Last weekend started with a party - an eighth birthday held at a children's party venue, so mostly older kids who didn't pay much attention to Emma. She had a great time, anyway. She was asleep when we arrived, so missed the piñata but made up for lost time when she finally woke up by playing on everything, first in the little kids room, then in the area for older kids as she wanted to go on the swings. She loved the tyre swing, the "tree house" and the ball game enclosure - she spent ages in there just running around like crazy on the astroturf, kicking footballs, rolling around and attempting to do bunny hops! I think she felt a lot of freedom in that space. She did not want to go home, as you can imagine. It was past nine and she was still running around, playing at hiding in an attempt to join in the older children's game of hide-and-seek!
While we were getting ready to go to the party, Emma thought it was hilarious to try on my boots and shuffle around in them! It was pretty funny, I admit.
On Monday, I joined in with #nocomplaints day - a day when you can't complain, you mustn't even think negative thoughts. Quite a challenge. It started off well, as Emma hadn't woken up at all during the night and was fast asleep in her cot when I left for work. I found it much easier to stay positive at work and had moments when I felt I was buzzing with energy. It was more difficult at home in the afternoon and there were a few blips, but I managed to recover my positive state of mind in the end. Overall, it was a great experience and I think it made a difference to my whole week; the positive state of mind kind of stuck with me, despite all the ups and downs. I think the downs were lessened. Maybe I'll try doing a no complaints day every Monday, to supply positive energy to the rest of my week!
On Tuesday evening, quite appropriately, I went to a talk at school called "The Secrets of a Happy Family". I found it very interesting and it gave me a few things to think about (and work on). How about this advice: "Talk to your partner as if s/he were your boss", particularly if you're talking about a complaint or something you disagree over - choose your words carefully, be tactful, don't offend, as if you were discussing this subject with your boss - and you'll probably get better results. Not something I had considered before!
The psychologist who was giving the talk also emphasised the importance of acknowledging and praising others, especially partners and children, instead of focusing on errors and negative traits. She talked about two types of people; Perfectionists and Optimisers. The first are inflexible, look for errors instead of celebrating an achievement and have an " it's not good enough" attitude. The latter are more flexible and take an attitude of "it's good enough", which doesn't mean settling for less, just accepting achievements, exam grades, the state of cleanliness of the house (ok, I think that's my own contribution!) without looking for things to criticize. In general, I would say I'm an Optimiser, but I need to work on appreciating positive traits in other people.
So on that note, here's my Quote of the Week:
"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." - Willie Nelson