July 21, 2006
My Friend Sarah's Latest Blogs
I am, right this minute, sitting outside my hotel room, overlooking the ocean – in a sweatshirt! – and it is 70-something degrees. Yes, feel free to hate me for a moment. We are on our annual Five-Family-Vacation in California. There are 10 adults, 14 teenagers, 9 kids and one baby. I’ll write and tell you all about it next week but I’ve chosen to actually take a vacation this week so I’m going to pick up the book I’m reading again instead of writing a journal entry.
Don’t despair, I’m posting one of my friend, Sarah’s latest blogs. BTW, this sweet little blog has been nominated for a “Blogs of Beauty” award in the Motherhood category. I’ll keep you posted on how you can cast your vote for her honest and delightful, “In The Midst of It” blog as soon as I get all of the details.
After you’ve read this entry, if you can sneak a few more minutes on the computer, surf on over to Sarah’s official blog site at
Oops, I better hurry up and read a couple more chapters before my afternoon nap.
A Sad Realization…
Today I’ve come to a sad realization: my boys are getting spoiled.
This didn’t hit me like a bolt of lightning, quickly; it’s something I’ve been mulling over for a while. But since we’ve been on vacation, it has become more apparent. For the long drive, I bought several DVD’, books on CD, and toys to keep them entertained for hours on end. What happened, instead, is that we heard the words, “Can I have another Surprise?” every hour. Sometimes sooner. Rather than being highly entertained and eternally grateful for such great parents, they just belly-ached.
I can’t stand spoiled children. Call it a pet peeve. All the whining, discontent, boredom, restlessness, and bickering over not wanting to share, drives me crazy. So imagine my dismay when I realized that I have spoiled children! I don’t respond well to it, either; I get irritated and snappy and generally mutter under my breath all day.
So I’m on a mission. This is the same mission I was on about two years ago, after I read John Rosemond’s book, The Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children. He basically says to go back to the basics: cut down on television and videos, play more classical music (because it’s “brain food”), force the kids to play outdoors, read to them as much as possible, and pare down the number of toys.
When I first read the book, and Caiden was 2 ½, I really questioned whether it would work. He followed me around all day, not able to entertain himself. I wondered how on earth he’d occupy his time with little to do the work of entertaining for him. Much to my surprise, the method worked! I let him watch one program each afternoon, after nap time. Other than that, TV was pretty much off-limits. Instead, I played music. I put away, sold or gave away any toy that made noise or worked by itself. And what I found was that he started playing with toys that build imagination: Lincoln Logs, Legos, building blocks and cars. He could play in his room for an hour at a time, contentedly. I started reading to him on a daily basis, choosing from Jim Trelease’s book, The Read- Aloud Handbook. And I didn’t by them; I requested them online from our library. We started with one or two short books at a time and worked up to an hour or more. And his behavior improved, dramatically. He became more respectful, less whiny, and more pleasant in general.
So why on earth did I stop doing this? Well, I had a baby. And we all know what happens when a new baby arrives: anything productive pretty much halts for a few months. Learning how to juggle two children required all of my time, effort, and sanity. And once I got really good at it, when Grayson was 10 months old, I got pregnant. Again. And I might mention that I am one of the lucky few blessed with nine months of morning sickness. To top it off, those of you who have been around here for a while know that my family had the stomach virus something like 13 time s while I was pregnant. So TV became The Entertainer.
My other downfall is that I like to shop. And I love Target. That combination makes for a lot of toys. And a lot of toys makes for whiny children. A lot of toys also makes for a frustrated mom who is constantly trying to keep the house neat while it’s on the market. So we’ve somehow gotten back to square one. And now I have spoiled children. Sweet, cute, but spoiled nonetheless.
Which brings me back to today. During the 8 days we’ve been on vacation, my boys have had very few toys to play with. And we’ve watched TV very little. And you know what? They’ve played together, or separately, contentedly, almost all of the time. I haven’t heard one single “I’m bored.” I haven’t really had to remind them to share. And I haven’t spent a large portion of each day picking up behind them. The peace is bliss!
Posted by weblion at 09:17 PM