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The Perfect Family Picture

I had such lofty ideas of getting a cutesy spring photo of my kids the other day on Easter. For once, I actually coordinated the outfits and was so over the moon that I needed to save the moment because this seriously may never happen again. I mean my oldest is almost 14 and too cool for everything. My almost 11 year old is not going to want to match her baby sister much longer. Also, do you know how hard it is to match an almost 11 year old to a 2 year old? It is almost impossible! In fact, I am pretty sure the sales clerk thought I was nuts! Okay, so maybe my desire to keep them cutesy and little is a bit much, but still I need this every once in a while! Sibling matching outfits! It’s the dream!

Well, the picture did not turn out as planned. My son just needs a pitchfork to look like that iconic farmer painting dude. And the girls…well, let’s just say that this was the best shot!

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Notice the blue tongue of my older daughter from too much candy consumption. Then there is Crankles who just keeps doing weird things with her hands. Their expressions! Oh my word. On the upside, it captures their personalities, and in the end, that is what matters. I do wonder if they would be embarrassed later if this picture would end up on the wall. Eh. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

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Fairy Garden Fun

I have what people call a brown thumb. This is problematic right now because our new house has several flower beds. I decided that since I am not really good with plants, I might do some other things in those gardens that don’t interfere with the plants that seem to grow on their own. Thank goodness they do that by themselves.

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I have been noticing Fairy Garden stuff everywhere…at Target, Home Depot, and even the dollar stores. Miss Crankles volunteered to be my partner in crime on this project, and she happily picked out pieces to start our project.

We decided that the fairies needed some houses, so we grabbed a few houses, and I am going to paint some more at ceramics class.

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To make it more interesting, I told her the fairies lived there. Then we set a fairy figure by the swing set so that he could push any fairies on the swing that may come upon our little garden.

We also thought they needed a place to sit, so we positioned a table and chairs. Then we placed another fairy there to await company.

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To finish the start of our fairy garden, we put a little bridge with a fairy to welcome others to our little fairy garden.

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The key to making this fun has been telling a story as we have been creating this garden. Miss Crankles is small, but she has a big imagination and loves being told how the fairies are going to visit the garden at night and stay in our little fairy houses and swing on our fairy swing. Adding whimsy to your life can make you feel like a kid too. Telling her the story and seeing her excitement makes me want to believe that maybe at night while I sleep, the fairies will play in the little garden we made.

What kinds of things do you do to spark imagination? I would love to hear your story in the comments below!

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The frustrations of Testing

By Delia, Contributing Writer

Sometimes I feel quite helpless as a parent.  Last night was one of those times.  My 10 year old daughter was melting down in a big way and everything I did seemed to make the situation worse.  It all started because I farted on her blanket.  Albeit not on purpose but I did not even realize that I was sitting on it.  Well I started laughing, not at her but at the situation, and she starting getting upset.  Well, things just escalated from there.

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photo by eslfuntaiwan (pixabay)

No matter what my husband and I said to her she seemed to start crying worse.  Now, these meltdowns have been going on for a little while and we have been seeing a therapist to try to help us help her.  So I try to pull out the bag of tricks that the therapist has suggested and nothing works.  She just continues to cry.

I had to insist on her going to her room to try to calm herself and she escalated more.  When she came down, she was somewhat calmer but escalated again.  She had herself so upset that everything that her father and I said just wound her right back up.  She was so upset that she could not fall asleep more than two hours later.  She finally fell asleep after 9 o’clock which is over an hour late.  I finally calmed her down by lying with her in bed with music playing.

While trying to put my little one to bed, I think I found out what part of the problem is…PSSAs.  My daughter puts entirely too much pressure on herself and does not like the testing environment.  She cried that she did not want to go to school today because she did not want to take the PSSAs.  If this continues during the rest of this week and the upcoming weeks of Math and Science PSSAs, I will definitely have to opt her out of PSSAs for next year.  She did not go through this last year but I guess there is more stress this year.

I can’t tell you how frustrated I was.  By the end of it I wanted to burst into tears with her.  I had to keep my cool though so that I could help her.  If your child is going through this, know that you are not alone.  If you feel helpless in trying to calm them down, know you are not alone.  I have sought help and am praying that things start to improve soon.  

 

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Why do all my kid’s Barbies live in a nudist colony?

Recently, Crankles has become obsessed with all things Barbie! Granted, some of this stems from Sissy having a large collection of them and Crankles wanting to be like Sissy. The large reason is because she recently began torturing us with Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. (Yes, I realize my first paragraph has probably caused some sanctimommies to spontaneously combust because I let my kids play Barbies and also because I admit that my kid watches too much of an animated show. It’s okay, let’s move on, shall we?)

As I was saying, Crankles likes Barbies. Actually, let me back up and say that she just likes playing dolls. She also likes to undress them. She has quite the imagination, and all the dolls go on grand adventures…naked. What is it with all the nude dolls?

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Photo by Erika Wittlieb (pixabay)

My older two did the same thing. In fact, I still find clothes belonging to dolls that my son has long since put away. I just don’t get it. I don’t remember my dolls ever belonging to a nudist colony. Actually, my Barbies were all pretty bad-ass warriors with elaborate plot lines. I kinda struggled playing Barbies with my friends, mainly because they could not follow my story lines. However, that is a story for another time.

It is not that she cares about their bits and pieces or anything like that. She just hates for them to wear clothes. I find myself searching for their outfits at night because my office is in our homeschool/toy room, and the first thing I see when I come into the room is a bin full of Barbie bums.

Still, it is kinda cool that she has elaborate story-lines for her dolls, and she is not even three. Her latest is that they like to perform magic shows. Maybe I should focus on that instead of the sea of naked dolls that has once again invaded my home.

So…how many of you have kids that do this too? How many of you dress the dolls at night when the kids are asleep? What kinds of weird things do your kids do? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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Letting my kid be a kid

I know it won’t be long before my ten-year old doesn’t want to play dress up or play with her toys. However, she re-discovered her favorite costume the other day, and I loved seeing her parade around the house in it. It is important to not make our kids grow up so fast. This time is so short. Please remember that play time and pretend time help your kids grow. They need this time to be creative. I know that, as parents, we are often caught in this rat race of trying to make our kid the best and the brightest. We put our kids in so many activities and exhaust their minds. However, sometimes, we need to take a step back from the rat race. We need to forget what society says. We need to let our kids pretend and play. We need to let them be creative. There is time for tests and studies, but creativity helps our kids become well-rounded human beings.

I love this time for my children. I know it is so short. I already have one that has pretty much put all his toys away. However, I am not eager to push for my kids to grow up. I want them to explore and play. It is such a small time!

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My little Harley Quinn

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Strike a pose

Toddlers crack me up! The other week, my husband got some new photography backdrops and was testing them out. Miss Crankles decided she needed to strike a pose!

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By the way, you should all ignore the fact that she is wearing her pajamas backwards because the kid is a known diaper digger. Just focus on the cuteness, like this!

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I honestly have no idea where she comes up with this stuff. Do I really make that face when I take pictures? Gosh, I hope not!

What kinds of crazy stuff have your kids been up to lately? As always, I would love to hear them in the comments below!

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What ADD Feels Like

by Delia (contributing writer)

The life of a parent with a child with ADD can be very challenging.  Let’s make this more challenging by adding the alphabet soup of diagnoses that I have and that just compound the problems.  Let’s start with just the fact that I have ADD myself.  Can we talk about the blind leading the blind here?  I can barely manage and cope with some of my own symptoms and I am supposed to be teaching and training this tiny little person to manage and cope with her own.  Sometimes I feel so incredibly overwhelmed by my own brain that I can’t even start to deal with the mini-crisis that is invading my daughter’s world today.  How am I supposed to listen to and help my child with her problems today when every noise that she makes, including her voice, is an assault on my sense of hearing?   I snap at her about being quiet.

I am in sensory overload.  I can’t stand the volume of my thoughts, let alone the volume of her voice.  I am not saying that I hear voices, but someone who truly has ADD, not the myriad of people who are getting over-diagnosed, knows what that feeling is like.  When the thoughts in your head are running so very quickly that at times it is like your own brain is shouting at you, it is difficult to tolerate external sound.  I have times where I sit in my house once my daughter has gone to bed and just turn everything off and have silence.

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photo by PublicDomainPictures

The unfortunate thing is that being ADD, I can never have true silence.  I noticed everything: the hum of the refrigerator, the noise the furnace makes when it kicks on, the sound of the wind against the house, the rustling of the guinea pig in his cage.  Anyone who has suffered with this aspect of ADD knows that your brain never shuts off; it is always on high alert.  I think that is why there is a higher prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among those with ADD/ADHD.  Many may be trying to numb themselves (shut off the brain), others may be trying to self-medicate (because of difficulty sleeping), and still others may have other reasons.

I want you to know that it is OK to feel like this.  I guarantee there are other parents out there going through the same thing.  It is not that we don’t love our children.  There are just times where our own idiosyncrasies make it difficult to be a parent.  We doubt ourselves all the time, second-guessing every decision.  We may snap at our kids- particularly when we are in sensory overload, but it is OK.  As long as you are open with your kids, they start to understand it; they don’t take it to heart.  I have had a conversation with my daughter about sometimes mommy loses her temper and it has to do with mommy and not with you.

I do know why God gave me this lovely little girl though.  I am the one person who can understand everything that she is going through.  Had she been born to parents without experience with ADD, she would have grown up very different.  She probably would not have gotten help so early.  She would not have such strong advocates in her corner.  I know what she is feeling and what I would have liked to help make things easier on me.  I can fight for her the way I wish my parents would have fought for me.