Thursday, December 29, 2011

Delve Into 2012

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
-Corrie ten Boom

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dear Jenna: | Bed Wetting/Enuresis

Dear Jenna,
Our newest member of the family has been regressing in his potty training since coming to live with us full time. He was fully potty trained. But in the past month he has been wetting the bed nearly every night, and sometimes having accidents during the day. I am going to pull my hair out if I have to change another sheet.
-Losing Hair

Dear Losing Hair,
  I actually just wrote an article about this a few months back for some friends at my church who were experiencing the same difficulties. (See below.) Be encouraged you are not alone. 

Enuresis: Bedwetting and Regression
Jenna J. Gough, ACSW
(Written for foster and adoptive parents.)
Your child has been potty trained for a year or more even. You’re enjoying the diaper free life, and bam… all of the sudden they are wetting their pants, or pooping their pants, peeing and pooping in strange places, hiding it under the bed, or in their clothes. In the blink of an eye, you are back to washing sheets every morning and re-making beds like its your morning cup of coffee. Not cool.

To start with lets look at peeing and pooping our pants as a behavior. I’m going to share something with you that changed my life. It’s worth a lot of money, and it is a major shortcut in addressing child behaviors. Are you ready?  “Every behavior is rooted in a need.” Needs cannot be argued or disputed they are present and present to stay. Some of our basic needs include, the need for food, water, and shelter. But in addition to being a body, we are also a mind and spirit. Some of our psychological needs include; safety, security, love, and affection. Abraham Maslow, was a guy who explained what he called a “hierarchy of needs.” Maslow drew a pyramid and at the very bottom of the pyramid he placed our most basic needs. Maslow explains that if our most basic needs are not met, that we will be unable to function on higher levels such as learning new things, developing social skills, performing well in school, etc. 

Now this may surprise you, but “bedwetting” is a behavior. As we now know, bedwetting emerges because of unmet needs. The number one thing that bedwetting is associated with is a need for a sense of security. What we mean by “security,” is the belief that everything is going to be okay. At this age, children don’t believe necessarily because they are told so, but rather they believe because they experience it. A child must know that their needs will be taken care of. Many children have not experienced this while living with their biological mom or dad. As a result their mind spends time thinking about when they will get food, rather than being filled with thoughts of play doh and crafts or something that your own child possibly would think about. When a child’s mind is consumed with thoughts on how to get their basic needs met, this produces anxiety and uncertainty. Anxiety is also closely related to bedwetting. So its stands to reason that a great start for addressing your child’s regression, is to work at various ways in which you can restore their sense of security and reduce the level of their anxiety right?

Easy for you to say lady. How exactly do I do that?

There are several practical ways to address bedwetting. In addition to the approaches listed below I recommend seeing a licensed child counselor who can work with you to identify patterns in the child’s behavior. Never-the-less here are a few practical approaches.
Limit the child’s fluid intake several hours before bedtime. 
Set an alarm and take the child to the restroom in the middle of the night. 1 or 2 times depending on what you feel is needed.
Consult with your pediatrician about medications that can help with bed wetting for a period of time before weaning them off when the child is ready. 
Use a special bedtime spray (for example a lavender scent) and explain to the child that it is a special spray. You can be creative with small children explaining that it keeps monsters away, or that it attracts guardian angels, etc. From my experience dad’s can be really good at this part.
Go to the store with the child and purchase something that is very soft and cuddly, like a blanket or a stuffed animal. Make a BIG woohaa about how this is her special bedtime blanket or rabbit or what have you. The point is to give the child an added sense of comfort during nighttime hours.

Since the child is expressing outwardly, what they are feeling inwardly, a highly recommended approach to day time accidents, when they occur, is to remain calm. This will reassure the child that although they are feeling anxious and out of control, you are not. Even though it is tempting to believe this will go on for all of eternity, it will not. The child will eventually regain a sense of security and will be able to do this more quickly if you the parent also exude a calm energy. Whatever they are experiencing does not scare you. 

Some things you might say to the child during one of these time are:

“Oh you had an accident. I understand you are not feeling well. You will feel better soon. Let’s clean you up.” After cleaning up, a quick hug and a reassuring “You’ll be okay” will go a long ways.

Keep it brief and have a “no big deal” attitude whenever possible. If you need to go pull your hair out after… feel free. The more frustrated you become with the child, the longer it will be before they are able to regain their footing. Talk to a counselor or a friend and express your frustrations in a safe place, away from the child. Do not forget the more calm reassurance you offer, the quicker they will get through it.

In closing, remember that this child will need some time to experience a new way of life. It will take him several weeks if not months, to learn (without you telling him) that your home is different then what he has experienced before. Essentially, the child will need to begin to trust that he will be okay with your family and in your home. And kids can’t be tricked about this kind of stuff. They don’t feel safe because someone simply told them they will be safe. They tend to wait and see for themselves if the coast is clear. I would encourage you to be yourself, have fun, and let your new family member observe all the wonderful things that make your family the special family that it is. 

::Tuesday's Tea With Me::

A Cup of Tea
When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its fragrance,
There is solace in its taste;
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.

And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

Tea helps our head and heart.
Tea medicates most every part.
Tea rejuvenates the very old.
Tea warms the hands of those who're cold.

(J. Jonker, Amsterdam, c.1670)

I stumbled upon this poem the other day and I couldn't wait to share it with you. It inspired me to search out a cozy nook and let my mind amble about unfettered by a schedule but spurred on by my heart. May it spark a light in your soul the way it did mine. 

What comes forth from your heart when given permission to run unbridled through capacious fields? Go for it. Let your heart run 
free this morning. Yippeee!

-Jenna Jill 

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Reflection of Childhood

When I was a little girl, my mom would drive me out to visit her parents who lived on "The Ranch." I would stay with my grandparents for a week at a time and participate in all things country. (Including country line dancing.) I can recall every detail of that ranch. From the house that sits atop a hill hidden amidst oak trees, to the barn below with a corral, "the squeeze," and the hen house.

I remember climbing down into the well on hot days to swim with my brothers. I mostly held on to the ladder though while they tried to drown each other for fun. Swimming in a tank with a two foot hole for light at the top isn't exactly without its perils. The sides of the tank were slimy and who knows what was under the water!

 There were also rules that accompanied your stay on The Ranch. If Grandpa said "Stop," or "Freeze." You froze. On one blistery summer afternoon Grandpa and I were walking to the barn when he suddenly said very firmly, "Stop." Of course I thought we were having another drill, but no. There was really a snake coiled up to my left. Grandpa ran to the barn and emerged with a shovel. A shovel? Where's the gun? But he had already identified the snake as a king snake which to my delight "is a friend." (They eat gophers and such. AND... they kill rattlers.)  I never have liked killing anything. Unless its after me. Then I'll kill and kill it good. But as long as its being its animal self I've never enjoyed the thought of cutting short its time here.

One of my favorite things to do on the ranch was to go for a picnic. Picnics, ranch style, are nothing like going to a park full of screaming kids. After Grandma had packed and prepared our lunch we would head down to the barn to saddle our horses. I loved this part. First, you take out the brushes and brush your horse down good. Leaving a burr beneath your saddle could make for a rather exciting ride, so as to avoid having a heart attack or obtaining an unnecessary injury... brush well. After a good grooming, you throw on your blanket, then your saddle, and then tighten the cinch. Not too tight or he'll buck with discomfort, and not too loose or you're in for some fun when you attempt to hop on. Once your horse is saddled you grab hold and swing your leg over and into your stirrups. Yeeehaw! Here we go. 

Don't forget your hat, which you should not leave on the fence post. Because if you do, it can blow off and spook the horse. (Learned that one the hard way. You'd be shocked how fast a horse can move when it spooks. I know I was. I felt like a cartoon. There was the horse and I was the blur behind it hanging on for dear life.)

Grandpa always knew the best places for a picnic lunch. I specifically remember one such place. It was back up in a ravine behind the house and Grandpa's workshop. We made our way through the herd, checking the cattle as we went, and slowly made our way up the incline to an old oak tree. 

If I'm not mistaken this is the same area my brother was when he decided to shoot something other than cans and took aim at a large bird flying directly over him. The bird happened to be a buzzard, and my brother happened to hit it. Ahhh ha ha ha.... while plummeting to the earth it must have decided to go out fighting because its wing suddenly folded in such a way that it took direct aim at my brother's head. Ohhhh it hurts my side thinking about him dancing around trying to get out of its way as it spiraled down to earth.

Anyway, back to picnics. Grandpa would unroll the little deal at the back of his saddle and take out the lunch Grandma had made. I remember unfolding the wax paper and there would sit two half sandwiches. One with meat and lettuce and tomato fresh from their garden, and one with peanut butter and home made jam. We would sit in the shade of that oak tree and rest up while enjoying the food that had been made with such care. A little further on up the hill and we had reached the top. Grandpa showed me the old rocks that sat watch up there. I remember they were bedecked with moss of all colors. We thought that was so pretty. We even had a view of the ocean.

Grandma had her part in keeping the place running as well. She was up early each morning making breakfast, doing the wash, and hanging clothes out on the line to dry. I LOVED that part. Grandma's laundry always smelled of fresh air and sunshine. I never failed to notice the scent on my sheets as she tucked me in to bed at night. I would lay there listening to the trucks rumble by on the highway below and feeling so cozy I would squeal into my pillow so I didn't startle my grandparents. 

At times I have dreamed so vividly of being back on the ranch that I awake in that little room that overlooks the highway, with fresh sheets, and Grandma's sewing machine. I have to shake my head a few times to clear it before realizing that I am here in my own home and have lived 29 full years of life. Yet still, a piece of my heart will always remain there. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Live Nativity

I went to see the Live Nativity with my parents this year. I haven't been to one since I was very little. I think I may have been a bit overly excited. My favorite part was that they gave us a gold coin at the beginning. On our journey into Bethlehem when we came to the gate we had to give the guard our gold coin before we could enter. 

What I found hysterical was watching my dad try to drive, keep track of the narrative CD, and keep it on the right track for each scene, turn on the head light so he could find his gold coin, surrender his gold coin to the guards, get out of the way so I could take pictures,  make our car come to a complete stop so they wouldn't turn out blurry, and remain sane while my mother reported that there were cars waiting behind us. I have no clue how my brother did this with his three children. We could hardly manage with three adults.

Dear Jenna: | Nightmares/Night Terrors

I know whether you're a working or stay at home mom it can be hard to get out and compare notes with a bunch of other moms. Your child's pediatrician will give you charts and explain where they fall percentage wise for their physical development, but I find that moms also want to know where their children fall in the emotional category. It can be hard to know what is normal for your child's emotional development, when you don't exactly have the opportunity to poll all the children in the neighborhood while doing laundry, cleaning up messes, and finding time to actually intentionally teach them what you value.

So I thought I'd begin sharing some of the questions my friends shoot my way. Especially when I see themes. So here is a theme I have seen recently.... Nightmares.

Dear Jenna,
Okay so how do you deal with kids when they have nightmares? Maybe I'm overreacting and she just wants to cuddle with me and is using a tactic that will work with me, but so far all I can think to do is let her sleep in bed with me.

Dear Softy,
First of all it sounds like you're a fabulous Mama. (And since you happen to be my friend, I KNOW you are.) Secondly nightmares in children are common between the ages of 3-6. This has to do with the development of their brain at this stage in conjunction with their emotional development. Which means... you can stop feeling guilty now. ;-) You and all the other mothers out there. 
I would be remiss if I did not first recommend to take your child to their doctor. However for night terrors the most common recommendation from a pediatrician that I have heard is to let them grow out of it.


Nightmares/Night Terrors

Jenna J. Gough, ACSW

Here is the most common technique I suggest to parents with children experiencing either nightmares or night terrors. 

Prayer: (spiritual piece)
Have the child's Father pray over their room. (If father is unable to do it or would rather not, the person in the home with the most spiritual authority is most desirable for this task. Be that Dad, Grandpa, Mom, or older brother.... etc.) The child should not be present. This could become super religious but need not be. It is simply exercising authority over the space in which your child sleeps, and telling any negative energy, spirit, etc. that it is not desired and to leave. 

The Bad Dream Cleaning Spray: (psychological piece)
Get a spray bottle. Fill it with water and lavender. 

Just before bed time, have (preferably) Father, go into the child's room with the "bad dream cleaning spray." Have Father spray down the entire room for bad dreams. (While child is watching.) Father should make sure he checks the corners of the room, under the bed, and most definitely the closet. Also, be sure to ask the child if there are any spots that you may have missed. Thoroughly spray down any areas the child may point out. 

The psychology behind it? At this age the child is learning to feel safe and secure on his/her own. This sense of security is largely transferred from parent to child. The child will associate the scent of lavender or whichever you choose, with their Father (in whose presence, the child is safe and secure.) You can also use Dad's aftershave, deodorant, whatever you'd like. Just don't let them know that it's just dad's aftershave. Get it right. This is the "bad dream cleaning spray" folks.

Of the five human senses, the sense that is most closely associated with our memory is our sense of smell. Dad's smell will linger on the pillow, and remind the brain (and in my personal opinion, the spirit of the child) that their Father is present and they are safe. Ta da!

Sleeping in Bed or Napping with Mom and Dad:
In severe cases (like in the foster children who have been abused by mom or dad) it takes a while for the sense of security to be restored in the child's mind and spirit. In cases of adoption for instance I recommend the child having the opportunity to have time with mom and dad in bed. I know people freak out about the "propriety" of it but if you've ever heard a child having a night terror, you might reconsider. The sense of safety and security that comes from the presence of a protective figure is unmatched by medicine. This however is for children that are behind emotionally, which is typically not your biological child unless they have witnessed a divorce or other type of emotionally upsetting experience. 

The last area to cover is YOU. Although the challenge may originate in your child's developing brain and spirit, it also may be a combination of your own fears as well. 

Check Yourself:
(psychological piece)
Your child has the ability to learn to sleep on his/her own between the ages of 3-6 if given the opportunity. But remember it is an emotional growth process and your role as parent is to help them transition from gaining their security from being with you, to the realization that they are still safe apart from you.

(spiritual piece)
Lots of parents don't actually believe this, hence the doubly difficult time they experience with this stage of their child's development. Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?

 Do you trust that your child is okay outside of your sight? In their own bed? At school? Well if not, get over it. You're trippin' up your poor kid. And here is the real question... Do you trust God with your child? Or are you their God? What is the difference between being a parent and being God? 

In case you were wondering...

Nightmares vs. Night Terrors

*after a nightmare the child is awake and alert and will seek your comfort and if able to talk will talk to you about his/her fear.
*the child will remember having had a nightmare
*when a child has a nightmare you should go to them and comfort them.

night terrors:
*the child will thrash around violently, screaming, and their eyes are often open, however the child is still asleep.
*the child will go back to peaceful sleep, and upon waking will not remember the night terror at all.
*it is recommended to NOT restrain a child experiencing night terrors as it seems to agitate the child more. You should remove any dangerous objects and supervise the child until he/she returns to peaceful sleep to be sure they do not harm themselves.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All Excited

Just talked to my bosom friend on the phone and I'm all excited about something. Lol. She just shared something that's going to really help me in life.

 Grab a cookie lets celebrate!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

::Tuesday's Tea With Me::

Grandma brought over these pink roses yesterday straight from her garden. :-) I'm pretty sure these would bring a good dose of cheer to anyone. She came over in the rain, donned her umbrella and brought them straight to my front door. And I checked... they smell fabulous. Have you ever smelled those roses that don't smell? What kind of a deal is that? Reminds me of Macy's as a child. Remember those big cushy beds out on display that you ran and jumped on and practically broke your back? Apparently Macy's doesn't believe in mattresses. I only did that once. (Probably after several assurances from my older brother that it was heaven to land on such a plush comforter.) Anyway, I digress.

Sooo... these holidays I have found myself very busy. And this week I realized, too busy. I took some time to stop for a few days actually. I had plenty of time to consider what I would like to focus on for the remaining days of 2011. How do I want to enter in to this New Year? One theme that seems to be popping up in my life these days is "quality." I'm really desiring to live my life in manner such that less is more. Perhaps fewer gifts but quality ones. Perhaps less work, but quality work. Maybe even less social interactions, but quality time and presence in each.

I have given some thought to an appropriate strategy and have landed on the notion that I'm going to take a Facebook sabbatical. Which if it resembles anything like my television sabbatical, could evolve into a permanent leave of absence. I am not however taking a sabbatical from my Tea Times with you cheery chaps. In case you have been enjoying our times together, you won't be finding them on Facebook any longer. However feel free to subscribe to e-mail notifications or just pop in whenever you the hankering.

The way I figure it, this strategy will cost me more to have time with others and cost others more as well. And too me this seems, at least from the starting gate, like a good formula for increasing quality. I could be wrong we'll see. 

For now I would like to wish you each a very Merry Christmas. May you have a wonderful week. Take time to soak it in, and particularly to enjoy the richness that comes from family and friends gathering. Love to you all. Xoxo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Sanctuary

Today I decided that I would share with you, my most favorite place on Earth. I'm convinced this is where rainbows are born. And I have found much more than a pot of gold here. Each time I arrive I seem to discover a new portion of myself. I stumbled upon this serene little haven a couple of years ago and it has been my sanctuary ever since. 

I lay beneath these pepper trees and breathe deeply, hour after hour. Shoot I layed there so long a gopher popped up right next to me this afternoon. 

Where is your spot? Do you have a special place to rest your soul? May this inspire you to seek out your own sacred places where you can be with your Self and spend time with your creator. He eagerly awaits your arrival. 

TIP: Scroll to the bottom of this page and hit pause on the Christmas music before playing this video.