Sunday, March 24, 2013

Confessions of a Porn Addict's Wife

 Warning: Unlike the rest of the posts on my blog, the contents of this post are not G rated.

I realize this topic isn't exactly mommy and children related, but since porn affects 90% of the male population, that means it affects a very large majority of the wives out there too. I would like to think that by sharing my experiences it will help to encourage a few of my readers who are in or have been in the same situation.

My husband  recently wrote a blog post called Confessions of a Porn Addict which, by the way, is a must read for all men and women alike. It addresses porn addiction and all the hurt and heartbreak and bondage that goes along with it, from a man's perspective. I thought it would be helpful to also share it from a woman's perspective.

My confession: My husband's sin almost destroyed me.

I know an awful lot of people, both men and women, who deny the fact that porn is sin. Well I'm sorry people, but the Bible makes it very clear:

You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery". But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

There it is, straight from Jesus. Looking lustfully is cheating and cheating is sin. I'll try not to elaborate much further on the details of a man's porn experiences, but I think it's safe to say that most men don't visit porn websites, watch porn movies or buy porn magazines just for eye candy. They are doing more than looking. They are indulging in fantasies and fulfilling their sexual desires with a woman in sight and in mind who is not their wife. I'd say that's a pretty clear definition of cheating.

With that definition in mind, I will tell my story.

My husband first confessed his porn addiction to me while we were engaged. He was ashamed. He had a hard time choking the words out. When he finally told me, I remember thinking "Is that all? It's not THAT big of deal". You see, I was under the impression that once we were married and I was able to fulfill all of his wildest dreams and desires, the porn addiction would simply disappear. Yeah right. Back then, I had no understanding of the dangers of porn, how addicting it was for men and the reasons why. I honestly didn't give it a second thought.

My husband's first confession of our married lives came when we had been married 3 weeks. Yeah. Not 3 months, or 3 years. 3 weeks. We were still VERY MUCH in the "honeymoon phase" of our marriage. I was confused. And ashamed. And overcome with guilt that I wasn't good enough for him, that I wasn't fulfilling his needs.

I tried harder to be the perfect wife. Not just in the bedroom, but in every area of our marriage.

The porn confessions continued on a regular basis.

2 months after we were married, I got pregnant. Add body changes and extreme hormonal imbalances to the equation.

No amount of trying to be the perfect wife made any difference. Every time my husband confessed, I was a wreck. I knew I was a total failure.

My husband knew I felt that way. I always told him how I felt. That I wasn't good enough for him, that I was fat, ugly, gross, not fun enough, not sexy enough, I didn't cook good enough meals, I didn't keep up with the housework good enough, I didn't support him enough..I was constantly beating myself up about my failures and telling him about it.

The porn confessions continued.

This general feeling of failure escalated into low self esteem, depression, and eventually self hatred. I hated myself on every level. I could not think of one good thing about myself. I was ashamed even to talk to God, so I stopped talking to him. I was ashamed to talk to Ben, so I stopped talking to him too. I didn't think I mattered enough to share my feelings. I didn't think I mattered enough for my husband or God to care anything about me or my feelings or my problems.

This continued throughout our whole first year of marriage. A few weeks before our daughter was born, my husband started getting counciling from a pastor at our church. The porn confessions slowed down. Now there would be more like 4-6 months in between confessions. But the damage had been done. I was an emotional wreck. And every time I started to relax, think "maybe things aren't so terrible", start talking to God and start working on building up my self esteem, that's when the next confession would come. Every time, it hit me harder and the damage was worse.

During my second pregnancy, I started having suicidal thoughts. I would literally have visions of myself cutting my wrists with a knife and bleeding out. If I hadn't been so busy taking care of a toddler and hadn't had her best interest in mind, I would have become a cutter. I stayed strong for her, but I fantasized about cutting myself often. I had never understood cutters before. I've heard (in church circles) that people who cut themselves do it as a cry for help, or that they are trying to create physical pain to relieve the emotional pain they are experiencing. I can't speak for all cutters, but I can speak for myself. I wanted to hurt myself so bad because I thought I deserved it. I hated myself so much that I wanted to punish myself to the point of physical pain, and some days, even to the point of death. I did not feel like I deserved to be alive. I felt like I had failed my marriage and failed my husband. I even had days when I thought I'd be doing him a favor by killing myself so he could find a better wife.

And second daughter was born. She was my gift from God. She was all the proof I needed that God did indeed care for me and love me enough to give her to me. I adored her. She adored me. We bonded beautifully. She was perfect. I was thankful. I started talking with God again. He restored my self esteem, my strength and my confidence.

One day, something clicked in my head and my heart, and suddenly I could see myself through God's eyes. All of these memories started flooding through my mind and it was as if God was showing me that I was a really good wife. All the burdens started lifting as I realized it wasn't my fault. And better yet, all the negative feelings I'd been having were vicious lies from Satan. I felt totally free...for about 3 seconds. Then all the hurt and anger and bitterness inside of me that I'd focused on myself was now directed towards my husband, because for the first time in 3 1/2 years I realized that the source of all of my low self esteem, depression, self-hatred and suicidal thoughts was his sin! Oh, I cannot accurately describe the level of hate I felt towards my husband that day. And that was only the beginning.

That day was the end of my self hatred and the beginning of my hatred towards my husband. I started planning on leaving him. Or making him move into the basement. I started thinking of what daycare my girls would go to and what kind of job I would get and where we would live. I just wanted to run away from this man who hurt me so bad for so long and knew he was hurting me with his addiction but didn't care enough about me to stop. I hated the man who just sat back and watched me hate myself and let me hate myself and didn't bother to step in and save me from myself, simply by quitting his addiction. He failed me. He let me down. I needed him to come through for me. I needed him to be my hero and protect me from the hurt. Instead, the man I was living with, in my mind, was a weak man. A failure. A porn addict. These too, were lies from Satan. Just like the lies he'd been telling me about myself, and every bit as dangerous. Satan was out to destroy my marriage.

I talked to God a lot about my feelings. I knew He wanted me to tell my husband how I felt. So I did, in a letter. I basically told him I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn't love him, I didn't respect him, I didn't care about him, I didn't want to spend time with him, I didn't care what he thought about me, I was emotionally done with him. He responded with repentance. He said he was sorry for hurting me. He wanted to help me heal. He asked me for forgiveness and for one more chance. After a TON of prayer, God changed my heart and I was able to forgive my husband. Every day, I choose to love him. I choose to trust him. I choose to respect him. I choose to forget the hurt his sin caused me and forget that he wasn't strong enough to fight for me. Here's what I've learned since then:

Satan's attack on our marriage was brilliant. He attacked my husband with the temptation of porn, which he fell for. Satan attacked me by telling me lies about myself, which I fell for. Because I was so broken and hurt and full of self-hatred which ultimately was very selfish because all of my energy was focused on hating myself all the time, I was unable to stand by my husband's side and help him and encourage him and fight with him. And because he was so involved in his sin, he was too weak and broken and beat down and discouraged to come through for me as well. We were both wrong. We were both being attacked and defeated. We were both weak and neither of us came through for each other. I have since asked him to forgive me as well.

This is a long process. We are still fighting these battles. I still have negative thoughts about myself. I still have to choose to trust my husband each day and be vulnerable and not shut him out of my life. I have to choose to be honest with him and choose to believe him when he tells me he loves me and that I am beautiful. My husband has been faithful to me since he asked for forgiveness that day. But if he struggles with porn again in the future, I will be ready to help him. We will fight this battle together as a team.

If you are the wife of a porn addict, here are some steps you can take towards getting rid of the guilt and pain and helping your husband fight his spiritual battle.
What to do if your husband IS NOT willing to change:

Pray for him: Whether or not he realizes it, your husband is fighting a spiritual battle. You can pray for God to soften his heart, convict him of his sin, and have the strength to fight his battle and win.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
Ephesians 6:11-12

Pray for yourself: Satan attacks marriages with porn because he knows that is one of the most effective ways to attack both husband and wife at the same time so both partners are equally useless in helping each other grow closer to God and to each other.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 2 Peter 8-9

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Find your worth in God:

You are his child...the daughter of the king of the universe. That makes you a princess

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba, Father". The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. Romans 8 14-17

You are God's creation, His masterpiece! You were fearfully and wonderfully made!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
Psalms 139:13-14

God loves you. You are important to Him. You are valuable to God!

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Luke 12:7

 Read Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge: It is a wonderful book about being romanced by God and finding your worth in Him.

Read False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction by Harry W. Schaumburg.
It will help you understand where your husband is coming from and why this addiction is so hard for him to give up. It will also help to remind you that this is his sin and it is not your fault. 

Here's the hard part:

Forgive your husband: Even before he asks.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6: 14

Treat him with love and respect:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence in your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2

 Let go of your anger and bitterness: Holding onto it is a burden that will only hurt yourself!

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

These things can only be acheived through tons and tons of prayer.

 Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 What to do if your husband IS willing to change:

Follow the steps listed above.

Encourage him to go to counciling. This way he will be able to work out his issues with a professional councilor (I suggest finding a Christian councilor since some non-Christians do not consider porn a sin or a problem) or a pastor.

Encourage him to find an accountability parter. He will need someone to talk to on a regular basis to help keep him on the right track, and who he can confess to if he is being tempted.

Encourage him to be honest with you. If your husband knows that he is going to have to confess to you every time he falls into temptation, it will be extra motivation for him to fight against it. As much as Satan likes to try to tell us wives otherwise, it is important to remember that your husband is not looking at porn to try to hurt you.

Be his accountability partner at home. Help him to stay strong. Talk with him about ways to make it harder for him to have access to porn. It may be to create a password for the computer so he can only use it when you are around. Or moving the TV to the bedroom so he can't watch movies alone after you've gone to bed. Help him to create barriers so it's harder for him to fall into temptation.

Pray with him. This will be a wonderful bonding experience and a way to grow spiritually together as you pray against Satan and pray for strength to fight this battle together, as a team, as partners, as husband and wife.

Go to marriage counciling together if either of you find yourself struggling to overcome this battle, or if either of you are feeling overwhelmed.

I pray that through this post, a few wives out there may be one step closer to finding peace and healing in their lives and in their marriage.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Aluminum Foil Canvas Painting

Mercedes spent a TON of time on this painting. She was SOOO proud of herself. I couldn't help but take a million pictures as she worked.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Leprechaun Picnic

 On St. Patrick's Day during Mercedes' nap, I set up this picnic for her on the couch. Green blanket, Lucky Charms, green milk and green greek yogurt, with chocolate gold coins on the side. When she woke up, I told her a Leprechaun had been eating his snack in our house and left his gold behind (we've been talking about how Leprechauns aren't real, but it's fun to pretend that they are).

 She thought the picnic was great, but when she took a break to go potty...

She found that a leprechaun had used her potty to go pee pee. Well this REALLY freaked her out and she burst out crying, poor kid. I spent about 10 minutes explaining to her that I'd dyed some water and put it in her potty just to pretend that a leprechaun had been there. She did not find this amusing. Mommy fail...oops! Maybe next year she will find the humor in it. =-)

Fluffy Fudge

I wrote the recipe for this on my Gramma's Tea Party Picnic blog post, but I think this fudge deserves a post of its own, because it is incredibly delicious. Also it is the easiest fudge in the world to make, and it only has 2 ingredients so it's completely inexpensive. It's GREAT! I call it fluffy fudge because it's not as heavy and rich as regular fudge, and it absolutely melts in your mouth!

1 12 oz bag of milk chocolate chips
1 can of Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting

Melt chocolate chips either in the microwave or on stove top. Add frosting to melted chocolate and stir. Spread in an 8x8 baking dish and chill in refrigerator for about an hour. Cut into bite-size squares and serve.

That's all! Crazy that a dessert this easy could turn out so amazingly delicious!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gramma's Tea Party Picnic

My mom's birthday was last Saturday. I knew the best gift I could give her would be time with her granddaughter. So the week before her birthday, Mercedes and I made this invitation and sent it to her in the mail.

The morning of her birthday, the girls and I did some baking.

I call this "fluffy fudge" because it's not as rich and heavy as regular fudge and totally melts in your mouth. All you do is melt a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips and mix the melted chocolate with a can of Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. Spread it in an 8x8 casserole dish and chill it for about an hour. That's it! 

 I packed a plastic bin full of "tea party picnic" things and set everything up on my mom's kitchen floor. I spread a blanket out on the floor and put the bin upside down to use as a table with a baby blanket for a tablecloth. We bought the tea set at Goodwill about a year ago and it's just been sitting in our closet waiting for a special occasion to let Mercedes use it.

 I served hot chocolate, fluffy fudge, chocolate cupcakes with pink vanilla frosting and sprinkles, and sliced bananas.

Gramma and Mercedes enjoyed a wonderful, happy, peaceful birthday tea party picnic!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Paper Plate Painting

We are always looking for different ways to paint. We had a ton of disposible foam plates left over from a big family reunion weekend, so of course we had to paint on them!

Mercedes painted on one and the other was to hold the paint. We kept both and hung them on the wall.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mini Squishy Glitter Bags

We've done these before but with gallon bags (click HERE for the "Squishy Glitter Bags" post). We were out of gallon bags and Mercedes was asking to make squishy bags, so we used sandwich size bags instead, which was actually just as fun! 

We filled the bags about halfway with liquid...half oil and half water (looking at the regular size squishy bags we made before I think they turned out better because we used more oil than water. It's not an exact science...just add stuff until it looks pretty and feels interesting). Then we added some glitter and a few drops of food coloring.

Both girls loved these!

As always, Mercedes just HAD to find out how this sensory material would feel on her feet!

 I always love seeing how these projects progress. We still had a plate of paint from an early project lying on the table. Mercedes thought it would be fun to do a "Squishy Bag Print". It was actually pretty cool!

 We kept both the paper and the plate.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Finding Beauty in the Baby Weight

This was the last picture I took of myself before Emerald was born. She was born 4 days after this picture was taken. Throughout my pregnancy, occasionally I'd post a picture of my baby belly on facebook. I never posted this one though, because I was too ashamed. I weighed almost 200 lbs by the time Emerald was born (188 lbs to be exact). I gained 60 lbs total during Emerald's pregnancy. Gaining 60 lbs in 9 months does NOT feel good. Physically or emotionally. When I looked in the mirror I was disgusted with myself.

Now, at 10 months postpartum, it is so much easier for me to look at this picture and find the beauty in it. The idea that in my belly was a fully alive, fully developed little person...well, that is just incredible. And gaining 60 lbs in the process of growing that little human being simply does not seem like that much of a sacrifice anymore.

Oh, it is SOOO easy for us as women to beat ourselves up about our bodies during and after pregnancy. We just loooove to make ourselves feel guilty for looking less than perfect and weighing more than a super model. But when we do that, we lose sight of the precious gift that God has given us as moms, to be a part of the miraculous creation of an incredible little person. It's truly too wonderful for me to put into words. I am overwhelmed by gratitude and thanksgiving that God would choose me to grow a little person inside of me. Wow. I mean, that is an INCREDIBLE gift and such an amazing responsibility.

If you are pregnant, or if you are recovering from pregnancy (it takes some women YEARS for their bodies to fully recover from pregnancy...and by this I mean shrink back to it's normal size) please keep your thoughts positive and focused on your sweet baby. Take pride in the fact that God chose you to be involved in such an incredible miracle and be joyful every step of the way. Even if that weight never comes off, it doesn't matter. You are a Super Woman, because you grew a baby. And that baby is worth every bit of the body changes that occur during pregnancy.

This video is an incredible reminder of how miraculous the baby-baking process is. Especially if you keep in mind that all of this happens in just 9 months! Seriously, seriously incredible. Next time you are tempted to curse at the numbers on the scale or the stretch marks in the mirror, watch this video and remember the miracle you were a part of to cause those body changes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mommy Fail Days

 This morning, Mercedes was (I thought) playing puzzles nicely in her bedroom while I walked Emerald around the house. Emerald and I were in the living room and Mercedes and I were yelling back and forth to each other, having a lovely conversation about something. All of a sudden I heard a CRASH and ran in her room to find the dresser as shown above...with Mercedes crumbled underneath it (where the top shelf is). As you can see, this is a five drawer dresser. The bottom four drawers flew open. The top one that she was pinned underneath was somehow jammed shut.

More terrifying than seeing my child pinned underneath a dresser was the sound of silence. She wasn't crying. In that split second I had no idea if she had passed out or worse. I pulled her out and she was awake and terrified. Once she was in my arms, then she started to cry. Once she was calm, I checked her all over and she did not have a single bump or bruise. Seriously people. This was a miracle from God. There is no reason why that top drawer should have been jammed shut. I tried to get it open and it wouldn't budge. When my husband got home he opened it right away and said there was no reason why it shouldn't have opened with the rest of them.

Here's what the dresser looked like afterwards...the top drawer wouldn't open, the bottom ones wouldn't close.

 Poor Mr. Piggy bank! Mercedes looked at him and said "Oooh, my piggy died!"

 She gave the dresser a big hug because she felt sorry that it got hurt.

This face was after she'd been crying for a while, but then we prayed and thanked God for keeping her safe so that made her very happy.

After a couple hours of off and on crying because her head hurt and not having an appetite, I did take her to the doctor to get her checked out. The doctor sent us to the emergency room so she got checked very thoroughly, and we made extra sure there were absolutely no injuries whatsoever. We both had quite a scare today and I am one relieved momma!

I decided to write this post because 1) I am 100% convinced that God kept my baby safe. There is no reason for the top drawer to jam shut, and she fell in such a way that she did not get pinned underneath the other drawers and hurt her legs. There were a million different ways she could have fallen and gotten totally crushed. She literally could have died today. I want the world to know what God did to protect my baby. 2) I think it's only fair that I share my failures and struggles as well as my triumphs and happy moments as a mom. My reason for blogging is to encourage other moms out there, by sharing both the good and the bad moments in our lives. A mom told me recently that I intimidated her because I was such a good mom and seemed to have everything under control all the time while she was constantly struggling. I want this post to scream "Attention, all you moms who are struggling...I have mommy fails too!" Our lives are not perfect, our days do not consist of one fun activity after another in between hugs and kisses and cuddles and special moments. I am struggling to get the hang of this mom thing right along with the rest of you. All of us blogging/pinteresting moms do. Even though we usually choose to share the best of the best highlights of our days with the world, we all have times when nothing goes right. Days when there is always at least one kid crying at any given moment, the laundry is so piled up that nobody has any clean underwear and by 2 pm we haven't had time to brush our teeth or glance in the mirror because we've been so busy changing diapers, wiping bottoms, cleaning spills and soothing our toddlers as they go from one meltdown to the next. And then there are days like today, when I sit at the computer writing about how my toddler got smashed beneath a dresser and had to go to the emergency room, while holding my sleeping 10 month old almost-toddler and trying to decide if I need to take her to the emergency room because half an hour ago she face planted on the kitchen floor, got a bloody nose and now it is bruised and swollen. Second major mommy fail of the day.

The point is, we've all been there. We're all there, right now. All of us with children are struggling. We have mommy fails. Our kids have meltdowns. They get hurt. Our houses are piled with laundry and dishes. We can't seem to get anything right. It can be overwhelming. It can be frustrating and even depressing. That is why it's so important to 1) realize we're not alone...everyone with children knows exactly how we feel on our worst mommy fail days. And 2) Do not dwell on the mommy fail moments. Make sure you are being intentional about creating those special moments and happy times throughout the day with each of your children. If you haven't been, start today. Take some pictures. Keep a journal. Start a blog. And when you are overwhelmed, when you can't get your kids to stop screaming or breaking things and the living room is so messy no one can walk across it without tripping on something and your sink is piled with dishes and you just want to give up because you feel like anyone else could do a better job than you at raising your children...remember those special moments, those fun times, those beautiful children that you are investing 100% of your time and energy into. Remember that you love them more than you love your clean house or your sanity. They are worth it. And if you love your kids enough to worry about failing them, you are not failing them. You are doing an amazing job. 

This is what I keep reminding myself today. Because today I feel like I failed my kids. But I know I didn't. Because I love them. Because I'm here. And they know that I love them. That is my job as a mom. To love my kids and let them know I love them and teach them about God's love which is the greatest and most perfect love of all. If I do that, I am not failing them. If you are doing that for your kids, you are not failing them either. Even on the worst mommy fail days.

Milk Painting on a Tortilla Canvas

 This morning Mercedes asked to paint. I'm always trying to come up with creative ways to paint so she doesn't get bored with it, so today we used food colored milk and painted on tortillas. We've done milk painting on snacks before (like giant marshmallows and graham crackers) but I thought the tortillas were extra fun because we could actually paint pictures on them and eat them afterwards!

 Mercedes had a blast. She probably painted 10 of these. Then later she asked to do it again so I made fresh colored milk and everything, and she did about 10 more. Good thing I had a pack of 80 corn tortillas just laying around in my fridge waiting to be painted on. =-)

 I couldn't help but try it too!

 Just look at that gorgeous snack!

She had a nice pile of half eaten tortillas by the time she was done.

Role Playing Right/Wrong Scenarios

Mercedes and Emerald adore each other. Most of the time. But now that Emerald is becoming increasingly mobile, she has been interrupting Mercedes' play times more and more. She'll knock down Mercedes' towers,  grab her toys and just be a disruption in general. I try to prevent these incidences but sometimes I'm a few seconds too late and Mercedes responds...well, like a 2 year old. She'll yell "MINE" or "NO" and grab her toy back or push Emerald down. Each time I tell her a more appropriate way to handle the situation. But after the 10th time this morning of reminding her she's not allowed to yell at Emerald, push her, grab from her or hurt her in any way, I decided it was time for a more creative approach.

We went to her chill spot and did some role playing. I pretended to be Mercedes, and she pretended to be Emerald. She was cracking up the whole time, and I think the lesson stuck better than any amount of reminding and nagging ever could. 

Here are a few scenarios we practiced:

1. Mercedes is playing with toys. Emerald grabs toy.
Wrong way (we always did the wrong way first so the right way would stick in her mind better): Mercedes pushes Emerald down and yells "MINE!"
Right way: Mercedes says "No thank you, Emerald" in a stern voice and then yells "Mommy help please!" and Mommy finds Emerald something else to play with.

2. Emerald is playing with a toy that Mercedes wants.
Wrong way: Mercedes yells "MINE!" and grabs toy.
Right way: Mercedes says "Can I please play with that toy? You can play with mine". And they trade toys.
Second right way: Mercedes finds another toy to play with and waits until Emerald is finished.

3. Mercedes is playing and Emerald walks over and hits her (Emerald does this all the time, just trying to play).
Wrong way: Mercedes hits Emerald back.
Right way: Mercedes says "No, thank you Emerald!" moves away from her and yells "Mommy help please!" and Mommy takes Emerald away.

4. Mercedes is building a tower and Emerald knocks it down.
Wrong way: Mercedes yells, "NO EMERALD!" and hits her or pushes her down.
Right way: Mercedes says, "No thank you, Emerald." and yells "Mommy help please!" and Mommy helps Mercedes rebuild her tower and finds Emerald something else to play with.

We practiced each of these (and similar ones) a million times. Mercedes thought it was hilarious and totally got into the role playing. As Emerald gets older, she will have stricter rules too, but at 10 months the most effective way of handling her grabbing, messing up the toys and playing rough is to redirect.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Homemade (Gluten-Free) Play-Doh

Ben bought Mercedes some Easter themed cookie cutters last night. This morning, Mercedes asked to use play-doh to make pretend cookies. I've been trying to eliminate wheat products from our house since I have a gluten intolerance, so I went on a search to find a gluten-free play-doh recipe. This one is great. Only 4 ingredients and I had all of them in my house. So we made homemade play-doh this morning!

What you need:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 box jello

What you do:
Combine ingredients in a LARGE saucepan and whisk over medium heat until play-doh becomes too thick to whisk, then use a large spoon until play-doh forms a ball.

We ended up having to switch to a larger saucepan because the baking soda caused the play-doh to rise a LOT for a while.

This is what it looked like when it was finished heating.

I set it on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the fridge for about half an hour to cool. It was still pretty soft when it was warm.

Once it had chilled for a while, it was the perfect play-doh consistency.

 It smelled wonderful. Blueberry jello scented, mmm-mmm!

Mercedes used her Easter themed cookie cutters to make pretend play-doh cookies.

Success! We used this play-doh throughout the day and stored it in the fridge in a plastic zip-lock sandwich bag when we weren't using it. Tonight it is every bit as fresh as when we made it, and hasn't dried out at all.