A Strong Willed Child….

Several years ago after Pumpkin was first born, I began my research like most mothers do, of how to raise my child. I read all the books on pregnancy and now it was time to read everything on how to raise my child! Our first born daughter was amazingly stubborn. I remember crying over her so many times! She was the total package of “The strong-willed child!” After the first few years of struggling with her behavior and reading everything I could get my hands on about strong willed Children, I realized that the normal every day parenting books- and even Dr. Dobson’s Strong willed Child book- just was not going to cut it! At one point, my husband was on staff at a church and I began dreading  Sunday’s because I had no choice but to put her in nursery! It never failed that every Sunday I was called back to the nursery because she had hit another kid, or wasn’t obeying instructions! I was humiliated weekly! I even had someone come up to me and tell me, “you know, you really need to start disciplining your child!” I mean what do you say to that? The only thing that I could feel after that was anger! Anger that these people do not see that I have tried everything from spankings to time-outs to gentle parenting techniques and that with each one I’ve tried- she was completely resistant! I remember one time when she was about 2 years old, my husband and I were about to walk out of the house and were already late. She did something so bad that we felt like it was more important to address what she did than to be on time. We made her sit in her little Elmo chair for a time out. This 10 minute time out turned into a 2 hour battle! For the next two hours my husband and I sat in front of her Elmo chair and took turns sitting her back in it! The whole time she was screaming at the top of her lungs like we were torturing her! I’m pretty sure eventually during that event we were all three crying at some point! But eventually she did sit in her chair!

One Sunday morning, I didn’t get a call to come back to the nursery. I was so beyond thrilled!! I began excitedly walking out to the foyer and saw a woman carrying her child from the nursery and overheard their conversation, “honey did you have a good time?” “Yes mommy but this little girl kept hitting me and hurt my feelings.” I immediately knew it was my child!! Dread and tears hit me all at the same time! When I got there, she was standing in the corner! By this point I began to feel that I needed to just stay at home with her- people was talking in the church- and I felt like I could train her better one on one than I could by putting her in the church nursery to be kicked out or stand in time out the whole time. (not that she didn’t need it). It was so much pressure! So I started pulling away from going on Sunday mornings.

One day I heard a friend talking about her daughters behavior and how they have started doing an elimination diet. She read the book called, “why can’t my child behave?” and started a diet that eliminated some natural foods, and foods with artificial colors and preservatives in them. It was called the Fiengold Diet. I immediately got that book and began reading as fast as I could!! I began the diet with her and within 3 days, she was a completely different child!! We learned her triggers (Yellow 5, Red 40, BHT (on cereal packages), HF Corn syrup, cherry’s). As we went along with the diet and eliminated these things from her diet, we discovered more things over time such as ALL artificial colors, and ALL artificial flavors. My daughter began listening better, wasn’t in her own world anymore, actually went to sleep at night!

I began back to church Sunday’s with my husband. This time she was moved up into the kids church. While she was doing a ton better than she had been she still had Strong Willed characteristics ingrained into her. We had a few more problems once we went back! Once she was moved into the children’s church, she was still about 4 years old. She really didn’t understand the whole concept. At home when praise music was on, we danced around and praised God and I think maybe that is what she thought she is supposed to do at church. I was told she ran from one door to another, running around the sanctuary, and wouldn’t sit still. Eventually, she got out of the sanctuary and no one noticed until an adult found her in the hallway wondering around. Another time- and this was the last straw for me- She was in the classroom and walked RIGHT OUT THE DOOR!! When I came out of the service she was standing in front of the exit door asking people if they knew where her mommy was!! The teacher had no idea she had gotten out and when I went to let her know her response was, “oh well!” REALLY!! I was furious!

I stopped taking her there after that because I felt like her safety was in danger. I could not concentrate during the service myself because I was constantly wondering if she was being watched, or wondering around outside, or if someone had grabbed her on their way out of the church and kidnapped her! It was really stressful!

We had several other issues with her strong-willed personality, such as potty training.  IT WAS  a nightmare! That child would just pee all over the carpet, open up her drawers and pee on her clothes, sit on the side of her bed and pee down the wall…you name it she did it! I was at a complete loss!! I finally just strapped on her diaper and told her if you wanted to act like a baby you will wear baby diapers till you decide you will be a big girl!!

I came across a website called Raisinggodlytomatoes.com. I was very intrigued with their method of discipline. While I had tried spanking and had no success with it with my oldest, they did implement that with their children; however, it wasn’t just the spanking that I was interested in it was the whole concept of “Tomato Staking.” They talk about how you should keep your children with you 100% of the time, this will allow you to notice their behavior and correct it immediately, without allowing them to continue in that pattern! Keeping my child with me 100% of the time seemed like something I was not able to do at the time! I agreed with the concept, but I just didn’t know that I was able to really do it! I liked my quiet times when they go off and play alone, and I liked dates with my husband. So I was really unsure how I was going to be able to play this out!

As I thought about it more and prayed about it more, God showed me that tomato staking does not have to look this way in everyone’s life. He also began to put people in my life to show me modifications of this. Through the years we began doing this little by little. At first it was just when she was being very disobedient or having repeat incidents of the same issues, I would sit her next to me and it became her punishment- “you act like this, then you will sit by me the rest of the day.” It was VERY effective!! Call it helicopter parenting, or hovering, or whatever- but it has been a lifesaver in situations with my children where I had no idea what else to do. Over time I was able to trust that my little strong willed child was going to listen to her sunday school teacher and was not going to run out of her class room anymore!

Now that she is older, she is still strong willed but I’ve been able to see God transform her heart. Once she accepted Jesus as her Savior her will changed from being about her, to pleasing her savior. She has a genuine, complete, and unfailing love for God. I have watched the Lord take that strong-willed child and use her strong will for good now that she is older! We’ve even had many conversations about the fact that she will still struggle with certain things at times because of her stong-willed personality but the most important thing is that she uses her strong will for good things and not selfish things! Just this morning I witnessed how sensitive the Lord has made her heart. She got upset and yelled at her daddy. I took her into my room and told her how disrespectful what she did was to her daddy, and how much he loves her, how many times he had sacrificed sleep to rock her when she was a baby because he wanted her needs to be met before his own, how hard he works for her, and how she is always one of his top priorities and he did not deserve to be treated disrespectfully by her. She looked up at me, and began sobbing saying “I never knew he did all that for me, I’m so sorry!!” I never in my life thought that our strong-willed two year old, would be that sensitive to the way she made her daddy feel just by understanding the love he has for her. It was such a blessing to see how far she had come in the last eight years.

I did get away from this method for a little while. Life happens and we let things slip through the cracks but recently the Lord has put it on my heart, as well as my husbands heart again. We both feel the need to bring this back into our home but again, this time God has given us a different perspective on how to use this method. A few months ago, my husband came to me and told me that he was thinking about this and that the Lord showed him that even JESUS tomato staked his disciples! He would always tell them, “Come follow me!” he would travel around with them all together and would have them watch him and observe his behavior and show them how to witness and showed them miracles. Never did Jesus just send them out and tell them, go into the world and learn it for yourself! He was right next to them the entire time- teaching them, correcting them, and loving on them. This is exactly how we need to discipline our children.

Yes children will make mistakes, they will be children, however; if those mistakes are not caught, talked about, corrected then they will go on to having a repeat pattern of those mistakes that will lead to other issues in their life when they get older. I want my parenting to be the way that Jesus would parent my kids, I don’t want to be frazzled all the time, yelling, and frustrated all the time because they won’t do what I’ve asked them to do- which has happened a lot! I want to be able to parent the way Jesus parented his disciples!

I really feel that the key to keeping my children on God’s path and not straying from it, is to really capture their hearts. Tomato staking will help me to do this as they grow older! Having them close to me during the day, doesn’t mean always having to have them under my feet while I’m trying to accomplish a task- but it means having them next to me- showing them and teaching them how to do that task themselves, talking to them about their dreams, their likes, dislikes, their future, things we need to pray about together, and spending time together while they are learning to be women of God at the same time! This is our quality time, the times that they will look back on as adults and say, “I remember the way my mom’s hands looked when I would stand next to her in the kitchen while she was cooking dinner” or “I remember sorting clothes with my mom during the day while we had heart-to-heart conversations about my future husband.” Tomato staking is making memories together, while being able to immediately address issues, and developing a great mother-daughter/or mother-son relationship! I’m very excited to get this back in our home soon and start making more memories!

 

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Nesting in full force…..

This week marks week 31 of my pregnancy with baby #7. I’m running out of time and energy to get everything finished up that I want to finish up!! Two weeks ago, I couldn’t hardly get motivated to do much of anything around here. I was exhausted and had absolutely ZERO energy! All I wanted to do was sit around! I had been out of my vitamin D3 for a while and was starting to have a really hard time! My husband told me that it was vital that I get that worked into our budget for that week so that I started to feel better and could have more energy! I did, and by about day 3 of taking my D3 again- I was unstoppable!! For two days straight I sanded, primed, painted, decorated, and organized our homeschool room! I bought paint to do all that MONTHS ago and just haven’t had the energy till now. Within two days it was finished!

Before:

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After:

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I am especially proud of my curtains that I sewed! I have never made my own curtains before so I’m very excited about them! I also recruited my husband to help me build our own DIY white board!! I got the idea from Pinterest… we followed all the directions expect we made our a little smaller. You can find directions here. It cost us about 25.00 to make this board which is a huge savings, since whiteboards this size would be double if not triple that at the store!

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My favorite part of this room is the wall decal above my board. I had this bible verse made by For Namesake. They do amazing work and it is just the right finishing touch for my room! I am planning to order many more as I work my way through my house painting and making over each room- one at a time!

Once this room was complete the nesting got the best of me! I wanted to do MORE!! I decided to take my left over paint in and get it mixed to paint the foyer!! Once I started seeing the brown disappear off the walls- I wanted MORE gone!! Every room in this house except for the bedrooms upstairs, are different shades of brown! Even the TRIM- is brown!! DARK brown!! I used to be a huge fan of neutral colors but I can only handle SO MUCH brown! I need happy colors!! So this is what I did next- Foyer Make Over!!!

Before:

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AFTER:

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I will be making a kinda “tribute” type thing to put above the white dresser with the verse “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land” Genesis 26:22 Under that I will be hanging photos of our old 1000 sq. ft. house that we lived in with 8 of us next to this new house that God supplied for us with the date- this will allow us to always remember what God did for us last year, and will remind us always that this house is Gods house the minute we walk through the door!

My nesting projects did not just stop here…NOPE! My husband actually said, “I’m kinda afraid to give you the Vitamin D3 anymore after all this!” haha! Nesting in FULL Bloom!! Here are a few of my other projects we’ve done the last two weeks:

We’ve taken down our shutters and painted them:

Before:

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After:

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We finally put up the trampoline- and we “Pintrestized” it by cutting up pool noodles to put around the springs- super cute and safer! :

 

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I was working in the garden for a few hours each night when the sun started to go down- it has since been a little neglected with all my indoor projects but we will get back to the weeding this week! This is our first year doing a “In Ground” garden. At our old house we had a squarefoot garden and it was super easy to grow things! You just mix the soil and it was perfect! This time it has been a huge learning curve for me! We have two beds that are clay- we’ve been trying to get the soil nice and rich in those- and one huge one that was pretty good soil but now we are finding out we really need to lay down some lime in there! We planted 53 tomato plants this year and while they started out growing very nicely- we have some tomatoes on each plant- however; we have lots of ants attacking the ripe ones, and blight on the others! So we have some doctoring up to do! We have a few stalks of corn, and some other squash, pumpkins, and melons growing but slowly! They probably won’t harvest this year since they have been growing so slowly- but hopefully next year will be better. I hear it takes about 3 years to get a really nice growing garden! Can’t wait till we get there!

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And well- I can’t let my creative side go during all the nesting! Here is my latest creation!! I wish I still dressed up in my suits every day for work- I would love to wear this one- but instead it is in my etsy shop.

It was super fun to make and I hope to make many more of these Chunky bead necklaces soon!!

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So now I am off to have family night with my girls and sweet husband! We like having pizza then popcorn while we watch a new movie together. We are long overdue for some quality snuggle time! I am excited to spend some special time together as a family after three weeks of crazy!! I’m sure I’ll have many more projects soon to post before the baby comes!! Nesting is in FULL FORCE!!!