Friday, March 9, 2012

SD's and AP's Lovely New Routine

It's my opinion that sometimes, many times, (though clearly not all the time) when children act out it's because of a legitimate need.  Heck, when adults display behavior that is unflattering, it's often an outgrowth of a legitimate need.  But, back to the kiddos.  Sometimes, they need more boundaries...and more structure.  Sometimes they need more responsibility...and more freedom.  And sometimes they need more attention...more time.

That last one has been a need of Ann Peyton's that I think has gone unnoticed for awhile.  The things is, she didn't really need all that much of either.  But I think she was craving a little bit of my undivided attention, a little bit of "us" time.

And now she has it.  

Almost every day before naptime or bedtime, after Graves has been adequately nursed, rocked and snuggled, I read with her, we snuggle, and then I sing her a few songs.

We usually read one of her children's Bibles (always at night, sometimes before her nap) and then typically we read a more "grown up" book that I most likely wouldn't choose to read to both of them or even to try to read while Graves was awake. She likes Madeline and she's espesially interested in this thick volume of Winnie the Pooh stories that we have.  Both are really written for a slightly older child, but she enjoys them.  [As a tangent: I would much rather be reading to her slightly above her level than obsessively doing the phonics drills some people do with two and three year olds.]

She also just slows down and "unwinds" during this time and she lets me hold her and cuddle her.  It's a great time to tell her how much I love her and I've also decided to start working on telling her things that I'm proud of her for from earlier in the day and just affirming things about her, like how smart, kind, and special she is.

I sing whatever she asks me to and her requests vary A LOT.  She almost always asks me to sing her old lullaby from when she was a baby, the one  that until recently I had let months pass since I had sang it.  It's a modified version of "Goodnight Ladies" in which I replace "Ladies" with "Annie".  Lately, however, almost without fail she asks me to sing "Goodnight, Monkey" because she loves to call herself a monkey, but she loves it even more when we do! After that, she'll ask for "Whole World" ("He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"), "Wheels on the Bus", "Home on the Range", or "My Eyes" ("Battle Hymn of the Republic").

There are still hard nights and rough naptimes, but I've seen a huge difference.  When people told me that they locked their kids in their rooms, or hung a belt on the door, or several other strategies, I'm glad I didn't try them with her.  I'm not saying those things are wrong, but they would have been wrong for her.  Very wrong.  And I knew it.  I'm so glad I listened to my mother gut.  And I'm glad we have this time together now.

It's so good for my soul, too.


Christi said...

That's awesome! I think as moms we know what our children need and each one is different. Cuddle time is so priceless. My kids couldn't do the belt or room, because they would have just cried which would have resulted in an entirely stressed home. Of course some days as a mom is just trial, error and many prayers of guidance and patience.

Kodi said...

I love this post. I've recently been noticing the same things with Manning. When he acts out if I make an effort to give him even five minutes of attention immediately it satiates him. I need to be more proactive & not just reactionary with I though. Oh! And I so, so agree about the reading and not drilling. I have a huge vocabulary & I'm really great with grammar ALL because I was a reader as a child. There's a lot to be said for the simple way that reading and being read to can educate.