Our Sweet Spot

I have such a treat for you all today.  Mary Lauren of My 3 Little Birds is here today as my latest Sluiter Nation Recruit.

I am usually a quiet stalker on Mary Lauren’s blog, and I frequently enjoy her posts at Babble’s Toddler Times. In fact, I was a little intimidated asking her to post here, but she was so gracious and lovely and well…you are going to love her.

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In my earliest memory, I was four years old. It’s more flash than narrative, more a feeling than a storyline, more a dream fragment than substantive recollection. Nevertheless, it’s a peek inside my childhood mind, and one I’m grateful I remember.

It was this time of year— early fall. We lived in a red house on a dead-end street and at four, I was still an only child. I opened the heavy storm door and stepped onto the front porch. There was a faint hint of smoke in the air— a neighbor burning trash, perhaps, on the other side of the hill. As I held onto the wrought-iron banister I said aloud to no one but the trees: I wish I were nine.

At the tender age of four, I was already willing time to speed up. I was willing to give the universe a sacrifice of 5 years, a burnt offering of childhood and why? So that I wouldn’t have to hold onto that banister to make it down the front steps.

At 35 I still will time. I move it forward, just like I did at 4 years old.

Could this day BE any longer?

Is it Friday yet?

Sometimes in my dreams I go backwards too. I think of being single and able to spend half a paycheck at the mall and didn’t have to buy jeans that hid the imperfections of middle age. I think of my blissful first year of marriage in the little first floor apartment where I learned to make meatballs his grandmother’s way (cooked IN the sauce- never baked).

But lately more than anything, I find myself pausing time. I want to freeze it like a movie frame, right before the hero kisses the girl, or on the brink of unlocking a mystery that sends the movie toward its victorious conclusion.

Right here. When she’s three. He’s five. And he’s nine.

Right now, in the house with the cramped second floor we’ll be leaving soon.

Here, in this moment, with its ups and downs, with its pillow fights and temper tantrums and fourth grade homework that makes me crazy.

Right here. This is our sweet spot in life, the dream fragment we’ll look back on one day and say, That. That’s the movie frame image I want to play again and again and again, till the lights in the theatre go out.

Phase Four?

I haven’t had a new Sluiter Nation Recruit ’round these parts in a while.  And really, when better than when I am booty-deep in back to school?
Today I am VERY excited to have Meghan from Phase Three of Life here. Meghan is just…well…she is lovely.  Her son is adorable, she is a fellow mid-westerner (by birth, not current location…although…from what you’ll read here it sounds as if she may be coming back to the land of four seasons), and she can write like the wind blows.
So no, I don’t just love her because she is saving my over-worked, over-tired writing self this week.
Read on, and you’ll love her too.
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Hi! I’m Meghan from Phase Three of Life. I’m a working mom, living in Phoenix with my husband and toddler son. Sometimes I’m sentimentalsometimes I’m overwhelmed and sometimes I laugh when my kid throws a tantrum. I write whatever I’m feeling on any given day.
I’m honored to spend a little time in Katie’s space!
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I was not concerned or upset or scared about turning 30. I didn’t see much of a difference between 29 and 30, and I’m not one to whine about getting older. We should all be so lucky to be able to complain about such a thing. My mantra was simple: My 20s were good; my 30s will be even better.
Somehow, in the months since that birthday, I have felt a change in myself. I don’t know whether the number subconsciously influenced me or whether the timing is coincidental, but I find myself taking stock of my life. I am suddenly struck that certain things need to change, and I’m not sure how I didn’t see it before.
The biggest realization has been that family needs to play a larger role in our daily lives. We live in Arizona, 2,000 miles from every living relative. Before we became parents, living so independently was exciting at best, inconvenient at worst. Now that our son is on the cusp of turning two, it is downright difficult and painful.
We’ve had two cross country trips recently – one to see my family in Ohio; one to see my husband’s family in Pennsylvania. The travel on the first trip went surprisingly well. (In this context, “well” is defined as “only screamed for the final 30 minutes of the four-hour flight.”) The travel for the second trip? Let’s just say I’m surprised you didn’t hear Ryan whining, screaming or crying from where he was restrained 35,000 feet in the air.
A truth that had been lurking in the back of our minds could no longer be ignored: This sucks. Traveling with a toddler is expensive, it is exhausting and it sucks. Even if you take our inconvenience (and the inconvenience of anyone condemned to be on our flights) out of the equation – one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do as a parent is wrench Ryan away from family he obviously loves. It was one thing when he was a little blob of a baby that smiled at any random person who played peek-a-boo. Now he remembers these people, calls them by name, knows the special games and jokes he shares with each one.

He loves them, he plays with them every day, and then we put him on a plane and take him back to The Land of No Family. He is old enough to make those emotional connections but not old enough to understand why they are there one day and gone the next.

 


I love Arizona. I moved here fresh out of college for a job, never intending to stay long – certainly not for upwards of eight years – but I fell hard for this state. Arizona is bright and beautiful and romantic, and in many ways, it feels like home. I didn’t want to sacrifice my love of this place. But maybe I wasn’t fully considering what I was sacrificing in its place. That the hole left in our lives by an absence of Sunday dinners and cousin sleepovers couldn’t be filled by a shining Arizona sun. For a while, I think it sort of was. But now it just feels like that sun is shining a spotlight on what we’re missing.
So the first chance we get, we’re leaving. There are loose ends to tie up (uh, namely, employment). This move will be a logistical nightmare, featuring enough furniture to fill two homes, a condo that we’re unbelievably underwater in, a toddler, and an anxiety-riddled cat.But for the first time in my life, I have true clarity: The logistics do not matter. If the movers scratch my favorite dresser, life will go on. If my toddler and my cat compete for the “Who can cry the loudest on the plane?” award, I will order $10 airline cocktails. If I have to rent that condo out for the next 23 years (but who’s counting?) until the sucker is paid off – I will do it.
Because where we’re going, Ryan will jump into piles of fall leaves with his cousins. He will cheer at baseball games with his Pop. He will know the beauty of lightening bugs, the joy of snow days. It just so happens that where we’re going, the grass truly is greener.
See how wise I’m getting in my old age?

Phase Three of Life

finding belonging as an introvert

Today I have another special guest in Sluiter Nation.

A new Sluiter Nation Recruit.

Today I bring you Galit from These Little Waves.

I am so excited and honored to have her here today.  Her writing has been blowing me away for over a year since our paths crossed over at The Red Dress Club (Now Write on Edge).

Each of her words is chosen with precision and care.

Reading her words feels like taking a peek at her heart.  Her soul.

Galit is the real deal and I am so happy to share her with you.

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My bare feet pad along aged carpet.

Brody is curled into his covers, his room is already darkened. His blond hair is shocking amidst a sea of blues – blankets and pillows and lovies in every possible shade – sky, cornflower, navy.

I pull him close, and we puzzle piece, his head against my chest. “Sweet dreams, buddy.” I whisper. He smiles back. His eyes bright, but ready for nap time.

He has to be.

Because as the sun reaches its high, I reach my low.

So I turn off the phones and take off my contacts and change into pajamas and close the curtains and flick the lights and turn off anything else than can be turned off because this is exactly what I need to be: Off.

And yes, this is because I’ve mothered since morning’s first light. I’ve driven and cleaned and played and organized and fed and snacked and read and nagged and I’m so, so very tired.

But this is also (mostly) because I’m an introvert.

And after I’ve been on – soaking in laughter and fun and learning and stories – I need to turn everything (and everyone) off, in order to refill.

So I do.

Everyday.

Did I just admit that I nap everysingleday?

I did. I do.

And I’m not even going to apologize for it.

Here’s why.

Because knowing how you work and living unapologetically is a gift.

Doesn’t it sound breath-takingly amazing to not apologize for your loud voice or the way you interrupt or the fact that you nap everysingleday?

This is the first pad down that long hallway towards you – learning what makes you tick, and doing just that.

And once you’ve arrived there, comes the second part. And I should tell you that this, too, is hard work.

Once you know what keeps you happy and sane and whole, and you choose to do these things, you have to be okay with the consequences and outcomes of your choices.

(I should say, because I believe this to my core, that knowing yourself and living unapologetically as you doesn’t mean staying comfortable without change.

Your absolute best is just outside your comfort zone.

So you should go to that conference and attend that event and introduce yourself to your new best friend.

But first, you need to know your zone, what fills you up, and what empties you.

Because once known, these will become tools for owning your stretches rather than opportunities to beat yourself up for not being louder or faster or more social – or anything really, other than you.)

Together, the two sides of this gem, shine a bright light on belonging. One that I want to pass from my own weathered hands into my children’s softened ones.

Because I want to sweeten their path, of course I do. And a sense of belonging is, if nothing else, sweet.

But first, there’s this gem.

And with it, will come gratefulness for who they are and what they have.

And that sense of belonging? Will be theirs, from the inside out, right where it’s always been.

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Thank you, Galit, for sharing your words here.

Read more of Galit’s words at These Little Waves.  Follow her on twitter and on facebook.

Unmet Expectations

Twitter_PhotoIn June, I had Dr. Deborah Gilboa–aka Dr. G–here as a Sluiter Nation Recruit and to answer a question I had about Eddie’s Listening Ears.  She is back today by popular demand…mine.  I had another question that I thought maybe other  moms of kids Eddie’s age would have to.

This was my question:

Eddie is a very kind, smart boy. But he has a hard time handling anger and frustration. Instead of just getting pouty or huffy, he screams and throws things – and sometimes hits.  If we try to talk to him when he is like this, he just screams at us and will not use his words. When we send him to timeout for things like throwing toys, he screams the whole time. We ignore it and let him sit there for the 3 minutes (which he does). Is this a good consequence, or should we be doing something else?

And here is Dr. G’s answer:

Well, Sluiter Nation, this is a familiar story in the houses of three year olds everywhere.

I understand why you think he has a hard time handling anger and frustration, but I disagree. The fact that Eddie sits in time out the entire three minutes is incredibly impressive! He is demonstrating an amazing amount of self-control that he doesn’t get up, run away, or hit during that time.

So let’s talk about the development of a three year old and emotions.

He has transitioned out of the baby and young toddler age, and both you (his parents) and he have higher expectations for your interactions now. You expect him to ask, wait, listen, learn from the situation around him at any given time. He expects you to understand exactly what he wants and how he feels. And, he still expects his desires to be met right away.

What causes most kid melt downs at age 3?

  • Delayed gratification. We want our kids to wait to get something they want and they don’t want to wait.
  • “No.” This is actually harder for Eddie now than it was a year ago. Why? Because now he believes you. He understands that “No” means that he will not get the thing he wants, but he doesn’t understand (nor care about) “Why.”
  • “It’s not fair!” Three year olds (and 13 year olds) think “fair” means “equal.” So if you drink a soda, he should get to also. If his friend has 68 trains at his house and a Wii, he wants the same.

Why is it harder to handle 3 year old melt downs than it was a year or more ago?

  • He’s bigger! He is more coordinated, stronger and louder, and a little less cute when he totally loses it.
  • He regresses. Your three year old actually loses his listening and self-control skills that he had ten minutes ago, and you feel somewhat betrayed.
  • He can’t figure out what is happening. He can’t actually use his words, he doesn’t know why you don’t get what he needs or why he isn’t getting it (just like when he was a baby) during that meltdown.

So what can you do?

  • Exactly what you are doing is great. If he hits, time out. If he throws stuff, time out.
  • Separation. If he is not throwing or hitting, but needs to scream, he can choose to go do that in his room. This is not a punishment, just (like picking your nose) not something it is polite to do in front of other people. Screaming mean stuff, however, means a time out.
  • Mirror. This doesn’t work all the time, but occasionally can be really effective. If you catch Eddie at the beginning of a meltdown, you can mirror his words or emotion in short, declarative sentences (act like a mad 3 year old). Then, if he stops to stare at you, laugh a little. You might be able to break the cycle and find a more relaxed solution. This probably won’t work, though, if you were the one that made him mad in the first place.

Remember, before you know it he will be in a new developmental phase. He will handle “no” differently, and have some different challenge for you!

In the meantime, every time you put Eddie in time out (and ignore his freak out) you are teaching him he can trust you. You do what you say you’re going to do. You take care of him no matter how he behaves or what he says. He can count on you to keep your word.  You work with teenagers Kate, you know that they need, more than anything, to know that their parents will stand up and enforce consequences, right?

Thanks, Dr. G!  It’s good to hear we are on the right track.

So tell me friends, do your kids stay in time out?  Do they freak their freak while they are there?

Check out Dr. G’s website, twitter, and facebook for more great advice!

rain, rain, go away. on second thought…

It’s supposed to be somewhere around a million degrees here the rest of this week. And while the rest of the country seems to be getting at least a few rain showers, if not pouring tropical storm rain, our little patch of Michigan repeatedly gets missed.

I have been asking the weathermen, the internet, and God for rain for the past two weeks.

Of course we got some drizzle on Sunday morning causing our birthday party to be held indoors.  Of course.

Anyway, I didn’t always appreciate rain.  And neither did my Sluiter Nation Recruit who is here today.

To the internet, she is Law Momma and she writes the blog, Spilled Milk and Other Atrocities.

I wish I could tell you how she and I met.  But I don’t remember.  I just know that we chatted on twitter and because she was always so flipping supportive, I followed her home to her blog one day.

And OH. MY. WORD.

She might be a lawyer, but she has a gorgeous way with words.

Girlfriend can write.

Also? Every time I see a picture of her son, J, I have to do a double take.  He looks that much like Eddie.

Trust me.  Read on.  You will love her too.

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As a little girl, I hated the rain. I hated when I would wake in the morning to the rumble of an AM thunderstorm, or the dreary half-light of an overcast day. I despised wearing a raincoat and rain boots, and loathed the soak of the earth rising up and over the tops of my shoes. I hated how my pants always seemed to dip down and in to every puddle they saw, leaving a cold ring around the lower side of my ankle.

I just hated rainy days.

Is it any wonder, though? I was taught the “Rain, Rain, Go Away” song. I was a fan of Annie’s heartfelt “Tomorrow” and her promise that the sun would, in fact, come out then. I believed that it was the fault of the downpour that the poor little spider couldn’t freaking get to where he wanted to go when he wanted to go there.

Rain was bad.

Rain was the opposite of awesome.

Rain was… not fun.

I looked forward to the aftermath, sure. The puddles and the mud pies, the sweet, hot smell of steam rising off the asphalt, the rainbow splitting through the clouds in a bursting smile of color. I couldn’t appreciate the rainstorm, but I could live with what it brought out in the world around me.

As I’ve grown older, my perspective has shifted. I’ve learned to see the beauty in a slowly rolling cloud. I’ve embraced the tinkling tap of raindrops against my windows and the swishing shush and slide of my windshield wipers. The older I get, the more I appreciate the chance to slow down, to drive with my hazard lights on, to curl up on a sofa and watch the plants in my yard reach hungrily toward the sky. The puddles and the mud pies, the happy release of heat from the scorched earth… yes, that’s all still sweetly special, especially as my own son learns to embrace the beauty after the rain.

But now I can see the beauty in the rain itself… the perfect precision of drops beading against my skin… the startling sincerity of a world stripped bare of the brash, blinding sun. I have learned to let myself drink in the entirety of life: the sweeping, sunlit days AND the small, shadowed moments. I have learned to stand still, drinking in the world around me for all that is… perfect in its imperfections, beautiful in its bashful blemishes.

In my youth, the rain was something to wish away… like the months until Christmas, or the days until your best friend returned from summer vacations. Rain, like time, was expendable… undesirable and un-welcomed. But now, when I stop to watch the slope of a frown creasing my son’s face as he silently wills the rain to leave? Now I realize that every moment is precious. Even the rainiest of days.

somebody’s baby

Today’s Sluiter Nation Recruit is one of my newest friends.

I met Kacia because I put a tweet out to the interwebs that I was looking for a paci clip that was cute and worked.

I got lots of responses, but for some reason, I clicked through to Kacia’s shop. And then I died of the cute.

I was pretty convinced I was going to go with her leather paci clips, when I started reading about how they want to adopt. As many of you know, we recently welcomed our nephews Kingston and Kyrie into our family from Ethiopia. It astounds me every day how exactly right they are for our family….no.  How exactly they ARE our family.  How God created MacKenzie and David to be their parents when their birth parents selflessly had to choose to put their precious boys in God’s hands and just trust that he had MacKenzie and David in the wings.  It’s amazing to me.

And Kacia was trying to start this journey with her husband and baby daughter.

From that moment, I knew I had met a new friend, not just found a cute online shop.

And what she has brought to my life is priceless.  Because while I do my best to promote her shop and help her adoption cause, she has been one of the ladies who started #SheReadsTruth and helped me do something I had been needing/wanting to do for a long time: reconnect with my spiritual side and daily read/study God’s Word.

I am honored that she is here today.

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When Katie asked me to write as a Sluiter Nation Recruit, my first response was “seriously? me?” I don’t belong in that calibre of writers.

+ then? She asked me to write about Belonging. 

 

Uff dah.  As we Norwegians say.

 

Let’s go back in time a bit.

It’s middle school. I’m blonde.  I’m awkward. + I don’t feel like I belong. Anywhere.

 

I’m an artist.  I’m on the dance team.  I sing in the choir.

 

So how do I define myself? 

I struggle with the need for labels + categories + groups.

 

And then one day.  I still remember this day. Sitting at my desk, oh, about halfway back.

 

A young boy catches my eye.

 

No, not because he was new or good-looking.

No, not because he was talking or desiring attention.

 

He caught my eye because in my head I kept hearing

 

“He is no different than you.”

 

But then I looked at him.

His clothes were dirty.

His glasses were broken.

His hair seemed a bit greasy.

 

I argued back:

“But he’s not like me.  Look at him.”

 

“No.  He is just. like. you.  He is somebody’s baby.”

 

It hit me.

 

He was no different than me.  None of those categories or groups mattered.

 

None of those labels defined me.

 

I didn’t belong anymore than he did, but yet we both did.

 

In that moment I was placed with a choice as the teacher asked us to choose a partner to work with for a project.

 

Follow that voice in my head:  choose him as my partner. 

Follow the girl that wanted to fit in.  Follow the voice that said, “no.  Don’t do it.  Don’t choose him.”

 

And I write this not as a pat on the back, because oh-do-I-ever-know how often I fell prey to telling + showing others that those definitions were who they were.

 

But when the teacher asked who my partner would be?

 

I chose him. + I made a promise to myself that I would try to start seeing people as people. And not the label our society gives them.

 

Believe me, I often got it wrong.  But that choice is always one that rings in my head, reminding me as I’m quick to think + quick to define.

 

He belongs too.  She is someone’s baby, just like you, Kacia.  Just like you. 

 

Now as a mom + adult, I want my daughter to see through my actions what I believe to be true.  I want her to grow up seeing others as another to love.

 

We all belong.  + we need to start living like it.  Each day.  Every day.

The Blog and the Beautiful

Dudes.  As I type this, I am afraid my legs may fall off from all the walking I did at the zoo today.

Good thing I have a Sluiter Nation Recruit here for you today.

Beth Anne of Heir to Blair and I have a weird blogging relationship.

And by weird I mean we read each other’s blogs and pretty much never comment.  Seriously, she has admitted to knowing everything about me and never talking to me.  To which I fell out of my chair laughing because um…SAME!

When we met at BlogHer last year we were all awkward and “hey, it’s you.  It’s YOU!” (Ok, maybe that was just me.  She was all tall and pretty with her pretty hair. And her sweet Southern Smile.  Oh did I mention I have a crush on Southern Bloggers?  I’m looking at you, Miranda).

Anywhoodles…we met over our PPD.

I stalked her for quite some time after that.

I totally loved her blog and her straight up writing style and her no apologies swagger.

So I kept reading.

But I just sort of hung back in my reader.

I’m not really sure why.  I still don’t know why I don’t comment.

But her life makes me happy.  Seeing her with her adorable son (yeah, blondie like Eddie) and hubs knowing what she went through to get there?  Happy heart.

So I am pretty excited that she is here today to talk about something that has been in my head since meeting bloggers in real life and after writing my post from Monday.

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There’s a rub with blogging where everyone belongs & nobody feels that they belong. Where there’s an unobtainable “cool kids club” that is seemingly defined by stats & who follows who on Twitter & who you room with at BlogHer. Where life is splashed across the pages of the internet with highlight reels & pin-worthy parties & that nagging feeling in my belly that tells me I might not ever be good enough. Blogs can feel like fashion shows of life, for the gorgeous homes & the beautiful mommas & the latest hair style that I will never, ever master with a flat iron because I simply failed Girl 101.

In the realm of the “mommy blogging,” I am surrounded by hot moms. They get pregnant & don’t swell & carry a perfectly round basketball over flowing tops they purchase at Forever 21. When I get pregnant, I’m in maternity pants at 5 weeks, my rings are off by 15 weeks, & even my nose gets knocked up. The entire process is very, very unfortunate for my self esteem. But the other blogging mommas stay rail thin with gorgeous locks, who maintain their sense of style & don’t go to work with oatmeal smeared on their crotch like I have so many times. (Far too many times to count & that’s one over the limit for basic dignity.) These moms spill across my Pinterest feed with gorgeous outfits & holding toddlers on their hip in 3-inch heels.

When I hold my toddler on my hip in 3-inch heels, I’m a) lucky not to fall over & b) paying for it that evening with aching hips.

I wonder where they find the time to be so polished. Where they find the motivation to get back into a bikini. How they know that those stripes would look that wonderful with wedges & a grey shirt. What lipstick they’re wearing because dang, it’s pretty!

I doubt I will ever be a hot mom. I’ll probably always carry a spare tire around my hips & have stinky postpartum feet & never know what to do with my hair. I’ll probably always grab Old Navy button-downs because I’m too afraid of the hot pink blouse that ties at the neck like a 1960’s Mad Men secretary. Maybe it’s because I sit with a book instead of training for a 5K & that I’ve never had much interest in make-up other than covering up the dark circles under my eyes.

But I wish I were different on a petty, insecure level.

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Right in my heart parts, this post.

Because yeah, I wish I was all hip and hot and “Stacy’s Eddie’s Mom Has Got it Going On” too.

Also?  BA?  If you choose to add to your family by way of your uterus again?  I’ll send you the pics of me during both pregnancies and you will feel AMAZINGLY HOT!

You’re welcome.

People?  Don’t just sit there, go read more of Beth Anne’s words on her own blog.

And then go enter my Big Brica Blowout Giveaway!

listening ears

Today’s Sluiter Nation Recruit is sort of different.  And special.

Twitter_PhotoToday Dr. Deborah Gilboa of Ask Dr. G is here answering a question I have about Eddie’s behavior.

“Dr. G is a board certified family physician, mother of four, and a professional parenting speaker and writer she follows 4 basic principals when guiding parents from toddlerhood to young adulthood – Respect, Responsibility, Responsiveness and Resilience.”

I was so excited when she contacted me about being here today.

I have talked about Eddie’s “listening ears” before, and many of you commiserated with me about having similar problems with your 2-4 year olds.  So, Dr. G is giving us some advice today!

Here was the question I posed to her:

Eddie ignores us.  Even though he knows there are consequences.  And then, when the consequences inevitably happen, he acts shocked and surprised and scream-cries every. Single. Time.

How can we get better listening ears the FIRST time we tell him to do something?

And here is her response:

Well, Sluiter Nation, this is not unique to your land! Or, at the very least this is something our two home countries have in common.

Let’s talk about “ignoring.”

To an adult, ignoring is what is happening if I ask my child to do something and he doesn’t look at me, say “Sure Mom, I’d be happy to drop this fun thing to do that super-annoying and pointless thing you want without any complaint” and then get up and do it. Immediately.

From Eddie’s point of view, he is not ignoring you!  He is (take your pick) playing, thinking, listening to something else, imagining, building, wrestling, resting, “reading” or any number of other really important-to-him activities. AND, you can only consider yourself ignored if you know he heard you.

Here are three tricks to actually getting a kid’s attention:

  1. If you don’t have eye contact he can’t hear you. So don’t start talking until he is looking you in the eye. The part of his brain that can actually attend to your words is not engaged if he is focusing on something else. Some kids can’t hear you until they have put down the toy, even if they’re looking at you.
  2. Don’t make your request until he’s participating in the conversation. Set you and Eddie up for success (defined as asking only once). Do this by calling his name or tapping him or shooting of a flare gun until he looks at you and answers you. “Yes Mommy?”
  3. If you have to repeat yourself, get quieter instead of louder. The instinct to escalate our volume when saying something for a second time is almost inescapable! Unfortunately, as volume rises, so does blood pressure and frustration. If you get quieter he will attend to your words better.

Once you have his attention you have to make a quick assessment. Ask yourself, “Is there a good chance of him doing what I’m asking?”

  • An easy one: “Please put on your shoes to go to the park.” Good bet that he jumps up!
  • Something that could use a reward: “Please put down the Legos and wash your hands for dinner. First time please so that we have time for a puzzle together after dinner!”
  • Something that might need a consequence: “Clean up that game and thank your friend for the playdate. We have to go, and if I need to ask again we won’t be able to stop at the library on the way home.”

The last tip I want to leave you with is this: If you have to repeat yourself sometimes you didn’t fail. Do you do everything you’re asked the first time? I sure don’t. Just ask my husband, or my kids for that matter! Keep in mind that Eddie is old enough to have his own “agenda” about his day and that, though your way is better for him, you are throwing a wrench in his plans! You’re (of course) in charge, but we can have a little empathy that our kids don’t really get much decision-making power about their schedule.

Happy communicating!

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Thank you, Dr. G for this great advice!  Cort and I have already tried this and we get a WAY better response when we get eye contact from Eddie FIRST before telling/asking him what to do.

Find more Q&A on Dr. G’s blog and follow her on facebook and twitter (love interacting with her in both of these places!  She is ALWAYS available to answer questions!)

Bring Dr. G to come speak at your school or church or work or university.

 

finding friendship

Ugg.

This week has been so hard and weird.  It started with a drunk driving accident that ended up claiming the life of two students (one whom I had in class) from the school where I teach.

Then yesterday (which is today since I am writing this Tuesday night) Eddie had to have four stitches.  I’ll tell that story tomorrow.  I’m too tired now to get into it.

So I am beyond thankful that it’s time for a new Sluiter Nation Recruit.

I could not have a more perfect person here in Sluiter Nation today to watch the place while I hug my boys extra tight and just breathe for a day.

Michelle is lovely and her blog, Things I Can’t Say is a perfect showcase of her loveliness.

When I first stumbled upon her blog last year (about two seconds before BlogHer), I was immediately in love…and jealous…just after reading the title.

You see…I have always wanted a blog where I could say the things I can’t say.

I mean, I say a LOT here…but I hold back even more.

And then I started reading her words.  They weren’t big rants, but lovely, thoughtful, REAL musings about her life.

I can’t imagine her not fitting right in wherever she roams…

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I’ve always been an introvert. Not shy, but an introvert.

I never minded having a book for company and I was happier observing situations rather than jumping in and being the first to join in with a group.

Liking to think things through first, I sometimes can come off as a little standoffish- that’s the nice way to put it– but I don’t mean to be.

And once I get to know people, they tend to forget that I was ever quiet to begin with- because I then won’t shut up.

Over the course of many moves, I learned to become much more outgoing, even though it still isn’t completely natural to me.

But now, I live in a town where I feel like I just don’t fit in. I don’t feel like I belong. And even for someone who has changed a lot over the years, my introverted tendencies haven’t completely gone away and it’s not easy to find a way to belong.

I have to remind myself that I won’t fall through a hole in the ground if I extend friendship to someone and they don’t like my offer.

I have to remember that just because there is a group of friends all standing together, having a good time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want anyone else to join in with them.

Sometimes, I’m not the only one who feels like she doesn’t belong and maybe they are just waiting for someone to help them feel a part of something, too.  And that maybe, sometimes I need to be that person, instead of waiting for them to reach out.

That maybe, the way I’ll finally feel like I belong will be to help others feel like they do, too.

thingsicantsay

Being Recruited

Guess what.  It’s Recruit day.

Guess what else.  It’s my 999th post.

And I’m giving it to Erin.

I have absolutely no idea how mine and Erin’s paths crossed.

I am pretty sure it had to do with The Red Dress Club since she was a fantastic participant around the time that I was over there. She wrote my absolute favorite fiction piece ever Pink Doughnut Perfection…it is heart breaking and just wonderful writing.

She is awesome.

She is the beautiful Jewish mom to three (twins plus one) and is working on writing a book.

I feel pretty confident that she is the perfect person to give my 999th blog post to.

Read on…

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recruit
re-cruit [ri-kroot]
noun
1. a new member of a group, organization, or the like.
2. a fresh supply of something.
3. a newly enlisted or drafted member of the armed forces.

When Katie asked me to be a Sluiter Nation Recruit, I was elated and surprised. I checked my calendar twice to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day. It wasn’t. So then I moved on to the next phase, FEAR.

Because when I think of being recruited for something, I remember the trauma of junior high and high school, when my lack of athletic ability reared its ugly head. Just like the giant zit that took up permanent residence on my chin. Every day was scary.

I self-consciously changed into my PE uniform, surrounded by girls who already had real bras with real breasts to go in them. The locker room was always stuffy from sweaty bodies, and the spray deodorant made it humid and hazy to boot. I choked on the fumes and took comfort crouching in the same small corner. I turned my back, avoiding everyone, hiding my concave chest and trying to squash the dread about the impending “draft.”

A gaggle of girls standing on the football field looking at the team captains. Said captains oozing confidence, ability and superiority. Name after name was shouted out, followed by shrieks and squeals and long legs running to join one of the teams. Someone tossing a softball around. The clatter of bats as they hit the ground. The PE coach dropping the rubber bases at their worn out spots in the grass. And me, digging the toe of one of my Keds into the dirt, begging to disappear. Me. Always, ALWAYS one of the last two or three to be reluctantly recruited. These types of memories are typical when I think back to high school. Shame on those teachers and coaches. They should’ve just counted us off to form teams so that we could’ve maintained some dignity.

Thank goodness this isn’t 1994 anymore.

And fortunately in BlogLand, no one is ever last or alone. There are so many of us, an infinite number of blogs and writers; it’s not just Dooce anymore. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a Sluiter Nation Recruit today, and guess what? Katie is going to be posting at MY place this Friday! But if you feel lost/last in BlogLand, remember these things:

Put yourself out there. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

Reciprocate when possible.

Reach out to someone in some way.

Spread the (bloggy) love.

Pay it forward.

Write a guest post. Be a guest poster. Offer yourself up. Beg. Bribe. Be funny.

But most of all?

Be you. Be authentic. Tell your story.

Don’t strive to be someone you’re not just to be recruited. It’s okay to admire other bloggers and aspire to be like them in some ways; but it’s not okay to lose yourself, pretend or put on a false facade.

After all this, I’ve realized I’m not last anymore. I’m not standing there all alone feeling like crap.

I’ve been “recruited.” I’m surrounded by all of you lovely bloggers, writers, and people I’ve come to call my friends–even if we haven’t met in person yet.

Thanks to you, I’m getting a second chance. I’m making more memories. Better memories. For the first time, I’m a part of something big. Something real and true and fun. And I love it.

Thank you, Katie, for letting me share my heart here today. And for “recruiting” me.

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Aw, Erin.  I love having you here.

And YOU should go find more of Erin!

Read her blog (especially on Friday…ahem): The Road to My Writer Roots

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.

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