Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fall 2007

The S Family LOVES Autumn weather. Today is the first day during which you could really feel Fall in the air. The air was crisp, cool, clean, just a truly lovely day.

I am also rejoicing as today is the very first time that I have picked Anna up from the church nursery and been greeted by an actual smile. We have been trying desperately to acclimate her gently, staying with her, taking familiar toys, etc. The boys are LOVING their classes but Anna has been less than thrilled. We have thus far ended every service by picking up our sobbing, clinging little darling who then proceeds to punish us for the rest of the day. Frankly, as much as we enjoy attending church and as important as we know it is for us and for the boys, we have not been particularly disciplined with our attendance because it is so heartbreaking to pick Anna up in that condition every week.

But today she greeted me with a hug grin, outstretched arms and a darling little dance. My heart both melted and rejoiced at the sight of my baby girl in such a good mood following her time in the nursery. The first pic you see above is the impish little grin she gave me in the hallway after we left the nursery. Little stinker, she knows just how to push all my buttons.

You should also see a picture of Anna with her handsome daddy and a picture of her feeding Baby Alive. In case you are wondering, the boys rarely every hold still long enough for me to get decent photos of them. The lack of boy and abundance of Anna pictures on this blog is not intentional, just the way things are at the moment, photography-wise.

Anna is my little sunshine. She is in the midst of a language explosion and just loves her new found ability to verbally communicate her wants and needs.

Anna's Words
Iyaac (Isaac)
DADA!! (MUST be spoken as loudly and as gruffly as possible.)
Hap Bir (Happy Birthday)
Happy! (Said whenever she sees a camera.)
Uh oh (She gets TONS of use from this one.)
Nana (Banana or reference to my mom.)
Owie! (Also used quite frequently.)
Och (Watch)
Nah Nah (Night night)
Lo? (Hello?)
Beebee (Baby)
puhpee (Puppy)
Da doo (Thank You)
Uppy (Up please)
Opee (Open Please)

Below is a video of Anna playing ball with Nathan.

Nathan is our little athlete. He is busy, busy, busy all day long and I swear he has grown 6 inches in the last 2 weeks. Those big brown eyes and that darling boyish grin of his manage to melt our hearts each and every time he puts them to good use, which is often. Nathan knows good and well how to work over any unsuspecting soul he encounters. They should put a picture of him next to the definition of puppy dog eyes in the dictionary.

Our little guy is a CHATTER BOX. Oh my Holy Lord can that little boy of mine talk. Some of you may remember a time when we worried incessantly about the fact that by age 2 Nathan had acquired very little in the way of language skills. Esther worked with him for a little while and oh what a job she did. I am not sure if we should pay her double the going rate or ban her from further interaction with our young offspring.

His latest obsession is magic tricks. He gathers a bunch of very specific items and begs, at all hours of the day and night, for one of us to sit and watch him do magic. I will have to take some video of his conjuring, it is utterly adorable.

I am in need of some serious parental advice regarding my sweet Isaac. I think he feels as if he is trapped between being a toddler and being a little boy and he is very frustrated by that feeling. We are very guilty of forgetting that he is now more little boy than toddler, but it is such an ingrained habit to treat him like a toddler.

This weekend we attended a birthday party for his 9 year old cousin. Many of his cousin's school friends attended and it was clear that Isaac felt out of place and intimidated. He so very much wanted to participate, but clearly did not feel confident enough to jump in with the older kids. I am not sure how to help him through this phase of life.

Unfortunately, I have little to no experience with little boys. I can interact with babies, toddlers, preteens and teenagers in my sleep. But the characteristics and needs of the 6 year to 10 year old set are not my area of expertise.

Isaac loves Kindergarten, he loves playing with his action figures, he loves helping me cook, he loves his puppy, he adores playing with his daddy and his little brother. He is the best big brother to his baby sister and would defend her to the death. Isaac is a darling little boy and we want him to grow up happy and well adjusted, but he seems so frequently unhappy and/or frustrated these days. What to do? I am interested and willing to hear advice from all confirmed experts, regardless of whether your expertise comes via degree or life experience.

There you have it, a Fall 2007 summary of the S Family offspring.

2 new recipes added, these are extended family favorites.

Love to all! Have a great week!


Esther said...

Ok you totally asked for it! And as a pre-emptive comment, I am not saying that you don't do these things, you both are great parents!
I especially like the last two.

As a parent or a teacher, you have a great influence over the self-esteem of your child. For the first 4 or 5 years, parents are the most important contributor.
Here are some things you can do to build your child's self-esteem:
1. In general, the more positive the parents self-esteem, the more positive the child's will be. Be a good role model. Admit your mistakes to your child so that they know you are not "perfect" either.
2. Honest praise is the quickest way to build a person's self-esteem. Find someway to praise your child every day. Make sure the praise is realistic and honest. When possible, praise your child for trying to do something even if he/she was not successful. If need be, give your child a task you know can be completed just so you can give the praise. As your child's self-esteem grows more positive, this process will become easier and more natural.
3. Focus on the positive aspects of your child's behavior. Even if you don't like some of the behavior, find something positive to focus on.

4. Communicate with your child. That means listening to how your child feels without making judgments about those feelings. Try to find out why they feel the way they do. Once you know why, you may be able to offer a different interpretation so the child's feelings can change. Regardless, do not judge the feelings. They are just there. How your child reacts to these feelings are important because behavior has consequences. If you listen and understand, you are better able to suggest behaviors that will have positive consequences rather than negative ones.
5. Keep criticism to a minimum. Criticism does not produce positive behavior. Praise does.
6. Show your child there is a way they can control their feelings. When your child is feeling bad, play this game with her/him. Close eyes and remember something from the past that was fun and imagine or visualize that it was still going on. After 2 or 3 minutes, your child will begin to feel better. Explain to your child that this is something they can do anytime they feel bad because they are in control of how they feel.
7. Teach your child to set goals, follow through and complete projects. The projects can be small and short in the beginning and then get more involved. This builds self-confidence and self-esteem and shows children they have some control in their life. Make sure the project is age appropriate and not too complicated for your child's level of development. Remember, the purpose is to allow your child to experience success. Give praise often during the project as well as on completion. Each positive event in your child's life is building a more positive self-esteem.

As with all of my advice, I will not be offended if you disagree, I will not release the hounds!

Esther said...

I am also not saying that Isaac has low self esteem, but these are good ways to boost his confidence level as he transitions from being a toddler to being a "big boy" :)

Esther said...

See what happens when you ask me for advice!!!

buzz2of11 said...

I think that Esther gave you some great advice. Another way to look at it is: When I was a kid, what did I like my parents to do with or for me? What did I dislike? Ask yourself if you are repeating the same patterns, whether positive or negative. Also, we need to pattern Jesus for our children. He loves us no matter what and they need to know that from you without any doubt or hesitation. Also, What they do wrong needs to be kept separate from who they are. A friend of mine more than 20 years ago said she told her boys "Good Job" and not "Good Boy" since what they did should not reflect on them personally but only on their actions. I feel that this is very good advice. Keep in mind I have not been a mother.....but, in my defense I was the 2nd child of 11 & the oldest girl! Teaching a child to know Jesus is the best thing you can give them and second best is to give them unconditional love. Boundaries are a great thing to teach them also.

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