Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh the perils of exercise


Hate it? Love it? I can't decide what side of the fence I am on.

I am not one to join group sports - never have been (except for cheerleading), or be active by hiking or biking ( own personal version of hell). So I have to find time to be active.

Let me point out that once the kids are in bed, I do dishes and pack lunches so I am left with an hour of potential free time before bed. Many moms and dads spend that time doing laundry, sweeping the house, washing floors - whatever doesn't get done during the day. So I am not left with a lot of time to fit in exercise.

Keith is fantastic - he will do as many dishes as he can while he makes dinner to free up some of my time so I can work out. Recently, I also stopped sitting with Layla until she was asleep, as she falls asleep faster if I am not there. So I have gained an extra half hour.

A big hurdle, other than time, is my desire to be a lazy bum. I work all day and while my job is neither strenuous nor stressful, I still feel like being out of the house all day takes away from some "me" time. I love TV so I love to sit down and watch my shows at night. If asked to pick between tv and my treadmill, I pick TV everytime. If only we had cable hooked up to the tv in the basement....

As you know, I have done Jillian Michaels 30day shred. Got half way through before I stopped b/c of sickness and returning to work. Then I just got lazy - I didn't want to work out at 9pm!

So this week I got out my Wii fit - I didn't find it terribly challenging or strenuous so I figure I can do that on nights I don't want to work out.

A few nights ago I also did my EA Active for the Wii - now THAT was a workout! I thought I was settling in for an easy workout, like the Wii fit routine, but this challenged me so much that I could barely walk the next few days.

Yesterday I decided to get back on the treadmill. Previously, Keith and I did the 'couch to 5K' workout and we did great. It got to the point that we were both doing 5K, 3 times a week. I haven't been on a treadmill since I returned to work but I decided to go for it (mostly because Keith downloaded smutty tv for me to watch while I run).

Once I was done, I commented to keith that I really love running - but it is always such a task to get myself to do it. I feel better for having done it, I feel less guilty about having pie for dessert - but I can't seem to remember that BEFORE the workout.

Tonight there are two of my favourite shows on tv, so I am sure I won't be working out. Keith can have the treadmill tonight...I am going to attempt to remember that I like running...tomorrow...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our current trials and tribulations - life with 2 kids

Keith is doing great at home with the kids. He really is amazing. He keeps the house tidy, the kids are very happy and he has fixed sleep, potty and many discipline issues. You see, I am the push-over parent. I am the one who will cave to their slightest request. I wish I could parent like he does!

I wanted to share what we are currently going through with the two kids, as life is never dull here and I am sure our stories are not unique to our kids.

Layla is too young to really have any discipline issues. She is growing so fast though. I find she is learning to do things faster than her brother did. She just figured out how to crawl forward this week - which means our previous "rolling log of disaster" is now a "crawling mass of destruction". If something is dangerous or off-limits, she will find it and eat it. This is new territory for us, having had one baby who was very placid and didn't crawl until a year of age. Our biggest challenges with her right now are baby proofing to keep her safe, teaching her that things are off-limits (we use a tone of voice with her that she knows means something is off limits) and biting.
Layla already has six teeth but we think a few more are coming. She has taken to biting her brother - not maliciously, but because she is probably teething and his flesh is the nearest thing to her mouth. When they have bath together, Noah spends the whole bath dodging her bites and scooting around the tub screeching at her to "stop it!". I would bathe them separately, but I can't really figure out how to do this because they go to bed at the same time.
The only thing we can do at this age is remove her from the person she is biting and distract her with something else. It works about 90% of the time.

Noah is an amazing kid - so happy and calm, but something is making him feel like he needs more attention or more power in his life (My guess is that Layla is that "something" special causing him to feel a bit left out).
His newest behaviour that is causing discipline issues at home, and potty training issues at school is what I refer to as "learned helplessness" (as a tribute to nursing theory). Noah likes to throw a fit over things he is capable of doing by yelling, "I CAN'T!" and then crying (or rather, trying to make himself cry). This could be exclaimed as he tries to pull up his pants, put on his coat, or put his own socks on. These are all things he is 100% capable of doing. It can be very difficult to sit and listen to when you have to get out the door. This is one of those situations where Keith is a million times better than I am - he is more patient, whereas I give in and do it for him.

Keith and I parent according to Alyson Shaefer's alderian principles ( We have been a bit busy lately to consult her book to see how to get Noah out of this learned helplessness cycle, however this weekend Keith had time to review the two chapters that apply to both attention seeking and power struggles.

We tried out the principles over dinner, which is an area we have had a lot of battles. Typically, Noah fights sitting at the table with us, and when he does he shoves his plate away and then trys to get back down after throwing a fit over what he is supposed to eat. He also has gotten ME in the habit of spoon feeding him, just to get him to eat something. After chewing it, he spits it back onto his plate. Inevitably, he will spend time in the corner during dinner.

Last night, we anticipated he wouldn't be hungry because he ate one pound of pasta at lunch...literally! It is hard to explain alderian principles properly and succinctly, so instead I will share what we specifically did with Noah:

As we served dinner, Noah dawdled at his chair. We asked him to join us and he refused. Instead of harping on him, or forcing him into his chair, we just began eating and pleasantly chatting about our day.  He played around the kitchen for a while (enjoying his new freedom!) and at some point he noticed he wasn't getting undue attention from skipping dinner, so he came up to the table and shoved his plate away. This is something we don't tolerate, so he went straight to the corner (although I think Alyson Shaefer would have said we should just ignore that behaviour). After he was done in the corner, he asked to come to the table. So we told him, very nicely, that we would really like that. He tried to get us to put him in his chair for him, but he is capable of doing so himself so we told him that once he gets into his chair, we would be more than happy to push him toward the table. He did so himself and ate one piece of food before declaring he was done. We told him that was fine, but there would be no more food until breakfast the next day. He was ok with this and asked politely to leave the table. I was a bit anxious about putting him to bed hungry, but he actually ended up sleeping later than usual and had two bowls of oatmeal at harm done!

Every time we use Alyson's book, I am astounded at how well it works. It often seems common sense, but it really is challenging because I find the hardest part of parenting is not holding a grudge or making the child feel guilty over their choice. Haven't we all told the child that "yes, you can leave this table, but now I have to throw out this dinner that daddy spent so long making"? According to Alyson Shaefer, once you are past a misbehaving situtaion, you have to drop the anger or frustration  - and this is really hard. So it is a constant work for us but Keith and I are very devoted to it and work very hard at parenting the best we can. We don't want to use old-school parenting techniques of "you have to do this because I say so" or guilt-trips, aggression or fear-tactics.

Another situation last night, where her tactics worked very well for us was when Noah wanted help putting his socks on for bed (he likes to sleep in socks!). He sobbed while begging Keith to help him. Keith gave him a long hug but then proceeded to read him his bedtime stories to Noah. About four pages in, Noah realized he wasn't getting attention over his sobbing and put his socks on himself and enjoyed the rest of the story.

If you have discipline issues with your kids, try Alyson's book out. It really is a quick and easy read (you only need to review the chapters that apply to your child's discipline issues) and you won't be sorry!