5 Things To Remember While Raising a Strong-Willed Child.

There are a handful of topics that I consider myself to be an expert on. One of those are strong-willed children. I have had exactly 9 years, 7 months, and 3 days of intense training in this area. My training doubled approximately 5 years, 7 months, and 14 days ago when my second strong willed child screamed her way into my house. So if that doesn’t make me an expert, I don’t know what does.

I haven’t written any books on the subject yet because those types of books have to be written once the child moves out. One can’t possibly accomplish writing a book until they leave. But in the meantime, here are 5 things to remember while raising a strong willed child…or two if you are as blessed as I am.

  1. The desire behind nearly everything they do is control. Good behavior, bad behavior…it doesn’t matter. They want to control all of the things. And I say, just let them when it’s reasonable to let them. Be selective about the hills you allow them to slay you on.
  2. Their love is every bit as fierce as their hate. But the two cannot exist at the same time. It really is in your personal best interest for them to love you more often than not.
  3. * You can’t break their spirits. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve read that you must be cautious not to break the spirit of a strong willed child. That makes me laugh. The spirits of truly strong willed children can’t be broken. Their spirits can be wounded temporarily, not broken.
  4. Prison is a real place. Sometimes this thought alone is the only thing that keeps me somewhat in line.
  5. They will eventually move out. Unless they refuse to move out. I’m already aware that I may have to sell my house and move and not tell them where I have moved to.

And if this stuff makes you roll your eyes or think for one moment that I am a pushover, congratulations…you don’t have a strong-willed child. If you think you *might* have a strong-willed child, you don’t have a strong willed child. When you have one, you know it. There isn’t a shred of doubt in your mind. And when you have two or more, may God have mercy on your soul.

*And regarding #3, it probably is possible to break their spirits, but not with acceptable and legal parenting practices. Obviously if a child is abused, their spirits can be shattered into a million pieces. I’m not talking about that.

 

This never happens.

First of all, what’s up with all of this recent blogging, right?? I don’t know. I think I’ve finally decided that I need to actually start photographing my kids again.
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Anyway, I decided to *try* to take just a few decent pictures of our kids at the local pumpkin patch. I don’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve done that with the “real camera.”

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I bribed them with cookies. I begged them to be cooperative. And guess what?! THEY WERE!!! I was stunned.

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We were in and out of there in about ten-fifteen minutes. And nobody cried. And I didn’t get mad. Amazing, I tell you.

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I honestly don’t even know how this happened.

Ketchup.

Okay, so here are some of the things that have been happening in our world lately. And I know there aren’t any pictures of Jackson, but I promise he’s still cute and still awesome.


At the beginning of May, Mikey had a festival and program at his school and I tied his bandana wrong. He was the only kid among all of the kindergarteners whose mom tied his bandana like an ascot. Oops.


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I caught them all with no shirts on outside. They are rarely wearing shirts and pants at the same time. And they are never all four completely dressed unless we’re going somewhere.


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Mikey has a loose tooth on the bottom. It really needs to come out, but we’re not messing with it. We learned our lesson about that with child #1. Mikey FREAKS out when he bleeds even a drop so I’m sure this whole loosing teeth thing is going to be exciting.


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Katie got glasses!!!


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Brittany turned FIVE!!! Birthday party to follow. It was delayed due to Katie having pinkeye. Fun times.


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And just this week, like yesterday and today in fact, the three little kids got a room makeover. We were thinking about moving, but we decided to stay for now and make this house work. Jack needs his own room so we bunked the three little kids. They love the new room!


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And with that, I bid you all goodnight.


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Getting Valentiny

So since I waited until the day before Valentine’s Day to actually think about the Valentine’s treats for my kids’ classes, I found myself (again) in a bit of a bind. Last year I *only* had 40 kids to get goodies for. I prepared ahead and made these and put lollipops in their hands…


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I could just go get the paper Valentine’s from the store, but I really wanted to do something cute without spending much money. So I decided to use our left over candy and fabric from Mikey and Katie’s bday party to make little goodie bags. So that’s what Katie, Britt, and I have been doing this morning while the boys are in school. I will let Mikey help with his this evening when he gets home. They’re cute, but they’re a pain. So we have done a whopping 14! We only have 43 to go. Ugh. I better get back to it. At this rate, I’ll finish by tomorrow morning.


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The birthdays of Thing 2 and Thing 4

Almost two weeks ago…yes, two weeks…we had Mikey and Katie’s combined birthday party. Their birthdays are a little over a week apart so it made sense to do them together.


Below is my facebook status from the end of December. I really had some fb friends who didn’t get it. Seriously? You guys need more coffee.


“I’m looking at cakes and decorations galore to get ready for the birthdays of Thing 2 and Thing 4. Thing 4 will be 3 and Thing 2 will be 6, and I’m just not decided about the theme I will pick. Can you help me decide? Can you help please please please? It’s a very special day when you turn 6 and 3. ;-)”


This is one shot that I had to get! Does it look familiar?


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The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.
I sat there with Sally.
We sat there, we two.
And I said, “How I wish
We had something to do!

So we had a birthday party!!


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I spent way too much time and money throwing together Dr. Seuss inspired treats. And then I didn’t even take pictures of half of them because I was running around doing other stuff. In typical Mikey fashion, he got mad about who even knows what and spent probably an hour or so mad and griping. I’m not going to make Katie share her party with him again. He’s too consuming. I didn’t get to focus on her enough. But this is supposed to be a happy post so I guess I shouldn’t write that stuff. Anyway, here are some of the pictures that I did take.


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Mikey finally did decide to be happy and the lower right photo is of him laughing his butt off at the whoopee cushion that he got. He was so excited about that and his cherry berry gift card! Probably his favorite gifts. A friend told me later that Katie was “pure joy” the day of the party. I hate to say that I was kind of too consumed by other stuff to notice. We had a good day, but I think we’ll scale down our parties from now on. With four kids, big parties are kind of a big pain.


And if you were there, I’ll be mailing out pictures in the next day or so.


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She likes to do this.

Since I FINALLY got my old office/mudroom/disaster of gigantic proportions room cleaned (with Phillip’s help), the kids have really been enjoying it as our new playroom. Katie likes to do this. She likes me to wrap her up and turn kid music on my phone.


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She also really likes to do this for some reason.


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So just to break it down for you…


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Dramatic.

Real progression. All within about a minute.


“My life is so terrible! Please, somebody save me!”

“Is anybody buying this?”

“No, guess not. Ooh..look, toys!”


“I hate these toys! I just wanna die!!”

“Well, maybe not die.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what came over me. Sorry about all that.”

“Hey, Mom! How’s it going? Isn’t life grand?”

“This place is cool. I love these people.”

“So embarrassing. She’ll probably put those photos on her blog. I swear, she’s out to get me.”

Stay in your bed.

When we moved Jack from the crib to a toddler bed, all I had to say was “Stay in your bed” and he did just that. He rarely ever got out or whined or cried. He just didn’t. And I thought I was so awesome.


Then there was Mikey. (dun..dun..dun…) When we moved Mikey from his crib to a toddler bed, it was kind of a nightmare. He fell asleep on the floor almost every night. He screamed. He cried. He threw toys. He banged his head on the floor. When we moved him from the toddler bed to a twin bed, it was worse. I would sit in the hallway outside his door so he could see me until he fell asleep. He didn’t regularly fall asleep in a bed until he was probably 3 years old or so. He would fall asleep on the floor or a chair or the couch. He was and sort of still is a huge pain to get to sleep. I stopped thinking I was awesome long ago.


Brittany came to us already sleeping in a big girl bed. She’s only gotten out of her bed a handful of times. She’s cried at bedtime more than a handful of times, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 2-3 year old. She wasn’t easy before she came to us, and not for several months in, but she’s easy now. Pretty much.


And now there’s Katie. She screams when we put her in her bed. She kicks the wall. She throws everything out of her bed and then gets mad because she wants it back. She wakes up in the morning screaming at the world. She’s pretty much done this for the last 15 months. We just took the rail off of her crib last night. She got out once and she got in trouble. She woke up this morning and didn’t scream. She just played until I got them out of their room. Tonight she hasn’t gotten out of her bed yet, but she screamed for about 10 minutes. Now she’s just in there talking trash. She’s temperamental, but nothing like Mikey was at this age. She’s strong-willed, but it’s laughable compared to Mikey.


So it looks like we are officially out of the crib stage FOREVER! Now if I can only get Katie potty trained, we’ll be golden.



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Today I sat in the living room holding the little one while the other two little ones played and laughed together. Looking to me to see if I was noticing their silliness. The little one laughing at the other two. Three little kids that do not share my DNA and yet couldn’t be more mine. And in that moment I was just overcome by the feeling of being right in the middle of something grande. How blessed am I that I get to be their mom?