Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Flip Side

Olivia started going to preschool just a little less than two months ago, but it has already had a major impact on my life. Not all bad, not all good--like most things in life, I guess. The good was so easy to see right away and that's what I wanted to focus on and tell people about, so that's what I wrote about. And I had my doubts and worries about what all this extra alone time might do for me, but I chose not to worry about it and see how things went. Well, it's been almost two months and I've gained some perspective.

There are so many of my own emotions and thoughts that get rolled up into what it means to have Olivia in preschool for several hours a day, four days a week, but I want to start by saying this: we made the right choice. Real preschool is absolutely what Olivia needs. Not all kids, but Olivia? Definitely. She thrives on the social interaction and the time away from Mommy. She's so talkative and outgoing around me and so shy around others. I know that a jump start on figuring all that out for herself is nothing but good for this girl. Oh, and, by the way, it's really fun to go to preschool.

With all of that in mind, I can honestly say that I haven't once regretted starting Olivia as soon as we did. But that doesn't mean that this decision ended in all rainbows and butterflies. Maybe for Olivia, yes, but for me it's been hard. And I know it should be hard because I miss my daughter, but that's not why it's hard. In all truth, I had been craving some small break from mommyhood and preschool delivered. As a mother and a human being in general, having a little bit of time apart each day has given me the time I need to de-stress, be more purposeful about my time with Olivia, and enjoy her more. There are moms out there who can home school and, well, I am not one of those moms. I don't mind admitting that I have limits and that I enjoy a few hours away from my daughter each day.

But what to do with all that time? Hmm.

At first I couldn't wait for my ME time. I worked like crazy on my book. I cleaned our house. I fully enjoyed the relief of having personal time alone to think and work and feel productive. But, like all great things, the novelty of it wore off after a while and then I found myself face-to-face with this question: What am I going to do for the rest of my life?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The best time of the year to be the meanest primary teacher ever

Surliest primary teacher in the West. Err... we don't live in the West anymore. Nevermind...

So, Bryan and I are primary teachers at church and, by the way, we love it. The kids are great, the new activities every few minutes are great, watching our friend have her own singing time showcase every week is great, and, ya know, the snacks every once in a while certainly don't hurt either. We've been primary teachers for over a year now and it's always fun, but perhaps the very best time to be a primary teacher is during the month of October. Why, you ask? Because October is the month of the Primary Program.

Yes, the kids are adorable and their talks are sweet, but what the primary program means for primary teachers is this: no teaching lessons for an entire month! That's right, for the entire month of October they take what was already a fun and easy calling and make it even easier... and more fun.

Our primary program was today and, at least from where I was sitting, it was a roaring success. The kids were super adorable and sweet, the singing was great, and even little Olivia got to get up and sing "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man" for part of it. Cute cute cute.

And I don't know if this is church policy or just tradition, but once the program is over, the entire primary skips class and just parties for the next two hours of church. Didn't I tell you this was the best time of the year to be a primary teacher? It is.

For our post-program party today we were all treated to watching a "movie" (okay, so it was actually just a bunch of Mormon Messages, but they are great!) and eating popcorn and fruit snacks. The kids even did a phenomenal job of cleaning up every tiny bit of popcorn that fell on the floor. Are they great kids, or what?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pom Pom Patterns -- Fun & Easy Preschool Activity

For those of you who are looking for Halloween-themed preschool activities, this one counts because the pom poms are purple and orange and green and spiky. Uhh... the end. Otherwise this is just a cool preschool activity that you could do any old time. But aren't those really the best kind? I think so.

Olivia's pretty in love with this activity, too. Here's why:

  • She gets to use the tongs
  • The pom poms are sparkly and spiky
  • She gets to make patterns

I like this activity for those reasons too, but also because it builds the following skills:

  • hand-eye coordination
  • fine motor skills (working those tongs)
  • color recognition
  • making and understanding patterns
  • focus and concentration
  • preparatory skills for one-to-one counting

And did I mention that it's so easy to set up? Let's get started!

Step 1: Prep materials

On a deviled egg tray (or another tray with lots of little compartments), add one pom pom per compartment and a pair of tongs.

If you're going to make a pattern with the pom poms, make sure there are the right amount of each color of pom pom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shapes Lacing -- A Fun & Easy Preschool Activity

In following with this year's collection of Halloween-themed preschool activities, today's edition is about as easy as it gets: regular preschool stuff inside a plastic trick-or-treat bucket. But, as with most themed things, Olivia loves it! ...despite the fact that it only took me five seconds to throw it together. I'm sold!

This activity builds the following skills:

  • shapes recognition
  • color recognition
  • hand-eye coordination
  • fine motor skills
  • focus and concentration

It's also good prep for one-to-one counting since each bead/shape has to be added to the string one at a time.

Step 1: Add lacing toys to bucket

Obviously this activity would be easy to put together any time of the year and in any kind of bucket or bowl, but since Halloween is on its way, the pumpkin is enjoying it's moment of glory.

Our lacing toys are some I picked up a couple of years ago from a yard sale or thrift store, but, if I'm not mistaken, they're Melissa & Doug brand. Basically, they're just colorful wooden shapes blocks/beads that string onto a shoelace.

Dump it all in the bucket and you're ready to go!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooky Sorting -- A Fun & Easy Preschool Activity for Toddlers

Alright, I guess for this to be really spooky we'd need some severed arms and skulls and pus, but I figured I'd keep it preschool-age-friendly this time. I know, I know. Still, Olivia's kind of in love with this silly--err, I mean spooky--little sorting tray.

For this activity you'll need a tray with compartments (I like deviled egg trays) and several sets of matching objects. Our spooky tray has 12 compartments around the edge and includes the following 12 pairs of items:

  • little handmade clay oranges
  • pumpkin erasers (from the Target $ section)
  • foam square beads (from the $ store)
  • sparkly orange pom poms (from the Target $ section)
  • small googly eyes (from Auntie Anna)
  • kitty erasers (from the Target $ section)
  • tiny plastic pumpkins (from the Target $ section)
  • large googly eyes (from Auntie Anna)
  • large soft orange pom poms
  • foam circle beads (from the $ store)
  • pony beads (from Nana)
  • small soft orange pom poms (from our stash)

Just hunt around your house and see what small things you can find that look fun.

And this probably goes without saying, but this activity is intended for children who are old enough to not eat the small objects.

Step 1: Mix objects

Start with all of the objects in the center of the tray. They should be mixed up fairly well.

Preschool Update

Some of you may be wondering how much of the at-home preschool Olivia and I are doing now that she goes to "real" preschool four days a week. I wondered this myself when she first started "real" preschool. Would she still want to do more preschool stuff at home after being in school for several hours? Would she be too tired? Would she finally get her fill of preschool activities and be done by the time I went to pick her up?

Haha. I wish.

This little chicken is just as into doing preschool activities as ever. In fact, I think she's even more into doing at-home preschool than ever before. Bah. Don't get me wrong--this is great!--it just takes a lot of extra effort sometimes to find the time to fit it in when she's not too tired or cranky. She wants to do it regardless, but it's a happier time for both of us if we do it when she really has the energy and focus for it.

On a good day, we usually do preschool things together right after she gets home from "real" preschool. I try and start with our reading lessons and then we move on to our 20 minute preschool routine. Although, actually, our routine is growing into more of a 30 minute routine these days because I've been doing my best to sneak in some harder stuff for her to work on.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Free Printable LDS Scripture Mastery & Articles of Faith

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a local LDS women's conference. The first class I attended was about learning how to study the scriptures more meaningfully and effectively. One of the things the teacher suggested was to take time each day to work on memorizing a passage of scripture.

This suggestion really hit home with me because, over the years, I have gained a personal testimony of the power of memorized scriptures. In my moments of greatest need, it is always the scriptures that I have memorized that come to mind first. These scriptures have been a continual source of comfort and strength for me throughout my life. I cherish them and think on them often.

As I sat in the class yesterday I thought of how I might incorporate some scripture memorization into my daily life and the first idea that came to mind was to learn the scripture mastery scriptures with Olivia during our daily preschool time.

What is scripture mastery?
Scripture mastery scriptures are the scriptures that LDS teenagers are encouraged to memorize while they attend seminary. These scriptures focus on basic doctrine and empower those who learn them with wisdom and strength. There are 25 scripture mastery scriptures for each book of scripture. (How many times can I say the word "scripture" in one sentence?) You can find the lists for each book of scripture on the LDS seminary website here:

Ever since Olivia surprised me by learning the Pledge of Allegiance so quickly, I've been meaning to start memorizing scriptures with her, too. Part of the reason it's taken me so long to start is because I wanted to be able to hang up a nice, basic print out of each scripture so we can reference it as we memorize it.

Unfortunately, when I searched online I didn't find what I wanted. The Church has free printable seminary Scripture Mastery cards (the same ones we all used in seminary growing up--find them in the links above), but these are small and I wanted something that would be a full page so it would be easy for Olivia and myself to read during our preschool time.

So, I did what I do when the going gets tough (i.e. the free printables in exactly the format I want are hard to come by) and I created my own. And, lucky you, now I'm sharing all of my hours of hard work with you! Aren't you glad? Well, you should be. Because, while it may just seem like a lot of easy copying and pasting, it was kind of a pain and took me several hours. So there.

The Articles of Faith
I've also created a set of printables of the Articles of Faith. The Articles of Faith are a set of articles that Joseph Smith wrote to a newspaper in response to the newspaper's questions about what Mormons believe. If you are not a member of the LDS church, these will give you a good, basic understanding of what we, as Mormons, believe. And, as members of the LDS church, we are encouraged to learn them as primary children (and grown-ups) so we'll be better prepared to answer the questions of friends and neighbors when they ask us what we believe.

Short scriptures to use with young children
Oh! And I almost forgot! After I created all of the printables I went back and compiled a separate file with all of the scripture mastery scriptures that are short enough for a young child to memorize, so there is a file at the end with all of the short scriptures in it. So if you're looking to include some scripture memorization in your at-home preschool time or family scripture study with young kids, this will be a great place to start.

Using these printables
For all of these printables, each scripture or article of faith is on a separate page. I kept the formatting very basic so these could be put to good use at home, in seminary classrooms, and for other church educational purposes. Please print as many as you like, but do not sell them or use them commercially.

Note: The screen shots of the printables here in this post all contain my website, but none of the actual printables have my website on them. It just didn't seem appropriate since they're scripture and, therefore, are the Lord's words, not mine. However, these printables did take a lot of time and work to create, so, if you'd like to share them with others, please link to this post and not to the PDFs directly. Thank you!

Find all of the links to the free printables below! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little Gray Sweater Skirt

This fun (and maybe a little funky?) sweater skirt was the product of a couple of different days of KCWC work. And I honestly don't remember which days those were. Maybe day 2 and 6? I'm not sure. Now that it's over, last week seems like kind of a blur. A happy, productive blur, but a blur nonetheless.

This project actually started out as a different project that failed and ended up as this sweet little skirt. More details after the jump!

He Lets Us Grow

So, yesterday I went to the bathroom. Sometimes I do that. And, on this particular occasion, I closed the door. Right before I went into the bathroom and closed the door, I asked Olivia to get her shoes out and put them on. Then I closed the door.

About a minute of quiet went by. She was getting her shoes out of our basket-o-shoes so she could put them on. Then she started screeching. "What's wrong, Lala?" I called from the bathroom. More screeching.

"I can't dooo iiiiiit! It's tooo haaaaard! Mommy you help meeeeeee!"

The whining continued. I called out to her that if it was too hard she could wait and I'd help her when I was done, but she kept on screeching and whining anyway. And in that moment a casual thought popped into my head. "Well, I can't always be there to help her." That was my thought. Which was followed close behind by, "There's only one person in the world who can always be there to help her. And He doesn't."

I thought it was strange to have a reminder from the Spirit that Christ is capable of taking all our pain away, but that he doesn't always take all our pain away.

The saga of the shoes continued. It had only been about another minute and I was still in the bathroom. Olivia had been crying, throwing a fit out in the living room. I had tuned it out while I was thinking. Then she got quiet. I figured she must have calmed down and decided to wait for my help. Good girl. Thank goodness.

And then, just before I turned on the water to wash my hands, I heard her sweet happy voice calling out, "Mommy, I did it! I got my shoes on all by myself!"

"Good job!" I called back. "I'm so proud of you!"

She can already put on a lot of her shoes all by herself, but these ones are new and she hadn't quite figured it out yet. Now she can do it, even though it was a struggle to learn.

Then the thought came back to my mind, this time finished.

"There's only one person in the world who can always be there to help us. And he doesn't. He lets us grow."

I've been thinking a lot about this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Floral Sweatshirt

Boo! Did we scare you? Probably not in this sweet sweatshirt! For day 4 of the KCWC I refashioned an old favorite sweatshirt of mine to fit Olivia. (I already wrote about this a little HERE.) She wore it with her fun new jeggings and a bright pink t-shirt. Always a good choice. Olivia and I are both majorly in love with her "new" favorite sweatshirt.

Made from: an old sweatshirt of mine
Pattern: sort of followed the Recycled T-shirt Hoodie Pattern from Lil Blue Boo

Ugh. Mom is still trying to take pictures of me. My life is so hard.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jacket & Scarf

Whew! Being a "real" blogger again these past few days has reminded me how much work it takes to put together really good, fun post! Truth be told, I have been absolutely loving it. It's been so fun having a specific project to work on, having the sweetest (although often unwilling) little model to photograph, and then trying my hand at some new photography and editing skills. These past few days of creating and sharing things for the KCWC has been both exhilarating and enlightening!

And, I just have to say, even if it is a little corny of me, THANK YOU so much for all of your kind feedback! You have no idea how much fun it has been for me to read all of your kind words (and funny project chopping stories) these past few days. Working on my book for the past several months has been so rewarding and so much of a growth period for me in its own way, but in many ways it is so different from blogging. That's nice, I think, but, for someone who really loves blogging, it's hard too. 

It's hard sometimes to put so much work and so much of my heart into all these projects that, for now, will never see the light of day. Bryan comes home exhausted from school and hours of studying and when he asks what I did that day and I bubble over with pride and show him the project I was working on that day, well, he's impressed, but he's used to me. And he doesn't really get appropriately excited about the simplicity of good construction methods or a really cute little pocket or the fact that my fabric choices are excellent. Bryan is a wonderful husband, but not a very good sewing buddy and girl pal. Thank goodness, right? Haha! But it sure does make me miss you guys and your positive, excited feedback!

So, for this girl who has been spending too much time on her own, holed up in the basement starring at the needle on her sewing machine going up and down for the past several months and not enough time out with other human beings, it has been a nice little vacation indeed to get to poke back in here and share some of the actual, real, current projects I've been working on. So, really, THANK YOU for popping in and saying hello and telling me that you love those puckered sleeves and fake fly fronts and all the other tiny little silly things that Bryan and Olivia could care less about. You make my day. And you make this crazy sewing business a total blast.


For day 4 I stayed up nice and late finishing this really fun little zip-up hoodie. It's made from one of my old hoodies (which my roommate passed on to me years ago). I always loved the jacket, but it's just kind of short on me, so a few years ago I retired it from my wardrobe and added it to the stack of re-fashion stuff. I've wanted to make it into a jacket for Olivia for a long time, but I had been putting it off for two reasons. First of all, I hadn't been able to think through how I was going to do that exactly. And, second of all, I wanted to wait until she was old enough that she wouldn't grow out of it in just a couple months.

We had multiple photo shoots together taking pictures of this jacket today, but a certain someone wasn't really into it. It's like she's tired of having a camera shoved in her face (and at her shoes and shoulders). Like she's been dealing with it all week. Like she's 3 years old and she doesn't care. Harumpf.

So, instead, for now I decided to call a truce and just share a couple of Instagram pictures. (I'm @theredkitchenkatie if you want to follow along!) Perhaps later I'll be able to find a couple of gems from my many attempts at getting better pictures of this, but for now, ta-da! Look at this great jacket I made!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Undies Pattern!

A little while back I released a new Undies Pattern. It's, ya know, a pattern for making undies! It's for sizes 12/18 months-size 6.

In honor of the Kids Clothes Week Challenge, I've temporarily discounted the Undies Pattern to half price! (No coupon code necessary!)  Hooray! Head on over to THE SHOP to snatch up a pattern for yourself and get sewing! They're so fast and easy to make, you've still got plenty of time to sew up a storm before the end of the week. A storm of undies, that is!

I have three favorite things about this pattern (as opposed to regular store-bought undies).

Horsey Tee

For day three of the KCWC I had big plans to make some slippers for Olivia, but realized (sadly), that the pattern I was going to use only goes up to size 12 months. Oops! So instead I shifted gears and made this little horsey tee.

Fabric: this t-shirt that I thrifted 2 years ago
Pattern: Flashback Skinny Tee from Made By Rae
Sleeves: puffed

In order to include the awesome horses, I had to cut away the original hem. Rather than use ribbing, I cut a strip of fabric from the t-shirt leftovers, folded it in half, cut it slightly smaller than the t-shirt, and sewed it on to the bottom of the shirt the same way you sew the ribbing around the neck.

I love the way it gives it a bit of a fitted look without being overly fussy (or hard to do).

Some dummy accidentally cut a slit in the t-shirt back. It's like they tried to cut the neckline for the t-shirt front without moving away the t-shirt back first. Who would do that? Pah. Not me. (Ahem.) To cover up the unfortunate t-shirt hacking, I added a little tag on the inside of the shirt...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Honeycomb Flashback (with honeycomb tutorial & free printable pattern)

Woot woot! Another round of evening/late night sewing last night resulted in this super fun little honeycomb shirt to add to my KCWC accomplishments for day 2. It's made from an old white women's shirt (the shirt was old and white, not the woman) and a handful of scrap fabrics from my stash.

We paired it with the jeggings I made for her yesterday. So fun!

I used Rae's Flashback Tee pattern (again) and loved it (again.) This is a size 3T that I made slightly skinnier and a few inches longer. Olivia is long and lean for sure.

This time I followed her directions for doing the little puffed sleeve and, I must say, I'm in love. It's an alteration that is easy, quick, and adds just the right amount of dainty femininity to these wonderfully basic tees.

I admit, I could have sewn in the gathers on these sleeves more carefully, but, well, I didn't. And I don't really care. They look cute and unless my Intermediate Sewing professor from college is going to look at them, no one will ever know.

This little tee was really fun to put together and, even though the details are what make this shirt stand out, the process was super easy. You know I'm all about the easy.

In the midst of my late night mad sewing dash I stopped to take a few pictures of the process so you can make your own if you like! Find the step-by-step and more fun/crazy photos of Olivia after the jump!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Easy Peasy Jeggings

Hello day two of the KCWC! I used up my precious preschool time writing the Easiest Leggings Ever post because I knew that as soon as I moved on to the next project I wasn't going to care about those cute little gray leggings anymore. Seriously, guys, you have no idea how many beautiful finished and photographed projects you will never see simply because I moved on to the next thing too soon and lost all my enthusiasm for actually writing the post. Lame, but true. After I finished my homework (i.e. wrote the post) I rewarded myself by moving on to the next project.

Well, not really. The next project on my list was going to be another pair of skinnies--exactly like the green skinnies, but made from one of my old pairs of skinny jeans that has a hole in an (ahem) awkward place. I even re-drafted the pattern to help fix my mistakes from yesterday, but when I went to cut the pieces I realized that my old jeans weren't wide enough to cut 4 little pant legs from. I was a little bummed by this, but mostly very happy to know that my legs are too skinny for something. Sah-weet!

So, naturally, I moved on to jeggings.

A few weeks ago I was perusing my favorite spot at Joann's (i.e. ye olde remnant bin) and came across this hideous stretchy fake denim. I was there with my friend and teased her that she should buy it and make herself some jeggings with it. We both turned up our noses at the gross, ugly fabric, laughed heartily at the idea, and then left with our other purchases, leaving the icky jeggings fabric behind.

Fast forward a week or so later to when I again found myself back at Joann's rummaging through the remnant bin and, yet again, came across the icky jeggings fabric. I was there with a different friend this time, made the same lame joke about how she should make herself some jeggings, we laughed again, and then she went to look at ribbon. And that's when it hit me. I should buy the icky jeggings fabric and make some for Olivia! And so I did.

Rather than using the skinnies pattern I carefully re-drafted earlier today, I made Olivia lend me the leggings she was currently wearing, traced around them with a 1/2" seam allowance at the sides, a 2" seam allowance at the top, and a 1" seam allowance at the bottom. Then I returned Olivia's pants to her (she was very grateful) and sewed these up.

Click below for a basic run-down on how I made them. And Olivia's sweet boogie*.

Easiest Leggings Ever

Last night I tacked on another super quick, super easy project for day one of the KCWC. Leggings, of course, are already mega fast and easy, but why not make them even faster? And easier?

These ones, made from the sleeves of a long-sleeved t-shirt, are probably the fastest kid clothing item I've ever made. And they're--dare I say it?--really fail-proof.

Psst! Find the tutorial for the star wand HERE.

They work great as warm "tights" under a skirt...

...and on their own as cute, skinny little leggings.

Let's make the magic happen! Find the tutorial after the jump!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Green Skinnies

For day one of the Kids Clothes Week Challenge (a.k.a. kcwc) I made Olivia some sweet little green skinnies.

For picture-taking purposes, I decided to hang them up on the wall since this is really the best-lit place in our badly-lit house. I wanted to hang them up with some pretty washi tape, but I don't own any. I know. How can I be a craft/sewing blogger and not own washi tape? I don't know. I guess I'm just too cheap. Hence the reason for it being on my Christmas list instead of being in my house.

Anyway, I still needed these little pants on the wall, so I grabbed a Sharpie and some plain old masking tape and made do. In the end, the tape got washed out in most of the pictures, making the pants look like they're mysteriously floating on the wall. Oh well. A for effort.

Side note: Bryan came down when I was editing this picture and said, "Oh, did you make your own wasabi tape?" Hahaha. Yes honey.

Despite some minor glitches along the way, I really love the way these sweet little pants turned out. And Olivia totally rocks the skinnies. There might be at least two other pairs of skinnies on my kcwc sewing list. We shall see.

You'll find all the details on these rad little pants and proof that they fit Olivia after the jump. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Better Days & Getting Beat Up

Thanks so much for all of your kind words and commiserating on Monday's post. Glad to know I'm not the only one. By way of update, the past couple of days have been much better. Yesterday we were almost tantrum-free, but then some soap got in her eyes during her bath (even though it's that Johnson's baby stuff that's not supposed to bother their eyes...?) and it totally flipped the switch. Five minutes before bed time and she was kaput. Poor kid. She really is growing out of her nap and, for the most part, she does really well without one, but she is so wiped out by the end of the day. Tonight we got her in bed an hour earlier than usual and life was so much happier. So doing that again tomorrow.

Something else I've been doing to help us both be happier is to keep us busy. Duh, I know. I was trying to do this before, too, but, ya know, I'm trying more now I guess. After preschool we usually have a few hours to kill before all of her friends wake up from their naps, so today we went and got a sandwich at the swanky grocery store. We also bought a cookie card for $1 a while ago, so she gets a free cookie from the bakery every time we go there. Here she is munching away on some double chocolate chip goodness. Happy kid.

Mostly out of guilt for making him late to school this morning, but also because I like Bryan a lot, I got a big sub sandwich, ate a third of it for lunch, and then cut up the remaining two thirds and made him extra special lunches for the next two days. School is really hard and really boring for Bryan and really full of too much studying and too many tests lately and I'm trying to do my part to give him something during his school day to look forward to. After overhearing part of one of the super boring lectures he sat through today I feel even more sorry for him and even more glad I did something special for him.

On the same note, I have been trying harder than ever before in our marriage to keep the house clean. It bugs him and distracts him when the house is dirty and it makes it hard for him to study. He never complains about it, but instead of studying he's apt to do the dishes or pick up the living room instead. Even though that's basically my entire job description right now and I have all day to do it. Hmm. So I'm trying to be better about it. If he gets a bad grade on his test it is not going to be because he was distracted by our messy house or too busy washing the dishes to get any studying done. Well, okay, it might be because of that, but at least I'm trying. The other day he was noticing how clean it's been (it's a pretty stark difference, so it's not that hard to tell) and he said, "Thanks so much for cleaning up so much. I know you hate it." Ha. My womanhood would be offended, but, actually he's right.

And, on a completely unrelated note, I have been beat up for five days now. By whom, you ask?

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Not-So-Bright-And-Cheery

I took this picture this afternoon. Honestly, I took it so I could email it to Bryan and say, "She's doing it again. Here's proof." I did send him a similarly-worded e-mail, but I didn't have the heart to attach the picture. I didn't want it to be like I found entertainment in the way she was behaving and the kind of afternoon I was having, because it wasn't funny. It was hard and frustrating and driving me crazy and making her miserable.

I won't get into the details too much, but, basically, for the past two days Olivia has been flat out refusing to tell me sorry when she does something to hurt or disrespect me. She'll do something to me on purpose or accidentally, I'll request that she apologize, and she just plain refuses to. It's not that she doesn't feel bad. I know she feels bad. But instead of apologizing she cries and tries to get out of the situation instead of confronting it and taking responsibility for her actions.

Now, listen, I know she's three. I know she's little and she has limits. I don't expect her to be perfect or to have perfect behavior. I let things slide because, yes, she's little. And for a long time I had been excusing her treatment of me by saying, "She's just little. She's not trying to hurt me or hurt my feelings. She doesn't know." It still hurt me, of course, but I tried not to be offended by it. There's a difference. I still try to consciously remember not to be offended by the things she says or does to me that hurt my feelings, but that doesn't mean the hurt isn't there. Or that it doesn't drive me crazy sometimes.

But sometime recently I reached a breaking point. No, it is not okay for her to physically hurt me--even if it's a small thing and it's on accident--and not apologize. I'm a human being too. And, hey, if nothing else, it's good practice for the way I want her to treat everybody else in the world.

But, even deeper than that, I don't want our mother-daughter relationship to be set up in such a way that she's disrespectful to me. Yes, I want to be kind and loving and shower her with praise and all of those warm fuzzies. But I also want her to know that I am a person, just like her, and that I have needs and feelings too. I want her to know that I give everything to her, that I sacrifice everything for her, that she is smack dab at the very top of my list of priorities, and that all of that deserves her respect.

But, of course, you can't make a three year-old say "Sorry." You can't make anyone say sorry. No matter how much I may threaten to put her in bed and take away all of her toys, no matter how much I hold her on my lap or keep her in time out, no matter how much I tell her, "You're going to be in so much trouble," I can't press a button and make the word, "sorry" come out. This life is about agency and, for better or worse (and it's for better), it is her choice to apologize. Given, it's also her choice to not apologize and suffer the consequences of not having any toys or shows or fun activities to do, but it's her choice all the same.