Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Teach Your Child to Not Interrupt

We've all experienced being in a heavy conversation only to be interrupted by a demanding child. That child is your responsibility and you must tend to his every need. Shouldn't you see what he wants? Maybe something terrible has happened. Besides, the more you ignore him the louder he gets so you have to find out what your precious son is carrying on about. His well-being is the most important thing in the world to you, right?

Well..... your response to The Interrupter depends on your parenting style. You'll either respond reactively by stopping your conversation to answer him, or you'll think proactively by remembering that your response today will determine how he approaches you next time.

The Interrupter will never learn on his own how to get your attention properly and respectfully. He must be taught. That is why clearly stating the rules ahead of time, such as before you meet up with friends, will give you the leverage to teach self-controlled behavior.

You say to little Alice, "Sweetie, Mama is going to talk with Mrs. 
Jones for a little while and you must play quietly. If you need something then you give me a signal or quietly wait until there is a pause in our conversation and I can stop and see what you need. Only interrupt when someone is hurt."

When Alice comes up to you, loudly demanding your attention, you lift up your forefinger in the "one moment" position, and finish your sentence. Don't even give her eye contact. Don't tell her to wait. Your signal should be enough. She should wait next to you quietly. Then when the time is right you can bend down, praise her for waiting so quietly, and then tend to her need.  

If she breaks the rule and continues to carry on, then excuse yourself and take Alice aside to be reminded again of the rule. If a time out is necessary then give her a time out, telling her to think about that rule and how she should behave next time. After a couple minutes, ask, "What did you think about?' She must recite the rule and how she should behave before she is allowed to get up from time out. Go back to your conversation and have her wait again for just a short while, to ask her your question. She'll learn!

Proactive parenting is hard work but so worth the effort! You'll raise well-mannered adults who will do the same with their children. Remember you are training future generations! Don't expect schools to do it. Don't expect your church to do it. Don't expect grandparents to do it. Don't expect neighbors or friends to do it. You You You are the one who is to train your own child.

Read more about teaching children respect from an earlier post here.

And now for a fashion tip...
I recently bought a new pair of shoes that turned out to bother my heels. Easy peasy solution - I cut out a piece of fabric from an old fuzzy sock and placed it inside the shoe. Ahhhh. So much better!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bringing Up Bebe Book Review

Lots of young families are reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. My own daughter, who is about to give birth in a week, has read it and spoke highly of it. I decided to read it myself and offer a review.

Pamela Druckerman is an American journalist, married with 3 children, living in Paris. She began to notice how different French children were than her own kids. When she and her hubby were in a French restaurant, wanting to enjoy its gourmet food, they found themselves gobbling it down to get out of there because their daughter was carrying on, making a mess, complaining loudly about the taste. As they dashed out the door, she noticed the French children sitting quietly with their parents, eating the strange mix of vegetables and French flavors.

Next, she learned French babies sleep through night practically from the get go. How do they pull THAT off? And when she would take her kids to the playground she noticed French moms dressed to the nines, sitting on the park benches chatting with their friends while she was on her kids' heels supervising their every move.

As a journalist she did an excellent job researching, interviewing, and observing everything she could on the differences in American and French parenting styles. It is a fascinating read. Here are some of her conclusions:
* French parents make use of The Pause with their newborns. They don't rush in to pick up their baby for at least five minutes. Soon the baby learns to settle herself and by four months she is sleeping through the night.
* When the baby is about six months and it's time to introduce solids, French parents don't start with rice cereal. They start with spinach and squash, introducing new flavors each day. When they reach school age, the menu always includes three courses - usually a vegetable starter (such as shredded carrots with vinaigrette dressing), then the main meal (such as pork tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes), and then a dessert, which is always some kind of fruit. Food is an essential to the culture.
* French parents give their children lots of time to "awaken" or "discover". Children are not pushed into too much stimulation. They don't give their toddlers swimming lessons nor their preschoolers reading lessons. Instead, instruction is limited to mastering the oral language, and opportunities are offered for children to explore and discover.
* French mothers are of the philosophy that children are not going to define them. They quickly get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, dress fashionably so as to still turn their husbands' heads. They enjoy visiting with friends and don't let the children's schedules interfere. Children learn to entertain themselves.

Now here are my thoughts on French parenting. There is so much here that would be very beneficial to implement, such as helping your baby sleep through the night as well as raising eaters who aren't picky. But as far as refraining from over-stimulating young children I would say there needs to be a balance (somewhere between Bringing Up Bebe and Tiger Mother). Children must be supervised on the playground and mothers should not be distracted by long and involved conversations with other moms. And while giving children opportunities to "discover" and "awaken"  are important, I think early education helps keep America on the global scene.

A big piece of parenting is about relationship. At the end of the day we don't want to be tiger mothers who beat perfection into our kids, nor do we want to be so calm and uninvolved that we don't have a relationship with our kids (the author notes that the French are known for being the most unfriendly nation in the world). But somewhere in between we can stimulate our children and make learning fun thereby raising kids who love to communicate and simply enjoy being with their family. With that thought in mind, I highly recommend reading this book.

And now for a refashion...

Here is a new twist on a necklace. It is made from strips cut from old T-shirts.

And here's how I did it...

First cut off the bottom hem, and then cut off several strips, going through both layers at once. 

 I wanted a little green to add to the mix so I did the same with a green T-shirt.

Next I stretched the strips which naturally curled up and became almost string-like.

And now for the fun part. Add beads (I used ones with wide holes so I could get the thick T-strips through).

Put them together and then wrap them with another strip of tee.

And there you have it! I made 2 of them - one with a little green (see above) and this all white one:


Friday, September 2, 2016

Ten Cheap Dates With Your Spouse

You date. You court. You get married. You date some more. Then you have kids.
You're too exhausted to go out, and too poor to pay a babysitter let alone dinner and a movie.
Your spouse needs your undivided attention. You know how critical time together is - time to talk, time to enjoy each other, time to dream.
Here are some ideas to get you going. None of these cost much, but all of them give your marriage the opportunity to become richer as a couple and more united as parents.

1.  A hospital cafeteria has cheap but delicious food. May be an unconventional date spot but you can't beat the price.
2.  When the kids go down to bed, one of you go pick up dessert-to-go at a nearby restaurant and bring it home to eat together.
3. Popcorn, hot-chocolate, and a late-night movie from Netflix.
4. An ongoing Monopoly game. Start it in the evening when the kids are in bed and play until bedtime. Put it up and out of sight until the next available evening to continue. The loser makes cake.
5. A walk, or hike in the woods.

6. After dinner tea. Send the kids into the next room to play quietly after dinner while you and hubby sip tea for 30 minutes to talk about the day.
7. Build a fire outside and roast marshmallows. Bring out the instruments and sing together.
8. Lay down a blanket in the backyard with all the lights turned off. Lay down together and look up. Can you find and name the constellations?
9. Go to a museum, or your town's First Friday art trail.
10. Borrow a couple kayaks and paddle down a local stream.

Send me more suggestions!

And now for a refashioning...

Here is a T-shirt refashioned into a fun stylish shirt:

 First, I cut slits on both sides of the neckline. I used a ruler to measure how far down the slits would go so they would be even on both sides.

Next, I cut out every other strip and then gathered the slits together, securing them with vintage baby buttons from my collection so give it a criss-cross effect.

Here's the whole pic:

Enjoy. Blessings!