Monday, January 19, 2015

Are You the Parent of a Helicopter Sibling?

I wrote this post a few months ago, but it's still a bit of a problem in our family. Is a Helicopter Sibling a problem in your family? How do YOU deal with it?

Helicopter Sibling
Little Gal and Little Guy during a rare relaxed and peaceful moment together!
Here's the situation:

Younger Sibling - Is trying to do something that might be a little "no-no" but not a big deal (i.e. - playing in the kitchen cabinets and making a mess everywhere with the Tupperware containers).

Mama - Is watching but doesn't stop Little Sibling because it's not a real problem and Mama is busy in the kitchen making meatballs! At least Little Sibling is occupied!

Older Sibling - Notices Little Sibling doing something she shouldn't. Immediately steps in and tells Little Sibling to stop.

Younger Sibling - Doesn't stop.

Older Sibling - Does everything he can to make her stop (i.e. - pulls everything away from her), despite Mama telling him that Little Sibling is okay doing what she's doing.

Younger Sibling - Gets frustrated and angry with Older Sibling and screams.

Older Sibling - Gets frustrated with everyone and screams.

Mama - Doesn't scream (yet), but wants to just crawl in the cabinet and take a nap with hands over ears. Instead, she puts down the raw meat she was handling and washes her hands while the Siblings begin to battle it out. She breaks up the fight by distracting them with cookies. 

Thank goodness for cookies.

This is just one example of the Helicopter Sibling battles we've faced with two little ones age 2 and 4.

So, it makes me wonder: 

Is being a Helicopter sibling really a bad thing? Yes, it's annoying right now, but isn't being a responsible and protective brother a good thing?

I'll never forget how proud I was of Little Guy at a friend's picnic. I was standing about 15 feet away, talking to another parent and watching the kids out of the corner of my eye. Little Guy was driving a little play jeep in our friends' backyard with 3 other kids inside. Two of them were in the "trunk" of the jeep with a door that easily opened in the back. 

Once all the kids were loaded in, Little Guy made sure to turn around and tell the other little kids to "hold on tight" before he pressed on the "gas". No other adults were anywhere near them, so I know he thought of it all by himself.  It made me proud to know that he was looking out for the kids' safety and had enough sense to tell them to hold on! I feel like he learned this from having a younger sibling and knowing how to keep her safe.

Is his responsible personality nature vs nurture?  Have we taught him to be a helicopter sibling?

We've definitely asked him to look after or help with his little sister in one way or another. From the day she was born, we wanted to instill a sense of love and respect for his sister. We wanted to encourage him to help with her needs as a baby and keep her safe. That's what big brothers are for, right!?  However, I wonder if we went too far in asking him to be her "protector".

How do we deal with this?  How do we teach Older Sibling to continue being responsible and watch out for his sister, but NOT be a helicopter sibling?

So far, this is what we've said:

Thank you for trying to help, but you are not the parent, Mommy and Daddy are the parents. Please don't worry about your sister when she's (include activity in which he's parenting over!).

And so far, I think it's worked pretty well. He realizes what he's doing and usually steps back. However, we still have daily instances where he just doesn't leave her alone!

Do you have a helicopter sibling in your house? How have you handled it?

Friday, January 16, 2015

SunButter Baked Oatmeal: Dairy-free and Egg-free

I'm always looking for new and healthy breakfast and snack ideas for the kiddos. Of course, it needs to be dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and sesame-free, which isn't always easy. This SunButter Baked Oatmeal recipe is free of all those things, and VERY tasty too.

I didn't know what to name this great dish. It's really a mix between banana bread, oatmeal cake, and baked oatmeal. It's a hearty bread-like texture, but it's filled with healthy protein like SunButter and oatmeal. I toyed with a few names, but decided to keep it simple because it IS simple.

Why do I love this recipe so much?
  • It's food allergy friendly for our family: Dairy-free and egg-free unlike usual baked oatmeal
  • It's full of protein from the SunButter and oats, which it makes it extra hearty and filling
  • It includes no added refined sugar - only sugar from the honey and dates!
Plus, it's a recipe that's great for a Sunday morning brunch, or a quick on-the-go breakfast or snack.

dairy-free and egg-free

dairy-free and egg-free

You can serve SunButter Baked oatmeal any style you want: In squares, bars or as a piece of breakfast cake! Some fresh fruit and yogurt on the side would also taste fantastic.


egg-free baked oatmeal

Don't ya just want to take a big bite? It's moist, hearty and a little sweet. Yum.
 egg-free baked oatmeal

So, here's how you make this wonderful SunButter Baked Oatmeal recipe.

SunButter Baked Oatmeal
*Print this recipe

Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (I used these chopped dates (affiliate link). If you don't add them, add 1 Tbsp more honey to sweeten the recipe).
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups milk (I used rice milk but use whatever kind you wish)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp SunButter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 flax egg: 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 large chopped banana
  • Mix your flax egg and set aside
  • Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk
  • Stir together the wet ingredients
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and gently stir to combine. 
  • Pour into an 8x8 greased pan (I love my Misto (affiliate link) for easy and healthy greasing!)
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean
*Recipe adapted from Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

By the way, I'm now a SunButter Blogger! You may see a few more SunButter-focused recipes on the blog, but that's not too much of a change. I've depended on SunButter for 4 years so, so I hope to share some new fun SunButter recipes with you!

What's your favorite SunButter recipe? Are there are any new recipes you'd like to see with SunButter?

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