Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nanny 911

I'm currently reading the Nanny 911 book. We caught an episode of the show when we were on vacation in Victoria a few weeks ago, and it reminded me how those women just seem like miracle workers when it comes to "fixing" families that seem so dysfunctional. I figured they'd probably have some good suggestions to offer for families that, while not that dysfunctional, still have challenges when it comes to child rearing and discipline.

Rachel is extremely bullheaded. She's strong-willed and, when she gets it into her head that a certain thing is happening, she can really flip out when told that it's not going to go down that way. Even when it's something simple like a snack choice or wanting to watch something else on TV, she can have a hard time when she has to change gears from what she has set her mind on. I think that sometimes it's anger over being told no, but I think more often it's frustration with goals that are being thwarted, or that the process of changing gears can be difficult for her.

I've only seen a few episodes of Nanny 911 since watching bratty children and poor parenting isn't something I've wanted to sit through often, even if there's a wonderful transformation that takes place. I've thought before that we could probably pick up some good tips if we watched more often. But I'm getting quite a lot of good information from reading through their book. I don't think they're saying anything earth-shattering, but it's pulling all the commonsense suggestions into one place and one system that I think is so brilliant.

Their childraising method largely depends on communication - the parents talking openly with one another, and the parents learning how to effectively talk with their children. I think we're pretty good communicators with one another, and much of the time with Rachel, but I know that we could always use advice on how to better connect with Rachel so that she's feeling heard and she's also sincerely listening to what we have to say. Half of the battle with her is getting her to hear something when we say it, rather than just tuning us out or saying yes then ignoring what we've asked (or never really hearing it, despite responding as if she had).

The other half is how we respond to her when she's getting herself worked up and becoming more and more disobedient. They have some good suggestions for how to bring things back down when a child is heading towards a tantrum or just being disobedient, and I've been employing some of them. One suggestion is getting down on a child's level to speak with them. It's much less intimidating to them, which makes it easier for them to listen and accept what you have to say, and it shows that you're really listening to them as well. Another is that, when your child is getting upset and raising their voice, you lower yours and keep it calm. You can whisper or speak in a low volume. Most kids will respond by quieting down so that they can hear you. If they're not able to calm down at that point, you put them in their room and let them know you'd like to talk with them when they're ready.

As you can see, they probably aren't sharing anything that's brand-new on its own, but when you look at their game plan and how they put it into play, it really does make sense that it's something that would work for nearly all families. I'm looking forward to reading through the rest and coming up with our House Rules and clear-cut consequences for breaking them. I think Rachel and, later, Ben, will respond well to having an orderly system in place and clearly defined "this is how we do things" for our home.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Get Down

"Get down!" has become one of Ben's favorite things to say. Granted, his vocabulary is still fairly limited, but he definitely has a soft spot for the phrase. He usually says it when he's being held and he starts wiggling to get down and walk around. He also says it when he's done eating (sometimes in conjunction with "All done"), and when he's in his stroller and he'd rather be walking.

Yesterday we were in the car on the way to Office Depot to pick up some printer ink, when what do I hear from the back seat? "Get down! Get down! Get down!" I'd tell him "You can't get out of your car seat! You need to stay buckled in when we're driving somewhere." And then I'd again hear "Get down! Get down! Get down!" That was a first, and the funny thing was how insistent he was about wanting to be out of his car seat. Usually when he doesn't want to be in there, he fusses, so it was a nice change :)

Although he obviously does not get the concept of automobile safety.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


...is one of Ben's favorite phrases these days. Sometimes he says it when he has food in front of him that he doesn't want or if I'm holding him and he wants down, but his favorite time to use it is when he's picked up something or he's touching something that he knows he isn't supposed to.

Today he came into the kitchen carrying the DVD remote control. He stood there and waited a second or two until I looked at him and saw what he had and the mischievous look on his face. Then he turned and walked away toward the dining room, saying "NuhNuhNuhNuh" as he went.

Definitely going to have to keep my eye on this one!

Just a little late

Ack! We have so much we should be posting on here, and we're not. I'm going to try to post some of the stuff and get mostly caught up. It just feels like so many things are slipping through the cracks lately. It's hard to keep up with things with two kids. Makes me wonder if we're insane to be thinking of a future 3rd, but people manage to have more kids than that and do just fine. I'm sure we'll adjust if we add a third little Lamb one day.

Anyway, I had posted weeks ago about Ben's actual birthday and that we were having a party for him the following weekend. I had planned to post some photos from the party and completely forgot, so here are some of those photos:

Birthday boy enjoying some attention from his Grandma Jan and our friend Emily

Checking out sister Rachel's chair like a big boy

His cake was made by me - ignore the uneven sides, please.

Unlike his sister Rachel, Ben needed no persuading in order to dive into his cake. As you can see from the tiny pieces left on his tray, he dug in with gusto! This is a boy who likes chocolate.

It was hard to get Ben to settle down anywhere long enough to even sort of open a gift or two. This is one of the few things that caught his attention, a Slide 'n Learn storybook with Winnie the Pooh and friends, from his Uncle Jeff and Aunt Hillary (and baby cousin Andrew).

Here we are at the end of the party, looking and feeling wiped out, but happy. I think everyone had a good time, although I was racing around like a crazed woman trying to get things done in time for the party to start. My time management skills (or properly estimating how long things actually take) are something I'd really like to improve!

This first year has gone so quickly. I can only imagine how fast year 2 is going to go by - not to mention Rachel's Kindergarten year, which is rapidly approaching and will probably be here before I'm truly ready for it. No matter how long the summer may feel.