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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Liar Liar, Pants on Fire

Princess has forgotten how to tell the truth.  She's started lying about pretty much everything even though she gets in trouble for lying every. single. time.  Today, she came out of her room and stood innocently in the middle of the living room for a few minutes waiting to be noticed.  When I turned around to see what she wanted, she smiled a chocolatey smile and said, "I didn't eat any chocolate, Mommy."  Jumping into judge and jury mode, I pointed out that she had chocolate all over her face and made the assumption that she had, indeed, eaten chocolate in some form.  A punishment was administered, and I asked her if she had eaten chocolate. 
"No, and I didn't get any on my hand either." 
Realizing that she'd been holding her right hand behind her back this whole time, I pulled it in front of her to find that it was covered in chocolate as well.  Another punishment for lying to me again and I asked her once more if she had eaten any chocolate.
"No, and I didn't put it under my bed either."
A quick search under her bed revealed the chocolatey goodness of which she had been partaking.
The same query was posed to her again, only to get the same results.  This lovely scenario continued for another half an hour before the truth which I was already completely aware of reluctantly came out of her mouth.  For the 14th time this week, we went over the basics of telling the truth and lying, and I emphasized once again how she would get in so much less trouble if she would just tell me the truth the first time.  Having grown up with a brother who was a compulsive liar (he has since kicked the habit quite satisfactorily, or so he says), I'm disinclined to see Princess head down the same path. 

And don't even get me started on Little Man's screaming tantrums.  If he doesn't get his way, he lets out scream after scream which earns his a time-out in the pack and play.  They aren't the nice screams that just puncture your ear drums though.  They're the kind of ear-piercing, hawk-about-to-descend-on-its-prey, make-you-want-to-cover-your-ears-and-scream-too type of screams.  I'd say Little Man's right on track developmentally.  I've only gotten  3 1/2 years of parenthood under my belt, but from my experience, brand-new toddlers are the hardest to handle.  And with Little Man's massive temper, I'd say we're in for a long bumpy ride. 

Friday, September 23, 2011


I recently read a post on another blog about a possible link between SIDS and vaccinations.  If you're looking, you won't find it there anymore because due to the strong response, Kelly, the author of the blog, removed it.  It amazes me that people find it acceptable to be so ugly and hurtful on the internet, especially towards someone who is already hurting (Kelly and her husband lost their 4 month old baby girl to SIDS this past February).  If you wouldn't say the words to someone face to face, than do not type them on the computer either.  The person who will read your words is a real person with feelings too.

But I digress.  That's a whole other blog post right there.

Back in 1998, a Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper on a study he conducted about a possible link between childhood vaccinations and autism.  However, not only did he only use 12 test subjects (not nearly enough to get proper test results), he is also suspected of misrepresenting or altering the medical histories of the 12 subjects.  He has since had his medical license revoked.

This study sparked panic in many parents who immediately rethought their decision to vaccinate their children.  In 2007, actress Jenny McCarthy brought the study to everyone's attention.  Her son was diagnosed with autism and she blamed the vaccines he had received.  Because of her celebrity status, she was able to push this idea very successfully.

So are vaccinations really all that important?

In the 1920s, over 10,000 people a year died from diptheria, a disease that a simple vaccine can prevent.  It was the leading cause of death of toddlers in the 19th century.  Since the vaccine for diptheria was created, that number has dipped to only a few cases a year.

Measles is another disease that has been eradicated from America by a vaccine (although it is steadily making a comeback due to lower rates of vaccination).  Before the measles vaccine was available, most children contracted measles before they turned 15.  Approximately 450 people died each year from it. 

Since 2007, there have been over 80,000 instances of diseases that were once believed to be eradicated in this country due to vaccinations.  There have been over 700 deaths.  Diseases such as measles, mumps, pertussis, etc. are making a comeback.  Because of some parents' decisions not to vaccinate their children, other children who are to young or weak to have received the vaccinations, or who have not gotten the booster shots yet, are also at risk. 
So why is autism so much more prevalent today than it was even 30 years ago?  I don't believe it is.  Doctors nowadays watch for signs of autism starting at a very early age, and parents are much more aware of the disorder as well.  What is now diagnosed as autism would have been diagnosed as a different disorder completely at one time.  We have also come to realize that the spectrum of autism is very large.  Many people who are diagnosed with autism, would have once been thought of as "retarded" or "different."  We now know that these people are on the autism spectrum and should be treated accordingly.

I invite you to comment with your opinion.  Just remember that this is MY blog and I expect a certain level of civility and respect for others here. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Self-Esteem Vs. Self-Respect

It seems like every parenting magazine or child-rearing book has at least one article or chapter devoted to nurturing self-esteem in your children.  Apparently, children are very delicate creatures who are prone to thinking little of themselves and it's up to us, as their parents, to build up their self-esteem.

Give me a break.

Children are born with more self-esteem than they can use in a lifetime.  Their whole universe revolves around them.  Which is good at first since their survival as infants depends on it.  When they get to be toddlers however, that self-esteem starts to get in the way of good behavior as they scream and throw tantrums, regardless of the well-being or sanity of those around them, in an attempt to get what they want when they want.  They are not concerned with those around them; #1 still comes first.  It's our job as parents, to mold those little egos into considerate, compassionate people.  We have to teach them NOT to put #1 first.  Self-esteem is not self-like, it is self-absorption.

Self-respect is completely different.  I know many children who have high self-esteem, but they don't respect themselves.  Self-esteem has to do with your thought process (I'm the best, I can do anything, etc.) while self-respect has to do with your actions (I respect myself enough to not get in a bad relationship, to keep out of trouble, etc.)

This is how I'm teaching my children to have self-respect versus self-esteem: 

  • Don't praise them excessively for every little thing they do.  The experts on self-esteem agree that if your child has put effort into something, you need to praise that effort and not correct them, for by doing so, you will crush their spirits.  Really?  Do you think their boss is going to feel the same way when they grow up?  In the real world, your child will be expected to do things correctly, will not be praised every time they do, and will have to accept constructive (or sometimes not constructive) criticism gracefully.  If they don't, they're not going to get very far and will be pretty unhappy with life.  Here's an example:  Every time Johnny colors a picture, makes something in the sandbox, learns a new skill, etc, his mother praises him repeatedly and doesn't point out any imperfections.  Johnny is not stupid, he knows that not everything he does is perfect.  After a while of being praised for everything including the not-so-great stuff, he will begin to doubt himself.  His mother tells him how wonderful he is no matter what he does, but she tells him that even when he doesn't do a wonderful job.  He begins to wonder if he can trust his mother's opinion and doubt that he really is doing such a great job after all.  But he can't let her down, and he's been told that he's the best, the most talented, the greatest at everything he does so he applies this to whatever venture he tries.  But no matter what he does, there will always be that nagging doubt in the back of his mind, "Am I really so good at this?"  Children often become what we tell them they are, and so he will want to believe that he is.  When someone comes along who is better than him or when he fails at something, it will crush his spirit, the same spirit his mother so vainly tried to build up.  He will try to compensate for his failures by bragging about himself and generally, his mother is more than willing to help out in that aspect.  Pretty soon his friends don't like being around him because he simply HAS to be better at everything than them.  Johnny's mother will also begin to lose friends because every time they get together, she has to top everything the other parents can say about their own children. You do have to let children know that you believe in them and that you know they can do a great job, but you also have to let them get used to the idea that sometimes things just won't work out, and that there will be someone who is better than them. For instance, Princess likes to help me fold laundry.  If I followed the advice of experts, I would praise her efforts and not correct them.  But I want her to be able to handle criticism.  When she folds a shirt in a way that will wrinkle excessively and hands it to me, I tell her that we will have to try it a different way.  I gently help her unfold and refold it.  When we're done, she always looks proud of herself and will usually thank me for showing her how to do it.  When we're done folding laundry, I give her a big hug and tell her thank you for being such a good helper and learner.
  • I don't wait on my kids hand and foot.  I've seen many mothers do this and every time, the children come out self-centered and believing that they deserve to be waited on.  Okay, now what happens if they marry someone whose mother also waited on them hand and foot?  Unless one or both of the partners change their outlook, the marriage will be unhappy and will more than likely end up in divorce.  Our first priority should not be ourselves, it needs to be others.  When you have a society where #1 comes first, you have a lot of suffering and unhappiness since everyone is so focused on themselves that they don't stop to help others.  Jesus gave us the perfect example of having a servant's heart in John 13:4-9.  He and His disciples had just walked a long distance on dusty roads and, since they wore sandals, their feet were dirty.  It was the servants' or slaves' job at the time to wash the feet of guests at a home, but Jesus Himself knelt before His disciples to wash their feet before attending to his own needs.  To be honest, I'm pretty self-centered.  But I recently read a book called "Created to Be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl and since then, I've been striving to put my husband's needs and wants before my own.  And not only does this obviously make him happier, but it makes me happier as well.  When we teach our children to wait on others instead of being waited on themselves, they will be happier too. 
  • And the biggest one...Respect yourself.  Children most often learn by example and not by word.  If you lie to the store clerk, your children will lie to you.  If you badtalk people behind their back, you can be sure your children will be critical of others as well.  If you respect yourself enough to make good decisions and take care of yourself, they will do the same for themselves.  This will equip them to be able to withstand peer pressure, stand up for their rights, and make healthy choices. 

Obviously, not all the advice on self-esteem is bad.  Things such as loving them unconditionally, giving them your full-attention when they're talking to you, and encouraging them are crucial to a child growing up to be a happy and stable adult.  However, the emphasis needs to be on self-respect, not self-esteem.

Help, I've Fallen and I can't Get Up

I woke up a few days ago with a slight twinge in my lower back.  Attributing it to sleeping wrong, I ignored it and went on my merry way.  The next day, it hurt a little worse.  "Good grief, I gotta learn to turn over when I sleep" was my thought.  The next day, I reached under the kitchen table and the twinge turned into a LOT more.  I whined and winced my way through supper that night.  It hurt to sit, stand, lay, move, lift my arms, move my feet,...you get the picture.  Got up the next morning and things had not improved at all.  In fact, it had gone the other direction.  I called my mommy to complain and beg her to let my little sister come take of care of me...I mean the kids so I could rest.  Before my sister arrived to save the day, I helped Little Man out of his high chair.  BAD IDEA.  As I was hanging onto the kitchen chair, with tears streaming down my face, trying to keep from landing on the floor, Princess, with sympathy in her eyes, said to me, "It's okay if you fall on the floor, Mommy.  I'll scoot you over to the door."

How thoughtful.  I think her plan was to dump me outside and leave me to die while she and her brother partied it up in the house.

I sucked it up and called the chiropractor.  Thankfully, they could squeeze me in the same morning.  After some x-rays, he informed me that I didn't pull a muscle like I'd assumed.  I have a pinched disc.  He cracked my back in several places and sent me home to rest and ice it.   

I'm more upset about the inconvenience of this then anything.  I'm also SO thankful that all I have is a pinched disc versus whatever it is that my dad has wrong with his back.  When his back goes out, it leaves the country.  The pain (I would imagine) is comparable with childbirth, which, if you've ever given birth naturally (which I have), you know it HURTS.

Counting my blessings during this little trial!  I'm thankful it's not worse.  Thankful I was able to get into the chiropractor right away for some relief.  Thankful that I have such a caring family who is willing to help me at the drop of a bucket.  Thankful that they're not sick of me and my health issues yet :)  Thankful that I have enough boutique orders that taking a few days off to let my back recuperate is going to make me VERY busy next week.  Thankful that it's my back and not my asthma (I really like breathing). 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Married

After 2 very serious posts, I think it's time for me to lighten the mood around here a little.
Here's the conversation between me and Princess this morning:

Princess: *Hands me her empty cereal bowl* "I'm going to get married now, Mommy."

Me: "Okay, have fun!"

Princess: "Okay, bye!"

Me: *Spots a mess of dollhouse furniture scattered on the floor* "Hold on, kiddo.  Before you can get married, you have to pick up your toys."

Princess: *Sighs* "Yes, Ma'am"

A few minutes pass...

Princess: "I'm all done!  Can I get married now?!?"

Me: *Checks to be sure she's telling the truth* "Looks good!  Okay, you can get married now."

Princess: "Yay!  Thank you so much, Mommy!"  Bye!" *Puts on her tulle covered tiara and pink sequin dress-up shoes and disappears into her room*

I never thought I'd be giving my 3 year old daughter permission to get married on the condition that she clean up her toys first.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today marks the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  On that day, I was a junior in high school attending a one room Christian high school with 11 students in the whole student body.  At 10 am, everyone but my brother, who had too many demerits to get a break, was outside for morning break.  As I stood watching the other kids play football, an open cab tractor drove by with the radio blaring something about multiple plane crashes.  Knowing that our teacher sometimes had the radio on during break, I rushed back inside to see if I could get more details.  The radio was on, but I'd missed most of the news so I broke the rules to ask my brother what he'd heard since he was inside.  He told me everything he knew and I stayed inside the rest of break to listen to the radio.  At 10:30, everyone else came inside and the teacher switched off the radio.  She quieted everyone down and said she had an announcement.  Then she proceeded to briefly and unemotionally tell what had and was happening before instructing everyone to get back to work.  Her response floored me, but she probably didn't feel a whole lot of patriotism as she was from Japan.  She was a US citizen, but her heart was still in her home country.

We rode home from school that day in silence, straining to hear every word on the radio bulletins.  At home, our mom had the tv turned on, which she NEVER did ordinarily, watching the news.  A friend had called her up and told her to turn it on, otherwise she'd have probably heard the news when we came home from school.

The rest of the day was a blur.  The tv remained on most of the afternoon and evening.  I was completely stunned at the great tragedy that had unfolded.

The events that happened that day are seared into my memory.  Even today, I have a hard time looking at any photos of that day.  As I was watching my kids play yesterday, I thought about how strange it feels that they weren't here then, that they will never quite realize the horror I felt that day, and that, for them, September 11, 2001, will just be a date in a history book.  And then I realized that there is a whole generation growing up right now who were born after September 11, 2001.  And it is our job to make sure that that date is not forgotten by them and to help them understand the significance and the tragedy of that day.

Where were you 10 years ago today?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby Season

After 2 boys, my sister had a baby girl yesterday.  She's a sweet little (I use that term loosely) thing with a head of dark hair and pinchable cheeks who weighed 10 pounds, 4 ounces at birth.  Ouch.  My sister had a 3 hour labor with no time for drugs so the whole thing was natural.  Double ouch.

Princess with her newest cousin
We're very excited about the birth of little Abigail or Abby as she'll be called.  Princess had the decency not to say "I told you so" over Abby being an Abigail instead of a Gabriel.  She kept telling us that it was going to be a "girl baby" and, we kept telling her it could very well be a boy, but she was positive and wouldn't be swayed.  By the end of my sister's pregnancy, when asked what the baby would be, Princess would say begrudgingly, "It could be a girl baby *sigh* or it could be a boy baby." and then she would brighten up and finish with, "But it's a girl baby!!"  Kudos to you, Princess.  She now has a 100% track record with predicting genders (that would be 5 out of 5).  I'm thinking I might start charging people to find out what they are expecting.  Hey, the kid might as well earn her keep around here.

My brother and his wife are also expecting a baby in November.  Yeah, I know.  When we have babies in my family, we have them in batches.  First were the three oldest kidlets, Princess and her two cousins who are about 6 months apart from oldest to youngest.  Next came the 3 younger cousins who are less than a month apart from oldest to youngest.  And now my sister and sister-in-law are having babies close together.  I opted out of this stretch of baby production.  Hubby says we're out of the game completely, but I can just picture God leaning out of Heaven with a chuckle saying, " How about I bless them with a set of triplets to show 'em who's in charge here."

To be honest, I was sitting on pins and needles until my sister actually delivered her baby yesterday.  The first two times she announced a new addition, I followed with an announcement of my own.  Both times, I told everyone I was NOT pregnant and then found out a few days later that I had unwittingly told a lie.  So this time, when my sister started glowing and throwing up, everyone looked at me expectantly (no pun intended).  Like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" or the contemporary version of this fable, "The Girl Who Cried Because She Was Hormonal and Pregnant, But Didn't Know It Yet" they naturally didn't believe me when I denied any upcoming offspring.  After this happening twice, I thought for sure, my sister's pregnancies were contagious and, no matter how hard I tried to prevent it, I was sure to follow her footsteps again.  But here we are...baby Abby is practicing her newfound stretching skills, and I'm (as far as I know!) not in the baby-making business at the moment.

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