Thursday, October 30, 2014

Data Collection

In an effort to understand what motivates Maddie and to know if we are making progress in certain goals we (her therapists and me) "track data" constantly. How did she sleep, eat, poop? What percentage of times does she look at me when I say her name? How often does she look for my attention? What happened just before this tantrum that might have caused it? Etc. The data, oh the data. It is interesting, though, the conclusions that you derive from the data vs. what my perspective is on the situation. Through this data collection we have come to understand all kinds of patterns that I would never have noticed on my own. It has also made me doubt my own perceptions, but kind of in a good way. It's easy to become such a tyrant as a parent, assuming you understand what life is like from their perspective, that you know who they are (or who they should be) and that you know the best way to handle any situation. And I think a lot of the time we do have the right instincts but I think having a gentle dose of wariness is healthy--and not being offended if your child is fundamentally different than you are--is even more so.

Through this data collection I've learned that Maddie is not nearly as prone to constipation as I thought (she's actually quite regular FYI :), she loves circular shaped things, she eats when she's bored (don't we all) and that though her tantrums may begin because of frustration--once she starts hitting herself it is primarily to get attention. There's plenty more to add to the list, but I just think it's so interesting what is revealed beyond our own fuzzy observations. I knew she hit herself out of frustration--but I didn't see that there was another reason. I knew she loved slinky's and bracelets and coins--but I didn't put together the circular part. I thought she had a mammoth appetite-- and while she can still pound some serious food, there are plenty of times she comes around the kitchen because she's under-stimulated. Maybe it's just me--because although I consider myself smart, I can also be a total airhead (like how Teddy gets great reading comprehension scores if he remembers to take the tests)

As part of Maddie's therapy, they are actually doing some training with me. Phase 1 is tracking me making "attending" statements to Maddie for 5 minutes. Attending statements are just observations--not requests or demands or suggestions. It's just me sitting in the background of her play making comments like "you put the horse in the barn," "you are holding a brown horse." You would NOT want to say "put the horse over here," or "what does the horsey say?". I'm just a narrator. I am not supposed to interfere, guide or play with her unless she invites me. This is surprisingly hard to do. And this is kind of what I'm talking about with the parenting thing--you do a lot of teaching by suggesting, guiding, and requesting your children to do much so, that it's surprisingly hard to just be with them no strings attached.

I know I mentioned this book I've been reading called The Child Whisperer. It's has some pretty interesting insights, I'm not sure if I buy all of her energy flow stuff, and I think she could have condensed the book somewhat--but anyway. She categorizes children (and all people) into different types. I heard about this book from a girl who posted on Instagram that she never thought she would understand her daughter and that this book had changed their relationship. I bought the book with Elsie specifically in mind. And I have to say it's been very eye-opening. Her theory is that every time you fight against your child's true you actually increase the tendency for the very problem you want to avoid. This book has helped me see ways that she and I are different and even ways we are the same. And for the areas where we are different--she's helped me see the value in those attributes that Elsie has that I quite frankly just didn't get! And now that I have this different perspective I see things in Elise that I didn't before, how much she wants others to be happy and how fun-loving she is. W

It's just weird to have things made plain before you that you feel like you should have seen--kind of a 6th sense 'I see dead people' sort of feeling. I'll have you know I also have an app on my phone that tracks my sleeping patterns and I've learned that I sleep SOOO much better if I wear socks (yes, grandpa thi-thi) and if I go to sleep between 9 and 10. Its not just the amount of time, the quality of my sleep is better too, regardless of when I wake up. Weird, huh? It's weirdly empowering though to analyze this data and these personality types. At the same time that these studies emphasize how much I'm not able to just organically understand the world and/or the people around me and/or my own daughters--deep down I already knew that. I feel like existing without that pretense and putting forth some effort is ironically very freeing. It doesn't seem like it should be, but it is. Like living on a budget, or exercising, or getting up early--it's not that I really enjoy it--but actually doing it--you have to admit everything goes better and feels better when you do.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Within the last week...

Well honestly the very thought of writing anything makes me tired! I'm so bored even thinking about writing anything about myself! 

I'm obsessed with the weather right now. The trees are rocking my world. Sweatshirts, boots, leggings and cool weather! "Amaze"! (As Katie jo would say) I am going to bore you with some pictures from my favorite spot lately. It just happens to be the kids fav too. I feel like I am discovering Utah for the first time. Everything is so beautiful and breathtaking! Like the clouds and the colors of the mountains it's just hypnotizing. 

Macy was complaining about her tooth hurting so we took her in for a check up... Her first dentist appointment ever and she is four years old. Mother of the year!! A few hours later she was in surgery getting four baby root canals and a cavity fixed! I was prepared to take a doped up sleeping Macy home, like all the other kids that checked out during our wait. Instead I got Macy on freakin' roids or something. She was all hulked out! Screaming so freaking loud, irate, kicking, hitting and yes I was thoroughly traumatized! Talk about Anger! She was crazy! You know it's bad when the dentist says "Ahhh, this can be normal?" Really? The whole way home people were staring at us. It was really fun.

So besides forcing gross medicine on my kids, surgery on Macy's mouth, potty training, Avery's diaper rash, the nurse accidentally giving Avery the wrong immunization, temper tantrums, my freaking UTI that won't go away, trying to finish getting moved in, Avery's pink eye, and trying to catch a flying squirrel in the house this morning, not a whole lot is going on… Things are great and super easy. In all seriousness though things are good. They really are I am just trying to justify not posting for a while.

The other day we went to Jakers pumpkin patch. It was really fun! We have the best family ever!

Oh…. and yes I do want your sandals, I was going to say shoes but I wanted to specify that I do not want your jacked up boots. Just the sandals :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

and ACTION! bonus blog + boot DIY

Just to example how much I get what you are saying, Heidi (see previous post):

I have a great many things to do right now. Things that you might say are weighing on me. Have been for the last few days.  Alex was out of town, I  had a 2 day long migraine are two things that have been in my way, but really... today I haven't had much excuse.

Evan is sick downstairs and wanted some chicken noodle soup and scones earlier, just to add one more to the load of nobler acts that I could have/should have been doing. House is a pit, we have no food in our house, I have work I really need to do, plus various social things that I have been avoiding.

Sometimes I like to chop things with scissors, which sounds creepier than it is.

 don't do it

um i think i just ruined a really nice pair of boots.

also I think I just did this blog entry as a way to procrastinate further. And feel good about it.
Heidi, you nailed it.

Katie, before I destroy any other shoes :) do you maybe want those sandals you tried on earlier this summer? Do you remember?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Simplicity and Action

I recently received a text from a friend that explained why she hadn't returned my phone call...she'd had a pretty dramatic run of bad luck. It was a pretty emotional text and my reaction was heartfelt--so much so that simply responding by text didn't seem, no. This woman needed a phone call,! She needed cookies...after thinking about it a minute it seemed like dinner AND cookies would be even better. Something delicious and brilliant, delivered in a super cute basket too..yep, that would be the best way to respond. Along with a beautifully written, well thought out card. And some flowers.
In short, she got no response from me-no text, no call, no nothing. Having myself been the beneficiary of many acts of kindness, I have wondered how and why this happens to me. It happens in many different forms...constantly. This cunning form of procrastination has infiltrated my life and my personality. It tricks me because as I add more and more scaffolding to the idea--it gives me the illusion that I'm accomplishing something...when in reality I'm just setting myself up for less and less opportunities to accomplish anything. The cycle seems to occur as follows: I am presented with a need or call to action, I respond by way over complicating it or assuming this task will be 100 times easier to accomplish at another time... And then..big fat nothing. You could even argue I entertain this exact cycle with this blog! I remember I need to do it but decide that tomorrow I will be much more creative. When in reality these finished products that I either desire to do or at least complete don't fall like manna from heaven--and the ideas don't get substantially better by procrastinating--they simply just need to be done.
Netflix will always be there tomorrow, and will be much more enjoyable without the wet blanket of self-loathing.
I'm a little tired tonight. I love you guys.