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Childproofing had little necessity for me with my first child, a bit more with my second but not much, and I think my third could break down even the best child proofed home. I am not the super, overprotective mom. I’m okay with my kids getting bumps and bruises and dirty. I want them to learn how their body works and how it works in their environment. This doesn’t mean my kids can ruin my furniture or what not, but we have a healthy amount of risk incorporated into our kids lives. Now, there are many childproofing necessities (for some kids) that are just smart and keep kids from unnecessary danger. If your kids never leave your sight disregard the tips found below.

Here are some abnormal, tried and true childproofing tips {developed in my home post-third child}:

-open your passenger car doors, you should see a part inside a hole that can be turned. Turn it and your child will not be able to open the door from the inside (while driving for instance).

-Keep all medicines and vitamins in a container up in a cabinet that cannot be reached by any unreasonable amount of climbing. Kids enjoy the flavor of medicines and vitamins and may be tempted to push the limit to reach these scrumptious “treats.” Note: Just because a top is “childproof” does not mean it is!

-If your child has found entertainment in opening the fridge door and independence in serving themselves food and drink put a fridge lock on the door (up high!) If you don’t mind them doing this or they are of an appropriate age be weary of leaving open alcohol or spicy foods in there.

-Use non-toxic cleaners because even putting childproof latches on cabinet doors may not hold back a budding housekeeper.

-Anchor bookcases, entertainment cabinets, and dressers to the wall! Seriously do this- if a child sees you put some desired object on top that may serve as enough motivation to inspire a climb. {Note: think about what your child sees you put on high places.}

-Get a chain lock or such and go ‘hotel style’ on your front door. Even two year-olds can open front doors. Another idea is to install those bells that go off when someone opens a window or door.

-Put all items you would like to stay off of face, hands, and mouth in a “safe” place. “Safe” is a subjective word subject to determination by each individual child.

-Sharp objects are another point of consideration: knives, thumbtacks, tools, scissors…

-Think about the designated “home” of breakables: computers, cameras, glasses, etc. Some children will want to mimic you in everything you do. That camera strap may just remind them of how you take pictures- “give it a try” may run through their mind and just as quickly they grab the strap and the camera falls…

My beautiful, two year old, bundle of energy wakes up and heads into our room for a cuddle. After slowly waking up from a good night’s sleep, she tells me “Breakfast Mama.” We get up and eat some breakfast- she loves granola (“nola”), fried eggs, fruit, milk, pancakes, kefir, smoothies…

After breakfast, I do the dishes and she goes and takes off her clothes and cruises around nudie for a bit. The rest of the day she spends busy as a bee:

-she “helps” clean with spray bottles and towels

-she “helps” herself to milk or a snack whenever I turn my back (go to the bathroom, go to get dressed, help one of the other kids)- cleaning usually proceeds this activity

-she climbs any and all counters

-she opens any and all containers

-she opens the front door

-she applies make-up

If your back is turned she will be “helping” herself in some way. She has perfected the art of observation and follows the lead of me and her siblings almost perfectly- the only exception is the mess that proceeds the “help”.

Examples:

-She opened up a lip stain lipstick and put it on while wearing a bunny mask- lip and face stained- she innocently says, “I do lips.”

-Went to get dressed- when I came out, she was sitting in her chair with a plate of ketchup, eating it with a spoon. “I eat ketchup, Mama.”

-Poured herself a cup of iced tea. “I thirsty Mama.” And keeps walking past me.

The list goes on and on. It may sound like I don’t watch her, but she is just fast and is inclined to take care of herself when know one else is in the room. She keeps me on my toes to say the least. I don’t trust her at all but love her drive and spirit.

Isn’t it fascinating the different personalities our children have and the way they manifest themselves in the family unit?

As parents, we look to others for guidance and the how-to as we navigate the new waters of parenting and each new stage. Sometimes we do this consciously and sometimes it seems to be more of a sub-conscious decision to follow the norm.

I challenge you to consider each choice you make as a parent carefully. Don’t just figure because x is right for the majority it is right for you and your child.

Clothing, media, curfews, activities, school all test us as parents. We often default to the current trend or popular decision or what seems to be the “norm” for a certain age. Sometimes we aren’t even happy with our decision, but we figure we are just being silly because “everyone else is doing it.” (A mentality we find ourselves falling into, yet desperately want our children to always avoid.)

Before you tell your child, “Yes, they can watch Alladin” or “Yes, they can listen to Hannah Montana.” or “Yes, they can start wearing x.” Ask yourself if you really think that is best for your child and your family. Does it fit with your values? Can your child resist any temptation given from the situation? Is your child mature enough to understand? Are you saying yes to avoid a conflict with your child? Are you saying yes because other parents are saying yes?

I challenge you to parent boldly and resist the urge to follow the norm. Parent for your child. Parent as God calls YOU to parent.

One of my friends recently made a very bold parenting decision- she pulled her son out of preschool. There was another child that was influencing her son greatly in a very poor way. And they tried to work with the situation, but they identified that the son could not handle the situation, and the behaviors were effecting home life greatly. So, she boldly went against what she had wanted and against the grain and pulled him out.

Another family I know has given their high schooler very specific movie watching guidelines and any movie that she watches that pushes these guidelines must be run by the parents. This means she calls to find out about a movie when she is at a friend’s house. This may mean she has to tell a friend she can’t watch a movie. She respectfully follows her parent’s guidelines. This does not follow the norm but fits with the parents beliefs and desires for their children.

Before you buy your child a top that you think may not be appropriate, but they really really want, give yourself permission to say no and consider your decision carefully.

Before you let your child start driving or dating- consider your child, are they ready? How were their personality handle each situation they are challenged with?

Look at your child, their unique strengths and weaknesses, how they make decisions, your families morals and values… Adjust your decisions accordingly.

For lunch, I often throw together an appetizer tray of sorts for my kids. Hummus, cheese chunks, nuts, dried fruit, veggie sticks, sliced fresh fruit, granola bar pieces. I put it in the middle of the three and let them go to town.

I sometimes use this same idea as a pre-dinner veggie platter or as part of a dinner of leftovers.

My kids love the choices! And they consume a bunch of veggies.

Each night, I bless my kids with God’s words. I say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

This is a very known verse. Probably one of the reasons I have chosen to bless them with it- I have not excelled in scripture memorization over the years. But, as I say it to each of my children each night, I hear the words over and over. Some nights I just hear the words, some nights I don’t even hear them I just say them, and some nights these words speak volumes to me.

Think about these words and ask yourself if you really believe them and if you do how do you show it?

“Trust in the Lord” Do you trust Him? Do you trust Him with your child’s health? Do you trust them with your desperate financial situation? Do you trust him if you lose some or even all of your comforts? Do you really trust Him?

“Do not lean on your own understanding.” How often do we lean on our boxed in, finite understanding of time, situation, purpose, and plan. Do you give up the need to understand purpose of each difficulty in your life because you know He knows?

“In all your ways acknowledge Him!” In everything you do, do you talk to God? Do you call on Him when things go wrong or praise Him when things go right? Is He the one you run to or is your spouse or friend? God wants to live in our lives constantly.

“He will make your paths straight.” God will make our paths straight. But whose path does it need to be? His. My oldest daughter has said many times that we need to say on God’s path and when we make bad choices we are choosing to go on another path… but He wants us to stay straight on His path.

I pray for us as mothers, our impact on such an influential group of blossoming little ones, and our diligence in that as well as our necessity to take that role seriously. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing to You MY God!

Praying for love in my children and my home…. “Lord let your love overflow onto our children and onto your people. Allow your love through us to be an example of Christ’s love to our children and those we come into contact with. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with your love and not be hindered by the things of this world and the worries and stresses that can encroach on really loving like Christ. Let our home be a place of love that is patient and kind…”

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting and Hearts in Dried Cranberries

Muffin:

Mix: 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour, 3/4 c honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and all-spice, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 3/4 c canned pumpkin (or make yourself), 1/2 c EVOO, optional: 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c walnuts, 1/2 c cranberries, 1/2 c chocolate chips- whatever suits your fancy- or plain

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese

1/3 c honey

1 tsp vanilla

Cream until smooth. Cut in half if you don’t need a lot. Thin with cream if you want it a bit thinner. And feel free to try out mini-cupcakes for a tinier treat 🙂

Sofie at ExurbMagazine has some great ec0-friendly and cost-friendly Valentine gift ideas- share with someone one of these fun treats.

Challenge: try making your own Valentine’s day cards! Get the kids involved and use stuff you have around the house!

Many times we expect our children to obey or follow directions that they may not know exactly how to do. We tell a energy-ful child to sit still during church or at dinner, yet they may not know how they can go about doing that. Parent response to the directions not being followed: frustration or giving up and letting them do what they want or???

Another alternative: demonstrate/model and practice the behavior we want them to perform. And when it doesn’t work out, model and practice some more. Training our children…

Example #1: This past month, we wanted our 20 month old to be able to sit still on our laps when we went to all our holiday celebrations. Per a suggestion from Elizabeth Krueger’s book Raising Godly Tomatoes, we practiced this after dinner by having her sit on our laps- when she tried to flip over or squirm away we gently told her to sit still and relax. We didn’t hold her in place, we just let her practice and understand how to sit still on our laps. We only practiced for a few minutes at a time and for a few days- but she got it and does it well now.

Example #2: I fill up water bottles for my kids each morning and leave them on the counter for them to drink as needed. This cuts down on dishes, etc. Problem is that they don’t always put them back, and then we lose the cups. So, I have had them practice getting their cup, taking a drink, and putting it back on the counter. Now, the cups are finding their way to the counter after each drinks.

We are constantly being given cute pictures or notes from our kids, along with pictures, school things… Managing these papers often seems to turn into stacks or a pile in a nice box…

This year, I am starting a new plan. I bought a scrapbook for each of my kids and glued a large envelope to every other page. Then, I wrote the month on the envelope. I have one page to glue small items, and the envelope to put things worth saving. Simple (I hope). And a place for the things I want to save.

The past few days we have been briefly working on training our 21 month old daughter to sit still on our lap. Raising Godly Tomatoes by Elizabeth Krueger gives some direction on training your child in this very simple (sounding) act.

“Place your baby (after he has been fed and changed) on your lap, facing away from you. When he tries to arch his back or roll over, push his tummy back down and tell him “No.” Do not hold him down. (But don’t let him fall on the floor either!) Do this when you have time to keep it up until he stops resisting you. Outlast him…”

This has proven to work and been very beneficial as we have many outings where she needs to sit during the Christmas season. It is amazing how responsive little ones are to this type of training. Highly recommend the book and the training…

As we went about training our daughter in this, I contemplated the difference in the parenting I am giving her compared to my oldest daughter. My parenting with my first daughter was much more reactive in the sense that I dealt with problems as they came and escalated. This goes for dealing with sleep and an overtired baby. Dealing with the “terrible twos” and defiance… I think this is common with first children and common in parenting in general. With my second child, we had already established boundaries and protocol and been around the block once. Things went much smoother- but it was still more reactive, I wasn’t preventing problems from occurring – thankfully I had a plan for what to do when the problems arose.

Now, with child #3, she is only 21 months old and we have higher standards for her behavior (we know how much they understand and are capable of), spend more time modeling verbally and physically how to obey and how to make good choices (we understand that they don’t always know what obedience looks like- modeling and repeating that modeling is so important- they need an example of what we expect!). And we are doing these things to begin training her before we become reactive trying to figure out how to get her to obey when she hits the “terrible twos”.

Note: Training takes time but it is well worth it!

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