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Homeschooling and Special Needs

My oldest son has pretty profound dyslexia. I had known he was struggling with reading, of course, but early on,  I attributed it to his being a boy, and much more active. than the norm.  He had tantrums during reading lessons, but so had one of his older sisters, and I thought he was just frustrated on a regular level. After much prayer, debate, and counsel, I realized it was more than that.

I learned of the Barton Method from a friend, and was grateful to learn we had a center in the Quad Cities.

I literally had to drag him into one of his first sessions, which, looking back, was not one of my best parenting moves. At the time, I felt so helpless. He felt so scared and overwhelmed. We were lost.

To my astonishment, he had to start at the most remedial level. He wasn’t understanding ANY reading or phonics at all. I had been helping him a lot more than I realized when we were reading together, and he’s so bright, he compensated  so beautifully that I didn’t know how acute his disability is.

I’ve seen him be brave. To continue to show up every week, and try his best, despite his fear, despite all the previous failures, despite my not handling everything right, despite how enormously challenging it is for him, is courage.

He’s grown immensely. A couple years ago, he wouldn’t sound out anything, and didn’t even want to do copy work because it was so hard for him. When he wrote “pirs” on the grocery list, it was a victory of the highest order. You’d better believe I bought him an entire bag of pears, and he didn’t even have to share them.

Giant lengthy tantrums used to happen on the regular, partly due to his frustrations with what he viewed as his inability to “do it right”, and partly due to his innate emotional dysregulation. They’ve largely stopped. I see this as a result of the tutoring, which has shown him how very much he’s capable of, and helped him realize he isn’t doing anything wrong. We’re helping his brain grow and giving him tools to be successful in spite of his disabilties.

Another struggle he has is ADHD, which is highly misunderstood, and highly misdiagnosed. Before our own family’s experiences with it, I didn’t even really think it was real for most kids, and adults, who were on medication for it. I thought it was because of the structure of schools, and expecting children, especially boys, to go against their very natures for so long. I still do think this is part of it, but I now know that ADHD brains are just wired very differently and their natures are completely divergent from a “normal” brain. ADDitude Mag has helped me immensely as I journey this new territory, in understanding how his brain functions.

Having a child with special needs and being a homeschooling mama who loves him more than breath is an extraordinarily difficult thing. I want to push him to be his best, as I do all my children. At the same time, I want to be cognizant of his contrastive abilities. I want him to thrive and yet it’s hard to know where the line of too much pressure lies.

All last year, he went  to school in the mornings to get one on one help from the special ed teacher in reading and writing. He was getting the Barton Method tutoring twice a week. We realized that he really was not benefiting as much from the reading recovery special education and would have had to adjust to a new teacher, so we pulled him from the public school program.

Now he strictly gets Barton Method tutoring two mornings a week. We do Classical Conversations and read alouds for the bulk of our curriculum. All of these things work amazingly in concert to play to his strengths while we bulwark the inherent challenges of dyslexia and ADHD.

Having a child with special needs is never easy, and homeschooling is inherently challenging. Combining the two can seem insurmountable. We’ve used our resources and contracted out some of our learning. God gives us strength every day, His faithfulness is great and His mercies renew. We all face tests of our abilities and resolve, but especially when we confront them together and we have support, we can do hard things.

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A Daily Goal Chart

I’ve been trying to be more conscious about setting daily goals for myself, to be a better person, to be closer to the woman God creates me to be.

A dear friend sent me this BINGO chart she saw on Instagram and it completely appealed to me!

I thought for sure I would be able to knock it out of the park…

But I was wrong. It was super hard to do these simple encouragement tasks. It was meant to be uplifting and positive and instead I ended up feeling like I failed.

I took matters into my own hands.

And I did.

I achieved every one.

What goals did you achieve today?

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honest review of Hollar dollar store on line dollar tree

Hollar: An Honest Review

This is not a sponsored post, I was just impressed! I will however,  get a small kickback in credit  if you order after clicking through on any of the Hollar links in this post, and you can too, just for signing up for a free account at Hollar!

Have you heard of Hollar?  Hollar is an online dollar store. If you know me at all, you know I love a good deal. I heard about Hollar  on Youtube and decided to try it. If you order more than $25, you get free shipping, and they have sales that are always changing.

My order came in 8 days. Here’s what I thought:

Fizzy Baby helped me open everything in the appealing bright orange box.

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I ordered a set of melamine plates for $2 each. I love them. We’ve been using them non stop and they are holding up better than our Corelle wear, and bring joy to my eyes every time I look at them.

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I really felt like Gerta needed this squeaky dog toy  in the shape of a banana split, which was only $1. How wrong I was! The squeaker was so loud, it scared the pants off of her, and drove me nuts. I ended up binning it .

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I hate the feel the of my feet in flats without socks, but I love the look. I’ve been wearing these “old lady” no show socks with my flats, and thought I had found the best deal at Ross, for a little over a dollar a pair. But no! I got EIGHT pairs on Hollar for $4. They are  more slippery than my other ones, but they stay on better.

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We only had one dryer ball left but I didn’t want to “invest” in another set of the reusable dryer balls, if I didn’t have to. However with only a $1 investment for two balls, I didn’t mind at all! They work great!

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I use these scrubby pads on all the things in my kitchen and bathroom, from stuck on toothpaste and peanut butter and jelly on the counters, to burnt on crud on the stove, to congealed oatmeal in the bottom of the pan. This pack of 8 was $1. They don’t last as long as the brand name ones I usually use, but don’t scratch the surfaces and clean as well.

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I use my wooden utensils to the point of death, until they are cracked and probably hazardous. Desperately in need of replacements, I scooped up all 6 for $3. I love the colorful handles too!

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Needing nonslip hangars for some of my dresses and kimonos, I thought I would replace some of my beautiful, matching wooden hangars for these beautiful, matching  rose ones. I LOVE them! The slim design keeps my clothes together and they aren’t as noisy as the wooden ones, and nothing falls off! I nabbed this steal in packs of 18 for $5.

hollar review dollar store online flocked hangars Both the app and the website are well designed and work in consort with each other. If you are on your phone and add some things to your cart, it stays in your cart on the computer. I add things until I get up to that $25 free shipping limit.

I’m not going to abandon The  Dollar Tree completely, but Hollar is definitely getting some of my business! If you like saving money and scoring good deals, and shopping in your pajamas after the kids are in bed, then Hollar is absolutely for you!

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Gentle Parenting in a Big Family

I first became committed to Gentle Parenting–parenting without threats, spanks, yelling, anger–three years ago. We always have been Attachment Parents–breastfeeding, baby wearing, cosleeping are a few of the tenets–, but  I didn’t understand Gentle Parenting or Peaceful Parenting, or how it could possibly “work”. I even joined a Gentle Parenting board and tried to learn more, almost a decade ago, but it was not a good fit at the time.

Gentle Parenting as described eloquently by L.R. Knost “is guiding instead of controlling, connecting instead of punishing, encouraging instead of demanding. It’s about listening, understanding, responding, and communicating.” It is a concious shift away from the way I was brought up, away from what everything in my body is demanding, away from the gut center of my brain.

Gentle Parenting is, I think, a bigger challenge for me than traditional parenting because it requires more from the parent. More thought, more emotion, more connection, just more. No matter how you parent, or how many kids you have, it’s hard, don’t get me wrong. When I had two little daughters and I was spanking, it was hard. Now though, I have to think more about why I’m being reactive and what is going on in my child and what is the behavior trying to tell me and teach them how to problem solve at the same time I’m trying to change a diaper and spell a word and give directives and help a child and there are six of them!

I follow several Gentle Parenting pages on Facebook and it seems like they all have one or two children. It feels frustrating because they offer their good solutions, and say things like “if you…then they will…” and it just doesn’t happen right away. The dynamics in a home with one or two children are very different than a home with several. I am dealing with teenagerish hormones at the same time I’m nursing a baby with four loud and active and strong children in between!

I don’t think I thought this “big family thing” through very well.

It is hard to coach a small child through their big emotions. It is hard when some kid is lying stiff as a board and mad faced in the middle of the floor when everyone else is following directions and  you know if you stop and help this kid through it, everyone else’s well oiled machine-ing will grind to a halt. It would be so much easier to say, “Fine. If you’re not going to clean up then no TV tonight.” Or “Fine. If you’re going to act that way, you don’t get to be with the family” and physically drag that child to the corner. I know this, because even though I’m committed to Peaceful Parenting, I’m not perfect at it. 
There is still yelling and still anger, and still fights and frustrations and upsets. The differences are dynamic though. Instead of angrily telling my child “You’re acting like a brat!” (yes. I said that.) I can now angrily say, “I am so angry right now! I feel so frustrated when you hit your sister! I need to calm down! (I take some deep breaths, and ask, more calmly)What can we do differently next time?” I am teaching my children important skills when I do this.
I see a huge difference in Aviana at 3 and Elivette at 3. Elivette knows she is respected as a human being and an integral part of our family. I thought I was showing the same sorts of things to Aviana, but because I punished her when she threw tantrums, didn’t allow her grace when she was angry or “disobeyed”, because I honestly thought I was doing what would teach her how to be a compassionate, loving grown up. 
Elivette and Aviana handle their emotions completely differently. Aviana, almost 12, has been ‘gentle parented’ for three years, but Elivette has known it this way her entire life. Aviana will sneak pinch or hit her sister when frustrated; Elivette will cry “I’m so mad!” and we’ll work through it together and let her feel those emotions and let them dissipate. Aviana is used to stuffing them down because they weren’t accepted for so much of her life. Elivette doesn’t really have tantrums, because she feels heard most of the time, and knows she’s accepted. Aviana threw tantrums of epic proportions. 
I know a lot of it has to do with personality and I know each child is different. I don’t want you to read this and think “I gentle parent and my kid still has fits. I must suck.” That is NOT what I’m saying! I just know this to be true in my own family–that I am seeing the fruit of this hard work of gentle parenting these lovely chiddlers, as they grow into compassionate, loving adults.
(As an aside, I was spanked, screamed at, belittled, criticized, hurt, and more, and I still grew up to be a lovely human being. This post is not meant to give guilt trips. At. All. I’m just trying to relate how positive of a change this has been in my family, and how I am seeing delightful things happening here. )
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Chores

I get asked now and again for advice.

One of the questions people hit me up for is “How do you get your kids to do chores?” The last time someone asked me this, I was caught off guard and probably half asleep and answered, “I don’t know exactly. They just do.”

My friend got a lot of mileage teasing me about my perfect well behaved little cherubs who just do their chores. Let me assure you, that is NOT the case. We have balking, stalling, uneager children who don’t want to help just like everyone else.

I thought I would share some of what we do around here.

We start early. Elivette is two and puts away the dishes from the dishwasher with whichever sibling is on task. We don’t make her do it every time, but we encourage her to do it frequently. We have moved the plates and glasses to a lower cabinet so the children can reach to put them away and get them out. When a job needs done, I generally ask the youngest child capable of doing that chore to do it. Frequently, I ask an older sister to accompany said younger to ensure the job actually gets done.

Littlest Kitchen Helper 

We have assigned tasks. We have a zone chart. The house is divided up into zones and the children keep their zones for a month. This helps me know whose job is whose because it’s not always switching. It also helps the child get good at their designated area because they have lots of chances to practice. We do get the “But it’s not my zone!” complaint when I ask a child to help in another area, but I respond with letting them know it doesn’t matter. We are a family living in community and we all help one another.

It’s expected. It’s just part of our life, our routine. We all pitch in.

We pay them. We opted to pay our kids five dollars a week for doing their jobs. The caveat is if I get annoyed by having to ask them too many times or because they have been consistently doing a poor job, their pay is reduced by a random amount. Never once has a child argued with me about this, because they know if they’ve been shirking. Sometimes I’ll even ask them, “If you were me, how much would you take off your pay this week?”

We do it together. I work with a younger child, helping them become successful at the task at hand until they are capable of doing it themselves. We sometimes all swarm on a certain zone and get it perfect. It’s amazing how fast they’ll pick up when they can watch a show when they are done :). Sometimes we set a timer and holler “10 minute tidy!” and we turn on some music and all work on our individual zones until the timer goes off.

I don’t know exactly how I “get them to do chores”, but with consistent chore doing, we manage to do them.

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Death Obsession, or, In Which a Soapbox is Climbed

It is very hard to find used clothing for a six year old boy. Boys are notoriously hard on their clothes. At one of the second hand stores we frequent, there are rows and rows of size six girls clothes. There were exactly TWO pairs of pants for Cadrian. And one was a pair of capris, so I’m pretty sure it should have been in the girls’ section.

I had to resort to eBay for his fall school clothes. I prefer to not do that if I don’t have to, as the auctions plus shipping are usually a little more expensive than I like.

Also, I’m picky.

I like to buy in lots to save money, as you can usually get a better deal per item, but every item in the lot has to be one he’ll wear, else what is the point? Money would not have been saved.

I don’t really like that many of the boys clothes have sports on them. What if the boy isn’t sporty? Or, what if he’s athletic and doesn’t really like to play organized sports? Why are there so many options for sports for boys clothes, but none for little girls?

I don’t really like that so many of the clothes have a brand or a store emblazoned on them. WHY should I pay good money to have my child be a walking advertisement? Shouldn’t they be paying me?

I don’t really like that so many of the clothes are from video games, TV shows or movies. In my book, six year old boys should be outside climbing trees and rolling in sand and making things out of rocks and not be inside playing video games. I don’t think playing a bit of video game is necessarily bad in and of itself. I don’t have a problem with a movie now and again. I do think plastering a video game or movie character across my son’s chest is like saying, “This. This is what is important to me. This is where my priorities lie.”

I don’t like how there are so many boys clothes with sassy sayings on them. A few I saw: A dog tooting, with a fallen tree “Who cut one?”. “I can give a headache to an aspirin”. “For Sale…Little Brother…Cheap” “Underachiever”  “My parents are exhausted”    THIS is the best we can do for our boys? Our boys we are raising to be men? We make them wear self deprecating tee shirts, give them put downs and undermine their precious (and true) exhausting energy and put these low opinions across their chests. What messages are we trying to send?

I once had an adorable red onesie for my 15 month old son that said “Heartbreaker” in white letters. I put it on him for Valentine’s Day and we took him to a party. When I was looking back at the pictures, I thought how appalling that it was that I did that! Do I want my son to grow up and plow through girls like a stereotypical stud? Or do I want my son to be a man of integrity, who waits for the woman he can spend his life with, and then who he sticks by in thick or thin? Do I want him to treat women like throwaway possessions and leave a trail of broken hearts behind him or do I want him to treat a woman’s heart like gold?

I got rid of that onesie and promised myself that I would be more discerning about what messages I put on my children, and what representations we put out into the world.

And the thing I really really don’t like about boys clothing right now is all the skulls! A skull, for almost all of time, has represented death. It still does. Even if we put it on our babies’ sleep and plays, it still represents death. Even if we see a skull almost every time we leave the house because it is on so many kinds of clothing, it still represents death. I don’t think it’s cute. I don’t think it’s for children. Pirates used skulls to intimidate. Skull and crossbones still are used to indicate poison. In Tarot cards, skulls are on the death card. Skulls were part of the Nazi SS uniform as well as many other military insignia, partly to be representative of loyalty until death, and partly as a warning: “I will kill you”.  Skulls might be fashionable right now, but I think they still represent a culture obsessed with death.

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The Absolutely Amazing Home Birth of Babe E

I’m sharing this video for several reasons.

One:  Because it’s awesome.

Two: I want to educate people on natural birth. Women were created to do this! (Not just this, but you know what I mean). I want people to know that even though it’s hard, and even though it can hurt, women CAN do this!

Three: My first birth was a Cesarean. That means I’ve had four VBACs, three out of hospital. VBACs are safe and should be encouraged.

Four: After Elivette was born, I had uterine clotting and bleeding. I lost a lot of blood and fainted. My midwife gently removed the clots, and administered oral Cytotec to clamp down my uterus. My midwife called 911 and I went to the hospital in the ambulance about two hours after the birth. My blood pressure was almost non-existent upon arrival. The ER doctor on call flipped out on me. At one point, he panickedly yelled at me “Do you just want me to take you back and do a hysterectomy right now?!” What kind of question is that for a medical professional to ask; especially to a woman in my weakened state? I knew my midwife had given me medicine at home, but I was unclear at the time exactly what it was. All I wanted was for him to wait until she arrived so I didn’t end up with some sort of drug reaction.

After my midwife arrived at the ER, we got the OB on call to come down. She removed (NOT GENTLY) still more clots from my uterus. I remember screaming and writhing. It was much worse than anything I’d ever been through. I had been loud during the birth, but now I was really screaming! Then, after she got down off of me, they gave me morphine for the pain. A little late, I’d say. I was also hooked up to Pitocin.

I was thankful at least I got to nurse my baby in the ER.

They wouldn’t let me eat. Once I got admitted, they made me stay awake and answer all these ridiculous questions for their intake forms. They wouldn’t let me eat! I just had a baby and they wouldn’t let me eat! I had to be on the surgical floor (I think) because since my baby was born at home, apparently she’s contaminated and can’t be in the Mother/Baby unit. The nurses were as kind as could be and very curious about home birth. I didn’t really want to talk though; I just wanted to sleep! And eat!

The next morning, the OB came back to check on me. She told me that my midwife did everything right. My home birth midwife saved my life. She told me that while it was good we transferred, in case I needed a blood transfusion, the her actions and the actions of the ER doctor and the hospital staff are not what saved my life. My home birth midwife saved my life.


I reiterate this because I want it known that home birth is safe. Home birth, even when there’s an emergency, is safe.

I want people to know that moving birth out of homes and into the hospital in the 21st century is much less about safety as they are led to believe, and more about money. Absolutely, there are instances where you need to be in the hospital–my first birth was one of those. But in the vast majority of cases, for the vast majority of women, it’s unnecessary.

Welcome Home banner the girls made for me.

Meeting biggest brother

Meeting big brother

Five: I want to encourage other expectant moms out there with this video. I loved watching youtube videos of birth while expecting because I felt it helped me be more prepared. It could happen this way, or that way, or some way I’d never anticipated. I loved watching the miracle of mamas bringing their little ones into the world. My baby was malpositioned, and it was difficult, but the euphoria of being able to bring her earthside is unparalleled.

Six: Our birth stories matter. Birth matters. Helping women have a “good story” or even, the story they want is important to me. I hope that this video encourages someone to have a natural birth and to be able to say “I did it!”

Because you can!
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Gentle Win

When my kids go to bed, I am done. I clock out. I don’t do dishes, I don’t clean, I don’t pick up. I am done. I consciously set this rule when Aviana was young, and started having a regular bedtime. It was delicious to have her in bed at seven and have three or four hours all to me.

As I added more kids and the kids grew older, that time has grown to be more and more precious…and precarious. The girls are old enough now that by the time they are really settled and quiet, it can be nine or nine thirty. I try to be in bed by 11.

My kids all stop napping somewhere around two and a half, and then the training of quiet time begins. It isn’t realistic for a three year old to play by himself for the entire two hours the baby naps, so I truly don’ t get any time by myself most days.

Tonight, I was planning on painting the new play space. I’m doing a mural which I hope will be awesome.

At nine-ish, Aviana came down in tears. Brielle was being mean to her and she was feeling frustrated. I desperately wanted to send her back to bed. (JUST GO TO BED! HOW HARD CAN IT BE?)

But I didn’t. I held my great big gangling nine year old on my lap. We looked at pictures of when she was younger. I listened to her complaints and frustrations of being the oldest of five. I stroked her cheeks. I silently marveled at her sweet growing self. I petted her hair. I heard her (lengthy) descriptions of what she  goes through. I didn’t offer advice. I just heard her. I was here.

I truly didn’t want to be. I was trying to not look at the clock.

I just was here. I just held her.

It was after ten, and much too late to start painting. She was still teary. But she said “It makes me feel better to talk about it.”

And she went to bed.

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Gentle Miss (part 3) (In which I tell you how I ranted)

Once we got to church, Denton wouldn’t come into the church. Denton stood out by a tree, in the rain, for a very long time. Cadrian wouldn’t go into his classroom. Cadrian stood in the hallway for a very long time. Denton sat down on the stairs and held onto the banisters. Denton ate my sweet roll. Denton had to sit with me in church. Denton still wouldn’t go down to his classroom. The preaching started and then Denton wanted to go down to his classroom. I had to get up in the middle to take him downstairs. Then Denton wouldn’t go into his classroom. Then Denton hid under a table.

After church, I let the kids have a sweet roll each (even Denton) because I wanted to stop at a store to buy Cadrian some “fancy pants” to wear to church so he wouldn’t have to fret about wearing jeans to church again. I thought the trip would go better if they weren’t hungry.

I asked the kids to sit a table while I went to the restroom. They didn’t. Cadrian and Denton wanted to talk with our pastor, interrupting him from a conversation. On the way to the van, Denton climbed up the scrolled metal porch pole outside the church doors and wouldn’t come down until he was good and ready. Denton and Cadrian climbed up on the cement parts of the parking lot light poles, significantly delaying our leave taking process. Then they ran all the way down the hill towards the creek. And didn’t come back for a long time. Then Denton wouldn’t hold still so I could buckle him in.

Through all of this (and parts I left out), I’m feeling embarrassed. I’m feeling like my children are uncivilized little hooligans and we are never going to be able to be out in public. I’m feeling like I’m doing a horrible job of parenting. But through all of this, I am feeling pretty calm. I’m speaking pretty calmly. I’m not yanking on anyone’s arm. I’m gentle.

The store I wanted to buy the pants at didn’t open until noon, and we weren’t going to sit in the parking lot for an hour. Wal-mart was right down the street. I debated about whether or not we should go, but decided that I really wanted to get Cadrian some long enough black pants. Part of it was guilt, I’m sure, for not having the right size pants at home, and making him wear a “not fancy enough” outfit.

When we got to Wal-mart, Denton kept trying to bop out into the parking lot while I was putting Elivette in the wrap. I finally set him on the seat in front of me, but it was STILL like a mini-battle of him pushing me and trying to circumvent me so he could go get himself run over. I put him in a grocery cart and he stood up. I told him gently to sit down.

NO.

I put my hands on his shoulders. “Sit down”.

“Ughn! NO! I HATE YOU!”

That. Was. It.

I had put up with so much $**# from these little so-n-sos in the past couple of days and now they are telling me they hate me?!!

I tossed them back into the van. We are not even going to Wal-mart. If you don’t ever get your pants, you can blame Denton.  I am DONE with “I hate you”. No one is EVER saying that again. You think it’s ok to hide behind a tree and not come into church? You think it’s ok to scream in Best Buy because you don’t want to be in a stroller?! You think it’s ok to scream in the parking lot of Best Buy because you don’t want to get out of the stroller?! You think it’s to scream all the way to church because you don’t get to wear what you want?! I don’t want people yelling at me all the time, but do I get what I want?! I don’t want people to tell me they hate me, but do I get what I want?!

 I laid it on thick. I laid it on loudly. I laid it on with gritted teeth. I ranted. I raved. ALL. THE. WAY home.

At one point, I slammed on the brakes on our gravel road and skidded to a stop. “Do you think I’m not a person? Do you think I don’t have feelings? Do you think you can all just yell at me and yell at me and yell at me and it doesn’t affect me?” I pointed out instances where they had all in the past twenty-four hours been unkind to me and mean to me and undeservedly rude to me. I asked them if they liked how I was talking to them just then. I told them I don’t like it either, when they talk to me like that. I told them that I generally am gentle, I asked them if they thought so too (yes, they agreed), but this is what I get in return?! “Granted,” I said, “I don’t do it perfectly. But You Do. Not. Get. to be so unkind to me!”

Ugh.

I cringe reading that, knowing how I sounded. I can’t imagine what was going through their little brains hearing that.

The message was fine. The delivery needed a lot work.

I need to find a satisfactory way to tell them what I am experiencing in a way they can understand me, before I reach this point. I tell them “When you do X, I feel Y” already, but sometimes it doesn’t seem to do anything to change behaviors.

I need to find a way to do better self care. Journaling helps. Blogging helps.

I need something to change. Somehow. I’m already doing all I know to do, and feel capable of doing.

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Gentle Miss (part 2) (in which I am honest about my failings)

Sunday morning. It can be a little hectic. Kevin has to do chores, so I am getting the kids ready to go by myself and out the door by 8:30. I do this on non-church days with usually little to no stress, but I’m realizing that Sundays are harder.

 For one, I have this old ingrained expectation that Sunday is “a day of rest”, so I tend to want to lounge more, to take my time, instead of getting up and at ’em like I do on the rest of the days when we have to leave the house by 8:30. I also think (and I currently am adjusting this expectation) that Kevin should be helping me more because we’re going to church together as a family.

 For another, I have an expectation that we need to look “put together”. I don’t care what the kids wear when we go to our homeschool co-op and I have to leave at 8:30. I don’t care fret about whether I’ve combed their hair or what kind of shoes they have on when we leave the house to go to an early dentist or chiro appointment. Why do I feel I have to impress “church people” more? I honestly don’t think my church people are any less loving or any more judgmental than my homeschool friends, so why do I stress?

For a third, Sundays growing up were a HUGE point of stress. I can’t remember a lot of specifics, but I do know it is very ingrained in my being that going to church was a huge yelling fest; Dad was always angry, and you could never never be late and we were always running late.

This particular Sunday, Kevin wasn’t even going to go with us.

Cadrian had picked out his outfit and I buttoned him up where he couldn’t. Next kid.

Suddenly I look up and Cadrian is trying to UNbutton himself to change clothes. I internally freak out. I don’t know if I was scared we would be late. I don’t know if I just didn’t want to have to deal with whatever he wanted to change into. Maybe I was scared he would change into five different outfits and we’d have clothes up to our knees in the family closet. Whatever it was that this innocent action triggered, I felt I had to lay down the law.

Calmly and gently, I explained that he had chosen the outfit he had on. The outfit was fine. The outfit was fancy. He was wearing it. Period.

Fit commenced. I wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t stop screaming and threatening. He screamed for the remaining half hour it took to get Elivette and Denton ready. He screamed almost all the way to church.

In hindsight, what would it have harmed to let him change clothes? We really did have plenty of time. Even if we were late, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. If clothes were all over the floor, it would certainly not have been the first time. As it was, I had to go back in the house for some deep breathing and prayer, to calm myself down. He could have changed clothes twice over in that amount of time. And I wouldn’t have been stressed. And HE wouldn’t have been stressed.

When we talked about it calmly afterwords, I told him I was wrong. I apologized. We hugged and loved and all was well. (for the moment).

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