Capabilities and Activities

So lately Breanne has been making me doubt my mothering capabilities. All she wants to do is watch tv and play video/computer games, and all she wants to eat is ice cream, it seems. I'm trying my best to introduce her to new activities, and healthy foods, but she has just become so adamant about things lately! If I tell her no (like when she tells me she wants a Scooby Doo Ice Cream Push Pop for breakfast...), she cries and cries. Same thing if I turn off the tv. Eventually she'll agree to do (or eat) something else, but those 10 minutes of sulking every hour or so are really starting to wear on me. I try not to tell her no all the time, because I don't want her to think she never gets to make choices, but sometimes her requests (demands?) are just totally unreasonable. Most of the time I try to distract her with something else she might want to do, but she's grown out of that distractable stage... oh how I miss that stage... I've also tried the choices method, but she always tries to choose something that isn't actually a choice. As in, I say "Do you want cereal or waffles for breakfast?" and she says "no, I'n ise-neam" (ice cream). I tell her we don't eat ice cream for breakfast, she cries, I ask again if she wants waffles or cereal, eventually she tells me she wants cereal, and we eat. How do I avoid all this crying? I want her to learn to make good choices, and be happy with them. How do I teach her this?

And on a similar subject, I'm looking for good activities for her and Janey. Things that we can do in and around the house would be best, as it's hard to get out much because Janey still naps 2-3 times a day, but we're open to other things, too. Breanne and I are going to make a countdown chain of activities we can do until Christmas, but we need more activities. Right now on my list are the following:

1. Make snowflakes
2. Make sugar cookies, give out
3. Make Christmas cards, send out
4. Read about the original Christmas story
5. Make candies
6. Make ornaments
7. Make a nativity
8. Build a snowman
9. Make snow angels
10. Shovel the walks
11. Put up tree and lights
12. Visit elderly friends in our ward
13. Listen to a Christmas CD and learn new songs
14. Wrap presents
15. Make presents

I have several specific crafts I think Breanne and I should be able to do together, which I think will be fun for both of us, and then some of the bigger projects on the list I hope we can do as a family. I am really excited about the holiday season this year--Breanne and Janey are understanding more than ever, and I think we can really make this a wonderful time for our family, if we put a little bit of effort into it. What are your favorite Christmas traditions that you do with your family? Anything you loved doing as a child?


Tannie Datwyler said...

I am kind of worn down right now (it's been a really hard day with Linus), so I can't think of anything fun for Christmas. . . though I have tons. As for Breanne though, I think you are doing it just right. She is an obstinate two year old and sometimes there is nothing to be done. You are giving her choices, you aren't giving in all the time, yet you are saying yes sometimes. I really don't think you can do much more but hang on until she gets over this stage. I'm sorry I don't have any advice, but just knowing kids I think that you are doing the best you can. I hope someone else has some good advice for you. You are a great mom!!

Amelia said...

I'm trying to remember that stage, because I think the gap between our girls was very similar. Something I've been doing recently is rotating toys, putting some in baskets that get brought down periodically so they seem really exciting. A big basket of random musical instruments is also a lot of fun. Puzzles? Gigantic colouring?(Big sheets of paper or old cardboard? Involving them in cooking was also fun at that age.

*Aliese* said...

You could also have her write a letter to Santa--I've done this a myriad of ways: just words, drawing pictures, TAKING pictures and making a collage...I also remember a year when (to help me not be so greedy) I got to write Santa letters asking for things for OTHER family members; I actually really enjoyed that one. Something I want to do with my kids is actually have them write a letter to Christ as well about what they're going to try to improve on for the following year (nicer to brothers and sisters, be more helpful, do better in school, audition for a play, etc.) and place it in a special Christmas stocking. Then, the following Christmas Eve, we'll open them and read them to see how we did.

gilian said...

You already know that I think you're a great mom. So I'm not going to give suggestions. I suspect you're rolling your eyes and Cory's eyes will be completely back into his head and require surgery if he hopes to ever see again, if he reads that last sentence, but while I won't give advice, I will say that even though I don't specifically remember this stage with Stu, I do remember Stu trying to get through it with you. I didn't know what to do to keep you happy with him trying to set boundaries for you and I certainly didn't know what to do with Stu's frustration that all of sudden you wouldn't do what he wanted because you had a mind of your own and a body that understood how to do what your mind said. So I asked the expert, Dr. T., and that is when he told me about the things that you already do (the distractions and the choices and all), and he also told me about the 'let them work it out unless they are physically hurting or publicly humiliating each other' deal and I think that is when he told me that it is okay for kids to figure out in little doses that sometimes you can't always get what you want. (I have to add that even though it was tough to have some crying, secretly I was proud of you for your desire and willingness to be your own self.)

As an old gal, with lots of wisdom and no one to dole it out on but you, I can only say that dang, you already know all of the stuff it's taken me years to figure out.

Keep it up. They are great girls and very normal (but excellent) kids. Just like their mom and dad.