Gingerly Made: December 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giving Kids A Break From The Holidays

We often see, hear, and read about ways in which we as adults can manage the stress, long hours, and general busyness of the holiday season. But, what about our kids? Think about it. They get dragged around for endless shopping trips, family visits, church programs, and other activities. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, our kids are off their routine, eating lots of rich foods, and often staying up later and/or missing naps as well. And then we wonder why they have been good all year and now misbehaving and having emotional break downs.

Sunday night our girls melted down. They were exhausted and overstimulated from all the extra people around. It didn't help that we got a flat tire on the way home too. Anyway, we were supposed to go to the mall the following day, but decided that we would wait. We spent the day at home resting, relaxing, and letting the girls do what they wanted to and giving lots of extra cuddles. This is not the first year we have dealt with holiday stress for our kids.

So what can you do if you feel like your kids are overloaded? Or prevent it in the first place?

The most important thing is to say No. It's ok to miss some activities. You don't have to try to do it all. And while it can sometimes be difficult to say no to church or friends, it's always difficult to say no to family. But that doesn't mean you can't. If family is visiting or you are visiting family. It's ok to say we need a day just for us. Your kids love visiting with them, getting and giving love and attention. But on the flip side all the attention from other family means they usually get less from you. Reserve a day just for you and your kids.

Give extra cuddles. Sometimes we get so busy, we don't stop to just be. Watch a movie with your kids and cuddle on the couch or spend a little extra time together before they go to bed for the night.

Do a quick kid craft. Crafts are a fun activity to keep you in the holiday spirit, but without some of the craziness.

Make gifts instead of shopping for them. That's more fun for your kids anyway and more meaningful to the people who receive them. It's also a great teaching time on a child's level about commercialism, financial responsibility, and what's really important in life.

Get sleep. Do your best to make sure your kids still get their naps if they normally take them. And get them to bed on time so they get a full nights sleep. Try to plan shopping trips and other activities around their sleep times so that your children can get their best rest. There will be times when they miss a nap or get to bed later than usual, but that should be the exception not the rule. Do your best.

Eat healthy food. This should go without saying, but even adults struggle with eating healthy at this time of year. Your children most likely don't have the self discipline to resist all the sweet treats being passed around. It's up to us parents to make sure that while it's ok to indulge a little, your kids are getting good healthy food too.

Remember. This time of year is stressful because we allow it. Don't give in. Keep Thanksgiving and Christmas about their true meanings.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mommy Guilt

I'm struggling big time with mommy guilt. You know what that is, right? It's the guilt that all moms have over something related to their children. Sometimes the guilt is valid and other times not so much. But regardless of the validity of the guilt, to mom it's a big deal.

My mommy guilt right now is over the attention I give my girls. I feel guilty about not giving my eldest the attention she was used to before the arrival of the baby. The baby tends to be rather gassy and uncomfortable. She wants to be held and holding her, rocking her, does help with the gas. Then I feel guilty because I don't give Hayley as much cuddles as I did Caitlin when she was a baby. I try to set her down as much as I can so that I can give one-on-one time to Caitlin and get things done around the house. And I feel guilty about that too.

I've talked with Hubs about it; particularly in reference to our oldest. She isn't acting out defiantly, but she is lonely and I can see it. She does a good job of playing by herself, but she has also been watching a lot of television. She asks for me to hold her and play with her a lot. I put the baby down to play with her and hold her as much as I can, but I find that I'm often telling her "I can't right now", or to "wait a minute".

We are enrolling her in a preschool program two mornings a week beginning in January. That would offer her the opportunity to play with other kids her age which she loves. I worry a bit about how she will adjust to the change, but I know that she will. And as Hayley gets older, I will be able to play with both of my girls together. Also as Hayley settles into a routine we will be able to have more predictable one-on-one time.

I started writing the post a week ago and was struggling big time with guilt. I still have some, but I feel more positively about the future and managing my time with my girls.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo Shoot Disaster

We went to take some family portraits and Hayley's six week photos over the weekend.

It was a total DISASTER!!

After the first few family shots, Caitlin had a melt down because she wanted to play with the other kids waiting with their families to get pictures taken. I'm really disappointed we didn't get ANY of just the two girls. Sister pics would have been so cute.

And then, Hayley was tired and started crying. All those poor people around us had to be so grateful to not be that awful family with the screaming young-un's.

Somehow we did get in a few good shots though.

The best of the family pics.

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