The on-going adventures of two dads with two kids making their way through the world!!

Growing Pains

Sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that I was a kid once. Growing up can be difficult on all of us.  However, it feels like, when we are adults, we forget how difficult it was to be a kid.  For instance, I can vividly remember being  upset with my mom for giving me an answer like, “because I said so.”  It wasn’t until recently that I realized that answer comes from complete and total frustration. While children can provide us with such joy and love, they can also cause us great anxiety.

Recently, we learned that Jackson has been struggling in school again with his behavior.  While I had hoped that things had improved over last year, the school decided to once again put him in the Check-In/Check-Out program.  This is a program that he was part of last year where he meets with a coach in the morning.  They encourage him to have a good day and make good choices.  He has tracking sheet that he takes with him to each class that day, and he is evaluated on his behavior, using this sheet.  At the end of the day, he goes over the sheet with the coach and bring the form home for us to review and sign.

When we got the letter about going back into the program, I was very reluctant.  Last year everything was going well with the program and then the PBIS team decided to graduate Jackson.  This meant that he was done and he should be proud as if this program has been a punishment.  After going round and round with the social worker about keeping him in the program, I believe Jackson took matters into his own hands as he never had a day with high scores again for the rest of the school year.

After speaking with Jackson’s current home room teacher about the CICO program, I felt better about the approach the school would take with the program this time around.  So after a few weeks of trying it again, it has become a good conversation piece for discussing what happened at school.  At times, I can’t help but feel very disconnected from the kids when they are at school so I appreciate having something that relays more about his day.

Over the last few years, Jackson has had several instances of telling big variations of the trust.  I’ve blogged about many of the elaborate stories he has told us.  While funny to read now, the frustration that fills my body at the time is enough to make me want to lock myself in the bathroom and have “Calgon, take me away!”  Yesterday was one of those days.  Jackson came home from school and announced to me that he got all 2’s on his CICO sheet.  “That’s awesome,” I said, somewhat relieved yet surprised that he had a great day on a Monday following a full weekend.  At any rate, when he handed me the sheet, something was off.

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Why would the teacher cross out those lower marks with a big black marker even re-writing her initials?  So I asked, “Why is this marker on here?”  “The teacher wanted to change my marks so I gave her my marker to do it.”  Hmmmmm, this just didn’t seem right to me.  So I said, “Jackson, perhaps I should email your teacher and ask her about this because this just looks strange to me like you or one of your friends changed this.”  “Go ahead, she will just tell you that the lunch teacher did it,” Jackson said.  So I sent an email.

Even when Dad got home from work, he asked Jackson about it,  “I did not change the form, the teacher did it.”  OK, fine.  We’ll find out tomorrow from the teacher.

Later that night the teacher emailed me back (I included a picture of the above form in my email to her) and she agreed that it did not look right and she would find out what happened as she was out in the afternoon.  She called me this afternoon and shared with me that Jackson admitted to her that he changed the form because he didn’t agree with the lower marks he got.

Kids will be kids, I know that.  I remember telling my Dad that I did not take the change off of his nightstand, when I actually did.  I recall the fear and excitement with feeling like I got away with something.  So I get it, really I do.

However, I am bothered that Jackson never told us the truth about changing the form even after we asked him several times and pointed out that we were contacting his teacher. Reflecting on my conversation with him, I don’t think I invited him to lie about this form.  I do recognize that Jackson is very much a pleaser and I know he wants Dad and I to be proud of him.  Clearly we need to figure out another way to get that point across to him and help him feel comfortable with telling us what happened, even when he makes a mistake.  How do other parents deal with combating lying in your house?

Dad found a resource online that suggest the following:

  1. Stop asking set-up questions that invite lying. A set-up question is one to which you already know the answer. “Did you clean your room?” Instead say, “I notice you didn’t clean your room. Would you like to work on a plan for cleaning it?”
  2. Focus on solutions to problems instead of blame. “What should we do about getting the chores done?” instead of, “Did you do your chores?”
  3. Be honest yourself. Say, “That doesn’t sound like the truth to me. Most of us don’t tell the truth when we are feeling trapped, scared, or threatened in some way. Why don’t we take some time off from this right now? Later I’ll be available if you would like to share with me what is going on for you.”

Planning Ahead to Prevent Future Problems

  1. Help children believe that mistakes are opportunities to learn so they won’t believe they are bad and need to cover up their mistakes.
  2. Set an example in telling the truth. Share with your children times when it was difficult for you to tell the truth, but you decided it was more important to experience the consequences and keep your self-respect. Be sure this is honest sharing instead of a lecture.
  3. Let children know they are unconditionally loved. Many children lie because they are afraid the truth will disappoint their parents. Show appreciation. “Thank you for telling the truth. I know that was difficult. I admire the way you are willing to face the consequences, and I know you can handle them and learn from them.”

- See more at: http://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/lying.html

Good ideas above.  Some that we have tried and some that we should employ immediately. Just when I think things are starting to get easier, something like this happens and I begin to question everything we’ve been doing up to this point.  While I know we have done the best we can, and tried many different approaches, I still can’t help but feel this parenting thing just gets harder and harder!   Perhaps a lot of this is just growing pains for Jackson.  Rather, maybe the question is for who.  For him or for us?

I love both of our boys so much.  I can’t imagine a day without them.  We will do as we have been doing and keep moving forward with trying different techniques.  If any other parents have kids in similar situations and want to share some gained insight, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Two days after Thanksgiving, Jackson’s Elf on the Shelf, Oscar and Peyton’s Elf, Olive returned from the North Pole.  Both boys were so excited to see their old friends once again. This year it has been amazing at how Oscar and Olive have really stepped up their game.  They are even bringing some friends with them throughout the month which really has peaked Jackson’s curiosity.

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Just hangin out…

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Our first friend arrived earlier this week.  It’s Olaf from Disney’s Frozen.  Who else is coming?  Hmmm….

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Thanks to an early Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa Rigdon, Olive found a great hiding place and both of the Elves hid some candy treats for the boys to enjoy each day.

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A special message from Jackson…

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A few costume changes later, who knew that Elves could be so creative making a Christmas tree out of Life cereal and powdered sugar!

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At any rate, the month of December has started off with a lot of fun for the boys (and Dad and Daddy). Who else has an Elf on the Shelf in their house?  Tell us what your Elf has been up to this month.

 

That moment when…

you realize it’s been well over a month since you’ve had time to sit down and write a blog post.

Well, at least…

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For months now, I’ve been screamed at, hit, even told that he doesn’t like me anymore. The relationships between you and your four-year-old can be, well, trying at times. BUT, I think we have finally found the solution to the cranky kid who refuses to nap, won’t eat much, and keeps having potty accidents in his underwear.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

Meet my new best friend, Miralax!

That’s right, your cranky monster could just be constipated!  LOL!

<Fingers crossed> He’s slept 4 out of 5 days this past week during nap at pre-school, had regular potty breaks and been eating better.  Now this does not solve the talking back and telling you “NO” all the time, but it’s a start.

So if you are at your wits end with your little one…  try this (after consulting your pediatrician, of course).

Oh, and getting a super awesome costume for Halloween doesn’t hurt either!

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Chip!

It’s NEVER a dull moment with two boys. Last night when the boys were playing a game of Captain American vs. Thor… Peyton accidentally hit Jackson in the face with his Captain America shield (it’s a frisbee with a band on the back) chipping one of Jackson’s front teeth.  This was yet another fun-filled moment in our house full of testosterone! Remember we JUST got braces put on those pretty little teeth for Mr. Jackson and fortunately they did help to protect his teeth for some more serious damage.  But still, he had a rather large chip on one of his front top teeth.

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I felt bad for him. He immediately said, “But this is one of my adult teeth!”  After the shock over the whole incident, I was able to determine that it was not hurting him (so I was assuming that the nerve was not exposed) so we could wait until morning to deal with this.

I was so glad when I looked online and today was an early open day for our dentist!  Even more ecstatic when they told us to just come right over!  We spent all of this morning at the dentist and orthodontist office (which happen to be right next door to one another) getting x-rays, ultimately removing the bracket and wire from his braces to rebuild his tooth, and putting it all back together at the end. All is good now and our beautiful smile has returned (as if nothing ever happened).

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New Family Pictures

After weeks of planning (this month has been CRAZY busy with travel/work commitments for both me and Dad), we finally ventured out to get new family pictures done!  We could not have picked a more beautiful day and one where Peyton (lately known as Mr. Crabby Pants) was in a good mood.  At any rate, I’ll let you be the judge of the pictures below…

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Reunited and it Feels so Good!

Probably the most personal post that I’ve blogged about was called The Road To King. There I detailed the heartbreak that we felt when our first foster baby was removed from our home to go and live with his biological father. When we moved away from our home in North Carolina, we also moved away from King. That was yet another difficult aspect of life to swallow when he was just a few hours drive from us and now it’s a day long trip!

A few weeks ago, I returned to North Carolina to attend the 10th anniversary Gala for the Children’s Museum where I was one of the original staff members.  While I was in town, I had the opportunity to see many old friends and a lot of family! Probably the greatest aspect of adoption, particularly when it’s an open adoption, is that you gain a lot of new family members!

But to be honest, there was a particular family member that I had been dying to see for quite some time.  While we have seen a lot of pictures, and even had Skype calls, we have not seen our godson, King since we left North Carolina and before the birth of Peyton.

So after attending the 10th anniversary event, I drove the next morning to see King. What a great reunion that was to see him after all this time.  He’s six years old and in 1st grade now and when he jumped into my arms it was like we had never been apart.

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Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but love will always be regardless of space and time.

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