Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Delayed Gratification

I was one tired momma.  In one hour's time, I was hearing,  "Mommy?  I need..." about, oh, 36 times.   Or just hearing the, "mommy!" over and over again was enough to have the hairs stand on my neck. And as much as I love my children and hearing the sweet 'mommy' words come out of their mouths, I knew something had to change.

It's easy to figure out gratification when you have a newborn and you give into every.single.demand. Crying? Give them a paci, or feed them.  Dirty diaper? Change it.  Even at 12 months old, they are still crying and not able to express themselves well enough, so you just give them whatever they are pointing at to stop them from crying.

But when they get older, you start to wonder, when does the immediate gratification end and the delayed gratification end?  It happened in my house this week, that's when.

I just came to a point with my 3.8 year old and 19 month old on Monday.  When I had just sat down to eat breakfast with them, I decided I was not going to get up for "more milk momma!"

Yep, when I sit down to eat now (and this is after preparing one meal for my 3 year old, another for my toddler and one for me) I don't get back up a million times.

I heard, "But mommy, I said please!"  To which I replied, "Yes, I know you said it so nicely, but see, mommy just sat down to eat her lunch, and when I am finished eating, then I will get back up to get you more milk."  And then I explain more when she complained, "Mommy worked hard making your meal, and is tired and needs to finish eating her own. Sometimes it's hard to wait for something, but we have to learn to be patient."  LOL here because she gives me a funny look.

Of course 'patience' is a word my child does not know, nor does any other toddler or preschooler, but hey, at least I am practicing the 'art of patience' right?

Now as for my toddler, I have been saying the same things to her.  But her threshold is not so big, so when I tell her she will have to wait until I am finished, sometimes her wanting out of her highchair equals screaming and I finally have to give in and hold her while I finish my meal.  I try practicing my limit setting with her, "I know you are having a hard time sitting in your chair, you waited a long time so I will pick you up now."

So how have the past few days been for us trying my delayed gratification?

Awh, so liberating!  Seriously, there is less stress in our home.

When we are playing on the floor and my children ask me to get up immediately right when I had just sat down to play (because they need me to come with them to get a toy in another room), I just say, "hmm, well mommy just sat down to play and I don't feel like getting up right now, so let's play with the toys here and then in a little bit we can go get the other one, or you can go by yourself to get it."  :)

Sometimes there are, "awh, mommmm! please!" but most of the time it's met with a sigh and an 'ok.' I'm really liking teaching my kids to wait :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

After the Holiday Rush

Aahh. It's January 6th. The holiday season is over.  Most of us have taken down our decorations and put away in the attic.  We had a great month of fun Christmas activities for the kids, school functions, holiday parties and New Years festivities.  But to tell you the truth, I am glad it's over and we have time to relax and de-stresssssss.

I have been enjoying the past few days off with no where needing to go.  But now comes the fun part. Where to put all of the toys and gifts my kids received?  How many of you stash presents away and then bring them back out later in the year as something new and exciting? (or have the room to do this?)

Because let's face it.  The holidays bring massive amounts of toys you didn't even know existed.  My daughter could have received a live Unicorn in our living room and it would not have phased her.  She was ready to move on to the next wrapped present to open.  Not that we are not grateful for all of the gifts my girls received, but a 1 and 3 year old can only handle a few at a time before they go sensory overload.  So we staggered some of the gift opening over the next few days to make it more special.

Managing all of the toys has been a challenge.  We have stored a few in our toy box/living room ottoman.  Taken some old toys to Goodwill.  And our neighborhood has a few Facebook pages where we can sell toys and kid items on it, and it's been so helpful recycling old toys on there.

But I have zero space left in my home to store anything else.  One day when I have a free day to organize my closets, which will be one day NEVER, I need to get our office closet transformed into a gift closet for birthday party gifts, wrapping paper, recycling toys and maybe some room left over for actual office supplies, files and art supplies.  Maybe I just need to move so my husband can have his man cave, I can have my craft room and my kids can have a large playroom. So basically we need a 6 bedroom house.  :)

 Adding more shelves and storage is a start:

And I am so going to copy this idea for behind the door!  This will help with opening up a lot more room on my shelves to store other things.

Ahem..and as for making more room, I kind of went a little overboard on a new toy item.  The big gift for our kids this year is something I've been waiting to buy them forever, a Doll House. I love dramatic play and as a play therapist, it's one of our main toys we use.  Every child plays with it. And yes, boys included. Therapists use the neutral colored houses with plain wood so they can use their imagination as much as possible.

So I couldn't wait to have Santa bring my little girls a dollhouse.  I spent hours looking online for one.   Hours. Do I get a big one with an elevator- my favorite Barbie dream house as a child? Or go for an old fashioned one that looks like a little house?  Or one of those in between ones made by Kidkraft? And the neutral colored ones or one with pinks for girls, since her favorite color is pink, pink pink.

Decisions, decisions.  And drum roll.....we chose the Kid Kraft one.  I like that it's not too flashy and pink, but there is definitely pink in there, as my daughter wouldn't have it any other way.  It also has wheels on the bottom to roll as it's two-sided and came with 45 pieces of furniture.

But I am having doubts.  It is super huge!  And I thought going with a 2 sided option with wheels so we could push it up against and wall and then pull it out would work.  But now I'm not so sure.  Maybe it should have had an elevator. Maybe I should return it and go with the old school kind like this that opens up and is made of real wood?

Because after all it's going to be in our home for many years to come, and we want it to be a good one. It's not one of those toys you will toss in 6 months.  Any suggestions?  Yes, I know, I am the one that should have the perfect answer to a toy as a play therapist, but alas, I am a mom to a princess girl and generic pine walled no pink  doll houses are just not going to fly in our home.