Posted by Hannah Rae on Apr 4, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
If I could describe my Parenting in SPACE conference experience in (many) one sentence(s) I would say…
We were already friends before we met.
They got me.
I laughed till I cried.
I cried till I laughed.
“I never knew someone could throw up that much. Wow.”
“I will never bleach my hair again!”
“I’m glad I have a cough drop in my mouth.”
“Wow! Thank you! The end.”
If I could describe….
Well, you just had to be there.
I miss you all.
I am praying for us.
“How DO snakes mate?”
Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 21, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
So last night I e-mailed two troop leaders about the possibility of Jeremiah joining scouts. This morning one of the leaders called me back and we talked for about half an hour. It turned out that they meet on Mondays and were going swimming tonight. The leader and I both thought that it would be a great opportunity for J. to casually meet the other boys in the troop and get a feel for what the group was like.
He worked hard ALL DAY so that he could go. He got all his schoolwork done AND his chores. We ate dinner a little earlier than normal, and then he and I were off to town. He clicked with the boys right away, 4 or 5 who are also 12. He was in the pool playing “chicken wars” within minutes.
I was really impressed with the leadership. They answered all my questions, and reassured me on some of the things I was concerned about.
I even got hooked up with another mom who “is the library” for our local branch, which I have never been too, since it’s 20 miles away and, up till now, I hardly ever go that direction. I think I will make his troop meeting nights my library nights. Ah, the thrill and beauty of free resources.
The other troop leader called while we were at the meeting. I will chat with him tomorrow, but I am pretty sure we’ve found our fit. There is even a “badge day” coming up that will give J. a kind of orientation into what Scouting is all about, and give him the chance to meet more scouts his age.
I cannot explain the joy in my heart over seeing J. do “normal boy things.” I just couldn’t stop smiling, and neither could he, which was the best part.
Oh, Lord, let this be the start of something GREAT!
Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 20, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
Stretching. Growing. Growing pains. Growing JOYS!
I was given an incredible book titled “Loving Our Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk. It’s totally wrecking me, in a completely great and painfully stretching way.
I have the opportunity to go to this therapeutic parenting conference in two weeks. If God opens the doors, which He totally is already doing, I am totally expecting to be challenged in crazy ways there too. Plus, I will get to meet my amazing friend, Christine, face to face for the first time. I can admit, I’m more than a little giddy. Yeah, I am totally having middle-school “I want to be the cool kid,” or at least “WITH the cool kid,” anxiety.
Finally, Jeremiah has expressed interest in joining the Boy Scouts. I grew up in Girl Scouts (before they started taking sex-ed liberties), and then later, Calvinettes, so I am excited that he is expressing interest in this respected, character-developing program. I contacted two local troops, and I’m hoping that even though he has no experience, we will find a troop where he can fit and excel.He will be challenged, and that is good!
How are you being stretched?
Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 4, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
Okay, so my embedding is not working for some reason, but I can’t wait any more! I have to show off my kid!
So, to see Jeremiah rockin’ out all of the Old Testament books, go here.
To see Jeremiah rockin’ out all of the New Testament books, go here.
That’s right! This kid ROCKS!
Posted by Hannah Rae on Feb 28, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
What worked with Jeremiah today was….
- Mixing it up a bit. Instead of doing his regular reading lesson, we watched a documentary on the history of black achievement in America. He loved it.
- Giving him a set time to calm down. I told him I would come check on him in 15 minutes, and even though he needed another 15 to completely cool down, he knew that I was not “disappearing” and not giving up.
- Allowing him to spend 75 of his Miah Bucks on a chore pass AND 25 on a movie, even though he wouldn’t have any left. He felt accomplished and that he really got to enjoy a big privilege. I know that he’ll be missing those bucks later, but hey, it’s his to spend.
Tomorrow, I will probably have to do something totally different. I’m glad that I’m good at thinking on my feet.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Feb 5, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
Jeremiah’s workspace was created by using an old college desk that we got at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore for around $20. My sister had been using it for her TV, but she wasn’t too sad to part with it. My hubby hooked him up with a laptop that he bought from his company for $10 so he can do his Mathletics and Spelling City work. The laptop is loaded with edubuntu, which has a bunch of awesome educational games on it, including a typing tutor.
His desk is currently parked in our “foyer” in front of our big formal door that is the biggest air leak ever! It is taped up for the winter, so it’s the perfect place. It’s just off the living room, and kitty corner to the dining room, so I can see him from just about everywhere. It’s also opposite of our big mirror, so he is not far if he needs to fix his face or do some self-talking.
The desk has a cork board backing for him to tack reminders to, as well as for me to post “good job” messages and certificates, like his SILVER certificate from Mathletics. He worked really hard for that, and I want him to look his hard work and success in the face. LOOK AT IT!
The only downside to where his desk is, is that he is only 10 feet away from Juji’s cage. Juji bird has been getting VERY NOISY in the morning as of late. We are both working on ignoring her bad behavior.
Ideas? Suggestions? Favorite things?
Posted by Hannah Rae on Jan 27, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
Ah, the teasing taste of success.
So many good things about today, but it’s hard to believe the good.
Jeremiah finished all of his work, lots of playing dumb for short periods of time, but when brought into the light, he immediately switched it up. BUT HE FINISHED!
Yesterday, he read a short book on amazing plants. He really enjoyed it, and he read it out loud to our little friend G. He was so proud of himself that he read something successfully out loud, and it freaked him out A LOT. Anywho, I had him draw an imaginary plant of his own, and write a sentence or two to describe it. He did it, but it was small, sloppy, and the sentence had very obvious spelling and grammar errors. He had obviously put as little effort into it as possible. So today I had him redo it. He didn’t argue, he was pleasant, AND HE DID IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!!! AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! I will have to scan it in to show you. I was amazed.
I am having Jeremiah work with the free version of Spelling City for his spelling work. He loves it. He is working on the short /a/ sound this week, and today he took the test and ACED IT! He had to think, but he got 9/10 right. The one he got wrong was a typo, as he wrote mad instead of man. He was so proud of himself…and then he freaked out. So we talked through the fear, which I don’t really understand yet, but am trying to. We took deep breaths (and I do mean “we”), and we did some EFT rubbing, which he has a hard time with, and he got himself back on track.
For Math, Miah is continuing to work with Mathletics. I’ve lowered his level, which you can change up to 6 times a year per license. Level 2 seems to be a better fit. Today he was working on counting forward patterns and counting backward patterns. The counting forward was challenging at first, but he picked up on it quickly, and quickly got 100%. He found the counting backward patterns very frustrating, and then once he did figure it out, he amazingly kept missing at least 1. I knew that he needed to know that I believed he could master it, so I had him keep at it. After some more breathing and rubbing, he got back to it and got 100% the first time.
And I told him I knew he could do it, and how proud I was of him, and he didn’t freak out….yet.
He made his lunch, trying to pull a couple things over on me, but I addressed them and the feelings behind them, and we moved on.
And then it came to chore time. He took over an hour to do his kitchen chore, which should have taken 15 minutes. Why? Well, the cover story was that he didn’t think I would let him buy movie time with his Miah Bucks because I was watching TV. So that then turned into that he didn’t trust that I would let him have his privileges, aka didn’t trust Mom to give him good things, which transformed FINALLY into the truth, that he didn’t believe that he deserved the good things he worked so hard for all day, because he doesn’t believe he deserves good things PERIOD.
It still breaks my heart.
Anywho, after a 5 minute jump on the trampoline with lots of sortof fake crying, and a little laughter when Mom tried to help him touch the ceiling, he pulled it all back together. He was able to purchase movie time, and is currently CHOOSING to do MORE Mathletics! (Update: He just did the counting by 10′s work ON HIS OWN AND WORKED AT IT TILL HE GOT IT ALL RIGHT! WHOOHOO!!!)
Lord, I know this probably won’t last, but thank you for the glimpse into the semi-normal.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Jan 26, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
So much could be said about today, so I will try to make my thoughts make sense.
First of all, J started playing dumb right off the bat. Why? Because he was scared that he would screw up later. That was his mantra all day today. Basically it translates into “I do not trust you to give me good things, and I do not deserve good things, so I am going to MAKE SURE I do not get good things.” It breaks my heart, even after hearing it ALL. DAY. LONG!
Anywho, after reading through Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, and Miah having some good, deep, heart questions, I really wanted to tackle the breath control issues I’ve been noticing lately.
So I had Miah lay on the floor to do a basic breathing exercise. Like many people, Miah has been used to taking shallow breaths and not filling up his lungs completely. When he first came to our family, he didn’t even know what a deep breath was. I had to show him how to breathe in for longer than a split second. He was still breathing with his shoulders instead of his belly.
So I had him lay on the floor and put his hands on his waist with his fingers pointing toward his belly button. I put my hand on his belly and showed him how to make my hand go up and down. It took quite a while for him to figure out how to make his belly rise while breathing in, but once he got it, he got it. I am glad to give him another technique to help him regulate himself.
After doing breathing exercises, we did a quick clean up, and headed to town. Our best friends, who just got two precious new foster babies, offered to watch Miah so I could go to our church’s weekly women’s Bible study. I GOT TO GO TO BIBLE STUDY! WHOOHOO! And Miah got his work done with someone else.
Before heading home, he had to go get another blood test and drop off a 24 hour urine sample, which he had WAY too much fun filling up. He asked the nurse why there was a gurney, and she explained that it was in case people fainted, or if they needed an EKG, and THEN she said that sometimes little kids have to get blood drawn and they don’t want to cooperate, so they have to hold them down. Then she looked at Miah and said “But we won’t have to do that to YOU, right?” He just smiled. He’s such a trooper. He winces every time, but doesn’t make a big deal of it.
Then home we went. More talking on the way home about why he doesn’t think he deserves a good day. It’s the big thing. Especially since he is really starting to experience some success, and it is FREAKING. HIM. OUT!
Can someone PLEASE explain the fear of success thing? PLEASE!
So that be it, for now.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Jan 25, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
He got up and got dressed. No complaining. A little playing dumb, but we talked about the nervousness, shook out the fears, and went on.
He ate breakfast. A little more playing dumb, but he was still being very pleasant. We talked about the feelings, the fear that he would fail and that I would give up. We shook out the fears and we went on.
We did our Bible time. He read really well, and then started to play dumb again, so we talked about the fears, really shook them out, and then went on.
We did our workout. I realized he has very little body awareness, especially with his core. He had no idea how to tighten his abs. He liked the ankle weights. I like the ankle weights too. They make me feel more connected to the ground.
He did his reading on his own up in his room while I took a shower. I had him write 5 things he didn’t know before and three questions. He followed instructions really well, spelling things properly, and using very neat handwriting. Then he started playing dumb again. We talked about how he wants to stay in control, and yet he also wants to do the right thing even if it means Mom is in control. We talked about choices and how he has complete control over his choices. He finished well.
He did his spelling online with Spelling City. Loved it! He wanted to do more and did not follow instructions when I asked him to move on. He lost a Miah Buck, but kept it together and moved on to math.
He did his math without a hitch.
Then lunch happened. I’m not sure exactly what the trigger was, but he was acting really REALLY mopey. He had eaten his two tacos while I was in the other room, and then I asked him to please go clean up, and he was literally dragging his feet into the kitchen. His face was visibly sad, and his shoulders were in the slumped old man position that they have been in so much lately.
When he came back into the living room I knew something was wrong. I asked him if there was anything he needed to fix, and he immediately lost it. Tears, angry voice, the whole thing. I took him into my lap and we talked again about his fear that he was going to screw everything up. He told me he snuck some brownie out of the kitchen. I knew that wasn’t the whole story.
As reassuringly as I could I reminded him that yesterday I told him I would not be allowing myself to be pulled into control games, and that if he wanted to share with me, that was wonderful, but if not, he could go up into his room. He started to get very visibly angry (he hates it when I stay calm) and I told him that he had one more chance if he would like to go jump on his trampoline and calm down. He shouted “NO!” so I told him that was fine, he could go up to his room now. He raged for about 10 minutes, throwing, kicking the door, shouting all kinds of things to try to pull me into a battle. I stayed calm. YAY! When he was playing with the door, I simply sat myself down in front of it with my current read. He stopped almost immediately.
When he calmed I went up to his room and reassured him that he was not sent upstairs for sneaking, or lying, or anything like that. I told him I loved him very much and was so proud of him for all he accomplished today, and that i understood how scary it was to do so much so well all morning. I gave him his journal and pencil and left.
Dad will be doing work at home tonight, and I am going to Soup Group.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Posted by Hannah Rae on Jan 24, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house
Okay. So yesterday sucked. Jeremiah was off his rocker with nervousness and not-feeling-worth-it-ness. It was baby talk and playing dumb ALL. DAY. About EVERYTHING! It was control game after control game, and I fell into the biggest one without even realizing it until afterwards. I hate that.
Anywho, with all of that I was hopeful, but not terribly optimistic with how this morning would go. I needed our journey to start well. I needed him to WANT and feel like he could be successful in this journey and know that I was looking forward to it.
He came downstairs with a surprisingly good attitude. When I asked him to please complete his tasks that he left unfinished last night because of his tantrum, he did them quickly and with a pleasant attitude. I was AMAZED!
After eating (lunch, since it took that long to get going) Miah and I sat down at the table to talk things out. Come up with a plan of how things would proceed for our homeschooling adventure. I purposely asked A LOT of questions about how he wanted things to go.
First, I asked him about things he liked to do or wanted to do in the future. He came up with a great list! Everything from video-game and TV time to taking piano lessons or karate classes. Nothing was unreasonable or unrealistic. I called this list Jeremiah’s want-to-do’s.
Next we talked about the things that he would need to accomplish each day to help him grow and learn. I called this list Jeremiah’s Need-to-do’s. This included doing his school work, doing his chores, going to counseling, and treating the family with kindness and respect.
Next we talked about how his need-to-do’s can help him accomplish his want-to-do’s. We came up with a system together called “Miah Bucks” where he will earn play money by accomplishing his need-to-do’s. He can then use those bucks to purchase some of his want-t0-do’s, such as TV time and video-game time.
Some of the want-to-do’s will be free or very cheap, and others will not have a value to them, such as the karate lessons, but will be more associated with a goal, like completing chores on time for 2 weeks.
He will keep track of his bucks in a ledger. (YAY! MATH!)
He needs to feel like he has something to work toward and that he has control over what happens. I am trying to give him that. I was also very real with him that I understood he would get angry and want to tear up said bucks. I told him that was okay, that I would not get angry, but that any bucks that were torn up would be null and void. He got that. And he appreciated my honesty.
We will initially be focusing on reading, spelling, and math as the core of our academic time, but we spent a good amount of time coming up with a list together of things he would like to learn outside of those areas. He is really into art and told me he would like to learn about different artists, as well as learn how to use oil paints and water colors. Very cool. I would like to learn those right along with him. He wants to learn to cook with me, which made me smile, and he also really enjoys history. We are planning on starting a unit on Abe Lincoln, his favorite president, and the Under Ground Railroad, and are really excited that Scholastic is doing a virtual tour unit on that very thing.
So tomorrow we start our new schedule.
Here’s the schedule I am starting with:
9:00 – Wake up
9:30 – Bible time
10:00 – Exercise (Miah and I are big Richard Simmons fans.)
10:30 – Reading/Spelling
11:15 – Math
12:00 – Lunch
12:30 – Read aloud
1:00 – Chores
1:30 – Free time
Jeremiah was very excited to see that he would have all afternoon to play if he got his work done. He is enthusiastic for the moment and keeps saying things like, “You know, Mom, this homeschooling thing might be FUN!” It’s cute.
So, tomorrow the adventure continues.