Category Archives: Motherhood

Putting Myself In The Calm Down Corner

Putting Myself In The Calm Down Corner

It’s actually working.

Screaming Girl because of Calm Down Corner

This isn’t working for me!

Part of me is still in shock, and I am under no illusion that my next parenting challenge (or “growth opportunity”) might not be just around the corner, but in this case, what I am doing is actually working. Wow!

If you haven’t read my last post, I talked about my seemingly life-changing discovery of Deborah Tillman, America’s Supernanny, and her approach towards using a “Calm Down Corner.”

Well, the first two nights at it were intense, to say the least, as my four-year-old, Siena, kicked, threw, flailed, hit and screamed at me, “This isn’t working for me!”

On the third night, Siena’s three minutes of quiet (once she had calmed down) were interrupted when she needed to poo – of course… When she came back I let her finish the three minutes holding her pink teddy bear.

When my alarm beeped, she looked up and smiled and said, “That was quick!” I (excitedly) responded, “That’s because you calmed down quickly tonight,” to which I was gifted a BIG smile.

Since then, the need for the calm down corner has minimized greatly and, often, just the mention of it, or the words, “You’re ignoring me,” are enough for her to start cooperating. Hallelujah!

And, beyond my wildest hopes, these days she will even happily agree with me that implementing the calm down corner was a very good thing for us (given the alternatives we had tried in the past – she’s still upset that we got rid of her purple princess piñata from last year’s birthday party as one of her previous “consequences.”

So, it seems I will be eternally grateful  to America’s Supernanny – THANK YOU, Deborah Tillman (and the Lifetime network!).

Mommy In The Calm Down Corner

Now, me being me, I had to take it to the next level. One day, when Siena had successfully pushed my buttons and I was feeling angry and frustrated, I had an idea – I should go into the calm down corner!

What a great solution:

  • It gives me some quiet time on my own.
  • It lets my kids know that I’m having a tough time without yelling and screaming at them.
  • It gives me a chance to collect my thoughts so I can approach the situation more appropriately.
  • It shows them that “grown ups” need to calm down and learn to manage their anger and frustration too.
  • Etc, etc, etc!

Mommy Needs The Calm Down Corner

Mommy needs the calm down corner…

I’ve only done it two or three times so far, but I LOVE it. I get to sit quietly by myself against the wall outside of our kitchen (our corner’s not really a corner). It’s like my little piece of heaven (well, that might be going a little far, but you get the point).

And when Siena asks why I’m in the calm down corner, I get to tell her how I’m feeling in a calm, relaxed way that she can take in and process in a more healthy way.

As you can tell, I’m a true convert. In this moment, there is a significant amount more calm in my life which I am grateful for every time I see that look in Siena’s eye which says, “I’m about to go over the edge.” Let’s just say, it’s gotten a lot easier to keep her on this side of the fence.

And, next time I find myself faced with a discipline problem I don’t know how to handle – I’m starting my research with America’s Supernanny :-) .

Hemp Hearts and Hamburger Buns Part 1

Hemp Hearts and Hamburger Buns Part 1
Hemp Seeds Heart on Vita Mama Online

Love Those Hemp Seeds

Until recently, the kitchen and I were not friends. In fact, several months into dating my now-husband, he finally said, “Oh… You really don’t cook!”

In light of that fact, I’m extremely proud these days of my attempts to feed my family in a healthy and enjoyable way.

About a year ago we decided it was time to “get healthy.” There were a number of reasons for this. Amongst them:

  • Our older daughter’s chronic constipation and cough
  • Our younger daughter’s eczema and full-body rashes due to food sensitivities
  • My husband’s recently discovered basal cell carcinoma (which was successfully removed) followed by him being diagnosed at the age of 39 with glaucoma!

I, fortunately, had no specific ailments at the time. However, allergies have plagued me throughout my life and  I was aware that, at any time, the wrong combination or amount of foods (or beverages) could suddenly flick the switch and I would be off on a 2-4 day body-depleting sneezathon.

Pause… As I reread the above statements about our family, my gut instinct is to think, “Wow, what a tragic group of people!” However, the very sad fact that I’ve learned over time is that we’re not at all abnormal!

We were eating a standard American diet (SAD) and we were getting the standard American results as far as our health and well-being went. And, while people wouldn’t have considered us overweight, we each had a “few pounds” we could lose.

In December 2011, I randomly landed on a WGBH telethon program on which they were promoting a program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. As Dr. Fuhrman explained the impacts of various foods on our bodies, why so many people in our society are so sick, and how simple it can be to remedy many of those ills, it spoke to a part of me that I had been ignoring for years. I knew what he was saying was true and I knew it was time for me to step up around caring for myself and my family.

Ironically, after purchasing the program, there was a glitch in the order system and it didn’t arrive until mid-February. In fact, it, rather auspiciously, landed in our mailbox on the exact day my husband was diagnosed with glaucoma.

And, while diet hasn’t been proven to heal glaucoma, we knew something had to change. We knew this had to be a step in the right direction and the diagnosis gave us the motivation to jump on the bandwagon fast.

I got inspired and spent more time in the kitchen than I had probably done in the previous 5 years combined. Ben was pleasantly surprised at how good our new way of eating could taste. Gemma was still solely nursing, so I didn’t have to worry about her yet.

And then there was Siena. Siena, at 3-and-a-half years old, had become quite accustomed to (and happy with) the standard American (kids) diet: mac and cheese, chicken tenders, maybe fish sticks, pasta, plus a few pieces of fruit or a vegetable here and there.

Now, if you read Dr. Fuhrman’s book for kids, his take on getting a child to eat healthier is that if ship-wrecked, a kid isn’t going to starve to death. Give them less options, stick to your guns, and pretty soon they will happily eat whatever food they can get their hands on. I.e. They’re smart and adaptable (even the super picky ones).

Uh, oh! Not to leave you hanging, but my “me-time” is up, so part 2 will be coming soon!

Cheers and Namaste,
Vita Mama

I love being a mom – Really I do.

I love being a mom – Really I do.

I love being a mom. It kicks my butt on a daily basis, but I love it, of course.

Every day I laugh, I get irritated, I am at peace, I reach for food to calm my anger.

Every day I get inspired OR I disappear into a mind-numbing hole of misery.

I used to be an extremely even-keeled type of gal. The funny thing is how many people still think I am.

But my 4-year-old knows how (and chooses) to push my buttons like no one else. She’s fiery and strong and brilliant. All qualities that I’m thrilled she’ll have in about 20 years time. For now, though, it’s me who gets to be on the receiving end of everything. I somehow always knew this age would be challenging for me but, WOW, this is really hard.

I had planned on starting a blog on well-being; Eating well and teaching your kids to do the same; Taking care of / nurturing yourself and your family; Being inspired by life; Etc, etc.

On some level I know that that is what this will be about because those are the areas I’m passionate about. Those are the things I’m virtually always thinking and talking about. When I speak with other moms, those are the questions I’m answering and ideas I’m sharing with them.

And, yet, I really have no idea what will show up here. I could never have imagined the journey that motherhood would take me on up until now, and so I wait in (somewhat) eager anticipation to see what lessons will be learned (and who I will become) next.

If you can relate to anything I’ve said above, I’d love for you to join me and to share your wisdom and experience here too.

Cheers and Namaste,
Vita Mama