Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Benefits of Rules

Ever since even considering having children, I've had one or two very firm ideas about childrearing. One of those ideas is never backing down - what mummy says goes, no matter what. When I say no, I mean no. When I say it's time to go home, we're going home. And so on.

In the last few days, I have noticed those rules paying off for me, and I thought I would post the details firstly to brag, secondly to look back on and smile, and thirdly to hopefully assist any parents with "problem children" or issues with discipline.

Elspeth has been a bit of a fussy eater for a while now. When she was around 18 months old, I started cracking down on fussy eating - if she didn't eat the dinner I gave her, she got nothing at all - no new dinner, no dessert, she went to bed hungry. Now, at 22 months of age, she is coming to realise this. She might make a fuss and yell and scream, not wanting to eat, but if I leave her food out and ignore the tantrum, she will eat it before too long.

Like all children, Elspeth knows when she likes something. Like chips. Tonight hubby and I had corn chips out, and she kept asking for some. She said please and thank you, but before long I decided she'd had enough chips. I told her, "No more, you've had enough." She cried for about a minute, and asked for "more chips please" a couple of times, but three or four "No"s was enough to make her stop. That's a vast improvement on previous incidents where she would throw a tantrum and keep asking for half an hour.

Also like all children, Elspeth knows when she's having fun. We went to Child's Play, a big indoor playground thing, this morning. It was fantastic fun for all of us. However when the time came to leave, I simply told Elspeth "It's time to go now", and she headed straight for the door - beating hubby and I there!

These are just a few recent examples of her good behaviour, which I'm very impressed with, and which I attribute almost entirely to my stubbornness. I'm rarely unfair or mean to her, just firm and resolute. I mean what I say, and she knows it.

I sincerely hope I can keep this up when I have two children, and that she remains an angel as she gets older!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Telling Stories

Elspeth loves hearing stories about herself, and the things she's been doing lately. Today Aidan and I told her this story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Elspeth. [They all start this way.] One day, her mummy and daddy took her to a playground. She climbed up the biggest steps she's ever climbed, up and up and up, all the way to the top. Up the top there was a wobbly bridge, and mummy stood at one end while daddy stood at the other. Elspeth ran across the bridge to daddy, and then back again to mummy, and back and forth lots of times! Then her daddy put her on the slide, and Elspeth went down the slide with a "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" and mummy caught her at the bottom. The end.

Every time one of the stories about herself gets to "The end", Elspeth says "Again!" or "More!" So we tell another one, or the same one again but differently! It's lots of fun for all concerned.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oh, the arghness!

Little Elspeth, of the adorable behaviours and cherubic face, has been just a little bit of a nightmare this evening. Very clingy, very whiny - well, I say "very", when compared to her usual cheerful self. I think she's missing her daddy; he's out till quite late tonight. However, she finally ate dinner, consented to hear a story, and has gone to sleep. The drawback of this is that I'm now feeling bored and restless. There's housework to be done, as always, but... you know, it can wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hug hug!

"Hug hug!" Currently Elspeth's most-used phrase. Very sweet, very cute, nice that she likes to hug me. But when I'm trying to wash dishes, sweep the floor, or cook dinner, it can get very slightly annoying! But look at that face; how can you refuse? So she gets hugged possibly more than any other child in history. It keeps her happy, and I guess that's the main thing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

For the first time tonight, Elspeth has been put to bed without dinner. She has lately taken to refusing to eat her main course, secure in the knowledge that she will be given yummy dessert later anyway - I have done this in order to make her sleep through the night and not wake up hungry. However, that stops tonight. No more fussiness, no more games. If she doesn't eat dinner, she doesn't get dessert, and she goes hungry. It is a hard line to take, but I hope it will get her into good habits nice and early and discourage fussy eating. I do not have the patience for it, and I will not continue to offer her multiple meals or courses every night in the hope that she will eventually eat one. Do you hear my foot coming down? The foot is down. I have put my foot down.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Life in the High Chair

It appears that life in the highchair is over. Elspeth is now completely refusing to eat while strapped into it; in fact she sits there yelling until I let her down. Now nothing will do but to sit in her very own chair at her very own (mismatched) table to eat her dinner.

She's been 18 months old for five days, and in those five days it seems like she's really made the transition from baby to toddler. It's been coming on for some time, but now I think it's complete. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something Fishy

For a little while now I've been feeling somewhat bored with my home-based existence, and occasionally I come up with a gem of an idea to get me (and sometimes Ellie too) out of the house. Today's brilliant idea was the Melbourne Aquarium.

I really like the Aquarium. I like fish. I find the place, usually, soothing and calming.

But I forgot it's school holidays. The place was busy! I mean, totally crazy busy. The press and crush of the crowds meant that I didn't see very much, and poor little Elspeth saw even less. There was also an entire area (the whole upper floor) that we couldn't get to - we were turned away from the elevator, and the ramp was too crowded with people coming down for us to to get up.

However, we did get to see the sharks, and the "Oceanarium" was at least large enough that I felt comfortable stopping for a few minutes and letting Elspeth have a run around.

So, all in all, as much as I love the Aquarium, I would not go there again during school holidays. I might go again in a few weeks and we can just relax!

Friday, January 14, 2011

An Unexpected Career Choice

My daughter has turned interior decorator, and apparently my choice of home furnishings is inadequate to satisfy her tastes. It is now essential that almost everything in the house be covered in crayon scrawls, no matter if it be table, wall, chair, floor, or mum.

I suppose I must take a portion of the blame; I leave crayons out and I do encourage their use - although I've lost count of how many times I've said "Only on the paper, honey."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The first ponytail

Ellie doesn't usually stay still for very long - and certainly not long enough to do anything with her hair. But today, apparently wanting to imitate me, she wanted a ponytail and kept her head still for long enough for me to do this!

At some point Aidan has told her that ponies are just little horses, so now she's wandering around the house pulling at her ponytail saying "Neigh!" However, that hairtie has stayed in there for a remarkably long time - about ten minutes so far - so I think we're on a winner with ponytails.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Early mornings

YAAAWWWWNNNN. For a couple of weeks now Elspeth has been waking up at 8am or even later. It's been glorious. But yesterday and today have been early mornings and it sucks. She woke at 6.30 today. That ain't cool. Need more sleep! I might send Ellie off to my parents' place for a few days sometime soon; everybody seems to like that. In the meantime, I have assignments to finish... somehow...