I loved this book. I laughed AND took notes.
And this is what's changing in my house now that I've read it:
1. I'm working on my attitude. This is a hard one because our current 3-year-old doesn't seem to understand that I'm not joking until I'm visibly mad. But I'm taking some Pamela Druckerman tips and trading in my loud voice for one that is firm and communicates more clearly. I tell the megalomaniac...I mean, the 3-year-old, more of the reasons WHY she can't stand up on the arm of the couch and WHY she needs to get dressed, and when she still refuses, I lay out her clothes on the ground and leave the room. Even if it takes her thirty minutes to figure it out, I can stay somewhat calm and reasonable.
2. I've stopped feeling guilty when I need to send the 3-year-old to play in her room for a while. She's learning to entertain herself, and I'm getting a few minutes to relax and, I hope, be a better foster mom in the time we do spend together. (As it turns out, she likes time to herself.)
3. When I actually manage to sit down and start eating, I don't get up again until I'm finished. This is a difficult one. It means that the 3-year-old has to wait for her juice refills, and I tell her that I need to eat so I have enough energy to play, too. She is learning patience and to consider other people's needs. The baby gets enough finger foods to keep her busy for six or seven minutes, and I get to eat before my meal is cold.
4. The burden of being full-time educator and disciplinarian is too much for me. I'm attempting to have time with the kids without correcting every little error in judgement and just letting them be kids. And related to that,
5. I'm making an effort to struggle less and enjoy my time with the kids more, which is maybe the most important decision I've made as a foster parent. My kids don't stay long, and even when they're here, they grow so quickly. I should be soaking up this time instead of just trying to survive it.
I think what made this book so easy to apply to my crazy foster parenting life is that the author is doing her research when her daughter is a toddler. She begins making changes with a kid who is already a picky eater and a tantrum-thrower, which is usually where I have to begin as well. She's living in a culture where the word for teaching children to behave is closer to "education" than "discipline."
She also proposes a crazy idea that it's possible to enjoy being a parent and still be a good one.
Read any good books lately?