Note: I really did write this Friday, but we've been really busy so I didn't get a chance to post! Lots of pictures soon.
Well, Wednesday was awesome. I prayed for patience Tuesday night and Wednesday, I got it.
I read chapter one of Naomi Aldort's Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. It took me a long time while watching the kids and spending time with them, but I got a lot out of it. The main thing was something I already knew but needed to review: When upset, I should STOP for a minute and let my first impulse run silently through my head. It is not what I want to say. When I am done and can respond calmly, I should move my attention to my child and handle things from there. I did so well with this Wednesday! I'm planning to go back through chapter one and highlight my favorite parts to look over again when I'm having a hard time.
On Wednesday, there were several tests throughout the day and especially at difficult times that normally would have gotten the best of me.
Ivey asked to sit on the toilet. While she was sitting there, I decided to make up our bed. Then she called for help, asking for more paper. When I looked, she'd unrolled all the toilet paper that was left on the roll and stuffed it between her legs into the toilet.
While I was outside taking the cloth diapers off the clothesline, Ivey piled the dog's bowl full of food even though she'd already fed her.
Suzi broke off a piece of our tent and was running around the living room waving it over her head while Ivey cried under the collapsing structure. All while I was trying to talk on the phone with my mom and take care of Robert.
These might not seem that bad but I have a low tolerance for chaos, and I am proud that I kept calm through all of it.
Thursday was wonderful, too. I got a lot of work done in the morning while the kids played outside. Then we went to our babywearing meeting, and Suzi had a couple of little meltdowns. I used my new techniques for validating her feelings from the book I'm reading, and it worked, and I felt we were immediately closer.
We spent the rest of the day at my parents' house making birthday cakes.
What I've learned so far:
1) Kids need nearly unlimited outdoor play time. Let them do what they want out there, as long as it's not hurting anyone.
2) Assigning innocent intention is BIG. It helps to understand that Ivey really just wanted to wipe her butt; she only wanted to make sure the dog didn't go hungry; and four-year-old Suzi was so immersed in a game of pretend that she didn't notice she'd taken apart the tent.
3) I don't need to fall all over myself trying to make someone else's child feel better when there's been a disagreement and my child is upset. Especially when she has done nothing wrong. Especially at her expense. Her feelings matter and I am responsible for hearing her, not someone else's child. (Nothing specific happened, just something I realized.)
4) It is such a privilege to listen to their problems and heal their hurt feelings and hold them. I love doing it. Maybe I didn't fully recognize this before.
5) This is getting easier the more I practice it. For some reason I didn't expect that!
Next week: #3, Feed our family better. I'm a little nervous, but we've already gotten started so I think it's attainable.