Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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Be Gone, You Terrible Beast

I’ve been awake since 5 this morning. I’m a stay at home mom, who doesn’t have to punch a time clock in the corporate world, so you’re asking me, “why, oh why, are you awake at 5 am?” Well, it’s because of this blog which has started growing profusely and I find myself excited and worried about what I’ll post next. So, this morning I tip-toed downstairs, made my cup of coffee, and high-tailed it straight to my computer where I began to peruse Twitter, my email, and Flipboard for anything of substance I could post this morning. What did I find? Well, quite the interesting article on sugar intake and its effect on your waist line.

photo courtesy of IStock/ThinkStock
photo courtesy of IStock/ThinkStock

I type this as I’m eating my fat free brownie (but not sugar free) and drinking my sweetened coffee. And I’m the type of person who complains about my baby bump (no I’m not pregnant, but I have a pooch I will never be free from), degrades myself for not being able to slim my hips back down to my pre-pregnancy form, and just all around feels bad about my physical appearance. And yet, I’m eating sugar.

In this article I read from Women’s Health Magazine, it throws out some statistics about sugar intake, along with the effects, and some ways to possibly beat down this terrible sugar beast! So, here are a couple of statistical facts you may or may not have been aware of.

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/sugar-facts?adbid=533080679865536512&adbpl=tw&adbpr=25087685&cid=socFO_20141114_35576867

The American Heart Association suggests that a woman should intake no more than 25 grams of a sugar a day, but that the average American takes in 92 grams per day! What!?!?!? 25 grams seems like a lot to me, so I’m sure that I’m staying within those boundaries, but let me check just in case. I bake my own bread, so that lowers the amount of sugar, but not down as low as I need. I do love my pastas and while I choose the hidden veggie pastas by Muellers, they still contain 32 grams in one box! Are you kidding me? And that doesn’t count the processed pasta sauces I buy in the can for convenience. And like I said when I started this post, there’s also the multiple cups of coffee which I sweeten with Splenda and French Vanilla creamer, or the occasional mocha latte I treat myself to at Starbucks. On the plus side, I don’t consume sodas or energy drinks.

I suppose; however, the most interesting part of this article is that I can indeed beat down this dreaded beast and actually “train” my brain to not crave sugar. According to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, sugar can affect the brain much the same way as cocaine and alcohol. It is seen as an addiction, and like with most addictions you can find a way to not crave it. How do you train your brain to not crave the sugary foods, you ask.

Stop the cravings before they hit is the key. You need to maintain your hunger level to a near minimal existence by keeping your belly full of proteins and fibers and free of the refined carbs we all seem to love. Eat good tasting foods that digest more slowly and keep that steady stream of healthy foods coming. Sounds simple enough, right, but can it truly be done? So in an effort to try out this theory of preventing my brain from going gaga for the bad stuff and trimming down those final few inches, I’m going to blog about my progress. And as with anything, I’m going to go out with a bang and in a blaze of glory. This weekend I will allow myself one final swan song in the sugar treats ballet, before going strong on Monday.

Follow my progress and help keep me accountable. I’d love suggestions on foods, things I can make for my family, but things that also won’t break the bank. We’re operating off of one salary in this household, so we don’t have the luxury of spending hundreds of dollars a week on groceries. Our monthly budget is $300. Share ways that have helped you.

And with that, let me enjoy my brownie and coffee breakfast!

Enjoying my three splenda, two French vanilla coffee.
Enjoying my three splenda, two French vanilla coffee.
Fat free brownie.  Yum!
Fat free brownie. Yum!

Almost Time for the Razzle and Dazzle…

I keep seeing posts on Facebook about Oscar parties going on tonight.   The Today Show had Martha Stewart on Friday showing how to set up a bunch of swag should you decide to host a viewing party.   Flipboard is full of stories about who is wearing what, and how long it takes the stars to get ready, and I see Kim Kardashian flaunting her baby bump.

All of this got me to thinking about my life pre-Davey.   It’s like a song that brings back a memory and transports you to a previous time, a time of happiness, a time of sorrow, a time of a different you, a more free you.   Did I go to Oscar parties?   Um, no.   I don’t know of anyone who had Oscar parties either.   Would I have gone to an Oscar party?  Perhaps a LOOONNNNGGG time ago when I was in my early to mid twenties.  But I have to admit this does have me thinking…perhaps next year I should throw a pre-Oscar viewing party with Davey.   How am I going to do that you ask?

Well, he’s much too young to really understand the movies and what goes on with them, so this year isn’t necessarily a good time, but next year is a whole different story…he’ll be almost 2 & 1/2.   So, here’s my plan.

We’re going to start viewing all of the movies appropriate for his age.   I’m even contemplating scheduling movie dates with some of his playgroup friends so that they can partake in the fun as well.   We’ll watch new movies and old movies throughout the year and then by next January we’ll vote on these movies.    The movie that wins for the year will be a part of our Oscar celebration.   We’ll view it again, hand out awards, eat popcorn and hor d’oevres and even have some sparkling grape juice to toast.   The kids can dress up however they want.   I will encourage the moms to let them pick out their clothes for the special occasion.   I’m over the top just thinking about it right now.

And just as quickly as some little thing reminds me of my previous life, I look at my son and the above idea pops into my head.   I just ran this idea by Davey as he sat in my lap.   This is the response I got:

“Yeah, Mama.”

I don’t know if he’s really into next year’s plans or if that’s the only sentence he can say right now.

As for tonight, my plans for the Oscars…I may steal a glance at it when my husband isn’t looking, but I’ll probably be taking advantage of my time with Davey being in bed to get my writing done.   Oh, how things have changed.

Happy Oscars Night, Everyone!