Saturday, September 22, 2012

You Live and You Learn

Man, the last few weeks have been rough! The boys behavior quickly went down hill very drastically and it seemed to hit out of the blue. It got to the point where no discipline was effective and I felt I was at a loss. The days were long and frustrating and I was so sad that I felt like I couldn’t just enjoy my boys! A few problems we were dealing with during the day were as follows...

That huge red line across his forehead...yah that's a "playing reckless" injury. Any harder and he would have split it open. Yikes!
*The boys were playing so rough and careless…not like “Oh no, they’re destroying the house and making a mess” kind of careless but a “Oh crap, we’re going to end up in the ER soon with a serious injury” kind of careless. They were constantly hurting each other or themselves and it was chaotic…

This is their chaotic! And yes, they tipped that over all by themselves.
* I could not keep these boys out of 1. The guest room and 2. The pack and play in their room where Carter sleeps every night. It wasn’t such a big deal at first but they started destroying the pack and play in the guest room that we planned on using eventually for the new baby, and they were getting hurt pretty significantly climbing in and out of the pack and play in their room and tipping it over. I started to try and put an end to it and explained to them they would be in trouble every time they climbed in, so time outs and spankings were handed out each time but what do you know?? They didn’t care… I would catch them in there an easy 20 times a day with disciplining taking place each time, I was DONE!

This is Oliver throwing a fit while we were out to naughty.
*Their overall behavior out in public became terrible. We go out and have lunch or sit in Starbucks with my Dad and sister Kylie a couple of times a week and it had just gotten to the point where it was miserable and frustrating the entire time because they team up and throw fits and directly disobey over and over…disciplining and stern talks were not working…

This is the first day we started "snack time" and the boys loved it!
*They were not eating at meal times…they would pick at their food for a few minutes and say “all done” trying to get down to go play right away. An hour later they’re asking for snacks….annoying…and not to mention, not healthy. We needed a snack/meal time schedule to give us more structure...

Time out face...
*Oliver started peeing in his time out chair in an effort to get him out of  his time out chair…clever.

*The boys have always been great sleepers! They would normally not wake up until well after 9:30 in the morning and that was an early day for them…recently, they’ve decided to move wake up time up a bit…sometimes it was 6:30, most of the time it was 7:30…Oliver would wake up crying frantically and I would go in and get him because I thought he was scared…bad habit to get into…

Kaleb and I decided to sit down and “regroup” to try and figure out a behavior improvement plan to avoid any more injuries and to be quite honest emotional breakdowns on my part! 
Oliver enjoying his new crib.

Carter in his new crib.
The first thing we did was purchase two new matching cribs for the boy’s room. We had been wanting to do this for awhile but never really felt like it was “necessary”, now that Carter can climb in and out of his pack and play…it was necessary. Next we decided that I would really crack down on having a stricter daily routine and schedule. After the boys grew out of nursing and multiple nap times during the day I really just had a “go with the flow” sort of take on how each day would go. Our daily routine now looks like this…

7:30 am: I get up, shower, and make breakfast.
8 am: Get the boys out of bed if they’re awake, if not I let them sleep!
After breakfast they play toys or we go for a walk to play at the park.
10:30 am: We have a light snack on a blanket in the living room.
Play some more.
12:30 pm: LUNCH!!
After lunch we sit down and watch a movie in the living room as a way to kind of wind down and that way I can rest a bit.
3 pm: Nap time! I lay both boys down in their cribs for a nap or just to at least relax. Carter will always go to sleep, but Oliver being 2 ½ he sometimes just lies there and chats to himself, but for the most part they both sleep.
5:30 pm: They normally get up around this time, I already have dinner going and Kaleb gets home around this time also. He plays with them until dinner is ready.
6 or 7 pm: We eat dinner and decide what we want to do that night…
8:30 or 9 pm: We start to get the kids ready for bed and have a nightly routine of laying in their room, quoting verses, praying, and reading a chapter (or a few) out of the Bible…

This routine is “strict” for what we’re used to but so far after a week of trying it out, it has been super effective! We still go out to Papa’s house or Starbucks a couple of days a week, but we’re sure to make it home in time for a movie and nap time. 
Here we are enjoying movie time right before the boys go down for naps...
Our daily routine of bad habits that we got into were complete laziness on my part! Instead of putting time into making them a healthy breakfast we would grab bowls of cereal and eat them in bed watching a movie. We would almost always have a movie playing and the boys would grab toys and play while stopping every once in awhile to catch their favorite parts of the movie or to see what was going on. There wasn't much structure and it just got out of hand after awhile.
One boy sleeps, the other plays...
Our nap times were so inconsistent and most of the time they would fall asleep in the car on the way home from wherever we were that day, but that was so very inconvenient. We live in a condo so we have to park in our car port pretty far away from our front door which is also up a flight of stairs since we're the top condo. If Oliver fell asleep and Carter didn't there was no way I could carry him all the way up while keeping Carter under control since Carter likes to stop and smell the roses on his walk up, seriously. If Carter fell asleep and Oliver didn't I would always wait until Carter woke up on his own and let Oliver play by the car. Carter does not transfer well, he's a super light sleeper. If they both fell asleep that was totally fine cause I would just sit in the car with them until they got up. Needless to say it's so much nicer to have a time set aside where they both lay in their beds and sleep at the same time!

I kind of thought that Oliver frantically crying in the morning was a bit of manipulation but wasn’t quite sure so the first morning he woke up crying at 7:30, I decided not to go in to get him until 8 to see what he would do. He cried for maybe 10 minutes, realized I wasn’t falling for it so he sat down in his crib and starting playing, we have had no more crying in the mornings ever since….definitely manipulation on his part. The boys are back to playing nicely, not trashing their room and toys, not getting hurt quite so much, and discipline is back to being effective.

We’ve made sure also to be SUPER CONSITSTENT in our discipline. If we say something, we follow through. A lot of times it’s hard taking away their favorite toy or not letting them watch a movie or not giving them a dessert or a treat, we love doing things that make our boys happy but not in a way that sacrifices their behavior and attitudes. At first it felt like all we were doing was disciplining, sitting on time out, and taking things away, but that honestly didn’t last long. The boys are so much smarter than we give them credit for and definitely have the whole “manipulation” thing down to a T, they have for a while now, so they also catch on to us cracking down and not putting up with certain behaviors anymore. Our days have been smooth sailing the entire week and I am so very grateful! I’m able to rest a bit more which is great since I’m pregnant and having some early contractions and I’m able to really enjoy them and connect with them, I love it.

The TV in it's new spot in our living room....
We also decided to do some rearranging in the house to make our movie and hang out time a little more structured. We have always had the TV in our bedroom, which worked out great for a long time; we don’t have cable or anything so we only use it for movies or video games. While the boys watched movies they would drag tons of toys in from their bedroom and were always trying to trash our room (messing up the bed, pulling clothes out of the closet, knocking and spilling everything out of the hamper, etc.). We decided to move the TV to the living room and only allow one movie in the afternoon before nap to sort of wind down and maybe one or part of one before bed. So far, it’s been great and it really helps with not feeling like we’re trapped in our bedroom all day! It’s nice to use the living room as our main room instead of our bedroom!

These are just a few things that have worked for us and our family, it’s a bit more work on my end keeping everything together, preparing things ahead of time, and so forth but I can tell that it’s so much healthier for my boys and they’re benefiting greatly from it. I want them to grow up with well-formed habits and behaviors because bad habits and behaviors are so much harder to break once they’re older; it’s so much more beneficial to lay it as the foundation. 

Casey Wiegand


  1. Good for you guys! I know it takes effort, etc. but I've found a little structure goes a long way! haha I hope things get better....praying for you :)

  2. I think at that age, kids really do need structure and thrive in it....then the moms and dads can thrive too! Thanks for linking up at Parent 'Hood!


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