Lately, my tiny Cora has been a little, teeny, tiny bit on the tough side.
We’re back on a regular diet for her, after our gluten-free spring and summer, thanks to the advice of a pediactric GI specialist. In order for any testing to be done–and accurate–Cora needed a minimum of four months on ‘regular’ foods.
So we’re four months in at this point and waiting to talk about next steps.
Until then, she’s been hot. And cold. Short-tempered. Quick and loud one minute, loving and cuddly the next minute.
We’re not sure how much is related to her stomach discomfort and how much points to genetics. But I’ve read and read and read some more about how to handle bossy children, what to do when kids are strong-willed, and how to parent appropriately when one kiddo seems to control the temperature of the house.
Over and over and over again, I’m finding that creating distinct boundaries is huge.
I’m finding that recognizing and identifying children’s feelings is huge.
I’m finding that continuing to shower those kiddos with love is huge. Even though it’s sometimes really, really hard.
And right about now, when the winter doldrums are setting in and we are all in need of some sun and warmth and happy places, the bickering and short tempers have been a-rockin’ over here. We needed some help, and I was starting with my tiny one.
Here’s the skinny:
- Quick Trick– Showing Love With Flowers: So this Quick Trick is my first deliberate attempt to throw in a little love over here, as corny as that sounds.
We are all big fans of flowers–flowers for any and all occasion. Flowers for no occasion.
And we’re big fans of surprises.
So when Cora and I were at the grocery store the other day, she said, Mommy! Let’s get some flowers! and that was all I needed to hear in order to give me a simple–but meaningful–way to start the soon-to-be lovefest under our roof.
Cora prepared her vases!
I said, Oh my gosh, Cora! That’s a super idea. But if we’re going to get flowers, who should we give them to? It’s totally cool to get flowers for yourself–but these flowers are going to be special. Let’s make them Surprise Flowers.
Maddy! Owen! exploded out of her mouth immediately, which I thought was so amazing since only an hour before she was bickering with them at breakfast. And Daddy! And Brady! she continued.
Perfect. You pick the color, and we’ll surprise everyone when we get home. You are a sweet and loving girl, Cora. Maddy and Owen are lucky to have a sister like you.
So she smiled the entire way through the grocery store. And occasionally she smelled the pink flowers she decided on.
When we got home, I pulled out some tiny vases, and I grabbed a mix of ribbons.
You choose the best ribbon for each vase, I told her. Make sure that each ribbon you choose is perfect for each person you’re giving it to.
She counted carefully how many vases we would need and how many ribbons we would need. And then she made her choices.
Cora counted how many flowers and vases she would need.
We left the groceries in bags on the floor while we filled each vase and cut flowers–she was that excited. I tied the ribbons onto vases, and Cora placed the flowers carefully into each vase.
And then she started her travels around the house, putting a pretty pink flower in a super-special vase in each person’s room, skipping along the way.
A flower for Owen’s room. . .
. . . and a flower for Maddy’s room (while she stopped to point out a baby Cora).
And she put a flower in the powder room (because everyone will see it there!), in my room, and in her own room.
Literally, all day long, she was tip-toeing and dancing, and skipping around the house; she was that excited for Maddy and Owen to come home, and she was that excited for her dad to come home. It was wonderful.
Instead of dragging her feet up the hill to school, she ran ahead, calling to me that I wasn’t quick enough. And she waited at the doors for Owen and Maddy to come out of the building, saying Maddy! Owen! There’s a surprise for you at home!!
Everyone ran into the house, dropped their backpacks, tore off their shoes, and followed Cora to their rooms.
Momentarily, the bickering stopped. Everyone was smiling. It didn’t matter that the surprise was a single carnation–they could tell that the vases were different, that the ribbons were special.
And I really, truly believe that everyone likes to get surprise flowers for no occasion–even the little guys.
It was a sweet way for my tiny one to fill her heart–and her siblings’ hearts–with a little love. Buying carnations certainly does not break the bank. They may be the least expensive flower out there, but they’re beautiful nonetheless. Especially when you’re not expecting one.
And who doesn’t love surprise flowers in their bedroom?
So that’s it–a little, tiny Quick Trick that reminds me of our Neighborhood Notes and that I hope hope hope will be repeated without my prompting. And I hope hope hope it will remind my littles of how good it feels to be nice and do sweet things for others.
Only time will tell.
Love this, Amy. Thank you for the reminder. Gotta show them the love, love, love. 🙂
Julie–You are right. But some days, it’s easier than others, right? xoxo
Love this post! Love is SO important!
thanks, Maryanne. Means a lot to me. (And if you have any ideas, suggestions, or feedback, hit me with it, girlfriend!)
Very sweet. I’ve got a tough cookie on my hands, too, and some days with the mood swings, I feel like she acts more like a 13 year old than a 4 year old! I love the idea of showing love to others in this way. She doesn’t have siblings, but I’m sure there are others we can think of to “surprise” soon.
Aimee–You are so right. Sometimes the mood swings make me wonder what the teens will be like–ack! But you’re also correct that love can be shown a ton of ways–even w/o siblings. Good luck–and keep me informed!
–“Until then, she’s been hot. And cold. Short-tempered. Quick and loud one minute, loving and cuddly the next minute.”
–“But I’ve read and read and read some more about how to handle bossy children, what to do when kids are strong-willed, and how to parent appropriately when one kiddo seems to control the temperature of the house.”
Sigh. Amy, this describes one of my littles and it can be so hard. I’ve considered his diet before, but not gluten specifically…we go to the doctor tomorrow for his 5 year well check, so I will ask about his diet. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. But I must say this, with age I do see progress with my little one. Small little things I hold onto tightly when it’s hard. And we have more of the good days now than the hard ones. Love you, friend.
Brandy. Oh man! We DO live parallel lives. . . please let me know what your doctor says–I’m totally curious. And part of me also wonders if this is just a four-year old thing, something that will get easier with maturity? I don’t know. Glad it’s getting better for you, and I am always so happy that you read–what would I do without my sweet friend Brandy writing and letting me know I’m not alone? You rock, girl. xoxo
So sweet!! Your Cora and my Maddie sound a bit alike :-). Great idea!
hmmmmm, let me know if you have any other suggestions, Kelly! I’m willing to take any ideas, feedback, tricks I can get! Good luck w/ your Maddie!!
So nice! I haven’t done exactly this but sometimes my daughter picks wild flowers and I let her put them in a vase in her room. I always find my kids respond in kind when I treat them a particular way. I think my kids would love if I did this!
Ann–I agree. It also always amazes me how much even little ones love flowers. Let me know how it goes for you, my friend!
Erin @ Small Types
Amy, I love this! Isn’t it funny how the simplest ideas often make the biggest impact? I have a similar situation at my house and I’m always looking for ideas to bring a little extra sunshine into the mix. Thanks!
Erin! YES! You are so correct–little things are huge sometimes. Please let me know if you have other ways to add a little ‘sunshine’ to our days–we’re looking for some major sun over here! Thanks for reading and huge thanks for writing my friend!! xoxo
Erin! Yes, yes, yes! Little things DO make a difference–I’m convinced of it. Sometimes it just means stepping back a bit and looking at the big picture to figure out what you need, right? Let me know if you have any other ‘sunshine’ tricks. Thanks for reading, my friend!! xoxo
I love this idea, what a special way to spend time together.
Thanks, Christie! It certainly was a really nice way to spend time. You are so right–and so worth the $$ for carnations. Thank you so much for reading, my friend!
so sorry to hear that cora is going through that–it’s tough! both my guys have peanut and treenut allergies and that is hard enough–i can’t imagine giving up my beloved gluten!! i love your idea! it’s the little things and sometimes just saying yes! when we could have easily said no. xx
Dana–Peanut and treenut allergies are HARD, my friend, but I suppose we’ll do anything we need to to keep our kiddos save and comfortable, right? And you are totally correct in that sometimes the unexpected ‘yes’ does the trick too. xo
Love this idea! As an only child myself, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about sibling rivalry as my two girls, who are usually so sweet to each other, are being just nasty. I think we might be able to use a little bit of carnation love around here!
Thanks so much, Stacey, for writing! You know what? I am not guaranteeing that this will do the trick–but it certainly may be a start! Good luck!!
Not sure what you working diagnosis is your Cora…. However, from my own personal experience, once you do get the diet figured out, and the inflammation and pain goes away, the kiddo is a lot happier. HUGS!
Maleah–I’m not sure what our working diagnosis is either, but I am totally betting that you’re right about her being happier once we figure it all out! Thanks for writing–and thank you SO much for reading!! HUGS right back atchya!
Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama
That is just too cute! I love how such a small thing made her so excited for the rest of the day! Indeed love is important!
You are so right, my friend! Thanks for writing, and thanks for reading!! xoxo
What a sweet gesture. I think that little gestures like this are far more appreciated than grand ones. I’m sharing this on our Facebook page and already tweeted about it. It is a great reminder. I love the sweet things little children come up with. I am finding my son is doing it more and more as we are emphasizing doing small acts of kindness with our kindness challenge http://toddlerapproved.blogspot.com/2012/01/100-acts-of-kindness-project-2012.html
Thanks for sharing!
thanks so much for taking the time to write and for your super-kind words. I cannot wait to check out the 100 acts of kindness project!!
Omigosh Amy, this already made me cry!! I love this Quick Trick. Question: we are dealing with this SAME bossy, bickering attitude with Chatterbox. Any tips for how to get her to show love now that she’s 7 1/2 (going on 17) and not easily swayed? I imagine me suggesting the flower trick and her saying: “Hmmm, NAH.”
Your guess is as good as mine, Stacey, especially since she’s older. Maybe YOU put surprise flowers in everyone’s room first. . . and then she’ll see how good it feels. Let me know how it goes. . . xoxoxo
Hi I have followed your blog on and off for a while now. Today’s reall stuck in my head when you described your daughter and her behavior. It sounded exactly like my Meg. We also tried gluten free and she had many test including a colonosomy searching fora reason for her swinging temperament and disruptive behavior. The doctors found nothing significant. Since then we have found other outlets for her acting out like running and jumping rope. Challenging herself instead of others. There are also on going conversations about words like selfish and considering others feelings. On the rough days I remind myself meg will some day be an amazing leader. I also plan on finding volunteer activities for her this summer. Hang in there.
Hey Amy–Thank you so much for writing–and reading. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I am sorry you’ve had similar experiences with your little one–I can only imagine that the procedures she experienced were really difficult. I am really interested in this approach–I think I will definitely explore the ‘challenging herself instead of others’ idea. I may write to you for support, ideas, and . . . more support.
Thanks again, and please keep in touch–xoxo
I already stopped by to let you know how much I love this little act of kindness by your daughter, but just wanted to let you know I am sharing it as part of a kindness round up I posting tomorrow/today? (Sunday) Love it! Simple things ARE the best
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing this post, my friend. Means so much more than you know. xoxo
Rebekah @ The Golden Gleam
Found this post through Creekside Learning, and this just gives me goosebumps because it’s so special. You are a wise and loving momma. My little girl sounds a lot like your little daughter, and when her behavior starts to get worse, I often have to take a look at myself, and figure out how I can be more loving and be a real role model of love to show her how to treat us with love. The flower arranging is such a great way to give her a constructive way to show her love to her siblings.
Rebekah–THANK YOU. You made my day, my friend–I’ve had one of those ‘I’m totally a lousy mother’ kinda days, so thank you. Means more than you know–and if you have any ideas, suggestions, etc–let me know! I’m up for anything when it comes to this stuff!!
Joyce @Childhood Beckons
This is so sweet! I was teary. Thank you so much for sharing. Everyone loves surprise flowers 🙂