Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Monday, January 31, 2011

Reese's Greatest Hits

Recently Reese has been singing about everything! I absolutely love to listen to what she sings because she is so creative and honest. Here is a sampling of her recent hits:

"I miss my house"
She began singing this song as we were driving into town to run some errands over the weekend. Some of the lyrics included, "I don't know where I'm at."

"I'm so angry!"
Reese sang this song after Aidan took back his toy which she was helping him to fix. "I'm so angry at Aidan. I was just trying to help him fix his truck. I'm so mad at Aidan!"

"I Love Everyone!"
This is a really upbeat song where she lists all of the people that she loves.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast

Yesterday we decided to take the kids outside to do some sledding. Randy and I each took turns taking the kids down the hill in our backyard on the tube. After a few trips together we decided to let Reese try it on her own. She climbed up the hill dragging the tube, situated it at the top of the path and jumped head first onto the tube. She slid down to the bottom where I caught her. She jumped right up and started running up the hill. As she turned I heard her say, "I don't need you guys anymore!" I hope that means just for sledding! I'm not ready for my little girl to be quite so independent and not need me anymore!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Playing in the snow

We had been home for about an hour this afternoon, when the kids began fighting for the umpteenth time and I decided we should go outside. It had snowed about an inch today so I needed to shovel and thought that the fresh air would do the kids good as well. I bundled up Reese and sent her out first. Next I started getting Aidan dressed. His gloves are constantly falling off because they are too big, so I attempted to push them through his sleeves to keep them on. Unfortunately the gloves were too big to fit through so his arms and hands were practically useless stuck inside his coat sleeves. I sent him out anyway and helped him down the two steps from our back door. He took approxiumately two steps after that and fell flat on his face. He was unable to catch himself as I had bundled him up so that he could not use his hands or arms. He kicked and flailed for a second (think Ralphie in "A Christmas Story") while I jumped out the door in my socks, picked him up and set him back on his feet.

I had to take his coat and gloves off and put them back on so that his arms went completely through the sleeve, but then his gloves would not stay on. By this time Randy was home working on his computer in the bedroom. Every few minutes Aidan would knock on the patio door holding a glove and ask Randy, "Daddy put it on?"

Later Reese was licking snow off of a patio table when Aidan came up to stand beside her. As soon as he was settled next to her, she decided to sweep the snow off of the table and right into Aidan's face! Fortunately for Aidan, by that time it was time to come in and start getting ready for dinner. I would really be suprised if he wants to go play outside in the snow anytime soon! I only wish that I could have had my camera or videocamera out this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grandma Potter

We went to visit my mom this past weekend in Dubuque. While driving Reese announced, "Mommy, Grandma Potter will feed us dinner when we get to her house. You can go to work, we will be fine." I tried to explain to her that I was not going to be leaving to go anywhere, but staying with them to visit Grandma Potter as well. Reese was not having any of it though, she was determined to have special time with her Grandma!


As we were leaving from picking the kids up from their grammy's this afternoon, their cousin Jack woke up. Reese ran to give him a hug and kiss before we left. I heard her lay a big smooch on him as she tackled him in a hug. Almost immediately Jack said, "Ugh! Reese licked me!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Working on me

I have spent most of my life taking care of and trying to please everybody else. As a child, I was always helping my mom out by watching my younger brothers and sister, preparing meals or cleaning the house. I met my husband during college and have followed and supported him in establishing his career for the past 7 years. Finally, I have two small children that I love to death and would do anything for.

Since my 30th birthday I have been doing a lot of soul searching and realized that I am not happy. I am not trying to be whiny because I do have a wonderful life. Besides a roof over my head, financial stability, food on the table and good health, I have a very loving and supportive extended family, I have two beautiful kids, and I have a husband who works hard to provide for his family. Through my soul searching I have come to realize that most of that unhappiness comes from not "measuring up" or fulfilling my potential professionally.

Though I always excelled academically, I have also been a very shy person and not likely to step outside of my comfort zone. For that reason I have allowed myself to work minimum wage positions where not much is expected of me. Though I have always given 100% at any position I have been in, it has not been difficult for me to meet and exceed the requirements of the jobs.

I am currently working as an Aide in a Special Education classroom, and though I love my position, I have begun to wonder, "Why am I not the teacher?" My husband and I began discussing my feelings and goals and decided to look into my going back to school to get a teaching degree. Randy researched several local colleges, but it was up to me to schedule the appointment with a local college to discuss some options. When I first met the counselor and told her that I had a BA in Social Work also received minors in Spanish and Women's Studies, she looked at me wide-mouthed and asked, "Do you not know how valuable you are?" She told me that I could get my teaching certificate in 2 years. Though I was excited about that, part of me felt like I was moving sideways, if not backwards. It felt like I would be making up for making a wrong decision in careers in college rather than advancing my career and education. She then told me that I could also get my Masters in School Counseling in 2 years to become a School Counselor. I was so excited to hear this because becoming a School Social Worker/Counselor had been my dream job and reason for choosing Social Work. Also getting my Masters' definitely felt like an advance and not lateral or backward move.

I left the meeting ecstatic that I would be registering for classes and working towards my Masters, but upon further discussion with my husband and others in the school where I currently work, it was a concern that there are very few Counselor positions available and after 2 years, I may not be able to find work. Again I was feeling disappointed and like a failure.

Several weeks later, after the hubbub of the holidays, I looked into classes for my Substitute Teaching Certificate. I met a woman several months earlier who had alerted me that in Iowa you can take a short 20 hour course if you have a 4 year degree or Para certification and be certified to substitute teach 7th-12th grades. I researched the class and found that I had just missed the registration deadline. Again, I was feeling disappointed, but decided to call to make sure that I couldn't still register. Fortunately, they still had spots open and I was able to register for an extra minimal late fee.

I took the course over the course of 4 weeks in January and February. Though I felt guilty leaving the kids in order to go to the 3 hour class, 2 nights a week, I had to remind myself that doing this would make me happier and therefore make me a better mom. I am still waiting on my certificate and have yet to substitute in an actual classroom, but I am excited for what is to come. My plan is finish out the year in my current position as aide and to substitute teach full time next year. If I really like it, I can continue to sub and simply renew my certification every 3 years or spend the next 3 years that my license is valid working towards my teaching license. Either way, I am finally feeling like a mature and responsible adult and like I know what I want to be when I grow up!

Only Child Syndrome

Tonight Randy was explaining to the kids that he was not going to take them swimming as I had class and he would be unable to take them down the slides or to the big pool by himself. He asked them if they would still like to go to the daycare to play while he went to work out.

Reese said, "Daddy, I was thinking, Aidan could go to the daycare and Reese and daddy could go swimming!"

Didn't take her long to figure out how to pawn Aidan off and get special attention!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Proud Momma

This past weekend I was going through the kids toys looking for things that they no longer play with to be donated, or broken toys to be thrown away. I came across an Aquadoodle, paper that you draw on with with a water pen. Eventually the water dries and the paper is a clean slate for drawing on again. Reese has used it a handful of times, but I didn't think she would miss it, so I set it aside to put in my car and take to the special education classroom that I work in. Reese saw the Aquadoodle sitting out and asked me what it was doing there. I replied that I was taking it to my kids at work for them to play with. She immediately responded, "No, I want to play with it," and she promptly took it over to the table and began drawing. I got back to work at cleaning house and a few minutes later Reese approached me with the paper. She said, "Here mom. You can take this to the kids at your work. I think they will like it." My heart absolutely melted in a puddle on the floor and I grabbed Reese up in a big hug. I told her that the kids would definitely love it and take good care of it for her. This incident gave me hope that someday she and her brother would learn to share their toys and play nicely together.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

House plans

Recently Randy and I were discussing some big remodel plans that we have for the house. In the middle of Randy telling me which walls we would tear down and where we would put new windows and doors, my daughter had some input as well. She said, "Mommy, why don't you come upstairs and I'll show you what I'm thinking." The girl is 3 1/2 going on 30! Seriously! Upstairs we go and she says, "I was thinking we would put a bedroom here (pointing to alcove at top of stairs) and here (pointing to another alcove in hallway between the 2 bedrooms upstairs)." I immediately asked her who would occupy theses 2 new "bedrooms", expecting to hear her say her grammy or grandma Potter. She responded, "Mommy and daddy!"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Breaking the thumbsucking habit

Reese has made huge strides in breaking her thumbsucking habit. Around Thanksgiving we were visiting my mom and she suggested that we put a band-aid on Reese's finger to remind her to quit sucking her thumb. We had been reminding Reese for a few weeks to get her thumb out of her mouth whenever we saw her with it, but she had gotten to the point where she would no longer acknowledge the reminder and continue to suck her thumb. Mom pulled out the band-aids and wrapped one on Reese's finger despite her protests. She screamed and cried for quite awhile afterward, so I put her to bed to relax and calm down. After a few minutes she calmed down and I let her get back up. Though she continually asked to take the band-aid off, she would not put her thumb in her mouth with the band-aid on. To our suprise, she never tried her other thumb or pulled the band-aid off on her own. After about a week, the band-aid was pretty gross looking, so we removed it and reinforced to Reese that she was a big girl now and did not need to suck her thumb. Unfortunately, she went immediately back to sucking her thumb, so we placed a new band-aid on her thumb for about another week. This time when we removed the band-aid, she was a lot better at keeping her thumb out of her mouth. She still sucks her thumb when she is sleeping at night, and I will catch her occassionally while watching tv or relaxing, but if we remind her, she will promptly take her thumb out of her mouth. Though I was temporarily mad at my mom for taking control of the situation, I am glad that the thumb sucking stopped before she started school and faced any teasing about it. I was especially glad after seeing an episode of "My Strange Addiction" on TLC featuring a 20 something young woman who still sucks her thumb in public! Most of all I love that I can see my baby girls beautiful face when I take her picture now!

A relative of mine used paper towel tubes wrapped around her daughter's arm so as to prevent her from being able to bend her arm to her mouth to suck her thumb. We had tried reading the book, "Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit", about sister bears nail biting habit, substituting thumbsucking where necessary. We also tried keeping her nails painted as I was unable to find the nail biter polish which has a terrible taste. What methods did you use to stop a bad habit?