Friday, November 6, 2015

All you need is....

A few weeks ago Peanut threw the mother of all tantrums. She was kicking me, punching me, screaming and sobbing. This little pint sized girl was trying any and every way to get her every way.

She had thrown a few more tantrums than normal lately, and nothing had worked. Time outs, Time ins, taking toys away, making apologies, etc. I was done. Fed up. Had it. My sweet little girl would turn into a terror with merely a shake of my head.

This time, I carried her to her room - kicking and punching the whole way - and calmly sat her on her bed. She screamed to get out, to get up, and I very calmly told her that she would stay right there until she stopped screaming and punching, and then I would be back to talk to her.

I walked out her door to just down the hall. I almost immediately heard her sniffling her tears in, trying to calm down, so I went back into her room and sat on the bed next to her.

"Sometimes, when I get upset, I just need one thing to make me feel better." I said to her. "Do you know what that is?"

She looked up at me, tears still rapidly dripping. "No. What?"

"A hug."

She kept looking at me, tears slowing down, eyes wide.

 "Do you think you need a hug?" I asked.

She nodded and leaned into me. I hugged her. I could feel her little body quivering from the raw emotion of her tantrum, her breaths ragged and gasping.

I kept hugging her. We didn't talk. I didn't lecture. We just sat there and hugged. I could feel her anxiety and my frustration slip away as we just held each other, mother and daughter.

She whispered into my arm. "I'm sorry I hit you, Mommy."

It was only then that we talked about actions and emotions, apologies and anger. Words that can't be taken away and actions that hurt others physically and emotionally. We talked about loving each other unconditionally.

It felt good. For once I felt that she was listening to me, and that I was listening to her, rather than just doling out punishment. I told her that her actions were unacceptable, that hitting and screaming were disrespectful and not allowed. I asked her what she thought a proper punishment for her actions should be.

She started to tear up again, but said solidly,"You should take away my barbies until I can be more respectful." And she grabbed her box o'Barbies to put in my room.

"Except this one. You don't need to take Chelsea." she said as she grabbed Barbie's littlest sister. I let her keep her. She was respectful the rest of the day and next. All her Barbies eventually went back to her room with Chelsea.

Yesterday, Peanut woke up cranky from her nap, frustrated with everything. Her blanket wasn't on her feet right. She didn't like grapes any more . She wanted a different snack. She was cold. She was bored. She wanted to play a board game, but no, no no, not that board game. No, no that one either. The list kept going on, until I finally threw up my hands and told her I didn't know what she needed right now.  She started crying and said,"I just need a hug, Mommy. Please can I have a hug?"

I hugged her.

Hugs are band-aids for aching hearts, a balm for hurt feelings. They can heal faster than any medicine.

Sometimes I forget that my smart, social girl is only four. With all her independence and spirit, I forget that she is just a little girl, learning her way in this world. It shouldn't have taken me this long to realize it, but sometimes all she needs is a hug.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I am thankful for my children.

I've been dealing with some super entitled, ungrateful children lately (and I have no one to blame but myself), so we have spent a lot of time lately talking about thankfulness. What we have, what others have. How we can help those around us, and what we really need vs. what we want.

Apparently, ungratefulness is not uncommon in this age range, and I am incredibly thankful (you see what I just did there?) to a friend of mine who posted a review for the book, 'The Me, Me, Me Epidemic' by Amy McCready. I'm only 1/5 of the way through, but I keep looking over my shoulder for the person is writing exactly about my life.

They aren't bad kids; they are very egocentric, as most are at the ages of 4 and 6, and always seem to want more. More toys, more books, more video game time and more snacks. They are very aware, at the same time, that there are people out there with a lot less than we have (less home, less toys, less food) and they love putting together more 'Blessings Bags' to pass out to the homeless and seeing all the goodies we bought for the food bank.  To further emphasize the giving to others,  I thought I would let Peanut sort through her own toys to find those she could donate.

I sat with her in her room to help, and she asked me, "Can I have a box to put all the toys for boys and girls that don't have any?"

Of course you can, I thought, grabbing a big plastic hamper, hoping that the bigger it was, the more she would give.

Her mighty donation pile

Why, yes, that is one small etch a sketch and the top 1/2 of a mermaid barbie.

This is only the playroom stuff....don't get me started on the Barbies in her room!

I think I will go over this donation thing with her one more time. I am positive I can find enough to fill that basket. And more.

Monday, November 2, 2015


The pumpkins were lopsided, bruises turned towards the back. Sharpie marks showed on the front where the cutting wasn't quite even with the design.

We ran out of candy before 8 pm. Mostly because we told Peanut she could choose how much candy to give trick-or-treaters, and she took us at our word. She dumped it in by the bucketful.

Peanut lost her Belle tiara at the school carnival Friday night, so we had to improvise on Halloween night with a red rose instead. She also pulled an audible on going with Belle in the first place, as I had bought her both the Anna (from Frozen) dress and Ariel dress she just had to have, oh I need it so bad, pretty please, please please please. 

Bjorn only wanted a red light saber to go with last years Darth Vadar costume he wanted to wear again. Unfortunately, he had grown quite a bit this past year, and I don't think Darth Vadar's wore capri pants. Five days before Halloween, I headed to the big box store and grabbed the last StormTrooper they had.

It was a perfect Halloween.

Bjorn was quite hilarious on Halloween night. While Peanut passed out candy, he patrolled our front sidewalk, Storm Trooper gun in hand. He just walked up and down, up and down, in perfect character.

Our neighborhood had what seemed like hundreds of trick or treaters. They came to the porch in droves, dozens at a time. We walked the small 'loop' around our home, which only took an hour or so. But almost every single home had their front porch light on. It was a trick or treater's heaven. Door after door of candy and toys, with no dissapointing dark house to walk past. It was awesome.  By the end of the loop, I asked both kids if they wanted to head to another street, and they both said no, wanting to play at the neighbors house and pass out candy instead. Fifteen minutes into passing out candy, we ran out. Without a pause, Bjorn immediately lifted up his own candy bag and dumped handful after handful of candy into the bowl to pass out. I love his tender heart.

The lopsided pumpkin was the one Bjorn specifically picked out, wanting it over all the other perfect round ones. After looking in the Jack o Lantern book at all the intricate faces he could carve, he said, "Nope. I want to draw my own. I know exactly what I should put on it." And he did. It looked exactly as a Jack o Lantern should!

The school carnival was a whirlwind of bounce houses, ring tosses, Haunted Houses and seeing friends. Peanut is the most social little girl I know, and kept running up to kids, both her age and older. "Hi friend!" she would shout, giving a big hug.  She did the same to teachers and parents. Everyone knew her, and she was in her prime, waving like the princess she thinks she is. Bjorn spent the first half of the night wrestling with one of his BFs in a bounce house, and the second half of the night playing football and basketball. It was a perfect night.

I forgot to make the kids their special halloween snacks and mummy quesadillas. I ran out of time to make handprints in the shape of ghosts and witches. I didn't make a family costume as I had hoped, but picked up store-bought ones straight from the shelf. My pictures will never make it onto pinterest.

Twice Peanut told me that this was "the best Halloween night ever".

She was right. They are only so little for so long, and they both had such a wonderful Halloween. I think they truly enjoyed every bit of it. So, it wasn't everything I had wanted it to be. It was more. It was perfect.