Holidays are crazy

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a great time over the holidays. We had a good time for the most part. We stayed home mostly, thanks to our house flooding. The townhouse next door, which has been empty for almost 2 years, flooded because the mortgage company had the water turned on. The water was coming out of the tube that's goes to the fridge. Since the people (assholes) that used to own it took the fridge the water was spilling everywhere. We got really lucky that Jose came down at 11pm, for a cup of water, if not the damage would have been a lot worst. We had these awesome fans everywhere, 9 to be exact and 2 dehumidifiers. It was so loud and very annoying and they had to be on for 3 days. They finally got picked up on Christmas Eve at 8 pm.

Anthony thought the fans were a great way to dry his hands.
The cats were completely freaked out by the fans and hid the entire time under our bed.
All in all the kids had a great Christmas.Anthony loved it everyday he would ask if it was Christmas day. He asked for a Robot Truck, Santa Buddies the movie, and a pirate ship with a squid. We also got them digital cameras because they were about to destroy ours. They totally loved it. Today I loaded the pictures from both cameras and noticed that they have a lot of pics of crotches. lol!
I do have to say that Anthony does take pretty good pics. His camera didn't have that many crotch pics as Gaby did. He focused on the faces more.

This is one of his new pirate ship.

The pics come out better when there is good lighting especially outside.

I took this one. They are so cute. That is Gaby's cam that Anthony is holding. The cameras are supposed to be very resistant. I hope that they last a long time.

We have a no plans for New Years there just isn't much we can do with kids. I hope you all have a save and Happy New Year.


Florida Winter

So today we woke up and it was cool outside. It was in the high 60's which is very unusual for us. I love it, I get to open all my windows and be outside without worrying about having a heat stroke. Anthony got outside when Jose was leaving for work he said "I want to play on the winter." He also asked "Where are the snowflakes?" My poor mid-western baby is not going to see snow anytime soon. I hope that this weather last maybe I can even start running. This would be the best weather to do it.


Happy Veterans Day!

Last December we went to DC. We visited Arlington Cemetery, it was a sad but also happy moment, because if it wasn't for those men and women buried there we would not have the life we do.
I want to also let my hubby know that I love him and I am proud of everything he has done.

I love you Babe, Happy Veterans Day!


Is it to early?

I have started to plan the kids birthday. Gaby's 3rd birthday is in 6 months. I have decided to do a Mad Hatter Tea Party. I have found many cute ideas online. I am not sure if I will even have a party, for Anthony's 3rd birthday we went to Disney. Should I do the same for Gaby? For Anthony's 5 birthday I have decided for sure that we are doing a carnival theme party which I have been wanting to do forever. I want to have booths and a clown. The whole bang. I can't believe that he'll be 5. That is still 10 months away. The main one is Gaby's I think it will be really cute. I guess will see as time gets closer if we'll have a party or go to Disney.


Knock, Knock

Anthony told me his first knock knock joke, and it was so cute.

Anthony: Knock, knock
me: who's there?
A: Boo
m:Boo, who?
A: don't cry mami

It was so cute that I had to call Jose at work to tell him. He thought it was awesome.
My kid is pretty awesome when he is not messing with his sister. I love moments like these.



Halloween is in a couple of days. I am very excited. I have to say that this is my favorite holiday of all time. This year I did more decorating because the kids are older and they understand more of what going on. Earlier this month we went to a dollar store, they had great Halloween decorations. We got some big Halloween spiders and crows that are hanging from the ceiling. We have spider webs on different part of the house we decorated our front window with Mickey Mouse window clings and pumpkin lights. Also out front door is wrapped in tape that says "Enter at your own risk". Anthony is loving it anytime we come home he says "Welcome to our scary house". He can not wait until the 31st comes. He is excited to go to his first Halloween party. This year WE have done more Halloween themed things then in the past. Just two weeks ago we went back to Disney and did "Mickey's not so scary Halloween" and this passed weekend we did "Boo at the Zoo" @ the Palm Beach Zoo.

This year Anthony wanted to be Shark boy from the Disney Movie "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" but the only costumes I found were on eBay and they are way out of our budget for costumes. So instead we went to a store and they picked out what they wanted. Anthony picked a pirate, and I wanted Gaby to be Tinker Bell, but she did not want it. So she threw it out of the shopping cart because she wanted what Anthony had. So this year we have a pirate and a buccaneer. Which worked out great because they match which is what I wanted to do from the beginning. Only problem is that Gaby lost her hat in Disney so we have to look for a store that will sell me a hat that we actually fit her.

I can't believe that I have no pictures of Gaby in her costume, but I do have one of her of this past weekend at the zoo. The kids had to wear last years costume because I couldn't find the pirate costumes. But no worries I did find them yesterday so we are good.


Magic School Bus

For a while now Jose has been reading Magic School bus books to the kids. Anthony loves them he has a favorite. It's the one with the dinosaurs. He has also been saying that he really wants to go to school. Whenever Jose reads the book he says he want to go and that he wants Miss. Frizzle as his teacher. He thinks that school is just like the books. We think it is so cute, but I hope that when he does start school he is not disappointed.


Started off good....

This morning Anthony had his 4 year old follow up. Since he was 14 months he has been in a study with Florida Atlantic University. The study is about the speech developement for bilingual children. The Dr. doing the study says he has been doing really well that he vocabulary is balanced in both languages. Which I think is great, but even with that I am still having him tested next month so that he can start school sooner. I think that he could be better in his speech. They are times that he gets frustrated and he does speak really fast most of the time. Anyway the reason I was writing was because we had started off the day good but now it not so great. After the follow up we went to the movies. We saw Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Every cute movie Anthony loved it and watched the whole thing without any issues. After that we WERE yes were going to stop by our local grocery store to get lunch but we got rear ended by a young kid, who wasn't paying attention. Nothing major happened but the kid's car was worst off then ours. My bumper was pushed up and slightly pushed out on the sides. The kids are fine. Anthony was a little freaked out at first. About an hour later he started saying that his head, and hip hurt. Gaby was saying it too but I think it was only because Anthony was getting attention and she wasn't. I called the pediatrician and she told me to take him to the ER. sigh! Not what I wanted to do, but whatever I knew that it wasn't anything major he probably just bang his head a little on the car seat, and his hip was hurting from the belt. So we went to the ER waited for what seemed like forever,(1 hour) so the DR. could say that he had nothing wrong (just as I thought) I wonder how much that visit is going to cost us. eck! Well now I know for sure that there is nothing wrong with him. We finally got home at 5:30 to eat lunch/dinner. And Anthony is having a melt down on the sofa because he doesn't want to go to bed. I hate the days he doesn't get a nap.
Now I am off to call the insurance companies and file a claim. no fun..



I have been think a lot lately about my blog. I been thinking about what I should write about. There are many things I have on my mind but I just don't have the time. I wish I did. There is so much going on and I really want to get my opinion out there somehow. When I first started this blog it was more for my family to know what was going on when we were in Minnesota. Now I am not really sure anymore. I know that my family doesn't read it anymore. I have thought about just deleting it completely, but I really don't want to do that. So what I think I am going to do is write a journal and maybe from there I can transfer it to here. Hopefully that will be better.

What has been going on lately:

My monkey doodle turned 4 yrs old last month. I can not believe it. We did not have a party because again this year he wanted to go to Disney. My mom did have a small BBQ for him when we got back. We stayed at Disney Caribbean Beach Resort. We got the pirate room, and Anthony loved it. We got to Disney on Monday September 21. We were only planning on going to a park on his birthday, because he went in free and Gaby doesn't pay yet. I had heard that Disney had a free ticket for Military and family and friends got in at a cheaper price. So when we were going to buy our tickets I asked and Jose qualified for a free 5 day ticket, yes free 5 day ticket, and mine was $105 for a 5 day ticket and we upgraded Anthony's birthday ticket to a 5 day for ONLY $33. We were very surprised. I wish I had known for sure that we qualified for this we could have gone to a park everyday we were there. We went to two parks while we were there Magic Kingdom, and then Epcot. The rest of the time we spent it at the Resort pools. The kids loved them. We even went to the Saratoga Springs pool once and it was very nice. The best thing about staying at any Disney resort is that you are allowed to use any of the pools and ANY resort, and we don't have to drive anywhere. They have buses that take you were ever you want to go, and the service is amazing. The only problem that we had was my purse got lost on our last day, luckily there was no cash in it, just my ID and debit card. Which I canceled as soon as I realized that it was missing. Anthony had an great time. He is at the perfect age for Disney he can get on most of the rides now. Everyday we were there they would pass out by the time we would get back to our room which was great. They had no issues staying asleep, and in the morning they were ready for the whatever we did. I don't even remember if we ever had any melt downs while there. Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

On our first day going to the resort pool.

Anthony enjoying the kiddie pool.

he was doing great. Going on all the slides. Usually he is scared, and doesn't want to try anything. I am so proud of my monkey.

Every time we went under the bridge Anthony would do this and of course Gaby would copy. They are so cute.

Waiting to get on the carousel. It was a hot day but since it was a Wednesday, there was not that many people and the lines weren't long.
This is all I can post right now I have to feed the kids lunch and put them down for a nap.


Back to work

Earlier this week I got called again from the office I was working at earlier in the summer. The called to tell me that they need me for a month. I said yes but that I need more money since I was putting the kids in daycare. My sister is back in school and found a job so I can't use her anymore. I found someone that will come to my house which is great, but I still don't feel happy about it. I am not looking forward to going back to work but I could really use the money since we have two trips coming up in the next 2 months and we would like to go to NYC for our winter vacation. They are thinking of hiring me for a part time position. They would like me to go work every couple of months. I thought I would be done with this dilemma. I really just want to stay home. It so much more stressful when I am not here. Jose tries to help out but it is not the same. I want to be here, but I can't say no to the money.


Very happy

Last night wasn't so great. Anthony did not want to go to sleep, so he slept with me in our bed. I woke up to some noise but it turned out that it was Anthony talking in his sleep. It was the funniest things ever. I don't remember what he said but he was mentioning Gaby and me.Anyway that is not the reason why I am so happy it's because Anthony woke up to a completely dry diaper and I think that is awesome. Right before I told him he could sleep with me he went to the bathroom. Actually that was the reason he did not want to sleep. i am so proud of him. Finally I am almost completely done with one kid in diapers. I am just really glad that I don't have to wipe crap off his butt and spend $40-$60 a month for diapers for him.



So the kids have been doing great. The only issue is that he talks really really fast. So most of the time I have to tell him to slow down, especially when he is upset. Since I have stopped working I noticed that he is more mature. He is more reasonable then before. He no longer takes naps which I am fine with because he just goes to bed earlier and without too much of a fuss. Next month he will turn 4 years old. I can't believe it. We have decided to go back to Disney. I rather spend the money there than do a party here. I just think we could enjoy it more. Having a party is way too stressful. Plus Anthony gets in free because of it is his birthday and Gaby doesn't pay yet. I love Disney it really seems that magic happens there. Plus since we are Florida residents we get awesome discounts. We are hoping that it is not too busy. We are going during the week we leave a Tuesday and come back Friday. Anyway...I have been teaching Anthony how to write his letter and he has been doing really well. We try to do that every morning for about an hour. He has also been asking to go to school. I keep telling him when he gets bigger and everyday he says that he is bigger and that he should go. He is done with diapers in the day time. At night he wears pull ups but they are mostly dry. I am so glad we are done with one kid with diapers, we are really saving money.

Gaby is doing awesome too. She is talking up a storm. She picks words up a lot fast than Anthony did when he was her age. She makes full sentences. She is learning her numbers and letter with Anthony. She eats A LOT. I am so glad that I keep them very active because if not I would be worried. Not really because what she mainly eats is a lot of fruit. We have been thinking about getting the kids bunk beds. I am a little worried that Anthony might use it as a jumping point. Gaby is still sleeping in the crib but she has almost completely destroyed it. Plus we need more room for them having a crib and a toddler bed is a lot for a small room. There is so much that has gone, but I can't really remember plus the kids are up and i have to find something to do with them. I have no idea what to do today. Maybe the park for a picnic.



So it has been a while...I stopped working at the office about 3 weeks ago. It was nice having that extra money. We were able to save half of it which is great. It feels good to have some money in the savings. I still feel like I am catching up. The house was neglected big time. Every time I think that I am done with laundry it piles up again.I am starting to think that there must be a never ending hole of laundry in my laundry basket. I try to keep that down stairs as clean as possible with two kids, but seems impossible. I am hoping that within two years we could sell this place and get a House, with an actual back yard. Hey a girl can dream, right?

In other news I have started training for The Disney Princess half marathon which will be in March 2010. I haven't been to the gym in months, but I have started running/ walking with my neighbor and her big dogs. The dogs protect us because you just never know. Not that we live in a bad neighborhood but there was an issues we had earlier this year. Anyway.

This all the time I have right now. Maybe later I can write about everything my monkey's have been up too.



Worst Birthday ever!

Yesterday was my birthday and it was the worst day. First Jose is in Chicago again. The weather was horrible. It rained ALL DAY LONG. The icing on the cake Anthony had a 103.3 fever. Let start from the beginning. Saturday Gaby just did not look like herself. I took her temperature and it turned out that she had a 100.8 fever. We gave her Tylenol. Sunday she was feeling a lot better. Sunday Jose was not feeling well. Jose went to a Dr, in Chicago and it turned out that he the flu. Monday morning Anthony was fine but later that day my sister told me that he was starting to feel warm. When I got home he had dinner and threw up a little but continued to eat after that. I gave him Tylenol and by the time he went to bed he was doing a lot better. The next day he slept in until 11, which almost never happens. When I got home he was laying on the sofa shivering so I decide to take his temperature and it was 102.9. I called the Dr. they told me I had to bring him in. When I got there I had trouble about the insurance. I hate insurance companies, they are my worst enemies. Finally after an hour calling Jose and the insurance company it was straighten out. It turned out that Anthony had a very bad ear infection. Anthony got a prescription for antibiotics. This is Anthony's first ear infection ever. Also Gaby's first fever. The Dr., we saw, was very surprised.She was the after hours dr, we had never meet her before. When I went to fill the prescription I had issues again with the fucking insurance company. It was after hours so they were no longer open. So I said fuck it I'll pay for it my self and then the pharmacist did not want to fill it because the dose was too high for a 3 yr old, and we couldn't get in touch wit the Dr. I almost started to cry at the pharmacy. It was just a very stressful day. We finally got to bed at around 11:30. Thanks to my sister, she helped me. She even slept over. Not everything was bad my mom did bring dinner and my brother made a cake for me. I called the Dr. today and got the prescription for Anthony. He is feeling a lot better today more like his normal self.
*Funny story: When I was parking at the Dr. office Anthony asked
"where are we going?"
me: The dr.
Anthony: Mom. look, look I feel better. I don't need Dr.
He said it it such a cute way I almost wanted to go back home. He really dislikes going to any dr.


I miss being home.

So, I started the job at my mom's office. It is not a hard job, really. It is so easy. Only that I have to deal with stupid people. I thought that was only at my old job but I guess not. I have realized that I love staying home with my monkey's. I miss them so much. I catch myself wondering a lot of the time, what they are doing, what they are having for lunch? I love that my sister can watch them, at least they are with family. I don't like that I get home between 6-6:30. Usually by this time I have already made dinner and getting the kids ready for a bath. It sucks that it is almost 8:30 and we just had dinner and the kids are still awake. I am glad that I am making some extra money but I rather be home with my monkey doodle. I have also been rethinking my major. I don't like working in an office. Who knows maybe I'll change my mind after I have my degree and am my own boss. I noticed that most of the attorney's work from home, which is really nice. I only have 7 more weeks of this. Hopefully we can get into a better schedule. I do have to say that I love how my monkey's run to me when I pick them up. I love their little happy faces.



On Monday I was asked by my mom's boss to help them out for 7 days at the office. I said OK. My sister and brother will be watching the monkeys while I help out. Today she called me again to ask me if I could work until July 31, because people are leaving on vacation and they need a replacement. The only problem is that my sister might be starting a new job and she won't be able to watch the kids. I really don't want to put all that responsibility to my brother. Another problem that I have is that I host a CO-OP every 2 weeks, Jose can help me next week but he might be going back to Chicago on the following week, what will I do then. It would be nice to have some extra money. I don't want to put my kids in a daycare, because it just wouldn't make sense to pay daycare. It so ridiculously expensive. I also don't want my kids to get sick either. I've been thinking of mt sister in law also but I think that she is in school full time this semester. Any suggestions? Does anyone know of a cheap babysitter?


Things are not so bad.

It is day 2 without Jose and things are good. Anthony has been sleeping in our bed. He has been waking up late which is great. Gaby is the one that has been waking up early, which is not usually what happens.
I am excited about today, Monkey Doodle starts gymnastics. I hope things go well. At the end of the summer he can start soccer, and in January he can start T-Ball.

Lately my kids have been hilarious. Gaby is not your usual girlie girl. She thinks it is funny when she farts. Anytime she does it she says "Oh peo!" (peo is fart in Spanish) and then starts laughing. I love her laugh.
Last night Anthony wanted the Nintendo DS, I told him he couldn't have it. He also wanted to wear a shirt that has Wall-E on it, and he didn't want to go to sleep because he wanted to watch TV. So he says "No puedo poner camisa de Wall-E, no puedo jugar DS, no puedo ver Spongebob. I can't do anything. geez!" The way he said it was so funny that I had to call Jose to tell him what he did. I think it is so awesome how well his vocabulary is coming together.



I can't believe this. I just dropped off Jose at the airport for a business trip to Chicago. I am not looking forward to the next four days. I was ok with it until both of the kids got diarrhea, right before we dropped him off. I have no idea what caused it. What else can go wrong this weekend?



Last night was a tough night. I had my neighbor and sister in law over to watch the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. They are the two loudest people I know, so of course Anthony thought we were having a party. He did not go to sleep until almost 12 a.m. The worst part was that he slept in our bed because he would freak whenever I told him to go to his room. Poor Jose slept on the couch. Even though we have a king size bed, our little 3 1/2 yr old takes up most of the bed. I am not sure how he does that. This morning I woke up to a gasp and then "Mami, it's morning. Wake Up, Wake up." at 6:30 am. This is what he looked like this morning to me.( this a picture taken by Anthony of himself.)

I need to know. When do kids start sleeping in? I need my sleep.


It's been a while....

I have been pretty busy. We have had 5 yes 5 birthdays in the month of May. It started off with Jose's 30th Birthday Party, the next day was my brother 16th birthday, two days later my Mother in Law, that next weekend was Gaby's 2nd Birthday and mother's day(on the same day), and lastly Jose's dad's birthday was yesterday. It just has been to many birthday. I am so glad that it is over. Anthony is getting a little confused to see that there has been a lot a birthday's, so much that has been walking around with his birthday pin he got last year at Disney and is saying that today is his birthday. He has also been asking for his Lightning McQueen birthday cake.

Every weekend we have something going on and I have neglected my garden. I have 4 tomatoes growing. I have to remove the plant from the pot because I think that the roots are too hot in there. The thing is the place where I am going to plant them has to be leveled and it is just a lot of work. I just don't have the time. and it is very difficult with two crazy toddlers. I think I might start on it this weekend at least cleaning the area out.

I can't believe that my princess turned two on Sunday. We really don't have babies anymore. That is very sad to me, but not sad enough to have another little one. :) I am looking forward to next summer when Monkey Doodle can start school. Gaby is talking a lot the other day I asked her what her name was and she said, and I am not joking Jose was there too and heard it, "princess". I said Gaby your name is princess and she "si, yo princess". It was hilarious to hear that come out of her. She lets you know what she wants. We had a small princess party for her at home, with Tinkerbelle cupcakes. She did not want princess cupcakes. She was yelling at the supermarket. "BELLE, BELLE, BELLE", so that is what she got.

Well that is it for now. I am going to try and update everyday even if it a small post.



I have never done any gardening in my life. For a while now I've been wanting to make my own herb garden. Every year I say I am going to do it but I just never start it. So today I decided to do it. I went to Super Target they had some pots, and seeds for a dollar. I also got some dirt and gardening gloves for the kids and myself. I thought it would be a great thing to do with the kids. I mean what kid doesn't like to play with dirt and water. I gave them each a pot and a packet of seeds. We put some cornflower and baby breath seeds in both pots. I have no idea how this might turn out. I hope that something might grow by mothers day because that is what I am planning on giving my mother and mother in law as presents from the kids. Monkey doodle was so happy to do this activity. He even put his gardening gloves on. When we were done he won't let Gaby touch the pots. Also every hour after that he would ask if the flowers had grown already. I need to find a lot more hands on activities for him. He really does enjoy them. I have also decided that I will put him in piano lessons. I just have to find a place that will take him. Some of the instructors don't take kids under the age of 5. I know that it might seem that he is to young but he really does LOVE music and instruments. He can name a lot of the instruments. I don't want to push him but I do want to expose him to many activities. At the end of the year he can join the City's T-Ball and soccer teams, so we are going to try those out too.

I was only able to take one picture because my battery died.

Life is getting back to normal little by little. I just take it day by day.


I have no idea what title to write in here.

I have been stressed out lately. It is a combination of everything that has been going on. My grandmother passed away two weeks ago today. I still can not believe that she is gone. She was diagnostic Jan 20, 2009 with breast cancer. Two weeks later they found the cancer in her lungs. A week in a half after that they found it in her brain. March 10, 2009 she lost her battle. I am just glad that she did not have to suffer for long. She was in a lot of pain the last time I saw her. She still recognized us, she asked to see the kids, which she did. She was very happy to see them. The kids were a little scared, but who wouldn't be, a hospice is not a happy place. She would have turned 60 in June. She was definitely not the one we thought would die first. I am very sad that my kids will not remember her. Sometimes I can't understand how quickly this happened. She was full of life. At the holiday party, we had before we went away to DC, she was fine. She was dancing and making jokes, just being her usual self.

I decided to drop my classes this semester. Which makes feel really crappy. I just wasn't able to concentrate. I think I put to much pressure on myself this semester. Every time I had a essay or a homework assignment my mind would go blank. I would just stare at my laptop.

The kids are doing great. Gaby is starting to count, which is amazing to me, she is not even 2 yet. Her vocabulary has been increasing everyday. I think it is because she has a big brother. Monkey Doodle has been obsessed with puzzles. He loves them, they really do entertain him for HOURS. We just have to watch out for Gaby she loves to eat some of the pieces. I have been looking for a summer program for him. He said that he does want to go to school. Potty training is not going well. I have finally given up. He sometime goes on his own but most of the time he doesn't. There are some school that don't charge extra for him not being potty trained. Maybe school might help him in the potty training area. He also has been going to bed late. Even on days that he does not take a nap. I think it might be the time change. He is still up now, he is not bothering anyone he is just watching a movie. The problem is that he still wakes up at 6:30-7 am. Why can't he sleep in?
That is that. This has been my life the last couple of weeks. I am just hoping that things get better soon.



Crazy, this how I feel about life right now. It just never needs. I have a lot going on in my head and in the family. We have a family member that has stage 4 breast cancer, and things are not going good. I am having trouble dealing with that, I am still in denial I think maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet. I don't know how to explain that to the kids, without freaking them out. School has been a little harder for me this semester. I just feel like I can't concentrate. I am debating if to drop one of my classes.

On a happier note the kids are doing great. Gaby is talking A LOT. She repeats EVERYTHING that we say. She understands more than I give her credit for. She has been a little jealous since I started watching my neighbors baby, twice a week. Whenever he comes over she finds an old pacifier and walks around with it in her mouth. What is funny is that she has never liked the pacifier. When she was little she always spit it out. Anthony is doing good. We have our bad days. He has been acting out more than usual. I am not sure if it is also because of the baby, which I don't think because he really loves the baby. He helps out with the baby, and keeps the baby entertained. Besides for the acting out he has fine. He remembers a lot of things that happened. Except that about 3 weeks ago he said " I neber eber get to got to Disney." He has no concept of time because it had been less then 5 months when we went for his 3rd birthday. What he did not know was that I was planning a weekend getaway to Disney. Valentines weekend we drove up and stayed in an awesome Disney resort. We only stayed for a day. We drove up Saturday and came back the next day. We decided not to go to a park because it was not necessary. The kids played at the pool for almost all day Saturday. Anthony called the room "Disney house." I loved staying there they have activities all day for the kids. The customer service was amazing. We had a great view with a balcony. I don't know if we'll ever do the same resort again. Even if we did save up the money I just can't make myself pay as much as we did again. The best part was that the kids had a blast, they absolutely LOVED it. Disney just knows how to please the little ones. Everything had mickey on it, the soap, the covers, the rugs, I mean everything and the staff like always amazing as ever. I was just glad that we could get away for a weekend and we were able to relax.

Jose and Gaby enjoying the pool, and that is sand in the pool.

The Disney Yatch Club Resort.


I need to be better

When you are a parent of a toddler you will lose your patience many times. My awesome husband found an article that could help with ways to deal with my kids. I know that I shouldn't act the way I do towards my monkeys and for the most part I behave but then there are just some days where I just can't handle it.
So here is an article that was in Slate.


No, You Shut Up!
What to do when your kid provokes you into an inhuman rage.
By Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella
Updated Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, at 1:23 PM ET

If you're a parent, you are probably familiar with being provoked into a blood vessel-popping rage that instantly overwhelms any resolution you might have made to stay calm. That's because kids are amazingly good at refining behaviors that they can turn to when they're upset or angry, especially in public, to make their parents even angrier—in fact, insanely angry. Let's just stand back for a moment and appreciate the virtuosity of the 6-year-old who trails along behind you every morning on the way to school wailing that you're me an because you make him wear an uncomfortable backpack or wrinkly socks, or the 9-year-old who demonstrates her budding independence and wit by being rude to you in front of others, or the 12-year-old who during an argument over chores shouts, "You don't care about anybody but yourself! You just want me to do all this stupid stuff around your stupid house because you're so selfish and lazy!" It's as if they had commissioned a study of the most effective ways to set you off and then implemented the findings with great care and foresight.

And yet there you go, rising to the bait. What's your standard move? The hard come-along arm yank? The livid pinch-and-shake combo? The point-by-point counterargument? "What? I'm selfish? I'm lazy? I changed your diapers and picked your nose and sat up with you all night long when you were sick! I work hard all day to support this family, and then I get home and I clean and I cook. ..."
There's really no satisfying response, is there? Decreeing an extravagantly harsh punishment may immediately address your sense of justice, but it's unlikely to make the annoying behavior go away, and once you calm down, you're unlikely to stick with the punishment, anyway. Grabbing, shaking, hitting, or screaming at your kid may stop the behavior and be cathartic for you, but only for a moment (after which you may well begin to feel bad for losing control of yourself and overreacting), and over time such responses will likely lead to further behavioral problems. Ignoring the unwanted behavior and finding ways to encourage its positive opposite will be most effective in getting rid of the unwanted behavior in the long run, but this approach won't satisfy your overwhelming short-term urge to do something right now that addresses and fits the crime.

It's difficult to work out a satisfying response to flagrant disrespect because you're typically in the grip of at least four distinct, only partially overlapping, and often conflicting motives: an emotional urge to do something with the anger surging up inside you, a moralistic impulse to dispense justice in proportion to the offense, a social obligation to show yourself and your child and any others who might be watching that you don't tolerate such behavior, and a practical intent to get rid of the problem so you don't have to put up with such hassles in the future.

When your child stages a scene in front of witnesses, the mixed motives—and the anger, now supercharged by humiliation—grow all the more complex and difficult to handle. Yes, sure, a vast body of psychological research tells you that any attention you give to a bad behavior, even if it's in the form of screaming and hitting and grounding your child for the rest of her life, will only reinforce that behavior, so it's best not to react, but your kid just called you an a--hole in front of the neighbors—unless you're B.F. Skinner or the Buddha, ignoring it is not an option. And, anyway, ignoring it won't make it go away. You need to do something.

So, what do you do?

Let's consider the immediate, long-term, and side effects of some common and not-so-common responses to a disrespectful provocation by your child.

Shock and Awe: Respond swiftly with justified fury and indignation. This is one of the most common and least effective responses.

Immediate effect: A rage-out on your part could instantly stop the disrespect by interdicting it with your own yelling, screaming, etc., but it's very likely to escalate the confrontation by inviting the child to continue a negative back-and-forth with you, which will in turn inspire further escalation by you—stronger comments, grabbing, slapping—and so on.

Long-term effect: Will not achieve a long-term reduction of the behavior, and its side effects could in! crease the occurrence of disrespect in the future.

Side effects: You will feel that you have held the line by not tolerating misbehavior, but this momentary satisfaction comes at a huge delayed price. Since the tone and content of your response model how to respond to others, through observational learning you will be teaching your child to do the same, and the force of your reaction (a tsunami of attention to your child's worst behavior) will train the child to continue and even increase the provocation.

The Evil Eye: Stare down your child with a dire expression and say nothing.

Immediate: The stare-down is likely to escalate and continue the child's behavior, and the struggle goes on.

Long term: Will probably not make things worse for very long, so in the long-term it's better than full-bore rage but not as good as walking away.

Side: If your child is doing the yelling and screaming, then your refusal to react at the same angry uncontrolled level provides a useful model and will actually help to develop calmer behavior on the child's part in the long run, but the harsh expression will still be inflammatory.

The Rational Saint: Exhibiting inhuman restraint, go to the child and in a gentle voice explain why what she is doing is not the appropriate way to treat her parents and/or ask her to explain why she's misbehaving so terribly. Like Shock and Awe, a common but largely ineffective response, and when serene self-control evaporates in the heat of battle, the Rational Saint often gives way to Shock and Awe.

Immediate: Your explaining will not make the crisis worse and will help to end it more quickly by not being provocative, which is better than a rage reaction but not likely to change the behavior. If you invite your child to explain, you will probably prolong the crisis, as she will take the opportunity to further elaborate her point: "Because you're a jerk! Didn't you hear me?"

Long term: Your modeling of calm in response to rage will have a positive influence over time, but the effect would be slow to occur, and few humans could keep it up for long.

Side: Your refusal to react may be calming, but that alone will not teach the child the proper behavior. Also, by moving in close to explain, you leave yourself open to being hit or pushed, and few parents can take that without reacting. Still, if you can restrain yourself, you will feel that you are wonderfully controlled and empathetic—and you are.

The Ringmaster: Divert your child's interest to something else to get him out of crisis mode. Hand him a toy or, if he's older, attempt to engage him in discussing whether anyone shreds more rulingly than the guys in DragonForce.

Immediate: Not likely to work at all, but if you present some wildly novel gimmick it could reduce the duration of the misbehavior. Of course, next time you have to come up with a fresh gimmick. No human can keep this up for long.

Long term: No effect. Distraction does not change the likelihood of future occurrences.

Side: Avoids the task of teaching other ways to handle stress, but you do show restraint by not fanning the flames of rage.

The Void: Ignore the provocation and walk away.

Immediate: Withholding all attention de-escalates the child's behavior and so is likely to end the child's comments sooner than would be the case if you responded in a heated fashion.

Long term: Ignoring—known technically as "extinction"—could slightly decrease the likelihood of disrespect over the long-term, but its effect is still weak. The best benefit of this option is your modeling of a nonimpulsive reaction.

Side: You're modeling poise under fire, but you are likely to view it instead as a weak response that passively accepts abuse, so you'll be unhappy with it.

The Mona Lisa: Say nothing, show no emotional reaction, and deploy a slightly amused, faintly dismissive expression that says, in effect, "Pretty good for a novice, but nowhere near good enough to get to me." You have to practice this one in front of a mirror before you use it in action. This response will be relatively effective, but it requires great self-control to carry it off without being drawn into a confrontation or taking it too far into contempt or sarcasm.

Immediate: The Mona Lisa will de-escalate the child's behavior. The child may finish the current diatribe but will probably not go on beyond that.

Long term: Decreases slightly the likelihood of future battles. The Mona Lisa shows the child—more effectively than simple ignoring would—that provocative misbehavior will not get a satisfying rise out of you.

Side: You're asking a lot of yourself, in terms of restraint, because you will feel that you have not taught the child a lesson and that you permitted yourself to be abused, but you will have modeled restraint, the very behavior you wish to teach here.

The Parking Ticket: On balance, the most effective option. Take away a privilege according to a scheme that you have already discussed with the child and walk away. He already knows, because you went over it in a calm moment, that if he speaks disrespectfully to you, for instance, then he will lose a specific privilege that matters to him: a weekend event, a TV show, or computer time. The penalty should take place as close to immediately as possible—within 24 hours—and be brief in duration (no TV tonight, rather than no TV for a week). It should be significant but not harsh; accept in advance that it won't fully satisfy your ticked-off desire to throw the book at him with a prodigious, long-lasting, delayed penalty ("You can't go out for the football team next fall! Happy now?"). When he commits the offense, you say, "You lose X because of the way you are talking to me," and then go to another room, without turning your departure into a dramatic event. The tone is relaxed, almost bureaucratic, not hot or cold fury. When you cue up a reasonable consequence in advance, you're much more likely to end up with one you can stick to. When you improvise a punishment in a towering rage, on the other hand, you often have to renounce it later—when you're calm enough to realize that, for instance, taking away the cell phone for six months just isn't practicable.

Immediate: This option de-escalates by not fostering continuation. Your behavior does not invite a response, and the preordained character of the consequence discourages argument.

Long term: Likely to decrease slightly the occurrence of future provocations and battles.

Side: Although you may still pine to administer a stiffer punishment that more fully meets the severity of the crime, you will feel you have provided a consequence and not tolerated the misbehavior. Bear in mind that a more severe punishment would almost certainly have side effects that would make it harder for you to help improve your child's! behavior. Also, you will have modeled a calm, controlled reaction rather than an impulsive, uncontrolled one.

None of these results offers a perfectly satisfactory response (because, in fact, there is none), but the Parking Ticket speaks most practically to the full range of a parent's mixed motives when provoked by a child's misbehavior.

And, of course, if you really want to change your child's behavior and not just endure it, you have to combine crisis-handling techniques with teaching better behavior to replace the problem behavior. Wait until a time when both you and your child are calm and then work with her on how to act when she is angry and in the mood to provoke you. You can decrease the likelihood, over both the short- and long term, that an undesirable behavior—such as flagrant disrespect—will occur. Try some of these.

1. Problem solving: When you're both in a good mood (out of the blue is fine), propose a problem to your child—"Let's say you're really mad at me"—and together identify a few possible ways he might respond. Three would be great. Discuss with your child in each case what the results of his response would be—that is, how you would respond to his response. A great deal of research supports the efficacy of talking with your child about problem situations and possible positive solutions. When you've discussed the possibilities in advance, the child is much more likely to use one of the solutions you've identified as positive.

2. Point out positive models: When you see (in public, on TV, wherever) good examples of children disagreeing with their parents, children expressing anger without losing it, or parents expressing disapproval, point it out. Label specifically what is happening and why it's good. "You see ! how mad that kid is at his dad, he's really frustrated and angry, but look what he's doing: He said X and Y, but he didn't yell or scream."

3. In a calm moment, have the child role-play being calm when she's angry—at you or anybody else: It helps to simulate the hot-button situations when everybody's cool. Wait until a quiet moment and then say, "Let's pretend you're mad at me, and let's practice how you can tell me you're mad in a calm, respectful way, so we can make it better." Since your child isn't really mad, she will not find it hard to play her role properly by saying she's angry at you in an appropriate way that doesn't set off a confrontation. When she does it right, offer lots of praise and maybe even a small treat or extra privilege (it can be nominal; for a smaller child, extending bedtime by 10 minutes, for instance) to reinforce this positive opposite of disrespectful provocation. This kind of practice will give your child a repertoire! of appropriate responses to which she can turn when she gets mad, in the same way that having a preordained routine and consequence ready to go (see the Parking Ticket) allows you to stay a little calmer and respond more reasonably when your child's behavior provokes you.


I've been thinking...

I really want my kids to speak Spanish well. I have realized that my Spanish SUCKS. Most of the think I am struggling to figure out the words that I am supposed to say. So here is what I think I want to move to Costa Rica for at least 3 months. My grandmother has a house there which is close to the rest of my family. I am pretty sure that Jose will be able to work from there. I really think that it could work. We could sign the kids up to a really good private school there which cost a lot less then what it is here. We would close our house for those months and save that money because things over there are A LOT cheaper than here even what they think is expensive is not for people who have dollars. Plus we would be making the same amount of money we would live like the rich. But that is not the point the point is that we need to improve our Spanish. I would also want to do this before Monkey Doodle starts school. Which will be August of 2010. Since he losses a year because of his birth date. I don't mind taking a semester off for this, I could take a class online, some easy class that doesn't require me to go to the campus. So I don't know. Please let me know what you guys think. I could use some advice.