A Simple, Beautiful, Lovely Life

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Cloth dolls, wooden crib, wooden blocks in wicker baskets. These few things have entertained my children for far longer than the other bins of loud, colorful, plastic toys downstairs. #perplexing

I’ve spent weeks pondering how to transform our lives into something more. Something more with less.

My goal is to lose the plastic. Slowly. To replace the plastic in our home with well made, beautiful, simple natural materials. I would love to replace our plastic stacking cups with wooden ones. Plastic dolls with cloth ones. Plastic bins with wicker ones. Plastic table and chairs with wooden ones. Plastic cars with wooden ones. Etc.

With that I need to learn to lessen my day so it can be more for my kiddos. I am a plan EVER SECOND of the day kind of person. Instead I would like to set up a simple daily rhythm where there are lots of opportunities for free play and learning without the hustle and bustle of life. I also need to learn to be flexible to changing nap schedules. This will be slow and I will blog on it more a little down the line. For now here is the plan:

 

Breakfast / Coffee / News / CHILL

Watch 2 “Your Baby Can Read” DVDs

Morning Nap / Free Play / Mom Cleaning

Outside to Play (Rain or Shine)

Lunch

Afternoon Nap (Reading time just before nap)/ Mom School / Mom TV / Mom Nap (don’t judge I only sleep a few hrs at night lol)

Free Play / Snack

School Work / Art Work / Crafty Projects

Run Errands / Chores

Music Play

Dinner

Free Time / TV Time / Bed Time

 

Written out, its still a lot, but like I said this will be a slow process. The biggest thing for me right here is that I didn’t set times. I get hung up on times. I get rigid and flustered. So for now the main goal in simplifying is to relax and move freely through our day allowing for flexibility and change.

 

I’d love to hear the steps you’ve taken to simplify your daily lives, if you’ve done so 🙂

Love & Logic for Being On Time

Last week my oldest daughter woke up and was running super slow all morning. At 8:38 I was on the phone and noticed she was still sitting on the couch. I asked her if she was watching the clock and she said she was. I reminded her that she needs to leave between 8:35-40 and she might want to get her shoes, coat, and bag on if she was going to make it to school on time. She told me she didnt want to go. I told her I was busy that day and if she wanted to stay home she would need to pay a baby sitter to watch her and she would have to stay in her room all day. She agreed and ran down stairs to find her money she earned from the previous week.

She came up bummed, “Mom I dont have enough” (she spent it already)

Me, “Oh thats a bummer honey dont worry there will be more on Friday. In the mean time would you like to wear your boots or shoes to school?”

B, “I dont want to go”

Me, “I understand honey. Would you rather wear boots or shoes to school?”

B, “Neither”

At this time I realized I needed to focus my sole attention on her and this situation in order to not get mad or frustrated, in order to stay calm, so I told the person I was chatting with I needed to go but would call them back in a bit.

Me, “Bailie honey your late for school now so may want to go quickly so you don’t get in trouble. Would you like to wear boots or shoes to school?”

B, “Neither”

Me, “I understand honey would you rather wear boots or shoes to school?”

B, “Neither”

Me, “I understand honey would you rather wear boots or shoes to school?”

B, “Ugggg you choose!”

Me, “I am wearing shoes today. Would you rather wear boots or shoes to school?”

B, “I want YOU to choose!”

Me, “I cant choose your shoes for you. Would you rather wear boots or shoes to school?”

B, “uuuug fine shoes”

At this point its 8:52 and school has started 2 minutes prior. As she walks out the door I say, “Bye honey I love you and I hope you have a great day” and she replies, “You too mom” in a not so cheerful voice.

So immediately I call the school. I ask the lady on the phone what happens when kids are late for school. She says, “well they get a tardy slip… so nothing really” I asked if there was any other repercussions for the children. Shes said, “Well after so many the parents get a letter home …” then after a moment of pause I could hear the realization in her voice as she says, “Its more like the parents get in trouble than the kids” with a faint giggle following. So I tell her thats ok I can understand that but that Bailie was on her way to school now and she left late on purpose and I want her to understand the importance of being on time. That it is HER responsibility to get out the door on time and to get to school on time because when she is older it will be her responsibility to get places on time, that she wont always have a parent to shuffle her out the door. I want her to understand now rather than later, that there are consequences to being late.

The lady at the school then said, “Well we did have a girl a while back who was late a lot so she stayed in the principles office during recess each time” I said that would be perfect! (Can I just say how happy I am that they were willing to work with me on this one! Its far better she learns by loosing recess now than her job later on it life).

So the next day she was out the door right on time! I was please but it wasn’t until today that I realized the lesson was learned. That the consequences taught her far better than my nagging could have! She was upset with me for not allowing her to use the stairwell because she left the gate open at the top (that’s a whole other story and Ill spare you there for now) so I let her know that she would need to go around the house if she wanted to get her things for school. Now we went through this gate scenario a couple weeks ago and it took her an hour and a half before she would walk around the house to get upstairs. I was fully prepared for that again, but this time with in 2 minutes she was going out the back door and coming around to the front. She very nicely grabbed her things and hugged her sister and said good bye for the day. I started to ask her something and she says, “Mom I have to go quickly its 8:40! I cant be late I don’t want to go to the office like yesterday” I said, “What do you mean you left early yesterday why did you have to go to the office?” For which she confessed, “Ya but I was being a slow poke. I was late and had to miss my recesses so today I am going to run!”

I didn’t have to beg and plea for her to get out the door and to school on time. I didnt have to yell and fuss to teach her the importance of not being tardy. The school stuck to the repercussions they agreed to give her when she’s late and the consequences taught the lesson for me!

Frusteration Free Potty

As Kenna nears 1.5 years old I have heard so many parents, family, friends, and even strangers say “Oh my getting close to potty training time” or “Dont you think its time to potty train?” or “She’s telling you shes going so it must be time to buy a potty!” I have regularly provided care for many years now for kids ranging from newborn through preschool age and especially after Bailie I learned a few things about potty training. “You can lead a horse to water but you cant make them drink” just the same “You can lead a kid to the potty but you cant make them pee”. When Bailie was the age Kenna is now, like so many other parents, we bought her first potty. It had all the bells and whistles! We bought the panties and candy and stickers! Everything we thought we needed to teach her how to use the potty! We even let her pick most of it out because that would make her excited and willing to go!

There was excitement, using the potty, more excitement, accidents, frustration, regression, and then it started all over again and went on that way for a year! I thought something must be wrong! We talked to her doctor and she said that with girls you dont need to worry till 3 years old and boys 4 years old due to anatomy, brain development, and muscle control and then the linking of all those together. She also warned me of the “dangers” of teaching children to potty train too early, teaching them to hold it and then in turn they dont want to stop playing at times and will hold it so long infections and other complications emerge.

So what do we do then? What if we NEVER teach our children to potty train? Thing is even if we dont force our kids to learn to use the potty eventually they will. Children all develop differently. Some WILL be ready by 2 or sooner and some 4.5 or later. Both are extremes but completely possible.

We will probably get a potty seat in a year or so (maybe sooner if she shows interest on her own) and let her lead the way. I might talk to her while I go (because lets face it when your a mom with littles there is usually one or two hanging out while you use the bathroom, throwing jelly beans in the tub and pulling out the bath toys) and Ill say things like, “I sure am happy when I use the potty” or “I feel so good when I use the potty” or “It sure is fun to use the potty” and then let her decide when she wants to try it to.

Most importantly as parents its best to leave all negativity and “go or else” statements out of it. If you start to get frustrated with your potty training kiddo ask yourself what your motives are! Are you potty training for them or for you?

Now I must share some of the ridiculously funny potty chairs out there intended to pray on the desperate to potty train parents of the world and their wallets!

The potty we bought for Bailie! The flusher flushes and the potty sings when they go and the toilet paper thing makes noise too!

The rocking chair potty they can sit and watch TV

 

The desk potty so they can sit and color!

The animal potty so they can sit and play!

Lastly the iPotty! The potty that holds an iPad so kids can sit and play games! 

Most of these potties play on the fact that parents dont want to sit with their kids on the potty for hours any more than the kids wanna sit for hours so they have to make it fun! Truth is that when its not forced or rushed it can be fun and relaxing even without seats like the ipotty!