"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." (Aldo Leopold) Apparently, I cannot.


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Too Tired to Try Tuesday: Making Craft Sticks Educational

Ok folks, this idea from Tot Treasures is super easy, and I bet it’ll keep your kids entertained for a while and help them learn, all on the cheap. What can be better than that, right?

What you’ll need:

  • Craft sticks in various colors (or if you want to get extra crafty, you could get plain and paint your own)
  • Velcro circles to fit on ends of sticks (or you could get strips and cut to fit)

Here’s what you do:

  • Add Velcro circles to the ends of each stick on both sides.
  • Give said sticks to your kids to combine into various shapes, letters, numbers, or whatever other creation they can come up with!

Simple, right? Plus it’s fun AND educational. (For complete post from Tot Treasures, click here.)

And if you want to make this project a little extra special, grab a plastic pencil box and either decorate it for your little ones, or if they are old enough, let them decorate it, and voila, they’ll have an activity box to store their craft sticks.

As always, if you try it, let us know how it turns out. And send some pics!

I’m no cooking or crafting guru, so I started these Too Tired to Try Tuesday posts to share craft and recipe ideas that I’ve come across and would really like to try but am just too damned tired (that sounds better than lazy, right?) to get around to. In addition to ideas that I find, I am open to submissions from you–either something tried and true or something you want to try but haven’t had the time to. Just send me an email at raisingwildthingsblog@gmail.com with your ideas, and I may share them here. (And by “may” I mean “will definitely”! I just confessed how lazy tired I am, so if you take the time to send me something to share, I’m going to share it!)


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Encouragement, A Walk, and Date Night

Ok, so this is the very first time I have put out two posts in the same day. But, I wanted to follow-up on my post from this morning (What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?) in which I shared the problems we’ve been having with our 3-year-old and the emotional toll it has been taking on me.

I have not had any big epiphany on how to handle all of this, but three pretty fantastic things happened today to help me put things in perspective and put me in a better mood.

Encouragement

When I wrote my earlier post, I figured I’d get a handful of comments like I always do. But you fine people have really blown me away. That post has now become my second most-viewed post of all time (ok, that’s only like 2 months, but still), behind only my Momopause post from a few weeks ago. And all of the encouragement and helpful suggestions you have all shared–and even just the comments to say, “Hey, I’m sorry you’re going through this, I am/have, too, and yes it does suck”–have really comforted me and made me feel less alone. The fact that so many of you reached out to share your own stories and experiences means so much. So, thank you!! (And keep that shit up!)

A Walk

After publishing my post this morning I was feeling super introspective. So I began thinking about different ways to approach our 3-year-old’s behavior–different ways to help avoid escalations, different punishments for unacceptable behavior, different coping mechanisms, different ways to handle my reactions…

And then I remembered a post my friend Amy at Funny is Family wrote for another blog about a day she happened to be at the mall with her 3-year-old before it opened and how her accidentally leaving her phone in the car turned into an amazing morning of following her daughter’s lead and delighting in every moment. (You can read Amy’s post here.)

And this inspired me to do the same. So with big Sissy at school all day, I packed up the boys and we headed to our town green. When we got out of the car, I turned things over to my 3-year-old. “Have at it,” I said. “What would you like to do?”  “Let’s take a walk, Mommy.” And so we did.

lettinghimlead

I let him take the lead and didn’t interject one bit. His brother and I followed him around the green as he explored the rocks and sticks on the ground (every.single.one I might add) and the steps leading up to Town Hall. We wound up and around the church and even down some paths we had never been on. I never once said, “no” or asked why he wasn’t listening to me. And there were no meltdowns. It felt good.

Not only did it make me feel good, but it also made him feel good–he was able to do what he wanted on his time. It was something for him. He owned it and he was happy. Now I realize I can’t always let him take the lead like that, but we’ll definitely be taking advantage of his excellent navigation skills much more. And I’m excited to see where we end up.

Date Night

And last, but certainly not least, my wonderfully amazing friend called me up this afternoon to tell me that she was going to take all three kids this evening so that my hubby and I could go out on a date. So that we could actually go out to dinner alone. With no kids, just the two of us. Did I mention we’d be alone? With no kids?

I was hesitant at first, not because I didn’t want to go, but because my friend has 3 kids of her own (one a few weeks younger than our littlest), and I didn’t want to be a burden. But she called BS on this and said she wouldn’t have offered if she didn’t want to, she was taking the kids, that was final, and I’d better go out and enjoy some time with my husband. (She actually said it much sweeter than that, but that was the gist.)

So as not to disappoint, my husband and I did just that. We were able to go out just the two of us for the first time in I don’t even know how long. And it was glorious.

We don’t have any family in CT (our closest family members are 5 hours away), and not many close friends in the area, so being able to go on dates, or to do anything without any of the kids, actually, is next to impossible these days. I literally never have a moment alone (except for when I’m sleeping, and even then I usually have one little visitor at some point in the night), so my friend’s kindness and generosity in the midst of the craziness of the past few days really meant so very much to me. And helped me remember that my husband and I need to do this more often.

So there you have it. I’ve ended my day in a much better place than I was in this morning–and even the past few mornings for that matter. And I have the encouragement from all of you, a simple walk where my 3-year-old called the shots, and a date night made possible by an amazing friend to thank for it!


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What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

whatdoyoudo

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes as I write this because I am at a complete and utter loss for what to do. Our 3-year-old and I are going through a real rough patch as of late. Another one. And actually, it’s not just with me, really. It’s with everyone. He has epic meltdowns over everything. There’s screaming and flailing. And more screaming. And even more screaming. And there’s the whole not listening issue. It’s to the point where I’ve been in tears multiple times a day the past few days. Because in these moments, I do not like my own child. (Wow, that was really hard to write. Please note I said “like,” not “love”–I always love my children, but what’s that saying? I’ll always love you, but I may not always like you? Something like that. Or did I just make that up? No matter, I hope you understand what I mean here.) In these moments I just want to be 100 miles away from him. Doing anything else besides having to deal with his behavior. And that makes me feel like the worst parent in the entire universe. I’m consumed with guilt.

The 3-year-old is our second, so it’s not like I’m new at this parenting thing. I get that kids have temper tantrums. I get that kids get upset when they don’t get their way, and that, especially at this age, they have a hard time expressing themselves or even knowing what is going on within themselves. And I get that all kids are different. I even wrote about that early on in my Multiple Personality Parenting post. But I guess my problem is that I don’t really know what to do about it. How do I parent our 3-year-old effectively based on his unique needs? What exactly do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I hate comparing my children, but it’s so hard not to in this respect. Don’t get me wrong, our 5-year-old daughter had her moments and can still drive me bonkers, but we honestly never had these problems with her to this extent. NEVER. This is all new to us. Which leads me to a lot of questions about the 3-year-old’s behavior. Is it a boy thing? A second child thing? (I don’t ask if it’s a middle child thing because we’ve been having these issues since way before our third was even a consideration.) Is it age appropriate and our daughter was just calmer? Could there be something wrong with him, like some sort of personality disorder? ADHD? Are we raising a sociopath? Really, I worry about these things because it can be that bad.

I think part of the problem is that I have never witnessed any other kid behaving like this. Sure, I’ve heard about epic meltdowns, but I’ve never seen one with my own two eyes like the ones we experience with our son. Now that can partly be chalked up to the fact that we don’t have too many friends here in CT with kids this age, and partly to the fact that even if you see someone else’s kid having a tantrum, you’re just seeing the one instance, you’re not living with them 24/7 and getting an accurate image of what’s going on behind the scenes. Plus, no one’s kid could possibly be as challenging as your own.

The other part of the problem is that when he isn’t spazzing out, he is the sweetest, most loving, most cuddliest, most empathetic child. Really. He’s seriously like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute he’s saying, “Mamma, I love you so much” and smothering me with hugs, and the next he’s throwing himself on the ground and screaming like a banshee. It’s hard to know what I’m going to get.

And all of this makes me feel like I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. Probably because I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.

It got to the point where I was starting to get so worried that I spoke to our pediatrician. Everything sounded typical, she said. Or at least not out of the ordinary. Which made me feel a little better. “But what do we do about it?” I wanted to know. She gave us some suggestions, and we’ve implemented them with a fair amount of success. But then 5 minutes later we’re dealing with the same exact issues all over again. And I know the child doesn’t have a hearing problem because he can hear when I’m opening food in the kitchen no matter where he is in the house.

Last night I posted to my personal Facebook page how emotionally drained I was from the past few days, and many of my friends wrote to tell me that I’m not alone. Which was comforting. Not because they had to deal with this too (because god knows I don’t wish this stuff on others), but because they were dealing with this too. Like maybe this is just fairly typical behavior (and maybe our experience with our daughter was atypical). But even so, it seems like we’re all left wondering exactly how we deal with this.

Is this just how it is at this age? Another stage we need to get through? Something, much like the tantrums themselves, we just need to ride out? And how the hell long will we be on this ride? Does it ever end? (Please for the love of all things Brad Pitt, tell me it ends at some point!)

Update: Click here to read my follow-up post “Encouragement, A Walk, and Date Night.


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Lazy Sunday: Week in Review 4/28/13

In case you missed anything this week . . .

My Blog Posts

I was feeling particularly list-y this week. I guess after a week away my brain needed some time to adjust back to a blogging frame of mind.  On Monday I shared 25 reasons you might confuse me with a preschooler, including the facts that I’m always asking “why” and saying “no,” I know everything, and I think cookies and ice cream are an acceptable meal. And on Wednesday I wrote about the various reasons why my kids don’t always eat their food. You know, because it probably tastes funny or smells weird. Or it has something red in it.

My Too Tired to Try Tuesday post this week got me excited for camping. Why? Because I shared how to make some ooey gooey delicious-looking campfire cones. I’m so excited to try these. Although let’s face it. I’m not going camping anytime soon, so our grill will have to do.

And as always, we wrapped up the week with an overload of cuteness and happiness in the Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday post. I’m so proud that I remembered to bug you all for submissions AND that so many of you sent something in. Please, keep that up!

My Favorite Kid

This week my favorites said:

  • Sunday: “I miss Gramma, but I like my bed, too,” said my favorite today.
  • Monday: “Fine, I quit!” said my favorite today. (Because that gave me a good chuckle.) Amendment I added: I wasn’t laughing because my child actually quit something. She was angry because I wouldn’t let her do something, and that’s what she said. I’m not exactly sure what she thought she was quitting, but it was pretty funny how she said it (came with the whole scowl and crossing arms action).
  • Tuesday: “Mommy don’t say ‘stupid.’ If you say it again, you’re going in timeout,” said my favorite today. (In my defense, someone ran a red light and almost hit us. But I’m glad to know the sponge is soaking up at least some of the things I say.)
  • Wednesday: “Dada, babababa, eeeeeeeeeee,” squealed my favorite today while excitedly flailing his arms and legs as we drove around with the windows down (but sadly no sun roof open, lol) this afternoon.
  • Thursday: Today was a rough day here on the homestead. My favorites today currently are saying, “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz,” and I can only pray that they continue that beautiful sound all night.
  • Friday: Me: “Who wants to go to the library tomorrow morning?” My favorite today: “Me, me! But only if we bes good and listen to you, right, Mamma?”
  • Saturday: “Today I’m thankful for the whole night and the new friends that we make-ted,” said my favorite today.

My Top 5 Facebook Posts

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There you have it. Just another week with the wild things.


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Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: 4/26/13

The kids and I have been slow to get back in the groove after our trip down to VA last week, but we’ve had some good moments this week.

Some things that made me happy:

This girl with her goofy faces and crazy hair!

This girl with her goofy faces and crazy hair!

These cuddly boys!

These cuddly boys!

Sibling love

Sibling love

Pretending to be turtles

Pretending to be turtles

Frozen cherries!

Frozen cherries!

Believe it or not, she asked the same question before I took each of these pics: "Mamma, do I look fabulous?"

Believe it or not, she asked the same question before I took each of these pics: “Mamma, do I look fabulous?”

Taking a trip down memory lane in the exersaucer that used to be his

Taking a trip down memory lane in the exersaucer that used to be his

And some things that made you happy:

Becky from PA: We went to the zoo! It was a beautiful day and Earth day and we took our kids plus 2 neighbor kids and had a ball at the Philadelphia zoo!

Becky from PA: We went to the zoo! It was a beautiful day and Earth day and we took our kids plus 2 neighbor kids and had a ball at the Philadelphia zoo!

Betsy from CT: Picnic and swings with my girl! Taking advantage of these warm weather days (Finally!!)

Betsy from CT: Picnic and swings with my girl! Taking advantage of these warm weather days (Finally!!)

Michelle from You're my favorite today (http://youremyfavoritetoday.blogspot.com) sent this in. (Photo originally on http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/the-cutest-things-that-ever-happened)

Michelle from You’re my favorite today (http://youremyfavoritetoday.blogspot.com) sent this in. (Photo originally on http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/the-cutest-things-that-ever-happened)

Chris from DadNCharge: On an adventure with his 8 year old son on a road trip to NYC to spend a Night in the Museum at the American Natural History Museum (Check out his post about it: http://www.dadncharge.com/2013/04/night-at-museum.html)

Chris from DadNCharge: On an adventure with his 8 year old son on a road trip to NYC to spend a Night in the Museum at the American Natural History Museum (Check out his post about it: http://www.dadncharge.com/2013/04/night-at-museum.html)

Jessica from VA: Smiley little man!

Jessica from VA: Smiley little man!

Sophia, 5, from WA: Who wouldn't be excited for PJ day at preschool?! (To see more fun outfits, check out Sophia's mommy's FB page, Does This Match? https://www.facebook.com/DoesThisMatch?fref=ts)

S, 5, from WA: Who wouldn’t be excited for PJ day at preschool?! (To see more fun outfits, check out S’s mommy’s hilarious FB page, Does This Match? https://www.facebook.com/DoesThisMatch?fref=ts)

Amy from Funny is Family (www.funnyisfamily.com): My three year old started soccer last weekend. She barely likes to walk, so I thought she would hate soccer. She didn't hate it. At all.

Amy from Funny is Family (http://www.funnyisfamily.com): My three year old started soccer last weekend. She barely likes to walk, so I thought she would hate soccer. She didn’t hate it. At all.

Julianne from MD: Baby sis is very, very excited to play on big bro's team. In fact, one of the coaches (Dad) and I had to drag her kicking and screaming from the field because we wouldn't let her be the team's designated hitter.

Julianne from MD: Baby sis is very, very excited to play on big bro’s team. In fact, one of the coaches (Dad) and I had to drag her kicking and screaming from the field because we wouldn’t let her be the team’s designated hitter.

Thanks to everyone who submitted some happiness! Please keep it coming. Until next week…

Fridays on Raising Wild Things are Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays! Since parenting can sometimes suck the  life out of me, I wanted to do these posts as reminders of the good, the great things that happened during the week amid all the crazy, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening, sometimes head-exploding moments that seem to linger in my memory and can put me in a mommy funk. What makes you happy? Please share!


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35 Reasons My Kids Won’t Eat What You’ve Made

Hey, don’t take it personally if my kids won’t eat something you’ve made for them. Really, it’s not you, it’s them. And after 5 years, I’ve begun to crack the code on why my kids sometimes don’t eat their food. Here’s what I’ve learned so far . . .

won't eat

  1. It looks funny
  2. It smells funny
  3. It feels funny
  4. It tastes funny
  5. It’s too mushy
  6. It’s too hard
  7. It’s too hot
  8. It’s too cold
  9. It’s too spicy
  10. There’s too much
  11. There’s not enough
  12. There’s green stuff in it
  13. There’s brown stuff in it
  14. There’s orange stuff in it
  15. There’s yellow stuff in it
  16. There’s red stuff in it
  17. They ate it yesterday
  18. They’ve never had it before
  19. Their friends don’t like it
  20. There’s no ketchup to go with it
  21. It’s not covered in chocolate
  22. They can’t pronounce it
  23. They’re full
  24. They have belly aches
  25. Their mouths hurt
  26. Their throats hurt
  27. Their hands are broken
  28. They don’t like the utensils
  29. The dog won’t eat it
  30. The cat won’t eat it
  31. They want something else
  32. It “accidentally” dropped on the ground
  33. They’re saving it for later
  34. It’s on their plate and not yours
  35. The dessert you’ve promised them if they eat it all is not adequate


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Too Tired to Try Tuesday: Campfire Cones

Ok, so the name of today’s recipe suggests that you should be camping when trying these. And I have nothing against camping. Love it, in fact. But I say if you have a grill at home (heck, even the oven would do) and want a quick, easy, and fun treat to make with the kids, these Campfire Cones I found from Kids Activities Blog look like the way to go. Just look how fun . . .

Campfire-Cones

Photo courtesy of Kids Activities Blog (http://kidsactivitiesblog.com)

Amiright?! I’m right, right? I am so in love with the idea of Campfire Cones that I am going to try them as soon as I can get my butt to the store for the ingredients.

What you’ll need:

  • Chopped fruit of your choice
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Waffle ice cream cones/bowls
  • Tin foil

That’s it! Just fill, wrap, heat, and eat. (For complete instructions for how to make these, along with some more lovely photos from Kids Activities Blog, click here.)

Really, it’s that easy. And the possibilities are endless for what you can do with these. If you’re more of a caramel and apples type of person, try it. If you like more traditional s’mores, try it! Like candy bars? Try it!

If you need even more ideas, please also check out Chef Jessica Bright’s Campfire Cones ideas.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I think your mouth is going to thank me for this one. 🙂

As always, if you try it, let us know how it turns out. And send some pics!

I’m no cooking or crafting guru, so I started these Too Tired to Try Tuesday posts to share craft and recipe ideas that I’ve come across and would really like to try but am just too damned tired (that sounds better than lazy, right?) to get around to. In addition to ideas that I find, I am open to submissions from you–either something tried and true or something you want to try but haven’t had the time to. Just send me an email at raisingwildthingsblog@gmail.com with your ideas, and I may share them here. (And by “may” I mean “will definitely”! I just confessed how lazy tired I am, so if you take the time to send me something to share, I’m going to share it!)