Saturday, January 25, 2014

My little Eleanor

Eleanor is amazing. I know I am biased cause I am her mom but shes just awesome! She is beautiful but I try to let her know that she is much much more then that. She is super smart. I am not going to be surprised if she is in the advanced classes when she is older. She is creative and imaginative in the most surprising ways. She is gentle and loving. Always loving. She will frequently just stop put her arms around me kiss me and say "Mommy I love you so much!" She loves to cuddle. She loves to paint and color and makes me amazing pictures. I just want to keep all of them. She can be oh so sassy too, but what girl isn't right? She loves to shop with me and tells me what is "soo cute." She has always thrived on structure as well. When she was a baby she was on a feeding/nap schedule which if deviated from our little baby who never really cried and was sweet all the time turned into our little screacher creature. Even though she is now three almost four she still does much better and is much happier with some kind of schedule. As she has gotten older we have always transitioned into a new schedule with little trouble and made the necessary changes that made all our lives more pleasant. Well it has not been so this time around. Sleep times have been off for months and Eleanors moods and sass has been our reward. Half of the time she took her daily afternoon naps and went to bed on time resulting in a happy girl all day long. Other times she would just play in her room at nap time and be fine. Or she would play in her room and be a monster and then crash at five pm cause she needed her nap but didn't get one. Other times she would take her nap and then stay up until ten or eleven at night. All of which were not good for her and would eventually affect her health. I decided to take away her naps and get her to bed a little earlier. Just doing that alone didn't work. She needed more routine then that. Then I thought well maybe she isn't getting to bed on time even without naps because we are not getting out enough during the day (Winter in Utah equals stuck inside especially if my kids are sick and I don't want to infect others.). I also thought that she would behave better if we limited her TV time. I wanted to make changes during the day as well as what we did at night. Everyday is different and some days are just lazy but most days I try to invigorate her mind and creative skills and get her some play time with someone other then mommy and sister. Then I thought she is sleeping in too late in the morning and this could also cause her to stay up late so I need to change that too. Waking up early is not my strong point but now I wake up and make sure my girls don't sleep in either. "Early to bed early to rise" as the saying goes. So after tweaking our daily activities I came up with a bed time routine that has worked for us. Granted it has only been three night of our new process but two out of those three nights resulted in amazing outcomes and a much happier girl. Now we turn the TV off and learn, create something, get out of the house, and play with friends. Then after dinner no more TV. Its clean up time then bath time with a little lavender oil and then its lotion time and pajama time. Next we read some books till its time for bed. Off we go to find Daddy for prayers. Then I take both girls into their room where we turn off the lights and sing two songs. I take turns cuddling both girls individually and leave them to their dreams. I remind Eleanor before I leave that if she sleeps good she can put a sticker on her bed time chart (after so many stickers she gets to pick a prize from our stash of 99 cent toys and candy) and a happy Popsicle stick (I have jars on the counter one happy and one sad full of bonuses or chores depending). She gets a kick out of picking sticks. Now if after all this she chooses to get up it results in all the toys she has gotten out confiscated which she has to earn back. She gets up again she doesn't get a sticker. She gets up again she doesn't get a happy Popsicle stick and has to pick a sad one instead. And if all else fails she gets an old fashioned spank on the bum. Its a lot of hard work but as I said Eleanor is amazing and deserves the time and energy it takes to make a schedule that she can thrive on. Not everyday will be perfect I am no super mom but I am hoping to make positive changes. Being a stay at home mom is much more then just wiping bums and faces it is all day long putting others needs before my own and getting off the couch and putting my book down so that my girls are not being baby sat but raised and reared to know and understand how amazing they are. To help them become more and more amazing everyday. So now on days when I just need a more me time I will go back and read this and remember again why its not about me and that I can have some me time after they are asleep. Cause if I can get them to bed on time without fighting me I can have hours of time to myself before bed and that's enough.