Posts tagged annoyances

Nathan and his attitude

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Today’s been rough. I think Nathan’s picking up on my mood and energy (or lack thereof haha), and with the moving and a new baby brother, he’s been acting crazy. My normally sweet little boy has been blatently defying me and back-talking like you wouldn’t believe, and it’s been gettng progressively worse each day. He’s being really sweet to his brother, but he’s acting like a complete jerk to Paul and me.

I think I need to start something new and exciting for the afternoons (when his attitude is the worst). Maybe some pool time on the porch for a couple of hours every day will help move him out of this phase. Although now that I think about it, I’m not sure how to make time for that with everything else that has to be done. Maybe that’s another thing getting to Nathan- he’s not getting as much of my time and attention.

I am really looking forward to things settling down and getting back into a routine!

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Sleeping like a baby? Pffffft!

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So I’ve come to the conclusion that whoever coined the term “sleeping like a a baby” had obviously never actually been around a sleeping baby. I was up most of the night last night (well, for the past two weeks, actually!) because my baby wakes up to feed every 2-3 hours. And in between feedings? He grunts. A lot. As in, a grunt every second. He’s like an alarm clock only instead of beeping, he grunts. And his grunting sounds like a baby piglet’s!

On the bright side, he’s not awake at night like Nathan was. (I am knocking on wood right now!) This little man does try to sleep at night, and he tends to have his wakeful moments during the day. He is a very fitful sleeper, though. Constant grunting and whimpering and shifting. If I don’t have him swaddled, his little hands flail around and he wakes himself up. But right now, I’m just thankful that he does sleep at night, albeit lightly.

And I’m constantly waking up to his little grunts, rubbing his sweet little head, and giving those soft cheeks some kisses. And today, I will cuddle him and kiss him some more, just like I do with Nathan. And I will smell him. What’s up with that? I cant stop smelling on my baby, smelling his face and his hair and his little belly. I just love how he smells… I’m like an addict for it!

I’m so thankful for my children.

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Positive reinforcement- our secret gem

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So as you guys already know, I started going to a gym that has childcare. The one I go to is great, and the ladies that run the childcare center are wonderful. However, it’s only considered a casual childcare center- it’s not an accredited daycare center. They don’t do snacks, change diapers, or anything like that. And there is a two-hour time limit. But I’m super happy just to have the option!

The childcare at the gym is great to have, but it’s a little zoo-ish and a bit of a free-for-all. There is no structure, which is something Nathan really needs.  The other kids get really wild, which Nathan can’t handle. Don’t get me wrong, the workers try. They really do. But since it’s a casual childcare center, they’re not trained to handle kids like mine.

So we’re working on lots of positive reinforcement. I am innundating Nathan with positivity. Its important to catch him doing something right. But when he acts up, he gets only one warning, and then I discipline him. I’m not going to give him chance after chance to behave. Why, you ask? Because that’s not real life. And because respects me when I give him boundaries and limits and I STICK to them.

As for the childcare at the gym, I’m using a coupon system. You see, the workers had lost control of him. When they try to put him in timeout, he fights. I mean, tooth and nail. Complete with scratching, kicking, hitting, the works. Once he reaches that point, they have to let him go and not force it since he could hurt himself or them. Unfortunately, to Nathan it meant that all he had to do was fight like hell and then he could get out of trouble. It’s not like that with me, though; I’m Mother. I don’t care if it takes me an hour to get him to stay in timeout for three consecutive minutes. Fighting me never, ever gets him out of a consequence. I have never, not one time, given in. Never. He can’t get out of discipline with me. But he knows he can with others. Hence, the coupon system.

So Nathan and I will draw a picture of a special treat (ice cream, popsicle, etc.) of something he doesn’t get often, and we call it his coupon. We hand it over to the workers when we arrive, so Nathan has a visual of the workers being in control of whether or not he receives his coupon when he leaves. And then if he behaves, they give him the coupon and he redeems the coupon for his treat when we get home. However, if he doesn’t behave, we wave bye-bye to the coupon and leave it there for next time.

There has been only one time I’ve had to veto the coupon they gave him. There were about 15 screaming kids running around in there, and Nathan lost control. He started pushing and kicking and screaming, thrashed and crashed and lost control. He fought the workers when they attempted to put him in timeout, so they had to come get me. After I disciplined him, I had to take my shower. While I was gone, Nathan pulled the fire alarm (WHY do they have those damn things within children’s reaches in the nursery anyway??) The building had to be evacuated, the fire department came, the whole kit-n-caboodle.

Let me preface what I’m about to say with the ladies who work there are wonderful women. They have huge hearts and genuinely like the kids, especially mine. They dote on him, and there is one lady in particular who tries to spend as much on-on-one time with him as she can when he’s there- because she’s noticed he does better when she does. And she told me she just loves how precious, sweet, and kind he is. So anyway, this particular worker (I’ll call her A) said although Nathan was quite naughty, he still deserved his coupon because he tried to be good… A told me it wasn’t his fault the other kids were too rowdy, causing him to become overstimulated. She said she could tell he tried so hard to be good, but it was just too loud and too rowdy in there, and he lost control. So she handed him the coupon and said he did a good job trying to be good.

I thought long and hard about that as Nathan and I drove home, and I made the executive decision as his mother to veto the coupon. I understand what A meant, I really do. And I do agree with her. He really DOES try, and it’s not his fault that he has sensory issues. However, trying won’t get you shit in real life. You can try not to be late for work, but your boss won’t give a damn. You can try to turn in a work project on time, but that won’t matter if you miss your deadline. Trying doesn’t mean squat in real life, only what you actually do.

So I vetoed the coupon. Nathan was gloriously angry about it and had a monstrous meltdown, but I stood my ground. We as a society have to remember that we’re not raising children; we’re raising adults. Yes it would have made me feel good in the moment, short term, to give him his coupon and make him happy. But it would have been self-centered of me because I would be thinking of how it made me feel rather than teaching him an important lesson. It would have hurt him in the long run and not taught him anything. Because even though it’s not his fault, per se, that other kids’ rowdiness overstimulates him, as his mother it’s my job to teach him that his behavior was unacceptable. It’s my job to teach him what behaviors are and are not appropriate.

The only way he can learn that is if I teach him. And I don’t want my child to be like this entitled generation of kids we have on our hands now whose only thoughts are me, me, me! I want him to be responsible, successful, and self sufficient.

But you know what? After that incident, he has earned every single one of his coupons thereafter. And the last few days, he has been SPECTACULAR. As in, zero incidents! The workers told me his behavior has been PERFECT. He’s been so kind to everyone, including the other children. He’s been doling out hugs and affection, and today I was told that when he saw a little girl crying, he got her some tissues, dabbed her eyes, and said “No cry, dry the tears” and then gave her hugs.

Stuff like that melts my heart.

In fact, he’s been so well behaved that today one of the male workers made a point to go to the manager’s office after his shift was over (before it was time for me to get Nathan) to tell management to tell me that Nathan was so well behaved that he deserved TWO ice creams (which was his coupon today.) The manager told me Nathan has been a pure joy.

My heart felt like it was going to burst with love.

Being a parent is a rough path to walk, that’s for sure. Its hard to come up with the right strategy to control your children. Parenting is fluid, constantly changing. At least with Nathan. That kid keeps me on my toes, I tell ya. We’re constantly changing our tactics to keep up with what works best for him. And as cliche as it sounds, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Gym woes

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Many of you already know I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. (40 pounds, 44 inches, and 6 dress sizes!) I’ve been working out really hard to get to the point I’m at, and I’m not at all unhappy with the results. My only gripe, however, is that I’ve been on a plateau since January. January! I’ve tried changing up what I eat, working out even harder, you name it. No luck.

So the gym I’ve been going to is an all-women’s gym. It worked great to get me to the point I’m at now, but not so much once I hit the plateau. You see, there are only 12 or 13 machines there. You work each machine for 30 seconds and then you jog (or whatever you want to do) for 30 seconds on a recovery pad stationed in between each machine. I worked out hard, so hard that sweat would spray off me and the machines would sometimes come off the ground with all the effort I put into it! But then I think my body got used to it. Since there was no variety at this gym, (no classes, no additional machines or anything), I hit a plateau that wouldn’t budge. I only need to lose about 10 more pounds and tone up, but I was having no luck.

So for months, I kept asking the owner what I should do and she would always respond that she was on a plateau too and she didn’t know what to tell me. I would tell her the things I was doing differently but that nothing seemed to be working. She told me to Google it. That really rubbed me the wrong way. SHE is the owner of a health club, not me. That’s what I pay her for, to help me with my questions. She should have all kinds of resources and reliable information since she’s the owner. Not everything on the Internet that you Google, however, is reliable and accurate.

So finally, after eight months of not getting any help from her, I told her I was becoming uphappy there. I told her that at over $40 a month, I had paid over $300 for nothing. You know what she said? She said, well at least you have your health. I responded that I could have my health by going to another gym for the same price with better hours, more machines, cardio equipment, pool, showers, the works. Heck, I could have my health by working out at home or taking walks- for free. She became irritated with me and once again told me to Google plateaus.

That’s not all she’s said that’s rubbed me the wrong way. Back in November of last year, my weight loss started slowing down. When we were doing my monthly weigh-and-measurement, I expressed that I was saddened by that. She told me that I didn’t need to lose any more weight and that I needed to slow down anyway. (I was only losing 4-6 pounds a month, so there I was perfectly within range of healthy weight loss.)

I have a problem with people telling me I don’t need to lose more weight when, in fact, I do. Ironically, the only people who have ever told me that I should be happy where I am at and should stop trying to lose more weight are overweight people. (The owner of the gym is about 100 pounds overweight.) People who are a healthy weight tell me that I could indeed use some toning up (and they are correct.) I’m not unhappy with where I am, but I know I could do better. Look, I get that many people are striving to be the size I am at right now. But this size I am is not my optimum. I’ve been at my optimum before and there is nothing wrong with me wanting to be there again, and I find it rude when someone says I should stop trying to be the best I can be just because it makes them feel bad that they can’t or won’t do it themselves. I’ve come such a long way. When I first started working out, I was obese (I had a BMI over 30.) I’ve put in so much effort and so much work to get to where I am- why in the hell would I stop now when I am so close to reaching my optimum?

Also for a number of weeks, I started developing severe abdominal muscle cramps while I was working out. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I tried talking to the owner about it and she said to drink more water while I was exercising. That made it worse. So when I told her it didn’t help, guess what she said? To Google it because she didn’t know. Nevermind that she’s a health club owner. So one day I mentioned it to one of my friends during a conversation and she said she knew exactly what was causing it. I was dehydrated. She suggested I drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before exercising and to frequently sip (not drink or guzzle) water while working out. It worked.

The owner also kept it really warm in there. The thermostat was in the back room, but all the machines were in a large front room that opened directly up to the outside. So in the summer, all the heat and humidity cascaded right into that front room. She had the thermostat set to 72, which is fine. But the front room where you actually exercise was a good 3-4 degrees warmer than the back room where the thermostat was located. And I am being generous when I say 3-4 degrees… it very well may have been even hotter. There were a few times that I got so overheated that I saw black spots and almost fainted. When I told the owner, she bumped the thermostat down to 71. Five minutes later, she asked me if I could feel a difference. When I said no, she replied that she was freezing and she then put on her jacket. I told her that she should come work out with me as hard as I do and she wouldn’t be cold anymore.

So anyway. About a month after I had mentioned to the owner that I didn’t like spending over $300 on nothing, and she still wasn’t helping me any, I went to the gym and told her that regrettably, I needed to cancel.

“Okay, that’s fine,” she said. She didn’t ask me why, didn’t ask me if there was anything she could do, didn’t try to keep me as a customer. Seriously, our tv satellite provider has better customer service than this lady. At least they try to work with us and figure out how they can help us so they don’t lose our business. So anyway, I said that it sucked that I had to cancel and she said, “Yeah it does but I’ll move on.” Well, allrighty then. That made me feel really unappreciated and unimportant and solidified that I was making the right decision.

The next day, I went in and asked her for a copy of my chart with all my measurements from the time I joined.

“Well, that’ll take a few days,” she told me.

“It’ll only take a minute,” I replied with a smile. She swiveled around her chair to face her computer.

“I don’t know where it is on the computer,” she complained.

“I can wait,” I responded. I watched as it took her a whole thirty seconds to pull it up and press the print button. When she handed it to me, I looked at it and noticed it didn’t have all the information I needed. And it was only from the last nine months instead of the whole time I’d been there.

“I need an actual copy of my chart,” I said.

“Well, I’ll have to find your chart. I put it away yesterday.”

“Oh you’ll find it,” I said with a smile and a nod.

“Well, its going to take a while,” she grumbled.

“I have time.” With a grunt, she slowly meandered to the side room, a whopping three feet from her desk. Less than thirty seconds later, she emerged with my chart. All my measurements were on two pages, so it was a cinch to copy. It took all of maybe two minutes to get it all done.

So all that just makes me glad I cancelled. I don’t want to give a passive aggressive person who doesn’t appreciate me, has little to no knowledge about fitness, and who is severely lacking in customer service skills my money. So I joined a nearby gym that has childcare, showers, a pool, treadmills and all the gym equipment, hot tub, sauna, etc. And its the same price I was paying at the other gym. I’ve been working out at the new place for about a week and have already lost a couple pounds.

I think this is a much better choice for me. At least there, the staff are trained, knowledgeable, and helpful. And the person I talked to at the new place regarding memberships told me that I all I needed to do was tone up (which, according to the previous gym’s owner, I shouldn’t even be doing that and should  just be happy where I’m at.) And the temperature is much cooler in the new gym. Now that is money well spent.

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