events.
  • Have Date Nights: Go out with your husband on date nights. I think once a week is ideal, though admittedly much easier said than done. If you can't leave your house for a date night, you can be creative with date nights at home after the kids are in bed. Remember the importance of marriage and keep your relationship alive.
  • Develop Traditions: Develop traditions that you can all look forward to. Maybe you will decorate for holidays. Maybe you will go to a parade every Fourth of July. Traditions are fun things to look forward to.
  • Teach Your Children: Spend time each day teaching your children. For older toddlers and up, you can have fun daily learning activities. You can bake cookies and do art projects.
  • Play With Your Children: Take the time to play with your children. You will develop fond memories as well as a relationship. Today I played baseball with my children after lunch and was amazed at their abilities.
  • Have Family Activities: Do fun things as a family. Fly kites. Go camping. Go swimming. Go sledding. Plant a garden together. There are so many fun things to do together as a family. Make this time period fun.
  • Keep a Journal: Keep a journal of your joys and trials as a mother. You can write a private journal, type it in word, video tape yourself, or even blog about it.
Whew! Lots of ideas to get us going. So what do you do to stay sane? What works for you?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Deep Cleaning List

I have had several requests for me to share my deep cleaning list. This is my list I work from that is above and beyond my normal, weekly cleaning. Just because it is on this list doesn't mean I only do it as I work through this list. One example would be floor boards. As I deep clean each room, I clean the floor boards. But if I notice the floor boards need to be cleaned at other times, I do it then, also.

When we lived in a small house, I would clean the whole house by category. So one day, I would clean all the windows in the house. I could do it that way because it was quite small. Now, I clean by room.

Back when I had one child, I cycled through this list rather quickly (plus we had the small house then). Now, it takes me much longer to get through it all. I just do it as I can. I try really hard to just accept this "season of my life." My house isn't always as perfectly clean as I might want it to be, but I don't want to sacrifice time with my children just to get sparkling ceiling fans, you know? So I do what I can and take solace knowing that some day, I might have time to clean as I want to. And at that point, I will probably just miss my kids :).

I also heard a wise tid-bit from a church leader recently. He said his wife was always apologizing to guests for their messy house. He found this odd because he thought the house was clean. He finally realized she was always comparing her house to how it was pre-children. He told her she couldn't have a house with five children in it as clean as one with no children. I loved that thought because I think I chase a similar notion in my head.

Okay, this is a long list and I really never consider it perfect or complete. So take it for what it is and make it your own if you so desire.

Deep Cleaning: Kitchen
• Organize Pantry

• Organize Cupboards

• Organize Drawers

• Wipe down inside of cupboards

• Wipe down/oil outside of cupboards

• Clean inside of fridge

• Clean inside of freezer

• Clean outside of refrigerator

• Clean inside of dishwasher

• Clean outside of Dishwasher

• Clean inside of microwave

• Clean outside of microwave

• Clean Oven

• Clean stove top

• Clean outside of oven

• Clean all items on counter

• Scrub floor by hand

• Clean all frames and wall hangings

• Clean window

• Clean blinds and window sill

• Clean door

• Clean running boards

• Clean garbage can

• Wash hot pads

• Wash rug

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean high chair and/or booster really well

• Wipe down all of table and chairs

• Clean door moldings

• Clean curtains

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean vents

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Piano Area

• Clean window

• Clean blinds

• Clean window sill

• Clean all frames and wall hangings

• Clean mirrors

• Clean running boards

• Wash pillows as needed

• Shake out runners/clean as needed

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Organize piano bench

• Clean/oil piano

• Clean lamp shades

• Febreeze

• Scrub floor by hand

• Organize hutch

• Clean vents

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Dust hutch really well

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Formal Area

• Clean windows

• Clean blinds

• Clean window sills

• Clean doors

• Clean curtains

• Clean vents

• Clean all frames and wall hangings

• Clean all mirrors

• Clean all lampshades

• Clean running boards

• Wash pillows/runners as needed

• Shake out runners

• Vacuum couches

• Clean couches

• Febreeze

• Dust tables really well

• Clean rugs as needed

• Clean front door

• Clean outlets/light switches

• Organize closet

• Scrub floor by hand

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean door moldings

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Office
• Clean window

• Clean window sill

• Clean blinds

• Clean all frames/wall hangings

• Clean mirrors

• Clean moldings

• Clean computer monitors well

• Clean computers well

• Organize printer table

• Organize computer table

• Organize desk

• Dust computer table

• Dust desk

• Clean garbage can

• Organize file cabinets

• Dust file cabinets

• Organize closet

• Clean closet shelves

• Clean doors

• Clean door moldings

• Clean/Sanitize switches and outlets

• Clean chairs

• Febreeze

• Clean lamp shades

• Clean vent

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean printer

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Craft Room

• Clean window

• Clean window sill

• Clean blinds

• Clean moldings

• Clean door

• Clean closet doors

• Clean door moldings

• Clean base moldings

• Febreeze

• Clean garbage can

• Clean chair

• Organize closet

• Clean closet shelves

• Organize black cabinet

• Clean black cabinet

• Clean ironing board cover

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean iron

• Organize file cabinet

• Organize drawers

• Organize sewing desk

• Dust sewing desk well

• Clean lamp shades

• Clean vent

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Service machines as needed

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Guest Bathroom

• Scrub floor

• Scrub grout

• Vinegar on shower head/faucets

• Clean shower

• Clean curtain rod

• Clean rod rings

• Clean shower curtains

• Clean rugs

• Clean base moldings

• Clean door moldings

• Organize medicine cabinet

• Organize drawers

• Organize cabinet

• Oil wood

• Clean garbage can

• Clean door

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Deep clean toilet

• Clean soap dispenser/refill

• Clean all metal

• Clean vent

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean frames/wall hangings

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Master Bedroom

• Clean windows

• Clean window sills

• Clean blinds

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean curtains

• Wash bedding as needed

Febreeze

• Organize closet

• Clean doors

• Clean base moldings

• Clean door moldings

• Clean bookcase

• Organize dresser

• Organize cedar chest

• Clean all frames and wall hangings

• Organize vanity

• Clean vanity

• Clean lamp shades

• Oil wood

• Organize night stands

• Organize under bed

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean vents

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Master Bathroom
• Clean window

• Clean window sill

• Clean blinds

• Clean curtains

• Clean door moldings

• Clean door

• Clean basemoldings

• Clean curtain rod

• Clean rod rings

• Clean shower curtains

• Scrub grout on floor

• Scrub grout in shower

• Vinegar shower head/faucet

• Deep clean toilet

• Clean rugs

• Organize drawers

• Organize cabinet

• Clean garbage can

• Oil wood

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean soap dispenser/refill

• Clean all metal

• Clean vent

• Clean frames/wall hangings

• Clean toilet brush

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean plunger

 
Deep Cleaning: Upstairs Hall

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean door moldings

• Clean doors

• Clean base moldings

• Organize linnen closet

• Oil banister

• Vacuum stairs well

• Clean railing

• Clean frames/wall hangings

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean vents

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Laundry Room

• Clean garbage can

• Wipe down washer

• Wipe down dryer

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Organize cabinets

• Wipe down shelves

• Oil wood

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Dust

• Sweep

• Clean grout

• Clean floor

• Clean doors

• Clean moldings

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Family Room

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean door moldings

• Clean doors

• Clean base moldings

• Clean frames/wall hangings

• Clean vents

• Vacuum couches

• Clean couches

• Vacuum lazy boy

• Clean lazy boy

• Clean shelves

• Organize shelves

• Organize blanket holder

• Organize book shelves

• Clean book shelves

• Organize coats/hats

• Organize entertainment center

• Oil wood

• Clean end table well

• Clean pillows/blankets as needed

• Clean rugs

• Clean electronics

• Clean grout

• Clean tile

• Clean window

• Clean window sill

• Clean blinds

Febreeze

• Clean curtains

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Organize storage closet

• Clean shelves in storage closet

 
Deep Cleaning: Storage Room
• Clean door

• Organize shelves

• Sweep

• Clean shelves

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Downstairs Halls
• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean door moldings

• Clean doors

• Clean base moldings

• Clean frames/wall hangings

• Clean vents

• Clean lighting fixtures

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Kid Bathroom

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean door moldings

• Clean door

• Clean base moldings

• Clean frames/wall hangings

• Clean vents

• Clean garbage can

• Clean toys

• Organize drawers

• Clean drawers

• Organize cupboards

• Clean cupboards

• Clean curtain rod

• Clean rod rings

• Wash shower curtains

• Clean potty chair

• Wash rugs

• Clean small tub

• Clean all metal

• Vinegar shower head/faucet

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Scrub tile

• Scrub floor

 
 
Deep Cleaning: Kid's Room

• Clean/sanitize outlets and light switches

• Clean door moldings

• Clean door

• Clean closet doors

• Clean base moldings

• Clean frames/wall hangings

• Clean vents

• Clean window

• Clean window sill

• Clean blinds

• Clean curtains

• Clean garbage can

• Clean chair rail

• Clean molding boxes

• Clean walls

• Organize closet

• Clean closest shelves

• Organize dresser

• Clean dresser

• Clean lamp shade

Febreeze

• Organize cupboard

• Clean cupboard shelves

• Clean outside of cupboard

• Sanitize toys

• Clean all toys as needed

• Clean all blankets/pillows as needed

• Change batteries as needed

• Clean lighting fixtures

• Clean bed

• Oil wood

• Take out small clothes

• Clean bedding as needed


So that gives you an idea of how I do those things. Hopefully it gives you some inspiration. Do things as you can, but don't go crazy over it.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Moral Training: Actions Precede Understanding

Many people hesitate to expect moral behavior from their child until the child can "understand why." That is not the path you want to follow. For one thing, you are not going to know for sure when your child understands morals. By the time you realize he understands, you will have lost valuable time in teaching this lesson.

Another reason you don't want to wait is that most children really don't understand morals until around age three. Some get things sooner and some a bit later, but three is about average. You don't wait until your child is three years old to do things like start expecting him to share, say please and thank you, and not hit.

Training is much, much, much easier from an early age. So when do you start to teach moral behavior? From the very beginning. From the moment your child starts to exercise a will, typically somewhere around 5-7 months old, you start to teach correct behavior. Actions precede understanding.

Does an 18 month old understand the merits of sharing? Absolutely not. Most 18 month olds are furious at the suggestion of sharing :). That is totally normal. Does that mean we step back and say, "Oh. Isn't she cute. She just doesn't understand that it isn't nice to take Bobby's toys. Some day she will know that." Sure, some day she will. But if you wait until that day, do you think you are going to have a picturesque seen where you say to your 3.5 year old, "Sweetie, it really isn't nice to take Bobby's toys from him. It makes him very sad. See how sad he is?" to which she will reply, "Oh dear mother! I have been remiss all this time! I have been so selfish in taking his toys away. I hope he will forgive me!"

Um, no. She will throw an even bigger fit at 3.5 than she did at 1.5. If you think an 18 month old can throw a fit, wait until your child gets older.

The time to start teaching moral behavior is the moment your child chooses not to display it. This is what the wise series refers to as "habits of the heart." The child doesn't know why she doesn't hit, take toys, or scream in anger every time she doesn't get her way, but she knows her parents expect it of her. Sure, she messes up quite often. She needs frequent reminders in the right way to behave. She isn't perfect about it all. But that is cause for training, not cause for waiting.

As she gets older, she will need fewer reminders. She will start to get this strange feeling of happiness when she is nice to others, and she recognizes that. Her pattern will change from doing what is right because she doesn't want to be punished in some way to doing what is right because she loves others and hopefully because she loves God if you have taught her that.

Please believe me when I tell you it is so much easier to train from the beginning. Start as you mean to go on. I have observed young toddlers who have been taught right from a young age and those who haven't--not referring to my own children. I am able to watch these children often. I am amazed to see the level of self-control present in these little ones who have been taught good and right behavior versus those who haven't. The other day I watched my friend's 18 month old girl stop herself from throwing a ball in the house after her mom explained to her not to. Her arm went back it started to come forward....and she stopped. Her little arm literally trembled. She looked at the ball and I watched in an instant this little internal struggle with herself as she wrestled with the thrill of throwing the ball and the knowledge that her mom had told her not to. Her obedient side won. What a sweet gift these parents give their children!

Starting early doesn't mean you children will be 100% perfect all the time. No way. They will mess up every day, just like you do. That is the way life goes. But it means that when it comes time to teach them why they are kind and why they need to show love to others, their brain can focus on that rather than controlling those selfish desires. They have already worked on that for 2.5 years by that point. The ability to master self is a great gift. Think of all the things you work to master each day. Do you have to master yourself to get up on time or go to bed on time? Do you have the self-control to eat right? Do you hold your tongue and speak only nice words? Do you get the physical exercise you know your body needs to be healthy? These are all simply self-mastery issues that adults deal with regularly.

Now, a word to you parents who are reading this thinking, "Oh no! I haven't started teaching these things early enough and now I have messed up my child for life!"

You haven't.

It is never too late to teach your child.

Is it harder to teach these things if you start at 21 months instead of 7 months? Yes. Does that mean it can't be done? Absolutely not! It is never too late.

Don't spend time worrying about your should'ves and focus on your shoulds.

The take home message today? It is possible to train actions before the child is able to fully comprehend the reason behind the actions. The best time to start to train these actions is as soon as your child does the actions on her own, which ends up being around 5-7 months. However, it is never too late to start, and no matter when you start, your child will be no more perfect than you are.

Whew! Isn't being a parent a tough job! :)

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Little Dresses For Africa {Let's Giveaway!}


A few weeks ago, a woman at my church announced she wanted us to make little pillowcase dresses to send to Africa. I sew, so that week I took an afternoon and made my first little dress. I decided to do a size three since Kaitlyn is three.

As I sewed it, I was so struck by the fact that this little dress would likely be the only dress a little girl in Africa would own. I imagined how much she would treasure it. I had the overwhelming desire to help more. I can't really explain how I felt except that the urge to do something more pretty much consumed me.

The idea came to me that I should turn to you readers! So this week, instead of doing a giveaway for ourselves, let's do a giveaway for little girls in Africa! Hopefully this will go well. If so, I will choose something every so often for us to donate to. I know we Babywise moms are moms who are concerned with morals and ethics--we love others. We believe others are of value.

I thought this would be an opportunity to teach service by example to our children. We can involve them in choosing the pillowcase or fabric to make the dress. Some might be old enough to help make the dress.

Please know I don't want to guilt you into anything at all; I won't think anyone is horrible if they don't do this. I have this ability to speak to thousands of people and thought it would be a great way to spread the word!

If you would like to contribute, here are some ways how:

1. Through Me: My church group is gathering dresses until July 1, then we will be sending them off. If you would like to make a dress, you can make it and send it to me. I will add it to our pile. If you can't make one but want to help, you can send supplies for the dress. Depending on how many supplies I get, I will either make them or gather up a bunch of ladies to help make them. You can also send money if you want and I will buy supplies to make a bunch of dresses.

2. Through LittleDressesforAfrica.org: If you don't want to send stuff to me, you can send it to this group. This is a Christian, non-profit group. They have distributed dresses to 10 different countries in Africa! You can donate money through this website. You can also send dresses to the address listed here. They also have a list of 10 ways you can help.

We can make a difference.

Even if it you contribute just one dress, it will make a difference.

I have a story to illustrate this. I have heard this story many times. I searched for it, but can't find it. So here it is in my words.

One day, a man was walking along the beach. The beach was covered with hundreds of [clams or oysters...I don't know]. Because the tide had gone back down, these [clams or oysters] would soon die. The man saw another man walking along the beach. As he walked, he picked up the [clams or oysters] one by one and threw them back into the ocean. The first man stopped the second man and asked him why he was even bothering with that. He told him to look around; there were hundreds of [clams/oysters]! He couldn't possibly make a difference. The second man simply bent down, picked up another clam or oyster, and threw it back into the ocean. "It made a difference to that one," he replied.

The message of this story is that every little bit helped. You might not be able to change the entire world, but you can change the world for one girl. And to her, it makes a difference.

If you would like to make a dress yourself, you can follow the instructions on this page. I decided to write my own tutorial using the instructions from Nancy's Notions on how to make the dress that is FULL of photos and hopefully very easy to follow. That is found on my craft blog: valscreations.blogspot.com.

So this is my challenge to us! Let's make some dresses for Africa. I promise making a dress is simple and quite fast. It took me about 2-3 hours--but that was in conjunction with taking care of my three children and taking photos of every step so I could write the tutorial.

Want to join in the fun?

Donate using either method I described above. If you want to send something to me, please email me at valplowman@gmail.com and I will give you the info to do that.

Whether you donate by sending it to me or to http://littledressesforafrica.org/, please leave a comment here saying you did so! I would love to hear and see the difference we all made collectively!

If you want to send photos of the dress/dresses you made, email them to valplowman@gmail.com and I will do a post with photos of all of our dresses in early July.

Again, this is not me trying to guilt anyone into doing anything. If this is something you want to do, please do!

Here is a photo of my first little dress. Don't you think a little girl somewhere will love this?!?!


And The Winner Is...

And the winner of the personalized t-shirt from For Your Little Monkey is...

Joni -- entry number 15

Congratulations Joni!

Please email me at valplowman@gmail.com. You have one week or another winner will be chosen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cloth Diapering

I am, have always been, and probably always will be a disposable diaper gal. That is the way I do it around here. Despite that, I can see that there can be several benefits to cloth diapering, and I know several moms who use cloth diapers. Whenever there is something going on that I don't have experience with, I like to pull in another mom to shed some light on the topic. So, I asked my friend Amanda to write a cloth diapering post. And who knows; maybe one day I will switch over :) You might recognize Amanda from the Children's Learning Activities blog as she is one of the authors. Here are Amanda's basic thoughts on cloth diapering:

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In the Babywise books Gary Ezzo doesn’t really make any recommendations for how to diaper your baby; whether to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. But of course you can’t be on an online parenting site for long before you run across that question: cloth or disposable? For different families the right answer could be either one, or something in between. Daycares often won’t accept cloth diapers, but for a stay at home mother cloth diapers can save some much needed money. Diapering twins with cloth could create a lot of laundry, but it could also save a lot of money and trips to the store. The water used could be nothing to a person in a wet climate, but after living in the Arizona desert I can understand not using more water than absolutely necessary too.
When I was pregnant my husband and I considered cloth diapers for a moment, and quickly dismissed the idea because of the time, cleaning, and hassle involved. Besides, I certainly did not want to mess with diaper pins and trying to fold a cloth diaper! Our son was in disposables for 3 months when the guilt of all that plastic, non-decomposing trash got to us. We were using 8-10 diapers every day, $40 a month, and emptying the small trash can daily just to keep up with the mess. We went through 4 kinds finding a style that didn’t leak or give our son a rash. So we decided to do some research into cost and options for cloth diapering. It turns out our idea of prefolds, pins, and plastic pants was way off the mark!

Currently there are several types of cloth diapers and cloth/disposable hybrids available.


Prefolds—these are the least expensive option, easy to clean, but do require folding and securing with a snappi (a Y shaped hook instead of the old pins, much better!). Prefolds are worn with covers that Velcro or snap shut similar to a disposable diaper.

Fitted Diapersthese fasten like disposables and are made of natural, absorbent materials. They are easy to put on but require a cover. They also tend to be more expensive but the appeal here is the cute patterns available.

Pocket Diapers—these are more expensive than prefolds, a bit more difficult to clean, but are also much easier to put on and are more absorbent. These function just like a disposable diaper, velcroing in the front usually. Recently there are more versions with plastic snaps because snaps hold up better to frequent washing.




All-in-Ones—similar in cost to pocket diapers, these are the ultimate in easy diaper changes. The absorbent insert is sewn in, not stuffed in the pocket back like the pocket diapers so there is no prep before diaper changes. However, these can be difficult to get soap out of and take longer to dry.

gDiapersthese are the ultimate in convenience because they have disposable inserts and so don’t create any extra laundry. The insert can be flushed or tossed or even composted! It’s just paper and absorbent material so it’s 100% biodegradable. The outside shell has a plastic liner that snaps in and out easily. If the plastic liner gets messy, simply rinse in a utility sink or bathtub. The outside shell is cotton, soft, and velcros in the back away from prying toddler hands.



Many people settle on pocket diapers because they are easy enough that babysitters can do diaper changes and are also fairly easy to maintain. For us, side-snapping pocket diapers are our absolute favorite. I learned to sew my own 2 months after we began using cloth diapers and so I can make a pocket diaper in 30 minutes with around $5 worth of materials.

Cloth diaper care takes a bit of learning but is easy once you have a method. We keep a covered trash can (dry pail) in the nursery and a covered trash can half-full of water and a scoop of oxyclean (wet pail) beside the toilet. When a diaper is wet it goes in the dry pail; if a diaper is dirty it gets rinsed over the toilet with a small diaper sprayer (a $40 attachment that took 5 minutes to install) and then tossed into the wet pail. Every 2-3 days we take both pails and empty them into the washer. I wash on cold with detergent and a cup of vinegar, then I wash on hot with nothing added. They then go in the dryer or out on the clothesline. When dry I spend 15 minutes stuffing the inserts into the pocket diapers and put them away in the drawers so they’re all ready to use.

I could list all the math involved in proving that cloth diapers save money, but that would make this post incredibly long! You’ll have to trust me, no matter which style you choose they do save money, even with a slight increase in water usage. If you don’t trust me then do the math yourself or do an online search. I could also get into the details of which is worse, the plastic of disposables in landfills or the water usage for washing cloth. For us, the plastic in landfills won out as the worse option, especially with our HE washer and since I like to line dry the diapers in the warm months. Also consider that the World Health Organization advises against human waste ever entering trash cans, instead advising that poop from diapers be disposed of in toilets—something cloth diapers ensure. Another small benefit in my opinion is that my 22 month old boy is almost potty trained, yay! :) I’m not sure it’s entirely due to cloth diapering but I do think the cloth diapers helped with the awareness of wet vs. dry.

For me cloth diapers fit into our Babywise parenting philosophy. It’s all about planning for the future, looking at the long term benefit (cost or environment) instead of getting caught up in just making it through the day. It’s easier to let my baby sleep in our bed short-term, but long-term it could create a sleep disruption and a bad habit, so we did the hard work early on and now reap the rewards with a toddler who soothes himself to sleep easily. It was difficult to learn how to cloth diaper, invest in the diapers, and figure out how to wash them, but now we go months without buying any diapers and empty our son’s trash can once a week, not once a day. With a second baby on the way I don’t have to stock up on many diapers, we’ll be re-using many of my son’s cloth diapers for the new baby too. Like sleep training, I’ve found cloth diapers are a lot of work in the beginning, and then make life easier later.

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If you have any experience you would like to add on the topic of cloth diapering, please feel free to add it in the comments!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Love Language: Words of Affirmation

The Five Love Languages of Children

This is the love language of both my husband and my son. This is the second love language discussed in The Five Love Languages of Children. Words of Affirmation doesn't only apply to children who can understand what you are saying. Chapman and Campbell point out that long before children understand the meaning words, they understand tone of voice and body language. Remember last week when I talked about communication and how less than 10% of the message communicated is through the actual words you say? Words of Affirmation doesn't mean you only say nice words and that your body language doesn't matter at all. It all comes together to send a message.

You can combine your words with a smile, a hug, a pat on the head, a tickle, a high five...don't depend on the word by itself because that is not the way communication works. These are in the category of Words of Affection and Endearment. There are a few categories of words Chapman and Campbell suggest you focus on as a parent, the first being Words of Affection and Endearment. Throw little pet names in the mix. Sweetie, honey, princess, etc. are all words that show endearment.

The second category for words is Words of Praise. "Praise...is for something over which the child has a degree of control" (page 47). As you offer praise, you want it to be genuine. It is a good idea to use specifics over generalities. Rather than saying, "You are a good girl" say, "You are a good girl for picking up your toys without being asked!" Also, don't give praise that isn't true. Children know if something they did was so-so. If you lavish praise for the average, he might not believe sincere praise when it comes. You also don't want to teach your child praise is necessary for every step--becoming addicted to and dependent upon praise. Just make sure the praise is true and justified. "Otherwise they may regard it as flattery, which they can equate with lying" (page 47).

Another category for words is Words of Encouragement. We want children to have the courage to try more. Remember that almost everything your child does in life is new to him. When you see your child do something right, tell him what he did and why it was good--why you value it. An example from the book is if you see your child share. You would later tell your child that you noticed him share his toy with Bobby. Tell him you like that and why sharing is valuable. The idea here is to catch your child doing something right and and commend him for doing so. Words of encouragement are great for helping develop morals and ethics.

Chapman and Campbell caution that "The greatest enemy toward encouraging our children is anger" ( page 48). We must temper our anger. We must use quiet, soft voices. Speak pleasantly. Is it easy? No--not always. Make the effort.

The final category of words is Words of Guidance. I think one of the most powerful statements in this book is, "All children are guided by someone" (page 50). If you, the parent, do not step in to be that primary guide, something else will. It might be the television. It might be school. It might be other adults, or perhaps other children. I think we, as parents, all want that primary guider of our children to be us!

Correct guidance is for the benefit of the child, not to make the parent look good. You don't guide your children toward proper behavior in order to look like a great parent; you are teaching your children proper behavior because it is right and will help him in his life.

As you guide, you need to be sure you are a good example of what you are teaching. You also want your guidance to be overwhelmingly positive. Don't focus so much on what they can do as what they can. Keep guidance as positive as possible.

If your child's primary love language is Words of Affirmation, here are some tips to help you express love to your child:
  • Say I Love You, and say it alone. Don't tell our child you love him then ask him do to something. Don't tell your child you love him and follow that up with "but..." Leave "I Love You" as an unconditional statement. This doesn't mean you can't ever ask your child to do something or tell him he shouldn't do something. It means you don't do so coupled with "I love you." Leave "I love you" alone.
  • Keep communication positive. When your child does something right, praise and encourage without saying something like "it's about time!"
  • Keep a journal. Chapman and Campbell suggest that if you have a hard time speaking words of affirmation, you keep a journal and write down positive words. Record ones you hear from other parents, ones you read in books, and ones you think of on your own. Then look for opportunities to say these words to your child.
  • Use words of affirmation at least three times each day.
  • Do not lecture or condemn. Trust me when I say that with a person whose love language is words of affirmation, you will get a lot more reaction from focusing on what you like than what you don't like. With both my husband and my son, things go much better if I say nothing about what I am not liking and praise and encourage all that I do. They get that encouragement and they want to do more good. Negative talk brings them down and seems to ruin all motivation. Now, sometimes, yes, you do need to point out what is being done incorrectly. That will need to happen at times. Just make the effort to focus on positive talk and I promise you will see a world of difference.
  • Apologize. If you say something hurtful, apologize for it and ask forgiveness. "...it is essential for parents and other significant adults in the child's life to quickly apologize for negative, critical, or harsh remarks" (page 55).
  • Don't get angry. Keep your voice and emotions in check.
Again, remember that all children need to feel love in all five languages. Even if your child doesn't have this as a primary love language, work to have these tips as part of your life. Who doesn't love being told they are great?

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