Banana Peel

It’s what’s inside that matters…

Parent’s University: Class Social August 14, 2008

Filed under: Parents Univerity — Jess @ 12:23 pm

Parent’s University this week is a class social get-together. So, head on over to The Secret Life of Kat and let everyone know who you are. You only need to answer three simple questions:

1. Your name
2. How many kids do you have?
3. Your favorite parenting resource.

There is also a poll question.

If you don’t want to go to Kat’s blog to post, please leave your answers here!
Happy parenting!

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Don’t Forget You’re Married July 24, 2008

Filed under: marriage and family,Parents Univerity — Jess @ 1:17 pm

It’s time for another installment of Parent’s University. I know it’s been a long while. But I did have a baby recently, and Parent’s University kind of went on hold for a while there it seems. But it is back (yay!) and I am ready to write another thrilling, amazing and wonderful post on parenting! (I know you all have been missing these.) This weeks topic is (drum roll please!!) “Don’t Forget You’re Married”. To read some other people’s insights on this please visit The Secret Life of Kat.

It’s interesting that this would be the first topic after I just had my beautiful little gal. Folks, it’s very, very easy to forget you’re married with a newborn and a toddler in the house. It takes a conscious effort on my part to remember that I have a husband and he needs me too. His needs are not dependent on his survival however (like a newborn or toddler’s are) so it’s easy to put him on the back-burner so-to-speak. But his needs are no less important. So, what’s a girl to do? I have a few suggestions. But first maybe we should decide–what does a man need from his wife? Now it would probably be prudent of me to let my husband do a guest post or something and write this part, but I am going to do my best (He can write later and let ya’ll know if I was way off base or not!).

The top four things a man needs from his wife (as observed by me about my own husband, but I think they’re pretty universal):

1. Sex (okay my blog just went from G to X –I wonder what kind of weird searches I’ll get now?). This is a real need for men, which is hard for women to understand because it’s not a need for us. But it is. And we as wives need to recognize this and get over ourselves.

2. Respect (R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me–sorry I was overtaken by Aretha for a second there). Men need to feel and know that we respect them for who they are, what they believe and in what decisions they make.

3. Appreciation. A man needs to know that what he does for his family is appreciated. That he as a person is appreciated.

4. Love. Men need to feel loved. They need to know they are loved. I think this goes hand in hand with the other three.

Okay now we know what they need but what are some ways to meet these needs??? I have a few suggestions:

1. TALK. a. lot. I mean all the time. Small talk, deep talk, medium talk…whatever, just communicate with each other. You can’t meet the needs of your husband if you don’t know what they are! And he can’t meet your needs if you don’t tell him what they are!

That was just a basic-duh..you have to do this to keep your marriage going- tip for you all. Now we’ll talk some more tips that are specific to the needs mentioned above.

1. Make time for sex. And don’t withhold sex just because he hasn’t met your needs first (umm…can we say selfish?). Let your love-making be unconditional. And let it be just that…..making love. Yes you’re tired. Maybe you’re not interested. So what–just do it. I promise the more you do it, the more you’ll want to! (I can’t believe I even wrote that…okay getting back to G…)

2. You are not always right. Just remember that. Respect your husbands opinion, even if you don’t agree. You can respectfully disagree with him. And never ever speak negatively of your husband to other people, even your girlfriends. If you have a problem with your husband–talk to him about it! I think this is one of the greatest ways to show your husband respect. So, the next time all your girlfriends are complaining about their husbands, show yours some respect and refrain from jumping in.

3. Tell your husband you appreciate him. But I think your actions will speak louder to him than any words you can speak. When he comes home from work, stop what you’re doing and give him a hug and a kiss (I’m bad at this sometimes honey–I know!). Let him know you’re happy he is home. When he does something for you–thank him!

4. Show your husband you love him. Stop nagging. Quit complaining. Don’t criticize. Just love him for who he is. After all that’s why you married him!

Now I’m not going to tell you any of this is easy (I fail miserably all the time…just ask my husband). It’s not. It’s actually very hard to do! Especially when you are exhausted from your small children. It’s easy to put your children first because they do need you so much, but your husband should always have that number one spot. After all he was there first, and without him you wouldn’t have those beautiful babies! So, don’t forget about him in the busyness of everyday parenting.

You are married–don’t forget!

And don’t forget to read the other posts on this topic!

 

Chores April 10, 2008

Filed under: Parents Univerity — Jess @ 2:33 pm

It is once again Thursday and time for another Parents University. This weeks topic is one which we all dearly love (NOT!)– chores. Head on over to Kat’s Blog to read some other helpful hints and insights!

I am coming up on a big change here in a few weeks so maybe I should write about this again in a month when I have a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn. Because I’m sure I will have to do things differently. But for now this is the best way I’ve found to get chores done with a 2 1/2 year old.

Involve your toddler in the process.

There is is folks, simple as that. There are several benefits to this approach. First, he learns how to do things. Second, it reinforces his desire to help me so hopefully as he gets older he will continue to want to help me around the house and we can avoid all the “chore-wars” of older childhood. (ask me in 10 years if this hypothesis actually worked!)

There is a down-side to this approach as well. EVERYTHING. TAKES. LONGER. But I think the rewards mentioned above and getting to spend time with your child doing something productive and necessary far outweigh any increase in the time it takes to complete the chores. And there is usually a lot of laughter and learning happening so the time becomes a non-issue. (in my opinion!)

The important thing to remember is to keep the tasks you give your toddler age appropriate. Here are a few examples of how Blue-Eyed Boy helps me with chores:

~making the beds
~putting the clothes in the washer
~putting the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer (I hand them to him and he puts them in)
~pulling the dry clothes out of the washer and putting them in the laundry basket
~setting the table for dinner
~helping me cook (only non hot things) like cookies, muffins, putting the chopped veggies in the big pot for soup, etc.
~putting his own toys away
~holding the dust pan when we sweep
~washing the floor (he loves this-water and bubbles-need I say more?)

I could go on and on, but I hope you get the picture.

There are things that I don’t let him help with for safety reasons. Those would be things like cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming. So, I typically do those things when he is sleeping or The Handsome Hunk is home.

So, there’s my two cents for you all. I may have a different tune to sing in a month or so here. But for now this is how we do it!

 

Healthy Eating March 6, 2008

Filed under: Parents Univerity — Jess @ 1:28 am

Well I can’t believe that I haven’t written a post since last weeks Parents University, I guess I’ve been busy! *wink* But here it is again. The Secret Life of Kat is hosting another weekly installment of Parents University. This weeks topic is healthy eating. Please make sure you head on over to Kat’s blog to read all the other wonderful posts!

Healthy eating is tough in this no-time, anti-family-centered, fast food world we live in! Healthy eating is work plain and simple, friends. You can’t expect to throw together a meal in 10 minutes and it be chock-full of nutrients. It takes time, it takes commitment, it takes dedication. But it is well worth the effort. Healthy eating is important! Especially to those precious growing bodies and minds of the little people we love.

So, here are a few tips that I’ve gleaned over the years for making healthy eating a little easier.

1. Use frozen veggies. The frozen veggies have not lost as many nutrients as the canned version, and they are not covered in salt.

2. Get a steamer basket! It only takes a few minutes to steam veggies, and it’s much more healthy than microwaving them!

3. Plan your meals. You can’t expect to just throw together something healthy. You must sit down and make sure you’re covering all your bases. This will also make your life easier if you take 20 minutes (or less) a week and plan out your meals. It eliminates the panic of not knowing what to make for dinner, which makes it less tempting to just order a pizza.

4. Eat snacks. But make sure they are healthy snacks. Blue-Eyed Boy loves to dip pretzels in yogurt. I find that two year-olds love to dip, so if you give him anything and there’s a “dippy” he will go to town on it (we call green beans “baby French fries” he loves to dip them in ketchup at meals). Snacks will keep up little one’s energy which makes them less cranky. It also helps us as adults to keep from over-eating at meals.

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes a mom (or dad) needs a break and McDonald’s is the only answer! Or you forgot to thaw something and have to make pancakes for dinner. Your kids aren’t going to suffer from a “bad” meal once in a while! Just do your best. And when you do go to McDonald’s try to make the healthiest choices you can!

6. Eat healthy yourself. If your kids see you eating healthy (and enjoying it!) they will do likewise. You can’t expect your kids to eat healthy if you don’t!

7. For those of you with a sweet tooth–Jello with a dollop of whipped cream on top makes a fantastic dessert! Much less calories than cakes or cookies, it’s easy and quick to make, and it’s yummy!

Good luck on eating healthy!

And remember to go here to read the other wonderful posts on healthy eating!

 

Thoughts on Patience… March 1, 2008

Filed under: Parents Univerity — Jess @ 12:37 am

I know I haven’t done this in a few weeks. But it is time for another edition of Parents University. This weeks topic is practicing patience. Please head on over to The Secret Life of Kat to read some other great blogs on this subject!

When I first read the topic for this week my initial thought was patience and toddler do not go together! Which I’m sure many of you can attest to. I don’t think a two-year-old really has the capacity to grasp, or the physiological ability to be patient since they are still in a self-centered universe where they believe everything revolves around them and thus they want everything NOW (aren’t we all still like this to some extent?).

In light of this, I decided I would focus on parental patience.

I believe patience is a learned art. It’s something we must strive for each and everyday.

Especially when we are dealing with our children.

This is a hard lesson to learn. I think even more so because we live in America. It’s hard to really develop our patience levels when our lives are filled with instant gratification. It’s very easy to get into the habit of wanting everything done right now. A lot of things in our culture contribute to this: credit cards, and the Internet are prime examples. Instead of saving up for something we want, we go out and get it the second we want it, charge it to our credit card and pay it off for a few years with tons of interest. And how many of us have sat staring at our computer screen frustrated because the website we want to look at is taking more than 1 second to open?

So what are we as Americans and parents to do in this “get what you want now” society?

My suggestion would be to slow down. Look at your schedule. How many of the things you do really matter?

I believe that leading a slower, simpler life really gives a good environment for patience to develop. When we are rushing here and there everyday it’s easy to get into the habit of wanting everything to happen immediately. Because if it didn’t we would have to slow down and wait, and when our schedules are too full we have no time for the waiting.

Ah, but what we miss. There are so many lessons to learn in the times of waiting. Waiting gives us an opportunity to learn about ourselves, and our lives. Waiting is a great time to really look at your life and question your priorities.

I think our children are the ones who suffer most (apart from ourselves) when we have no time for patience in our lives. Children learn by example. We must show them with our own lives what patience looks like. We must teach them about waiting for those things we want and not believing that we deserve to have those things right now.

It is hard to be patient with our children whether it be in discipline or development when other areas of our lives are greatly lacking patience. I believe patience must permeate every facet of our lives.

Now the question is how do I practice patience with my child?

The best lesson I have learned in Blue-Eyed Boy’s wonderful two- year- oldness to help me be patient is to watch my expectations.

What I mean by this is that I must not expect more of him than he is developmentally ready to do. He’s two years old, he’s learning and establishing his independence. I cannot expect him to always listen to everything I say. This does not mean however that I throw in the towel and let him do whatever he wants. It just means that I know I’m going to have to tell him to do something a few times before he will, and sometimes he still won’t and must be disciplined for that.

I guess it’s just mostly keeping in mind where he is. I don’t mean physically. I mean is it getting close to nap time? Then I can expect some grumpiness and tantrums. Have I been too busy to pay attention to him for awhile? Then he’s going to test me and act up to get my attention.

I’ve observed that Blue-Eyed Boy never “acts up” or “tries my patience” for no reason. There is always a reason. He’s either tired, or hungry, or needing attention. I’ve found that he generally wants to please me. He would definitely rather receive my praise rather than my anger. This also applies to myself. If I’m tired, or hungry or needing attention I’m going to be less patient than I normally would/could be. I being the adult, however, must rise above this and resolve even harder to be patient.

Another “patient helper” is thinking before you react.

Before Handsome Hunk and I got married my mother-in-law gave me some wonderful advice. She said that when we get in a fight to always think–“will this matter in five years?”. If it won’t–let it go.

So, the next time your toddler throws a bowl of cereal on the floor, or empties all the clothes out of your dresser–and all you want to do is scream–ask yourself:

Will this really matter in five years?

If not…….let it go and give that amazing little person some of your precious patience.

So, those are my thoughts on patience. Don’t forget to head on over to The Secret Life of Kat and read what others more wise than I have to say about patience.

 

Evolving Discipline January 17, 2008

Filed under: Parents Univerity — Jess @ 10:39 pm

Kat over on The Secret Life of Kat is hosting Parents University on Thursdays. Today is the first session and the topic is the big D word—-Discipline. So I thought I would put in my two cents. Oh and don’t forget to head on over to Kat’s Blog to read the other great advice from other more seasoned parents than I!!

(Disclaimer: I have only been a parent for 2 years and 3 months so my advice on discipline and parenting in general is solely based on 1) common sense, and 2) what I have learned to work for us in these 2 years. So, if you have an older child my “two cents” may not apply to you, and you may think I’m naive because I haven’t “been there” yet! So, take it for what it is! And I hope it will help someone out there to think about their discipline tactics!!)

Now in no way am I an expert on discipline and I believe that there are no hard and fast rules because every child is different and every parent has a different parenting style. But I would like to tell you what we have done and learned in these 2 years of having our son.

When Blue-Eyed Boy was first beginning to exert his independence…and be naughty…we decided that we would avoid using “no” as much as possible. The “no” would be reserved for those things that were truly important that he understand not to do….things that could injure him (touching the stove for example), or were just big huge no-no’s for our household (throwing food for example). Instead we would say “please don’t touch that”. This has been beneficial, I believe, because now that Blue-Eyed Boy is 2 and getting really adventurous when I do say “no” he immediately stops what he is doing. For example: he is very much into climbing (what 2 year old boy isn’t?) and he decided that he was going to take our laundry basket turn it upside down and then put his empty Lego box on top of that and climb on top. When I saw what he was doing I said “no, [Blue-Eyed Boy] that’s not safe” and he immediately got down and didn’t try to do it again (which doesn’t always happen!).

As Blue-Eyed Boy started getting older our discipline methods have evolved and grew with him. When he was just becoming mobile (walking at 9 months!) we would remove him from situations that we didn’t want him to be in. We would tell him not to touch and then move him on to a toy or something else to play with.

The biggest evolution happened when telling him to “be gentle” stopped working. He would bite me and hit me which before we only had to say “be gentle” and he would stop or a hit would become a tap. Eventually however, he began to bite harder, and hit harder when we asked him to be “gentle”. So, we tried the “that hurts” (he just laughed), biting him back (laughed and then bit me harder!), etc, etc, etc. We tried everything and anything people told us to do. But in the end what did the trick was time-outs. He had a little stool in a corner. I would give him a warning, then if he repeated the offense he was put in the chair for 1 minute per year of age. He would cry and cry and scream and get up, but I kept putting him back until the kitchen timer went off. Once his time-out was over I would say we don’t hit/bite mommy that hurts. Are you sorry? He would then proceed to throw himself into my arms (he didn’t start really talking until he was about 22 months). And then we would proceed with our day. After doing time-outs for one day he has never bitten me or hit me again.

I think the most important thing to remember when disciplining your child is to make sure the punishment matches the offense. And also that it is age-appropriate. What I mean by that is…a one year old understands much less than a 3 year old so we must take that into consideration.

I believe the best help with discipline is pouring vast amounts of love and attention into your children so that they don’t want to displease you. I don’t know if I’m saying that right, but I hope you understand what I mean. Children tend to misbehave when they want your attention. And if they get an abundance of your attention then they are less likely to “act-up” to get that much sought after attention. Spending time with your children is not just beneficial to them, it is also beneficial to you as well!

Anyways…I hope my little ramblings on discipline may help you to think about your own approach to discipline!

Happy Thursday and Happy parenting!!