Thursday, August 8, 2013

so you think you have a sawyer?

i could sum sawyer up easily.

sweet and cuddly. sensitive. eager to learn, but on her own terms.
impatient and screechy. has a temper. just wants to snuggle on your lap with her blankie, named chloe.
protective of her sisters. bossy. but stands up for anyone who needs it.
loves to be the leader. overwhelmed easily. plays independently. loves to help.
she is sassy and girly. she wears heels and tulle. but she's wearing boys superhero underoos.
class clown. doesn't mind making a fool of herself to make others laugh. forgets that sometimes its quiet time.

she'll always do something you say no to - one.more.time.

sawyer 4th bday bedroom SB2

does your kid have her own hash on IG of #whynotwearthis bc she is so cool? no.

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she's the best of every world. she can hold her own on the playground, but will curl up in the tiniest ball when tired. she tells people "don't do that to my sister!!", but then twirls quietly in her princess dresses down the halls of target in her own world.

i don't want to curb some of this behavior. i want to foster her independence. i want her to feel empowered.

but there's a fine line.

if i asked the wonderful internet mom boards about some of the things sawyer does, they'd have tips and tricks about routines, sticker charts, and taking things away.

sawyer would throw the threatened item over the stairs and say "take it."
sawyer doesn't care about the sticker chart. or what "color" she gets at school.
sawyer has meticulous routines that work! sometimes... or i mean, until they don't.

she has had the same bedtime routine for years, basically. and still, some nights its as if she has never gone to bed before.... screaming in her room and kicking the door wanting to come out. standing at the top of the stairs telling us she is NOT going to bed. nope.

didn't we just do this last night?

how long can she really scream if someone doesn't give in? hours.

my other children aren't like this. never were. sawyer always walked the line of "meh, im not really listening" while the others wait at baited breath for routine and praise. aidan loves a good day at school. reese understands "stop x, please or no more y". miller is starting to grasp the concept of boundaries.

meh. not sawyer.

she, conceptually, understands the rules. i always repeated them, when going places, before we got out of the car, as that worked so well for aidan...

then, all of a sudden, ill be in the middle of a somewhere listening to a 4-5 year old scream and cry about something that we just went over. or, sometimes, something thats impossible.

maybe she wants a cupcake. but we're in the car. "hey, babe, sorry, i dont have any cupcakes in here". but she wants one. ok well. i mean we're in the car. and there's no cupcake here. so i dont know what to tell you. maybe we can make some together at home! maybe we have one at home!

nope. now. the screaming that could possibly ensue isn't a tantrum. i couldn't even explain it.

somethings she does every day will surprisingly be a battle. buckle your seat in the back.


what? lol yes. you have to buckle the seat. but today, she can't. her arms are tired. so i have 2 options - i can go back and do it. i can climb over children to get to the back and twitch-inducingly buckle her in. or i can try to reason with her. "sawyer, its the law to buckle your seatbelt." "if we got into an accident, you could fly forward." "if you don't buckle, then you don't get _____". "sawyer you have until 5 to buckle up".

"do not count to me!!!!!!"

its just a cycle. do you wait in the driveway for an hr until she buckles? do you just do it? is it worth the tears to teach the lesson that youre not going to do it for her?

bottom line is parents of kids like this don't want your opinion. i don't want to hear about the ipad you took away that night because some kids don't care about consequences.  i don't want to hear that you would have waited for 3 hours on your driveway to show them whose boss. i have shit to do.

we have our groove now. i have realized that if i give in to some of these debates with her, i am actually fighting with a 4 (now 5) year old - as if this is a 17 year old in my home.
i don't bother with the small stuff unless the small stuff can lead to bigger problems later. she does well in school - so really, whatever we are doing seems to be going awesomely in other areas of "real" life.

i have told sawyer all month "hey, just remember - we have to wear real clothes to school next year! kindergarten doesn't let you wear princess dresses and heels! sometimes you'll need shorts/pants/tennis shoes!"

she hasnt worn pants in years (minus leggings under a dress).

and when she is screaming upstairs and kicking the walls bc its a 35deg gym day at school, we'll work through the jeans and hello kitty kicks that she'll be wearing instead of the rapunzel dress.

"have you thought about just giving her two options?"
have you thought about what its like to listen to a kid scream for hours over an outfit?
"don't you have boundaries?"

aw.... bless your heart....

sawyer open house SB1

i am blessed to have a kid who holds her own. i am blessed that its a kid that follows aidan by a grade in school, who is very sensitive and has a hard time standing up for herself. i am blessed that she has younger sisters who will need her - and sawyer will gladly take on that challenge.

so when you see me leaving a screaming kid in the aisle at target to pretend to turn the corner because, "no, we won't be getting another set of fairy dolls or pair of glitter shoes (that aren't even your size!!)" - don't think in your head how i could have handled it better. whatever youre going to say - i've tried it. and so has every other mom with a "strong-willed child".

(this is not to say that i am not interested in new parenting techniques. pfftttt i don't "have it down" all the time.)

sawyer 5 bday week3

she is full of imagination and wonder. she has amazing stories and tales to tell. just be careful when she is being sneaky ;) she can sneak a random lie in out of no where. she has a heart full of love and emotion bigger than anyone i know. disney on ice1

but who she shares all of that awesome with is her choice. and when.

good for her.

she doesn't listen when she isn't in the mood. and seems to always listen when i happen to drop an accidental F-bomb. only to hear her repeat it later. so... sorry about that. kinda. the stories about sawyer are always the best to tell. they are full of emotion and fight and hilarity.

for now, ill just take my regular hugs and kisses and cuddles, requests for mascara, and popped ear drums and feel lucky that i have such awesome kids. who love each other without ceasing. and who show true love on their sleeves.

im lucky to have 4 (soon to be 5) different types of kids.


  1. I think you just described my second child to a T. He is something else. Often when my kids disobey they will get flicked on the hand (or in the cheek if they yell at me). Derek will knowlingly disobey, and then come to us hold his hand out (or turn his cheek to us) and say, "okay, flick me!" meh. Sometimes it's frustrating but often it's hilarious!

    Thanks for sharing your family with us!

  2. Thank you for describing my second girl and for describing exactly how I feel. I so often hear (barely, over her screaming/screeeetch/Sophie noise) that I just need to! GAH!! I hope her wild and special spirit takes her amazing places and that for your Sawyer too!

  3. Aw I don't know you, but have been lurking on here for awhile. I think you're an awesome mom, and as a mother of a strong willed child myself, (and having been one) I can understand and appreciate your plight :) You're doing fine.

  4. I'm pretty sure you summed up my Audrey. She marches to the beat of a drum she plays very loudly on her own.

  5. Your Sawyer sounds so much like my Lucy. I hope you tell more stories about her and how you cope/deal/care/love. My Lucy is strong-willed and I can just see her as Sawyer in another 3 years. Thanks for sharing your girls with us! And, as always, we're praying for Reese.

  6. I have one of those and mine is 5 years old. Most days I'm completely stumped as to how to handle her. Her younger brother and sister--no problem! Discipline for them is pretty straightforward. Not for my Annakate! I've tried every single discipline method and nothing works on her. All I can do is keep trying everyday and remember how my brother was the same way and he turned out fine.

  7. I loved this post! Seeing all these pics and vids of the girls is always wonderful, but getting to read such an in-depth post about Sawyer was really amazing. I feel like I know her so much better now, lol! You should do these kind of posts more often for all the girls. :)

    Good luck with your beautifully sassy strong-willed little gal! I'm sure you're doing just fine with her. Also, any name ideas yet for Little Miss #5? ;)

  8. OH, I meant to add - that pic of Sawyer with the cupcake should be framed and on the wall. Lol it's almost toooo sweet - like when she's a super sassy sixteen year old you can point to it and go, "See! Look! Look how SWEET you were!" Lol! ;)

  9. Yes. I do think I have a Sawyer. Mine is 6. Thank you for your post. I feel like I am finally in the swing of how to love my girl completely. She is so different from my first born son who is easy going and eager to please that she really threw me for a loop and it took me so long to figure out that there was no figuring things out with her. I too had lots of helpful tips from family and strangers that were not at all helpful. Fortunately our family finally saw my girl for what she was/is and stopped with the advice. She is amazing and not one to fit neatly in a canned discipline box. I love the way you love Sawyer....and all your girls!!! Rock on Momma!

  10. I love that you see the beauty in her character and balance that with the challenging stuff. That's not easy. She's lucky to have you.

  11. yep, mine is named Harriet, out of 4 children she can take up 95% of my parenting energy some days. I keep in mind the words of my lovely Paediatrician whom I took her to at 6yrs old in case I was missing something diagnostic wise, because what worked for my other two at the time was like water off a ducks back to her. He said 'there's one in every family and she's yours....just be thankful because sometimes I have to tell parents there's one in every family but you appear to have two'

  12. Being a parent.... fun isn't it?

  13. Oh, I am so with you here. I have an 8 year old daughter and a soon-to-be five year old son. Everyone thinks he must be my difficult child because he's hyper and such. Nope. They're wrong. Sure, there are days he doesn't listen and stuff but he is easy to corral. But my 8 year old....she's 8 going on 18. We butt heads daily and several times a day. She doesn't want you to teach her the easy or best way do do things. She wants to do it all her way. No. matter. what. I fear that one day, she will hate me. I guess I just have to trust that one day she will "get" it and that maybe she won't be quite as stubborn. And, if she is, we will make it work too. I'll never give up on her and I realize she and I will always be opposites and that it's not gonna be easy. Consequences don't mean much to her either, or telling the truth, or anything else. She's a lovable, smart girl but she wants it all her way. She knows best. Aye.....I totally feel ya, sister.

  14. If you ever want some actual real tips about dealing with not-your-standard-kid type kid... go talk to some parents of autistic kids.

    My son has Aspergers. As a result, no standard parenting tips worked for me. Parents of neurotypical kids would give me the most useless tips ever.

    "Well... sit him in time out!"
    He would scream for hours and bang his head on the floor so hard I worried about him hurting himself.

    "Tell him that he can't do that!"
    Sure. Right after I fix this whole 'has issues with verbal communication' thing.

    "I would spank him!"
    His pain threshold? Through the roof.

    It was the parents of autistic kids that encouraged me to find my own groove with him. It took a lot of experimentation to find his pressure points. Turns out, the thing he hated the most? Knowing he had disappointed me. This destroyed him. I hated using it, but dammit, I was also tired of being held hostage to a kid who didn't even come up to my hip. We have to go to the grocery store! We can't skip every family party!

    I also learned to listen to him more. He gets overwhelmed, and before then, I hadn't respected that. Now, when I know he's at the end of his rope, we leave. He knows I will have his back when it's all too much. He started middle school this past year, and while he was never 'sick', I let him take a handful of mental health days. I also make sure we have an escape route planned if we're out somewhere, or I know a place where he can settle down and recoup.

    I found school evened out many of his issues, especially once he wasn't around adults who he knew how to manipulate. He learned quickly that the number of people who will put up with your s*** is very small, and the number of people you need to get through the day is rather big. By the end of the first grade, the temper tantrums had disappeared completely, with only a small resurgence when middle school was around the corner.

  15. I just wanted to say my parents embraced my individuality and predisposition to ALWAYS challenge authority or a "no" - I just needed a logical, reasonable explanation and I was ok with it - growing up. I definitely encountered a lot of timeouts, stern lectures and weeks of grounding for inappropriate behavior in the classroom etc, but while learning about those consequences I was still given the opportunity to use my voice and learn that my opinions, feelings, questions, curiosities and quirks were a part of me and worth exploring and acknowledging.

    I'm not a parent and still struggle, even as a 27 year old, to navigate boundaries in what I can and can not say or do (especially in the corporate world) but I think your desire to embrace, teach and nurture Sawyer as she is, is exceptional and commendable. She will face years of others trying to tell her how to dress and act so I think it is so great that she has a support system at home that will always encourage her to be herself. :)

    (disclaimer: i was diagnosed with adult adhd in my early 20s but had symptoms of such "issues" throughout childhood which is where i think a lot of this innate behavior comes from)

  16. I love this! My niece is pretty much the exact same at almost 4. "Carry me upstairs! I can't walk!" (Even though she did it 2 minutes ago) .... yes, I found myself nodding along with everything you wrote.

    I just keep telling my sister (and myself), this too shall pass! :)

  17. OMG I have the boy version of a "Sawyer". I literally sat here reading this with my jaw dropped because Avery is a "sawyer". 100% Except I haven't figured out how to parent this type of child yet (not sure I ever will). I need a class, teach me! LOL

  18. Man. Sawyer and Betty need to meet. Seriously. LOL

  19. "I have sh*t to do" = HILARIOUS. I feel your pain. Well, a small portion of it as I only have 2 kids not 4.5 :) Thank you for this post. My son is this way exactly (and a red head) and so often I find myself at my wits end and worried am I doing things right.