Christmas tree!

I don't know that I've talked about this much on my blog, but we have started a "strips" system at home for the two little boys.  If they have to go to time out, they pull a strip. If they have a major tantrum, they pull a strip. If they hit or kick things while they are having a tantrum (which was becoming a major problem with the C-monster, to the point where he had begun hitting me which I wanted to nip in the bud ASAP for the baby's sake especially) it's an automatic strip too.  They have three strips a day, and if all are pulled then they spend the remainder of the day in their room.

Normally if they pull all their strips it's a good indication that they are overly tired. For example, a few nights ago C pulled all his strips at I think about 5:30, and I went to check on him at 6:30 and he was fast asleep (the lights were on in his room and everything, and we were all playing loudly in the living room). I asked him to come eat dinner and he said he didn't want to, and I said OK but you need to come and take your medicine at least. He got to the table and picked up his cup, and dumped it out and started crying. Like he was too tired to even hold his cup up. So...yeah, clearly overtired.

I probably haven't talked about it because in some ways to me it seems harsh.  But I have to say it has been very effective and behaviors have de-escalated substantially, especially for C.  Even on days that they have pre-school he has been known to pull all of his strips by 5:00 p.m., which means he is only home and awake for a few hours total and in that time is making pretty poor choices.  It is getting better though, I'd say the majority of days he doesn't pull all of his strips and there have been a few days where he hasn't pulled any!

Anyway, we had been planning to put up the Christmas tree after dinner a few days ago (the same day with the cup dumping out), and since C pulled all his strips he didn't get to participate which was a big bummer for him. I felt pretty sad about it too. :(  D asked if he could go to a friend's house, and I told him he could go after we got the tree up. He whined about it, and I just said we are doing it as a family. To which he had some mouth diarrhea and said something  like "You aren't my family, you'll never be my family, blah blah blah" which we have all heard before.  He did say his brothers and sister are his family, and I told him if it makes him feel better to think he is doing it with them and not us then that's fine.

At some point he said something about us not being his parents, to which I (stupidly) replied "Well that's not what it says on your birth certificate!" He of course was completely horrified, and went on a rant about that.  Asked for his old birth certificate, which I just so happen to have...but am not going to be giving it to him any time soon since I really don't know what he plans to do with it.  I'll hold on to it for him though!

Well, we got the tree up! My parents gave us their old three, which is skinny (good when you have a small living room and large living room furniture) and green (which I much prefer over the white one we have, which was also free so I can't complain too much about that!).  After Brian and I got all the furniture arranged and started putting the tree together D finally started to the end he was saying how it wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it would be and it was even kind of fun. Shocking!  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly his attitude turned around.

I don't know if the idea of putting up and decorating the tree made him think of his bio mom or other family, or why he was so upset about it. He did seem interested that a lot of our ornaments have a story behind them on where or when we got them, or who we got them from.  I have possibly the worst memory ever but I can tell you a lot about our Christmas ornaments!  I like to think of a Christmas tree as a big display of memories from years past and I like having ornaments that mean something rather than just pretty ones bought from the store.  We have ones the little boys made last year, ones from when we first got married, ones from places we've visited.  I even have one that I'm pretty sure I've had for over 20 years that I remember getting when we visited my great-grandpa before he died.   But I could see why that would be upsetting for him.  This will be his first Christmas without his bio mom, unless she decides to come out of the woodwork and call us to set up a visit.  Which, we'll see but I am not holding my breath at this point.

So Plan A for addressing Miss M's behaviors is that I am going to take them to preschool later than I have been.  I had been having them just eat breakfast there because I'd feed them at home and then we'd go to preschool and the boys would tell their teachers that they were "hungry" so then they would eat again at preschool, which just seems totally weird to me. The C-Monster would literally not eat at home just so he could eat at preschool which was frustrating since he is supposed to eat this fiber cereal, which I know he isn't thrilled with but once he eats 1/2 cup of it he can eat whatever else he wants. And the kid can eat like nobody's business so 1/2 cup is barely scratching the surface of what he consumes at a meal.  I'd tell his teachers that he already ate (even if he choose not to, that's fine, but I don't feel like he should get to choose not to eat at home and then decide at preschool to have a pity party for himself and eat while his teachers are trying to do other stuff with his class) but they would let him eat anyway.  So anyway, I'm going to have them eat here again, and re-start the morning routine of making our beds, brushing our teeth, all that good stuff and then by the time we get to preschool then breakfast time will be way over so them eating there will not be an option.  Hopefully.  We'll hang out here later, even if they are all ready to go we'll just stay here and play or whatever.  I don't know if it will help or not but it is a start and will definitely give us all more time together.

Then also we are looking at hiring another person for our company again. I'm hoping that this person will be able to take over some of my responsibilities, which will mean that I'll only have to do the money stuff which doesn't need to be done every day. I could probably sit down once a week for 2 or 3 hours and do everything that needed to be done with the money only.  So that will open up options too.  But there are a lot of things that need to be done before that can happen, though we do have someone in mind to hire so that's good at least!  That will also be a big help for both of us once the baby is born, as long as we can get things rolling before then.

This blog is really long and also boring. Sorry. :)

I started taking a crochet class, which I am pretty excited about. I know it's kind of silly but it gets me out of the house and hey, crocheting is pretty cool. All the people in the class are significantly older than I am, but I think old people are awesome so I don't mind.  I was telling my husband how relaxing it is to be there, in the quiet surrounded by beautiful yarn and just spending time working with my hands. Yeah. I'm totally an old lady trapped in a young body. :)

My baby is sitting very low today and kicking me in the bladder repeatedly. I thought I was going to pee my pants during church, but thankfully I didn't.  He has been on a roll the past few days with all his moving around!  I wish we had a name for him. We've been calling him Henry which I think we both like, but I'm not sure if that will be his official name or not.  Picking a name is hard!  But what an honor to have. :)


  1. please forgive my ignorance... what is pulling a strip??

    Need all the tips I can get , of course!

    1. I don't know if they did this when you were in elementary school, but they did when I was! Both C and Y have pockets hung on the refrigerator with three strips of paper in them. There is another pocket called the "naughty pot" and when they have to pull a strip they take one from their pocket and put it into the naughty pot. I made all of it out of construction paper.

      I've found that the boys, especially C, do better with a very firm, very clear line. With the problems we were having with them talking at night for hours every single night, I finally drew a line in the sand and said the first person I hear talking is getting moved from this room. After about 3 nights of talking and seeing what was going to happen, they very very rarely do it anymore! I feel like the strip system has been the same, it gives them a very clear line and allows them to make the decision on whether they will spend the evening hanging out with us or spend it in their room.

  2. I like the strip system -- they get the visual of how many "chances" they have left and the physical act of pulling them themselves when and the consequences are enforceable.

    The crochet class sounds good. I sing in our church choir and feel the same way--I'm the only one with children younger than high school (and most are empty nesters), but having something that's "me", not "mom" is hugely relaxing.

  3. I hear you on those morning routines ... we play with our routine all the time trying to find the right fit to get everyone off to a good start to the day.


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