Monthly Archives: October 2017

7 Places You CAN Take Your Toddler

We all known Toddlers are disruptive but we don’t have to leave them at home for everything. Here are 7 Places you can take your toddler that you might not think were possible.

Each of these was on lists I found of places not to take your child.  A few of them I found ridiculous and a few more I struggled with personally.  I just want to take a quick moment to talk about each.

7 Places you can take your Toddler

1. The movies

This was a problem I ran into very quickly.  I love the movies.  And I refuse to give up my life. Now I do agree that the movies are no place for a baby, but a toddler is manageable with a little bit of prep.  And you do have to be prepared to walk out if things go sideways, even if it’s for a little bit. However, the only way that they will learn is if you teach them.

I’ve found that with a little bit of prep work and a working knowledge of your child that it is entirely possible to take them to the movies.  It also means that you have to teach your child how to behave, something that I sometimes feel we are indirectly discouraged from doing as parents. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see some of the behaviors we see children engage in public venues.

Segway aside, going to the movies with your child just takes a little bit of prep work. For us it meant taking a pacifier, brining Valkyrie friendly snacks (yes I sneak them in), having a sippy (which most theaters are okay with), and making sure its something she will be interested in. So no, I am not telling you to take your child with you to the R rated movie.

The movies are possible, however, you have to gauge when your child is ready. Freya went to her first movie at 2 I believe and out of at least a dozen movies we’ve gone and seen we only had a problem at one.

2. A funeral

This was the genesis of this post. I was telling a friend of mind about how the Valkyrie was going to a funeral for her Great Grandmother. She was aghast that I let her go.  Even worse, I found this nonsense posted all over the web.  The truth is that death is a part of life. Shielding a child from it only makes them more afraid. More confused.  I really don’t get this one, but I feel its important.

I was unable to attend, but I’m told she did very well. My Valkyrie and I had a talk about death before she left and after Great Grandma died. Nana and daddy explained it again at the funeral.  Now, they did take some toys with them and a cell phone. She has some quiet games we allow her to play, but those were the moments she couldn’t sit still.  And there were other children there who held her.  She loves doing anything, even if it’s sitting still, so long as she’s with other kids.

Again, this will depend on your child and your perspective. Some kids will deal better than others. And the amount of attachment to the person in the casket matters as well. Freya was upset during the procession, but she was fairly well attached to her Great Grandma.  She always saw her every time she went to Nana’s which in the last year has been at least every other month or two.  And Great Grandma always bought her or gave her something when she came.

So you can take a toddler to a funeral.

3. Camping

To note. I have not tried this one, but it is on the list. Unfortunately, with everything I have to do for my parents and the house and work, I just haven’t had the time.  Again, this one is just a matter of planning. I have, however, known families that do this and I have asked them how they managed it. Mainly because there was a time that I wouldn’t have understood this. A time before I was a mommy myself.

First, I wouldn’t plan a long trip for your first camping trip. Location is important too.  Unless you are starting with a baby, I would plan on camping out in your backyard first or just spending a day playing in a tent you’ve set up.

Second, I would make sure you bring plenty of things for your child to do.  There will be some moments in which you cannot attend to them and will have to cook or something.  However, I think that these moments are also important. Our children have to learn to entertain themselves.  They also have to learn to do so without television or the internet.  A problem I was surprised to already be facing with a 3-year-old.

This is also an excellent opportunity to teach life skills. I wasn’t too much older when I began to learn to cook over a fire and how you build a fire. They never let me build a fire at that age, but I learned and watched the process.  I remember my grandfather taking me out to fish.  I remember my grandmother showing me how she made a tripod for the pot.

We didn’t do them while camping per se, but we can start teaching the beginnings of those skills now and fascinate our children in the process.  Not only with the outdoors, but with the things they can learn to do. There may even be things they can help you do.  Grandpa used to teach me how to secure the food box he used to use when camping. Even if we were just playing in the backyard or I slept outside by myself.

4. Doctor’s office

This is another one that baffles me.  I saw this online and it actually upset me a bit. I work at home taking care of my mother. This happens to us a lot. There are instances where you have to take your child with you.  I personally think someone thinking this is wrong is extremely ridiculous if you have taught your child to behave and plan ahead.

Whenever we go to the doctor I have a bag. It has her diapers, wipes, the tablet for while I’m dealing with the doctor, some books, toys, and stuff I use for homeschool. Even if you don’t homeschool you can work with your child on educational goals while sitting in a waiting room. You can give them a coloring book.  Or let them play with the toys you’ve brought. If we run out of things to work on I read her a story.  If I’m filling out paperwork sometimes grandma reads her a story or she plays with her toys.

Most importantly, on days that we have a doctor’s appointment, I don’t let her have access to technology until we are in the office. She usually only gets a few hours a day, or at least that’s the goal. This way when she gets it she is involved enough that she doesn’t distract us while we deal with the doctor.

When well prepared I see no reason why you should not take your child to the doctor with you if you have to.

5. Concerts

The Concern with concerts is that they are loud. Very loud.  There is also a concern about how rowdy people are going to get. I understand both of these, but again, if concerts are your life, there are ways to mitigate this.  I personally don’t take the Valkyrie to concerts. She is very sensitive to large numbers of unknown people, the dark, and loud noises. She used to get upset when I ran the vacuum cleaner or blender.

However, I have friends who have taken their children to concerts. And I”ve gone with them.  And again, this will depend on your child’s temperament and your personal definitions of what constitutes as age-appropriate music.  When my friends took their child to a particular band’s concert, I didn’t agree, but they saw nothing wrong with it.

Regardless, the precautions taken by this family were two-fold. First, we got seats in the back. The goal was not to be in the party zone. We just wanted to hear the music live.  So they made sure that the seats were fairly far back in the stadium.  Second, they bought child-sized noise canceling headphones designed to protect from decibel damage.

Personally, I don’t think I would ever take my children to a big name concert, just because of the massive amount of people. However, I would have no problem taking her to something more local and small.  But even those events can get loud and I would make sure she had those headphones to protect her delicate little ears.

6. Weddings

This was another one on one of those lists that just blew my mind. Children can totally go to weddings. I will caveat that with one thing. Know your audience. I would not take my child to some of my friend’s weddings were they to get married. If I know there is going to be a lot of drinking or actions I wouldn’t want my child to be around, that’s one thing.  Not going because a child is disruptive? To that, I say hell no.

Again, this just takes some prior planning. The wedding I took the Valkyrie to last summer went very well. It helped that she loved the person walking down the aisle. It also helped that I brought her coloring book. She may not have watched the whole ceremony, but she entertained herself. We sat in the back. We were ready to leave if we had a problem and I explained what was going to happen several times and several days in advance.

I also brought extra clothes for messes. I made sure she wasn’t wearing something that easily stained. And…I brought finger foods in case I couldn’t find something she would eat.  Quite frankly getting her through the ceremony was the hardest part, but so long as I had other diversions at the ready, even that was not a huge problem.  Mostly she just wanted me to hold her up so she could see what was going on up front.

7. Church

Again, this was from a posting I found online. It was talking about church proper. I have mixed feelings on this one for several reasons. It is the one that I am most likely to think could be a problem, but again I’ve seen it work so I know its possible depending on the child and how they have been raised to behave. This is not a criticism on any parent struggling with this. I know some kids would have a lot of trouble with this even if they are angels.

While I don’t really have any recommendations for this, I do suggest, if you really want them there, to try it every once in a while.  If Christianity is your faith, it is important to go to church. I know it was for me when I was little and I still like to go and hear the uplifting sermons on occasion. I send the Valkyrie sometimes and she loves it.

The church she went to with our good friend doesn’t have Sunday school until the second half of church. And often she didn’t want to leave our friend’s side.  Even after she had been there for a while.  However, I couldn’t include this.  I think it is important that we teach our children to sit still. That we increase the time that they can do so as they age.  And we shouldn’t exclude them from the church. Back in the day, kids were just forced to sit still.  Then after church, they were allowed to play with each other.

Or in the church, I grew up in the children came to church and sat for the second half of the session once a month before we sang for choir. It allowed us to learn what church was like. The sermon was based more around us and we even came up to sit with the pastor.  And at the end, those of use in the children’s choir (almost all of us) went up and sang a song.

The point is that you can make church with a toddler work.  There are even churches out there who still do these things.

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Explaining Death To A Toddler

The other day I had an interesting, but heartbreaking opportunity. At 5:30 A.M. our little Valkyrie’s Nana in OH called me. It was unusual.  She usually waits for us to call or calls in the evening, but today was different. Nana was calling me to tell me that the little one’s great grandma was in the hospital, likely brain dead.

She didn’t want the little one to come up with her daddy.  She wouldn’t be allowed in ICU and she would have been bored out of her mind. It created a bit of a conundrum for our weekend plans, but we worked that out. Anything to support my extended family.

However, I had to explain to Freya that she wouldn’t be seeing Great Grandma anymore.  It wasn’t something that was easy to explain.

Warning, this post does discuss our family views of spirituality.  I’m the live and let live gal.  My opinion is that we all have a right to our opinion and that religion comes down to being the best person you can be and contributing to humanity in the best way that you are capable of.  None of my personal beliefs are intended to offend. I’m merely sharing my personal experience in this instance as well as how I tackled this particular situation.

The Hard Truth

The truth is that we all face death at some point in our lives.  It hurts and it makes us cry, but its a part of life. A fact. We will lose people. And how we handle it determines how we move on. In turn, I believe that how we discuss death with our children matters. It teaches them, shows by example, how we deal with.

Avoiding the conversation only leads to avoidance in the child.  Keeping them away from the truth only models lying. It doesn’t prompt them to come to you when they have questions. From the kids I grew up with, I learned that the parents who weren’t open to their children, often had children who didn’t come to them or who kept secrets.

Whether you agree with this assessment or not isn’t a big deal.  We all deal with death and have feelings about how death should be dealt with.  This is just my opinion and how I handled telling my child about the passing of her Great Grandmother.

What to say

Tell them what you believe. You don’t have to get technical.  You don’t have to tell them everything, but do your best not to hide. If they ask my personal opinion is that it’s better to give some sort of truthful answer. I remember watching so many so many of my friend’s parents tell them half-truths or not answer the questions.  Often they found the information even if their parents avoided it.

My parents, on the other hand, told me everything. It was tough. There were moments where it was scary, but I never felt lied to.  And better yet, I always knew that I could get the truth from my parents.  I didn’t feel the need to go behind their back or ask my friends for the information because I knew they would give it to me or help me find it.

What I said

Now I doubt my 3-year-old understood everything I told her, but I told her what I believe. I kept it simple and I left it open for her to decide. As we are a mixed religion household I do my best to not influence her in any direction.

I explained that we all have a soul.  The soul is our essence. It’s the part of us that can walk between the worlds, go to heaven/Summerland, or be reincarnated. I told her that the soul is like the magic spark that makes us ourselves. She really liked the bit about magic because most of her favorite shows are about monsters, magic, or education.

Then I told her about Heaven, Summerland, etc. I explained that some people believe we go to one happy or bad place forever. And that other people, like m, mommy believe that people go somewhere to rest before they go on to the next life.  When she asked who was right, I told her the truth. We don’t know for sure. That was probably the most confusing and question filled part of the discussion.

She had a few questions. I answered them.  Mostly she wanted to know if Greatgrandma was going to be alright and if everyone else was sad. She told me that she was worried about daddy and nana and pawpaw. And then she was done.

Conclusion

Whether you agree or not with my thoughts on telling kids as much of the truth as possible, just don’t lie to them. They are way smarter than we give them credit for.  And they tend to know when we’re lying even if they don’t tell us.  Think back to your childhood remember those moments that you knew your parents were lying to you.  Even I had a few of them.

The more honest we are with our children the better our working relationship, our connection with them.  And that is massively important.

More important than any discomfort over a discussion about death or any other topic.

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Sugar: Toxic or Sweet?

 

Before anyone gets upset, I’m not asking you to give up sugar. That is a personal choice. However, I do want to make you aware of what science is finding.  Hell, what regular people are finding.

I know I’ve shared my personal health story before, but I want to focus on the parts particularly affected by sugar.

Sweetness

I’ve eaten sugar all my life. My mom has always been really sick so I didn’t always have a lot of supervision over what I ate as a child. If there was something sweet in the house it was often gone within a few days. If not by my hand then by another.  None of us had a good relationship with food. Neither from a psychological or a neurochemical perspective.

We were using it to cope. Sugar was a part of our bonding experience. However, sugar was hurting each of us and we didn’t even know it till much later.

Alzheimer’s and Sugar

I’ll start with my dad. We didn’t learn that sugar was hurting him until a few years ago when he had the stroke.  The more research we did we learned that there is currently a debate over what may be coming first in Alzheimer’s and it’s sibling disease, dementia.

Some scientist a say that insulin resistance in the brain leads to Alzheimers claim that insulin resistance tends to affects the areas of the brain that are most susceptible leading to less energy for the brain to carry out functions in those areas.  When you have less fuel your brain can’t function as efficently. This includes memory.  This is important with Alzheimer’s disease because over the course of the disease there is a progressive decrease in the amount of blood sugar used in certain brain regions. Those regions end up using less and less.

Others argue that the Alzheimers leads to insulin resistance in the brain. I’m personally more inclined to believe the first option, but the link provided does share the research on that as well.

Now, what does that mean?

Insulin acts as a key to let sugar into your cells. When your body doesn’t respond to insulin correctly it can let too little in.  If you are eating a diet high in carbs and sugars, that means that your cells aren’t getting the fuel that you are sending to them.  When that fuel isn’t absorbed in the cells, it gets turned into fat.

Even worse, if the cells are not obtaining the sugar as a fuel, it could mean that the cells in his brain are cannibalizing the fatty materials in his brain….which is one theory on how plaque may be developing in this disease.

Heart Health and Sugar

New studies are showing that sugar should be considered more dangerous to your heart than fat.  We are now learning that sugar lowers good cholesterol and damages arteries.  Even WebMD is recognizing this new information.  This leads to your body producing more cholesterol to try to heal the lesions.  Too much of that and you end up with blockages.

This video from Dr. Berg on youtube explains its all. His videos are great if you are looking for holistic information on healing yourself and your family.

 

Sugar and Neuropathy

The most common cause of neuropathy is sugar.  People with diabetes or some sort of sugar regulatory problem are at a much greater risk for neuropathy than anyone else.  Studies have shown that as your sugar levels rise your neuropathy can increase.

When you intake too many carbs, it creates too much sugar in the system.  This rushes into the bloodstream and then to your nerves. Sugar causes your nerves to swell and as they swell, it eventually cuts off the blood supply to the nerve causing damage.  This damage manifests as feelings of burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands and feet. In addition to this damage, nerve damage can lead to migraine headaches, restless leg syndrome, carpal tunnel and Alzheimer’s disease.

Every day I hear people say, well I don’t eat that much sugar. Well, let’s take a look at one breakfast: Raisin Bran cereal, skim milk, apple. Simple. To the average American, it sounds healthy right? All I see is sugar.  I got this breakfast from an article about neuropathy and sugar.  According to their calculations, this breakfast breaks down to roughly 32 teaspoons of sugar or nearly 3/4 a cup.  And the average American is estimated to consume around 53 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Just compare that to the early 1900’s when American’s only consumed 2 teaspoons on average.

We are doing a lot of damage to our body.

And Everything Else?

Keep in mind, I haven’t even mentioned the obvious problems of diabetes and obesity themselves. We all know about those risks. What we don’t realize is that it is in everything you buy at the store. It is naturally occurring even in fresh fruits and some veggies. Processed and frozen foods all contain added sugars or toxins that break down into sugar. Manufacturers hide sugars in everything. And they are doing damage to our body.

Nor does it begin to touch upon all the other problems Dr. Berg and others have linked to this sweet substance.

What can I do?

The simple answer is to find out your carb tolerance. Which means you may have to make the decision to go off sugar and carbs long enough to get them out of your system.  Then you can start reintroducing them so many grams at a time.  I hated counting, but since doing an elimination diet, I have learned that my carb limit is somewhere around 40-60 carbs per day.  My boyfriend can’t handle more than 20. We’re still learning what my parent’s carb intake is.

If you want to get really serious you can go Paleo or Keto.  Keto is a bit more extreme, but that is the route I have gone. And there are plenty of places that offer advice, recipes and starter tips. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are Cooking Keto with Kristie and Keto Connect.

We use keto strips to monitor if we are in ketosis and blood sugar testers on occasion to make sure we don’t get too out of wack.  I will admit, I break diet on occasion, which does cause me problem, but about 90% of the time I’m on a keto diet. I’ve lost nearly 40lbs and still losing. I feel great, and the number of health problems I’ve experienced has gone down.  The best part is that the problems I have experienced both mental and physical both decrease when I consume less sugar.

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Stress and Caregivers: The Nitty Gritty Truth

If you are a caregiver, particularly to a family member you are going to be stressed.  There is little you can do to stop this stress aside from trying to look on the bright side.  However, there will be days where even that is a daunting task.  

On any given day there is entirely too much for me to do and not enough time for me to do them.  I have to cook the meals, clean all the rooms, do all the laundry, and the rest of the household chores. Then there are the finances. There will be paperwork for insurance, pensions, loans, etc.  In my case, there is also a small child and everything that goes along with that. I could go on and on.

stress

When there are too many pieces or parts to track it is easy to feel overwhelmed

My point is that it is hard.  There are days that I feel like a complete failure. There are days where things go wrong and I break down and cry.  I often feel overwhelmed or like there is no end in sight.  I’ve had days where what I felt made me feel like a horrible daughter or even mother.  

Even worse, some days, I fear what the end looks like. In my case, I don’t know if I will have a place for myself and my Valkyrie to go.  I don’t know if I will have figured out a backup plan. I’m always working on it, but that doesn’t mean I’ll find a viable option before the proverbial shit hits the fan.  

Feelings are Okay

The first thing I have to tell you is that all of these feelings are okay.  

You have a right to feel them. Acting on them may be an entirely different thing. However, it is okay to feel them. 

Don’t get me wrong. You wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t love them. But it is okay to feel this way. It is okay to cry.  You may not feel like it, but it is. I’m almost 30. I’ve been helping to take care of my mother for nearly my entire life. I had a short break from 2006-2014, but I’ve basically been doing this my entire life.  

There are days I hate what I do.  There are days I wish that I could walk away. I have had moments where I feel useless. You just have to accept that these moments will happen an move on.  

And even if you aren’t a caregiver in the sense I’m talking about, this can apply to you.  You may be a single mom taking care of four kids. Or maybe a single dad. You may even be happily married, but have 12 kids.   Regardless, it is always okay to feel the way you do.  Feelings aren’t logical.  They don’t have to match what we know to be true or our obligations, perceived or otherwise. 

What to do?

This is much harder.  The good news…there are plenty of options. The bad news…it may take you some time to figure out what works for you.  The worse news….you may find something, have it work for a while, and then be straight back to the drawing board. But don’t fear. Here are a few of the various coping mechanisms I’ve cycled through over the years:

  1. Counseling– You would be surprised how much it can help to just have someone to talk to.  If you can’t afford a counselor, this could even work with a friend.  It just depends on you and your preference. 
  2. Journaling– I used to love writing down everything I felt. The best part was that I could go back later and evaluate it and determine if I really felt that way deep down or if it was just a passing fancy.  Sometimes I felt something in the moment that wasn’t something I felt all the time. Sometimes that feeling was getting to the root of the issue and others it was just a part of the momentary panic.  But writing allows you to go back and take the time to figure that out. 
  3. Creative outlets– This is my current cycle. In the last few months, I have painted minis for tabletop, sewn more dresses than I have room for in my closet, and thrown myself into coming up with new and creative ways to homeschool Freya.  In some ways, this site is even an outlet.  It gives me a place where I can share and write and maybe even help someone.
  4. Yoga, Meditation, and exercise– I put these all together for a reason.  It’s just about what helps you get out of your own head. For some people that is solitary and sedentary and for others its about motion. I’m a little bit of both, so I use these interchangeably depending on what phase I’m in that day.  
  5. Reading– Sometimes I read fun stuff. Recently if I read for stress, its been self-help.  I’m going to list a few of them in the resources at the bottom of the page.  Sometimes you just have to work on you to get through the rough patches.  Maybe there is a reaction or coping mechanism you can learn to help you.
  6. GET OUT– this is a big one.  Maybe the biggest. You have to get out of the house and interact with other people. Every once in a while when I get really low I pull together some money and I take myself to the mall. Maybe I buy a new dress. Maybe I get my nails or eyebrows done. It may just be going out to get some guilty pleasure (I prefer lily’s nearly sugar-free chocolate or sushi if I’m ditching the diet).  Or find something you can go and do at least once a week. I have a gaming session with some of my high school friends nearly every week.  I drive an hour and a half to get out of the house and do something else.  

Remember Who You Are

Just remember its easy to get lost in what you do. It’s easy to forget to get out and enjoy life.  I can’t say I have it entirely together. I just told you that there are days I cry and break down.  There are days I don’t want to do anything (and I only do the bare minimum).  No matter how upbeat you are there are going to be those days.  It’s a fact. It doesn’t make you weak. That just means that you are human like the rest of us. 

It means that you have needs too.  It may mean that you aren’t meeting those.  And there may be times that you can’t meet all of your needs. I am an extrovert. I want to get out there all the time. If I could I would have something going at least two or three days a week.  Eventually, I would need a week or two away to recoup, but I love being around people. I love doing fun things. However, I know I can’t do that. So I take what I can.  For example, this weekend I’m going to a retreat with my friends. Next weekend we have a sitter so we can go to a social event together.  

We may only make it out together once a month aside from our gaming, but we get away from everything. 

And realize that there may be more than you can keep up with.  This does happen sometimes. You may end up in a situation where you are perpetually putting out fires. That is okay too.  Don’t give up. Keep working on solutions. You may find a way to at least dull the burn, even if you can’t put out all the fires at once.  

 

Just remember that for as horrible as your situation may be or you may precieve it, It can always be worse and you can always find ways to make it better. 

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Toddler Chores: Teaching Independence

We all have those days when our child wants to help with everything, especially if they are still little.  As adults, we constantly feel like we have limited time, and often we do.  This is particularly true of single parents or parents who are also caregivers to others. It’s hard to not feel the rush to get everything done as quickly as possible. It’s also important for your child to feel involved. That’s why we have given our little valkyrie toddler chores. 

Taking Moments With Our Kids

However, there are two things wrong with this modality of thought.  First of all, we all have to stop and take moments to enjoy our lives. A part of this is making the best of bad situations. I know, easier said that done.  But a child can make the most dreary task far more interesting.  You have to be careful and choose things based on age, aptitude, and interest, but your child can make the most daunting tasks more fulfilling.

For example, my little lady is fully capable of helping me stir a batch of cookie dough (and she enjoys it), but I can’t let her stir a hot pot.  She can put away her dishes (she has her own little table for all of them), but she can’t help me put the big stuff away.  And I can let her wash fruit, but she is usually playing with her Melissa and Doug food set or her kitchen when I am doing things that she can’t do yet (the set has a play knife and the sushi rolls are connected by velcro. I love that thing.).

And the same thing goes for my sewing. She can’t really help me with my machine, but she can pass me a pin or play with her little sewing kit of similar items.  She can organize her buttons as she loves to do or measure stuff with her tape measure.  This little kit allows us to do things together and it still is age appropriate parallel play.  She gets bored after half an hour or so, but such is life with a child.  I just refocus her and we move on….most of the time.sewing kit of similar items.  She can organize her buttons as she loves to do or measure stuff with her tape measure.  This little kit allows us to do things together and it still is age appropriate parallel play.  She gets bored after half an hour or so, but such is life with a child.  I just refocus her and we move on….most of the time. 

Toddlers doing chores gives them more freedom

She helps with the dryer too!

We Want Help

Second, we want to encourage our children to help.  We never want to discourage them from being helpful.  There’s enough time for that when they hit those turbulent and moody teenage years.  In addition, if you can get a child helping you out now, then they are far more likely to be inclined to do so as they get older.  If nothing else they may be more proficient in a task at an earlier age if we encourage them to participate.

Take a look at my day.  I work at home and manage the household.  I do laundry nearly every day between my clothes, potty training laundry, my parent’s laundry, and any other messes that come about our day. Miss Freya has a stool. I’ll hand her stuff and she’ll put it in the machine. I may have to re-balance it, but she likes that she can help. And I let her pour the detergent in. It takes a bit more time, but it lights her face up to be able to do adult things. When the cycle finishes she sits excitedly by the dryer putting things in as I pass them to her.  I can’t get her to help every single time, but I’m not going to stop her from helping.

Toddler Chores: How Far, Is Too Far?

I think most of this is going to depend on your parenting style, lifestyle preferences, and most of all, patience.  Even I can’t manage to get the little one successfully helping consistently on a regular basis and there are moments of frustration. A lot of them.  But as annoyed or frustrated as I get, it’s always worth it to see her happy to help.  Even better is her face lighting up with that bright bold smile of achievement.

In my opinion, it is fine to do anything that the child is capable of doing. Just don’t set them up for failure with a task you know they can’t complete.  And this will occasionally happen on accident. That is a thing that is bound to happen at some point.  However, that is when you just need to stop the activity, redirect, and move on.

Toddler chores: let your children be independent

The valkyrie putting her cup in the dishwasher after an early breakfast.

What Can I Do?

When I first started this, I didn’t know here to start. I wasn’t sure what would and wouldn’t work.  Most of it occurred through trial and error. Sometimes she taught me what she could do and we added that to the list of things we could do together. While I am sure that we have not even begun to discover everything my little Goddess can do, here is a list of a few of the possibilities.

  1. Putting away dishes. This is particularly great if the child has a place she can reach.  Below you can see her little table.  It isn’t always very organized.  On the bottom, she has any utensils she can use as well as a pair of tongs and some other small child sized implements I found at various stores over the last two years. The middle has her bowls and the top of the table houses her plates and cups.  It took a bit to teach her that they weren’t toys (or to stop her from storing her toys there) but it has been great.  When she is ready to eat she grabs her plate and utensils.  If she is thirsty she brings me a cup.  Most of the time she’ll even put them back if I tell her no, it’s not time.
  2. Laundry– Look at my example above.  She’s two and we just had to buy a step stool.  She loves just being able to do something with me since I”m always so busy.  And she loves our laundry soap because she helps me stir it when I make it.
  3. Clean-up– We pick up our toys and things together. Most of the time.  We’re still learning that everything has a place and it goes in that place, but she at least seems to get the concept of putting things away somewhere at this point.  In our home we make it a game. It takes time, but it works.  For example, when we put away her blocks, we build a city with them in the box that they go in.
  4. Taking Out the Trash – Now Freya can’t help take out the big trash bag, but she does try to help me tie up the little grocery bags we use in the bathroom and behind both of my parent’s chairs.  She tries to help me tie it up and often insists on taking it to the trash herself, either throwing it in the kitchen trash can or having one of us lift her up to put it in the big bin outside the door.
  5. Sweeping– The little one started taking an interest in this a few months ago when I cut dad’s hair. I had to take the big broom away so she wouldn’t whack one of us in the head with it. However, we happened to have a small hand broom and dustpan, and a new habit was born. Now when she makes a mess, sometimes she’ll think about the little set. She’ll motion for me to grab the stuff and she helps me clean it up.

Final Thoughts

These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.  Miss Freya loves to help me with everything.  Often when I clean in the bathroom she has a rag and is pretending to clean beside me. Or, if I’m cleaning with natural products, I may even let her help.  A lot of it is gauging their mood and catching them when they want to help.  Better yet, not discouraging them from being helpful. Each time you discourage a child, it just gets harder to help them the next time.  If I know I don’t have time for Freya to help me I set her up with a pretend activity or pull out a toy she hasn’t seen in a while to get a few moments to myself to take care of it.

Work hard and get things done, but never let it stop a child who wants to help. Children have helped their parents for centuries on farms and at home. Teach them the value of work now, while they are young. 

 

 

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Positive Manifestation: Re imagining Your Life

While I’m starting to get geared up to write again and positive manifestation has been a big part of finding that groove again. I found myself pondering what my problem had been. I was stressed, I was depressed, I was tired. But I had so many good things in my life.

I have a home, a job. A great boyfriend and an adorable little girl. And we moved, which brought its problems and adjustments, but it was a good thing.  Mom’s medical mess is finally getting sorted out and my little valkyrie finally has a fairly stable home. We still have problems, but there is always something. Right?

So again what was the problem?

My view.

Positive manifestation can make you the Queen/King, instead of the pawn.

We all have those days we feel like pawns. Instead of focusing on that, see the Queen/King you are.

We all go through phases of doubt. They come in tides and ebbs. We all have high and low points, but keeping a positive outlook can change everything. No matter how bad it feels that day it can always be worse. When you reach the peak, at some point you have to fall. Maybe even land on your ass.

Now, I know, easier said than done. And we will all fall on occasion, but picking ourselves back up and getting back to that positive outlook makes all the difference.

 

Perspectives on Manifestation

Now, I live in a mixed house when it comes to religion. I consider myself an eclectic pagan. We also have a druid, two Christians, and a wee on who could care less if we talk God, Goddess, or Santa lol. And we all live and let live. My parents have had their concerns for my mortal soul, but they’ve come to realize that despite the vast divisions in the why’s and how’s, we have a common ground in what we should do and be as people.

As in thought about how I got here, I realized it started with manifestation. When my little valkyrie’s daddy left us, I was at a loss. But it wasn’t long before I wanted my life back.

I remember wishing and hoping that I would find someone that was what I needed to grow and thrive. There were other more frivolous wishes, but all the important things are there. I remember wishing that I could find a way to work at home and homeschool the little one.(still working on that part). I wished to find a way out of our old town and house, with all its problems.

And a few months later I went to an event and I met him. And a year later we were moved. I could never have expected for any of it to happen, but it did and things are better than ever.

The downside?

But then, of course, eventually, I slacked off. You could say I lost faith, got negative. Whatever your personal description, I dropped the ball. Stopped believing that I could reach the next goal. I stopped focusing on the next dream. I stopped manifesting positivity in my life.

The downside is that all of this does take work, just a different kind of work.  One that gets easier with time and practice.  You have to make positivity a habit in your life for this to work.  This is something I still work on.  I have my down months, but when I can get my head in the zone, I have some very fruitful ones as well.

Now to be fair, we had a lot going on. Brand new doctors to replace the 8 or so mom had. New docs for the rest of us. Setting up services for the family, getting Freya settled, having four extra kids for the summer, and the list goes on. But that’s life. Like I said earlier ebbs and tides.

We all rise and sometimes we all have to fall.

I’ve found any number of ways to explain, both mystical and scientific, the benefits of a positive outlook.

1. GOD and the divine.

If you believe you will succeed. It’s a powerful thought. I heard Joel Osteen talk about it last night when I was working on this. He said something along the lines of if you hear the promise of God in your heart you have to keep your anchor down.

What he meant was that you have to stay firm in your belief of the divine purpose for you. You can’t let anyone talk you out of it. Not yourself, the neighbor, or yes, even your pastor.

And if you want to look at it that way it’s true for any religion, just about universally. I would say universally if I wasn’t sure there wasn’t one exception to the rule. I may not call myself Christian, but even those of another faith can find wisdom in another’s.

2. Positive Manifestation as Magic

This one can be viewed as either scientific or religious from (at the very least) a pagan perspective.

I took a class once in Louisville.  The teacher had a guest lecture done by someone over a cell phone. As we huddled around her flip phone in 2012, I heard one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard.

Manifestation.

The idea that you can wish for something so hard it happens. It isn’t easy. Hell, it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy or a mental shift, but she considered it a magical path. A ritual of sorts.

I wish I could tell it like her, but I’m not her. She told us how she wished for a grand piano and it practically fell into her hands. That she had her own house built and paid for by 23 on a 10/hr salary when even her dad thought she was nuts.

Whether it self-fulfilling prophecy or magic doesn’t matter. What matters is that looking for the light brings light into your life and the opposite achieves the opposite.

3. A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The last way I could think of to look at this is purely scientific. And I’ll keep it both brief and simple here because a scientist I am not.

Hypnosis and many branches of psychology have done numerous studies ( I’ll link a few at the end) on the effects of positivity in disease management and stress.

There is also a good amount of conjecture about how the mind works. In hypnosis and other therapies, the subconscious can be brought forward to ultimately change behaviors in the conscious mind. I’ve personally experienced it as my significant other does it for a living.

There is also plenty of research into mindfulness and yoga and meditation among other mind-altering practices where people report similar results. It’s just a matter of figuring out how you get there. What you need to make it happen.

What now?

And where do I fall on the spectrum?

I like to think they all have their merit. Not a single one is right or wrong, like many other things they overlap.

I believe science has its place. Our minds are a strong magic itself. We have yet to explain exactly how or why it works entirely. There’s a lot that will likely always be subjective or unknown (because what fun would it be to have nothing else to learn).

I also believe that many, if not all of us, do have some sort of divine purpose.  I feel that some people are meant to meet and influence each other. There are things that we are supposed to do.

But I don’t like to sit around and wait either.

I want to manifest my dreams. I want them to come to me. Positive manifestation can make your dreams easy.  I want my dreams to come to me easily.  Some may say that this makes it magical, psychological, or religious.  However, to me it is magic.  I cannot entirely explain why it happens or where it comes from. It also happens to make it more fun to share with the 3-year-old.

No matter where you find your positive outlook it’s important to find it. And if you’re still looking for it (Or are like me and have to switch up your methods occasionally), it’s important to keep trying new paths until you find one or a few things that work for you.

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