Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I'm here! I'm here! (runs in catching my breath). I've just been running around like a maniac for about a week... E came down with a virus last weekend, and we spent an entire week trying to keep her fever under 103. We also wanted her better for my parents' visit this past
weekend. All worked out, and she was just coming around in time for their arrival. We kept our activities to a minimum, got her back to the park (finally!), and kept to her usual nap/sleep schedule. She did great.

Now I'm back to work, behind on "Blogtember" posts, and neck deep in a fun, new freelance project! Wahoo! Still, while working I managed to get out in the afternoon to take some new pics of E with my "big camera," the ol' Canon Rebel with the telephoto. They came out so nice, I think!

I also finished the second season of The Killing, finally! I'm so behind on my crime dramas too, but you'd be surprised how much TV you can watch while getting a crap-load of freelance work done!

So, my evenings are a bit busy right now. I've been working 'til midnight, up at 6am. Go, go, go, and I've found myself in a funk the last few days.


I even had my first big blow-up at E. Sure, I've gotten mad before, but never quite like this. I always thought I'd be a parent who was okay with spanking, but I'm just not. So, this blow-up only involved a lot of loud yelling. But she cried, seemed scared, and it was horrible. She's started scratching again. This time the scratch involved bleeding, me jumping, and my dinner and drink spilling everywhere. I had finally treated myself to some new clothes courtesy of some help from family and a crapload of coupons. My new outfit was now covered in taco meat and soda. So, I screamed. I roughly put her in time-out. I cried like a baby. So did she.

Then I blamed myself -- I shouldn't be wearing new clothes around her. I shouldn't have set my drink precariously against my leg. I shouldn't have eaten tacos. This is all my fault. You know, the usual guilt trip.

But anyway, we got over it. We talked about it, both apologized, and she told me, "Don't worry. I okay." Which promptly caused me to burst into tears and feel more guilty.

But. The important thing is that... I've finally pinpointed what I believe to be the main cause of her scratching -- boredom. Apparently, the most entertaining and immediately-gratifying activity is to dig her nails into my leg, hear me yelp, and watch me peel myself off the ceiling.

I had already gone through my tool-belt of light punishments (sit-down time and talking about it, taking privileges away -- always starting with the ones that don't work and ultimately settling on time-outs). Time-outs are good for inducing guilt-wrenching cries and making her focus, realizing what she did wrong, and trying not to do it again. But ultimately, the attention from the entire time-out experience is a win for her -- even if it's a negative one.

"It's okay if you scratch me. I don't feel pain."
Nope, we had to go back to the ol' tried and true "ignore it" rule. I grew up with a little sister who loved scratching, so, though I was a little rusty, I soon got the hang of ignoring again. But, instead of running off to play with my Barbies this time, I had to be a responsible mom and take the next step. Ugh (insert 'I don't wanna grow up' groan here). I ignored the scratch (which involved a little whimpering and fake smile on my part), then I introduced something else more fun to do. "Let's play dollhouse." I even suggested, "Will you play dollhouse, while I make dinner?"

Do you know what that child said to me?? She said, "Sure," sat down at her dollhouse, and actually played while I made dinner. Is it really that simple? Maybe it'll only be that easy today. Who cares? One happy day is enough for me, and I'm taking notes to try new things tomorrow.

I thought about the situation a lot over the weekend, and I realized that, in the mornings, at day care, it's completely structured. She knows what's happening when, and she loves the activities that are coming up -- morning snack, circle time, outside/sensory play, reading/free play, lunch, then nap.

The report from the day care teacher: "We are so glad to have E back. She is an absolute joy to have in the classroom. She helps pick up, helps clean the tables. We don't even have to ask her. She leads the other kids outside and is so kind to everyone."

So, why am I getting scratched, bitten, and yelled at?? Sure, I know moms take the majority of the abuse, that I get the after-a-short-nap E who isn't always at her best. But, really, our afternoons aren't that structured. We usually go the park or do something outside, but not always. It changes, she's unsure, and she wants me to provide the next activity -- even if it's something as boring as sweeping the floor. That's fun for her!

So, yesterday, I included her in everything. I kept to a better schedule. We spent a half hour at the park, stopped at the cider mill. As soon as I got her settled in at home, we painted. By then it was time to start dinner, and suggesting the dollhouse for her while I prepped food worked perfectly. When dinner was done, she ate. After dinner, I let her watch a half hour TV show, and then I played with her.

I got scratched 3 times. Once, she drew blood. But, on Monday, it was about 10 times, so that says something... We'll see how today goes.


Anyway, I'm determined to add a little more variety to the blog in the next few weeks -- shorter posts, I hope, and more interesting finds on the interwebs -- parenting stuff, photography, design, crafts, kids' projects, and E stories, of course. We'll mix it up! "Stick with me, kid(s), we'll go far!"

Speaking of which, check out what's new on the Pen & Paint blog. Love, love, love them!

Thanks for reading!

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