Friday, August 31, 2012

Don't Leave it Hanging...

I have learned the hard way that talking to a child mid-temper tantrum is tantamount to trying to talk a lion out of attacking mid leap...yeah, it doesn't stop anything and only ends in tears and a heap of hurt!!!!

So, we have already gone through the "1-2-3 Magic" magic with you. The time out is rated by the age of the child; one minute in their room, or another doable place, for each year old they are. You as the parent are in charge of how long they stay in there too. Don't think that L can come back out stomping her feet and a "death stare" on her face and do her chores....haha! Not in the Frumpy House!! If in 8 minutes she hasn't come to the conclusion that a pleasant temperament will give her freedom, well dear readers, she gets another 5 in solitary confinement!! You see, I am the parent, I will be the one responsible for her behavior out in this world...some day her employer will call and rain blessings upon my head for her being such a willing and happy worker  **shaking head, waking up from this daydream**.....

Oh! When the child comes out with a willing spirit, life is so joyful and blessed!! She may not feel that, but as long as she is displaying that spirit I'm good with hurdle at a time! The fun thing is, her chore or whatnot is still waiting for her.

The Man of the Frumpy House and I are doing our best to be intentional in our parenting. Not just the disciplining as this small series has shown, but in parenting! We are spending more time talking (not debating, it's not up for debate) about behavior, character, morals, standards, expectations. Talking to the girls at teachable times..."Hey L, see that young boy over there with his mom screaming and crying because she wouldn't buy him the candy? That's not a very pleasant person to be around is it? What do you think he could do, or how do you think he should behave? Do you think his mom would be more willing to listen to his request?" Yeah, you get the idea right?!

Daily, grabbing the opportunity to teach and explain the right and the wrong of interpersonal relationships! to make your way in this world, creating as few waves as you possibly can!

I'm really pleased to tell you....L has taken very well to this type of discipline. Does she like being sent to her room? NO! Number one reason, she has no one to argue with there. Number 2 reason, she is taken away from her audience and she has no reason to carry on! Does she like it when we start the counting....H*ll no!! She starts stating her "case" as it may be. I don't even let it register! If she isn't complying with my direction...I just get up to "2"!!! That is about the time it clicks in her brain..."oh, this isn't going to work like it used to. I guess I'll just do what I need to do and move on with my day"

This DVD has been a blessing! A Godsend...I kid you not...a life/marriage/family saver!

It has enabled me to teach better, to have a talk, a discussion with L. Where before it was always her will against my will, it is now a matter of her opening herself to being more teachable. Not perfectly teachable, not overnight malleable, not even close to being a "Stepford Child", but oh so much better than what it was!!!

That is how, after years of saying that I would never homeschool my child[ren], I am going to be teaching this year. That is why I'm excited about teaching them! That is how I'm going to be ABLE to teach them!! We are all I've said before! I'm looking forward to teaching, training, exploring and learning with my family!

Everyday I'm Learning....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It all ended...

when the Man of the Frumpy House and I sat one evening and watched "1-2-3 Magic" video. This is a book and a 2 part video series by Dr. Thomas Phelan (find out more here). We found only the first "1-2-3 Magic" dvd to watch. BUT OH!! The difference watching that video made!

It's been about a month now, a month where the temper tantrums are few and far between. A month where momma wants to go home and spend time with her family (yes all of them). A month where I can finally give hugs, give kisses, snuggle with (although she isn't a very big snuggler) and even eat at the same table with EVERYONE in the family and enjoy it!

It's a month where she's taking care of her chores without having warfare. A month of oral and physical hygiene has been done without threats and wasted time...yep! even that!

A month where the extremely picky eater has finally sat down at the table and tried a bite of "unliked" foods without a NUCLEAR meltdown! Ummm...yesterday at the dinner table she even said, "I'm going to try mashed potatoes". Put a spoonful on her plate and ate a hello? this is my child right?!? (I will give her this...mashed taters were the only food she ever spit out as a if she never eats them I won't care)

The past 30 days has had more fun, more laughter, more family time. Well, more enjoyable family time (as she really has made quite a few family excursions quite horrid) the last month!

So, what is it? You ask...I shall do my best to answer!

The basics of the "1-2-3 Magic" is for the parents to not get emotional about the bad behaviors. Not to become entangled in arguing or explaining themselves to their child. Ummm, ok, so basically I've been doing most everything wrong...well, sorry, I've never had to deal with this extreme behavior (and to just give you a background I have worked in a Children's Home taking care of emotionally and physically abused children, I have also been a nanny to a number of children).

It's an amped up version of putting your child in time out (which we have done & it didn't work, probably because we were doing it all wrong). It's giving them the opportunity to take the wrong behavior that they are in and giving them till the count of 3 to change the behavior and move on when asked to.

Let me give you a personal example (please, take it, I have plenty):

Mornings at the Frumpy House....
     L is expected (and has been for the past 4 years) to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and brush teeth and hair. She does the getting up really well, most days, it's the other items where it gets a bit tricky! She doesn't want to get dressed, she wants to wander around and pester someone first. She doesn't want to brush her teeth and hair ("I like it this way" has been thrown at me many, MANY days when it comes to hair). So throughout the morning, you can imagine the stress and the amount of time it takes just to get her out the door to school!

Because, of the 1-2-3 program it now takes her about 1/2 an hour to get herself ready for the day. She has also been doing some of her chores without having to be told, reminded somedays....but mostly just told once and she gets it done! I. KID. NOT!!!!!

After watching the DVD Greg and I sat down with the girls for dinner one night and we explained what was going to happen in the Frumpy House from now on....

We were not going to tolerate disobedience, talking back, whining or defiant behavior or looks (yep, rolling your eyes at your momma is not floating my boat!).

Let's continue our little scenario...
     L is done with breakfast. She has been told to go brush her teeth and hair. I find her in the living room, picking on her sister most likely. I step into the living room where she can see me and I can see her.  "L, you were told to get your hair and teeth brushed. You best go do that before we have to walk out the door."  BRACE's about to start!

"Mom, I can't right now. I don't want to. I like my hair this way..." all said in a very loud voice with a tinge of whine and a scowl creeping across her brow (you got that mental picture now right?)

----In the past this was a red flag, and the momma would charge voice would rise to meet her decibel, I would set my jaw cause I was determined that I was gonna make her get the jobs done and out the door on time.--- NOW....

     "L that's 1" UMMMMM yes, that is ALL I say...NOT KIDDING!

This quietly spoken, emotionless phrase at times makes her dig her heels in and start crankin' it up, "I will do it, just not now!" as she throws down a foot stomp for added dramatic measure!!

     "L that's 2"....yep, still spoken without emotion or raising my voice.

Now, this has usually been the highest I have needed to count (once or twice I have counted 3 and she has been sent to her room to cool off, calm down, chill out (whatever you want to call it)). She has changed her attitude and gone on to do as asked....whew, drama averted! She goes on to take care of her business and I go on to take care of mine, all is quiet and all are at peace!

Our greatest problem is she wants an explanation of why she must do what she is told to do, why she can't do what she wants to do, what she did wrong....etc. basically we have found she wants to engage us is a debate of you say, I say. EVERY SINGLE TIME!!
This magic formula has enabled us to leave the debate out of the process, she knows we aren't going to go into describing why we want her to brush her teeth each morning. She just knows that we are going to expect her to be obedient, without debate.

Now, for those of you readers (and I love you) who are thinking, "this is all good, but it doesn't take care of the core of the problem. Her defiance and disobedience". You're quite right, it is just taking care of the moment, the mouth, the whining....etc. I have no question that L goes to her room mumbling a few questionable things about the unfairness of her mom or dad.  But, I cannot address this with her at this time, she isn't in a frame of mind to listen and say, "You're right mom! How could I be so mistaken! I will jump to obey!"

That comes later friends....

Monday, August 27, 2012

It all started...

On November 6th, almost 9 years ago....

We welcomed a beautiful, big headed (I don't mean inflated ego here, I mean LITERALLY a big head) bald, blue eyed 8 lb 3 oz little girl into our family. Well, she basically made us a family, instead of just a couple.

The "troubles" didn't start until about 8 months...I kid you not! She was wanting to walk so badly, she would toddle around the furniture and such, but she just couldn't quite GO! So, being the great mom and dad that we were we would hold her little hands and just walk her all over the apartment. For what seemed HOURS! The back-breaking effort was taking it's toll, so we bought a push toy...that would give us some relief...or so we thought.

The beautiful, little girl did NOT want to push the toy around and toddle on her way around the apartment...oh no! That, dear readers, would've been the end of the story if our darling daughter didn't take this opportune time to display....her stubborn side! She laid herself down right on the floor behind that push toy and kicked her chubby little legs, and pounded her round little fists and cried her big head off!! NOT JOKING FOLKS!! At 8 months old, my darling, giggling, smiling little daughter threw a temper tantrum!

I looked at this demon darling child, took one large step over her body and walked away, shaking my head and mumbling something about "Oh, Lord, this is not going to be fun is it?!".....

Fast forward to this time and oldest is still beautiful, big headed (more so ego now), blonde curled and the biggest blue eyes.  She has spent the first 8 years of her life teaching us that we do have the strength, with God's blessed help, to do this parenting thing! We haven't always done it willingly (I think I've threatened the Mister with running away more than she's threatened us), or well...but we have done it!

We have read, listened to, researched online and questioned other parents about how to deal with strong willed, defiant, intelligent (oh, yes she is) & mouthy children. We have cried, grumbled, yelled, punished & disciplined our brains out....nothing has worked. For those of you who have laid back, easy going have NO idea the thoughts that go through a parents head when all they have done, FAILS!

Yes, you feel like you are a failure...a FAILURE!! The thought of going through 18 years of this kind of life is enough to send you to the loony bin (WILLINGLY)!!

So, I will tell you this....I have said over and over to others and to my child (because she has asked) that I would NOT homeschool her!! I struggled just to get her to do her homework on nights that she came home with that!! I struggled to get her to brush her teeth, get dressed, do simple chores...heck, I struggled to get her to eat a meal @ the table without pitching such a big fit that no one actually wanted to sit and eat with her! By struggled I mean DAILY...telling her, talking to her, coaxing her, grounding her, yelling at her...anything I could think of (short of bribing her) to do the things that she needed to do/learn as a toddler/child! DAILY!!!!

So, as you may be able to imagine, when she was out of the house at school the home was a lot more peaceful. There wasn't this constant feeling of anger (hers and ours) floating around. There wasn't the stress, there wasn't the turmoil...until it was time for her to come home. I would then find myself tensing up...almost like I was putting on my armor to deal with the arguments, the whining, the fights, the talking back.  It does not make for a pleasant house/home when you feel you have to gird yourself with armor, just to make it through a day!

The Man of the Frumpy House and I were at our wits end...we had no more to give. We thought we'd just move out and let her be her own boss...heheh! Then he found a video at our local library! It was checked out and brought home, hoping that we would be able to watch it and find some help...please, Lord any help!! Because, boarding school was sounding quite doable about that time....they do have a work exchange program for elementary boarders don't they?!?!

To be Continued.....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

School Days, School Days...

Dear Old Golden Rule Days....

and so on and so forth!! My mom used to sing that song a lot...something about taught to the tune of a "Hickory Switch" that she must've liked!  HAAA Just Kidding!

Well, the school year is close upon us here in Michigan. In some states it has already reared it head and forced those summer lovin' kids back into the classrooms!!

This year at The Frumpy is looking quite different....

Let me 'splain!

We Are Homeschooling (wether you like it or not)!

It's been a month of thinking, research, praying, more research, more praying and finally we decided we'd like to give it a shot.  NOT a shot in the dark... a real line the scope up, target practice, get the kinks out first, kinda shot!!  We are in the process of getting our materials and then G and I will be doing a run through of what a school day will look like. Then, when we feel it is going to go the way we like, we will do a practice run thru with the girls (who surprisingly were both agreeable, and excited about the prospect of schooling in the home).

It all started one day with me....(as most harebrained ideas do in the Frumpy House) 

For some reason or other, in reading blogs (2 different ones), a novel and a pin on pinterest I kept coming across "Charlotte Mason". I was like, dude(ette really, as I was talking to myself) what IS Charlotte Mason, or who?

So, one google search later & I was up to my eyeballs in info; videos, blogs, books, homeschooling websites....etc.
I really, really, REALLY liked what I read! I liked what others were saying about it. I liked what the reviewers were saying about the ease of the curriculum/teaching method. I liked the whole methodology!

If you would like to know what the Frumpy House will be getting up to this September through May you can read a good description about the Charlotte Mason Method here.

Some of you naysayers may throw my own words back in my face! I've said many times, "I will never homeschool L, because she is so defiant and it's hard to get her to listen and do what she is told. I would never survive getting her through a school day, let alone a school year."
Uuuummmmm yeah, I will admit to saying that, to repeatedly saying that....for like years! But thanks to a wonderful DVD that the hubby brought home from the library about a month ago (isn't it "coincidence" that it was about the same time we I started researching and thinking about CMM--I think NOT). It's called "1-2-3 Magic" by Dr. Thomas Phelan. All I can say about it now is magic! (I will post a blog about the program and the results soon).

Basically, the 1-2-3 Magic has given me a house that I want to go home to at night. It has given me a child[ren] that I actually want to spend time with. So the thought of homeschooling isn't daunting any more!!!

I'm beyond exited. I feel like I have a purpose...again! I feel like my days will be spent doing something to impact my children/family for a greater cause! I feel like I will be able to spend time with the girls, and be able to be a lasting example of the type of mom I've always wanted to be!  

NOTICE: All the statements in the above paragraph are "I" statements! I am NOT trying to tell any mom (or dad) out there that they are not "living up to their potential" as a parent if they don't homeschool their children....heaven forbid! Just as I expect any parent that may leave a comment for me to use their "I" statements when telling me what a crappy, sequestered, anti-social, over-protected child I'm going to have because I choose to homeschool! It's all about being able to choose what's best for us, for our families, for our's not about opinions and raucous debate!!! Keep it nice friends...just as we would teach our children how to be nice to all people even tho' there are differences....*stepping down from my soap box now, not sure how I even got up there [looks around with confused look on face]*

Will, give great, sarcasm worthy updates throughout the school I see fit!

Hope everyone is looking forward to a great school year, both children and adults!!
Much love, peace and freedoms for all!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Feeling a Little...

Down today. Don't know if I can pinpoint a real reason...the sun is shining, there is a nice breeze coming in the windows, I've enjoyed my coffee and some cookies this morning (I mean those last 2 things alone should make me happy)!

So, I decided to look up songs about happiness on YouTube...wasn't disappointed!

Enjoy a little Al Green...wether you are down in the dumps or not, he's sure to make your day a little brighter!!