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Photo by Andrew J. Cosgriff

I just completed my first marathon less than two weeks ago. I should be feeling invincible. But I don’t. 26.2 miles couldn’t stop me but the flu just kicked me in the pants. It was inevitable. The Tuesday after my race I found myself completely depleted after coming off of the final adrenaline surge of my accomplishment. I also found myself sitting in the waiting room of the pediatricians office – the dreaded petri dish. My son complained of a sore throat after having his classmate come down with strep the day before so I knew I had to take my chances. I didn’t touch anything. I used hand sanitizer. I found myself inside the same office four days later to have my daughter inoculated for the swine flu. It only took us one day after that for us all to come down with the fever, cough and terrible chills. Murphy’s Law.

There is a positive in this situation. Between shivering under the covers and the Tylenol kicking in, I had time to catch up on my favorite blogs and take care of some housecleaning and organizing that just never gets to the top of the list.

One of the things that I learned while stuck at home this week is that sometimes you have to start over.

I was reading some old posts from a new blog favorite, Mama-Om. Stacy gives great examples of being present in our children’s daily lives. It made me start to think about how I’ve wasted many connecting opportunities with my kids lately. I have always allowed the kids a little TV decompression time. When the kids sit to watch their two shows, I disappear upstairs to my computer. Time disappears for us all until we are in a frantic rush trying to get ready for whatever is next – dinner making, practice, lessons. This chaotic energy follows us through homework, getting ready for the next morning and all the way until bedtime.

I have been finding that my kids are always in a conflict and that interactions with my son have been ending in mutually frustrated feelings.

I decided to start again with a no TV rule on weekdays. It has only been two days but the difference is noticeable.

  • My kids (four years apart and opposite sexes) have started finding ways to play together again instead of squabbling.
  • More books were read and instruments were picked up and played.
  • The three of us spent time playing board games, reading together, laughing, appreciating and relishing the time spent together.
  • All of the sudden there was ample time to get everything done without that feeling of the clock ticking.
  • I was more present and able to see some teachable moments in school stories that were shared or during interactions between the kids.

It is not that the TV time took over the whole day (it was only 1 hour) but after being in school for 7 hours that extra lack of connection by zoning out in front of the screen created an energy that tainted the way we related to each other for the rest of the day. Habits are easily created and often hard to break, but it is possible to start over.

D Sharon Pruitt

D Sharon Pruitt

I began my day waking up early and meeting some friends for a run on the green trail which is one of my favorite places to run. The morning promised a beautiful day with the sun already shining and the heat building, wisps of fog dancing in the fields. I passed at least seven deer grazing while driving to the rendezvous point. One was the identical image of Bambi from the Disney film—it was tiny and had white spots unlike the other older deer wandering the fields. It is moments like that, which I would not have seen if my alarm didn’t wake me at 5:15 to venture out while my family sleeps, that make me feel grateful.

I had a great run with the  aches and pains d’jour not making a fuss and the conversation with friends flowing making the miles fly. I felt peaceful upon arriving home.

First day of summer vacation! The excitement for the fun to start created a frenetic energy that pulsed from my son. He was ready. The “for what” wasn’t planned yet. His sister wasn’t up yet and as the minutes ticked the frenetic energy began to turn into an unsettling grumpiness. When said sister did finally awaken, her surly brother was already waiting to bait and catch. My kids don’t wrestle or  fight physically. They are almost four years apart and that just doesn’t work. Instead they have developed other tactics that hurt—tattling, instigating, put downs. I’m sure these things are happening in every household but none-the-less they drive me bonkers and I just can’t have a summer of taunts, cries and whines. What can be done? Here are some ideas to help stave off the sibling rivalry. I will not hold them as fool proof, but give them a try. Let me know which work best for you and I’ll let you know how things progress here this summer.

If you have children that like to one up or put down their siblings, I found these ideas in the 10-Minute Life Lessons for Kid book.

One tactic to help cut down on put downs is to encourage the offender to say three compliments to the person that has been belittled before being able to continue with the activity that is taking place bringing awareness to the positive qualities of the sibling.

(I have a friend who makes her children pay 5 cents each time they tattle, whine or belittle their siblings. The money goes into a family activity savings jar. I like this idea but my children don’t get allowance yet so this won’t work for us.)

Another interesting activity for a family to do that demonstrates that a person’s love is limitless which may help with jealous siblings is to first give each family member a candle (the braided kind work best). Then mom or dad lights their candle and explains that the flame represents love. Each time you light a different member of the family’s candle discuss the love you felt for them coming into your life. After everyone’s candle is lit, ask these questions:

  • Did my light get smaller as I passed my light to each of you?
  • By giving love (light) to each child, was love taken away from the original child or spouse?
  • Is there more light with everyone’s candle lit than with just mine lit?
  • Do we have enough light as a family to share it with others who might need it — who may be sad or lonely?
  • What happens when all the candles are held together?
  • Does the light shine more brightly as a family or as individuals?

A great book that helps with all kinds of negative behavior is “1-2-3 Magic” by Thomas Phelan. The idea behind this book is that when your child is demonstrating negative behaviors such as whining, back talk, negotiating, sibling fighting you count them for each time the infraction occurs until three. At three there is a consequence. The consequence should be as closely related to the event as possible but taking away privileges works as well. In my house an earlier bedtime hour or reduced tv time are often used as consequences. If used consistently by both parents, this discipline technique really helps.

A final suggestion to temper heated summer moments between children would be to try some partner yoga. Did you actually think that yoga ideas would not be in this post! Partner yoga is a wonderful way to help your children connect and work together. It is fun and often ends in laughter. Partner poses to try can be found in this inspiring book called “Playful Family Yoga for Kids, Parents and Grandparents” by Teressa Asencia. Try these easy poses with your children or have them do them together.

Partner Boat Pose: Each person starts facing each other seated with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Grab ahold of each other’s hands on the outside of your legs while placing the soles of your feet together. Using core strength, lift both feet up and straigten your legs while balancing on your sit bones in boat pose.

Partner Lotus Pose: Starting in the same way as above, grab ahold of each other’s hand on the inside of the legs this time and lift legs up with your feet touching and while balancing on your sit bones.

Sunbathing on a Rock: One person starts in child’s pose. The other person stands at their partner’s feet facing away from their partner. Gently, the standing partner lowers themselves down so their sacrum (lower back) is resting on the sacrum of their partner in child’s pose. The partner on top then drapes their body over their partner so that both of their heads are next to each other. Partners must talk to each other and respect each other. The partner on top then opens their chest up by extending their arms to the sides. When the bottom partner is ready, switch.



Current Classes:

MIDTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB

Mondays:
6-7:15am Power Vinyasa (H)

Thursdays:
6-7am Power Vinyasa

Story Time Yoga
1-1:45pm

Sundays:
5-7 year olds
9:45-10:30am
8-11 year olds
10:45-11:30am

STUDIO MOVE!

Wednesdays:
10:30-11:30 Power Vinyasa

Fridays:
Yoga for Athletes
9-10am

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