Listen and you shall receive…

a star!

Ask” checked back in to see if I had listened to their advice. They awarded me a star for the changes I made to my template and the attitude I took towards my review. I appreciate the fact that they checked back.
As for my response to their review…there was no way I was going to submit my blog to a website widely known for tearing bloggers a new one, and then whine about what they said about me. If I wanted gentle and kind I would have submitted my blog to ‘I will inoffensively comment on your writing and template style while taking your feelings into account’.com. Where is the thrill in a site like that? I had hoped they would like me, and their review did piss me off, but I wasn’t about to whine about it.

I needed a new template. I have been working on a WP template for months now, but was scared to try to learn a new blogging tool. Blogger was the devil I knew. It wasn’t until ‘Ask’ smacked me upside the bottom that I finally stopped dragging my feet and jumped in the deep end. I am glad I did. I have so many more options to play with, and more places to put the things I want to share with the you. I am no longer forced to shove all my stuff onto one page.

So I would like to thank Queen Mutha for pointing out the obvious; my previous template was seizure inducing. I am glad she appreciates the new one as much as I do.

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Transitions…

I have started the job search process so my family can move back to Denver. We are not thriving here on the East Coast, so far away from the bulk of our resources. The expense for daily living out here is still amazing to me, and I am far from able to build a successful practice without a local license. I am incredibly nervous about job hunting. It is hard not to feel as though my skills have gone slack while I have stayed home with my kids.

When I first passed the bar I could have answered a million random legal questions in an interview. Now I feel less able to do so. Sometimes I feel like my brain went out with the afterbirth. I am going to have to start reading up again, and treat job hunting like exams. I just feel so overwhelmed. Sometimes I find it hard to get anything other than childcare done and now I am going to add job hunting, resume and cover letter refining, and studying to the mix of my daily responsibilities.

I know part of my trepidation stems of having “baby lawyer” syndrome. I still feel uncertain in navigating the field. My environmental law prof used to say “law school is a ten year process, you just get paid for the final seven”. He swore that everyone felt uncertain and nervous for the first seven years of practice. I only hope prospective employers remember that feeling as well as he does.

I suppose I will always feel this way if I never get off my butt and start working. Maybe I will feel more assured after I cram for a few weeks.

The man about the house

Otter loves to Swiff the house, he follows me around trying to grab the Swiffer out of my hands whenever I use it. Yesterday I shortened the handle, put a fresh cloth on, and let him go to town.

I Swiffs!!

I can clean the house! I am beyond those pesky gender role stereotypes!!


I can help around the house!! Forget those stereotypes!!

I Swiffs!


I missed a spot!!
Oops! I missed a spot!

When Otter noticed I was capturing his housework on camera he came over and began to “goon” for the lens…

Hello there camera... it\'s been too long.
Why hello there camera… it’s been too long.


Whoa!! That\'s a neat camera!!
Whoa…. that’s some serious flashing there.


Must eat camera!!
Must eat the camera

Nom nom nom

Sensitivity strained by boundary pushing

Responding with sensitivity. Keeping everyone’s dignity in tact. Using positive reinforcement and active listening instead of punishment and negative reaction. All of these practices are something I firmly believe in. I believe children are incentivized to behave well when their needs are met, their work praised, and their failures patiently worked through, instead of harped on. I believe in teaching my children about consequences, instead of punishing them for their actions. I am a big believer in patient parenting.

And then I met six.

Six has strained my relationship with my daughter, my role as an attachment parent, and all my fancy new fangled parenting skills. How exactly does one parent with patience during daily doses of the following:

“Mom! Can we play on the playground?”

“I’m sorry honey but not today, it’s raining.”

“Awww… but I want to! Just for a minute?”

“No dear, the playground is all wet and we need to get in out of the rain.”

“I don’t mind if I get wet. I want to play on the playground.”

“I understand that you do, but the answer is no.”

“But I never get to play on the playground!!”

“Monkey, you have played on the playground every day this week. Today it is raining. We are not playing on the playground in the rain.”

“Can I just go see if the playground is wet before we go?”

“No, clearly the playground is wet if it is raining. We are not staying, we are getting in out of the rain.”

“But I won’t play on it, I just want to look at it!”

“Monkey, you have asked me at least five times, I have answered no each time. There will not be a change in my answer. If you ask me again I will have to take away a privilege. Do you understand me?”

eyerolling “Yes” sigh “I wish I could play on the playground.”

It is enough to drive all notions of attachment parenting right out the window. To make things worse, if I ask her a question she doesn’t want to answer, she will just pretend I never spoke. It has gotten to the point where both my husband and I will reassuringly say “It’s okay honey, I heard you, you did actually speak out loud.”

What is a parent to do? I am trying not to envision my child with ugly green horns and bulbous spots when this behavior rears its ugly head, but I go not have endless reserves of patience. I can’t just turn off all my feelings and not react, even though I know her behavior is developmental, that she is testing her individuality and my boundaries. I know she is not out to get me, but it’s hard to know that in the middle of an argument.

I thought I would share a few of the coping methods I have attempted to employ in staying calm in the face of her powerful persistence.

1. Hum The Girl from Ipanema in my head and imagine I am all alone in an elevator that no one, especially my arguing child, can get into.

2. Envision myself on a beach drinking an icy cold fru-fru drink while a massage therapist works all the argument caused knots out of my shoulders.

3. Remind myself that calm and consistent responses will make a strong and healthy child.

4. Take a deep breath and warn Monkey that she is about to make me very angry. “Honey, I am getting very frustrated, if this continues, I may yell at you.”

If those don’t work I try to forgive myself for yelling, and her for pushing. I also try to apologize for losing my cool, and explain to her why I did. I use I statements when doing so; “I am sorry I yelled, I was feeling like you weren’t listening to me, and that was frustrating for me.” Usually she will apologize too, and we will hug, and the day will go on. On really bad days, we just have a fight, and then I lock myself in the bathroom alone for twenty solid minutes (after hubby is home) and either: read a book, do my nails, or take a long hot shower so I can recover some of my resources.

What do you do to stay calm in the face of unbelievable, epic persistence? What techniques do you use to keep your cool and respond with sensitivity? I would love it if all of you would share your ideas with me in the comments. I think we can all parent more patiently if we have a larger arsenal to draw from.

You may also view this post at API Speaks.

The plague…

We all seem to be suffering from the plague today. Otter and I have been feverish and hacking, and Monkey is wheezy and coughing a lot. Even Lee is feeling under the weather. I wish I could say I spent the day in bed, but I needed to finish the Newsletter for the MOMS Club, so I was at my computer for most of the day. Well… I suppose the fact that I am blogging means I still am.
Ahem.
I am still figuring out the domain mapping for the blog, but I have really enjoyed playing with some of WP’s other features. I like being able to place my extras on other pages instead of just lining them up on the sidebars.
Otter just woke up, so I am back to it.