Friday, April 21, 2017

Top Mommy Blogs Post...

Hey all. I just wanted to send out a reminder that for awhile now, I have been blessed with the opportunity to hold standings within the Top Mommy Blogs community. And, in the right side column of my blog, there is a Top Mommy Blogs icon hanging out there. I don't think you can see it through mobile version, so you'd have to switch over to web version...

Here's a screenshot of what it looks like
It's over there ----------------------------->

I'd appreciate it, if all you lovely people, could click on that sucker a few times a week, or whenever you head over to my site to read my posts... 

Each time you send that vote, it ups my ranking over on their site. And, the higher the ranking, the more views my blog gets.

And that would be awesome. 

You can only vote once a day. But thanks for the attempt at multiples -You get an A+ for effort. And, I'll send a virtual hug <3

Thank you all... I always greatly appreciate the support you all give to me. Because, without your support, I'd just be a mom blogger, blogging to the sound of silence in the dark air :) 

Friday, April 14, 2017

A memory of an ever-changing story...

This image is a duplicate of the ones that are forever ingrained in my memories. They wait there, opened, like a field of daisies just waiting to be picked... I could remember walking past this door and seeing a toddler among a sea of books, her tiny pony tail standing high above the pile and her little fingers thumbing through page after page, pretending to read each one. As the years passed, the image stayed the same, but the content changed with the time. My little toddler..., turned into a little girl and that pretend reading, turned into actual reading. Now, when I pass this door, after my home becomes too quiet, I see her sitting in her desk chair, facing the opened windows, with a chapter book in her hands. Her eyes are focused and her body stiff. She's lost somewhere among tree house adventures, bratty first graders, and mysteries. And I stand in this doorway for a few minutes, before I'm even recognized. And in those few minutes, I'm able to relieve the short transformation that seemed to matriculate before my very eyes...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mid Week Humor: Mom brain...

That awkward moment when you grab your grocery list, pack your son in the car, and head out to the store, only to arrive at said store, and realize you left your wallet at home... And apparently, your brain too... Motherhood.
The Happy Days Blog

Monday, April 3, 2017

Our annual Spring exploring...

After a blizzard producing a 22 inch snow fall and a winter that seemed to drag on and on, today's 68 degree weather was warmly welcomed... It was just warm enough for short sleeves and pants, but cool enough to hike around in our back woods without the bugs pestering us. 

The sky was crystal blue and the air was quiet. However, the scene was still barron, with not a color in sight. Only tiny buds showed their presence on the tips of the trees, but the brown dried leaves still heavily blanketed the ground.

My son and I donned our boots and we coaxed our German Shepherd to join us on an exploring adventure. My son likes to pretend she's our search and seek partner and asks her to "sniff out" clues. So, we wandered the grounds, stepping over fallen limbs and uprooted trees, as I carried a plastic ziplock bag with rocks, sticks, and pine cones piled inside. We would stop and empty the contents to see if anything resembled a clue, and I would related some object to something we passed and he would get excited, as that meant we were getting closer... To what, I never found out. 

Mid way, he would stop and say, "I think there's a dragon over there." Then I would stop and call for our dog to stop and pretend we were on high alert. And we all got quiet... For about a second -that's about how long my son can handle... He picked up a stick and said, "I got this mama!" Then, he ran towards the "dragon" and scared him off. You know, being the brave explorer protecting his followers.

Periodically, he'd reach for my hand, to help me navigate through the woods. Saying, "here mama, let me help you." But, I think it was more for his stability. Either way, I thanked him and reminded him how much I was grateful for his hand. 

We climbed deeper and deeper, so our home was just a white speckle between the trees. Our dog was now laying in the leaves, taking a break from her 10 year old legs. And, he and I pretended to set up a camp fire among the tall oaks that sat high above us. He used his sword stick to roast marshmallows and I cooked mac and cheese. He chatted about our next course and how we needed to find more dragons to keep the area safe. Then, we would head back home...

I could remember doing this same thing with his sister every spring. After the winter months, our stagnant bodies craved the outdoor air and our minds yearned for some adventures. But lately, pretend adventures aren't really her thing anymore. She humors us every once in a while, but she'd rather turn the logs and obstacles into an American Ninja Warrior event instead. 

So I take the changes with stride, I'm now becoming a professional at that, and I make sure to integrate both children with all the activities at the same time. It takes skill, but we make it work. And I know that I'll probably cry the day all this stops and the Spring season doesn't mean we go out into the woods to slay dragons, or save princesses, or even, look for clues. But today, it does. Today, it means, we walk the grounds and play together... 

And when Spring becomes just another day on the calendar, I'll always have these wonderful memories that will forever remain in the forefront of my brain... 

And at that time, the memories will be just as special as the real thing.

Friday, March 31, 2017

A little rant... School. Peaceful Parenting. And just basic human kindness.

I had something happen to me today that rendered me speechless. And for those who know me personally, know that's a feat. In fact, I usually strive to have the last word in any situation. But today, it took me far too long to process what I heard.

After months of trying to coax my daughter to effortlessly walk through the school's front doors without hesitation, she finally has been on a positive streak. But, that was due to having her walk with me to the inside of the double doors (the breezeway area -the part before the locked set of doors). I've been doing this as a way to take her away from the distraction of all the other children and in case she started to cry, it would save her from embarrassment. 

And since this whole debacle of the teachers strike has continued this far and now, the teachers refuse to open the doors a minute before their contracted time, this was my alternative for the best interest of MY child.

So today, the teacher who stands outside every morning, walked past us and a special needs family and repeatedly stated, "you're not supposed to be in here." Then with attitude said, "parents need to follow the rules to have order." Which really threw me for a loop. So much, that I couldn't even quickly reply...

This is just elementary school, right?
A socialism program that 60% of the funding for this district is paid by the taxpayers (I've attended too many school board meetings since the strike). 

The funny part was, when I went back home and reviewed the policies, it only stated that families cannot enter the building without signing in the office first... Nothing about being in the locked off section.

Then, this led me to that infamous statement... "well, if we let you do it, then we have to let everyone do it."

Then let everyone do it...

We're living in a society where it somehow became socially acceptable to put more faith in other caregivers of authority, than ourselves. Parent's do it automatically... My children are going to school, not prison. I'm not signing over custody to them for 7 hours a day, they're still mine. And if I want to stand away from the crowd in a separate area to say goodbye to my daughter, I should be allowed to. Hell, the teachers are putting their needs first with this strike, why shouldn't we as parents put the needs of our children first. And I'm astonished that there aren't more parents who don't find all this absurd. And, to use the statement, we need order, reminded me of a regime, and that's the part that rendered me speechless.

But frankly, it's more about control. I've written time and time again about how children always get the bum deal in all this. How they're the only group who have absolutely no say or rights in their own lives. And many would say, it's because they're not old enough to understand. And yes, there is truth to that. But, they're old enough to know when they're being disrespected and not trusted.

All these rules and policies are written to obtain control over the child. Their day is ridden with threats and punishments. Maybe not corporal. But punishments of no recess or not being able to participate in fun activities, if they do something wrong. Not participating, is more detrimental to the child's welfare than, it just being about fun. Children need breaks in the day and a way to diffuse anxieties and being bored. Preventing this, will only cause more disruption.

And I can't imagine that fear of doing something wrong is actually helping progress a child's education (or even help behaviors at home), especially, if they're not exposed to it.

I raise my children in a home without punishment. There are no threats or items being taken away. They are being raised with mutual respect and understanding. And communication of emotions in a loving and secure environment. 

And, it's not that I need anyone to treat my children differently. But how about, they treat every child that way. Why do children need to be feared into listening? Can't they just listen because that's the correct thing to do? Can't they be given that extra second or two to be explained?

Why must we shout at children like they're cattle, not moving in the correct direction? Why must we continue with the old way of, if one child acts up, then the whole class is punished? Haven't we progressed more as a society to accept the psychology and understand basic human communication?
--Basically, in order to be respected, you must show respect.

I'm even more floored that I'm looked at as odd because, I care about these issues. What seems mundane to others, is a big deal to me. And with that, I'm mocked as a "hippie" or, "snowflake" or, "babying my children" because I care about their well being and the way they're being treated out of my care. 

Because I decided, that the old way of doing things, isn't necessarily the best.

Besides, children do not all have the ability to externalize what they're processing, like adults do. They don't easily brush things off. Instead, they internalize it all. When something happens to them, they think it's directed solely at them and they begin to doubt themselves. With that, teachers have the innate ability to make or break a child. Some would say, they have too much power. Contrastingly, the ability of an adult dealing with a boss who is down right mean, comes with age. It comes when the brain matures and you stop thinking the world revolves around you and everything that is happening around you, is about you. A skill that makes puberty unbearable.

So, being tough on children and drawing attention to their weaknesses isn't going to help them grow. Moving cards from green to red isn't going to motivate every child. Just like, secluding them from the class isn't going to add positivity. Instead, it creates unnecessary insecurities and embarrassment, as they age.

If schools (and even parents) focused more on positive reinforcement versus the negativity, you'd lose that negative attention seeking behavior and the urge to rebel against the walls of structure and rules. You'd be surprised what happens when you give children a little control over their lives and the respect to allow them to make mistakes and suffer the natural consequences of said mistake.

If people were even a little bit more kind to one another, instead of assuming everyone is the same and only seeing the negative, the world would be a much gentler place.

And I hope to raise my children to not be tough or hard to face this world, but instead, to be gentle and kind to help soften this world. 

And I proudly wear my snowflake badge with honor...

*Disclaimer: So far, my daughter has been blessed with great teachers throughout her education. And with the exception of 2 or 3 teachers, the whole elementary school has a great reputation. We live in a higher socioeconomic district, and our school is ranked nationally, and our class sizes are small for a public school. So other than a few general mishaps here and there, I'm very satisfied with our district, as opposed to homeschool (of course, other than the whole strike thing). But this post is focused more on the general sense of humanity and the need to control and punish children... Not just in schools, but in life.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mid Week Humor: Men...

I find it ironic, that men have battled dragons and wielded swords in Colosseums, but yet, cannot master the skills required to remove their clothes off the bathroom floor and into the hamper... Motherhood.
The Happy Days Blog

Monday, March 27, 2017

A peaceful parent reaction...

Today began like any Monday morning would... The sun rose quicker than expected, my eyes didn't want to open, and my children were up parallel to the sun rising. And after a night of disrupted sleep from my son, coffee could have easily been hooked up to an IV dispenser. 

It was raining, like it usually does. Our normal end of March, April, and early May, consists of 90% rain. Our little nook of the country, is like the east coast Seattle.

Mondays are tough for us too, because after the long weekend, my daughter usually clings tightly to me, begging to stay a little bit longer. However, today, I was completely caught off guard by my son. Although, I should have expected something, when he started crying because his socks felt weird upon dressing. But, I was distracted, packing lunch and listening to my daughter convey her long term scenario life goals.

We exited our car and ran through the puddles to the awning area, while waiting for the doors to open. I rhythmically ran through my positive speeches in my head that I would recite to my daughter, like I do daily. But suddenly, very quickly, my son started whining. Then, he did the infamous, feet stomp against the pavement. Normally, he patiently stands at my side, while I'm coaxing his sister inside the doors and sometimes, he'll even offer some motivational support. But today, he started yelling, in front of everyone, that he didn't want to wait outside anymore.

My daughter shied away, I assumed, with embarrassment. I knelt down in front of him, to talk softly about how "yelling is not an acceptable way to communicate your feelings. I realize you are tired from being up multiple times last night and mommy's tired too, but we have to stay here for your sister."

That comforted, soft spoken statement, has never failed me -even with my alpha daughter. Once I calmly reason with them, they always oblige.

Except today...

Today, he yelled, "no!" And started to cry, loudly. At this point, the buses were pulling up to the curb and parents and students were lining up around us. And I couldn't talk him into walking off to the side, away from the crowd. Now, I was in agreement with my daughter and embarrassed. 

In my years as a parent, I was never in a situation where I didn't have complete control over said situation...

I was stuck. Because, when one of my children ever acted this way (and they have. We're all human), I would softly scoop them up and remove them from the stimulus. However, in this moment, the doors weren't even open yet and I couldn't just leave my daughter by herself, while I took my son back to the car. On top of that, I immediately mulled through the idea, what if she doesn't walk right in?

I kept a smile on my face, as I kindly coaxed my son in the direction towards the door. He refused, and sat on the wet ground. My daughter then picked up my hand and said, "it's ok mommy, I'll walk in on my own." I looked over and noticed the doors were already opened and my heart sunk. I asked her if she was ok walking in without waiting for a friend, or lingering a bit longer. But, she reassured me that she was fine and gave me the biggest hug, kiss, and our secret handshake. 

And walked in...

This little girl is and has always been, so wise above her years. She had the capability to sense the emotions around her and pushed aside her own morning jitters to help me evade an obvious escalating scenario.

Or, she was just overly embarrassed and wanted to run away...

I know I did...

And back at home, my son was asleep immediately after breakfast, for 3 hours straight. After, of course, I snuggled beside him in his bed and we talked about his feelings and how mama and sister felt from him actions...

Today was definitely a curve ball kind of day. A day that I'm not used to experiencing. But like all parents, we've all been there. We all experienced embarrassing, tantrum moments, a time or two.

But as the quote holds true, our children are not giving us a hard time, they're having a hard time. And it's not how the child is reacting that holds importance, it's how the parent reacts, that is monumental. And, it's not like a child is born with all these coping strategies. They're learned and downloaded after experiences are had, such as this. 

With this logic, the child is allowed more freedom to be self aware, instead of self conscious. They'll recognize their emotions and understand how to proceed with future encounters. The parent's job, is to calmly guide the child in the proper direction, but not force with punishment. Because, you don't want the child to think that having emotions towards a stimulus is a bad thing. Or, that they can't make mistakes. Instead, you want to demonstrate what the proper emotion towards a stimulus should be.

And, in my opinion, modeling calmness and understanding is a great start...