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Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon (child)

I haven't blogged since January b/c I've been too busy twisting, jumping, diving and darting from curve balls in my constant game of Dodgeball that is life.

But lately, I'm winning the game.

I'll update more on Josh and what's going on with him later, but today is about Ava.

I'm sure you've all heard the saying that three's are worse than two's. I couldn't imagine 2 year old temper tantrums getting much worse. But it DEFINATELY did get worse. Whoooooaaaa, Mama, did it get worse!

Ava is incredibly passionate for such a little thing, and also smarter than her years, and it became a REAL problem for us. Pre-school last year did help some, however we also added more home therapies for Josh, and she had a very hard time adjusting to "teachers" coming into our house with Toys for Josh and not for her. Her 3 year old brain did not take to it too kindly.

So we brought in a child psychologist to our therapy regiment, and I dubbed her The Supernanny. She was so great in pointing out all of Ava's positive traits, while explaining to us that her bossiness needed to be addressed ASAP or she would be a lonely child in school. She gave us some strategies and tips, and also talked and played with Ava too.

Now as we approach her 4th birthday, I am finally exhaling with her because I see her maturing emotionally very rapidly. She is slowly understanding the need for Joshy's "helpers", and is excited to be one of the "helpers" too. She also is sharing much better, and interacting with other kids without totally controlling what they play.

I had to also take a good long look at how I could parent her differently too, and analyze my weaknesses. I had to develop a stronger backbone, and with so much going on with Josh, it got too easy to give in. I'm not embarassed to admit that a solid dose of anti-anxiety medication, and an occasional xanax helped me with this. Is that sad, or what??? For those of you that have heard Ava's howling when she's placed in the corner, you understand!!!! I'm a tough cookie, but now and then I need some intervention too!

Yes, she was THAT bad.

What I've discovered with Ava is that she truly is very advanced artistically, and she doesn't respond to threats of taking toys away, time-outs, etc. But take her crayons and markers away..... she'll be an angel for you to get them back! Also... the idea of using SANTA is a tried and true successful parental tool that should always be utilized.

So I combined the tools.

I came up with a little something that has been working wonderfully all week, and teaching her LOADS of great behavioral lessons.

I bought a little notebook or journal book from the Dollar Store, a glue stick, and some kid scissors. She's writing several letters of the alphabet, but no words yet... so writing a Christmas list for Santa is out of the question. We're dealing with the constant barrage of t.v. ads for Pillow Pets, Mighty Beans, Squooshees. I keep telling her "well, we'll let Santa know you want that..." .... and I'm getting worried about her desiring too much without earning it.

So she has a special drawer for her Dollar Store journal book, glue stick, and safety scissors. When I get the Sunday ads, or magazines, she gets to cut out whatever she wants Santa to bring her and glue it in her book for her "Christmas list". Then at Christmas time, we will "mail" it to Santa so that he can have his "Elves" make 10 of the toys on her list to bring to her for Christmas.

I thought it was a good little idea... but I didn't realize HOW good it was until we were walking through the store and Ava shouted... "Hey... look at this, Mom! Maybe I can find a picture of it to put in my book to Santa!"


So then she even decided... on her own... to make a page in her book to Santa for Josh, Mommy, and Daddy too.

She cut out some coffee mugs for Santa to bring Mommy, and a collector's knife for Adam. How cute is that?

It's funny how the best solutions are RIGHT in front of you, but you have to be tuned in to see them.

Hope you mom's of little ones give this a try, because if it can work on MY little "angel" Ava, then it will certainly work for your kid too!

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