Living With Wild Monkeys… a.k.a. The Wrath of the Toddler..

Stewie Griffin

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I saw this little poem on ‘Be a Fun Mum‘ and I thought I would share it with you. My daughter L recently turned 1 year-old, and is now on-the-go (a.k.a. destroying the house and driving me mad)

She is a; stubborn, (from me) Temperamental, (from dad) and completely adorable (definitely from me ;P) little devil!! It seems lately that every time I turn around I am grabbing something out of her mouth, hand, or general reach. I am constantly pulling her down off things, out of things, and away from things… it is like living with a rabid monkey. When you do have to take something from her, usually some small or disgusting object that will, no doubt, end up in her mouth, an item which usually you have no idea how she got it or often where it even came from, it is a war zone… Once you manage to catch her in order to get the object in question (she has started running the minute you approach) you must then attempt to pry it from her grasp… toddlers have an amazing amount of strength and determination… it is like trying to get a knot out of a necklace… she wraps those tiny fingers tight and wiggles like mad… if you do manage to pry the object from those tiny little sausage fingers you will then be faced with the astonishingly loud sound of her wails…. My daughter has the lungs of an opera singer.. When she cries you can hear her clear to the moon… Never in my life have I met a child with a louder, or more annoying scream than this little girl… and she uses this knowledge to her advantage in every possible situation!

Don’t let her age fool you know, this manipulative little devil KNOWS what’s going on, and she strategically plots out her ‘plan of action’ in order to get what she wants. I swear if I lifted the mattress of her crib I would surely find blue prints and intricate outlines on a mission to take over the world… she is like a cuter, less violent version of ‘Stewie’ from family guy!!!

Needless to say she is spoiled rotten because Daddy can’t bear to see her cry… and despite it all she is adorable, and loving when she wants to be….

This poem is a remind that it’s a good thing kids are cute… Enjoy!


If it is on, I must turn it off.

If it is off, I must turn it on.

If it is folded, I must unfold it.

If it is a liquid, it must be shaken, then spilled.

If it a solid, it must be crumbled, chewed or smeared.

If it is high, it must be reached.

If it is shelved, it must be unshelved.

If it is pointed, it must be run with at top speed.

If it has leaves, they must be picked.

If it is plugged, it must be unplugged.

If it is not trash, it must be thrown away.

If it is in the trash, it must be removed, inspected, and thrown on the floor.

If it is closed, it must be opened.

If it does not open, it must be screamed at.

If it has drawers, they must be rifled.

If it is a pencil, it must write on the refrigerator, monitor, or table.

If it is full, it will be more interesting emptied.

If it is empty, it will be more interesting full.

If it is a pile of dirt, it must be laid upon.

If it is stroller, it must under no circumstances be ridden in without protest.

It must be pushed by me instead.

If it has a flat surface, it must be banged upon.

If Mommy’s hands are full, I must be carried.

If Mommy is in a hurry and wants to carry me, I must walk alone.

If it is paper, it must be torn.

If it has buttons, they must be pressed.

If the volume is low, it must go high.

If it is toilet paper, it must be unrolled on the floor.

If it is a drawer, it must be pulled upon.

If it is a toothbrush, it must be inserted into my mouth.

If it has a faucet, it must be turned on at full force.

If it is a phone, I must talk to it.

If it is a bug, it must be swallowed.

If it doesn’t stay on my spoon, it must be dropped on the floor.

If it is not food, it must be tasted.

If it IS food, it must not be tasted.

If it is dry, it must be made wet with drool, milk, or toilet water.

If it is a car-seat, it must be protested with arched back.

If it is Mommy, it must be hugged.

I am toddler!

– author unknown


If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says, “keep away from children.”
Susan Savannah

The Rise of Size

The appearance of plus sized models has skyrocketed over the last few years. Long-gone are the days of Kate Moss and the heroin addict image that under-fed, bony models portrayed. Though the size of many models is still questionable, more and more magazines are opting to replace the skin-and-bones look with curvier, more realistic women in their spreads. 

Even Tyra Banks, one of the worlds former super-models, openly expressed her excitement at seeing heavier women in mainstream media. Banks, who has battled with her weight publicly for sometime, has stepped out of the ‘typical’ supermodel mold, and is boasting a beautiful, more curvaceous figure that she is proud to flaunt. Banks is the house of the hit television show ‘America’s Next Top Model‘, a show for which she fought successfully to allow heavier women the right to compete on.

This increase in plus size models is an amazing achievement for women everywhere. By employing women who are realistically proportioned the media is sending a strong message to the women of the world; the message that it is alright to be big. The message that you do not have to starve yourself to be beautiful, and the message that you are wonderful just the way you are.

Crystal Renn happens to be one of the most well know plus size models in the world, at 5ft 9in and 165lbs she doesn’t appear plus sized in person, but industry standards make it so. The specs of plus sized models are tight. Plus sized is considered to be any model over a size 10 (US) and generally 5’8 and up…

A ten may not seem so “plus size” to you, and it isn’t in the reality of things. Size 10 is among the average of women today, and this is even more reason for ‘plus size’ models to become the mainstream. Why should we promote a size 3 when the average woman is wearing a size 10? How is this promoting your product? How is this even realistic to everyday life for women of the world?

I personally say ‘Amen’ to the plus sized models of the world. Though not plus size myself, I have many friends who have battled with weight their entire lives. These are beautiful, sexy, intelligent woman who bear the right to be beautiful, not just within themselves but in the eyes of the world as well. I don’t see curves as a flaw but rather a feature, what is more beautiful than a woman with hips and a booty? How can we take a woman of average size and build and tell her she is too big to represent the women of the world? I hope that more magazines will step up and see that the true beauty of a woman is not in the size of her dress, but rather her natural beauty that shines from within.

Women and Insecurities: An Overview of a Deep Rooted Issue

Low self-esteem is a big issue in today’s society, especially among women. Women are known for being insecure, you see it every time a woman asks “Does this make me look fat?” We are emotional creatures by nature, and we often rely on others to make us feel good. We turn to friends for support and reassurance, and often drive our partners mad with our constant need to pick ourselves apart.

Why do woman have such a negative view of themselves, and what can be done to change this negative thinking pattern? How do we battle this silent menace? and What is causing women to feel so low?

To define self-esteem is a very deep and thoughtful task; Self-esteem comes from the inside out. Self-esteem basically means; “you should not rely on another person to make you feel good about yourself, you should know that you are fine, even perfect, just the way you are”.Self-esteem is the ability to see yourself as the strong, sensual, sexy, smart woman you are, both inside and out. No matter your shape, size, color, or class level.

Take a long look in the mirror right now… What do you see?

What features do you like most about yourself physically? Emotionally?

What have you accomplished lately that makes you feel proud? What are your goals for the future?

Are you happy with the person you are, both physically and emotionally? Are you content with your life? Appearance?

Chances are at least one of these ‘simple‘ questions makes you feel uncomfortable. But Why?

Woman, for whatever reason, have historically been programmed to be hard on themselves, to find faults, and to down-play their accomplishments. It is put into our heads somewhere along the line that we should not be boastful, that we should not voice our pride in ourselves, and that we should only allow others to tell us when we can feel, and express, pride and confidence… This may sound outrageous to some of you.. and if it does than I am proud of you, because the truth is; a substantial number of women, of all shapes, sizes, races, and class levels, struggle with self-esteem issues on one level or another during their lifetime.

Often woman who express pride in themselves, or their accomplishments open are accused of being conceited. There is a big difference between confidence and conceit. Two very big differences that often get confused; Confidence is the ability to see your strengths and accomplishments, and the desire to want to share them with others. Confidence is pride in who you are, it is acceptance of yourself flaws, faults, and the whole package. Confidence only becomes conceit when the woman is not aware of the areas in which she still wishes to improve and grow, and she portrays herself as being perfect, Conceit is often a cover-up for low self-esteem, it is a defense mechanism for a deeper issue, and is often a person’s way of making themselves feel good, not superior.

Women come in all different shapes, we are different colors, we have different opinions, different dress sizes, and different lifestyles, but inside, each and every one of us is the same. The person staring back at you in the mirror should not be the soul of who you are…

I will tell you the story of Beth. Beth is a beautiful, intelligent, and successful woman. Beth has a great job, two wonderful children, and a loving husband. She drives a nice car, owns her dream house, and vacations twice a year as she desires. She has a wardrobe to die for, and the kind of life most women only dream of, but Beth is unhappy. Overcome by constant insecurity, Beth is about 30 lbs over her desired weight, she is constantly seeking reassurance that she is attractive from her husband, and even though he willing assures her on a regular basis that he loves her just the way she is, Beth suffers bouts of depression due to her dislike for herself and her negative thinking patterns. Beth can not see her accomplishments, she can not see her success, and she can not see her obvious beauty… Beth can not see past her dress size.

Then there is Ashley, a strong independent woman over forty, she is single by choice, and successful in her career. Ashley will tell you that she is happy with her life, she has no fear telling you that she is a good person, and she willingly shares details about her recent accomplishments, and her future goals. She admits that she has personal issues she needs to work on, but she feels she is a good person in general and is happy with her life overall. She will also tell you that she is single, not because something is wrong with her, but because she wants to find someone who ‘fits’ into her lifestyle, rather than trying to have her lifestyle ‘fit’ someone else. Ashley is also about 30 lbs over her desired weight.

How can two women who are both beautiful, brilliant, and successful have such different opinions of their lives, and themselves?

It’s Self-esteem….

Where Beth sees failure, Ashley sees a challenge, she sees a goal, and she sees success. Ashley sees her weight for what it is, simply a part of herself. If you ask Ashley she will easily admit that she wishes to lose a few pounds, but she will also tell you that ‘as long as she is healthy and happy it is not much of a priority to her at the moment.’ Ashley has the confidence to know that, although she may be a bigger dress size than she hopes to be, image is not everything.

I would love to find the person that decided women in magazines should be a size 3 and slap them silly. This tiny, ridiculous fact alone has caused more pain then it ever should have. Women unrealistically feel compelled to live up to this “Barbie Media” standard that doesn’t exist, when the reality of life should be who you are inside, and how you feel about yourself, not what you look like, what size you wear,or how big your breasts are, and certainly not what some ‘airbrushed Barbie Doll looks like in comparison!

Self-esteem is a core personality trait that is essential to our happiness and success as an individual. It is a major cause of depression in women, and the biggest obstacle that teen girls battle on a regular basis, and It’s no wonder with societies obsession with size and the media’s definition of beauty.

So how do we build self-esteem in a world that is constantly battling to break it down???

  • Accept who you are faults, flaws, and facts – Accept right now that your body ‘is what it is’, forget the size 3 dress you fit into when you were 12, and stop starving yourself in the hopes of becoming Kate Moss. Be yourself, and love yourself, every flaw, sag, fat cell, stretch mark, and pimple…
  • Get over what you have done wrong – Allowing yourself to make mistakes is the easiest way to learn, and grow. Accept that life may not be what you planned for yourself, and focus instead on what this has taught you. Take these mistakes and turn them into lessons for the future, and view the mistakes you will make in the same light… There will never be a time in life when you won’t screw up one way or another. Remember in life, “It is not that you fell in the first place that matters, it is how fast you got up to try again that counts”.
  • Take control of your choices – The number one mistake we all make is blaming others for our unhappiness. If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it change the way your react to it. There are always choices in life, it is up to you to make the best ones for yourself. Forget for a minute what others will think, and focus on how you will feel, base your decisions on that alone, and aim for the option that will create the most happiness in your life. Remember, if you are happy with yourself, others will be happy with you as well, and it will be easier for you to help others find their happiness… but remember happiness is only something you can create for yourself, you can not produce it for someone else, nor can they provide it for you.When you are happy though it will show and reflect on others, a smile is like an infectious disease, contagious!
  • See the silver lining – Every single situation has a positive point of view, it is up to you to find it. Instead of looking at something as terrible find three positives in it. No matter how bad a situation may seem you will always be able to find three reasons that it not all bad. Think first about the opportunity it presents, think about the growth it may allow, and think about the chances it may produce. Change and challenge can be difficult, and they sometimes involve pain, or even sadness. It is fine to address these emotions as they arise, but it is also important that you see the positive they represent as well. Positive thinking brings positive results, try it out, what have you got to lose?
  • If all else fails, Fake it! – If worse comes to worse, and you find yourself wallowing in self-doubt, fake confidence for a little while. Often times faking confidence leads to actually feeling confident. When you make something a habit it becomes natural, so walk with your shoulders back and your head held high, even if you aren’t feeling it. Talk and act like a confident, self-assured, person and eventually you will start to believe you are. Just as negative thinking becomes a pattern we easily fall into, positive thinking can be just as simple to achieve.. all it takes is a little imagination, consistency, and a bit of time.

Everyone suffers from low self-esteem at one point or another, the key is to seek help when it’s needed, and resolve to accept yourself for who you are. Don’t worry about what others think of your image, or your actions, all that should matter is how you feel inside. Most importantly don’t try to be something you are not, we were each created differently for a reason, embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your differences, don’t aim to change those things you consider flaws, instead look at how they have made you who you are today. Be the best person you can be, and do what makes you happy. Remember that you are in control of your happiness, and it is but a mere choice away, no one but you can create it, or break it, so don’t rely on, or expect others, to do it for you, (they can’t and usually won’t) set out to achieve it on your own.

You are strong, smart, and beautiful…. You are perfect, just the way you are!

Until Next Time….

Write On!

    My Life…. In Shambles!

    It has been chaotic around here… to say the least! We are in the midst of moving (Yes, again!) and my life is currently in shambles!

    For those of you who have just joined me on my journey let me give you a quick update to get you up to speed… I recently (2 months ago) relocated to ‘the big city’ from the small city of Barrie,Ontario. Packing up the Hubby, kids, toys, and the dog we found a cute little apartment in a quiet area and away we went. The move went well and we were excited to start a new life in a city where we could make new friends, meet new people and start fresh, free of the stresses our old life held….

    Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned, (especially in my life) and we ran into a few minor (and by minor I mean major) bumps in the road to happiness. First and foremost, the ‘cute’ little apartment turned out to be a death trap of insanity. With elephants above us, mold in the walls, leaks in the ceiling, and rotting fish in the oven, I was convinced that the world was against me. One little issue kept leading to another and the stress of the mess was causing some major frustrations on the home front. Finally fed up with a landlord who was clearly just ‘in it for the cash’ I decided that I would not scarifice my families health and happiness because some idiot would not step up and do his job…. thus I gave my notice and set out in search of a ‘real’ home. I stumbled across a real gem in the middle of the city. The hubby’s friend called up and told us about the main floor of a house he was renting in, the tenants had moved out unexpectedly and the space was vacant, he asked if we were still looking for a place and if we wanted to see it… We decided to have a look at it. I was apprehensive at first, moving to this house would mean that C would have to switch schools in the middle of the year (again) and it was in an area I had not considered before, but pushing my doubts aside we made the trek over to check it out…

    The house was “perfect” (for us) and we fell in love on the spot. There were no leaks, no mold, no elephants upstairs, there was a great yard with room for a garden, the school was 6 doors down, and it was close to the subway! The area was great (although the road is a little busier than I prefer) and there are many shops and stores around to feed my ‘shopaholic’ habit! It was a little more money than I had intended to spend, but it was worth it when you considered all the perks it possessed…. and so we took it on the spot!

    That was less than 2 weeks ago!

    Since then we have been slowly (and by slowly I mean slowly) moving our stuff out of the ‘death trap’ little by little! We have all the basics and have been spending our nights there, we are currently camped out in the living room with a mattress on the floor until we can arrange to have our couch and bed delivered. We have only a single frying pan, a few cookie sheets and roasting pan to cook with, and it is a bit like going on a vacation in a cabin in the woods. But… it is better than the smell of mold constantly assaulting your nostrils, or the never-ending sound of an out-of-control child stomping, screaming, and slamming things from above. It is better than the repetitive sound of a drip as the ceiling leaks in the bathroom, and it is better than the cramped space of an overheated tiny apartment meant for two… and so I will take ‘roughing it’ for a few days over the drama of the old place any day, besides it allows me to utilize my creativity as I try to concoct a dinner on only a frying pan, or build a fort for the kids to ‘camp’ in through the night!

    We will be getting all of our furnishings on Friday and then my task will be set out to organize the new house and try to make it look full with our minimal furniture and belongings… but on the bright side of things it gives me an excuse to go shopping!!!!

    Having moved to another area of the city means that ‘C’ is going to have to switch schools, yet again, mid year. I was afraid that this would be upsetting for him, but my little trooper is actually very excited… his reply when I explained the situation… “That’s fine Mom, it means that I am going to have friends all over the world one day, and no matter where I go I’ll know someone!” He is a positive thinker…

    So that is the drama of my life so far, things are a bit of a mess at the moment, but the outlook is good and we are optimistic. Most of our stress is diminishing with this new place and we can start focusing on our goals and working towards a better future. We have finally found a great house, despite the fact that I don’t care much for our new landlord (and he doesn’t seem to care much for me either… but that’s another story for another time) it is a really great house, with plenty of space and a unique charm that I adore. I am looking forward to getting my decorating done (which I have already begun, of course) and enjoying life here for a long time to come. I have decided that the next time I move it will be into a ‘purchased’ home, so I think I will be in this rental a VERY long time!

    Once we are settled it is back to my regular duties of being a mother, a wife, a writer and a friend, it is back to having fun and sharing laughter. Back to cleaning the house and cooking the dinner, bathing the kids, and being a grown-up… but for now I will go build a fort and hide inside enjoying the moment I have to pretend that life is as simple as a single frying pan…..

    Until Next Time….

    Write On!

    An Award!!! I Am Truly Touched…..

    I have been neglecting my duties lately, not only on my blog, but in life as well. We have recently moved (yes again!) Actually, we are in the middle of moving right now…. still in the same city, but we found a great house, with a cute little yard, (where I plan to plant a garden) and no elephants upstairs!!!! *Note the sigh of relief* It has far more space than the last place, a better layout, room for the kids, and it’s in a better neighborhood…. all-in-all I think it was a no brainer, but with the added stress and chaos I have been neglectful of my duties to my blog, and my life in general….


    Tonight I sat down in the hopes of catching up on all I missed over the last few days with my blog subscriptions. I checked my email, replied to friends, and began reading all that has been going on in the lives of my online friends. A few emails in I came across a little note from one of my favorite bloggers over at Thypolar Life Uncensored, she was leaving a comment to inform me that I had received an award on her blog!!!!!!!


    *Stop the presses*

    ME!!!??? An AWARD!!?? REALLY????

    My heart skipped a beat, a smile spread across my face, and I immediately screamed for the hubby to come see what had just happened…

    Running in the room like a bat out of hell, probably assuming I was injured by the tone of pure insanity in my voice I explained to him that ‘I had received an award!’ He looked at me dumbfounded… “umm… for what?’ he asked. I told him all about the Memetastic award and the Three duties it entailed….

    • The recipient of the Memetastic award must proudly display the award in a post. *Check*
    • The Memetastic recipent must list 5 things about themselves – 4 of which must be complete and utter lies… (their readers must guess which one is the truth) *Check*
    • The recipent must pass the Memetastic award on to 5 deserving bloggers. *Check*

    And so after reading Thypolar’s post for inspiration (which is always easily provided) I set out to fulfill my duties.


    Oh-Mi-God!!! I can not believe this is happening!!!!

    I proudly entered the award in to my post and began the duties that have been bestowed upon me…..

    First and foremost I would like to thank Thypolar, of course, for taking the time to, not only read my insane ramblings on a regular basis, but to actually comment regularly as well. You have a way of putting a smile on people’s faces even through a computer screen, I always appreciate what you have to say and I can tell that you put thought in to each thing that you write. It truly makes me happy. And now to know you think highly enough of my blog to give me an award has made me even more ecstatic!! And So… THANK YOU!!!!! * Be sure to check out Thypolar Life... seriously… it is an amazing blog!!

    And without any further ado…

    Here is my list of 4 BOLD FACE LIES and one truth. Lets see if you can guess which one is my reality!!!

    1. I was a bit of a ‘Wild Child” and a ‘Trouble Maker’ growing up.I was once arrested for ‘streaking’ at a local football game and spent the night in jail with a woman named “ChaCha” who told me she was a prostitute working her way through college…at 54 years old!!!
    2. When I was 19 I packed my bags and caught a plane to Hollywood in the hopes of becoming a “Big Star” only to end up back at home, broke with a bruised ego.
    3. I one appeared on an episode of ‘Two and a Half Men‘ as one of Charlie Sheen‘s hookers. I got to travel to Chicago first class and I got ‘extremely wasted’ on the flight as I had never been on a plane before.
    4. I once decided that I wanted to see my friends in another city and hitch-hiked 4 hours. One the way I met a man named “Ike’ who had a tear drop tattoo and had killed 3 people. He offered me a ride and I took it. It turned out he was gay and was on his way to break the news to his wife and children.
    5. I love to eat… Food is one of my favorite past times. When I was younger I entered a spaghetti eating contest where I had to consume an entire plate of spaghetti and meat balls with my hands tied behind my back. I won the contest, even beating out a “BIG” man named Ralph! The prize was a set of lawn darts!

    Well there you go… let’s see if any of you can figure out which of these 4 is Actually true. Like my friend each one holds a bit of truth in it at least….

    And now on to my last duty before I throw myself into the bed for the night, as all the excitement of this evenings amazing award has overwhelmed and exhausted me. My Nominees for the Memetastic award are: (Drum-roll Please)

    So congrats to all of my nominees, I only hope they will feel even HALF the excitement that I did with this crazy little award that managed to ‘make my day’… Thanks once again to Thypolar… and all of my fellow bloggers for not only sharing your thoughts and chaos, but for spending time experiencing mine. For all your comments and the endless laughter you all provide…. Thank-you.

    But now with all of my duties completed in full, I will toss my dead-tired, brittle, and battered body into bed… for moving is a tiring adventure (especially with a 1-year-old constantly attached to your hip!) and I shall return to my duties as a mother, writer, wife, friend, janitor, chef, driver, teacher, clown, doctor… and whatever other position gets thrown my way….. tomorrow with the promise of a follow-up post….

    Until next time….

    Write On!!!

    (Also check out – Perfectly Prompted on WordPress)


    Our False Obsession…

    It’s really no shock that today there are an excessive number of women (and men) suffering from eating disorders. With the value that society places on being thin, the chaos and calamity that a normal day offers,and the extreme amount of fast food that is readily available at every turn, and the airbrushed art we the media calls models, there is bound to be some pressure to be perfect.

    It’s a sad fact that thousands of young girls are starving themselves at this very moment in an effort to attain this ‘ideal figure’ the media pushes upon them at every possible chance. All one needs to do is open a magazine, or enter a store to see the pressure that women are faced with on a regular basis, billboards boast happiness with unrealistic images of size one women wearing expensive clothes and perfect smiles. I ask, Why is it that people have an obsessive need to look like these make-believe models?

    Society is obsessed with weight! People come in all shapes and sizes, it is a fact of life, and it is a fact that is hard accepted. Every second of the day women are taking extreme measures to try to be someone, or something, that they are not. Plastic surgery has made this artificial image attainable for a fat dollar, fad diets rave guaranteed results, and endless numbers of weight-loss pills are being consumed with the hope of shedding pounds and gaining perfectly sculpted muscle. But why?

    Why is it that people can not look in a mirror and be happy with who they are? Why is it that being healthy, happy, or successful is never enough? Sure, it is acceptable to want to lose a few pounds to feel good, or be healthy, but why must people get obsessed with an image of something that doesn’t exist?

    Take for example the above image. A before and after of the art of airbrushing. In the picture on the left I see a beautiful woman, with an amazing body and flattering curves, yet the image on the right is the one printed in the magazine. The image on the right has been airbrushed to the extreme. Look at the difference in waist size first, this is perhaps the most notable difference between the two pictures. This is not an attainable image for any woman, and yet it is the image that society aims to achieve. Now take a look at the difference between the size, and shape of her breasts, was there anything wrong with them in the first place? This is only one of the many examples of the media creating a false image for women to achieve, what was wrong with her in the first place? The answer… Nothing! She is a stunning woman who, even in the first picture, has a fantastic body, and an equally amazing shape, yet even she needs to be touched up?

    I could post pictures all day, not one photo that goes into a magazine will resemble the actual image of the person who has been photographed,

    Dove has a fantastic video that EVERY woman should watch called the evolution of a model, it shows the shocking amount of changes that are made to make a woman the ‘beautiful’ you see in the magazines….. You can view this video HERE!

    After watching I hope you will share it with others, and I especially hope that you will ask yourself “Why do I aspire to be something that is fake!” What is wrong with the person you are, and the body you were given? You are perfect … just the way you are!!!

    Why? Because This Is My House….

    Call me Crazy, but there are rules in my house. Rules, regulations, and strict guidelines that I expect others (a.k.a children) to follow in detail. No, I don’t run my home like a boot-camp (although I sometimes put the idea into consideration) but there are basic rules that I have put in place in order to save everyone’s (a.k.a my own) sanity.

    Now these rules have not always been in place, in fact, with my first child I made a number of mistakes in the discipline department. Being just the two of us for most of his life, he basically had free roam of the household (excluding anything that could cause him bodily harm) He was always a loving, affectionate boy, who stuck to me like glue, but as he has grown (though still stuck to my side throughout most of the day) I have noticed the impact that this ‘lack of structure’ approach has had on his life.

    I can thank my BF for opening my eyes to the parenting mistakes I have made with my son over the last 7 years. Discipline is a constant battle in our household, as we both have very different parenting styles. (and he has an attention for detail that I just do not hold) Allowing my son free roam without any set routine, rules, or basic structure has led to a 7 year-old who has no problem solving abilities what-so-ever!!! Instead of thinking for himself, it is easier for my son to wait for me to tell him what to do, and of course I do so on a regular basis. Why?? because it is easier for me as well. It is a bad habit that is slowly being broken around here. I have just began noticing how much I actually do for my son since the birth of my daughter last year. When someone questions what C is doing I often answer for him, (this has led to countless argument between my BF and I because it causes my son to under-mind what he is saying, and lowers the level of respect my son has for my BF.. and THAT is a problem) I get his breakfast, (even though the kid is more than capable of pouring a bowel of cereal himself without a mess of any kind) I make, and pack, his school lunch daily, (which is for the most part another one of those things he could do on his own) and I constantly do other little things for him that he is more than able to complete on his own…. I do these things subconsciously, without any thought to what I am doing, but I want to stop because it truly has produced a LAZY little boy who has no idea how to think, or act, by his own devices.

    So, I came up with some rules, and much to my sons dismay, these rules are expected to be followed… They are posted clearly in sight beside his bed and throughout other areas of the house in order to remind him daily (so that I don’t verbally have to, although I still have to remind him to actually read the list in the first place) and also to help remind me that positive discipline, and effective parenting begins with consistency. These rules consist of such items as;

    • Get dressed before you leave your bedroom – I set out clothes the night before because, left to his own devices, my son would most definitely get beat up for his mismatched clothing choices, or opt to wear army camouflage every single day!
    • Make your bed. – Although this one needs perfecting, because the lumps and bumps drive me nuts and I usually end up going in and fixing it when he leaves the room anyway, it still teaches him that there are basic responsibilities, and routines, he has to complete daily.
    • Tidy your room – He does well with this rule, and thankfully I don’t have one of those kids that tries to hide everything under his bed, but I swear to GOD my son has the potential to become a hoarder in the future. The amount of strange little items I find collected among his toys is absurd, why does anyone need a thousand pieces of shredded paper?? He needs to work on his organizational skills, but he is improving rapidly in the cleaning department.
    • Eat breakfast – Pretty straight forward. Yes, I pour the cereal for him, more out of habit than need, but he is expected to sit straight, eat with proper manners and clean up the table and his dishes when he is finished.
    • Pack your lunch – I will make the lunch, just to ensure that it consists of something healthy, and does not contain only chocolate and potato chips, but he is to pack it up and put it in his bag. If he forgets it… well then I guess he will be really hungry after school!!
    • Brush teeth – It seems that no matter how many places I write this rule it is just a forgettable act! If he actually does do it than it is a battle for him to do it right!!! I can’t win with this one and it drives me CRAZY! Having suffered with bad teeth my whole life I try to drill this rule into his head, but he just doesn’t seem to get it, or just doesn’t care, that it is the most important rule listed.
    • Get ready for school – This means your bag is packed, your homework is done, and you are dressed and at the door. Period!

    Along with these listed rules are the times they should be completed (e.g. 7:30 wake up, 8:00 eat breakfast) We have a list for morning routines, and evening routines. We also have a sign that lists proper table manners, the proper way to brush your teeth (complete with a 2 minute timer) and set places for toys, books, and art items…. We have lists of weekly chores, with a reward system, and daily chores, all constructed with appropriate sized boxes for checking off when they have been completed. There is structure, organization, and routine. (Things that do not come to me naturally, but since being incorporated are slowly making a difference…. Very slowly!!!)

    I do not want to be a drill sergeant, in fact, I have a difficult time being strict, and often feel mean. I am also realistic, I do not expect perfection, and I know that these rules will not change his behavior over-night, but I do know that with structure, routine, affection, and discipline children are more likely to grow into responsible adults. I am careful to show praise for a job well done, and punish bad behavior appropriately, I am clear about both my expectations and the consequences if they are not met. I keep all chores age appropriate, and I ensure that my child is not feeling overwhelmed. It may sound harsh to you but children truly require discipline in order to grow and learn what is, and is not, acceptable, in order to become healthy, happy adults, and our routine works for us!

    I wish more people took the time to create structure and routine in their children’s lives, I know that I personally wish I had done it years earlier, it would have saved me a ton of stress and many arguments, and it would have made my son a more well-rounded person, but I have taken the steps to improve my parenting now, and better late than never. Almost any bad behavior can be corrected it just takes time and effort on the part of the parents to make the change a reality. I am not an expert, in fact I am far from it, but I am witnessing change first hand and it is a wonderful feeling!

    Calming Cabin Fever with Creativity….

    If you are anything like I am you are sick to death of the cold weather and you spend each night before going to sleep praying that you might, just by some major fluke of fate, wake up in a warmer climate…. But if you are like me, you probably wake up each morning in the same bed, only to look out the same window and see the same pile of snow that has been making you sick.

    I, personally spend much of the winter months in hibernation, but come the early months leading up to spring I often find that cabin fever is kicking in and I am going a bit loopy. Blogging is a good way to pass the time in the winter months while you await the arrival of spring, but even the most futile of writers can often get bored with constantly creating clever posts, and so I am presenting you with some other options for staying active and fighting off insanity during the chilly weather.

    Things to do when it is cold outside;

    If you are lucky enough to have children (and I say lucky with all honesty in this case) you will find that it is often easier to find personal entertainment when you are bordering on hysteria from lack of mental/physical stimulation. One of the best ways to pass time and ward of frustration is through laughter, so gather up the little ones and spend some time being silly;

    • Tune up the music and have a family dance party, or cleaning party if you want to be productive. You can even set up small tasks and see who can complete them in the fastest time.
    • Play a game of hide and seek, or have a mini in-house scavenger hunt.
    • Create silly stories, pause and allow your child to continue the story, this is a great way to encourage both you and your child to use imagination.
    • You can opt to play some board games, read some stories or snuggle up and watch a movie if you are looking for some quieter options.

    If you’re not ‘blessed’ with the little ones, they are in school when you find yourself suffering from boredom, or you just don’t feel like playing with them (don’t worry we won’t judge!) Here are a few options you can consider to amuse yourself when your all alone;

    • Cooking is a good way to get your creativity flowing. Pull out the recipe books your mother gave you, dust them off and give a new meal a try. (you can also include the kids in this one if you so desire) Trying a new recipe will help to pass the time, and you can benefit from a meal when your finished.
    • Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. If you are not the type to step into a gym, you can pop in a video at home, or even dance around the house to get in your workout. It is more about getting your heart pumping and your muscles working to increase your happiness than it is about weight loss, even the most routine house chores can be made fun with a little music and imagination.
    • Watch a movie that no one else wants to see. If your like me you have a list of movies you want to watch but would not feel right forcing your hubby to sit through them, take some time alone to pop in a sappy chick flick or an old classic that you love. Pop some popcorn and snuggle down in silence.
    • Bubble baths are a sure-fire way to relax and warm up on a cold day. Purchase some pretty smelling suds and hanker down with a good book. You can even buy bath pillows (available at most dollar stores) that will ensure you are comfortable while you soak.
    • Pamper yourself. If you can get out of the house or can’t afford a trip to the spa you can still pamper yourself with a home-style spa treatment. Most drugstores sell facial kits, masks, and other spa treatments at affordable prices. Purchase a few and save them for a chilly day. Treat yourself to a pedicure, manicure, and even a special spa inspired lunch to make the experience completely relaxing.

    These are just a few ideas to quickly calm cabin fever when you are stuck in the house. If you have the luxury of getting out and about there are even more options available to you. During the colder months there are also great activities you can enjoy outdoors, or entertaining places to visit indoors, still keeping you warm;

    • Visit the salon. Spring is the season of change, many of us are feeling down and out during the start of spring when we long for the cold weather to subside. Getting a quick cut, color, or style can easily and effectively lift your spirits. Look for coupons or discounts that will save you money, or consider visiting a hair styling school where the students will cut your hair (under the supervision of a certified teacher) at a hugely discounted rate.
    • Browse the local flea market or thrift stores. Most women love shopping, and if you are anything like me retail therapy is the most effective treatment for moodiness. Checking out your local flea market, thrift store, or even discount warehouse is a great way to save money while finding fantastic items.
    • Enjoy a day out with the girls. Gather up some girlfriends and visit a local art gallery, meet-up for coffee, or enjoy a quick-lunch. Spending time with friends will help to lighten your mood and ward off frustration brought on by being cooped up in the house. (If you have ‘very little ones’ you might choose to host a ‘play date, perhaps taking turns once or twice a month visiting each others homes, and sharing a quick snack while the kids play)
    • Look for a club, group, or event in your area. You might wish to connect with like-minded people in your area. Groups, clubs, and events are a great way to get out of the house and meet new people. Search your local paper or online for groups in your field of interest. Convention centers are also a good source for interesting outings, often hosting large conventions on different interests at an affordable price, contact them or visit their websites for a list of events that are open to the public.
    • Take a walk. Although it maybe chilly outside, nothing is better for combating the blues than fresh air and sunshine. On a day when the sun in shining, and the chill is bearable, bundle up and take a walk. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, even a quick stroll around the block can be effective enough to refresh you.
    • Visit the local library, or bookstore. Get lost in a land of literature, grab a coffee and browse the endless titles that are available. Many bookstores and libraries have areas for you to sit and read and many actually encourage their shoppers to do so, find one that has a relaxing atmosphere and spend and hour or two enjoying a great book, remember to check out new genres and authors, this will help you to stimulate your mind and expand your horizons.

    When all else fails beat the blah feelings by browsing your favorite blogs, get some laughter by seeking out humor writers, and follow along on other people’s personal journey’s.Watch some funny videos on YouTube, or visit a Joke site to put a smile on your face. Cold weather can be a drag, but drag yourself out of a rut by using your creativity and the utilities that are available to you.

    Until next time…..

    Write On!