Stepping outside the box AKA Talking for a teddy bear

I apologize for the lack of substance on CDG this week. Between keeping a close eye on all of the developing stories in politics (more on my opinions another time), watching the Republican National Convention, being without the internets for a day, all of my crazy food preservation adventures (I’m still trying to write a how-to post about making/canning jam), updating the list of Ditch the Disposables challenge participants (woot!!), and Ava starting back to preschool, I just haven’t been able to get it together. However, finally here is some fresh content, cross-posted at the blog of Attachment Parenting International, API Speaks.

702360_sleep_1.jpg

During the past four years of my attachment parenting journey, I sometimes find myself in situations, especially with regard to discipline, that require me to step outside the box and out of my comfort zone.

A few months ago I was trying to get Ava, almost 4 years old at the time, to sleep. She had had a long day and was simply exhausted, so much so that every little thing was setting her off into a puddle of tears. I was getting frustrated because it seemed nothing I could do was right (in her eyes). Logically, I knew that she was acting this way because she was so tired and had passed the point of no return, but still I felt my frustration growing inside me.

She sat on the bed, slumped over crying and complaining about anything and everything imaginable and I wondered how could I get her to give in to her exhaustion and just lay down. I realized that reasoning with her wouldn’t work at this point. She was too far gone for that. I felt like yelling because my frustration was getting worse and worse – after all, I had things to do too and I didn’t want to spend all of my night trying to get her to sleep – but I knew that wasn’t going to help matters either.

Finally I decided what I really needed to do was take a deep breath, step outside of my comfort zone, grab a stuffed animal and start talking to her as the animal. Talking to Ava via a stuffed animal is a parenting “tool” my husband and I had used with success in the past, though not lately and, given the circumstances, I wasn’t sure how it would fly.

She has a bear named Roger who I always imagine talks with a Southern drawl and is good at cheering her up when she’s down, so Roger was the bear for the job. After a few seconds of talking as Roger, Ava stopped crying and began responding back to him, telling him what was going on with her. Although she couldn’t have done that for me, her mommy, she could do it for an impartial furry third party. ;)

Roger’s silly antics soon had Ava giggling and then he was able to talk her into laying down on her bed, relaxing and getting ready to sleep. As the bear said his good nights to Ava and me, Ava said her good nights in return and was soon calm enough to drift off to sleep.

As I left her room I couldn’t help but feel very proud of myself. I can’t claim to always respond well or the “right” way to every situation, but that night I put my pride and frustration aside and did what Ava needed to help her relax and get to sleep. Had I let my frustration overcome me there’s a good chance it would’ve taken me at least another 30-45 minutes and many more tears (probably on both of our parts) before she was asleep. But by tuning into her needs, letting go of all that I “needed” to get done, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and throwing in a little goofiness, I was able to get her to sleep calmly in much less time. And let’s face it, isn’t goofiness a prerequisite for becoming a parent? No? Well, it should be. The world just might be a happier place.

No Internets = Major productivity?

When I got a note on my door last week from my Internet provider (Comcast) letting me know they were going to screw with my service upgrade some part and leave me without a connection from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, I thought, “that totally sucks!” But then the more I thought about it, the more I thought about how productive I might actually be around the house and with my kids if I had a forced Internets-free day. So let me tell you what a day without the Internets looks like for me.

  • Get myself dressed
  • Feed kids breakfast
  • Remove and store two trays of strawberries (that I picked at the farm yesterday) from our new dehydrator
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Change the world’s poopiest diaper ever, which actually required a partial bath to get the boy clean
  • Dress the kids
  • Get myself breakfast
  • Put clothes in dryer (it looked like rain at the time, so no line drying),  put another load in washer
  • Clean up the livingroom and vacuum
  • Make lunch for the kids
  • Lunch for me = tortilla chips and salsa (that I made yesterday) and some leftover hummus (also made yesterday)
  • Usher the kids outside to play
  • Cut and prepare about 15 apples (on sale at Vitamin Cottage) for dehydrating
  • Get clothes from dryer. Move clothes from washer to dryer
  • Start folding laundry
  • Put Julian down for nap
  • Get the rest of the laundry and finish folding it all
  • Help Ava make a caterpillar out of an egg carton
  • Wash umpteen dishes from yesterday and today
  • Make, with Ava’s help, a small batch of strawberry freezer jam
  • Clean up my new kitchen mess
  • Read some new books (that came in the mail from a book club Ava belongs to) to the kids
  • Make tortellini with spinach for dinner

I think that’s it. :oP

Then Jody got home from work. We were still without a connection (two hours past the time we were supposed to be) so he called Comcast and got it straightened out (cuz apparently just bitching about it, as I had been doing, wasn’t enough to fix it).

What a day. It’s amazing what I’m able to get done when I am unable to access my drug of choice the Internets.  My conclusion is that maybe my service should be knocked out once a week. Comcast, can we arrange that? (Wait! Did I just say that outloud???) ‘Cause we both know that a self-imposed Internet-free day ain’t gonna happen. (And don’t even tell me I’m the only one.) :oP