Transitioning through Big Changes
In May we decided to sell our house and move... I was so pregnant... and had to live in my car while we did showings. Pack up the house... move into a new house. In between we had a vacation. Then we finally get in, have things under construction. My grandpa came to visit, broke his neck, ends up in a care facility in Utah living out the end of is his life. Grandma and my Uncle Bry moved in. New neighborhood. New ward. Oh yeah... and then I had this sweet miracle baby Maelie. Grandpa's passing. Grandma leaving. 😭
I seriously look back on it all... and KNOW my Heavenly Father was holding me up. I felt so much peace and love. So much support. And so much strength. It wasn't a summer of survival. It was one of the most rewarding summers of my entire life.
Two under two, grandma and uncle living with me, drama that comes from change, writing my thesis, adjusting to a new move, new home.
I was REALLY worried about my boy.
Worried he would feel less loved.
Worried he wouldn't like sharing attention.
Worried how he'd adjust to a new home.
How he would do with my grandma living there... and knowing he couldn't be super fussy or whiny cuz it would be too much for her during all of her struggles.
Worried with so many people in his space.
How he would do when my grandma left. I get teary thinking about that part. He loves her SO much.
Charlie didn't just survive this chaos.
We all thrived. So much good came out of that time.
I can't even tell you what a blessing it was.
There were hard days, and I feel like we were over scheduled, over worked... under-rested... but we did it. And we are going to talk about some things that really helped. Some things we had to learn.
New child - deployed parent - busy season for working parents.
Changes happen... and whoever is left with the kids is probably overwhelmed.
Without realizing it... sometimes we are paying more attention to the negative behaviors... and not focusing on the behaviors we want.
"Be nice to your sister" "Bring me a diaper please" *takes pictures of the baby* "Be soft!" "Quiet voice!" Pretty soon we pay so much attention to these behaviors, that this is what our child WANTS to do, for connection with us.
NONE of those phrases were mean. But none of them were focusing on him. They were all about sister. Absolutely, we want him to be helpful and kind, and quiet. BUT, we need to pad all of those directions with POSITIVE, WARM interactions. Look him in the eye, "you are a good helper, thank you" "Wow bud, look at the tower" "Charlie I love you" *take picture of baby, take picture of Charlie*
I realize how hard it is to just reestablish new routines. And care for another human. But if we put a little bit of effort in that positive attention, we will support our child in their big adjustment and life change. (And bonus, there will be less negative behaviors.)
I call it the 90-10 rule. 90% positive attention for every redirection/transition.
Routines establish trust, consistency and help your child feel in control of their moments.
That way when a little change rocks their world, they can be grounded in the routines that didn't change and be able to manage.
Routines we are excellent at:
--A morning bottle of almond milk + chocolate protein powder. On special days, we through that in the cocoa motion with a little PB, GOURMET hot chocolate.
--Dinners at the table
--Hugs, snuggles and I love you EVERY day
Routines that could use work:
What about you?
Work on Your Relationship:
Spend five minutes a day one-on-one with each child. Uninterrupted. Phone off. On their level. Eye-contact. Warmth. Love.
How did it feel? Would you do it again? How did they feel?
I had a LOT of panic and guilt over this in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I had a spiritual experience, that told me... it's going to be OKAY. He knows that we love him.
Sometimes sharing attention is so hard. Changes can be SO hard. Adjusting isn't automatic, it's a teaching moment.
If they are not interacting kindly with their new sibling.
+They might be needing more of your positive attention... and less of your negative attention. Shift that attention.
+They might need help knowing how to kindly and softly communicate
+They might need a positive interaction with their sibling... "Wow she smiled at you. Do you think she liked that???"
+They will adjust. And then it will be like they never knew anything different.