Wednesday, January 23

Kaden's Reward Board - Part 1

Back in November, we hit one of those phases with Kaden when what we were doing for discipline simply wasn't working. The older he gets, the more argumentative he gets and it seems, the more strong-willed. I was frustrated, Kaden was frustrated, and Daddy was tired of getting an earful from me every night on his way home from work. So in Josh's usual fashion, he decided to fix the problem! (More on that tomorrow.)

Kaden has such a sweet personality. He's energetic (I'll give you that), but he's always been a cuddler and very giving. He's very determined, though...some might even say stubborn...and maybe a smidge moody. However, he's never been given to tantrums, kicking, screaming, hitting, or the like. So when he suddenly started throwing tantrums, screaming, and slamming doors, Josh and I were both confused about what was behind this sudden change. I knew our sweet boy was still there, but something we were doing at home wasn't working. Not enough structure? Not enough one-on-one time? Not enough ___________? It seemed that a lot of his frustration was aimed at me, which was definitely not easy for me to take. Truth be told, on the inside, I was downright distraught.

One Sunday afternoon, after a rough morning with Kaden, I sat down on the couch with my Bible, and I was feeling totally worn out. I did one of those random, flip-through-the-Bible, "God-please-speak-to-me" things, and He answered. I landed in Isaiah 11, and wouldn't you know it, the heading say, "The King of Peace is Coming." Peace? Yes, please! I knew I needed encouragement from God, but I didn't know exactly what I was looking for until I found it. The chapter talks ultimately of Christ, the King of Peace, and there were a few things that stuck out to me about how this King rules. Verse 2 says that He will rule with wisdom, understanding, guidance, and power, and verse 3 says that He will not judge by the way things look or deciding by what He hears. I like that part because it's important for me to slow down and get the whole story before I jump in and start judging a situation with the kids. Things aren't always what they seem (i.e., sometimes it's Laney who's causing the problem!).

Verse 4 says He will judge the poor honestly and fairly, and back in Isaiah 10:1-2, it talks about "how terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws, and those who write laws that make life hard for people. They are not fair to the poor, and they rob my people of their rights." Now that really made me laugh, because I felt like God was talking directly to me. Because of the fact that I work from home and have limited outside help (a nanny), I do expect a lot from Kaden. He spends several hours in his room each afternoon while Laney naps, so that I can work, and this "quiet time" thing had become a real point of contention for the two of us. I still think that quiet time is necessary for both of us, but because of our new system, the tension and the battle has been taken out of the equation. I had allowed discipline to become a battle, and that had soaked up a good portion of the sweetness in our relationship. We weren't enjoying each other's company anymore because it seemed that we were always locked in battle. I sensed that Kaden needed more tenderness and more understanding from me, and it really broke my heart! I know the situation wasn't all my fault, but as the adult, it was my job to take control and get things back on track. I wanted peace, not battles.

Then I read Isaiah 11:5, and it renewed my hope. "Goodness and fairness will give him strength, like a belt around his waist." Verses 6-9 describe the picture of peace and tranquility that hinge on the first 5 verses -- there is peace because of the way the King rules! I felt like God was telling me that it didn't matter what the issues were or how things got this way. It was my job as the "king" (when Daddy's not here!) :-) to rule with goodness and fairness, and then peace would flow from that. Not bantering, not begging, not negotiating, but goodness and fairness. It's not weaker or softer or touchy-feely. If anything, trying to be my calm and easygoing self had gotten me to this point. We've always had rules, but as I said, the older Kaden gets, the more he tries the boundaries. And when timeouts failed miserably and spankings were creating more aggression, I started to lose my cool. Not pretty. (I'll admit it.) I'm not a screamer (I hate it in fact), so when I found myself raising my voice at Kaden and sounding like a crazy person, I was just as alarmed at my own behavior as I was with his. I wanted to find a way to be firm without being mean or frustrated, and I wanted to find a way to be fair to Kaden as a person while still teaching him how to be part of a family and how to follow the house rules.

So...what did we do?! Check back tomorrow, and I'll share my husband's brilliant solution. Part 2 to follow...

Sunday, January 13

I'm Back, 2008!

So,'s been a long time. I warned y'all that it might be a while before I got back to blogging, right? I didn't know it would be THIS long, but here I am again. I was so busy in November and December! Juggling the kids, the house, a project, Christmas shopping, getting ready for company, and hosting Christmas at our house pushed blogging way off the to-do list. :-) Starting on Dec. 20th and ending Jan. 4th we hosted 2 sets of parents, 3 grandparents, 2 siblings, and 1 niece -- our place was bursting at the seams! (Their stays didn't all overlap, just FYI.) We had a blast, took about 1100 pictures (literally), everyone got along great, we managed to find places for everyone to rest their weary heads at night, and the kids opened presents for what seemed like three days straight. If you're not on my picture list (and you want to see 200 pictures of the Hesse/Wallace Christmas in Tennessee, email me at hessefamily (at) gmail (dot) com. I'll add you to the list if I know you! :-)

So I have a funny story to break back into blogging. I decided over Christmas to back Kaden off of whole milk and start buying 2%. He has always loved milk and would drink it 24/7 if I let him. He's a thirsty little dude, and sometimes I think all those liquid calories are filling him up and then he's not hungry for real food. Anyway, 2% milk doesn't have that many fewer calories, but I thought it might help a bit. So the other morning, on Sunday before church, Kaden was thirsty and wanted to have a second cup of milk before we left. I told him that he had already had a big cup of milk with breakfast and that he could have juice (80% water, 20% juice) instead. I said something like, "Buddy, milk has calories in it that fill you up, and if you drink a bunch of milk you won't be hungry for real food." He didn't question me any more after that, and I didn't think the whole "calorie" thing even registered.

So off we went to church, and several hours later on the way home, Kaden was drinking some milk in the backseat. All of the sudden he sat forward in his carseat, held his cup up to look through it, and he said, "Mom, I don't see any cavities in there. How'd you get them in there -- I don't see them!"

It took me a few seconds to figure out what he was talking about, but Josh and I had a good laugh when I finally translated and explained what Kaden was talking about -- calories! Josh was like, "I can't believe you told him he couldn't have something because it had too many calories!" It may sound weird (I certainly am not trying to freak him out about gaining weight or something like that)...I was just trying to tell him that the milk will fill him up, whereas my very watered down juice will not.

Calories or not, thankfully there are no cavities in either whole or 2% milk! Kids. Aren't the hilarious?!