Tag Archives: Gentle Parenting

Do you want to go home?

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Imagine a scene for a minute. A few kids are playing at the park. One kid keeps having some big feelings, maybe arguing with the others, raising their voice, and overall having a tough time. Their parent is nearby says “do you want to go home?”. What do you picture? Maybe, like me, you usually imagine the parent saying it in a frustrated tone. It may have a thinly veiled tone of threat, sending the message “I will make you go home if you don’t stop”.

This is not an uncommon scene at all. In fact, something happened around here today. Being in public when your child is having some problems isn’t easy. You feel the pressure of the people around you watching. The pressure to be “a good parent”, whatever that means. Maybe even the pressure to attempt to control their behavior to make or more socially acceptable. I will admit that these thoughts still cross my mind.

However, I’m trying to reimagine those same words. “Do you want to go home?”. I see it in a different light. Not a threat. Instead, it’s an offer. An offer to help someone leave a situation that isn’t meeting their needs. A check in to see if they are hungry, thirsty, or in need of connecting. An invitation to partner with them in changing the environment to set them up for success.

“Yes, I want to leave”, my child answers. She knows she isn’t being threatened, she’s simply being asked. No undertones, no veiled threat. I put aside the internal thoughts and offered help. This time i remembered to breathe first, see behavior as communication, and remember that leaving a difficult situation shouldn’t be a punishment.

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Acceptance and expectations

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Today was a good day to practice letting go of expectations. We had some fun low key options for play today, but after the kids stayed up super late last night with fireworks and friends, they were all tired and easily irritated today.

A few years ago, I might have felt disappointed that things I had planned or looked forward to were canceled. I’ve learned that peace is the best gift I can try to facilitate in our home. So the pool can wait, we can see friends another day, because today is a day for TV, cuddles, big breaths, and going slow. Not so surprisingly, whenever I accept the situation for what it is, everyone usually starts having a smoother day. They sense my inner acceptance.

Unschooling today 6/24/2019

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Just a quick post about our day. I’m trying to give a good balance of our at home days versus our out of the house adventures.

Today started out with making breakfast while the kids played on their tablets for a bit. Neon (In a previous post I shared that Hailey has asked to go by Neon) played Sims 4 on the computer. Elijah was having a tough morning.

After breakfast, we had a mostly relaxed morning. I laid the baby down for a nap, then the boys played for a bit together. They kept going from playing to fighting, so I had to be right with them.

Winter then wanted to watch a dinosaur video. I used this time to spend some one on one time with Elijah. I told him to pick something to do together. He asked to play roblox with me. We played superhero tycoon for about an hour. We teamed up 😎. I was able to get in some quick cleaning too.

I made lunch. I asked my 3 year old if he’d like to play with Playdoh. My 6 year old joined him and they prentended to make cookies and sell them. I bought many expensive cookies 🤣.

I asked Neon if she wanted to help me out away laundry. She said yes, but her help consisted of tossing clothes at me. I challenged her to a dance battle. She got to pick the music. I say I held my own and got a good cardio workout in 😏.

The kids found an old dart board in the basement and tried to play a game.

We all went outside for a bit and they played in the rain and drew with chalk on the porch.

Neon came up with a pranking game. The premise was simple, siblings teamed up to set up pranks. The more pranks, the more points. There was one unique rule though, you had to dress to represent your favorite country. This was an interesting discussion. She named countries for her brothers to chose from. Then we had to look up some fashion styles and select our clothes. This is an ongoing game and I’m a little afraid to discover the rest of the pranks they have waiting for me 🤪.

We are about to dinner. We will probably read some library book the kids picked too. We have a goal of helping get Neon’s costume for anime convention adjusted tonight.

Feel free to share about your day in the comments if you’d like!

Unschooling today 4/22/19

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Browsing Instagram, it can sometimes look like all people do tons of outside of the house, nature based, super cool activities. We try to do plenty of that, but we have lots of home days that flow with what everyone wants to do. Today was one of those.

Hailey and Elijah were the first ones up today. Hailey walked Elijah through creating a character for a gacha life story she is working on. I made breakfast for everyone.

Elijah spent most of his morning browsing minecraft addons, and trying a few out. Winter slowly ate and watched dinosaur videos. Hailey spent most of her time playing our newest game for the VR headset. It’s called vacation simulator and she loves it. She probably played for for 3 hours or so.

I asked if anyone wanted to do a science experiment that someone had posted about. The boys said yes, and Hailey said she’d come for the end of it.

While the water for our experiment was cooling down, we headed outside to help the time pass faster. It was a really nice day. Elijah noticed a bee buzzing around. We talked about how bees pollinate and how they do a little dance to communicate with other bees. We sat in the shade and picked dandelions and took silly pictures.

We went back inside for our expirent. It was supposed to be rainbow water in a glass but it was a flop. We tried a few different ways to make it work, all unsuccessfully. It was a little disappointing.

Elijah took a turn on vacation simulator for a bit. Hailey napped because she had only slept for a few hours the night before. Winter watched a show, while I used the baby’s nap time to clean up and prep food.

Elijah asked for ice cream comes and we took them outside so we wouldn’t wake up Hailey. They wanted to play in the water for a bit. It was play then fight, then play again type of deal.

Back in for dinner and welcoming Papa home. We then watched some americas got talent–the champions. The boys showed us their talents of headstands, picking up heavy boxes, and jumping off the couch.

Most of us are winding down now. Hailey is playing a game on the computer and having a late dinner after waking from her nap.

Working on my Triggers

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I spent some time at the nature playscape, enjoying fresh air with the kids. We were playing, climbing, and exploring.

Everyone was having a good time, until my daughter just wasn’t. She was frustrated with her brother not playing a game she set up for them in a way that she intended. She was having some big emotions. I sat down and talked it through with her.

She wasn’t exactly happy, but she went back to play. Then she scraped her finger. Hailey has always felt little hurts as big hurts. She feels deeply. The hurt added on top of her already big feelings sent her over the top. I could tell that this tipped her into a sensory meltdown.

Papa stayed with the boys, while I took her over to get some space and sit down. She was feeling her big emotions and I tried to comfort her. I know from experience, she has to fully feel her emotions, often loudly, almost inconsolably. She will not be distracted, or persuaded from them. In a way, it’s admirable, to truly honor where you are at and what you feel.

I rubbed her back, listened, validated. Her sobs were loud. We had moved away from the playscape, but the people nearby definitely heard her. This is my trigger. I feel like everyone is looking at us, thinking bad things, wishing she’d be quiet, judging my parenting. I hear society’s voices in my head. “Children should be seen not heard.” “Stop crying, it’s no big deal.” I have flashbacks to all the times my own mother struggled with us having big emotions in public. It was her trigger, and now it’s mine.

I’ve spent years working on accepting that all emotions have a place, and that none are bad. I know happiness isn’t the only emotion worth feeling. I know denying sadness and anger do not make them go away. I know what it looks like when someone buries their feelings until they can’t anymore and then explode in rage. I know the shame of being told you’re being too sensitive.

In the minutes I’m sitting with my daughter, I hold all these thoughts. I acknowledge them, and remind myself to breathe. I think to myself that these strangers opinions of me, are not more important than my child’s opinion of me. I remind myself that my daughter feels all the emotions and then is just suddenly ready to move on, and that this will be over soon.

In a few minutes, we are talking about the trees, then tossing little sticks at them to see if we can hit them left handed. A few more minutes, and some giggles later, Hailey and papa are checking for bugs under bark.

Was the rest of the the a breeze? No, it was pretty clear that Hailey was feeling a little heavy today, maybe not as rested or something is else going on. Later on, she got hurt again and we quickly headed home. I predict the rest of the day will involve cuddles, rest, and comfort food. Today was challenging, but I’m grateful to recognize and work on my triggers.

Unschooling today 2/27/2019

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We’ve been without a van for about 6 weeks now. Trying to keep our days at home interesting has been a challenge sometimes. If I stay on top of being present with the kids, and paying attention to our connection, the days have gone much more smoothly. Today was a pretty good day.

Me and the boys ate breakfast together, then played in the living room. I put the baby on my back, started waking up Hailey, did some quick chores and get her breakfast and us lunch. Throw in a little dance party.

The 3 year old played with our homemade Playdoh for quite a bit. We all sat around talking, snacking, and listening to music. I read a couple chapters of “diary of a minecraft zombie” out loud.

We had some tea in the special cups. The kids loved that.

Elijah played on minecraft for a bit, showing me what he was creating. Then the boys went outside to play for a while. Hailey spent that time drawing.

When they came in, I helped them get dry clothes. My 3 year old wanted to cuddle and watch TV, and the baby was ready for a nap. I played roblox with Hailey while I sat with them.

Dinner time, then I went to the store to buy some fruit, while the big kids played minecraft some more at home with Papa.

A simple day, but a good one!

Unschooling today 2/7/2019

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Today was a relaxing, sweet day. We’ve had some tough days this week. Our van is out of commission for a long while, so we’ve had more home days than usual. I’m trying my best to help the days flow, but some built up frustration has definitely reared its head this week. That made today feel extra nice.

After breakfast, the kids and I all watched some monster mob school on YouTube. These are hilarious videos with the minecraft mob monsters. Lots of laughing by all.

I made some snack plates, while we all hung around chatting and listening to music. My 8 month old loves to dance, and it’s adorable. We all love it.

The boys helped me make a batch of baking soda clay. It was our first time, and they were super excited to try it. While it was cooling down I made us all some tea.

I invite the kids to come on the porch with me and watch the rain. Elijah decided to stay inside playing minecraft but everyone else came out. It was a perfect time to make potions with the rainwater.

When we got chilly, we all headed in. The clay was ready, and each kid set to work.

They can’t wait until they dry so they can be painted. It’s going to be a few days, so lots of patience needed.

My 3 year old moved onto Playdoh next. I cleaned up a little, while the kids played. I played a little roblox with Elijah. Then they hung out together, while Winter pretended to be a superhero.

Dinner was made, more music, more minecraft, and probably some books here soon.

Just a simple, fun, down day!

Those days you wake up in a bad mood.

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Those days you wake up in a bad mood.

Yeah today was one of those days. The classic “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” type of days. It seemed the kids were upset before we ever left the bed, the baby needed a diaper change, the dog refused to go out, and I just wanted to make breakfast. I felt myself withdrawing and just wanted to start the day over.

It’s like the universe just knows you are already struggling. It’s the type of day where you just feel kinda sad. Then every little things seems to go wrong. You drop everything, coffee spills, kids keep getting hurt, trash tips over. And on and on. Maybe on a good day these normal things are mild frustrations that you just breeze through, but on this type of day each thing just piles up.

These are the days it’s easier to slip up and yell at the kids. It is much more difficult to stay mindful and present for me, and when my mind wanders my gentle parenting tools seem farther from reach. I don’t mean to sound so negative, but this is an honest picture of where I was at today. I don’t always have sunshine and rainbows type of days even though we unschool and believe in gentle parenting.

I have come far in how I handle these days. Years ago I would just try to get through it telling myself it was okay if I snapped at the kids a bit because everyone has bad days. They’ll be alright. Truly if it happens, and sometimes it does, they will be alright. That does not mean it’s okay if I give myself permission to take out my mood on them though. They are not responsible for my feelings, my hard day.

So about halfway through our day, I laid down the two youngest for a nap. I had managed to stay fairly calm despite my mood. I had set us up a relaxed, slow paced day and expectations were realistic. Then, just as my toddler just falls asleep I hear it. I hear my older two in a very loud argument. I wasn’t surprised. Kids have an amazing ability to pick up on our vibes. Often, my bad mood translates into a similar mood for them. My 5 year old seems particularly sensitive to this.

I jumped out of bed hoping to quiet the fight before it ended the much needed nap of my toddler. I was frustrated and wanted to yell. I wanted to threaten something mean in that moment. I even started to. The words began to come out of my mouth. But I stopped them. That is one thing I’ve gotten better at through my years of practice. I do not have to continue my tantrum. I don’t have to finish what I started if it isn’t going to help our connection.

So I stopped. I stopped my thought and set up the kids in the way we do so that I could help facilitate problem solving and good communication. I heard each child out, validating and paraphrasing. I reframed it back to the other child. We figured out what each kid was feeling and how it led to the behavior. We talked about how we might handle things differently next time. I really didn’t feel like handling it that way at that moment, but again, the kids are not responsible for my feelings.

Then I invited them to play a game with me. I had imagined spending the toddler nap time watching a TV show and hoping the others would play together while it happened. It was clear that wasn’t in their capability at the time. Their behavior was telling me they needed connection with me. So I invited them to play. Elijah set up legos on the table, while Hailey set up a board game. So I played Legos in between my turns. Hailey destroyed me in Sorry. Elijah liked his Lego man beating up mine.

Now they are playing together and getting along I’m sitting on the couch, window open, feeling a breeze. Maybe I’ll get to watch a few minutes of TV after all.

Our day has many hours left in it, and I don’t know if it’s going to not be one of those days anymore. I still feel kinda blah, but I certainly feel much better than earlier. Play is good for me too apparently.

Some quick pics from our week

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I have shared most of these on our Facebook page, but wanted to have it all in one place. We’ve still be hanging around the house mostly during the week, besides one evening trip to Grandma’s house so Papa could work on her car. Anyway, this is some stuff from our week.

She is writing a book. She’s been writing a chapter a day with pictures included.

Hailey wrote the alphabet on our bricks. The boys have been walking back and forth singing the letters with me. Elijah wanted to do it forwards and backwards, so now I can expertly sing the ABC song backwards 🤣.

These boys sometimes fight hard, then play even harder. Winter looks up to Elijah and copies him, and Elijah takes pride in teaching his little brother life lessons.

Here they are joined together to fight the bad guy aka our poor tree 🤣.

My daughter went to some garage sales with her Grandma and Great Grandma today. She came home with a bunch of stuff to create a home for something she’s pretending is a caterpillar. She said she is “really into caterpillars right now”. Apparently that started yesterday. 🐛

Coincidentally, shortly after she got home I spotted this on our porch. They were excited to observe (but not touch!). We looked it up and found out it is an American Dagger Moth caterpillar. So we read a bit about those. Now, Hailey wanted to show her younger brother The Very hungry caterpillar story on Netflix while I search for the book.

Last night, Elijah asked to make some candy with his Zombie science candy kit. We did a few of those but didn’t snap pics.

We also had a playdate with friends. I didn’t get any pictures of them running around and having fun.

That’s been our week!

Summer has started!

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Summer has started! It’s kind of strange, since our summers and our other days of the year are not much different in many ways. Yet still, the days are longer, we play outside later, and seem to crave more adventure.

The kids are in want of fun and adventure more so than usual. We stayed indoors more than usual this past winter. By the time spring really came (and it was delayed around here) I was huge and pregnant and not feeling up to as much.

Our days have varies quite a bit these past few weeks. Much it has been spent getting to know and love our newest family member.

Meet Dexter

We have been taking it easy, allowing everyone to adjust. Routines have been off, sleep has been less, and more patience has been needed by all. We are settling in and finding out groove a month later.

Hailey has been doing tons of artsy stuff lately. She’s been drawing pictures, creating new Pokémon, making her own stickers, and anything else she can think of. She’s also been watching lots of Pokémon YouTubers. Both bigger kids have been playing Roblox often, and sometimes together.

Elijah and Winter have been playing outside a ton. Squirt guns, chalk, and just running around have been a good majority of our days sometimes. Picking mulberries have been popular with all the kids.

Papa took the kids to our favorite farm for playtime and activities.

We also checked out an airshow. The kids watched planes fly and perform tricks. There favorite parts were actually getting to check out the inside of some different aircrafts.

They also got inside a helicopter and got to strap in, which Hailey thought was awesome.

We went to our local children’s museum for Father’s day. They always have fun in their different favorite areas.

Our days seem to be play it by ear style right now. We are saving our outings for when Papa is home most of the time. Low expectations and lots of snuggles is the motto of our life right now.