No one warned me of FEISTY FOURS

I’m at a point where I can almost say that I despise the age of 4. What people vent about in the terrible two’s apparently multiplies itself and adds on a vocabulary and an opinion in the feisty four’s. WHY DID NO ONE WARN ME!?!? I was totally unprepared for this. I was expecting it in the twos, which in turn was terrific-twos for us… guess that’s how it caught up to me later. *sigh*

If my daughter ever reads this when she grows up she will know how much a pain in the ass she is right now. For every wonderful moment I shared with her this year, I have two frustrating ones to match.

She turns 5 in about four months. I’m counting down the days and pray that it gets better soon.

I have tried my hardest to be patient and keep my cool. But damn….

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I found an entertaining comparison of the Terrible Twos vs. Feisty Fours. I’ll take 2 over 4 any day!

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Mommy does Vegas

Yup. That’s right. I conquered Vegas last weekend with the girls. Ahhhhh… Seriously, I had not done a girls trip anywhere in 4 years. Yes, FOUR years. Sad, but true.

So considering the infant and half of the toddler stage behind me…. I decided to finally enjoy myself dammit. And enjoy I did! Besides, when girls go to Vegas – its pretty affordable. One of the benefits of having boobs I guess.

Southwest Airfare deal: $97 Roundtrip

Luxor hotel via Orbitz: $204 split against 4 girls (holla!)

Upgraded room to a suite: $20 (Thanks www.frontdesktip.com !)

Outside of those basics, I spent $50 on cab/tips, and $100 on food. Yeeehawww. I think I spent like $7 on ONE drink the entire weekend. Thank goodness for those promoters wandering the streets looking for hot chicks to come to their club.

I give a thumbs down to Surrender on a Thursday night – music was heart-breakingly horrible. Fortunately that was our “relaxed” night. Marquee Day Club was good, but suprisingly smaller than what I imagined it to be. Highlight of the weekend: seeing Steve Aoki perform at Hakkasan. Amazing venue and off the chain music. The sore feet and lost voice were all worth it. Oh. and Did I mention that my BFF was one of his Cake Girls? Apparently, he likes to throw cake into the audience at chicks. Well, what an honor my friend, let me tell you…. I just crossed cake smash off my bucket list!

Steve Aoki’s CAKE GIRL

So I had a little over 2 days away from reality. No kids. No work. No responsibilities. Damn it was nice.  Yeah, I missed the kids. Not a WHOLE lot, to be honest – Probably because it was only 2 days. But by the time I made it back home, it was nice to have two little rugrats screaming and running towards me with open arms.

One of those days

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Ugh. I’m having “one of those days”. One of those days where you just feel out of it. One of those days where you just want to crawl into a hole and hide from the world.  I’m tired. I’ve been stressed. I’m lost. I’m confused. I’m anxious. I’m…. all of the above.

And thus… that’s why its “one of those days”.

The only thing is,  even though I’m having one of those days, I still need to hold up the mommy front (as best as I can). Which actually can be really hard sometimes!

Ugh… trying to keep it together today.  And I feel guilty that I have not been blogging. But I’ve been bombaded with something called Life.

Life without a nanny this week.

My nanny has been on vacation this week. WHAT?!?! She wanted a vacation!?!? How dare she!?!? Jk. She totally deserved a break from the madness… hell, I need one too.

But let me just tell ya…. for the nanny to be gone for a week… we totally had to pull in the troups (aka extended family) to make ends meet with the coverage. I had my dad picking up my daughter from preschool and putting both kids down to nap. My grandma would come do a few hours just sitting at home while the kids are napping. And of my course my mom would bring it on home in the late afternoon to cover the shift after the lil monsters wake up. Whew. The hubs did his usual shift after work and I’m usually home by 7 anyhow…. so there you have it. Can you imagine how crazy coordinating the coverage would have been if I was working full-time! Goodness! That’s only off my part-time work schedule. *sigh* It certainly takes a village.

I really gotta be thankful that I have most of my family right in the same neighborhood. I love that. Just a phone call and 3 minute car ride away.

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Just for Mommy to leave for ONE morning….

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I look at this top picture and laugh… ahhh the good ol’ days. Look at how detailed my notations are. Arrows, everything already pre-measured, Rubberbands to assure things that go together stay together… the works. If only I had more time, I might have typed it up to be more legible and included diagrams or something. I make it so its NO FAIL. Seriously. Its THAT easy.

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A book for me: Go the F**k to Sleep

If you are a parent, then you know exactly what it feels like to try and get your child to go to sleep. I must say that I had it quite easy for a good 4 years for the most part! I started sleep training my kids around 3 months and from that point on… it was pretty smooth sailing. It really wasn’t until my daughter got a little older (and more verbal) that there became a little more debate and negotiation over the topic of going to bed. Still, I shouldn’t be complaining since V does get to bed in a timely manner on most days. But the difference now… its such a LOOOOOONG process. She drags it out, finding excuses to get back out of bed for one thing or another before she’s back in there for the night. And then once she is back in there, she is talking and what not…for another HOUR before she finally bores herself to sleep. It just sucks for her, because no matter what time she ends up falling asleep – I still wake her up to start her day at 8am SHARP! Which on some days, she is so tired that she gets up on the grouchy side and there goes the day. Its a neverending cycle though. *sigh*

A friend had showed me the audio book for “Go the F**k to Sleep” before and it was just what I needed! A nice laugh about this whole situation. So I’ll continue to keep chugging along at our bedtime routine. Perhaps its me who keeps wanting to hold on to the long overnight hours of sleep that a 4yr-old might not need anymore. Or maybe its because I’m still holding onto her afternoon nap – which if I let that go, then she would be more tired at night? Yikes! Let go of naptime!?/ I’m not ready for that yet either. I’ll suck up the lengthy bedtime debate with my daughter a little longer I guess.

On a side note: This book would totally be a great new parent gift!

For an additional laugh, check out this list of 6 inappropriate children’s books. 🙂

OxiClean to the rescue!

Oh how I would love a nice new couch. We’ve had ours for probably 8 or so years. Then we remember we have Thing 1 and Thing 2… and those dreams of couch shopping quickly dissipate. *sigh* Maybe in another couple of years… after the little monsters have finished thrashing it.

So the other day, I was at my desk working on some stuff… kids are playing. I should have picked up on it sooner because the laughing and giggling got to suspicious level. OMG. I walked over to the living room and there I saw it. Red handed. My son – scribbling the hell out of the couch cushion with a GEL pen! And of course my daughter, who should definitely know better, standing there and egging him on! UGHHH. and it wasn’t just one cushion either… it was like FOUR!!!

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So the best thing I thought I could do, was soak it for a while… then run it through the wash. I turned to OxiClean because it seriously works wonders. I’ve removed some nasty ass poop stains with that OxiClean!

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After soaking the cushion covers in the washer for about 5 hours, I ran the wash as normal. And…. waaaaa-laaaaaa:

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Excuse the poor photo quality as I didn’t think to use my actual camera for photos at the time… Just used my cell phone because I was so pissed and just wanted to vent out a mobile upload on Facebook real quick. grrrrrrrrr. I was livid that day. Just glad OxiClean saved the mess and bought us some more time out of this couch. Seriously… just a few more years… we can make it!

Anyone else have a similar product that works well on stains? Please share! We all need to stock up our arsenal for those crazy kid messes!

To work or not to work. That is the question

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When I decided to have kids, I told myself that I would spend as much time at home as possible….and thus became my 75% stay-at-home-mom status. I managed to line things up quite well to where I was able to work 10 hours in person for one job, and then another part time job online from home. And that was the way it was for a solid 3.5 years. Then January 2013 came around and some opportunities knocked at my door for some additional face-to-face work. Being that Baby K was 18 months old and Miss Vy partially in Preschool, it seemed like a good time to get my foot back in. Oh, but being the dedicated mother that I am – it was under one condition: I got to pick the specific hours. Which in turn, I picked an additional 8 hours a week that overlapped RIGHT when my kids were napping. Wonderful. I leave as they are getting ready for nap, and then I come home right after they wake up. So it took very little additional time away from my babies. *sigh* That also meant that I gave up my precious personal quiet time. But oh wells, the time with my kids was more important right?

Anyhow… as we approach September and its time for me to figure out another semester’s work schedule, I’m faced with the crossroads of whether or not I want to squeeze in a few extra hours here or there? V will be in preschool all five mornings this next year, so it will be giving me solid one-on-one time with the lil’ man. Something so precious that time won’t ever give back to me once he heads off to some preschool  next year. But if I know that, then why does a large part of me still want to squeeze in that extra work shift!?!? You  know why? Because when I went up to 18-23 hours this year (after 3.5 years of a measely 10 hrs)…. my pocketbook was feeling fatter and I liked it. I missed it. Now I’m hungryyyy for it.

Most people who know me well, know that I’m a hustler at heart. Always trying to dabble in different things and looking for ways to make the best bang for your buck. My close friends also know that I have a very hard time saying “No” when I have an opportunity to pick up another project or work gig. As jammed as my schedule already is, there is always room for more.

Damn, if only I got paid for ALL the mommy work I do!

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So, before I send off my confirmation of my fall work hours… I thought I would just vent it here – about the crossroads I stand at. About how I’m definitely bummed that I won’t take the extra shift. About how I should be excited to spend all the extra one-on-one time with my son this fall. I need to remember that I won’t get this time back. Oh, that that there will be plenty of time to regain my balla’ status in 2  years when both kids are in elementary school. I know I’ve made the right decision.  I don’t know why I’m trippin’ so much… I still practically have a full-time online gig as well plus the part-time photography business… I really am swamped as it is. *sigh* Money hungry I tell ya… always paper chasin’…

 

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What is WITH the 4-yr-old tantrum!?

Yelling. Crying. Stomping. Slamming.

That was my life this week. JUST this week. Not sure what is going on,  but my darling 4-year-old has been giving us quite a dramatic show. Sometimes I chalk it up to her being tired because she’s been going to bed late (like at 11pm!! Even though I put her in bed before 10). But as I did some more reading, apparently, there is a lot that is going on in the mind of a 4-year-old. I guess I don’t blame her. I mean, she’s learning a lot and feeling a lot. I know many adults who can barely handle the range of emotions that a human feels! How can I expect a 4-year-old to do it off the bat?

I guess the problem is not really her tantrums. Its how her tantrums are effecting ME! I’m trying to keep my cool counselor hat on, but oh man…. I’m exhausted as it is.

5243bfbaf64a27cf44c77c7f2e825fd0The one good thing out of this whole week, was that today – just today – she came up to me and said “Mommy, I’m angry a lot today.” *cue the heavenly music* I turned to her and said “Its okay to be angry. Sometimes we feel that way, but we just need to learn what to do with that feeling.” So we went on to practice taking deep breaths to calm down and I suggested counting to 10 as another tool for her bag. That’s about as far as I went with that today, but its a start. A good start, considering she had been pulling these “mad woman” tantrums most of the week. Any little thing that didn’t go her way, she instantaneously flipped the switch – went from crying, to running off upstairs, slamming doors, throwing things. WTH. I thought this was supposed to stop after 2? I thought that now with some communication skills, my 4-year-old can EXPRESS herself? hmph. Yeah, I know. It’s easier to scream and it must feel good to slam that door I’m sure.

After doing some searching, I found a good list of ideas for dealing with an “Angry Child”:

Responding to the Angry Child

Some of the following suggestions for dealing with the angry child were taken from The Aggressive Child by Fritz Redl and David Wineman. They should be considered helpful ideas and not as a “bag of tricks.”

Catch the child being good. Tell the child what behaviors please you. Respond to positive efforts and reinforce good behavior. An observing and sensitive parent will find countless opportunities during the day to make such comments as “I like the way you come in for dinner without being reminded”; “I appreciate your hanging up your clothes even though you were in a hurry to get out to play”; “You were really patient while I was on the phone”; “I’m glad you shared your snack with your sister”; “I like the way you’re able to think of others”; and “Thank you for telling the truth about what really happened.”

Deliberately ignore inappropriate behavior that can be tolerated. This does not mean that you should ignore the child, just the behavior. The “ignoring” has to be planned and consistent. Even though this behavior may be tolerated, the child must recognize that it is inappropriate.

Provide physical outlets and other alternatives. It is important for children to have opportunities for physical exercise and movement, both at home and at school.

Manipulate the surroundings. Aggressive behavior can be encouraged by placing children in tough, tempting situations. We should try to plan the surroundings so that certain things are less apt to happen. Stop a “problem” activity and substitute, temporarily, a more desirable one. Sometimes rules and regulations, as well as physical space, may be too confining.

Use closeness and touching. Move physically closer to the child to curb his or her angry impulse. Young children are often calmed by having an adult nearby.

Express interest in the child’s activities. Children naturally try to involve adults in what they are doing, and the adult is often annoyed at being bothered. Very young children (and children who are emotionally deprived) seem to need much more adult involvement in their interests. A child about to use a toy or tool in a destructive way is sometimes easily stopped by an adult who expresses interest in having it shown to him. An outburst from an older child struggling with a difficult reading selection can be prevented by a caring adult who moves near the child to say, “Show me which words are giving you trouble.” Be ready to show affection. Sometimes all that is needed for any angry child to regain control is a sudden hug or other impulsive show of affection. Children with serious emotional problems, however, may have trouble accepting affection.

Ease tension through humor. Kidding the child out of a temper tantrum or outburst offers the child an opportunity to “save face.” However, it is important to distinguish between face-saving humor and sarcasm or teasing ridicule.

Appeal directly to the child. Tell him or her how you feel and ask for consideration. For example, a parent or a teacher may gain a child’s cooperation by saying, “I know that noise you’re making doesn’t usually bother me, but today I’ve got a headache, so could you find something else you’d enjoy doing?”

Explain situations. Help the child understand the cause of a stressful situation. We often fail to realize how easily young children can begin to react properly once they understand the cause of their frustration.

Encourage children to see their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Help them to see that they can reach their goals. Use promises and rewards. Promises of future pleasure can be used both to start and to stop behavior. This approach should not be compared with bribery. We must know what the child likes—what brings him pleasure—and we must deliver on our promises.

Say “NO!” Limits should be clearly explained and enforced. Children should be free to function within those limits.

Tell the child that you accept his or her angry feelings, but offer other suggestions for expressing them. Teach children to put their angry feelings into words, rather than fists.

Build a positive selfimage. Encourage children to see themselves as valued and valuable people.

Use punishment cautiously. There is a fine line between punishment that is hostile toward a child and punishment that is educational.

Model appropriate behavior. Parents and teachers should be aware of the powerful influence of their actions on a child’s or group’s behavior. Teach children to express themselves verbally. Talking helps a child have control and thus reduces acting out behavior. Encourage the child to say for example, “I don’t like your taking my pencil. I don’t feel like sharing just now.”

Source: Reprinted from the Plain Talk Series, National Institute of Mental Health Office of Scientific Information, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1992). Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office (ISBN 0160359244; DHHS Pub. No. [ADM] 92-0781).

Robyn Oakenfold/The Calming Jar

Found some other great ideas:

 breathe box or calm down kit

The Calming Jar  ~ ok, I REALLY like this one, just because its so pretty. Oh, and my daughter loves sparkles.

Mr. Mad Balloons  ~ Hmmm. I’m not really sold on this idea just yet. Sounds almost violent.

Peace Table ~ Sounds like a better place to end up than Time-out!

Teaching your child to do Hookups (physically calming movement)

If you have any other ideas not mentioned here – please do share! We need to combine our resources! (Especially, since my 2 year-old won’t be far behind!)