Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

Picnic at The Park May 20, 2008

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 9:52 pm
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Took the kids to the park yesterday, and we met some friends there for a little picnic.

It was REALLY good to get out, as the first few hours of the morning were…not so good. You know it’s gonna be a rough day when your kid wakes up at 4 am and you don’t get to go back to bed. Ah, motherhood.

Once I got to the Mautz’s, the kids just seemed to be getting into everything, pushing each other’s buttons, etc. I didn’t have much patience and handled things pretty badly. So, fresh air and fun with friends was very good for all of us.

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(Andrew really wanted a bite of Jonas’ cookie)!

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(Watching an ant make its way across the blanket).

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The First "Jonas Friday" February 22, 2008

Filed under: Jonas Fridays — katieosborne @ 10:30 pm
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My friend Erin keeps a calendar and at the end of each week, she jots down one thing her kids did that she wants to remember. I think that is such a great idea. So, I’ve decided to do the same with my blog. Each Friday I’ll record a little Jonas tidbit.

I’m having trouble coming up with a catchy title, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

For now, I’ll just call it JONAS FRIDAY. Creative, I know.

So, our little guy has been gaining communication skills at an incredible speed these days. He’s saying new words every day, but the thing that is so sweet is the way he has started taking us by the hand to show us what he wants. Today, he was asking for Elmo (his biggest obsession of the last few months), and I said, “No Elmo right now,” and he took my hand, led me over to the entertainment center, and put my hand on the doorknob. “Elmo? Elmo?”

We put some music on and danced instead.

 

Taking February 19, 2008

Filed under: Parenting — katieosborne @ 5:50 pm
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I’ve been musing about what the best course of action is when Jonas has something in his hands that he shouldn’t have. Sometimes, if I tell him to give it to me, he will, especially if I trade him for something else. Oftentimes however, he doesn’t want to give it up, and I resort to pulling it out of his hands, and saying “This is mamas.”

Now, I’m wondering whether this approach encourages the “mine” mentality so common in toddlers. I think that toy taking and such is an unavoidable part of development and a teaching opportunity, but does how we approach children when they have a forbidden object reinforce this unattractive behavior?

It makes sense to me. From Jonas’ perspective: he is holding something that I want, something that is mine, and because it is mine, I have the right to take it by force. Isn’t that just what toddlers do, especially when someone else is playing with their toys? They feel they have a right to take it because it belongs to them.

I haven’t seen this much with Jonas yet. ‘Mostly, he just gets a little upset and points when someone has a toy he wants. But I get the toy-snatching “MINE!” response from Jonathan and Ella all the time.

So, I don’t know, can we greatly shape our children’s’ ability to share and take turns by the way we remove things from their possession?

I think so.

That doesn’t give me an answer to how to better approach such situations, but it gives me one more thing to think about.

 

Failing Jonathan February 7, 2008

Filed under: Parenting — katieosborne @ 8:43 pm
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I’m at a real loss. My relationship with Jonathan, whom I have watched a few days a week for the last two years, is completely deteriorating. It’s been a slow process over the last half year or so.

At first, I thought it was just the trials of caring for a three year old. I understand that it’s an age for boundary testing and increased independence, and I have been handling the challenges to my authority fairly well. The other issue has been that he gets upset when Jonas or Ella get in his way or mess up what he is playing with. Again, a typical three year old thing, and I have been just trying to encourage him to ask me for help when he needs it instead of lashing out at them.

Lately, though, he has been completely out of control. I guess the turn came after Christmas, and it’s slowly gotten worse and worse. The last two weeks have been HORRIBLE. It’s sad, but I dread getting up in the morning, knowing that there is a whole day of battling ahead.

He is continually pushing and hitting the babies. It usually doesn’t begin maliciously. He has been so hyper lately, and he just can’t control himself. He plays too rough; he acts without thinking; he yells. And he doesn’t stop when I tell him to.

I am actually wondering if a lot of his problems may be diet related. There is hardly anything in their home I see fit to feed Jonas. Eggs and bananas. That’s about it. The pantry is full of convenience snack that are loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, etc. His poor little body is full of all these poisons.

I’m not sure how to broach the subject of diet with his mom, though. I think it might appear judgmental, and I don’t want to offend. But at the same time, I want to help Jonathan act better. I guess I’ll just start by talking to her about what has been going on and leave diet out of it for the time being.

I firmly believe that kids who feel good, act good. Not perfect, mind you, but they don’t act “naughty.”  I think it’s Dr. Sears who says that. I know Jonathan must be feeling pretty bad about himself.

Whenever I need to correct him, he bristles immediately. His eyes become angry, he snarls. This is all before I say a word. I try to always use gentle guidance and correction. I admit, I fall short all the time. I am not as patient and kind as a mom or a caregiver as I strive to be. But I usually do a pretty good job of keeping my cool and not being outwardly angry. I try so hard to approach him in a way that will not escalate the situation.

Yet, he grows defensive and belligerent immediately. He pushes, hits, spits, tells me he doesn’t like me (to which I say “well, I like you, and I will always like you no matter what”), tries to run away, etc. He almost never obeys me, no matter how simple and benign the request.

I feel completely powerless.

And now this week, I have begun feeling really angry, and I’m not doing a very good job of hiding it. I’ve yelled at Jonathan twice. Today he pushed Jonas to the ground because he didn’t want to do what I asked. He was in the corner, and after he pushed Jonas, he grabbed the base of the lamp and banged it into the wall. It wasn’t really this single episode that caused me to lose it. It’s just all the little (and big) episodes throughout the day that keep piling up. Anyway, I shouldn’t make excuses. I yelled, and I picked him up forcefully and sat him down in the chair.

I feel like CRAP. This is not how I want to be. It’s unproductive, and it just further undermines my relationship with him. Yet I find myself in this place. I’m frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m having any kind of impact on him, no matter how I try. I’m indignant about how he treats everyone, from the youngest to myself. He has no respect for me at all, and he used to absolutely adore me. He really did. I don’t understand what happened. And now, I find myself just feeling very angry and barely even caring anymore whether I keep it in check or not.

And to make matters worse, today I cried. I cried in front of him. He was eating graham crackers at my house and kept rubbing them together and crumbling them, and I asked him a couple times to stop because he was making a mess. Finally, he looked right at me, and crushed them in his hands, and then he ran away. I feel abused. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I do. He looks at me like he could care less.

I feel like I am failing him, but I don’t know what to do to make things better. I don’t know how he is with his parents, but I know it is not just me. Michelle also watches the kids, and she is facing the same challenges. I guess it gives me some consolation knowing that it’s not just me, but it doesn’t change things, and it doesn’t shed any light on the situation.

I feel like giving up right now.

 

Children Will Listen January 30, 2008

Filed under: Parenting — katieosborne @ 4:16 pm
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Since my last post, I have had this song from Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods running through my head, and I wanted to share it here:

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
And learn.
Children may not obey,
But children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.
Careful before you say,
Listen to me.
Children will listen.

Careful the wish you make,
Wishes are children.
Careful the path they take,
Wishes come true,
Not free.
Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you…
Careful the tale you tell.
That is the spell.
Children will listen…

What an awesome responsibility we have as parents! God entrusts us, flawed as we are, with these innocent, precious people, who’s destiny is largely in our hands. Our choices, good and bad, mold them.

I don’t think adults give children enough credit. We don’t believe they take in as much as they do. We think we can get away with saying and doing (or not doing) things that we wouldn’t say and do to adults. Something as small as not giving our full attention is not lost on children. Our choices, even little things we often don’t even think about, are huge. Because parenting is constant and often mundane, it is easy to get lazy; it is easy to take for granted how much our actions and words impact these little ones. It’s my goal to be more mindful and present when caring for Jonas, as well as Grace, Jonathan, and Ella, whom I watch a few days a week.