How to deal with your child’s tantrum – Decoding Jah and Understanding his Sensory Processing Needs

I have read books previously on Raising a Spirited Child, Understanding Highly Sensitive children and the likes and have found them very useful in helping me to understand Jah especially when he was in what we deemed as the terrible twos. More recently I have also come across a resource/ compilation from several mummy bloggers on the topic of Sensory Processing Disorder in children as well as whether tantrums are due to behavior, sensory or both. The article found here and the compilation of Everyday Kids Behaviour decoded, further reinforced the fact that I am not alone when it comes to dealing with my kid’s everyday tantrums.

No, don’t get me wrong I am not saying that Jah has Sensory Processing Disorder, kids who have SPD go through a lot worse tantrums and are probably harder to pacifiy. But if you read the article you may notice that it talks about all kids in general having sensory needs that need to be met. This tells me that my kid is not ‘weird’ or bratty or being a pain when he screams “its too loud!” and proceeds to be inconsolable. It also reminds me that there is nothing wrong in me ‘anticipating’ a tantrum before it happens and finding ways to avoid it. Honestly it is easier on everyone if we avoid the tantrum from happening rather than have a frustrated parent screaming at a ‘tantrum throwing’ crying kid.

So for people who may question why I ‘tiptoe’ around my kid and let him ‘dictate’ how things are done sometimes or ‘pander’ at his demands. It’s because I know that most of these demands are not made because he is a horrible kid but because he has some sensory needs that needs to be fulfilled.

For people who are perhaps also trying to decode their own children, I would recommend you read the above articles and I will share some of the kid behaviors that we personally struggle with at home and how we attempt to address it most times.

Fear of Loud Noises/ Loud Noises causes Stress

Jah is sensitive to loud noises and by that I don’t just mean the loud noises made by the jets flying by during the Airshow or those made by the Lion Dance Troupes during Chinese New Year. He is especially sensitive to noises. My hairdryer has two modes, he cannot tolerate it when I switch it on to High, it bothers him. He holds his hands to his ears and cowers, almost as if the sound is hurting his ears. Now that he is able to talk, he tells me “mummy it’s too loud, its painful!” and makes (demands) me switch it off. Anyone who witnesses this would either think I’m a pushover and/or my son is extremely rude and bratty. But I know better, the loud sound hurts his ears and it causes him a lot of anxiety. Just because we don’t experience it ourselves, doesn’t mean it is not real.

The loud booming voice over a microphone also causes him much anxiety especially in an enclosed area. He needs time to come to terms with the sounds. He needs to be prepped.

Bothered by the music but still coping...

Bothered by the music but still coping…

To ensure I don’t get a screaming/ crying kid everytime I switch on something loud or when I need to blow my hair in the mornings. I make sure that he is ready for the sound. I will ask for his ‘permission’ to switch it to Low or I will ask if he would like to leave the room so I can switch it to High. It may seem like a lot of power to accord a child but I don’t think it’s right to expect your child to deal with the discomfort just because you are the parent and you say so.

Here are two more links from Enchanted Home Schooling Mom and Bare Feet On the DashBoard, on what you can do if your child has a fear of loud noises or is anxious by it.

Hyperactive

Honestly I hate the term, hyperactive because when a person says that about my child, I don’t know if they really just mean oh he is a really active boy or he is hyperactive (in the medical sense). Yes Jah is very active, he needs a lot of outdoor activities and I am super glad for a childcare/ school that can offer him that for most part of the week. We noticed a long time ago then his behavior would ‘deteriorate’ over the course of the day/ weekend if we had chosen to coop him up at home on Saturday/ Sunday mornings. I can’t really blame him.Who likes being cooped up?He needs physical activities, wide open space and the great outdoors to keep him happy and cooperative.  So for those who wonder how we manage weekend outings every week or why we insist on doing it? It’s because we know that this will keep our kids happy and ensure a happier less stressful time for everyone. Win-win for everyone!

A park day kind of morning

A park day kind of morning

A Waterplay kind of day

A Waterplay kind of day

For more suggestions for the active little ones, check out the article from Wild Flower Ramblings.

 Meltdowns

I’m sure every parent to a toddler/ young child can identify with this word. Meltdown. To be fair, the meltdown is often not without reason. Sure it may happen because the child cannot get his/her way and with those kind of meltdown, I found it helpful to prep the kid beforehand/ take the kid away from the situation and have a firm but kind talk. You can’t expect to bring a child to a toy store and then tell him that he can’t buy a toy right? A child is not going to have the self-control to discern that. We found it helpful to always get Jah’s buy-in beforehand.  Eg. Jah, we can go to the toy shop to walk around but we cannot buy any toys today. If you think you can handle that then we can go, if not then we will go another day. This usually works.

We also prep him before hand if we are going somewhere where we are expecting many new faces/ places where he might be overwhelmed by the crowd/ an unfamiliar place etc. This gives him time to internalize, decide if he can cope with the situation and get his ‘assurance or promise’ that he will be ok with it. We have had Jah tell us that he thinks he won’t be able to ‘handle’ it at an event  and would much rather stay at home with his auntie. This happened the night before the event and I was actually glad that he felt confident to tell me that rather than have him suffer a meltdown at the event (which definitely would have happened).

There are some adults who hate surprises and the same goes for kids. There are some kids who can’t deal with surprises or sudden changes or things that happen out of their routine and we have to respect that.

We were not expecting a photo op and I didn't prep him for it..he absolutely wanted to do it again once we got to the car..

We were not expecting a photo op and I didn’t prep him for it..he absolutely wanted to do it again once we got to the car..

We have not decoded this little lady here so meltdowns are aplenty

We have not decoded this little lady here so meltdowns are aplenty

Here’s another look at meltdowns and some of the possible triggers from Preschool Inspirations

Don’t be mistaken, we don’t have it all figured out. Yes, we most definitely run out of patience too and are still learning what makes our kids tick. In fact we have not decoded Bella yet! Someone save me!! :p But for now these ‘techniques’ work for us and for Jah (most times) and perhaps the resources on Sensory Processing Disorder and Sensory Needs can help you and I to figure out our kids and what has been causing those ‘tantrums’. Who ever said parenting was easy right? 🙂

JahBella’s Mummy

Embracing Motherhood – The Type of Mother I am

When Dominique of Dominque’s Desk proposed that we did a blog train on Embracing Motherhood, I immediately knew I wanted to write something but I really didn’t quite know what I was going to write about. So boarding the blog train from where Estella of Sooddlydreamlike left off….I will attempt to tell you more about myself as a mother…

I struggle a lot with motherhood. Well to be more exact, I struggle a lot with motherhood as a full-time working mother. Some of us choose to be full-time working mothers (FTWM) while others choose to be stay home mothers (SAHM) and others manage to find something in between. Is there really a right answer to this or a balance between being a mother and being in the workforce?

My kids both started going to infant care at the earliest possible age that any infant care centre would accept them (2-3 months old). I had a lot of mummy guilt over this. I admit that it gets better especially when I know my kids are enjoying school and love being around their friends. While I don’t regret putting my kids in childcare, I think they have gained a lot out of it (another conversation for another time 🙂 )  But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel horrible when my kids are the last to be picked up.

Jah's first day at Infant care

Jah’s first day at Infant care

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Bella’s first day at Playgroup and learning to self-feed

Wishing me Happy Mother's Day outside school

Wishing me Happy Mother’s Day outside school

There are days where I just wish that I could stay home with my kids, bring them out for a weekday movie or just bring them wherever they want and just spend some quality time with them. These are the days that really get me down.

There are also days where I question my choice of being a full-time working mother and then I pinch myself. :p Because as much as all the mummy guilt kills me and as much as I want to want to spend time with my kids (especially on their good days 😉 ). I am also fully aware of the ‘type’ of mother I am.

I am the ‘type’ of mother who is not naturally good at the arts and crafts. I am the ‘type’ of mother who will find it really challenging to think of creative ways to teach English and Math to my kids. I am also the ‘type’ of mother who will occasionally need a break from my kids (which I currently get when I’m at work). I hope this doesn’t label me as a bad mother but hopefully just an honest one? 🙂

I am the ‘type’ of mother who loves to plan holidays for my family. I am the ‘type’ of mother who loves to imagine how much fun my kids will have and how much they can learn during our family travels and then try to create those moments for them. And to be honest again, my husband and I will not be able to provide those moments if we were not full-time working parents.

First time agreeing to take a photo without mummy or papa

First time agreeing to take a photo without mummy or papa

Family pic!

Family pic!

Enjoying and exploring the green green grass in Perth at 10 months old

Enjoying and exploring the green green grass in Perth

Learning to be brave..braver than mummy :p

Learning to be brave..braver than mummy :p

So the occasional mummy guilt aside, I am this ‘type’ of mother therefore I have chosen to be a full-time working mother. There is really no perfect answer for this. Perhaps one day my approach, experience and skills may change and I will learn and become a different ‘type’ of mother. Until then I am embracing motherhood the way I know how and I think we will be just fine for now. 🙂

Bottomline is I’m the ‘type’ of mother they love and I love being their mother.

This is part of a blog train titled “Embracing Motherhood” and what our individual journey means to us. Click on the badge below to find out what motherhood means to 25 other blogger moms!

Up next is Yanxiang

By day, Yanxiang is a civil servant who has taught English in a secondary school, and am now working on policies within the larger civil service. Her work allows her to constantly consider the people around her, and society in which she live, and how to better the lives of her fellow citizens.

She recently embarked on the remarkable journey of parenting a little boy named Isaac. Read about her life as a parent and how it involves twice the laughter, twice the tears, twice the excitement, twice the challenges and an abundance of love at thelittlestandusmakesthree.wordpress.com

YX Picture

JahBella’s Mummy

Why I started Co-Sleeping (Even when I said I wouldn’t!)

Before I had Jah, I told myself that I would never allow my child to co-sleep with us and I suppose I almost ‘succeeded’. The closest Jah came to co-sleeping with us was in the first 2-3 months when I would place his portable cot right next to my bed. He was such a colicky baby with horrible reflux and I was often exhausted after putting him to bed that it was really just easier to leave him next to me. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep well if I had to constantly wonder if he was spitting up in his sleep. L However the moment his colic and reflux settled, we ‘shipped’ him off to his own room and cot and relied solely on an audio baby monitor to keep tabs on him. Apart from having to go into his room to sooth him back to sleep once or twice a night or to give him his feeds, it was all working out fine.

I can’t really pinpoint when it started happening but I think it started around the time that I was pregnant with Bella. Jah started needing me to sit with him in his room, with my arms around him while he attempted to go back to sleep. This was extremely straining and tiring for me and I soon learnt that the easiest way was to bring him over to my bed and just hug him to sleep while I dozed off as well.

This was how our new arrangement started, some 2 years ago or so….with me putting Jah to bed in his own room at 9pm and him proceeding to wake up anytime between 11pm to 5am. He would sit in bed and call for me or walk over to my room on his own (if he is conscious enough) and everyone would continue to have their good night’s sleep.

At some point last year, Joel jokingly asked me what if Jah was still in our bed in Primary school…haha I know that’s a pretty scary thought! However I think deep down we both do know that as much as this co-sleeping sometimes feels alittle annoying and uncomfortable especially when he takes up 2/3 of our bed (yes a 3 year old can take up 2/3 of the bed!) We both also realize that this is not going to last forever.

Photo credit: howtobeadad.com

Photo credit: howtobeadad.com

I really can’t blame the little boy for coming to my bed every night because as strange as it is…we need him as much as he needs us. This co-sleeping thing has become as much of a habit for him as it has for us.  In fact Joel confessed a few nights ago that he finds it hard to fall asleep when Jah isn’t there…oh my goodness! Me too!

So if you ask me now, is co-sleeping with your baby/ child unhealthy? Ermm yes I suppose so since both parents have also become dependent on it  :p But would I choose to do it again, now that I know of the ‘outcome’. Yes most definitely! Nothing beats being able to watch my child snooze and hug the little sleeping monkey to sleep! Nothing beats waking up to his good mornings, bright smile and crazy singing (unless its 6am of course). I’ll do it again and I’ll keep doing it now because I know these moments won’t last forever and I am going to enjoy it while I can now…:)

JahBella’s Mummy

15 things I will do differently in 2015

So when Rachel of Catch Fortywinks initated this blog train, I was excited to attempt my first blog train and attempt to write outside of my comfort zone. However I was also alittle concerned if I could find 15 things to do differently in 2015. Not because I’m perfect but because this was a way to document some of my New Year resolutions and to be honest, I’m not very good at keeping to my resolutions. It becomes a whole lot scarier when it is no longer just promises you make in your head but instead written on paper or in this case, on my blog for everyone to see.

But I figured since there were so many of us doing this (34 of us mummy bloggers to be exact), I might as well attempt it and try to have some fun while I’m at it. You can read the other 33 posts at this link 🙂

So here goes nothing, continuing from where Mamabliss left off on the blog train yesterday…15 things I will do differently in 2015 (in no particular order).

  • Enjoy our family holidays and go with the flow– ok this is not to say that I will stop planning our family holiday itineraries. There is no way that the kids or Joel and I would survive an unplanned holiday. We need structure! However after all the planning has been done for my sanity, I will enjoy our time together and if it means we deviate from the plan slightly during the holidays, I will go with the flow. I will no longer chase the next time slot on our itinerary, I will live in the moment with my family. 🙂

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  • No more standard praises– No more ‘good jobs!, no more ‘wow that’s awesome!’ I am going to start qualifying what was so good or awesome about what Jah or Bella had just done. There is going to be more “I’m so proud of you because…” and “we feel very happy that you…”
Photo Credit

Photo Credit: completecoach.pro

  • No more patronizing ‘Yes’, ‘That’s nice’ and ‘Ok’ – I have been very guilty of just responding to Jah without processing what he is actually telling me sometimes. This happens a lot in the car when my mind is on something else and he just wants to have a conversation with me. I only catch myself when he does a follow up question or statement that I can’t respond to or realize that I have given him permission to something that isn’t allowed.
  • Stop rushing the kids – I suppose with the exception of rushing for school or work in the morning (within reason). I will stop rushing my kids on weekends. “Hurry we are going to be late for waterplay, finish your bread and lets go!” Nopes, no more of those.
  • No more handphones during playtime –This is going to be tough but I know that Jah is getting increasingly annoyed when he sees Joel or I holding our handphones during playtime. I am going to eliminate the use of handphone while playing with JahBella. No more scrolling facebook or checking my Whatsapp messages.
  • Bag Checking – I used to be involved when it came to what goes in and out of Jah’s school bag each day. Then Bella came along and I outsourced the packing of both their school bags to my helper and yes sometimes we drop the ball. This year, I will personally check their bags to make sure that nothing is missed from their communication books and the right items are in their school bags, this is going to be my new night routine.
  • Be present but unavailable –I don’t know about other mums but I find myself ever present and ever available with my kids even if I shouldn’t be. For example, how many of you find yourselves in the shower but have your ears peeled in case one of your kids start shouting for you or starts a tantrum or a fight with his/her sibling. I find myself always in ‘fight mode’, on my toes and ever ready to run out even if there was another adult in the same room with them. So in 2015, I will be present (aware of the troubles outside in case I need to intervene at some point) but I will try to be unavailable (let someone else attend to the issue first). :p
  • More family bikes rides– Allowing for more activity time as a family of 4. Equipping 2 adults to handle 2 kids and creating more opportunities for Jah and Bella to co-exist and interact.

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  • More couple bikes rides/ skate scoot nights– Creating more opportunities and space for us to communicate and ‘operate’ as a couple rather than as parents.
  • Read more –I used to read and then the kids came along. I now buy magazines that I would like to read but never find the time to flip through them. So in 2015, I am going to make full use of my Kindle Fire and start reading again. Perhaps some book reviews too?
  • Getting our hands dirty – I will attempt more activities in the outdoors (sandplay, waterplay, nature stuff, gardening) as well as indoors (arts and craft, painting, playdoh) with the kids and worry or fuss less about how we are going to clean up.

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  • Savour the bedtime conversations – I am often in a rush to put Jah to bed. I typically sit in his room (in the dark) for 30mins to an hour until he falls asleep (in my lap). This is normally my down time where I get to catch up on my tv dramas on my tablet while he slowly drifts off to sleep. So I often find myself hushing him or cutting our conversations short so that he would drift off to sleep faster. I need to start enjoying the bedtime conversations with my boy before he stops wanting me in his room even if it means delaying my down time.
  • Spending more time with Bella– Having kids who are close in age has its pros and cons. Jah and Bella are only 18 months apart and this meant I had to focus a lot of energy and attention on Jah even after Bella was born. It has become  routine in our household for me to attend to Jah’s needs while Bella’s needs are met by Joel or mostly our helper. With Bella slowly developing her own personality, I need to start ‘knowing’ and understanding her as well as I know her brother. I need to start spending more focused time and conversational moments with her, to know what makes her tick.

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  • Targeted Online Shopping– No more impulse online buys full-stop.
  • Blog more about our experiences and write more outside my comfort zone– 2014 was an overwhelming year. I only started blogging in July and had the whole of early 2014 to document and catch up on. The moment I started blogging, I also became more aware of how we were spending our time as a family and with it came more opportunities to do things differently with our kids and more things to blog about. I’m not complaining though. I love that we are now so much more conscious of how we spend our family time and weekends and I get to blog about these experiences. In 2015, I will be seek to blog more! – catch up on overdue posts, discover new experiences with my kids and lastly, come out of my writing comfort zone which means more active participation in blog trains and the likes.

Heres to doing things differently in 2015! 🙂

15in20151

Next Up on the Blog Train is Summer from A Happy Mum

summer_ahappymum

Summer is a media executive turned SAHM from Singapore who stepped into the gratifying journey of motherhood during her 4-year stay in Sweden. Life has never gotten more fulfilling since then and she is now the mother of two lovely girls. She believes that contentment is bliss and that happiness is about making the best of what you have. A Happy Mum is a place where she blogs about motherhood, babies, kids, love, DIY crafts, travelling and all things happy. Check out what are the 15 things that this happy mum will be doing differently in 2015 tomorrow!

Rough 2 Weeks as Parents – The Spectacle Lens Episode

Its been a really rough 2 weeks…our Monday started with us finding out that our car had been badly scratched. Yes what a way to welcome the new week! And if that fiasco was not enough, we ended the work week with Jah losing one of his spectacle lens.

Jah and his missing spectacle lens episode was a really tough one because he started Fri morning by being super uncooperative and then he popped his spectacle lens out of its frame (or so we thought). This made us really really mad! In that moment when he was being extremely uncooperative and we were rushing for work, we didn’t think to ask him the right questions. Our immediate reaction was to accuse him for being an extremely naughty boy, demanding to know where the lens was and basically just being really mad at him.  The poor boy.

We eventually realized that he was just pointing out to us that his lens was missing and it had been gone since the night before. 😦

We had to change our Saturday plans to get his spectacles fixed. We were told it was going to take 4 working days and since he didn’t have a spare pair, he was going to have to deal with not having his spectacles for a whole week.

Given that he occasionally takes a break from wearing his specs when playing sports or at the end of the day, we figured that he wouldn’t miss it too much. We were wrong.  All the ‘behavioural issues’ (which is what we call it but probably too strong a word) that we stopped seeing since he started wearing his specs, all came crashing back that weekend. By the end of it, I was really really exhausted from having to deal with an ultra unreasonable, super sensitive/ emotional and extra insecure child who was upset that he couldn’t see clearly and was taking it out his confusion and frustration on us.

The school week started and I thought he was starting to cope a little better. School seemed to be fine and well I only had to deal with him for 3 hours after school, before bed time came around. I know it sounds really bad to put it this way but it was really tough.

Last night I mention to the poor fella that he would be getting his specs back tomorrow and he broke down. I was shocked. I think he tried to get through the week by pretending that it didn’t bother him one bit to not have his specs. I think he tried to pretend that he didn’t need it to see. I think he felt alittle betrayed and upset that it was ‘taken away’ from him.

With everything that has happened, I feel like such a bad parent. A bad parent for not listening to my child and finding out the facts before exploding.  A bad parent for not being able to tolerate him acting out despite it not being his fault. A bad parent for not realizing how badly he needed his specs (both physically and emotionally). 😦

It has been a really rough 2 weeks, another reminder for us on how to be a better parent… I hope it gets better….

JahBella’s Mummy