Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happiness Project

A little word from the Happiness Project to "lighten up" in our parenting. That, and colloidal oatmeal, is just what the doctor ordered.

In a funk lately, but nothing that a little karaoke won't cure. Yep, me and the mic kicking it at Halloweeny party last night at GSU - just me and Grace with mama singing in front of a hundred strangers. Quite fun actually. Gracie was getting down on the dance floor. She never had quite that big of a stage nor audience to show off her moves - a nice blend of what the sistas were doin with a bit ballet flare. :o) Plus, there was fun fall food with laster tag and big ole bouncies for the kiddos. Nice, though we could do without that nasty Superman song/dance. Seriously - do parents even know what their kids are singing??

Gracie enjoyed a play the live long day with Uncle Bob that included pumpkin carving, pizza eating, pooch bathing/walking/snuggling and playing games. Nice to know UB really enjoyed the day himself. Yeah me for getting some much needed catch up work done for my studies. We finished the evening together at a for-sure-forgetable eatery in Crete which will go unnamed. Great day indeed.

The last weeks have been busy indeed. Two weddings of VIF - very important folks. Long time knew her when she wore pigtails friend, Jenny McQuay, and one of my bestest buds - Randy Beal. Wishing many happy days and full hearts to both of them and their very special spouses, Churchhill & Emily.
Gracie was the flower girl in Jen's wedding. Joy joy. However, she still doesn't know that Uncle Randy's wedding has come and gone. I'm going to let him tell her in his own special way. :o) We had an absolute blast at Randy and Em's wedding. They know how to throw a party. And well... I just love that Randy and I am so happy for happy for YOU, cause I know you will read this at some point in the next year. Ha!

Well, it's not letting me upload pictures or all that I want. You'll might just have to check in again another day to see the lastest. Just FYI, I'm on hiatus from Facebook - though I'll still accept your Farmville gifts. :o) Oh and just in case you're wondering...karaoke was NOT the pick me up I's my previous post and the love n support of great friends - friends who love like family (and love on my kid). :o)

ANDDDD now back to a word about parenting on the light side from the Happiness Project:
1. At least once a day, make each child helpless with laughter.

2. Sing in the morning. It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone—particularly in my case, because I’m tone deaf and my audience finds my singing a source of great hilarity.

3. Get enough sleep yourself. It’s so tempting to stay up late, to enjoy the peace and quiet. But morning comes fast. Along the same lines…

4. Wake up before your kids. We were so rushed in the morning that I started getting up half an hour earlier than my children. That means I can get myself organized, check my email, post to Slate, and get my bag packed before they get up. It’s tough to wake up earlier, but it has made a huge difference in the quality of our mornings.

5. I’ve been researching the hedonic treadmill: people quickly adapt to new pleasures or luxuries, so it takes a new pleasure to give them a jolt of gratification. As a result, I’ve cut back on treats and impulse buys for my kids. The ice-cream sandwich or the Polly Pockets set won’t be an exciting treat if it isn’t rare.

6. Most messages to kids are negative: “stop,” “don’t,” “no.” So I try to cast my answers as “yes.” “Yes, we’ll go as soon as you’ve finished eating,” not “We’re not leaving until you’ve finished eating.” It’s not easy to remember to do this, but I’m trying.

7. Look for little ways to celebrate. I haven’t been doing holiday breakfasts long, but they’re a huge source of happiness. They’re quick, fun, and everyone gets a big kick out of them.

8. Repetition works. A friend told me he was yelling at his kids too much, so he distilled all rules of behavior into four key phrases: “keep your hands to yourself”; “answer the first time you’re asked”; “ask first”; and “stay with us” (his kids tended to bolt). You can also use the school mantras: “Sit square in your chair;” “accidents will happen,” “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset” (i.e., when cupcakes are handed out, you don’t keep trying to switch).

9. Say “no” only when it really matters. Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange shorts? Sure. Put water in the toy tea set? Okay. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed? Fine. Samuel Johnson said, “All severity that does not tend to increase good, or prevent evil, is idle.”

10. When I find myself thinking, “Yippee, soon we won’t have to deal with a stroller,” I remind myself how fleeting this is. All too soon the age of Cheerios and the Tooth Fairy will be over. The days are long, but the years are short.

Have you found any good strategies to cut back on the shouting and to add moments of laughing, singing, and saying “yes”? If so, leave me a comment! Can't wait to read your strategies for a sing song keep it light day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009