Category Archives: Kind Parenting

Power Struggles

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I’ve been struggling with Kaeli, trying to get her to eat. Mealtimes have become me sitting there, coaxing her to take every. single. bite. and I just can’t do it anymore. Meals have become about control instead of nourishment. I’m trying to control her diet by making sure she eats her food, she’s trying to establish control by -not- eating her food, and we fight for hours every day.

So I’m trying not to. I’m trying to just… present her food, and let her eat it.

It sounds so simple, but all my research says that the best thing to do, is stop making it about power. Make it about conversation and community and togetherness, and if she eats it, she eats it. If she doesn’t, she’ll be hungrier for the next meal. Make sure that there’s something at every meal that each kid will eat, even if it’s just carrot sticks or dinner rolls. I try to include something healthy- fruits or veggies or yogurt or something at each meal that they’ll eat for sure.

I’m not sure how it’ll go, but we’ll find out. Lets try it.

Breakfast: Waffles and bacon. Josh ate both. Kaeli ate a waffle, Ayla ate a waffle. I think the girls had a small bit of bacon. Josh ate most of it.

Lunch: Parmesan pigs in a blanket- puff pastry around little smokeys and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and carrot sticks and milk. Josh ate his pigs. Ayla ate carrots. Kaeli ate one pig and one carrot. Everyone had some milk.

Supper: Breaded chicken breast chunks, crinkle cut fries, and fresh carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. All kids ate everything, and lots of it. By dinner they were all hungry, having ate only a little at the other two meals. We did not pressure anyone to eat anything, or coax, or anything. We encouraged them to taste food, praised them for eating a variety of things, and otherwise ignored their food choices except to remind them to mind their table manners and offer solutions to flavor dilemmas (offering sauces to help when they said something was ‘spicy’ for instance.)

Day One: Appears to be a success. Kaeli ate a little bit of everything, Ayla tried several new foods. Josh ate an entire plate of food and veggies. The veggie platter was cleared by the end of the meal. 

A lovely day

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I’m feeling much better now- the infection in my eye is clearing up nicely and the sore throat that has plagued me is fading slowly into oblivion. I can eat again!

Today was a nice day of unschool.

We started with a sleep in, as usual. It’s usually 10 before we even start to stir! We all lingered and snuggled, nursed and talked quietly as we started to plan our day. We watched some cartoons, played games on the computer (from PBS kids website) and then got dressed and went for a walk to the market. We meandered down the sidewalk, looking at ice and kicking the snow berms, looking at the trees and grass in the empty lot and finding last season’s berries on the juniper bushes. We walked around the market, picking this or that- a half cup of little shrimps for a shrimp and cheese pasta salad, some special pieces of candy, some chocolate milk. We looked at kiwis and at pineapples, we examined the fish in the cases, and we walked up and down the aisles looking for new flavors to taste. On our way home, we played in more snow and ice, saw a dead goose in the empty lot, and came home to take a nap.

Now, it’s getting late, I’m getting tired, and he’s coloring a rainbow with Daddy, while the girls sleep off and on.

I need to get the camera fixed.

On judgemental people

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(Everything underlined is a link. Click!)

So, I read a blog called Adventures of a Thrifty Mama and the other day she posted a delicious rice pudding recipe.

Somehow, this triggered a very angry rant from a person who seems to have a problem with the fact that Chris (a marvelous woman, by the way) is a stay at home mother who blogs about how she saves money while homeschooling and feeding her family.

This person spent a good amount of time writing not just one but two angry rants (see Facebook for further commentary) about how Chris needs to get a J-O-B and stop wasting time posting blogs about rice pudding.

For one, I happen to really benefit from the posts on AoaTM, since I am a stay at home mother with children and a large family who loves getting tips on everything from gardening to recipes to defining your core values.

This person, however, seems to believe that by staying home with her children (and for health reasons) and by using her money wisely and doing as much as she can for herself, Chris is being selfish and wasteful.

Since when has being a homemaker become the easy way out? I, for one, find it much harder to stay home and care for my family than when I was working full time. Here, we don’t have the luxury of my income, and I still have just as many (more, actually) mouths to feed. BUT! More than that, I don’t have any way of avoiding what needs done here. I can’t just say “Oh, I worked all day, you take care of it.” I can’t avoid problems that come up in the house, because they come up right under my nose. I’m not taken by surprise- “What? We’re out of eggs?” or shocked “What do you mean, the baby colored on the wall?” because

I.

Am.

Right.

Here.

I am present, all day, with my kids. I can’t say “I don’t know where he learned that!” or “How did she find those?”

I live fully in this life with my brilliant, disaster-causing, crying, laughing, whining, beautiful family. I am fully engaged every day with every little struggle, triumph and tribulation that every family member experiences, because I am -here-.

So go ahead, anonymous commenter. Hate on the stay at home mom. At least she’s one hundred percent aware of her family and her home, and at least she’s found the joy that your J-O-B or your family has not provided you.

For the rest of the mothers, fathers, guardians, homemakers, breadwinners, and all the rest of you who struggle with this glorious, beautiful battle of family and work, finances and food, beauty and tragedy and whining and laughter- congratulations. You’re doing the hardest J-O-B that there is, and I thank you every moment for it!

Tantrum Time: Why does nobody ever want to talk about the bad days?

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What I hear from gentle-parenting parents is all good stories about how wonderful their children are and all their blogs are about happy, sweet, gentle and kind stories about how lovely everything in life is.

All I hear from traditional strict parents is stories about how horrible their kids are and how they don’t put up with that nonsense and how they spank it out of their kids.

I’d really, really love to hear from gentle parents about their really shitty days, when their gently parented kids are screaming on the floor for no reason except that they’re having a bad day. I’d like to hear stories from parents who are trying to raise non-violent kids of the days when nothing works and you’re at your wits end, ten seconds from losing every drop of cool you have because the last FOUR HOURS have been non-stop hysterical temper tantrums for no definable reason, where you’ve tried everything, but your child is just completely…. overboard.

Because my child is completely overboard.
I am at the end of my rope.
It’s nothing but screaming, incoherent shrieking and sobbing, and he doesn’t know what he wants. He doesn’t want me, or his father, or anyone. He screams and demands a bottle, and then he screams and throws the bottle away. He sits on your lap and hugs you with his arms, but kicks you with his feet, screaming to put him down- but if you put him down, he screams he doesn’t want down.

He’s been doing this since noon and I’m at the end of sanity, and I’m having a nervous breakdown, and I’m trying so hard to hold onto the fact that he’s only two, that he doesn’t articulate well, that he’s probably hot or tired. I try to hold onto the fact that he’s not doing this on purpose to hurt me or aggravate me or manipulate me and that to him, there’s something wrong that I’m just not seeing but…

And I can’t call my mother because she already believes that I can’t do this, and gods forbid I post it to any public forum for fear of the nasty flames I’d get about how it’s my own fault and if I didn’t spoil him and how when he starts this I should just spank him and let him know it’s unacceptable.

But I’ve hit the end of my rope. I’m tired, I haven’t slept because he keeps waking up and I keep waking up (pregnant) and I don’t even know if I can do this. I mean, what if it is my fault and that’s why he’s doing this, because I’m spoiling him or something.

I don’t want to believe that. Not that it might be something I’m doing, I’m okay with that. I don’t want to believe that I have to raise my children with violence and force to ‘make’ them into good people. I don’t want to believe that the only possible way to raise children is by punishing them harshly for every mistake.

But those are the only people who speak up about their bad days. Those are the folks who get pissed at you when you say you’re trying to raise gentle children by modeling gentleness. They get offended and they must feel like I’m attacking them, because they attack me back- except I’m not attacking them. I don’t care. I don’t care if they spank their kids or not. I just know what I want to do raising mine, and it’s not that path.

But I’m so far broken at this point that I’m afraid if I post this anywhere, I’m going to get the host of hateful comments about how ‘spanking didn’t hurt me’ and ‘how dare I criticize their discipline.’

Except I’m all alone right now, with a screaming toddler who has no reason for his tantrums that he’s willing to tell me, looking at all the blogs and books of peaceful parents who never have posts like “I am so completely at the end of my rope because my child is misbehaving and won’t stop screaming” and instead are full of sunshine and light and no decent advice at all for my situation.

Several hysterical sobbing minutes on my part later and I have some semblance of sanity back. For now. But it’s still so exasperating.

After some consultation with my mom (because, it’s inevitable, really) I have come to the conclusion that he’s hot. I’ve got the fan on him now, and I gently wiped him down with cool water (until he woke enough to object) and put ice in his milk bottle and lemonade with ice in his other bottle, and (watered down milk aside) that should help him cool off when he decides to have a drink.

Post rant, I feel better. Thanks for listening.