Category: family


Continuing the march towards Christmas with some more Creative Ideas from a bunch of you and the hope that you and your family or friends might find something new to experiment with or even take on as a new Christmas tradition: Continue reading

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Transracial Adoption pic

Adin and Rita with the beautiful Alou

This blog post is based on a status update I made recently on Facebook. I have adapted it for this blog. Thanks, Brett, for giving me a place to share my voice on this topic.

Over the years I have been quite active with blogging, sharing my colourful thoughts about everything from the opening act at the U2 concert to my opinion on Apple vs Android. However, since becoming an adoptive parent 3 years ago I slowly became less vocal. I am not 100% sure why, but I chalk it up to the fact that I have learnt that pointless and uneducated opinions simply clutter up the world. Continue reading

hands

I never fully realised what an impact one little girl could have on a community, just by being herself.

Adoption has always been on my heart. I can remember asking my parents, repeatedly, for years, for a baby sister for Christmas. Preferably adopted. It’s obviously something that I’m meant to be involved in. I got my baby sister when I was thirteen. And then a baby brother when I was nineteen. And there have been a string of safety placement babies through my parents house ever since. Continue reading

So this post by my friend Sean’s wife, Kirby, is a little bit different [was an eye-opener for me] as it differentiates between Tantrums and Meltdowns and i would love to hear some response to this from other parents who have maybe never thought about this before. She posted this under the title ‘Moment on Meltdowns’ on her blog ‘Niggles and Giggles’ which i have links to at the end, so go and see what else her and Sean have to say…
greathead

About 4 years ago we were driving to church and had to wait in some traffic to park (we went to a rather large church). In order to speed things up, I took my daughter out the car and walked into the church to an agreed meeting place. The problem was this place was busier than expected and noisy than I would have liked.

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This is a post that Belinda Mountain has generously allowed me to use. Make sure you click through to her blog ‘Making Mountains’ (out of molehills) which i link to at the end of this piece:

Pic of Belinda Mountain and family

Lessons in Humility

We’re back. And I wish I could say that I’m super relaxed from a lovely lazy holiday but actually my nerves are shot, my back muscles are all tensed up and my parenting chi is completely in tatters. Why? (you may ask). A 2-year-old that’s what. Let me begin my ‘Lessons in Humility’ story with the accompanying image..Lessons in Humility

That is Ben. A little boy sitting on a very big bench having a time out as he gazes over the hills of the Drakensberg.

Below him you will find some groups of adults attempting to play lawn bowls. One group was my family and another was a group of English tourists who probably didn’t imagine that they would be terrorised by a badly behaved two-year-old. They’ll head back to London and tell their friends that South African children are REALLY badly behaved. I cringe.

They are trying to have a civilised game of bowls and sip on a G&T but a tow-headed toddler in a blue shirt keeps stealing the little white ball or moving their black balls or getting in the way when they are trying to throw. He does NOT want to play with the spare set of bowling balls given to him specifically for this purpose. No, he wants to play with the real thing obviously. And then he has a tantrum when his mother stops him. And another one. And another one. He lies on the field and kicks his little legs and screeches and rolls around until after the third time, he gets removed to a bench where he contemplates his behaviour, apologises (Sowee Marmy) and then proceeds to do it all. over. again.

But this doesn’t just happen on the bowls field. It happens on the croquet field and when some strangers are playing tennis and when a little girl is kicking her own ball on the lawn. And it doesn’t just happen with balls. It happens when another toddler plays with “his” Lego (not his at all, belonging to the resort) or when he can’t have cereal for dinner or when I try and pick him up on a walk to the waterfall.

I carry him thrashing in my arms through a crowded dining room full of strangers and feel all of my confidence that I have finally got the hang of this parenting lark crumble off into bits. I am completely humbled. Because my inability is on show for all to see, there is no hiding from it. I want to crawl under the table behind the table cloths and pretend he belongs to someone else.

But I don’t of course. I pick him up and rock him to and fro and whisper in his ear and try calm him down. I claim that he is mine and when an older (very well meaning) lady asks me “Shame, is he sick? Or tired?” I answer with honesty and say that No, he is just two and a little angry and frustrated at life.

It’s a phase! (all the books say). But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to question what I’m doing wrong here. I’m quite consistent with discipline but the ‘time out’ that worked so well for Rachel does not appear to be working one little bit. Ben will sit on that bench dutifully but does not appear unhappy about being admonished at all. In fact, he seems to view it as a bit of a game.

What’s comforting me is that he hasn’t been THAT badly behaved before. His tantrums are pretty limited when he’s at home and when he is going to school and is in his routine. He’s mostly a happy agreeable little guy who is loving and funny and behaves like a typical little boy I think. But there’s something about being on holiday, surrounded by lots of other kids, and having me at his beck and call (i.e not at work or away from him) that brings out the worst in him. His tantrums never appear in front of teachers or his nanny Norma or parents of his friends – they seem to be directed squarely at ME, his mother, and I feel like this is my fault.

I was humbled this weekend and embarrassed. Fellow parents are wonderfully understanding people but I’m quite a shy person and don’t like to cause a scene and my child put me SEVERELY out of my comfort zone these last two days.

I need to buy some books on this issue or do some research. You’ve given me some wonderful advice before on a previous post I wrote. But ignoring him doesn’t tend to work. And acknowledging the reason (I KNOW you want the balls but you can’t have them right now as the adults are using them) has not got us anywhere. This piece one of you sent me on letting the tantrum play out just feels too difficult in such a public space. Any other recommendations or techniques or tips? I really could do with some help.

love from the most incompetent parent ever (sob!)

xxx

Belinda

P.S. I forgot to mention that he also head butted me in the windpipe.

Belinda Mountain writes a (sort of) mommy blog (as she calls it) called Making Mountains which you can go and take a look at over here. If you benefitted from reading her story here at all, or just want to offer her an encouraging word, then please head on over there and leave a comment.

[For more stories of Parents dealing with Tantrums, click over here]

This is a piece that was shared with me by Leigh Geary but which originally was published on her blog, The Mom Diaries under the title, ‘The Terrible Twos: Am I being punished for all my sins?’

leigh

Lets talk about the terrible two’s shall we? Holy Moley! I think I’m about to lose my shit in a big way but lets face it that would just be teaching him that tantrums and inappropriate behavior are acceptable.

I forgot what its like to have a two-year old in the house who thinks he’s Lord Muck and that our lives revolve around his every wish and command. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been ordered around so much in my life. And I REALLY hate being told what to do. This is today’s conversation with my cute as a button two-year-old son as we were getting ready to leave the house:

He enters my bedroom looking very hard done by, because lets face it being two is a rollercoaster ride of eating, sleeping, playing, outings, treats, afternoon naps followed by more playing and eating. It’s tough.

“Mommy hold you” (in a moan that’s so dramatic you think there may be something sinister brewing)

“Mommy is just getting dressed bub then I will hold you, come let’s go to the gym. Go get your shoes and then we can go!”

“No mommy do it”

“Ok I will. Just let me finish putting my shoes on then I will get your shoes ok?”

“MOMMMY DO IT!!!!”

“Yes I will do it now”

“MOMMMMMMMMY DOOOOOOO IT!!!”

In a huff I go and get his shoes and as I reach for them in his cupboard the freak out escalates to disturbing levels:

“NO. NO. NO!!! I DO it!! I DO it!”

“You said three times you wanted me to get it babe” (how’s me trying to reason with a two-year old?)

“No I DO IT!”

“Fine, by all means do it yourself”

I stand back to allow him to do get the gumboots out and he begins the painfully long process of negotiating them onto his feet. Just as he is about to fall from, all the wiggling and winding, I reach out ever so gently just to offer him a hand. (I’ve been burnt in the past and have learnt my lesson)

“No I do it!! Brody do it! I do it by self, NOO HELPING!!!!!!!!!”

I stand back in a panic (a little afraid for my life too) and watch his will power and stubborn nature refusing to give in to the help that is only a hand reach away. I wonder who he got that from?

I try one last time to gently show him we can work together and he throws himself in a lump on the floor.

I have a gym class I would like to make and I will be damned if my two-year-old kid and his boots are the reason I’m late. So I walk back to my room to finish putting on my other shoe.

What followed can only be described as a meltdown of disturbing proportions when he followed me back in to the room, threw the boots at me and said ”MOMMY DO IT MOMMY HELP YOU!!!”

And so there we were back at square one. My worst place to be. Square one represents energy wasted and time you will never get back.

After what feels like the longest exercise of coercing him to work with me, we get the boot on!

And just like that, as thought nothing has happened he screams “I DID IT!”” And with a bounce in his step and enough giddy excitement to bring a circus to back to life, he marches off.

I on the hand, was left in the fetal position on the floor wondering if I even needed to go to the gym after all the effort it took to get through that.

I get that toddlers are in a very intense stage of self-assertion and independence but it can be tough on the rest of the family. It can be tough on the neighbours too.  It’s even harder knowing when you are allowed to be extra firm and tell them how its going be and when you need to encourage their independence and nurture their strong wills by letting them go through the process themselves.

This is what DR Betty Liebovich says about this time in a toddler’s life:

“Your toddler may show developing independence through eating, dressing, playing with toys, and drawing. Sometimes, your toddler will want to do these things without any help; other times, she will need your help with everything. With the uncertainty of whether help is needed or not comes frustration on your part and that of your toddler. This is when your toddler may resist and throw a tantrum”

Or the world may end in my case.

She goes on to say:

“Your toddler may resist any help from you, insisting that she can do a task on her own. However, she may then become frustrated because she is unable to complete the task, as s/he would like. The resistance to accept help is your toddler asserting her independence. In order to assert her own will your toddler may reject your own. Negotiating when to assist, when to hang back and when to anticipate opposition takes time and patience. Having some ideas of what to anticipate and how to negotiate independence may ease resistance and opposition”

I’m hoping to find some ways to diffuse these situations and learn how my little guy thinks, how he is wired. If you have any tips to share with me and other moms please feel free to comment below. Who knows maybe we can brainstorm another post together!

This mom needs all the help she can get!

Love,

Leigh xxx

[To read Belinda’s story of her two year old and a very public meltdown, click here]

wendy

For the past 3 weeks, Masi has really been struggling to go to sleep. And when I talk about Masi struggling, I don’t mean that he just lies in his bed and plays with his fingers and can’t doze off – I mean he jumps out of bed and slams the door repeatedly, he pulls the curtains down, he opens his cupboard and flings all his clothes around the floor, he jumps on his sister while she is trying to sleep, most of the time yelling and screaming and kicking, hitting and fighting us when we try and calm him down.

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