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    Lenny Lemons Blog

    Does she take after you?

    Does she take after you?

    This blog post goes out to all the moms raising a strong willed child. Anyone who has a sweet, kind toddler, who sits quietly in a restaurant coloring or plays alone while you get things done will probably not understand this at all and will most likely think I am a horrible mom. But, I’m willing to lend my sassy pants beauty over for a trip to the grocery store in case you’re curious. Or just go to my google search history and see how many times I’ve typed the words, “activities for a strong willed child” and maybe that will give you some insight. Before we start, yes. Her boots are zip tied in the photo above. That's the only way we can keep shoes on her in the backyard.

    Moving on...

    It’s funny. We say “strong willed” because calling your own kid an expletive that starts with an a and rhymes with shmashole is frowned upon in society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little human so much it hurts. I would never try to coerce her strong willed character out of her. I know that it will make her into an assertive, brave, and confident young woman one day. But that doesn’t mean I am oblivious to how much she will test my human will on her way to becoming that strong young woman.

    To begin, there’s consistent use of the word no. I’m not talking about the average toddler use of the word no. I’m talking about this being my child’s favorite word. A word that is used hundreds of times a day in defiance. A word that is said with brute force, attitude, and bellowed at a decibel that once again makes my neighbors (and anyone in public really) question my ability to parent. If you are a parent to a strong willed child, you know exactly what happens when you try to win the battle of “no” and challenge them to do something they have clearly indicated will not be done. I like to follow up these challenges with a bottle of champagne.          

    Then there are the facial expressions. Little miss thang has a WTF face that literally makes me slightly afraid of her. It’s like she’s flipping you off with her eyes. It is even a running joke in my circle of friends that Mack is going to need Botox soon, because the wrinkles between her eyebrows will be so deep from frowning by then that she’ll have no hope by the time she’s 30. You receive this look anytime you try to initiate a conversation within 30 minutes of her waking up. When you get her juice-to-water ratio wrong. If you ask her to climb down from something or hand over a sharp object. If you try to stop her from eating dirt, marbles, plastic, legos, or prevent her from licking the sliding glass door. Or simply if she doesn’t like your face. Want to know what goes along with those facial expressions? Reread the paragraph above this one.  

    No one is exempt from her attitude...most especially her big brother. My kids could not be any more opposite and what she possesses in sass, my son carries equally in sensitivity. He’s the boy you’ll want your daughter to marry when she's older, but right now he’s just an easy target. Mack knows exactly which buttons to push and spends her day antagonizing him by stealing whatever he’s currently holding, pulling his hair, kicking him in the face from her carseat, and my personal favorite, lying on the ground fake crying when he’s having a meltdown. No, not for attention. But because at 2, she is making fun of him by mimicking him.    

    Mack is also fearless. To date, she has climbed the refrigerator, walked into my room with a butcher knife which she retrieved after scaling the cabinets with her toes, jumped off of every tall surface in our house, tipped the dining room chairs over a dozen times as she tried to tightrope walk across the backs of them. Fallen off the trash can. You get the idea. Daddy also had to build her a special frame on the floor for her crib bed to sit on because she could crawl out before she was a year old.  

    Research you say? Yep, I’ve done that. I’ve read tons of mommy blogs and online articles. Basically the most consistent advice for not losing your mind is to put your seatbelt on, hold on for dear life, and harness patience from Tibetan monks. Oh, and love them like crazy, because one day that strong will is going to serve them abundantly in life. Until then, I will find the joy in watching her chug her sippy cup of “appy juice” and then hurl it to the ground like a viking warrior.

    Because there is also an incredibly sweet and cuddly side to baby girl. One that melts your heart and leads you to cover her chubby little cheeks in kisses. She loves exclaiming that she loves you at random times, with as much gusto as her exclamation of “no!”. She loves when you read her books. She loves to share her snacks (on her terms)...meaning shoving bits of pre-chewed food into your mouth. She loves to be rocked to sleep and while this can sometimes take up to an hour at night, I relish this time. Because in those quiet moments, when she’s snuggled in my arms, all is right in the world. I remember that the years when she will be too big to sit on my lap, will come fast and furious, just like her current attitude. I remember that even though she came at me with a right hook when I tried to put her hair in a ponytail, one day we will do all the things I still love to do with my mom. And even though I am married with my own children, my mom is still my best friend. I hope Mack looks at me that same way too.

    So if you have a strong willed child, I see you. I understand you when other parents try to give you advice you’ve already tried, or tell you that it’s a phase, or that all kids are this way at some point. Side note, they’re not. I see the expression you make when people say, “just bring them with you, they’ll be fine.” I’m with you, eating at home, because restaurant trips are like the odds in Vegas. Not good. I feel your pain when you get looks of disapproval from strangers...because why yes, perfect stranger, I absolutely train my child to have epic meltdowns every time they come in contact with other humans.

    One day, we’ll all sit back and smile when our strong willed children become CEO’s and professional athletes. The one thing I know for sure is that when people ask me if I am having any more kids.

    My answer is one word.

    No.     

     

    Megan Rix
    http://www.thisanchoredlife.com/

    Mom Bi-Polarism + Discipling 101

    Mom Bi-Polarism + Discipling 101

    I am.  I've absolutely gotta be.  Mom Bipolar.

    I mean, one minute I'm sucking on their faces or trying to get them to pee in their pants laughing and the next I'm yelling like the place is on FIYA.  I know my neighbors think I've got the best lungs on the block.  Or they know for sure, ahhh what's the difference ;)

    I was recently watching a show called "The Americans".  I'm one of those people who doesn't allow myself to watch TV shows because if I like it, the kids are on their own until all the episodes that are available to watch have been seen.  It's happened twice already ;)  No kids have been harmed.  

    Anyways.  Back to the show.  I'm always in AWE of the parents.  They are always so calm, well... there's a lot more to tell, but in terms of dealing with each other and their kids, they practically NEVER raise their voices.  

    How in THEE?  I've tried that.  Maybe not for a prolonged period of time, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  3 boys screaming + laughing and one crazy wombat of a daughter running wild, nobody heard a peep of what I was saying.

    Back to yelling.

    Last week something funny happened though.  I was yelling the same ole thing over and over to my 5 year old son, I finally stopped, looked at him and said "Oooookay, never mind.  Don't do it."  Cool as a cucumber.    

    What did he do?  He lost his mind.  

    It was awesome.

    I felt like I was getting somewhere ;)

    You mean that was the key the whole time?!  

    But seriously.  When the tables turned one on one with him and I calmed down, he freaked out.  He's like "NOOOOO MOM!!  Why are you SO mad?!  I'll do it now!"  

    WHAT?  Mad NOW?  Am I missing something?

    I had to step into another room to let that simmer.  I figured it out!  Being calm and trying to corral the herd when they're all together doesn't work (in my house) but being calm and talking to them one on one just might work.  

    Well.  Fast forward to this week.  I've used that strategy a few times effectively.  But after my kids caught wind of it, they started doing it to one another.  DAMNIT.  Don't mock me... especially when it comes to a solution for fighting (and a million other things.)

    Back to square one.  

    And being bipolar ;)  I'd love to hear my kids description of me now that I'm thinking about it.

    I'm laughing at myself inside sometimes trying to figure this all out.  I mean, wouldn't that be sweet if you could mom it up with you best friends.  The kids would have nothing on us.  In fact, they'd probably be so weirded out that they'd behave.  

    I am seriously jealous if you're 'momming' with your BFF.  

    In the mean time.  Tell me about your home.  How do you discipline?  What works?  What sucks?  How much wine you consume daily?  All of this I must know.

    Over + out for now.

    Xo - Karin

    A Tale of 2 Truths.

    A Tale of 2 Truths.

    Hey mama...

    Today... you woke up late, the breakfast is being thrown around the table, the kids are half dressed and you're rushing out the door to school.  There is toilet paper all over the bathroom, bedrooms that were cleaned just yesterday look like they haven't seen the light of day in years, and somehow they can't find their underwear.  When was the last time they even wore them?  

    You don't get it, last night they went to sleep peacefully.  You even stared at them for a few extra minutes thinking, "I can't believe I created this beauty, I'll never yell at them again... "

    What the hell happened this morning?  

    Chaos.  Screaming.  Fighting.  Arguing.  Where's my stuff!  He touched me.  I need field trip money!  Where is my uniform?!  Boy oh boy, talk about going from one extreme to the other.

    One of those days the car is almost lifted off the ground from screeching out of the driveway.  They're laughing, chattering, and completely oblivious to the fact that you feel like this morning would make even the soberest (is that a word) of people, reach for a drink.  WHEW.

    Oh my gosh, not again... did they even brush their teeth today?  How many times can we forget before they get a cavity because this definitely isn't the first time.  Two year olds can brush their own teeth, right?

    They get off to school safely and with smiles as usual.  When they're leaving the car they turn back and say "I LOVE YOU MOM" and BOOM.  WHAT?  Were they even present this morning?  I mean the neighbors heard you yelling, surely the kids did too.   Now you're absolutely sure they don't listen to you ;)

    Here's what I've discovered...

    THEY DON'T CARE.  They really don't.  They don't care how fast life seems to move.  They don't care about the mess.  They don't understand the stress.  They don't care about the noise.  They don't care about the rush, they don't care about any of it.  

    What do they care about then?!  They care about having loving parents and family around them.  They can laugh on a dime because they don't worry about the petty things.  They love that they have security and love around them, parents who they admire and take the time to love on them.  

    MAMA.  Listen.  I've got these days, more than I like to admit.  We feel like we're spinning in a million directions, holding the keys to everybody's happiness... relax.  We're not.  Just by being you, by doing what you can, and by realizing that essentially, it'll ALL be ok (even with a sink of dirty dishes or even being late to pickup your son at practice).  It really will.  Step back, smile, and be grateful for today.  Try and laugh at the ridiculousness of the life around you and don't try and control it.  (Perhaps even cheers to it!)

    Breathe.  Make the time to love and laugh.  They're only little once, and when they're big... yes maybe it'll be a bit easier, but for now.  This is the good stuff.  Be present, and smile.  You created an absolute masterpiece, now enjoy it.  

    Sending love and laughs, and even a dose of sanity ;)

    XO Karin

    What do you have in there? – A guide to the mom purse.

    What do you have in there? – A guide to the mom purse.

    Every single time someone picks up my purse. Scratch that. My diaper bag. Wait no…my suitcase? Ok, my mom purse.

    Every time someone picks up my mom purse, they make the same exact statement. What do you have in there? My response? ALL THE THINGS.

    You see, when you first have babies, you carry a diaper bag. A 52 pocket monstrosity that they half attempted to make cute with some sort of floral pattern. You buy the one that all the other cool moms have, even though it looks like you’re carrying around a house on your back with those “functional backpack straps”. By the time you’re pregnant for the second time, you could care less about what your diaper bag looks like. Instead, you only want one that is fully functional for the hundred items you need to stuff inside. The trouble is, when your kids become toddlers, you no longer need the diaper bag, but you still have too many things to put into a cute, normal sized purse. Hence, the mom bag.

    The problem is that moms have just as much crap in their mom purse as we did in our diaper bag, but we’re so desperate to rid ourselves of anything that has a fold out on which to change a poopy diaper, that we graduate ourselves to the mom bag. An endless abyss of leather with no pockets and no functionality, whose only purpose is to make us feel like we’re normal humans again. In reality, it only serves to stress us out more because when we dive into this abyss to find one item, it’s like looking for a specific grain of sand on a beach.

    So what’s in my mom purse? Well, clear a space the size of a ping pong table and I will show you.

    Toys. The toys in each mom’s purse are a reflection of their children. Me for example, my purse contains at a minimum, half a dozen cars, trucks, transformers, or tractors. My son has each one memorized carefully. So heaven forbid I try to downsize and he wants to play with Brushfire from Rescue Bots or his excavator while we’re in Target. There’s also a random mask, a few legos, and the occasional paper airplane made out of a grocery receipt.

    Food. You’re not a mom unless you have 15 snacks in your purse. I’m pretty sure I could survive for a week off the contents of the food in my purse. If I rationed correctly. The thing is, these snacks go through hell and back as they’re crushed under the weight of all the other crap. Goldfish turn into a fine powder, gummies melt into one giant coagulated blob, and applesauce packets usually tend to explode at some point. Yet you never learn your lesson and you continue to put more in.

    WIpes. Diaper wipes, hand sanitizer wipes, boogie wipes. Mom purses basically function as baths-on-the-go for every spill, stain, and snotty nose.

    Clothing. Having toddlers who are potty trained doesn’t mean you get to leave behind a change of clothes. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Now you’ve got multiple pairs of shorts and undies because accidents are way more likely to happen than when your kid was in diapers. At least those kids are wearing absorbent material. Two toddlers times two outfits each. I might as well roll around my airport carry on bag.

    Bags within bags. This is where the few items that actually belong to moms reside. Since most mom purses do not have a sufficient number of pockets, we fill smaller bags with crap because it makes us feel quasi organized. My bags contain some lady products, 3 tubes of chapstick, ibuprofen, sunscreen (which is really for the kids), and altoids…because those are the closest things I get to a snack. Oh. And sunglasses. I have a minimum of 3 in my bag at all times. Mostly because I always panic that I don’t have any, so on my way out the door, I throw in another pair. These are critical when you take your kid to pre-k without a spot of make up and you want their teacher to think you’re trendy. Not trashy.

    I’m not sure when mom purses make the shift back to normal sized purses. But I can tell you that I used to search my grandma’s purse for toys and my favorite cherry lifesavers. Until then, I can pretty much answer any request for a single item with one simple sentence.

    Let me check in my purse.

     

    Megan Rix
    http://www.thisanchoredlife.com/

    Stop, Drop, and Go

    Stop, Drop, and Go

    Growing up, my mom was always my best friend. I always felt close to her and could tell her anything. I crave that same bond with my own daughter. I want her to feel so special, and so loved. I want her to know her mommy is her biggest fan. I want her to talk openly with me and feel comfortable knowing I’ll always listen to her. I’m finding that the best way to create this bond is to just be together.
    It doesn’t take a lot of money or a lot of thought, but what it does take is my time. The greatest gift you can give anyone is your full attention and your time.

    We live in a time where we spend more time on our phones, computers or other devices than we do sharing eye contact and making memories. I can’t think of a time, when I was a child, looking at my mom and seeing her zoned out the phone or computer. It just wasn’t a thing back then. But how often do our kids look at us and see that our full attention is on our phone? We are great at limiting their screen time and blocking what they see, but how well do we limit our own screen time? There are so many screens in our lives; the TV, the phone, the iPad, the iPod, and all the little gadgets and electronics that we can be consumed with. Our parents didn’t face this problem to the extent that we do.


    This is something I struggle with, if I’m being completely honest. It’s hard to quiet my mind sometimes or to just put everything down and have no distractions.

    Maybe the problem isn’t just technology. Maybe it’s worrying about keeping a clean household, or finishing all your work. Maybe it’s your gym schedule or your make up and hair routine. Maybe it’s running from play date to play date or karate to swim to gymnastics! We are all together way too busy trying to do everything.
    One day, I noticed my daughter, Brynn, was particularly agitated. She kept whining and grabbing at me for everything. It was 9am and I already was losing my patience. Her big brother, Brax, was at school so this was my time to run errands. I needed to do laundry, clean, try to fit in a workout and prep some dinners for the week. “Come on Brynn, give me a few minutes pleaaaaase,” I whined back at her. When I stopped and heard the sound of my voice, I realized I was throwing a fit right back at her.  Don’t we do that sometimes? Throw our own fits! I may not have done a body slam onto the floor and cried like kids do, but I came close!  I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

    *LIGHT BULB MOMENT*

    I realized, she’s only fussing cause she wants to do what she wants to do!

    So I stopped, pulled my fit together and became an adult again, bent down, hugged her and said, “Brynn bunny, what do you want to do right now?”
    Her fit stopped instantly, she looked at me with a sparkle in her eye and joy in her heart and she jumped up and hugged me so tight I almost fell over. She grabbed my hand and said, “Namir” (it’s her way of saying “come here”). Then she walked me to the door and said, “go on a walk with mommy, pweeeease.”

    She loves when we go in nature walks and talk about what we see in the great outdoors; birds, trees, flowers, airplanes and more! How could anyone say no to her excited face? Sometimes I just need to STOP for a moment, DROP what I’m doing, and GO along with my children….

    I left my phone at home on purpose, left all my to-dos on the list for a later time, didn’t care that my hair messy and we walked. We laughed. We shared sweet moments that would have been lost forever and never gotten back if I chose my tasks over my baby girl. I know she’s only 2 and won’t remember or care that the laundry wasn’t done or the dishes were in the sink. She may not even remember our walk, but she will feel the love stamped on her heart. She will feel important to her mom. She will feel secure and confident in herself one day knowing that her needs matter to me. The bond we are making now will be engraved in her heart forever. I like to picture us going on walks when she’s older and she will open up to me about bigger things in her life. 

    My kids THRIVE when I take them outside and kick the ball around, or go on a nature walk. Just being. Just looking. Just learning. Just breathing.
    It’s easy to get caught up in the to-dos and the tasks of right now. It’s easy to think we need to sign our kids up in endless activities so they’ll be well rounded. It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves to do it all.


    Might I suggest, that doing it all will get us nowhere.  It’s doing less but doing it well that creates success.  Spending one on one time with each child and learning who they are. Asking them what they want to do and watch them take the lead.  Getting down on their level and belly laughing with them.

    Kids find joy in all the small things, we really could learn from that.

    After all, one day I will be throwing a fit for my daughter’s attention and wanting to talk. Maybe she will be the one on her phone (if phones haven’t morphed into something even crazier by then. Like a device that’s implanted into our hand and we never have to put it down!) I hope and pray that she will put her busy teenage cares down every once in a while to tend to me. Until then, I’m going to model the behavior I hope she chooses. I choose relationships. I choose connection. I choose love. I choose her smile.   

    Lishele Wigand
    www.Lishous.com