Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Teaching and Healing- hand in hand.

Riley yesterday at breakfast...
Me: Riley do you want oatmeal or toast for breakfast?
Riley: cake.

We've been telling her she's going to be TWO next month and it will be her birthday. And she's all excited about it- well mainly the cake :0) We have a Sesame Street puzzle (.25 at a yardsale :0) with all her favorites (minus elmo, it's an old puzzle) and it's some one's Birthday and there is a giant cake- she carries around pieces of the cake going "num num nummmm. It's wummy" (well that was a couple weeks ago, I've hidden the puzzle - tired of picking it or putting it together with her 7 times a day).

Riley's doing better and and better every week lately. I think part of it is that the 18mos disequelibrium (sp?) is starting to balance out again. Another part is that she's starting to feel "normal" again since Amity Joy was born. I am putting a Christmas project together for our families...We're making a calender of the year on shutterfly and giving it to Ryan's family and one to my Mom. I was putting the collage together from August and September, Riley has grown so much...I was remembering that time- just 3 fast months ago and it's like we live in a different world now! I think she's through the biggest stage of grief- I hope.

Not to rant on and on about RJ in this post- but I'm so proud of her! She's been getting so good at using her "feeling words". She says "I sed" when she's crying. And when she's happy she shouts, "HAPPY!"...She also shares that she's "cited", "angy", and some times she tries to say frustrated ("fustated"- fuss part sounds about right!)... There was one feeling word she was using a LOT and I just couldn't understand it. TWO weeks of being in the dark on this word- it just seemed so random.

Yesterday morning we were getting dressed before breakfast. And RJ wanted to go be with Daddy while he got ready for work in the bathroom. I told her "Sorry, you can't right now. We get dressed before breakfast and that's our job right now." She didn't melt down or any thing but she started saying "puunted....sniffle....I puuunted". I felt so bad, I couldn't understand what she was saying.

After breakfast we do the dishes together. Riley "helps" by standing at the counter with 3 tiny tubberware cups, two 2cup measuring cups- and I give her a few tablespoons of water to dump from cup to cup. She has a BLAST!!!! But the rule is, you dump it on the floor I give you 1 reminder (she is little and forgets easily) you dump it again you get down...I'll give her a few refills (spills happen, and she likes to drink the warm water) but if it seems like she's getting bored and going to make a mess she gets down. Well she dumped twice and I said "uh-oh, you dumped the the water on the floor! It has to stay in the cups, time to get down."
And again she got sooo sad and said "I puuunted. I puuunted".

Disappointed! She means disappointed! I can't believe she has learned to recognize that emotion! I reflect with "Oh I'm sorry, it's hard when you can't do some thing you want, you're disappointed" but - she's not even two yet!

I love how this works. I hope she can always name her emotion to me. I am learning so much, and making a concious effort to name out loud the feelings I'm feeling. When she's whining or Amity is fussy I say "I'm frustrated with this situation, what can I do?" if I feel angry I say "I'm Angry" and if I'm really angry I run in place stomping my feet to get it out- which Riley usually finds funny. It's helping me...Which leads me to this article For Parents: Healing Yourself I found it practical in keeping some things in front of me when I'm having a hard time.

Also I would like to read "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves" (it's advertised at the bottom of that page)... It sounds interesting. I found the most awesome quote from a Mom on GCM and I copied and pasted it to hang on my fridge but I'll put it up here:

God does give us our children for a purpose... it is to help US grow up spiritually. Easy, compliant children who always obey and never do anything wrong do absolutely zero to help US develop the fruit of the spirit in our own lives. You don't have to be patient if your child is always instantly obedient, you don't have to be long-suffering if they always listen, you don't have to work hard to be kind and gentle if they don't ever push your buttons. It is easy to have "joy" and "peace" when there are no challenges... but God wants us to grow up to the point that we can have all these things even when we are faced with challenging people in our lives. If a child who doesn't always listen can destroy all these fruits in your life, then they weren't very well developed to begin with. As the adult in the equation, God is much more concerned about how WE behave towards our children than how THEY behave for us. Children are not given to us for us to perfect, they are given to us to perfect US.
Also this (talking to a Mother who was concerned about her sons "defiance" when it came to going to get weekly shots- he'd run and hide in the doctors office bathroom) ...
If you miss this, if you dismiss his feelings and punish him for being afraid, you are missing your purpose as a parent. God didn't put your son in your care so you could turn him into a perfectly obedient person, he put him there for you to develop a relationship with him that will mirror your relationship with God Himself. God is not impressed if your child is always perfectly compliant or never talks back... he IS concerned when one of his children is hurting or afraid and the person in charge of his care does not respond the way God himself would. We are supposed to be God's representatives, acting for God in his place, doing what we believe God would do if he were here in the flesh. There is never a time that we are afraid or hurt that God tells US to just "suck it up and deal with it". He calls himself the "God of all COMFORT". The Bible is full of references to how attentive God is to our cries. This is supposed to be our pattern as parents. This was a very hard lesson for me to learn, because it went against the way I was raised. I was taught that the main focus of parenting was to create well-behaved, respectful children who would then grow up into good, Christian adults. A child who was "defiant" meant I must not be doing my job right. I was so focused on making sure the outside was correct that I completely overlooked what was going on on the inside... just like my parents did. Our lives here are not supposed to be 70 years of doing everything right... they are supposed to be 70 years of building and maintaining relationships.

-by arymanth (don't know her real name :0/ ) - Mother of 7 children!

Reading that "Aha! Parenting" site makes me SO glad I found GCM first... GCM doesn't sound quuuite so erm... what's the word? Physchologically mumbojumbo-y. GCM makes gentle and Grace Based discipline seem so much more PRACTICAL. I can't say how much God has used GCM in my life, how much I am learning from the wise experienced Christian Mom's on that site.

I'm going to close in a moment, but I just want to say how nice it is to be writing again. For months and months I didn't have any thing to say... I've been internalizing and trying to figure a lot of stuff out and in the past week every thing has just been exploding and I want to write it out...I want to write again...Finding the time is hard though... Have RIley parked in front of hte TV eating her breakfast at the moment, really need to run and move the cars and get this day started.

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