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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Where to begin...

Well, for starters, my ex-spouse and now friend A has finally moved into an apartment and out of my father's house.  A is renting a nice 2 bedroom in town and my brother and his friend helped move (well moved not just helped) all of A's furniture out of my father's house and out of the old trailer (where it has been stored with a bunch of my stuff too) and got it into the new apartment.   So while unpacking and setting things up needs to happen, A is officially self-supporting.  A also, thankfully, was given more hours at work and so should be able to afford to keep this apartment.  It is beautiful, a big kitchen dining room combo, a medium sized living room, a nice sized bedroom for A, and a little bedroom for the boys for when they spend the night.  I have taken the boys over every evening since Tuesday to help A feel settled in (the couch from the landlord was already there and I took the boys TV out of their bedroom and took it over as A's place comes with everything included--heat, electric, hot water, cable, and wifi.  I am hoping that the boys will enjoy being able to has 1-on-1 time with their other parent.  Hopefully we can nail down a consistent schedule so the boys always know that they can count on having specific time with their Bubba. 

I have also signed a rental deal with the owners of the old laundromat, and will be converting it to a single family residence and running a family daycare from there.  It is a big building with a good, level yard.  I am nervous about it, as it is quite an investment.  If all goes well, after 3 years they will hold the mortgage and I will buy the property.  I will fill in details about this as time goes on.  Suffice to say that between doing all the trainings and paperwork for the child care licensing, and now getting all the permits and doing the renovations for the house/day care, I am going to be one busy lady.  it is good though.  I am ready for a project that challenges in me different way than I am challenged by raising children with special needs.

I'll update some on how Josiah's struggles with Kindergarten are going. I will also be updating on how I am expanding my use of the Nurtured Heart Approach in trying to help both of my boys have more security and self control so that they can function better and enjoy life more.  If you look into it, I have read the book multiple times as I have been trying to prepare myself to use this approach to parenting.  I did not want to do it halfway.  I am at step five, the credit system.  We started using it today, and we had a day wonderfully free of major arguments, fights between the boys, bad language, and tantrums.  Josiah only had one episode of "freaking out" as he calls it, and it was short and resolved quickly. Gonzo only had one round of insane, incessant whining and arguing and it was not at me or his brother, at the video game he had chosen to spend his credits to play. The extreme positive affirmation aspect is something we have been building up to, and using a clear, unemotional consequence for broken rules seems like it is going to work.  I have a bit of tweaking to do to the system, as it is very flexible and can be used by anyone in any situation, I just have to find the right balance that works for us.  But so far, it appears by the calm and happy evening I had with the boys, that once we adjust to this system, life may be a whole lot more peaceful, and our relationships with each other and hopefully with extended family, school, and community will drastically improve in quality.  It is a challenge to essentially toss out traditional (and not so traditional) parenting models and advice, but those have not had much effect on the family dynamic with intense and difficult children who have gone through intense and difficult times over the past few years.  It was time to try a drastically different approach (which has elements of other models and ideas that we have worked with in the past, but applied more intensely), and if the first day was any indication, if I do this right and consistently my children will feel more empowered, more in control of themselves, and have more respect for others, while building them up rather than tearing them down, which most parenting models essentially do (though I had not really realized that before I started exploring this method).  Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for us that by fully embracing the Nurtured Heart Approach to parenting difficult children, that like, for all of us will improve.  It is amazing how hard it is to train yourself to give positive affirmation rather than negative feedback when it comes to behavior.  Like most of our culture, I had been programed to try to give attention and specific examples to behavior that was not correct more intensely than giving praise and affirmation and specific recongition to behavior that was correct.

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