Sunday, January 6, 2013

If these Clothes Could Talk

In my last post I laid out a list of areas of improvement for Hannah. Well, I left one of them out. It doesn’t fit into the resolution category and there is little I can do about it, because, trust me, I have tried.

You see this sweet outfit?

I want to burn it.

Why, you might ask? Any mom would love to see their daughter in this Sierra Julien sample sale steal top and Gap polka dot skirt, right? Of course! And the first time Hannah put it on I thought she looked adorable. Same for the second time. But on the 20th day in a row I had had enough.

Yes, Hannah has chosen to enforce her control and decision making capabilities in her closet. Once known as the most stylish baby on the block with people flocking for her hand-me downs, she has been wearing this very same outfit (switching between purple and pink nylons) for about two months.

It first started as one of four outfits in her weekly rotation when I thought she may be a sensory sensitive child. She kept going for clothes that were soft, tag-free and had elastic waists. Jeans and sweaters have become a foreign concept in her world. But as Christmas vacation approached she became fixated on this ensemble. So much so that we had to invent the getting dressed fairy who left a small gift in her car seat if she got dressed in the morning with little fuss. The morning routine got drawn out and it was a constant yelling match if I hadn’t done laundry the night before.

So over the past two weeks I have given her exactly what she wants. Every night I wash the ensemble and in the morning she is overjoyed to wear it once again. A small victory for her, and the disappearance of a headache for me. But with school starting in just a few days, I’m wondering when exactly this is going to end?! At this point, I’m over the fact that she is far from the best-dressed girl in her class but more concerned about her warmth in the cold winter months and the unworn clothes slowly getting too small in her closet.

I’m actually thinking of “accidentally” leaving the outfit in the country when we go home this weekend but cannot quite imagine the recourse that may result. Or maybe I should take a pair of scissors to the beloved ensemble? Put it in the dryer on an insanely high heat level to shrink it? The options are endless but at the end of the day the only way she’ll get over this phase is on her own (I hope, fingers crossed!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Mother of all Resolutions

2013 has officially arrived!

While we enjoyed a night in with close friends, sipping on Moet while munching on sushi, we had two tiny entertainers who made it up until 11pm providing the night’s entertainment.

With a new year upon us comes the call for resolutions and taking a step back to see what we can improve on from the year before. While I have a short list of personal goals, I have also taken the time to deliberate how to make family life that much better.

And while it’s not so much of a resolution but a project to work on, the area in my parenting life that I feel needs the most improvement on is discipline. I coined a term from my cousin this past summer when he referred to Hannah, mid tantrum, as a terrorist.

Yes, children can definitely be terrorists. Their bombs are usually stored in their diapers but given the right environment they can also take over the show, pulling the reigns away from their parents. Alex hasn’t developed into full terrorist status yet. At just 15 months old, he really is a little sweetheart with a million dollar smile. His recently acquired pinching and biting skills have been met with stern no’s but at such a young age, this little terrorist still has some time to be managed.

The war in our house usually revolves around his almost four year old sister, Hannah. The first child syndrome got the best of us these past few years and while she is a shy, sweet, artistic little girl she’s got a very strong will, one that is often very difficult to reckon with.

I’ve been cracking the whip since school vacation started, making sure she cleans up after herself but there seems to be a laundry list of behaviour issues that need working on. And unlike a resolution of, say losing weight where there is an easy equation of eat less, move more, getting this four year old to cooperate and listen is surely not as clear cut. So please, feel free to add your insight, experiences and any advice that might make 2013 the year of the perfect little girl J

Issue #1: Sleep
Ah yes, sleep my old friend. Hannah was doing fantastically at bedtime. We had figured out the perfect bedtime scenario including a routine and appropriate hour. But late last summer she somehow ended up in our bed night after night. After a family vacation we managed to get her back in her room but with too much hand holding, literally. Some nights we spend an hour sitting next to her waiting for her to fall asleep. This winter holiday has been exceptional as with no nap during the day she crashes at night in minutes. But she still won’t fall asleep without one of us there. We tried to “sleep train” her about a month ago, moving closer to the door each night but after three nights of crying, screaming and lost nights (for us) we gave up.

Resolution #1: Give Hannah the confidence to fall asleep on her own.

Issue #2: Food
Peas, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, apples. That is Hannah’s repertoire in the fruit and vegetable department. She won’t try anything new. One night I even promised her Smarties if she just took a bite of an orange. She refused. I need to get this kid eating more fruits and vegetables. And while I can easily hide them in muffins, chicken burgers and other secret recipes, I want her to grab a handful of grapes out of the fridge instead of heading for the goldfish in the cupboard.

Resolution #2: Enforce stricter eating rules, get more creative in the kitchen

Issue #3: Stubbornness
In late September we headed to the ski shop to set Hannah up with a winter lease of a pair of skis and boots. We got there so early in the season she even got a pair of skis with pink birdies and hearts, perfect for any little girlie skier in training. But when winter officially arrived with last week’s insane storm Hannah was wearing a skirt and nylons (not even heavy tights) and refused to play outside. The reason why? She didn’t want to wear snow pants or gloves. When we arrived in the country I even tried to put her ski boots on with her skirt ensemble in the backyard to get her hyped about skiing but she refused. We’ve been looking forward to getting her off of the magic carpet and on to the chair lift all summer long, not to mention skating, toboganning and building snow forts. But it’s all been a no go thus far.

Resolution #3: I have no idea – how do you get a hard headed kid to realize she is missing out on so much fun?

So that’s where 2013 starts for me. This laundry list makes me think that everyday going forward is going to be a battle but if you don’t push hard you’ll never see results right?
Hopefully in a few months I’ll have a produce-loving, winter sport-fan who plops into her bed and whisks herself off to sweet dreams on her own. And I can finally declare victory over the little terrorist in my home.