A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

Mommy Magic!~Re-post! March 12, 2010


It’s retro week here on A Spoonful of Sugar!  Just kidding….anyway, this is another goody…thought you’d appreciate it.  The hubby is going out this morning…8 ft. waves predicted!  Go honey!

 

“Mom! Have you seen my other flip flop?” “Hey, Mom! I can’t find my jeans!” “Where’s the peanut butter? It’s not in there!” “Mommy, where’s my blankie?”…..If these questions seem familiar to you, and you can inevitably locate the items in question, then you have it. Yes, IT. Mommy Magic. My girls seem amazed when I can walk past them, go directly to the pantry, and find the item they have searched high and low for, in a matter of seconds. They say, “Wow! How do you do it!?” It even amazes me at times. I tell my girls that it’s a God thing. God gives all mommies Mommy Magic the moment our children are born. The magic is even extended for spouses ‘ lost items, because let’s face it ladies, our husbands, as great as they are, are not very good at finding things. That internal, instinctive guide which enables us to find those missing items, and allows us the right to say ‘I said so, that’s why’…because we can’t always explain why or how, we just KNOW. So, moms, stick to your guns. Don’t give in. That gnawing in your belly when your kids ask you to spend the night somewhere and you’re just not diggin’ it…stand firm…that same Mommy Magic that found their special blanket tucked under the couch cushion is the one that is telling you not to let them go. Trust your instincts. God in you is the best decision maker there is. Don’t feel guilty. There is no one else in this world that is going to have their best interest in mind more than you. It’s okay to say ‘no’ with a smile and really be okay with it because you are confident in your decision. So, get your magic on, moms….it’s time to find those teddy bears, those pacifiers, those MP3 players….and say no even when it’s hard and we want to please our kids. Someday, they will call you a hero because of it.

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Mommy Magic January 23, 2010

Filed under: Parenting 101 — Janine Chance @ 8:31 am

“Mom! Have you seen my other flip flop?” “Hey, Mom! I can’t find my jeans!” “Where’s the peanut butter? It’s not in there!” “Mommy, where’s my blankie?”…..If these questions seem familiar to you, and you can inevitably locate the items in question, then you have it. Yes, IT.

Mommy Magic.

My girls seem amazed when I can walk past them, go directly to the pantry, and find the item they have searched high and low for, in a matter of seconds. They say, “Wow! How do you do it!?” It even amazes me at times. I tell my girls that it’s a God thing. God gives all mommies Mommy Magic the moment our children are born.

The magic is even extended for spouses ‘ lost items, because let’s face it ladies, our husbands, as great as they are, are not very good at finding things. That internal, instinctive guide which enables us to find those missing items, and allows us the right to say ‘I said so, that’s why’…because we can’t always explain why or how, we just KNOW.

So, moms, stick to your guns. Don’t give in. That gnawing in your belly when your kids ask you to spend the night somewhere and you’re just not diggin’ it…stand firm…that same Mommy Magic that found their special blanket tucked under the couch cushion is the one that is telling you not to let them go. Trust your instincts. God in you is the best decision maker there is. Don’t feel guilty. There is no one else in this world that is going to have their best interest in mind more than you. It’s okay to say ‘no’ with a smile and really be okay with it because you are confident in your decision.

So, get your magic on, moms….it’s time to find those teddy bears, those pacifiers, those MP3 players….and say no even when it’s hard and we want to please our kids. Someday, they will call you a hero because of it.

 

Beauty in the Middle! March 31, 2010

Filed under: Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens — Janine Chance @ 4:00 am

I don’t love any one of my girls more than the others. I love them all so much it’s almost ridiculous. My oldest daughter was definitely my most difficult newborn. Colic for 3 months, non-stop. My sister used to tell me that I earned my ‘Mommy stripes’ with her. Today, she is the most compliant, well-mannered 12-year-old I know. My youngest daughter was my most challenging toddler. Not mentally as much as physically. She was constantly moving. She’s the one with a scar from stitches on her forehead and burn scars on her hand, to say the least. She is now the one we call the ‘family cheerleader’…the peacemaker, the encourager of the group.

Madelyn with her Daddy at 2 months old.

My middle daughter was the easiest newborn known to man, and a pretty calm toddler. She slept 7 hours through the first night home from the hospital, but definitely is my biggest challenge now. Not because she is in need of more discipline, or mean-spirited. She’s not rude and she doesn’t talk back. To the contrary. She is my most compassionate. She tells on herself before anyone has the opportunity, and really wants to please her dad and I. She is a big proponent of what’s fair, and never wants anyone to be left without. We call her the ‘missionary of the family’. Definitely possesses the gift of mercy.

Having said that, she is the most challenging of my children mentally. Ever since my youngest daughter was born, she changed. She is always trying to ‘find’ herself. Always wanting to be, and have things ‘different’ than her sisters. ‘Establishing her identity’ kind of stuff. Feeling the need to always be an individual, no matter what it takes. She is ‘fantasy-minded’, meaning her creative mind sometimes gets her into trouble. For example, I’ll be discussing her Language Arts project with her and I will notice the spaced-out look in her eyes. It is then I realize she hasn’t heard a word I’ve said, and I have to talk to her about focusing, and start all over. She loses things….too often for my taste. Some of her most popular sentences start with, “Now where did I put that ….” She does not have ADD…she just has an incredibly creative mind that gets the better of her at times, and the better of me.

Soccer beauty queen at 4!

So, here are some of my ‘Middle Child Methods’:

1. Encourage her creative side, while teaching her balance. God made her to be a creative being. Was not God Himself the most creative? Having said that, balance is so important. There is a time and place for everything. Telling her, “This is not the time to be in your own world. I need you to focus right now on what we’re doing, because this is what’s important right now. You can draw your new cake designs when we’re finished with school,” is a pretty popular statement. Am I a mind reader? No. Just some of that ‘Mommy Magic’ that we all possess coming into play!

Bein' silly at 7!

2. The ‘losing stuff’ part really bugs me. Partly because of a slight OCD issue, partly because I know she needs to get a grip on things now before she is an adult and is constantly losing her car keys. We had a discussion just this morning because she spent the weekend with my sister-in-law, and left half of what she brought at her house. She admitted to me that she goes to ‘La La land’, and forgets stuff. I told her that we can’t live in La La Land. It’s a fun place to visit, but we need to come back to the ‘Land of reality’ so that we can function in the real world. We also discussed how we could make it easier for her to remember all of what she brought. I told her that from now on, we would make a list of all of what she was bringing, so that when it’s time to come home, she can refer to her list and make sure she has everything on it in her bag. She looked relieved when I made that suggestion. It must be frustrating for her, so anything I can train her to do now will only make her life easier in the future. (Keep in mind that when I first found out about all that got left behind, I got mad, told her she wasn’t allowed to spend the night away anymore until she learned to keep up with her stuff. Bad mommy. After cooling down, getting a grip myself, I apologized, and we discussed a solution. Grrrr…I hate bad mommy moments! Oh well, perfection is for the perfect!)

Birthday date with Daddy at age 9...

3. When issues come up that have to do with her ‘identity’, I am quick to remind her that she possesses something that no one else in the family has. She is the only one who gets to be a big sister, and a little sister all at once. She gains the benefits of both. She can learn from her older sister, and pass it on to her younger sister all in one day. Her older sister has to ‘learn as she goes’, while the younger sister doesn’t have anyone to pass the 411 on to. I know that makes her feel unique and special. I also make sure she gets plenty of ‘dates’ with her dad. My husband is great with all of my girls, and they all need and get ‘daddy time’, but we make sure that she gets the whole ‘date’ experience as often as we can.

So, there it is. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m doing my best to raise my girls as three incredible, unique individuals who love God, have great self-esteem, a grip on reality, and a heart full of love for people around them. I want to raise up women of God that know how to ‘make friends and influence people.’ I am excited to experience the return on my investment!

My sweet 10 yr. old.

Share your ‘Middle Child Methods’ in the comment section below. We’re all in this together, moms! Let’s share the wealth!

 

Suitcase Conversations February 9, 2010


A few years back, we were home from a week-long vacation at my parent’s house. We had just brought everything into the house, and we had suitcases everywhere. My middle daughter, who was only three at the time, asked me one of those dreaded mommy questions. “Mommy, how did McKenna get here?” (McKenna, of course, being her younger sister, who was only a few months old.)

Ah, yes, the birds and the bees… undoubtedly at the top of the ‘toughest kid question’ list. No matter how good we are at talking to our kids, we still squirm a little with this one. Yes, ‘God made her’, and yes, ‘she came out of mommy’s tummy’ are all valid answers that we often use. None bad, but with inquisitive little minds, those answers are just not good enough. They always need to know more…Inevitably, the ‘how’ questions always seems to follow whatever answer we give. I, too, gave her a couple of those simple little one-line answers, but like I said, it just wasn’t cuttin’ it for her.

I looked over in the corner, and saw the suitcases still full of all of our clothes from vacation. “Madelyn,” I said, “Go pick up that suitcase for Mommy.” She proceeded to walk over and tried to lift the massive container of vacation garb, but, to no avail. “I can’t pick it up, Mommy…it’s too heavy!” (Actually at the time, she said ‘it’s to heaby.’…so cute!)

“Well, that suitcase is too heavy, and so is that question you asked Mommy. When you are big enough to carry that suitcase, you’ll be big enough for Mommy to talk to you about how your sister got here. That question is just too big for you right now, honey.”

To my surprise, and utter relief, she said “Oh, okay…can I have some goldfish?” Just like that!

There are some things our kids are not ready to hear, but of course without discernment, they will ask anyway. We should always take our kids’ questions seriously, but that doesn’t mean they all need an immediate response, or resolve. We are supposed to be the discerning ones. Answering questions they are not mature enough to handle is not only unnecessary, but can be detrimental. Kids carry stress without even knowing it. Overload of knowledge about things they don’t need to know can affect them without us even knowing about it. You know the old saying…’you’re on a need-to-know-basis’? Well, there’s something to be said for that. Our kids should be on a need-to-know-basis, and it’s really for their own benefit. We as parents are given that “mommy magic” which gives us the ability to discern for our kids better than anyone about what they are ready to hear, or handle. I am a grown woman, and to be honest, there are times that I’d rather be on a need-to-know-basis!

So, Mom, don’t be afraid to give the ‘suitcase answer’ to some of your kids really tough, grown-up questions. It lightens the load for everyone involved, and trust me, if the question was one that is important for your kids to know the answer to someday, they’ll ask again!

 

Just say ‘NOPE’! February 25, 2010


Nope. It’s really as simple as that. Let me ‘splain… (Explain) I have an arsenal of trust built up with my kids. They trust that I have their best interest in mind; they trust that I love them like crazy, and they trust that I tell them the truth…even when I tell them that there will be consequences for certain actions. They trust that I will do what I say I will do. No gray areas.

The lack of gray in our lives has allowed us to communicate in an extremely black and white, clear-cut, simple way. I use one very powerful word…NOPE.

When I walk past their room and hear them arguing over toys, or whatever, I simply peek my head in, shake my head, and just say, “Nope.” It’s like magic! The arguing stops and I’ll tell you why.

It’s not because I am this super, all-powerful person, the world’s most amazing mom, or that my kids are the epitome of obedience. And no, it is not because of all of the times that I have said to them, “If you argue over that Barbie accessory, I will take it and give it away.”

It’s because I’ve done it. Done what, you ask? I FOLLOWED THROUGH. Very important! Muy importante! Très important! Get it? I actually GAVE THE BARBIE SHOES AWAY! I did the unthinkable! I have actually put brand new toys in the trash can, and in the yard sale bin! (With a sick stomach, I might add!) It’s not easy, but we have to follow through, Mom! Be consistent. It’s really as simple as that.

No matter how hard it is to give that toy away, or see them cry because you sent them to bed early, or watch them mope around because they are not allowed to go to the sleepover.

(NOTE: I have also done the opposite…meaning NOT followed through, so I’m telling you from experience, it doesn’t work. It bites you in the end, I promise.)

I don’t always say or do things as a mom as calm, cool, and collected as I want to. I have my ‘Calgon, take me away’ days, for sure. However, I do know that the reason I am still sane today is because of consistency.

Don’t threaten what you can’t deliver! I have heard parents in the grocery store say to their 3 yr. old, “If you don’t sit down, I’m going to take you out of this cart and leave you here by yourself!” Ok, let’s be realistic. You aren’t really going to leave your 3 yr. old at the grocery store alone because they stood up in the cart. If you are, then maybe that 3 yr. old would be better off! Oh, and if you really aren’t going to throw away your teenager’s $200.00 cell phone if they don’t get off of it, don’t tell them you will. Tell them you will make it your $200.00 cell phone. That would be a major mommy bonus! You catch my drift.

I have told my girls that I would give their things away, or make their bedtimes earlier if they didn’t change the behavior they were displaying, and they know I mean business. No empty threats here, ladies! I can’t afford it. Empty threats make for a miserable day for me, and I don’t intend on living my life in misery.

You’ve all heard it…”Spare the rod, spoil the child.” What’s your rod? We’re not always talking physical discipline, but whatever the rod, don’t spare it! Say what you mean, and mean what you say. The first time you don’t follow through with a threat of discipline, you have just set the precedent, and it’s so hard to go back…not impossible, just a whole lot harder. I vote for preventative maintenance!

So, I am now at the place with my kids where I can just say NOPE.

When I see my 7 yr. old carry a plate of crackers toward the living room…nope! When I see my 12 yr. old texting her friend while we are about to sit down to dinner as a family…nope! When my 10 year old goes to walk out of her room after changing clothes and leaves a cotton tornado behind…nope!

Ah, yes, four beautiful little letters which make up an amazingly clear path of communication. Just say NOPE!