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Toddler Language Learning Fun

Lately, my littlest one actively tries to participate in homeschooling. Many times, I get out the Play Doh, felt books, or toddler games with her. A lot of times, I get the drawing supplies for her to use as well. However, my husband has been going through our vast collection of books and found our Polish-English toddler friendly board book dictionary. I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce her to Polish sounds.

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Through my own studies and experiences living abroad, I have had the opportunity to study four other languages other than English, Polish being one of them. I really want my children to learn at least one foreign language. Currently, my kids can say the word for “butt” in several languages, compliments of all of our exchange students. Thanks guys and gals! (I still love my exchange students, and they know my secret…which is that I curse in Polish and Serbo-Croatian in the car.) Through studies, I also know that children hear sounds in other languages that adults do not hear. It is one of the reasons why I have exposed my children to other languages at an early age. In fact, when I was in labor with Crankles, I played music by Darko Rundek. He is a Balkan singer, and I absolutely adore him.

The fun part about doing this too is that it helps me retain some of the languages I have studied over the years. Between my brain injury issues and lack of speaking, sometimes I get a bit rusty. Nonetheless, I would like to continue learning. I also want my kids to learn as well.

Board books with simple words in other languages and music from other countries is a great way to introduce your child to their first foreign language. It is also a great way to learn about the world around them. I strongly encourage it to all parents. You may even learn something too!

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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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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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The Importance of One on One time

Tomorrow (weather permitting), my big kids have theater practice for pretty much the whole day. This gives me and Crankles the perfect opportunity for Mommy and Kid Date! I do this with all my kids. I find some time and take them out for lunch or a movie. Sometimes we go shopping or go to the park. The important thing is that we are doing it together and without the others.

Crankles gets a lot of my time as she is little, but she does not get the one on one time with me unless we do things like this. She is little, and she is not much of a people person. She also hates shopping and being in public. Starbucks is our special place. We get a treat, and I sit and talk to her. I do not get out my phone, unless she wants me to take her picture. (If you do not believe me that she likes to have her picture taken, please see yesterday’s post.) She looks forward to it, and I love seeing her face light up when she sees scones! (If they do not have scones, cake pops and cookies are acceptable to her, but not banana bread.)

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For Sissy, we go window shopping. Sometimes we do movies together, like when Neverending Story hit the big screen last fall. With Bubby, he and I get to do some cooler things now that he is older. Last fall for one of our dates, we went to one of those haunted forest places. I think this summer, we will probably do paintball. Most of the time, we go to a diner. The important thing is to find something you can do together and have fun with it.

My kids look forward to these times, and I do too. These are the times where the kids open up more about their feelings and what is going on in their lives. Crankles does not do this so much yet, but she is little. It helps you continually bond with your kids and let them know they are special even when sometimes it does not seem like it when a million things are happening at home. As our kids get older, it is our chance to connect or re-connect, to be completely focused on them.

I know life gets busy, and sometimes it is hard to fit everything into it. However, this is one thing that if you can fit just one a month with each kid, you will be glad you did.

What do you like to do with your kids for one on one time? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

 

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When Mama Needs to Re-Fuel

Right now, I feel I am running on fumes. I have things to do. I have things I WANT to do, and I feel I am sitting in a parked car that has run out of gas.

This year, I have really tried to get my shit together. I write things on my calendar. I then put the same things in my smartphone calendar. I have a schedule for the kids for homeschool. I have a sign in/sign out sheet for them for their independent work. I have a set time when I would like to work because I run two blogs, and I have so much I want to say and do with them both. However, life keeps getting in the way.

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photo by PublicDomainPictures

The kids seem to bring every single germ home with them. I haven’t had the kids this sick since pre-school. In fact, I thought this was one of the perks to homeschool. However, we have had EVERYTHING come through this house. I kept getting sinus/respiratory illnesses all fall. I have been doing better with that since I started taking all my allergy meds again. However, I have also been having TBI issues lately too, and it is really stressing me out. TBI stands for Traumatic Brain Injury for those who are not familiar with the term.

For me, right now, I have a couple good days and then a couple bad ones. I am getting new doctors in order, which is stressful in itself because I want to make sure I am the right ones. I had a bad experience with a neurologist after my relapse, and I want to find someone who can help and not just throw meds at me.

My family is still trying to re-adjust to my husband going back to being an oilfield geologist again. He is home more with this company, but when he is, there is always so much to do.

I find myself saying no more these days, which I hate to do. However, when we are running on fumes, we really should be taking better care of ourselves instead of adding more to our plates. I hate being reminded of that. I just feel so overwhelmed some days, and I don’t know how to re-fuel right now.

For the moment, a lot of the things I really want to do are taking a backseat so I can focus on the kids, my health, and the adjustments to our family dynamic. I keep trying to remind myself that it is only temporary. However, with the issues I have had since my TBI relapse a year and a half ago, I feel sick of telling myself that. I am trying to focus on healthy diet and sleeping more. I am hoping it will help me get more energy and have more good days.

However, some days, like today, I am really feeling the burn out. My youngest awoke early this morning with a fever and has been clingy all day. My older two have decided that chores are for chumps and have not been doing them most of the week, and well at some point tonight, Mama lost her shit. My husband called to find me bawling into the phone. It was not pretty, but it is what happened. It is what happens when we are running on empty. It is what happens when we are stressed and need a reprieve. It is real life. As a mom, you will find that you need to find ways to make time for yourself and that you will get frustrated with your kids. You will lose your shit and probably on a regular basis. Then you need to find a way to re-fuel. Better yet, it is best if you find a way to get back on track before you lose your shit. However, that does not always happen.

For me, writing is my best outlet. I actually feel better now that I have been writing this. Also, I will be taking a nice warm bath before bed tonight. I will most likely take it easy and try to clear most things from my calendar tomorrow that are not critical so that I can breathe easy once more.

None of us are perfect, and we all end up running on empty or losing our shit now and then. However, it is imperative to find ways to get back on track, to make us happy, to find balance, to move forward. Motherhood is not easy, and we are all doing the best we can. If you find yourself running on empty, having a bad day, or losing it, just know you are only human. What are ways you try to fill your tank again when you are running low?

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It’s the little things…

This week I celebrated a birthday. We are supposed to celebrate it later this week as my husband was just getting done with his hitch on this day. To tell you the truth, I was a little bummed. My birthday is two weeks and one day after Christmas and often gets overlooked and sometimes forgotten because of the holiday season. I say that I am okay with it because I am used to it, but honestly, it would be nice to be treated like a princess on my special day. That is why I felt my heart swell when I came home from running errands and taking Sissy to dance to see my son made this for me for my special day!

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My son has never really made a cake, and yet it did not stop him from making me a devil’s food chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. My son is a superstar and really made me feel like it really was my day. Also, for his first try, it was very yummy!

It does not take grand gestures to let someone know they are important or loved. It is the little things, like baking a cake, that make all the difference.

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Good Goals for the New Year

by Delia (Contributing Writer)

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Every year, I jumped on the bandwagon of setting a New Year’s resolution.  This year instead of making a resolution, I made a list of goals.  Things I want to accomplish, but not really resolutions.  Resolutions are things that tend to be stuck to strictly within the first few weeks of the year and then when we screw up and “fail” we give up entirely.  We often backslide even farther than where we started.  I am starting with this list of goals for the New Year.

 

  1. Listen more/talk less:  I want to work on my listening skills.  I too frequently listen to respond rather than listening to truly understand.  This is going to take some work.

  2. Communicate with friends and family more:  Call them, and send encouraging notes, birthday cards, and anniversary cards.  Visit my parents more, ask questions, learn more about their lives.

  3. Use my free time more effectively:  knit, paint, make handmade gifts for Christmas.  I waste so much time  at the end of the day just watching TV

  4. Write more: I have ideas for books I want to write and  I want to keep writing for this blog

  5. Learn to say no:  I say yes to helping with too many things.  I always think that no one else is going to do it.  Sometimes, I think people just expect me to step up and do things so they don’t volunteer.  At some point I need to step back and let others take their turn.  I need to keep my sanity which is difficult sometimes

  6. Get more exercise:  Even if it is just more steps during the day, I am going to focus on being more active and taking care of me.  I need to lose weight, but I don’t want to be concentrated on the negative of weight loss.  I would rather look toward improving my health through increased activity.  If that results in weight loss…great.  If not, that is fine too.


I am reaching out to friends to have them help me be more accountable to my goals.  I am going to be gentle with myself.  If I slide with one of my goals, I will just allow myself to move on and try again.  Women in particular need to stop beating themselves up for not being successful when we try something.  When we slip, we just need to give ourselves another chance.  Let’s make a vow to just keep trying this year.  It doesn’t matter how many times we fall down; it matters how many times we get back up.