I find it humerous when people come to my house or meet me in person and tell me how organized I am. They see the charts on my walls, my printable schedules and lists and it truly does give the impression that I am, indeed, organized.
But you see, the thing is, the reason I make and post all these charts is because I am so DISorganized and I need these things to help keep me focused and somewhat sane!
I am an avid follower and admirer of organizing and time management guru Rivka Caroline (author of From Frazzeled to Focused and www.sobeorganized.com/). She often says, in her lovely English accent, 'You need to make your life as boring as possible when it comes to setting up systems. So boring that you do not have to think.'
Lets translate that into my own life right now.
Its two and a half weeks until Rosh Hashana. Thats four entire Shabbos meals and about 54 meals to cook for my family. I have many other things going on in the next 2 weeks so the less I need to think about and plan, the better.
So today I sat down and made 3 menus: Rosh Hashana, Week day meals and Shabbos meals. I'm so happy to share them with you to give you ideas, inspiration or just the plain enjoyment in reading what we'll be eating for the next two and a half weeks and over the Holidays!
Rosh Hashana Menu
I get most of my recipes off of Pinterest and tweak them to my families liking. Feel free to search for them and tweak them to yours.
These are all my go to dishes. I make one type of fish, 2-3 dips, 2-3 salads, 1 soup, 1-2 Main dish, 2 sides and 1 dessert, always served with tea
He has the most delicious toothless smile you have ever seen and the most infectious laugh you will ever hear. His nose is doused with freckles and he always has a band aid on at least one if not both of his knees. Everywhere we go, people tell me how cute he is and what a great personality he has. He's that kid. I'm sure most of you have at least one.
The thing is, this sweet boy of mine has some serious anger issues. Issues I figured were just a part of his passionate personality.
He has tantrums. Really bad tantrums. Tantrums that involve throwing things and ruining things, hurting anyone in his path and saying some really, really nasty things.
All my kids had their fair share of tantrums and meltdowns.
But none of them had this anger attached to it. They all would ultimately calm down and realize what they did.
Not with this little guy of mine.
He always seems to blame everyone around him. It is never his fault. He hit because... he yelled because... he always has a long drawn out reason (which always makes perfect sense, mind you) justifying his actions.
I keep telling myself he will 'grow out of it' but something just was not feeling right.
A week ago I sat down and googled 'angry child, tantrums, disrespectful, wont take responsibility for actions, disrupting family'
And I found the answer to everything.
ODD. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Google it if you feel your child may have these qualities.
I don't like labels, but this label fits. And after a huge amount of research and professional advice, my husband and I have put a great plan into action that WORKS.
He is a new child.
I wanted to wait at least a week before blogging about this to see if the changes we implemented actually worked. And they did. And we will continue doing this until we don't need to anymore. And I truly hope that our experience and changes can help any of you that are dealing with a similar situation.
Dealing with a Child with ODD:
Kids with ODD need CLEAR and CONCISE rules, along with CLEAR and CONSISTENT consequences. We have family rules, but we reworded them and put them up in the kitchen. Although the rules are geared toward this specific child, we didn't want to single him out, so we made them 'Family Rules'. My husband and I had a meeting with the kids and we all read the rules together and put them up on the wall. (Below is the unedited version that I had on my computer, aside for grammar, the edited version is exactly the same)
Help your child identify the things that set them off. It baffled my mind how one minute he was the perfect most adorable child and minutes later, a serious little monster, screaming and hitting and destroying things. It just made no sense. What was making him do these things?
So after some more research, I printed this paper and we went through it together. He checked off the things that he felt pressed his buttons.
Now that he was aware that when certain things happen, he is feeling triggered, he is able to say, 'Mommy/Daddy, my buttons are being pressed,' or 'I'm being triggered.'
We told him that any time he feels this way, don't react to what is triggering him, but walk away and come tell one of us, mom or dad, and we will help him deal with it right away.
It was almost like this little sweet guy breathed a sigh of relief. I wanted to cry.
Kids with ODD don't WANT to be angry and out of control. They don't want to constantly argue and test us. But a child does not have the tools to change their behavior by themselves. We, as parents HAVE to step in and guide them in the most loving and gentle way we can.
So we made him his own daily checklist. Now that he is aware of the clearly marked rules, at the end of each day before he goes to sleep, we take out this sheet that I made for him. I laminated it and we keep it next to his bed. We use a dry erase marker and we told him that if he is able to put a smiley face in every single box, he gets to pick a prize. We told him he gets the opportunity to get a prize EVERY day if he can.
All kids, but especially kids with ODD, need constant positive reinforcement. Its not easy as a parent to be conscious all the time and to recognize seemingly normal behaviour in our kids when that is what they are 'supposed' to be doing.
But here are some things we have been telling our little guy as often as we can:
'Thank you for taking your plate to the sink, that's so helpful!'
'Your bedroom is so tidy, you must have worked really hard.'
'I really appreciate you telling me your sister was triggering you. Great job in not reacting and telling us right away, can I give you High Five?'
'Wow, I saw how you took a deep breath when you were starting to get upset. What a responsible thing to do, keep up the great work.'
'I see you are beginning to feel worked up, lets go sit outside for a few minutes and work it out.'
His eyes light up when we say these things.
It took a few days before he was able to get ALL smiley faces.
BUT- since implementing this new system he has not had a tantrum ONCE. He has not been disrespectful ONCE. He has not lost his temper in a week, which is HUGE.
Mind you, he has faught with his siblings and yelled and did things that most 7 year old boys do. He is far from the perfect child! But for HIM, to not completely lose his cool for one week straight is nothing short of miraculous.
So last night, after an entire day of being calm and dealing with issues as they came along, my sweet little guy was able to get an entire page of smileys.
I need to remind you that it is not easy for him to get a full page of smileys, and every day is a huge challenge for him to work through keeping calm and dealing with issues that come up. I know it will not be easy to get another full page. But I know how good he is feeling about himself. The prize is just an added bonus.
He was so excited to pick a prize.
We printed this from a website and are tweaking it a bit.
But it works. And he feels so good about himself and so in control of himself.
Something he has never been able to do.
He picked the Trophy, by the way. I bought 8 5" Plastic Gold trophies on Amazon and gave him one with his name written on it. He proudly displays it on his shelf next to his bed.
So please, do your own research. And if you find that your child fits the description of having ODD, deal with it as soon as you can. It will save your life and most importantly, your childs life.
We've all suffered from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) at some stage of our lives.
Tonight was July 4 and we had plans to join friends on the roof top of their apartment building and watch the fireworks together.
As life goes, a few of my kids got sore throats and a late night was the last thing they needed if they want to get better faster. So being the mom that I am, I sent my oldest to join his buddies and watch the fireworks while I put the rest of the gang to bed.
My 8 year old was literally sobbing that its just not fair that her older brother gets to 'have the best time ever' while she's stuck in bed at home.
I told her to imagine she had a garden. And that her neighbor had a garden. Imagine she was always looking at the neighbors garden and wondering what the neighbor was going to plant and how he takes care of his garden.
If she spent all her time looking at the neighbors garden, whats going to happen to HER garden?
Nothing. Either all her plants will die or it will be overtaken by weeds. But it definitely will not be a pretty garden.
So whats the moral of the story? Take care of your own garden, then when your garden is doing well, go ahead and look at your neighbors.
We both agreed she had a sore throat. And the best thing to do when we have a sore throat is take a warm bath, have some nice not tea with honey and an early night. That helps us heal. Its taking care of our garden.
And yes, her big brother was having fun, but it wouldn't have helped her get better to go out and have a late night.
And she really understood it. And she was okay, and she hopped into bed with her tea and went to sleep.
And really, thats what it boils down to. Taking care of our own gardens. Doing the things that work for us without worrying about what everyone else is doing.
When we are happy and content with who we are, what we are doing and where we are, then 'fear of missing out' will never really apply to you because for the most part, you will always be exactly where YOU want to be, not where 'everyone else' is.
So water your garden, plant some flowers, rip out those weeds. And have a fabulous summer doing the things that work for YOU.
We went to the playground this morning. My oldest son who's almost 11 made it VERY clear that he did NOT want to join us for the trip.
I don't leave him home alone just yet so he didn't really have a choice but to come.
He stomped to the car, slammed the door and looked out the window the entire 5 minute drive.
When we arrived, he got out of the car, slammed the door and stomped to the nearest bench, plonked himself down, arms folded and made it very clear that he had no interest in being there.
All the other kids were playing on the swings, the slide, baseball, soccer, having a ball (no pun intended).
I sat down next to my usually easy going happy go lucky kid wondering what on earth was going on with him.
Could it be he's just growing up? Did something happen with a friend or a sibling or me or my husband? Is it school? Is he not well? What on earth is going on with my child? Do I need a therapists intervention? Is it physical? Is it emotional?
I started asking him questions, trying to figure out what was going on. The answer seemed to be 'NO' to every question I asked. 'Did someone say something to hurt your feelings?' No. 'Is something going on at school?' No. Every answer was a dead end.
After about a half hour of the kids playing and him pouting, I finally turned to him and asked, 'Did you eat anything for breakfast this morning?'
To which I got the answer that made so much sense... 'No.'
The second we got home, he made himself a grilled cheese sandwich, had a banana and a plate of scrambled eggs followed by a big cup of milk... and a laugh that he will never ever forget to eat breakfast again.
He was hungry.
That was it.
No therapist needed. No emotional issues going on. He just need a nice big breakfast.
So yes, there are times when things need to be dealt with and proper help and intervention is needed.
But there are also times when all our kids need is a sandwich. Or a hug.
'Mommy, how come the electrical wires are always lined up along the streets and not just randomly placed?'
'Mommy, how can you tell the difference between a satellite and a star?'
'Mommy, you know that bridge by the beach near Roses house that you can open that gate to get to and when you stand on it you can look down and see the water come under you and its near the hotel that had the Luau that we saw when Bubby and Zaidy came to visit and blah... blah... blah... blah...'
'Mommy, can we get a pet eagle?'
'Mommy, are you even listening???'
Honestly, sometimes mommy is not listening. Actually very often mommy needs to switch off for a little bit as the talking and questions can just be so much that at times, mommy wants to scream.
But she wont scream, because she loves you more then life itself. Because she understands your need to be heard and will do her absolute best to listen to you and answer your questions as often as possible.
But my darling children, there are many moments that mommy just needs silence. Mommy needs to be left alone with her thoughts and not answer any questions or make any decisions or give any opinions.
There are times during the day that mommy needs to switch off to recharge because mommy simply cannot listen right now.
Being an Introvert has its amazing strengths, but being a homeschooling mother, who is with her children all day, yet really longs for silence is one of the biggest challenges I have faced as a mother so far.
I haven't found the perfect solution yet. But I'm sure it will all work out. It always does.