No more free toys! Hard work, responsibility, and good habits get you what you want

Since the trip to the ER, I struggled to find a way to get my older daughter to drink enough water (dehydration plus a cold = crusty mucus in chest = potential ER trip – no thank you!) and my little one to have a nap at daycare (no nap = potential tantrums – again, no thank you!) So after asking and nagging about these habits, I finally tried to do a reward system.

I explained to them that this was the only way they were going to get a new toy or something they wanted from now on. That they could only get something on “prize” day when they get to the treasure chest or with their hard earned money.

To my surprise it actually worked! I bought a simple sticker system. A “coin sticker” to put on a path to the treasure chest every time the habit was accomplished for that day. As soon as I picked them up from school, I heard “Mommy, check my water bottle or Mommy, Mommy I had a good nap! I can get a sticker!” They loved getting the sticker and putting it on the map on the way to the treasure chest.

So this turned into another reward map to encourage participating in Taekwondo because they weren’t always exactly excited to do it. Of course, when they didn’t want to do Taekwondo that day, I reminded them they weren’t going to get a sticker if they didn’t participate. So they would, reluctantly, but it got them through.

Then I thought, okay, how can I encourage more behavior? I don’t want to have all these different maps though?

I decided it was time for a chore or responsibility chart.

They would get 25 cents for cleaning up after meals, 50 cents for getting ready on time and doing homework, $1 for laundry, cleaning the room, putting away dishes from the dishwasher, and cleaning the playroom – to start.

As soon as the list was announced, my 5 year old went straight to the playroom to clean up. Since then she cleans up after meals and has been on time! Of course, that’s followed by… “Mommy, can I have my money?” Yes you can honey, good job.

Let’s just say 1, all that change is getting put to good use and 2, I’m going to have to start writing “I owe you” tickets for lack of cash! I do have to make a conscious effort to keep change and dollars on hand now. But I’m ok with that!

I also used this as a way to discourage unwanted behavior. Like not listening. “Honey, I need you to listen or I’m going to start taking money out or take a sticker away.” They moved faster or listened better than you knew they were capable of. My daughter even told me a lie and I immediately said, if you lie again, I’m going to start taking $1 for every lie. I could see in her face that she knew I was serious and acknowledged understanding. So we’ll see.

My older one is thriving on this system, my 3 year old gets it but still takes a bit of reminding. But she absolutely knows how it works, that’s for sure. She’s already claimed one prize.

For the most part, I’m thinking…Hehe this is working out pretty good.

I feel like I’m getting several life lessons out of this system.

1-Earning money or rewards for hard work

2-Money management

3-Consequences

4-Responsibilities

To sum it all up, you can get anything you want if you work hard, are responsible, and have good habits! That sounds about right for adulthood.

Next blog… Now what to do with all that money!! I need to figure out how to teach them money management in way they can understand. Stay tuned!

A trip to the ER…was cough medicine to blame?

Let me start by saying the I am not in the medical field at all and what you read here is solely based off experience, research, and motherly instinct.

You read and hear all the warning signs not to use cough or cold medicines for children 6 and under. You wonder why and think but this one says natural or organic. May be you think, it can’t be that bad because this is exactly what I thought too.

Early one morning, I recognized the signs of sickness in my 5 year old. I could tell by the cough, congestion, and the warmth radiating from her that she was no doubtedly getting sick. So she had to stay home with Dad instead of Top Golf, as much as she protested staying home, she was getting pretty sick and she needed rest.

I really wanted to stay home with her. Unfortunately, I had already committed to some plans I couldn’t get out of. I thought it would only be for a couple hours. She should be ok it’s probably a cold from starting Kindergarten and being around all those new germs.

To my shock when I got home, she was laying in bed and my husband was trying to give her medicine. I asked what he gave her and stated the natural cough syrup and Tylenol or Motrin I believe. She was breathing rapid and laboured, wheezing, and her heart racing. I was terrified. I immediately called the nurse line to get some focus and she could hear my daughter’s strained breathing and said to call 911. Oh my goodness. I feel so bad, I should’ve just called 911 in the first place what was I thinking?! I immediately told my husband to call 911 with his phone while I stayed on the phone with the nurse. I was just overwhelmed with thoughts and concerns. I could barely think straight.

On the way to the ER the medics gave her some albuterol to help her breathe, this is usually for asthma. I think they said it helped to get her heart rate down. While we were in the hospital room waiting for results of flu or otherwise, they continued to try to get her breathing under control and her heart rate down. They tried another dose of albuterol but it wasn’t helping a whole lot. Finally after being there for a few hours, they gave her an IV and it was like magic. In about an hour she was her normal, happy, talkative self.

The x-rays revealed that her lungs were basically crusted with mucus restricting her airway. The fluid was hydrating her chest loosening up the mucus which opened her airway back up.

I don’t know exactly what caused the trip to the ER but dehydration was definitely a factor.

I had read previously that cough medicine sends kids to the ER but they’re not sure why. Research examined the effects of codeine, Dextromethorphan, and Diphenhydramine.

I’ve been trying to do the research to find an answer but my findings are conflicting. I use both the public internet sites and my college library for real medical articles and journals. Still nothing consistent or definitive. It’s very frustrating. Some resulted in some ingredients reducing cough and others stating that the medicine did nothing to reduce the cough and most warnings against cough medicine are because of the codeine. One thing is for sure, almost all the articles and journals recommended to use honey and or lemon for children over the age of 1. It’s safer and has proven to help even a little bit.

Breastfeeding…the Struggle is Real

For anyone who has tried this, know that the struggle is real. Although it has been a couple years since I stopped, the phase was so significant, it is forever etched in my mind and because of this I continue to support moms who can sometimes feel this loneliness.

BF moms, you are not alone. This page is dedicated to you for support.

Of all the moms I have met who tried to BF, I have only met one unicorn mom, who said she didn’t have any supply issues. What do I picture? A white waterfall free flowing, infinite, sparkling and glowing with the sound of angels singing AHHHHHH in the background. I was not blessed with this power. It was an emotional, painful, sleepless, and stressful struggle, I was a wreck but I was determined.

 

  1. Baby is here but where is my milk?? Don’t worry, keep trying to feed. The milk will come in 3-5 days. But what do I feed my baby until then?? Apparently, a baby’s tummy doesn’t need much during this time (I will have to find the source of this reference so stay tuned). It’s still pretty stressful.
  2. One word – engorged. This is just the beginning of level 1 pain. Put a warm compress to get the milk flowing then a cool compress for the inflammation or swelling. I liked Booby Tubes by Earth Mama, not trying to advertise but just passing on some friendly favorites.
  3. The first 2 weeks are painful, just skip level 2-8 pain, this is level 9. Like getting a tattoo on a bleeding wound, ripping your skin, painful. I would’ve like to put 10 but there has got to be something worse than this, right? Not sure what is worse, labor or this. Labor is probably worse but your brain likes to block out the actual memory of pain during labor. I mean I think if I really remembered, I would be crazy to do it again and I did, so that pain memory blocking must be real.
  4. If you can make it past this, you can make it to 4 months.
  5. You have to pump or feed every 3-4 hours. It’s the worst when all you want to do is sleep but you have to wake up to feed or pump. You were probably up anyway but just in case you thought you might get 3-4 hours, you’re probably just half asleep wondering if it’s time to wake up yet. You realize you missed a pump or feeding and want absolutely nothing to do with that awful pump machine at 3:30 am. BUT it has to be done!! Missing pump times decreases your supply. I should know. I’ve kicked myself many times thinking I could’ve just slept and pumped right?! UGH.
  6. If you really need to up the supply, make sure you are drinking lots of water, probably stay away from caffeine since it is dehydrating (I couldn’t do it!! I needed it like no other, if anything to keep my eyes open), use supplements like Fenugreek (not sure if it worked or I just needed to feel like it did), some moms liked the mother’s milk tea, and what really, truly does help (my opinion) is pumping (the dreaded pump machine) after feeding. It helped with my second baby tremendously until I got too confident and slowed down the pumping. I went from 8 oz in 20 mins to 4-5 oz in 20 mins. Ugh.
  7. It’s time to go back to work and if the separation doesn’t kill you or make you an emotional wreck like me, the pumping will. Put a timer on your computer and go!!! Make sure to pump, to keep your supply.

I made it a year but not without lots of tears. Find support, it really helps, if anything to cry or laugh about it together. The hormones are crazy. A radio commercial for fabric cleaner would probably trigger some tears. So glad that’s over!

A couple more friendly favorites: Kiinde Twist milk storage bags and reusable/washable breast pads.

I’ll update this as I remember more helpful insights that no one tells you about breastfeeding! So stay tuned 🙂

Influencing Societal Change…

I recently had the opportunity to hear a great influential, forward thinking speaker named Mr. Jeffrey Bucholtz, who strives to change societal thinking on gender roles which influences certain behaviors.

I don’t think I can relay his message effectively without wanting to express my opinion so I will post his videos. I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions!!!

From We End Violence and Youtube:

Challenging Culture

Male Responsibility

Masculinity

His site: http://weendviolence.com/about_us_who_we_are.html

Bullying Starts Early

One day, I went to pick up my daughter from her Pre-Kindergarten class like usual. When I opened the door and saw her, she was not her normal, happy self. I could tell instantly that something was different and asked her right away what was wrong. She was unusually quiet and the teacher said she had a good day but it sure didn’t look like it. The teacher made some statement that she may be tired or hungry and I thought, that’s not normal for her, I’ll figure it out later.

As soon as we stepped out the door, she broke out into tears. Whoa! What just happened? I stopped, knelt down, and hugged her tight. I was overwhelming distraught by what could’ve happened and immediately asked her, what was wrong? What happened? She said “those girls” said my dress was ugly and they were being mean to me. OH WOW. WOW. I couldn’t believe it already started. I didn’t think I would be dealing with this at least until Kindergarten. I was so upset. I wanted to go back into that class, grab those girls, and spank them.

I was at a loss for what to do. I wanted to talk to the teacher but she just wanted to go home. So I held her for a few minutes and carried her. My head was spinning about what to do because I never really thought about it. I thought I had at least a year or so before I had to deal with that.

So now what do I do? Talk to the teacher? Talk to the parents? I definitely have to talk to the teacher. If I talk to the parents, that might get ugly, I decided to stay away from that especially considering how upset I was.

When we got home, I had a long talk with my then 4 year old. I realized that I could not protect her 24/7, which I knew but this was definitely a reality check. I had to teach her how to handle this on her own. I told her to stay away from those two girls. If they were around, walk away. If they tried to talk to her, just walk away. If they started to be mean, tell them to leave you alone or let them know they are being mean and you don’t like it and walk away. Ask to be moved if the get seated or lined up next to you. If they keep bothering you let the teacher know. I told her, find your friends and stay with them. Don’t let them bother you, you remember that mommy, daddy, sister, and grandma love you very much. People like that don’t deserve to be your friend and they don’t know what kind of friend they are missing. I told her to practice saying, stop, I don’t like it, you’re being mean or you’re not nice and I’m walking away.

I did tell the teacher that two girls were bothering my daughter if she could keep an eye out for any problems. Every day for several weeks, I checked in with Anna to see if anything had happened. She would tell me if she avoided the girls, if they tried to talk to her she communicated how mean they were and walked away, or if she just walked away. I was very proud of her, I can’t imagine how hard it was because she was very shy. She seemed to be okay but there were a couple instances when I would drop her off and she would let me know if one or both of the girls were around, I could see the anxiety on her face and in her voice. Talk about giving them the evil eye, I couldn’t help it. Ugh, it took everything not to pull those little girls aside and ask them what was wrong with them.

They eventually left her alone and stopped bothering her.

Ironically, awhile before this, I was told that my daughter was being mean to her cousin. Something about spitting in his food, I didn’t get the whole story, I don’t really know what happened but that’s what I was told by his mom who says she witnessed it. Oh man. This was hard to hear. I found it really hard to believe because she’s normally pretty well behaved, at least to my knowledge. I had to address it because it’s not okay. I had to ask why and remind her of the “golden rule”. Had this continued or become a consistent complaint, I would have to sit her down for a serious conversation. One that includes, encouraging her to communicate feelings, asking is there something she’s not telling me, that may be bothering her? What can I do to make things better? Luckily, I haven’t heard any other incidents since but that just could be that no one has said anything. I’m hoping that she understands that it is not okay to be mean or a bully.

As a parent, both situations are tough. It’s hard to imagine our kids being the bully and our kids getting bullied.

It’s hard to find that fine line between kids just being mean and actual bullying. So I think to myself that probably neither one of those behaviors should be tolerated and as an adult we have a responsibility to stop it. I don’t let my kids be mean and I talk to other kids being mean because they should be aware that it is not ok.

My husband also has zero tolerance for that behavior and will tell the child to take him to their parents.

The earlier we can catch bullying and mean behaviors, I hope kids learn and can teach each other along the way by vocalizing that it’s not ok. Guide with the Golden rule because it’s a really good guide to live by.

What is your experience and how did you handle mean or bully behavior? Please share!