Friday, July 20, 2012

Tomato Staking, Part 2

(I started typing this post, and typed several paragraphs before it started sounding very familiar.  I check my previous posts and realized that I already posted some of what I said in this post, but I'll leave it, because obviously it is a big thing that is going on in my life, and has been on my mind constantly.  So sorry for the repeated info!)

Oliver is SO cute!  Look at those chubby cheeks!  He's so sweeeeet!  Those comments have been coming less and less lately, as Oliver gets bigger and loses his baby innocence.  He can still be very sweet and charming, and he is still cute, but OH MY WORD.  This child has a mind of his own, and he knows how to use it.  He smiles his way into trouble oh, I don't know, maybe 739 times in the course of a day.  I was desperate, people.  Desperate!!!!

Friends heard my desperation and began suggesting a book to me.  Several friends suggesting the same book to me means that that book WILL be purchased and in my house within a week or two.  Well, most of the time.  Unless you're talking about something like 50 Shades of Grey.  That book, and all perverseness of the sort, will never be inside my home.  But that's another topic for another day.

I have read most of the suggested book, Raising Godly Tomatoes by L. Elizabeth Krueger.  The boys think the title is hilarious, as we actually started to get ripe tomatoes on the plants in the backyard around the same time as the book arrived.  Well, I'm working on growing up some tomatoes of my own, but inside the house!  I am finding out just how helpful it is to have Oliver right beside me throughout the majority of the day.  He washes windows with me, he helps me push clothes into the dryer on laundry days, he sits in his high chair and watches me cook (I feel like I have my own little cooking show most of the time now, "Watch Mommy chop the carrots!  Now I will put them into the pan and stir them around.  Hot hot!" as he waves his hand around, indicating that something is hot.)  It is hard.  Everything takes longer with him around, because I am constantly correcting him and teaching him and showing him what to do and correcting him again and showing him what to do again...

I have been working on specific behaviors with Oliver.  Things I want him to do the first time, every time. Eventually I'd like for him to be obedient in everything.  But I started training him late, when he was already used to getting his own way in most things, so it will take him a while to get the hang of listening to Mike and me and doing what we say right when we say it.

The first one was "Sit With Mama."  This means no squirming to get down, no sliding down my leg, no pounding on me while he is sitting on my lap, no yelling in my face, and all of the other things he would do when I tried to hold him before if he didn't want to be held.  I have always told people that Oliver is "not a snuggler."  I am finding out that I simply hadn't trained him to sit with me.  Joy!!  He turned out to quite like snuggling with Mama.  I just have to enforce the "Sit With Mama" rules, and he does great.  We're working on longevity at this point.  He is up to about 30 minutes of sitting with me.  Most of the time, we are reading books or singing songs or "doing" something.  I'm getting him used to being on my lap, under my authority.

Next we started working on "Lay Your Head Down."  At any point while I am holding him, I need to be able to say, "Lay Your Head Down" and have him obey quickly and quietly.  Right now, I am requiring it when he is tired and is ready to go to sleep.  He hated this one when we started, and fought and kicked and screamed and turned bright red and asked for Dada.  But I persevered, telling him, "Lay Your Head Down," and then if he didn't do it right away, pushing his head gently down onto my shoulder (there is no abuse going on in this house, folks).  If he arched his back and pushed against my hand while I tried to push his head down, he got a swift pat on the bottom, which at first made him scream even more and arch his back and push harder.  I just kept on, push, arch, swat... push, arch, swat... push, arch, swat... until he figured out that, Wow, Mama really means business!  He would give in, crying, laying his head down and relaxing, until about 30 seconds later he would hear an interesting noise and his head would pop up again.  "Lay Your Head Down."  Push, arch, swat... push, arch, swat... and his head would be down again.

It is a work in progress, but he has come so far in only a week or two!  Now, when he gets to "Sit With Mama," he sees it as a privilege (most of the time) and he wants to be in my lap.  We're still working on the longevity part.  :)  He'll bring me a book or two, and we have our favorite songs that we sing with wiggling fingers and tickling crawling spiders and little lights being blown out and covered up...  He whimpers for a little bit when I tell him, "Lay Your Head Down," but he does it, usually right away.  If he doesn't want to lay his head down, he does it anyway, but sometimes it will pop back up after a few seconds, and then we go through the push, arch, swat routine until his head is down for good.  It is taking less and less time because he KNOWS what is expected, and he knows exactly what will happen if he doesn't do what I am telling him to do.

My foot has healed enough that I can wear socks and my Crocs and walk around without too much pain.  So, I think the next thing I will work on with him is "Come To Mama."  I'm going to have to be brave when I do this one.  He runs away from me when I say this, so I have been avoiding saying it altogether, and never while I am standing up.  He only comes to me when I am sitting down, because when I am standing, he thinks it is a game and I will chase him, which I'm not going to do.  Now that I am feeling better, I am ready to be 100% consistent with this and spend time training him.  He doesn't know what my expectations are, because I have been inconsistent.

So that's where I am right now!  Making progress, although it feels slow and I get discouraged sometimes, especially because it is so hot and the heat makes me tired.  But God will give me the strength to endure, because He will never give us anything we can not handle, and obedient children is something we are taught to pursue in the Bible, so I know I have God's blessing in this.  Parenting is hard, but it is so worth it!


Anonymous said...

I love your little tomatoes! : ) You are such a good mom Carody! I love your consistancy. Consistancy is something I struggle with. Like I said last night, "I have so much to learn from you!". Keep staking friend! And thanks for the cute pics of your little tomato. BTW I am happy to see you blogging again.

Carody said...

I love blogging! Thanks for the encouragement. Consistency is something I have always struggled with too, so having to be SO consistent is hard for me. It is coming slowly, but new habits always take a while to get used to. So I'm training myself too! :)