Thursday, January 29, 2009

Potty training woes

Potty training is one of the major child development phase that parents MUST go through. Some has it easy and some had really tough time getting over it. Since I have 4 kids, I have to go through it 4 times! And believe it, it's not easy and it's not the same for every child. First you have to make sure that your child is ready. You can tell this when he/ she can tell you about it, or asks you to change a wet diaper, and tells you when he/ she poops. Mostly this occurs between the age of 2-3 years old. The earlier the easier for you and the child.

The training will take just a few days before they get the hang of it. For daytime that is. For nighttime and naps, it'll take a while.

There are many many tips and guidelines which we can get online on this topic. I somehow found that the most efffective way how I train my kids are not in the list. Ha ha! OK.. so here are some "listed" effective ways to potty train:
1) Give reward for every successful "attempt" like candies, or favorite toy
2) Make a toilet game (???)
3) Hit a target (especially for boys) in the toilet bowl which could be anything that the child likes, including food (I find this ridiculous as you're asking the child to urinate on food!!!)
4) Be a role model.. explain to them that Mummy and Daddy do it the toilet. One of tips mention father and son doing it together in the toilet... errr this also I don't agree!
5) Go around naked for a few days so that they can feel it when it's coming.. hmmm??

And this is what I do for my kids.. well at least three of them. Another one waiting to go. I will make sure they are potty trained by the age of 3. But like I said earlier, the night time is more difficult and later.

1) Make sure that they are ready. This you can easily tell.
2) Pre-train them by making them go in the toilet for every diaper change and before every bath.
3) On the day of the actual training, make them go every half hour. This is to ensure less accidents. They will not do it every trip but just to make sure they try. During the training day, surely you will have accidents! So be prepared, roll up all your carpets!
4) Praise them with "good boy/ gal or clever gal/ boy" for every successful attempt. Or I told them now they have grown up .. this made them proud! But never penalise them for accidents. They usually understand how messy it is!
5) For night time training, they have to go before they go to bed, and I made sure I bring them to the toilet at least 1 hour after they fall asleep. This always work especially if they have milk or water just before they sleep.
6) I also observed that if the room temperature is too low, they will have to go more than once. I guess this is only normal as we adults face the same thing. Thus, I made sure their rooms are not so cold.

I've had good records with my kids using the above method for both day and nighttime. Except that the night time is rather challenging where you have to scarifice your sleep in the beginning. It also really depending on the child himself whether he's a light sleeper or not.

It's good to know all the tips and guidelines, but the bottomline is how you train your own kids. You know them better and what works in your household. Well, it's time to wake Syasya for the first hour of her sleep before I missed it. I'm still training her for the nighttime! Wish me luck for Omar's turn sometime next month!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Discpline in one minute?

I'm having a tough time with Omar. I'm sure I've never had any tough time with other kids, as tough as this one. He's just too much for me to bear - me, the one with very little patience. He would screamed if he didn't get anything that he wanted, he wants anything held/ eaten/ read/ written by his other siblings. Even if it's something that he is totally not capable of, i.e homework, PSP, online games, or even dialing a phone number. He just wanted to be like everybody else regardless of his limitation of being 2.5 years old. Forget about disciplining and explaining him about things. He's only two! This is what they term as "terrible two's". A two year old is the most difficult to handle! I never understood why they have this phrase before because I never see it in my three kids. I understand now. In fact, in Omar I can see a lot of things that I never knew what a two year old can do!

One of those days that I really thought that I need help on what to do with Omar and his tantrums, I stumbled upon an article on how to discipline your children in one minute. Regardless of the age! It doesn't really tell you how, but more on how you can strategise your actions, it's not on how to correct the child's misbehavior but rather the parents' reactions to it. Once you have the strategy, you will be in control of the situation.

Here's how it works ..
0 - 10 seconds : Act quickly
First thing, you have to remove the child from whatever's causing the problem and anything that is part of it. If there's a toy involved, remove the toy, if a place, take them away from there. If there's safety involved, make the situation safe, remove them from the danger immediately. In addition, you also need to separate yourself from the mess and the commotion so that you'll be less tempted to do or say something in anger that you'll regret later.
10 - 20 seconds : Calm down
You have to calm down. Instead of saying bad things to the child, you can just say "arghhhhh" just to let off your steam, and to ensure that the child is not belitte. Controlling your anger is important, it's OK to get angry but limit it. Shouting to the child will not help but you'll undermine what you're trying to teach because your child will pay attention to your intense emotion, not to the wrongdoing. Calming down will not only help you handle the situation but enable your child to hear you.
20-30 seconds : Assess the situation
When a child drew with a red ink on your yellow living room or your white couch, all he wanted is to draw. Thus you need to give him a paper immediately. Forget the wall or the couch. The damage is done. Knowing your child's intentions doesn't rescue the couch or the wall, of course, but it does put his behavior in a completely different light.
This is a Zen moment. To achieve it, you must separate the incident from all others like it in the past as well as those that might happen in the future. And when you look at the situation in the here and now, as a single event rather than a repeated offense, it's often not as serious an infraction as you originally thought.
This is also the moment to figure out where the behavior is coming from. "A 3-year-old who's having a tantrum may be hungry," "An 8-year-old who's a bear at breakfast may not be getting enough sleep." In either case, you have to reassess your role.
"Ask yourself whether there's something you need to do that will help prevent this behavior in the future, such as keeping off-limits items in a less accessible place or changing family routines,". In other words, don't say, "How many times have I told you . . . ?" Even if you think you've told your child something 100 times (which you haven't), it doesn't really matter. You need to tell her again and again, and yet again.

30-40 seconds : Talk to your child
Talk to your child of the consequences of his behavior. If you simply put a child in time-out, you're controlling her rather than making her responsible for managing her own behavior. Instead, "tell her why you don't want her to do something and what the real consequences are--not her punishment, but that the marker doesn't come off the walls, for example. Two or three sentences will do just fine." The younger the child, the fewer the words. Get down to her level, and look her in the eye. She needs to hear what she's done wrong and what would have been correct: "We don't draw on the walls--we draw on a piece of paper" or "You can't have a cookie--it's too close to dinner. You may have a carrot instead." Then let the issue drop. As soon as you let your child lure you into a discussion, you weaken the message. What if she has a valid objection? Talk about it later. In the heat of the moment, she's likely just pleading her case, not starting a real conversation.
40 - 50 seconds : Figure Out Whether a Consequence Is Needed
Many parents think that punishment is the heart of discipline, but most experts disagree. Consequences are necessary only when being consistent doesn't work. But it usually does. Four or five instances of simply taking the cookie out of the child's hand and saying, 'No sweets before dinner' will likely take care of the cookie-snatching behavior. Punishment is usually not the way to go. If the kids are throwing the ball in the house, by all means take the ball away--but they don't need to be punished. If the issue is something you care deeply about, reinforce your message later at a neutral time."
Consider consequences only for a few, carefully chosen misbehaviors--and only when your child repeatedly ignores your clear instructions. What's most effective is to let him experience the results of his actions: If he hits other children, he won't be able to join them for playtime.

50 - 60 Enforce the Consequence
If the motto of real estate is 'Location, location, location,' the motto of parenting is 'Consistency, consistency, consistency,'. The child's mind is completely logical, and it tells her, 'If Mom and Dad don't follow through, they don't mean it'. The idea is to have very few rules but to enforce them every single time. So don't make idle threats that you can't or won't carry out. You know what we mean: You're grounded for life; that's the last cookie you'll ever see; no playdates for a month. You'll not only upset your child but ultimately undermine your authority.
When all is said and done, the 60-Second Plan is very simple, but it does require a great deal of thought about your goals and an equal amount of self-control. Why is that important? Because good discipline is about much more than not throwing food on the floor and not writing on the furniture. You are conveying your values and showing you have the self-discipline that you're trying to teach your child.

This article was written based on points given by the following child/ parent experts:
Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., author of The Secret of Parenting.
Bobbi Rosenquest, Ph.D., an associate professor of early-childhood education at Boston's Wheelock College
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles
Denis Donovan, M.D., director of the Children's Center for Developmental Psychiatry, in St. Petersburg, Florida

So, have i tried all those? Yes indeed. It's just that it's not as easy as it seems. You have to be consistent, patient, and good at controlling your anger. Which are all NOT me! Hah! OK.. but I'm confident it works. I have succeeded in one or two occasions but consistencies failed me.

In the quest of being a "better parent" and trying to be in control.. I will have to work harder on this!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Me time"

One of the many things that you can keep yourself sane due to stress of being a mom is to have a "me time". This is one of the many tips I read in many many articles magazines, guides, tips, etc. Me time here refers to getting away from being a mom for a while and just take care of yourself. Tear yourself away from being a mom and just be you. Yeah OK.. sounds easy and fun and doable. But can we really do it? Is it really possible? To me... errr... not quite realistic.

The moment you have a child, there's no turning back. You are a mom, fullstop. It is not you anymore. Everything in your world changed.. it will never ever be the same. Yes, you are still you in mind and heart but not everything else. Most importantly, your whole viewpoint/ perspective of life changed, thus affecting the way you think and do things. OK fine. So what is this me time and be you? It could mean many many things.. it could mean getting away from your child for a while to chill out, meet some old friends, spending time pursuing your hobby, go to the spa, go to the gym,.. in other words, just do whatever you want to do other than doing mom stuff!

And this is my version of me time. No spa, gym or friends needed. All I need is some uninterrrupted time reading a good funny romantic novel, uninterrupted time watching a complete movie at home, holding the TV remote to myself and watch 10 channels in an hour if I want to, and most importantly, having an uninterrupted peaceful time in the toilet (yeah... no kidding! 90% of the time I'm in there, there'll be somebody knocking at the toilet door asking/telling me things, as unimportant as "Mom.. the cat's missing!")... these are the simple me time that I'd very much yearn for but not likely to have it and have given up on trying to get it! No no no.. don't get me wrong.. I do love my kids and I do love being a mom. No I don't want to turn back the clock and be single and searching. As much as I love those mushy romantic novels, I don't ever want to there again.. searching!
So what am I babbling? I'm talking about the me time that I want so much but I know at the back of head, I would be very lonely if I ever get those me time that I've listed. And no no.. this has got nothing to do with me being a full time mom. I've wanted this ever since I was working.

The thing is .. when you are a mother, you have a "dependent". As long as this dependent is still your dependent, you will have NO me time. Even if you have, they will be at the back of your head, you'll be thinking of what they are doing right now, will they be searching for you, have they eaten.. etc. The only time you will get it perhaps when they are older and have their own dependents. Other than that.. by sheer luck? Face it Mom!

Amazingly, I'm having a me time at this very moment writing this entry without any "Mom...!!" over my shoulder(they are out with Daddy!) ...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The overdue wake up calls

I had on overdue wake up call yesterday. It's like something that just hit me HARD!

I NEVER had a weight problem before and suddenly now I'm way too deep in it! Haha! Yeah I still couldn't believe I actually have a weight problem. Not that I'm boasting, but I have always been on the "small" size.. and I never care about my weight anyways.. But for the past two weeks or so, I can feel it.. I feel so heavy, sluggish, and worst, I can't fit into my jeans without having to squeeze my life into it. And yesterday, reality hit me when I saw the reading on the weight scale at my sister's place. I'm like 10kg way too heavy too my liking! Yup.. 10kg. Oh boy.. this is really not me.

Irsyad, - the vain one, also thinks that his mom is overweight and he gave me loads of "advice" on how to lose weight (this is what he heard from his Science teacher). His advice:
1) You must eat less rice, but lots of vege and fish
2) You must eat a lot of fruits
3) You must exercise, i.e. jogging.. or you can play badminton with us..

OK.. good advice. But he also said this.. "And mommy, I think you are a bit MALAS.. like malas to move about! You have to be rajin a bit. More active!" HUH??? Really? Heavy bum! This really hit me.. another wake up call. It really made me think A LOT. Sadly, it's rather true.
While still thinking about it I stumbled upon a very interesting health article about losing weight. The top two ways to lose weight - and really work - are portion control (eat less) and exercise (brisk walking particularly). But this will only show the results in 2-3 months depending on how committed you are. Seems easy enough but not so easy to stick to it if you don't have the strongwill. I strongly believe in these two methods as I have seen a living example who has transformed from a shy ands cute (ugly but adorable) duckling to a elegant and glamorous duckling - with lots of self-confidence! No kidding.

So other than trying to make money on-line, losing weight will be my other resolution for this year. Since yesterday, I rationed my meal intake, and start my exercise session, morning and late afternoon. And most importantly, try not to be MALAS! Hopefully my efforts will bear some fruits .. say, in the next 2 months or so?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Make 2009 The Year You Make Money Online

Becoming a mom - it’s the most life-changing event we go through. Our children become the center of our lives, and we must make adjustments to in our schedules and priorities make sure they’re cared for. Instead of hiring nannies or using day care services, more and more moms are choosing to start their own online businesses so they can be there for their kids and still contribute to the family income.

This is especially true right now during the tough economic times we’re living in. Even if you’re comfortably existing on one income, you may find yourself on no income soon enough if your husband gets laid off, downsized, rightsized, outsourced or whatever they’re calling it these days. Do you have the recommended 6 months’ living expenses tucked away in savings in preparation for this event?

Statistics show many of us do not. This is all the more reason for mom to look for ways to make money online before the disaster strikes.

Starting an online business has a number of advantages for moms. These include:
* Start-up costs can be kept low. So even if you are not currently working outside the home, starting an online business is usually within reach with small adjustments to the budget. Setting up a website means acquiring a domain name and hosting space - and with tools like Wordpress available at no cost, you can literally be up and running for around $20. You will also want to invest in some education. Learning the basics of how to market your website online are not difficult, but be careful where you get your information.

The Natural Mom Business Guide is one solid source of info. It includes an ebook with detailed information about researching your target market, the various ways to make money with a website, and how to get the traffic you need to earn income. It even has video and audio tutorials as well as printable “cheat sheets” you can keep by your computer to remind you of the essential steps you need to take in your business to build traffic and make more income.

* Doing business online doesn’t require one to keep regular hours. You can work early in the morning before the kids get up, during the baby’s nap, or late at night when everyone is in bed. And with the automation that the Internet has to offer, orders can be processed and virtual products delivered while you are sleeping or taking care of the kids.

* You can get some work done with the kids right by your side. Older children may even be able to help you with simple tasks. Did you know that the IRS allows you to deduct wages (up to a certain amount) paid to a child who is age seven or older to work in your home business from your taxes? I have even trained my oldest son to add articles to my websites. He earns a nice wage for doing so, far more than an allowance, and is providing a valuable service to me.

There are all sorts of online businesses that are great for moms. You could sell your crafts or start a recipe website, or you could start a podcast. You might offer services such as writing, transcription, web design or virtual assistance to customers around the world. Or you could create and sell information products. Even blogging offers impressive money-making potential. The possibilities are many, and there’s sure to be something out there that’s just right for any mom.

Moms make up a large portion of the people who are making money online. This allows them to take a hands-on approach to raising their children while still making money to support the household. They don’t have to count on a sitter to take care of their children’s needs, and they don’t have to make a commute part of their daily routine. It’s no wonder that the number of moms starting online businesses is growing in leaps and bounds.

If you need some assistance choosing a niche, get some coaching from an experienced online marketer. Take the leap - you’ll be glad you did!

Carrie Lauth is an internet marketing mom who loves to help other moms launch profitable websites. She created the Natural MomBusiness Guide for women who want to market to the "natural family" niche. To learn about how she can give you one-on-one coaching, visit her today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 1 great challenge

It was a CHALLENGING day 1 of school. Not to so much to the kids.. but to me. And Omar was the star of the day. It was a hectic and chaotic day. Every year, I normally send the kids to school on the first day of school just to know where their classes and who their teachers are. After that they will follow the school transport. This year is the same with additional chaos. Maybe trivial to other people.. but not to me because it added some unnecessary stress.

Chaos number 1 caused by the kittens who decided to camp in the car tyres and jumped onto the engine when I started the car in the morning to send the boys to school. We then couldn't locate the kitten. Fearing the kitten's life, we had to drive the other car. Because of this, we were 10 minutes late than our original time. Luckily the boys were still on time for schools. They are both on different session of schools. One goes to the sekolah kebangsaan and the other sekolah agama in the morning and vice versa in the afternoon. Fortunately also, Syasya only started school on Tuesday.

What happened the rest of the day were a few more trips back and forth to school for sending and fetchig the older boys. It was actually another 5 trips including their tuition in the evening and enrolling Syasya into a piano class. In all five trips, Omar kicked up such irritating fuss before and during the trip!! He would make a fuss on what to wear, what to bring, didn't want to be hold in the crowded school and busy road, and so on. I simply couldn't just picked up the car keys and go. Worst was I couldn't leave him behind. Even at home, he trotted like a puppy behind me.. ALL THE TIME. He only wanted me to bathe, feed and wash him. Just ME!! The minute he lost sight of me, he would screamed like mad! He was never as clingy as this before. I was really up to my neck with him yesterday. I was seething!! And his brothers and sister also noticed this "weird" behavior of his. Thank God I have prepared everything for school and no major disaster in that area.

Perhaps it's payback time.. for leaving him with the maid all the this while? Perhaps the other kids would react the same if I would have retired earlier when they were Omar's age. Maybe.

It's better today since I made only one trip that is to Syasya's school in the morning while Omar is still in bed. The kids seemed to be happy enough so far with me around, of course. As for me, though tired and irritated (with Omar!), I felt calm inside. No other stress. The feeling of not having to go out to work is simply wonderful. I hope it will remain so. Though a bit chaotic in the beginning, I am very sure and I feel good after all. And I'm ready to face all other challenges. THIS is the REAL challenge!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A new start

Happy New Year 2009 to everyone .. hope it's not too late for me to wish as it's already on the fifth day of the new year. Today is basically the first day of my "new" job at home. I consider the last week at home was my break. So today I shall start fresh though I have yet to work out my schedule. The kids's schedule is rather fixed with schools and all, so I guess mine would make its way around theirs.

I have been extremely busy preparing the kids for their school. Their uniforms, books, fees and everything. Also trying to fill their time on the very last week of school with things they did not get to do while I was working like morning walks, going to cousins' houses, window shopping, watching movies, etc, etc. The list seemed to be endless. Not to mentioned the cousins they had over at our house. I was a host to endless visits of my nieces and nephews (ages between 8 onwards) almost the whole of December! It was tiring really but the kids were a happy bunch having their cousins around to play with and entertaining them.

Had a very quiet moment this morning after the boys went to school and the other two still in bed. Syasya will only start her school tomorrow.

Perhaps I can think of something to do ... profitable one.. once my routine is established. Providing that I'm focused and motivated of course!!