Monday, April 30, 2012

Who doesn't love a chocolate pudding face or two?

As to Rory's hair? Well, she does her own thing around here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rory and I spent a few hours together while Dusty and Max ran some errands. I took some notes.

Rory while eating her lunch:
"I miss Maxwell. I'm mad at Daddy, he (Max) stays with me. He's my brother! I need him! I want Maxwell to come play with me."

Rory still at lunch:
"I farted! It come out of my mouth. I ate too much corn dog!" (Yes, she burped, not farted.)

Rory on the toilet taking a poop (I know, poop talk again, but trust me, it's good):
Me: "Rory are you done yet?"
Rory: "I need two more. There's a Mommy and a Daughter. I need a Daddy and a Max poop." (She was dead serious people, she was making a little poop family in her potty. God help me!)

Rory asked me if I was Daddy's Mommy:
Me: "I'm Daddy's wife."
Rory: "That's a good idea Mama!"

Rory with yet more questions:
Rory: "Mommy, who painted this house?" (Looking at the kitchen walls.)
Me: "Mommy, Daddy and Grammy a long time ago."
Rory: "Oh, thank you Mama!"

Rory playing with her toys and some cups spilled all over:
"No way. This is TERRIBLE!"

Rory attempting to put her sock on. She is screaming and crying this whole time keep in mind:
Rory: "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!"
Me: "Rory, what is hurting?"
Rory: "It's killing me!"

Later that afternoon she was crying and whining and would not go to her room. Instead she decided it was a good idea to take a nap in the middle of the living room floor instead.

And if that wasn't enough for you I have more. Today the kids got out the scissors GG brought them and I was helping Rory learn to cut. I turned my back to talk to Dusty and I hear, "I cut my hair". Sure enough, this sticky lock is no longer attached.

And Rory is now the proud recipient of side bangs.

We'll be the side bang girls I guess!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GG has been here with us the last couple of days and the kids (and I) have been loving it! She never shows up empty handed of course so there has been new puzzles to put together.

And lots of swing time.

Oh and lets not forget all the stories she brought!

Every night has been a late night of movie watching and sleeping with GG. Naps have been necessary for my children who don't usually nap, but every crabby minute has been worth the two extra minutes of joy they are having. GG really gives them her undivided attention and they are loving it.

And in her spare time she dazzles us all with her culinary skills she learns from work. Say hello to our penguin treats with dinner the other night!

Needless to say, we're all having a marvelous week.

Monday, April 23, 2012

If you hear the kids singing, giggling and making other weird noises in the bathroom you should have learned from me a long time ago....start running!

Thankfully I only walked in on this.

I know, you are so glad I caught that!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Max had his second soccer game today. Dusty had to work so I was there with both kids which made things interesting. For starters, Max refused to smile for the team photos. While I didn't purchase special team photos and individual pictures, (I take enough by myself, thank you very much.) I'm sure all the other parents aren't going to be thrilled to see my scowling son in their team shot. Oh well. At least he started to have some fun after the games started.

Yes, he does have his tongue out, you know that helps with accurately kicking the ball. Especially while trying to take the ball from your own teammate!

Thankfully he did enjoy himself while he was playing but don't be fooled. He certainly was a daydreamer when he wanted to be too!

Rory was a handful at first. We were having a hard time locating Max's team (they were over taking pictures) and while we went looking for them Rory disappeared. I knew she headed over to the playground - she had been whining to go there since we showed up - but it was still nerve wracking while we went in search for her! She spent the rest of the time jumping all over me, rubbing her boogers all over my face yelling, "Booger Kiss!" and finding interesting things to play with, like this stick.

I was very happy when it was over. The temperatures had dropped towards the end of practice and this Mama was cold! Hopefully next week will bring some sun, warmth and a Daddy to help.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A sunny, somewhat warm day requires lots of outside play. We took Maya for a walk down to the river.

Don't worry, the kids most certainly got muddy, grass stained and wet from playing while we were there. We then returned home for some swinging.

Yes, Rory did have a temper tantrum shortly before this photo. Don't mind the snot and tears on her face. Max was so grumpy I didn't even take a picture! So much for a fun time swinging...

We then headed into the garage where Max showed off his mad scooter skills.

And Rory wore a wheel barrow on her head.

Just another typical afternoon in the Cochran household!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My baby girl got some road rash today.

She was walking Maya on her leash at the state park today, Maya pulled too hard and Rory tripped and went down. She actually caught herself pretty well but she was still hanging on to the leash and so it threw her hand out and then her face went down.

Any my baby girl? Oh she cried, needed me to clean the dirt and blood off her face and give her a good squeeze, but then she was off walking and ready to continue on. She even walked Maya with her leash again later in the walk! She's a tough one that girl.

This is going to look so much more bad ass in the next couple of days, you just watch!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yesterday Max helped me pot a plant from my Grandpa's funeral.

After we filled it up and I put it on the shelf I went to the laundry room. I came back to find this.

Dirt, everywhere. All over the family room, down the hall, into both bedrooms and even on the bathroom and kitchen floors.

Remember how I just reviewed all those books I read and how you're not supposed to react? Yeah...I didn't follow that advice at all. I cried, I screamed, I threatened, I gave out numerous punishments, and I sulked for a good hour while cleaning it all up.

As the books predicted, if you react, the kids will do it more because it's fun to find a way to make your parents act up. So I really wasn't all that surprised when I found this in Max's room today.

I know the photos don't really do it justice, but that would be over 200 elastic hair ties scattered throughout Max's bedroom. He called it the "ball pit" for him and Rory.

Today I handled it much better. I simply explained he wouldn't leave the room until he picked it all up except to go to school. The little bit that is already in the container is what he has picked up so far. He'll be continuing to pick it up when he gets home from preschool. And I'm going to learn to control my temper better so I don't have to go through this again tomorrow.

Let's hope I'm right!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You guys? I'm a soccer mom!

For the first hour of being a soccer mom? I may have taken 116 photos. Although we did have friends there so there are a few photos of their kids too. OK, maybe one friend and one kid, but still! Get ready for some adorable photos of a little boy in a way too big uniform!

Ladies and Gentlemen, please say hello to the swarm! (You know, where every kid swarms the ball and chases it wherever it goes?)

Grandma came with too, she was extremely helpful in keeping Rory entertained. They had lots of fun at the playground!

And don't forget shoulder rides!

At the very end everyone crowded together for a group shot.

My boy, he was not very amused.

To be honest, Max was a bit difficult and was not happy following all the instructions. We had to explain that he wasn't going to be running back and forth for long, that it was just a way to warm up before they started playing with the balls. And while I wasn't nearby to hear the conversation once the balls came out, I'm pretty sure he was arguing with his helper that he could touch the soccer ball with his hands to stop it instead of using his feet.

I think this will be really good for him for the next couple months. He'll have to learn to listen in a very energetic environment while he'll also get to run and run and run. And he's playing with children from his age up until age 7, making him be one of the youngest when he's used to being the oldest. Good thing we have a soccer ball at home that we can practice on. We need to teach him how to get in there and go after that ball!

And yes, narrowing down 116 photos to just 7 is terribly hard.

The book summaries, because I need somewhere to sort all my thoughts out.

The very first parenting book I read was Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson. I read this book during the summer of 2010. It was my first literary introduction to positive discipline and I did learn a lot of the basic information although I decided the book wasn't for me.

Positive Discipline is basically letting the children make their own mistakes and then figure out ways to solve them. We help our children by remaining positive and encouraging as these mistakes are made. An example would be a child starts throwing a temper tantrum and we would not start yelling, spanking or negotiating with the child to stop the situation. Instead we would remove ourselves from the child or remove the child to a different location where no one else will be. This procedure quickly teaches the child that when they act a way we don't approve, we will not remain around them, ultimately stopping or significantly reducing the temper tantrums.

In Jane Nelson's book, they have family meetings, lots of them. I was reading this book when Max had turned two years old and Rory had not even celebrated her first birthday. It was a good starting point for introducing positive discipline, but it required my children to be quite a bit older and so I never put all of their suggestions to use.

The next parenting book I picked up was called Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline in the winter of 2011. This book has been talked about and suggested numerous times on many different social media outlets I use and once I picked it up it really intrigued me. The book starts out by explaining the reasons positive discipline is considered the best way to raise a child. They use a bit of a scare tactic to make their points but sometimes I think we just need to hear that. In their reasoning, if we don't let our kids ride their bikes too fast down a hill and take a fall they may not learn the self control for later in life to not drive their car too fast down the freeway. In this example, if we let our kids fall and get hurt, maybe even break an arm or get stitches, we'll be helping them because if they go speeding down a freeway and lose control of the car, death is more likely then some bruising and scrapes.

This book really took me to a new level of understanding how positive discipline works. A good portion of the book is setup to have everyday life examples of things our children do that we don't approve of, like not getting dressed in time to leave for school, and then it gives examples of how we can positively handle the situation. The goal of positive discipline, which was explained much more clearly in this book, was for us not to outright punish our children but instead to help them realize on their own that the thing they are or are not doing isn't going to work. If we punish our children they will not learn why we don't want them to do something but instead will just learn they get in trouble for doing it, and worse yet, may find ways to deliberately disobey us. They can't disobey themselves when they realize it's their own problem. 

In Foster Cline's book they have a parenting plan that you are supposed to follow. It starts out with you making some sort of sympathetic statement whenever they do something they are not supposed to and then following through with an action. As an example, if they miss the bus because they were not ready, you could say, "What a bummer!" (No sarcasm, no degrading - honest sympathy.) Then you can suggest ways the child could get to school. Riding their bike, walking, paying you to give them a ride. Just throwing them in the car and lecturing them isn't going to work. You child could decide that the lecture is worth not having to rush for the bus every morning and you end up becoming an unknowing chauffeur, hence making them pay you whether in money or toys that you deem appropriate for the child. This once again puts the problem in the child's hands and gives them a way to learn from the mistake on their own.

We attempted Parenting with Love and Logic's parenting plan for two weeks, I even looked into finding one of their trained coaches, and then realized that I wasn't ready to completely commit to their plan. Mainly from my own shortcomings which I'll discuss about at the end of this summary.

I really enjoyed this book as it brought a better understanding of positive discipline to me. I especially enjoyed it's chapter on spanking. They do not encourage spanking, but they had in previous versions of the book. They went into a very frank and clear discussion about why they and the vast majority of child psychologists and pediatricians no longer encourage physical punishment and the studies and reasons behind this change. Dusty and I do not spank our children, hence all this reading on new parenting techniques, and it was pretty cool to hear an author admit to their past encouragement and give the reasons behind their new stance.

As Rory gets older she is becoming a bit more to handle then her brother. Basically she would be classified as a strong willed child. She doesn't respond very well to punishments nor does she seem to really care if you give her encouragement. She pretty much just wants to do her own thing whether you mind or don't. So I visited with our pediatrician and she suggested I pick up 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan.

This was the first positive discipline book I didn't really enjoy. I'm sure some of it had to do with all the repetition from the previous other two books but it also disagreed a lot with Parenting with Love and Logic which frustrated me as I didn't want to have to choose which way was better.

1-2-3 Magic explains that their are two different sets of behaviors, there are stop behaviors and start behaviors. This I found to be genius information and wish I would have picked up on sooner! Basically, when you want a child to stop doing something, usually it won't take more then a moment for the child to actually stop doing whatever it is you want them to do. These situations are easier to handle and with 1-2-3 Magic, you can count to three giving them the warning that if they don't stop by three there will be some sort of consequence. In order to maintain positive discipline though, you can only count to three and you cannot discuss it or make any gestures that would lead the child to believe they have upset you.

In Parenting with Love and Logic, they strongly encourage you not to give a child more then one warning as counting encourages a child to hold out longer in defiance of you, and in real life situations we rarely get a warning before a problem is going to occur.

With start behaviors, these are situations where we want a child to start doing something, like making their bed, or getting ready for school, and these situations require more then a moment to start and complete, so counting to three isn't going to work. With start situations there were many, many similarities with how we could use positive discipline to get our children to do what we want them to do without outright punishing them. Like the example above regarding missing the school bus.

As I was reading this book a month ago, I put a call out on my Facebook wall asking if anyone had book suggestions as I felt like I was hitting a brick wall on positive discipline. I didn't really like the parenting plan in Parenting with Love and Logic, my children were too young for family meetings in Positive Discipline, and I wasn't completely sold on giving my children the count of three for warnings as suggested in 1-2-3 Magic.

That was when I was introduced to Children: The Challenge by Rudolf Dreikurs and Vicki Soltz. This has been my favorite book of all the positive discipline books so far. The book I had from the library was copy-written in 1964. I believe there is a newer addition but I don't think I needed that one to enjoy it. This book really went much more in depth with descriptions and examples of how we can handle our children using positive discipline. I'm assuming it was still a pretty new concept when it was first written as it makes many references to Dr. Adlers who I understand to be one of the first psychologists to study and promote positive discipline. (I could totally be wrong here, he's been made reference to in a few of my readings but I haven't actually looked up his biography to confirm this assumption.)

There are examples in this book that just wouldn't be written these days. There are a lot more references to slapping, hitting, beating and berating a child then I had read in any of the other books or articles I've touched. It was a bit of fresh air as I'm sure I'm not the only parent who's gotten so upset they've envisioned slapping their child into submission. (No, I've never followed through with those thoughts.) There was also a reference about making a child go and get your cigarettes! It was used as an example of how parents can boss children around which is not OK, but it was still funny.

Dreikurs and Soltz's book did not have a parenting plan in it, it was a lot like Parenting with Love and Logic, but had far more examples and solutions in a story telling format as opposed to Love and Logic's short little chapters on different situations.

So after finishing this book and discussing the different techniques with Dusty, (He, by the way, watched both videos put out by Parenting with Love and Logic and 1-2-3 Magic. He isn't much of a reader but thankfully he was willing to watch the videos instead.) we have decided to do a combination of parenting techniques which really ends up being very similiar to the suggestions of 1-2-3 Magic, go figure I'd end up going with the book I liked least of all!

For stop situations, when we want the children to stop what they are doing, we are using 1-2-3 Magic's suggestions and counting for the children. This does seem to work really well at stopping them from continuing a behavior we are not OK with. Putting them in timeouts goes pretty smoothly most of the time as they know why they are in trouble and we don't discuss it while they are going in there or after they come out. If we want to address an issue we can bring it up at a different time when we all can talk about the behavior without getting emotionally charged.

For start situations, when we want the children to start doing something, we're following all the suggestions we've read/watched, and figuring out creative ways to let the children learn that they must do certain things even if they are unpleasant. Now, our children are still young, so an example of this would be that if Rory doesn't get her shoes on in time for us to leave to pick up Maxwell from school, I will load her into the car without them and then she can't come into the preschool to pickup Max. I realize, for some parents, leaving a child in the car while you run into preschool just isn't feasible. In fact, a lot of suggested solutions don't work for us. (Like having a babysitter on hand in case they don't get ready to go, we can just leave without them and they will have to "pay" the babysitter for being there.) That's part of the creativity required from Dusty and I.

It can get exhausting, and I admit that positive discipline is really hard for me as I'm pretty emotional and it's hard to cover that up on my face when I'm upset with the kids. This is where I admit my own faults in following through with Love and Logic's parenting plan. Another annoying part is that I can't just sit there and repeat over and over the same directions for my kids to do. I actually have to get up and make them follow through or remove them from the situation. Try doing that numerous times a day and not showing your kids how annoyed and tired you are getting!

But I'm getting there. I feel far more prepared for unexpected situations after all my research, I'm still reading articles and other literature to keep it fresh in my mind, and if all else fails, Parenting with Love and Logic has a toll free phone number you can call! I've only used it once but it was so nice to have someone on the phone giving me suggestions on how to handle a situation.

And when the children get older we may change things up. All of the books suggested family meetings. Not as regularly as Positive Discipline did, but at least weekly. I think I will try that out in another year or two. That way we can let the kids work on solving their own problems. Having all four of us come to the table and discuss how to make all our lives easier sounds really appealing to me!

So, thanks for reading this if you did, it's a lot, I know, but it has been really helpful putting it all down on the screen. Just proof reading it has been therapeutic as all my thoughts are neatly ordered in one place instead of jumbling all over each other in my mind. And if you were to ask me which book I'd suggest you'd read, I wouldn't be able to tell you. While we are following most closely with 1-2-3 Magic, I really think both Children: The Challenge and Parenting with Love and Logic were extremely insightful books and I would not be as confident in our decision had I not read all of these. Maybe check out some of the DVD's instead to save some time?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rory is constantly hanging all over Maya. Max also participates but Rory is usually the instigator in jumping on Maya.

It's hard to catch a photo of this going on because as soon as Maya senses that my attention is on her she quickly jumps up, dumping whatever child may be on her at the time.

So today I made it a point to try and capture a few moments of Rory loving on Maya.

And Maya loving on Rory.

They really do love "our" dog. You know, the dog we don't actually own, just watch 3 days a week. Max even drew a picture of Maya at preschool one day.

He told the teacher he wanted a dog like this and after she wrote that he got upset and said that he did have a dog like that, Uncle Randy's dog! So the caption is incorrect, that is his drawing of Maya. His teacher had a good chuckle once I clarified who "our" dog was to her.

So yes, we have a dog, except we really don't. Either way she sure is loved!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I had to leave the house for about 20 minutes and left Dusty to put dinner in the oven and keep an eye on the kids. I came home to this:

That would be two kids, shoes, socks and shirtless, pretending to be going for a boat ride. 

I was informed that Rory was driving the boat, Max was being pulled.

I really do love my kids' imaginations, I just wish they wouldn't strip when it is only 50 degrees outside!

Summer is just around the corner, just hold on kiddos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So many funny stories, so many of them completely inappropriate. They're either about pooping or Rory running away - so you've been warned. I've debated sharing some of the poop stories but hopefully my kids won't be too embarrassed or hate me too much when they are older. (Maybe they'll respect me more for all that I have to deal with.)

Two weeks ago I had gone downstairs to start getting ready for the day while the kids were eating breakfast. Next thing I know Max is screaming for me to come upstairs and I can tell by the sound of his voice I'm not going to like the surprise.

He's butt naked, standing outside the bathroom, and there is poop on the carpet and more running down his leg.

In the bathroom Rory has her footie pajamas unzipped and is wiping herself. This doesn't make sense because we just took off her morning diaper since she went potty and poop already that morning. I guess she had to poop again. So it was all inside her footie pajamas, down her leg and on her hand from trying to wipe it up.

Right when I started to get the kids cleaned up I turned around to a weird noise and find Maya eating the poop on the carpet outside the bathroom door!

Maya gets put into the garage during the rest of the cleanup and I head into the kitchen where I am greeted by a very distinct smell. I smell more poop! I find a giant pile in Rory's booster chair at the table. So disgusting!

So I get that cleaned up, get the carpet cleaned up, and then have to rush the kids after cleaning them up to get dressed because we need to leave right now to get to Max's screening. (Yes, this happened that morning.)

Seriously? Do you see why I've debated sharing this story?

The weekend when TaTa visited, the kids went outside to wave goodbye to her while she left. I was in the kitchen washing dishes and saw TaTa's car leave. I was outside in my pajamas within two minutes of her departure waiting for Dusty to get dressed to go play with the kids. Max was in the front yard and when I asked him if Rory was playing the backyard he said yes.

I look down at my book, read a couple of lines and look up because there is movement. It's my daughter walking down the street with a woman and young boy. The woman yells at me that Rory walked down to there house in the middle of the road. I am in utter shock. I have no idea who this woman is, where she lives, and I can't figure out how I didn't see Rory in the street when I initially walked outside.

Apparently she followed the neighbor dog down the road and went three houses down, which where we live would be about a quarter of a city block, and the woman and boy saw her and walked her back home. Now I know you can imagine all my emotions with this but add the embarrassment to the fact that this is the second neighbor I've now met in my pajamas!

The following morning, I'm in the bathroom doing bathroom things and Rory lets Maya out and proceeds to follow her out the door. Max starts screaming at Rory which alerts me and I have to hurry up and get myself put back together so I can catch her. Rory was just meandering around the front yard in her footie pajamas, bossing Maya around, oblivious to the fact that going outside unannounced is not OK.

Yet another story that is pretty much only embarrassing to me but come on, can't a mom even go to the bathroom anymore?! And why does my daughter insist on running away?

Max had an accident on the bathroom floor, he just didn't make it. Then he slipped and fell into his own urine. You'd think that would be the worst of it, but no. When he got up and attempted to clean up his accident, he pooped on the floor too.

I really don't know what to tell you except the poor boy had some really bad luck that day, poor guy!

Rory and another neighbor dog were playing in the yard. I looked out the window and she and the dog, along with Max, were walking out toward our garden. I continued to work on dinner for a while and looked out the window and saw that she was now in the neighbor's yard behind us. (Our new neighbors that we have yet to meet by the way.)

I yelled at Dusty to go get her and by the time he got his coat and shoes on Rory was already standing at the neighbor's door. (There's probably about 3 acres between us!) For the record, I have not been letting the children outside without my supervision lately thanks to Rory's new hobby. I'm pretty sure Dusty will be joining me in this new rule now, sometimes you just have to see it for yourself.

That's pretty much the end. At least for now. I've been reading up on quite a few parenting books and I hope to be blogging my opinions on those soon too. Mainly because it will help me organize all my thoughts on the different practices because there are quite a few that contradict each other although the concepts are all very similar. I just have to believe that something will help me handle my strong willed, run away child!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter was a success! The kids had fun finding their Easter baskets and playing with the new toys!

Yes, Rory's hair does look that awesome every morning, thanks for asking.

Once we were all dressed I grabbed a quick picture of the kids in their new sunglasses before we took off. I know, I know, cutest kids ever.

Auntie Rosie put up all the Easter hunt signs that GG Grandma had sent for the kids and hid eggs all over the yard for Max and Rory to go looking for.

My camera was hijacked by a riley bunch of relatives!

And I was even ambushed in the process.

Grammy even got in on the fun and took a little break on the driveway where kids, and yoyi (pronounced chu-chee) Gayle did a little tracing.

And the kids also watched their new movie, Chipmunks, with Dido and YoYi.

By far the most exciting portion of the day was when Dido's aunt showed up with a couple of shirts she had from the 1970's. Don't Ed and Dylan look amazing in their ruffled shirts?!

It was a very fun and exciting Easter with family!