Shamrock Foam Dough Sensory Tray from Crayon Chronicles
Easy Coloured Rice Centrepiece from Lynnae McCoy
Pot of Gold Paper Plate Craft from Tutus and Tea Parties
St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books from Generation iKid
Leprechaun Puppet from Lalymom
Skittles Density Rainbow from Gift of Curiosity
St. Patrick’s Day Printables Pack also from Gift of Curiosity
St. Patrick’s Day Fine Motor & Sensory Fun Activities from Golden Reflections Blog
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By linking up, you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) to use in a featured collage.For this week’s pinning party, you can link up to 3 pins (or posts if you prefer) relevant to parenting toddlers and preschoolers. This can be anything from activities to child-friendly snacks to parenting tips. Then, visit some of the other pins linked up to get new ideas and help others find these great ideas too by repinning! Sharing the love by pinning your favourites really helps everyone.
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Last week’s most clicked posts were:
20 St. Patrick’s Day Fine Motor & Sensory Fun Activities from Golden Reflections Blog
Creative Art Ideas for Preschoolers from the Measured Mom
Dr. Seuss Activities for Kids from There’s Just One Mommy
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I’m feeling very vulnerable in writing this. I feel that way for two reasons. The first is obviously because I’m deeply ashamed to admit that I have become a yeller and the second is because in going public with my proclamation that I’m going to stop yelling, I’m actually going to have to stop and I’m scared that I won’t be able to.
When I was first a mom, I was actually known for my patience. I had patience by the bucketful! We were foster parents for 8 years when our boys were young. We usually had five or six kids including our own. At one point, we had 5 kids aged 5 and under (2 were under a year)! Even with getting up many times a night, my patience never seemed to run out. Even when parenting very challenging children, my patience was something I could rely on. The only time I lost my temper and was short with the kids was when I was PMSing and even then, I wasn’t really a yeller.
I don’t know where my patience went or how to find it again. I’m not even totally sure when the yelling started. The past two years have been unbelievably stressful in our home, beyond just parenting 7 kids. When our youngest daughter developed PTSD and RAD two years ago, it was also a time where our oldest daughter was in and out of the hospital with her lung condition and we were doing hospital care at home and even had a night nurse 3 nights a week (the other 4 nights, I was caring for her and not sleeping), my husband was going through some huge changes at work which were stressful, our marriage was in a bit of a crisis, our oldest began spiralling downwards, our other kids began to act out to try to get their share of the attention, my father-in-law had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and many other stressors were occurring as well. It felt like we were getting slammed on all sides.
I had no time to analyze how the stress was affecting me or to take proper care of myself . Somewhere in there, the yelling began. I was horrified the first few times it happened. I apologized profusely to my kids and vowed to “try” not to do it in the future. My kids were shocked when it happened too, as they weren’t used to hearing me raise my voice.
I am so sad to say that none of us are shocked anymore. I’m tempted here to try to say things to justify or minimize like to say that it isn’t a daily occurrence or that I don’t name call, but there really is no justification and it really isn’t okay.
I grew up going to a Catholic school so Lent is something familiar to me. I usually don’t give up anything for Lent but when I was thinking about it this year, I knew that giving up chocolate or Pepsi or nachos probably wouldn’t change our lives, but giving up yelling would.
I am giving up yelling for Lent. 40 days. No yelling. No matter what.
I’m nervous that I won’t be able to do it. I may be forced to find ways of dealing with my stress that are more productive. I may fail.
Today on the first day of Lent, I had my first big test. Snuggle Puppy and Einstein had a huge fight, complete with one punching the other. I navigated that one just fine and wasn’t even tempted to yell, but later in the day the real challenge came.
Due to their fight, I decided that it would be best to have them spend some time apart from each other, so I took Einstein with me to run errands. I had too many things to do and not enough hours in the day so was in a hurry. Having him with me slowed me down, but I tried to look for the positive in it. It was time to spend together.
When we were at the mall, he asked me if he could go over and look in another store. I said “yes” (the local mall is quite small and it wasn’t very busy and he just turned 12 so I thought it should be fine) but made sure to tell him to come back in a few minutes and had him repeat the name of the store I was in.
My mistake was in saying “a few minutes”. Einstein has Aspergers and things need to be very concrete for him. Had I said “five minutes”, he likely would have looked at his watch and been back in exactly 5 minutes.
I began to worry when more than 20 minutes had gone by and went in search of him. I walked the mall over and over, going into the stores I thought he was most likely to have visited, checking the food court, and finally calling my husband when more than 40 minutes had passed. My husband cancelled a work meeting and came to help me look. At that point, I involved the mall security. I was trying not to freak out, but was feeling so many different emotions from annoyance to anger to worry to complete panic. After over an hour, I saw him sauntering towards me. I didn’t know whether to hug him or scream at him!
I was angry about the lost hour, angry at myself that I had trusted him in the first place, angry that I was now very behind schedule, angry that my husband had to miss his important meeting (but grateful that he had), angry that I had been so worried.
You know that feeling that is a mixture of relief and rage?! It’s a terrible feeling that only mothers can probably fully relate to.
I did not yell. I did not bite his head off. I chose my words carefully. I was pointed. I made sure that he knew that what he had done was not acceptable. He knows that he has lost trust. He knows that I was worried and that his dad and I suffered consequences because of his choice, but he doesn’t feel like the worst person on the planet. He knows that he is loved.
So today was a victory. I’m not worried about tomorrow because for the next 5 days, I will be getting a break from the kids as my husband and I head off on a much needed break for just the two of us. I’m going to spend some of that time trying to work through some of the stress that has built up. I will also be praying about how best to move forward and be successful in this. I will need a whole lot of God, a whole lot of stress relief, and a whole lot of support if I’m going to pull this off.
Yelling has become a habit. One that I am ashamed of and want to be free of. This may just turn out to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I have 7 precious kids that are so worth it!
Will you help me? Keep me accountable, encourage me, don’t judge me too harshly if I slip up. And if you’re brave enough, join me.
I make the drive on autopilot, having made this trip hundreds of times now. I never bother to look for empty spots as I snake my way down the parkade to “our” parking stall, the one in the corner of the lowest level. “Our” parking spot is near the stairs. Some days as we run up the six flights to the top floor, I pause to exhale a prayer of thanks. Taking the stairs is a victory for my daughter.
The first time I drove to this building, we had been discharged from the hospital, my daughter still struggling to breathe. I had begged the doctors there not to send us away, had known in my mommy gut that their assessment was wrong, that something was so terribly wrong with my baby girl.
In the hospital parking lot, I cried out to God for a miracle and He whispered a name. I called that friend and left a sobbing message on her machine. As I drove further away from the hospital, feeling more desperate with each block, I helplessly watched my daughter labour for breath in the back seat. My mind raced.
The cell phone rang. It was the friend whose name had come to mind when I had asked God for a miracle. I heard only snippets of what she was saying “best pediatric pulmonary doc…staying open past closing for you…follow my exact directions to get there…go now”.
When we arrived, her lips were again blue. The doctor was incensed but not surprised that the hospital had discharged her. He began to treat her right there in his office. He was able to accurately diagnose her and take over her future care. Some might say the doctor saved her. I know of course that it was God who saved her, God who has plans for her, God who has blessed me with her for this time.
Having a daughter with a chronic illness has caused me to rely on and trust God in ways that I never thought I could. Through it all, my daughter has taught me the power of compassion and positivity and shown me the true meaning of bravery.
Learning to rely on God in the midst of our daughter’s illness did not come easily for me. It is something that at times I still have to work on. These are the things that helped me:
Accepting that I couldn’t change the situation.
My daughter’s health was something I could not control no matter how much I wanted to or tried. Understanding that worrying constantly or being in a state of near panic did not help to bring her healing helped me to release that burden of worry over to God.
Reading His word.
The Bible talks an awful lot about fear. Reading those verses helps me not only to relinquish that fear but also to realize that for God to provide us with so many verses about it, He must understand how difficult fear is for us.
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)
Believing in the power of prayer.
I read books and listened to sermons and researched prayer. Then of course, I prayed. I asked others to pray. I continue to pray for a complete and miraculous healing for our daughter.
Knowing that God is the ultimate Healer.
Read verses such as Psalm 103:1-3, Matthew 14:14 and Exodus 23:25-26. Put your trust in Him.
Science can be fun and it doesn’t have to be complicated. This simple experiment allowed me to introduce several new science concepts to the kids.
For this experiment, you only need 2 items: a container (we tried using a glass container and a tall plastic cup and we preferred the glass container as it made more noise which contributed to the fun factor!) and a long string of plastic beads or a beaded garland. You can achieve this by using beaded necklaces (I bought mine at the dollar store) and cutting them once to form a single strand and then tying them together to create a long strand.
Put a piece of tape on each end of your beads. I used clear packing tape but I’m sure that any type of tape would be fine.
The experiment is so simple. Place the strand of beads into the container, ensuring that it doesn’t get tangled, hold it up and give the end of the strand a slight tug, causing the strand to begin falling. Before long, instead of falling straight down, you will see the beads begin to arch upwards. It is so cool!
This experiment depicts Newton’s law of inertia (Newton’s first law) which is basically that objects at rest have a tendency to stay at rest while objects in motion have a tendency to stay in motion.
I also used this experiment to talk to my kids about momentum. To give a further demonstration of momentum, I had them begin running and then suddenly told them to stop so that they could see that their body continued to propel forward. They found this to be quite a fun demonstration as well!
This video shows our gravity defying bead experiment. First, Snuggle Puppy is holding the container and then Granola Girl (who has a really funny reaction to watching the beads go higher and higher!). I’ve also put Granola Girl’s in slow motion to better show how it works.