Homemade Comfy Pillowcases

My kids love soft things. They love the feel of softness against their face.

So, to accommodate this and help them have a bit of choice or say in a accent for their bedrooms I have opted to make my kids pillowcases.

Now, understand my kids LOVE their pillows! They each have probably 3 regular pillows on their beds. You see we buy the kids new pillows every couple of years, when we find them for about $2.99 each. However, when I go to get rid of the old ones there is much resistance!

So, for pillow cases I go to the fabric store and go directly to the remnants bin. I let the kids choose whatever fabric they like. It takes about 0.25 m to make a pillowcase.

The best fabrics are the fleece, cuddle fleece, flannels. Anything soft to the touch really.

Because the pieces are remnants they are really cheap. Often only a dollar or two.

To make a pillow case just take the fabric piece. Lay it out flat. Set the pillow on top. Fold the fabric over the pillow. This will give you a good idea as to where to cut the fabric. Mark the fabric, remove the pillow and cut (straight). Hem the ends. Then fold good side in and sew down both long sides. Trim threads, turn right side out, done.

homemade_pillowcases

Sometimes I use two different fabrics, so that it is a different pattern on each side. However, mostly I just use one piece as it’s way faster to sew!

Remember extra pillow cases just mean that you don’t have to finish the laundry to remake the beds šŸ™‚

And they give the kids choices in their pillow cases each week when the bedding is washed.

Unfinished “To Do” Lists

My life is always full of “to do” lists. Some of my lists get quickly accomplished and recycled. Some of my lists get “mostly” done, and the remaining items transfered to the new “to do” list, and then recycled.

Some of the items somehow seem to just never get crossed off. They just move from list to list. Never being finished so never being removed.

Even as my “to do” lists evolve with technology, this phenomenon continues. In fact it is even easier to do. You see, my “to do” list is now a memo in my phone. I can easily add or delete items from my list. It is super handy, because I always have my phone therefore I always have my list.

The thing I have noticed though about this digital list is that there are certain items I just don’t bother deleting, even when I’ve accomplished them. One of them is “laundry.” The reason is that although I’m done this task at this moment, soon enough I’ll just have to add it again anyways…may as well just leave it.

There are other items on my list that are tasks that I just rarely actually get around to doing, like cleaning my dresser. I leave these in the list too, because it’ll be awhile before I get around to doing it again anyways; by then it’ll need to be done again!

messy_dresser

So, I am trying really hard to do an unpleasant item from my list every few days. Some days I succeed, some days I don’t. The list doesn’t ever really get any shorter; but I know I am very slowly getting things done that have long waited to be accomplished!

Teaching My Son Hard Life Lessons

Last night I felt pulled in so many directions. Hurrying to get supper ready, eaten, cleaned up before 6. Finishing cleaning the upstairs, making an extra batch of cookies that only my husband likes (because I’m trying to do or say something everyday to show him I love him – and his curt response of “Why’d you make these, no one else likes them” was obviously the response from someone who isn’t seeing or feeling what I’ve been trying to do), trying to notice everyone’s needs (spoken and not) and meet them, getting up to serve more goodies to the kids to take downstairs (to hopefully help quiet them – it didn’t, it made them 3x louder), getting drinks for kids, and finally leaving the small group all together to deal with my son who was clearly in the middle of an altercation with one or more other children.

So, I went downstairs knowing pretty much what to expect. My son had told another boy he wasn’t supposed to do or say something or play with something and the other boy getting angry and the two arguing about who was right and who was wrong. This is a weekly ritual. The other boy isn’t really wrong and Keilan isn’t really wrong either. We have rules in our home, but they aren’t inforced for guests. And the other child has different rules in his home. Keilan really doesn’t get this. And Keilan has to be RIGHT.

Yesterday both boys were trying to “help” a younger child and play with the younger child. And both boys felt that the other wasn’t “helping” right. Thus the argument.

So, as always (it seems), I was too harsh on Keilan. He is only 5. I dealt with him, removed him from the situation and then spent the next 45 minutes with him in his bedroom. He hid under his bed angry and crying at the embarrassment and un-justness he felt, at the jealousy of having to share other kids and toys.

As I cleaned his room, and talked to him we talked about how he was feeling (mostly I gave him suggestions to how he was feeling, helping him name and identify his feelings). We talked about how the other boy and kids were maybe feeling. We talked about how not allowing them in his room to play with his toys might make them feel, how it made him feel. And actually, it made him feel bad; but, he was angry at the other child and didn’t want him to get to play with his toys when “he was just always mean” to Keilan and “got him in trouble” (fair enough, even if counter productive). Eventually he started listening and responding, but it took awhile.

Part of the problem is that all of my children have decided that their bedrooms are off limits to all other children. One because she has percussion instruments (fair enough), one because she doesn’t want to clean it, and one because he’s jealous and doesn’t want to share with “mean” kids. So this means 12 kids with no real toys to play with. BIG problem!!!

I’ve addressed that issue.

I spent 45 minutes talking to my son about how he felt and why. Trying to teach him that he teaches others how to treat him by how he treats them. Trying to get him to understand that if he’s ALWAYS kind and nice, regardless of how others treat him, EVENTUALLY the other kids will respond to this and be nicer and kinder to him. Trying to teach him that not everyone will ever like him or be his friend, but he can’t be unkind to them. Trying to teach him that being kind to someone doesn’t mean you even have to play at all with them.

The thing is he has such a soft heart. He just wants to help. This other boy is the same way. But neither thinks the other can “help.” They are 2 peas in a pod.

It breaks my heart the constant conflict. I see where it starts, and why it happens. But until Keilan learns to “let it go” it won’t get any better. He has to learn that he can’t change anyone but himself. He has to learn that life is full of having to work with and get along with people you don’t like and who don’t like you.

The other night I was reading my yearbook from college from the year I graduated. One person I admired wrote that I had finally learned to work well with people I didn’t get along with or necessarily like….I was 22.

So, if it took me 22 years to get there, how can I even begin to expect my 5 year old to “get it”.

So, I’m afraid this will be an unending battle for a very long time. I just hope that Keilan begins to learn these difficult lessons in life at a MUCH younger age than me!

In the meantime I guess I’ll have to supervise them more closely (when Keilan came out of his room I stayed to supervise for 15 minutes to ensure that kindness was the renewed play model), and use every teachable moment to encourage my son’s more rapid development and learning of these tough lessons!

This morning as Keilan got off the bus, he gave me his traditional kiss – cheek, cheek, forehead and I did the same for him. As I was doing this I used this moment to remind him to choose to be kind today, no matter how unkind someone else is to you. I reminded him that just because he was kind, the unkind person might not respond to his kindness with kindness; maybe not today, tomorrow, next week, next month, maybe not next summer, and maybe not ever…but they might. And their kind response might be today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next summer…. I reminded him that maybe if someone was being unkind it was because they were having a bad day and if he was kind back in response he might have the opportunity to change their day! He really liked this idea.

So, every morning I will have this chat with him…I will try to be grateful that he is facing this at such a young and impressionable age; because it offers great opportunity for his character development…

And I will remember that although he’s no angel: he can be stubborn, pig headed, obstinate, determined, jealous, “right;” he is a really good boy with a kind heart who REALLY is just trying to please people and make them happy and be as helpful (or even more) as the much bigger people all around him. He is the littlest in our family of 7, he has LOTS of big shoes to fill and follow.

shoe_rack

He is smart and strong and determined and it takes an awful lot to stop him! So, I will continue to correct him, guide him, and discipline him. But I will try to be a bit more understanding of his perspective and his motives and motivations and be more gracious.

Another Parent’s Response to my Teaching Child Consequences and Responsibility

Last week I wrote about how my son cut a hole in another boy’s jacket. (My son, the Addict) I talked about how we try to teach our children to take responsibility for their actions. We try to teach them that their actions DO have consequences, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. We try to teach our children that when they make a mistake – intentional or otherwise – they have to make it right.

So, as a consequence of our son cutting a large hole in his friend’s coat, he had to purchase a new one from his own money. No, not a brand new one. But a nice one from Value Village. One that more or less looked like new, but only cost $10.

I made my son write an apology card to his friend and his friend’s parents. In fact, I made him redo it 8x, until he slowed down, took his time, and did it neatly. I felt conflicted about doing this, but ultimately I want him to remember the consequences so he won’t repeat the behavior. And the other cards were full of mistakes and not very legible.

Finally, he gave the coat and cards to his friend and his friend’s mom.

Her reaction surprised me a bit. I had written her a card explaining how sorry I was for what my son had done and how we were trying to teach him responsibility and consequences and making things right. I explained we didn’t buy a brand new coat because I felt she wouldn’t have been happy with that. And I explained my son had to use his own birthday and chore money to pay for it.

She was VERY unhappy with being given the coat. When I chatted with her, the reason FINALLY emerged.

She was afraid if her son had done the same thing to MY son’s coat or someone else’s then SHE’D have to replace the coat. The bottom line was she was afraid of the cost this could bring her.

Honestly, at first I was miffed with her. Just take the coat already! Let me teach my child a lesson.

However, after some thought, I saw her side. She is an immigrant and money is clearly in short supply for her. The very idea of potentially having to fix her son’s costly mistakes is overwhelming to her. I get it.

My values however, say that it is my responsibility to fix or make right my mistakes or those of my children. I will make sacrifices to make this happen. My children have had to replace DSI games they borrowed and never worked, because the lender said my child had broken it. It was the right thing to do, not fair, but right. My son replaced a classroom globe for the absurd cost of $300 because he broke it. The school couldn’t accept any globe other than the exact one from their supplier – so he unfairly paid in excess of 3x the amount we could have purchased it elsewhere. My daughter broke a window…$400 she had to pay. Now, when I say my kids had to pay, the reality is it was mostly “sweat equity.” So, the cost came out of our wallet. But it was important for us to teach them their actions have consequences, and sometimes it can’t be “fixed” and must be “replaced.” If “fixing” is possible, that’s always our first solution, but that’s not always the case in real life. Why should someone else suffer the consequences and be out of pocket for my “accident” or that of my child?

On the flip side, I do not have the same expectation of others. I suppose it’s a double standard, but I DO believe accidents happen. One of my kids’ friends breaks one of their toys…oh well. My kid breaks one of their friends toys…they have to apologize and offer to replace it and prepared to actually replace it, although often the request is denied – but not always.

So, I wrote this mom another note. This time I explained all the various things my son has cut…his shirt, his rain coat, curtains, bedroom blind cord, his hair, his sister’s hair…and I asked her to allow me to teach him a hard lesson. She hasn’t spoken again of it. BUT her son did wear the coat yesterday and today. And he REALLY likes it. He has been showing everyone his new coat.

So, I guess as a parent I hope that when I’m trying to teach my child a hard lesson others won’t stop me. I also hope that when others are trying to teach their children a hard lesson, I won’t stop them šŸ˜‰

And PLEASE don’t say “That’s alright” when my child apologizes for doing something. That response is like saying “it’s OK you cut my son’s coat.” A more appropriate response would be “Thank you for apologizing. I forgive you. Did you learn anything from this? You aren’t going to do it again, right?”

You can show grace, without accepting the bad behavior.

What’s 10 Minutes?

This morning I managed to pull myself out of bed at the time I would LIKE to get up, but rarely do. You see, I am anything but a morning person. For a person with a job that requires me to leave the house with 3 kids in tow by 7:10am, this can be a problem.

Luckily for me, I have a husband who is more of a morning person and who helps greatly in getting the kids ready to go!

So, this morning I got up at 5:49am. And although I wasn’t happy, there was no point in going back to bed for 10 minutes.

So, I got up. I did my am brief exercise routine. I pulled the comforters off my co-sleeping girls. I put them on to wash. Because I did this by 7am I am now able to do the older 2’s before I leave on my school run. That means I will actually get all 5 washed and dried by bedtime tonight. A difference of 10 minutes would have prevented me starting the second load.

I had time to chat briefly with 2 of my kids before hurrying out the door to retrieve my school bus.

And I had time to blog this.

That’s what 10 minutes is to me.

If it can do all that for me, why do I sleep in 10 extra minutes every day? Why don’t I just pull myself up and out of bed? Obviously the benefits of my doing this are significant.

The answer…I like my sleep. And I never seem to go to bed just 10 min earlier, if anything it’s that much later….

I wish I could say that I’m now inspired to get up 10 minutes earlier….but, honestly, I’m not. I LIKE my sleep.

So, thanks honey for the AM help!