Okay, here's the rest of my laundry list of stuff that is working. It wasn't going to do a laundry list - I had plans to write something vaguely meaningful, but clearly that didn't happen. So, ummmm..... did I really write a post about nail polish yesterday? Gosh, I really was tired. So what else is working around here?
Saturated fat, white sugar and refined flour
So much of parenting, for me, is about eating my words. Just as well, because some days that's all that does get eaten around here. l've blogged before about my children's terrible eating, and the one big thing that has changed recently is that we have started bribing them to eat their dinner, and then a few slices of apple, with the promise of cake afterwards. As Blue says: "Firsss apple, THEN CAKE!" Indeed, little man, indeed.
I don't object to cake - I love cake, and I want them to, too. But this is against everything I stand for, foodwise. I know I should probably take a chill pill, but I hate that we are convincing our children to eat one part of their meal by promising them another. I hate how it creates a dichotomy of good foods and bad foods. I hate how it isn't encouraging them to regulate their own food intake using their own appetites. I hate being the person who is sitting there saying 'two more big bites then you can have dessert!' Ugh.
But it's working, so for now we're doing it. And I have become the food bribing mother I swore never to be. I guess I am learning to enjoy the taste of humble pie.
Okay, what else?
Hair. Hair is working pretty well around here at the moment. I owe much to the lovely Amanda who taught me the secret of soaking their hair for half an hour in a mix of super-rich conditioner and coconut oil . We do this once a week in the bath now. Their hair soaks up the goodness while they play with their ducks and sing and I love, love what it has done for their curls. On a side note, why do I find it so impossible to photograph their curls? I only ever seem to do it either from the back, after styling, or just before I do their hair again, after a week of them playing in the dirt and smearing butter in it and all the other things that go along with being two. Here is Pink's hair just after hair time:
And here it is, a week later, just before hair time:
It never stops being gorgeous but it does get pretty crazy by day six sometimes.
As for what she's doing in this picture? She's doing 'beep-in-the-ear'. Because I take her temperature when she's not feeling well, and then give her medicine, she thinks it's the digital thermometer that makes her feel better. So when she's feeling unwell, now, or even just a bit sad, she looks at me forlornly and asks for beep-in-the-ear. I always say yes, because ehhhhh, what's not to say yes to?
Thinking of saying yes - or no - to the kids, here's another thing that's working:
1,2,3 Magic.... Sorta. I mean, it works as anything works with a two year old, you know? Here is my number one parenting epiphany lately - there's no way to stop a two year old being crazy. Not attachment parenting, not super-strict parenting, not any other kind of parenting. And by crazy, of course, I mean horrible. What I really like about 1,2,3 Magic - or any kind of similar plan - is that we have a plan in place for how we're going to deal with mental behaviour before it happens. They get a warning, then a second warning, and then they are in time out. No ifs no buts.
Yes, even if we are at the park. (C'mon, you would have taken that photo too). There is no chit-chat, no lecturing. Just one, two, three. (Talking comes later, once they have apologised, but not while they are in the middle of a screaming fit). I like it because this is pretty much the most complex strategy I can remember when they are pushing my buttons and I'm losing my mind. It's definitely not magic, but it's consistent and I think that's enough.
And speaking of losing my mind, here's another thing that's working:
Mood altering chemicals My comment about taking a chill pill, above, reminded me that hey, actually, I am taking chill pills! And they are definitely working. I'd say that facing my fears and asking for some medical help with how awful I was feeling last year was by far the most sensible thing I've done lately, maybe ever. I am so incredibly grateful.
Another thing I'm grateful for? It's mundane, but I love it:
My kitchen timer. Honestly, I love this thing. I don't know how I lived without it. I don't so much use it for cooking as for a cleaning aide. Thing is, I face a horrible room full of mess and I think 'Urrggghhhh, I cannot bear to clean this!' And then I think 'No, but I can bear to clean it for ten minutes' and then I set the timer and work hard until it beeps. With little kids, it always feels like the work to be done around the house is infinite. I never, ever ends. I don't want to surrender to the mess, but I don't want to be a slave to the cleaning, either - I find that frequent timed cleaning sessions are a good middle way. I work hard and then I stop. Unless I want to keep going, in which case I press the button again. Cutting all the work - especially in the kitchen - into manageable chunks is the most effective way I've found to deal with the house. Case in point:
My horrible, horrible kitchen one evening after I hadn't really cleaned it all day. I hadn't even emptied the dishwasher from the night before. Believe me, I wanted to walk away.
Ten minutes later, it was a lot better. If I had shut the dishwasher and left the room, it would still have been a big improvement. But another ten minutes really nailed it:
Kitchen timers - for benches so clean even a cat will sit on them. Hmmmmm.
The other kitchen thing I'm hugely into at the moment is:
Smoothies. I bought a serious blender and it's now competing with the magical hair dryer for favourite appliance - which is a big deal around here, people. Instead of trying to justify it with words:
Mango, Pineapple, Lime and Malibu smoothie. Oh yeah. I bought the beast for it's spinach-blending capabilities, and I do that too, honestly, but it's hard to beat anything with Malibu, right? Unless, of course, you're two. The children always want to drink a bit of whatever I've blended (actually, that's part of my long-term strategy with getting them to eat more than just pasta and cake) but I draw the line at Malibu. I do not, however, draw the line at:
Bottles of Milk. My kids still drink milk from a bottle every morning while I hold them (they're getting pretty big, as you can see. Also, please excuse the smug expression on my face this photo. I have no idea what was going through my head). We call it cuddlemilk. Well, J and I call it cuddlemilk and they call it 'cuggen-mook' because we are still working on their D's and L's.
Apparently some people think this is terrible, to still be bottle feeding at two and a half. Although, to be honest, I've never actually met a person who does think it's terrible, just people who think that other people think it's terrible. So, I'm not apologising. In any case, it's definitely one of the best parts of the day. They wake up (okay, actually they wake up long before this, but I finally admit that they have woken up and go into their room) and then we sit on a chair that we all snuggle into nicely and they drink and I talk to them and then maybe we read a book before the day starts. I love it and they love it, and when it's J's day to be at home, he loves it too.
I don't really know why some people are in a rush to make their kids give up bottles. What could be nicer than to cuddle my babies close and sing to them while they drink? You don't get that in the same way with a sippy cup. And what could be nicer, for them, than to lie down in their parent's arms and have a slow calm start to the morning? Rhetorical question, people, rhetorical question. Probably Disneyland would be nicer. But we are in no rush to stop the bottles here.
I was going to do a further point about toxic chemicals, but it's nearly midnight and what does not work very well is me staying up really late when I have to get up for work tomorrow. So, I think that's it. I write so much stuff about what is not working in my house - it's been really nice to see that actually, some things are.
(And - I can't wait to read everyone else's posts. I've been away from my computer a lot lately and have a lot to catch up on! I haven't even linked this one yet- tomorrow after work!)