Behavior Modification

You know that old saying, “People don’t change”? Well that’s incorrect. Before posting those memes or quotes do yourself a favor and fact check them. Who said that? Were their words evidence based? What credentials does the person posting hold?

I testify that change is possible. The relationships you have can be mended, whether with your children, spouse, coworkers, friends, change is possible. You also have that extra tid bit added onto the saying, “people only change if they want to”… hmmm. That’s part of it but it’s only a half truth. People can change with a nudge in the right direction, encouragement, support, advice, and most of all RESPONSE!

One of my very favorite movies is War Room. If you haven’t seen it, add it to your watchlist! The story line is based on a married couple who are in the thick of it, constantly bickering, forgetting why they ever got married in the first place. An older woman comes into play to counsel the wife on how to create change in her relationship. The thing that happens here is that the counsel given to the wife was to change her own behavior. She had to change the way she acted and responded, she changed her life and worked on herself before her husbands behavior followed. And if it had played out another way she could’ve just left high and dry with her new found self. I think this is very wise information. No it doesn’t work every time, but it’s the best fighting chance for that change to happen.

Find it, watch it, live it.

If we have people in our lives that have continued behavior that effect our own lives, our response to that can change everything. I once went through a behavior modification course to work with people suffering from developmental disabilities. We were taught how to modify their behavior because most came from rough situations and displayed negative responses to situations, such as self mutilation when they felt they had done something wrong. The system for correction was categorized by cognitive function. I took this information home with me and practiced it on my own kids. It worked! It included praise, correction, consequence, and a way to respond to the situation in the future.

I feel like we too often forget our children are still learning, they need to know how to respond to future situations they are disciplined for. Instead of doing this do that! The way we respond to behavior displayed can change EVERYTHING!

It also works for behavior we want to see more often too! I remember being a young girl and having to do chores, one night I wiped the kitchen table off. I wasn’t expecting it but my mom walked by and said, ‘You did a really good job cleaning off that table Annabelle!’… you better believe that for the next week I cleaned that table every night even if it wasn’t on my chore list because I was the best dang table cleaner in the house! Praise the behavior you want to see more often. Change the way you respond to negative behavior, provide correction and consequence when need, and give an alternative for future mishaps.

Enter their darkness to bring them light

I want you to imagine that you’re at home with your kids. You’ve cooked them breakfast and are preparing to send them off to school. Your husband kisses you goodbye as he heads out to work and you load the kids in the car to take them to their studies. Your children engage you in conversation about the abandonment they feel is coming as you approach the school doors. You then console any worries they have by saying you’ll be returning after the last bell rings as you give them goodbye hugs and tell them to mind their manners. As the last child disappears into the school, you feel a freedom you hadn’t before. The day is yours to spend as you choose.

After doing a few chores at home you venture out to town, visiting the post office, library, and finally the market to grab some missing dinner ingredients. You’re in aisle 3 comparing the price vs lbs ratio on some pasta and out of the corner of your eye a lady in scrubs is approaching you holding a cup of pills. It’s odd. She calls you by name but you don’t recognize her. You look around and no longer recognize where you are and you can’t seem to find an exit. The lady in scrubs has a friendly affect and she knows your name so you confide in her, asking where you are and how to get home. You have children to tend to remember… you need to pick them up from school or they’ll be lost and abandoned just as they suspected they would be this morning when you dropped them off!

What you don’t remember that also happened this morning is that your children are now in their fifties, one of which even came to have breakfast with you, your husband has passed away and you’ve been living in a nursing facility for over 10 years. That friendly nurse has brought you a cup of pills to help manage the effects of Alzheimer’s although there is no cure. But that’s just it, you don’t remember these things. This morning you were 40 years younger and you can’t be convinced otherwise. Not with a mirror, not with photographs or videos. This stuff is all some sort of witchcraft to manipulate you. The government has taken you hostage. It’s mind control at its finest.

Approximately 10 years ago I was introduced to this disease while working at a skilled nurses facility. I watched an elderly woman roam the halls for hours searching for an exit, she wouldn’t eat lunch and when dinner came around I tried encouraging it to her and through her blood shot eyes and damp cheeks from the tears shed that day she said, ‘How can I eat when I know my children are out there hungry and waiting for me at home?’ She pleaded with me to help her find her way home. I remember going into the staff lounge that night and praying for peace for this woman.

The ones in the scrubs

Treat the people you do know suffering from this disease with understanding and patience. Enter their reality and do whatever it takes to ease their worries, ‘Billy called he’s staying at your moms tonight because there’s a storm coming, and the bus isn’t running right now so we are giving you a free nights stay here!’ The way you approach this situation could determine the rest of this persons day, make sure you approach it with a kind heart! And heed my warning when I say do NOT try to bring them into your reality, you will not win. This is a disease, their cognitive state has taken them to another time and telling them they cannot leave to go home is a declaration of war. You’ve just put their children’s lives in mortal danger, they will starve or be kidnapped on the way home from school. And if this is the approach you choose to take, be prepared for a fight. These elderly people may not look like they have much fight in them but put a threat like this on their kids lives and you’ll be in a battle for your own soon. That cortisol stress response will turn that frail old lady into a MMA fighter with the snap of a finger. Trust me, I’ve had the wind knocked right out of me… ‘Easy wasper, I’m just trying to love you!’

My inspiration for what I do!

I’ll have to credit my mom for the passion she has instilled in me to love and understand our elders. She was the Attending provider for NHC while I was growing up and often let me round with her. I was able to contract her contagious kindness and knowledge that she has for this disease process. There is nothing more humbling than working in this field. We’ve discovered effective coping strategies and distraction techniques but no cure to this day. So today hold your family closer, cherish the time you have with them and thank God for your cognitive well being. Because in 10 minutes you could be the one waking up in a different time, place, and without your loved ones.

Too much estrogen in here

Four females in one house… FOUR! Let it be known now that I used to pray for 10 kids and I wanted all girls. What I didn’t know I was getting at the time was all my dang clothes missing. Where’s my makeup kids? Has anyone seen the hairbrush? Why are you crying… why are you angry? What emotion is that?! Is that fingernail polish on the mirror? Oh honey, those are waxing strips not stickers, eeekkk!

Ignore the fire alarm on the wall… I smashed it with a hammer.

My washer malfunctioned last week and so on Sunday when my amazing self fixed her right up I did TEN loads of laundry! Ten loads and this morning I wake up to not 1 but all my kids prancing around in my clothes.

The kid told me to buy those pajama shorts cause they made me look like Kim Kardashian… I see your trickery kid… well played 😑

You may think well you have little Maleah and she into sports and picks up hulk mask at stores to chase people around, almost all her friends are boys and she’d be the first to tackle anyone messing with her but the girl has an extreme feminine side. She cries while watching full house, loves to model and has a very nurturing personality! Don’t let her fool you, I’ve seen her scavenging through my stuff… nothing is safe here.

Look at that sweet ball of emotions 😭

And who the heck is this Jo Jo chick with the big bows? Why do we need all her stuff and why does it all look like something the 80’s puked on? Kali, on the other end of the spectrum wants all this Billie Eilish crap, blue hair, baggy clothes… mom can I get my nose pierced… no ma’am. Then I get the clap back, well you have your nose pierced! You don’t want to have this fight with me kid. You won’t win.

We comprised on a Jo Jo bow that wouldn’t push her head off her neck.

I couldn’t tell you if boys are any easier because I have none. However I grew up with 6 brothers and I feel like I escaped death on a daily basis. A friend of mine has boys and has sent some photos of daily activities like climbing up trees and sorts, it gives me angina… go on girls, you go right ahead and paint that bathroom mirror to match your toes, I’m cool with it now.

Thanks for reading my morning mom rant. I know I’ll miss these days when they are off to college, living their adult lives… or perhaps I’ll be sitting on the beach writing a novel without the worry of the neighbors calling the police for a domestic violence dispute over the screaming sounds of little children fighting over who was looking at who first. That was the longest sentence I’ve ever wrote.

Author of little things

IMG_4164My kids love to create stories.  I often wake up to small drawings such as the deathly hollows symbol above, as they like to take the drawings and create another story.   My favorite thing to do with my kids is to let them hear new music.  Instrumental music from movie soundtracks are our favorites!  We take the long way home every time we fall in love with a new song. Each of us take turns telling a story to what we see with the music.   They have become experts at creating these elaborate short stories!  So I have decided, this is the year I write their stories down!  I want to make a book for them to keep.  I’ve never done this before and I’m sure I’ll have to have someone proof read and edit it but I’m excited!  To me it doesn’t matter if these books sale or go big, I am doing this for my girls.   I want them to always remember and cherish our time spent together.

The losing battle of the single mom

Restraining kids to their beds isn’t an option is it?  I need advice on how to keep my 4 year old from leaving her bed at night that also allows me to achieve a sane number of sleeping hours.  I told her that she could no longer sleep in her older sisters bed.  I want her to start sleeping in her own bed each night.  I spent an entire weekend painting and remodeling her room for her, I bought a bed, dresser, and a nightstand with a small tv.  The kid has it made, I slept in a sleeping bag my entire 2nd grade year and I didn’t have a dresser until I bought one when I was 18.  But does any of that matter? No.  She sneaks out of her room every night and crawls into her sisters bed.  I’ve tried to guard the door, I caught her twice last night but she is a night owl and always out last me!  I resulted to threats last night, I told her if I woke to find her in her sisters bed she would be punished.

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I woke up, went straight to her room, No Hailee?  Go to her sisters room look in bed, no Hailee?  Small heart attack, as I catch a glimpse of a small people on the floor.  It’s Hailee, sleeping in her sisters room on the floor.  I’m losing this fight.

Four year old grown up

Mornings are the busiest part of our day.  As I rush around reminding each kid of what they have left to do to get ready, I try to do various house chores.  I usually clean when I come home from work or school but throughout the night the kids get up and roam through the kitchen, Hailee may have an accident and change clothes, they secretly create a fort… whatever the case, there is always more work in the morning! A few days ago while we were in our morning rush my 4 year old daughter Hailee decided to change her clothes and leave them in the floor.  Fet up, I told her that she needed to pick her clothes up and walk them to the laundry hamper.  Then I continued to lecture her about how she needed to start taking care of herself because no one was going to clean up after her when she got older hahaha, I realize now how crazy I sound.  Well it turned out that Hailee took my words to heart.  Yesterday she made her own lunch, cleaned up her own messes all day and then she decided to make me dinner.

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She calls it lettuce soup.  It has celery, fruit loops, and milk in it.  She stood there with this super excited face just waiting for me to take a bite. So I did, I really did.  Oh my goodness, the things we do to make our children happy.  Needless to say, I won’t be giving Hailee anymore lectures until she learns her way around the kitchen.

Do I have to go to school!

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I feel too old to be going back to school.  I sit next to a 16 year old in my A&P class at the community college.  SIXTEEN!!! Our high school here allows the kids to do a dual enrollment program which allows them to do their high school classes at college to receive credit for both.  While that’s an amazing opportunity and I wish they allowed that while I was in high school,  I feel like that chick in the movie Never Been Kissed. On a more positive note, my instructor is a hottie 😉.  As an adult I have a better understanding of time and I know that spending a small portion of my life doing this bridge program from LPN to RN could change how I spend the rest of my life.  So despite my internal protest, I have to go to school!  Tally ho!

The social life of a single mom

img_2006I get two weekends out of the month to myself while my kids go to their dads.  Thankfully I have a pool full of friends to hang out with during me time.  This weekend I’ll be with my pals Jacob and Colton.  They are pretty much the coolest guys you could ever meet!  However that also means I have to clean my house… I don’t realize how crazy of a mess my house gets until I decide to have company over.  I need some quick clean up tips… I’m too exhausted to actually have this social life thing going on.

img_3354         On top of trying to get my house clean I’m running around like a chicken with its head chopped off after my children.  This morning 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave the house for school my 10 year old daughter comes to ask me if she can wear something different.  I asked why and she says, “Well because today is 50s day and I’ve signed up for a sock hop”. So panic mode set in and I ripped through her closet like a maniac trying to piece something together last minuteimg_3355

For a last minute outfit, I’m pretty impressed with my bad self… feeling like supermom at the moment but I’m sure when they come home this afternoon I’ll be brought back down off my high horse during some everyday fiasco.  But for now I’ll live in the moment and applaud my small successes!

Photo shoot in the snow

img_3258For the past several years I’ve been thinking about how to build my children’s college fund while staying financial stable at the same time.  About a year ago I saw opportunities in Atlanta, 3 hours from where I live, for acting and modeling.  My oldest daughter started working as a background artist shortly after.  Then was offered a job doing a photo shoot for the same show as one of the main characters younger version.  It brought it a good chunk of cash to start her savings account and since then I’ve been looking for work for my other daughters.

Our snowy weekend inspired a photographer that was offering model experience to do a snow shoot.  It was a chance to start investing in my middle daughters future so I dressed her in warm clothes then carried a big thick blanket to the shoot.  It only took about 5 minutes for the entire shoot and she did great!  She now has an audition we are going to on Tuesday night! I’m excited to see what the future holds for her and hopefully her college fund will grow!

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Let’s buildnow man! Just kidding I have to work…

img_3215We finally got our first snow of the season and my kids got out of school.   They woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland, wanting to run out and make snow angels, build an igloo, construct a fort to have a full on Jack Frost war. However just because school was cancelled doesn’t mean work was, and being a single mom I had to take my kids to work with me.  Luckily I work somewhere that understands my situation with the girls… my boss is my momma and luckily I have extremely incredible kids who mind their manners.  They have a pretty good set up at the office, they have the kitchen with all the yummy snacks drug reps bring, the waiting room with a tv and playset and then they have 2 exam rooms we don’t use that they play doctor in.

Maleah and Hailee don’t play well together.  Feel free to offer any advice that would help them get along.   Neither of them fight with Kali.  Neither of them have feuds with anyone else, but when they get together every look, every breath, every movement becomes a declaration of war!  We were getting close to closing, there were 2 patients in the exam rooms and 1 in the waiting room, that’s when I heard Maleah  shriek.  I marched to the kitchen to see what the fuss was about and apparently Hailee was pushing her.  After interrogating Hailee she stated that she was just throwing trash away and Maleah was guarding the trash can… “Ok, hands to yourself girls”.  What’s really weird is that they love to play together, they CHOOSE to play with each other when they don’t have to.   After a few more nonsense bickering I decided to wear them out…. I know what you’re thinking, no I didn’t spank them (I only resort to that if I feel they harmed someone or were doing something to harm themselves).  I’m not completely against spanking but I’m not completely for it either.  I feel that my kids learn their lessons better when a lesson is actually taught instead of spanking a lesson into them which only works to a certain extent of them learning out of fear.  I feel that time out, and talking things out after they’ve cooled down works the best.  They understand the WHY is punishment.  Anyways, when I say I decided to wear them out I mean physically hahaha I told them that between patients we should go to the stairwell and jog up and down for fun.  As an adult that sounds like the opposite of fun but to a kid it was just their cup of tea and I figured they were starting to fight because they were board so why not wear them out 😋.

When the work day was finally over we went home, got in our pjs, made homemade popcorn, hot chocolate and watched movies based on true stories… we basically cried the entire night haha but they loved it.  This single mom thing, it works for us.  I love our girl time, I love having them at work, I love being able to do whatever I want to do when I get home, I love watching chick flicks… I love being single!  One day someone may come along that makes me feel at home with them, until then I’ll keep enjoying my time with my girls ☺️