Sunday, June 2, 2013

Very low standards

An iPad at church for your 5 year old? Really?

When did something like this become acceptable? Do other parents not think their children should learn how to sit quietly for one hour a week?

Church is about religion, family, peace, gratitude, tranquility, togetherness, spirituality. Not technology and gadgets.

I have high standards for youth but this is ridiculous. 

Am I alone in this?

Right Now

Well. It has been awhile. I don't even remember what font I was using. I'm going with Georgia because it suits me right now.

Right now. Two words that resonate with most children. When do you want your ice cream? Right now. When should you stop throwing grill ash through our screen? Right now. Alexis Grace its bedtime! No, not later. Right now.

Frankly, it also rings true for me throughout the day. When do I want the baby to stop crying? Right now. When should the children go to bed? Right now. When am I going to write my next blog entry? Right now.

There is no better time to jump back into this than right now. Nick has Alexis at swimming class and he took Justin with him. This has become the tradition on Sundays since Mother's Day. Its the time I most look forward to during the week. Yes. My time without my children and husband is my favorite time of the whole week. I spend 6 days, 22 hours, and 25 minutes with my offspring every week. I feel totally okay enjoying my short bit of peace, quiet, and solitude. In fact, its going on as I write this. Its happening right now.

So much to do!  Vacuuming, laundry, dishes, pumping, change my bed linens, change Alexis's bed linens, oh God when was the last time I changed Justin's crib sheet? Should I go to the bathroom with no company? Should I scrub the tub because there will be no interruptions?

Here is what I am choosing to do right now. Take a hot bath (by myself! not squeezed into naptime!) and finally update my sad, lonely blog. I am taking care of me. I am enjoying a moment of personal time. I am reacquainting myself with myself. 

Is that so bad? Should I feel guilty? I don't think so. After all, at the end of the day, I have me and myself alone. I better not forget who I am, what I like to do, what I think, and what makes me laugh. I need to remember all the areas I can better myself and all the ways I am an awesome person. I need to be so comfortable with myself that I can honestly and thoroughly help two other people discover all that they can about themselves. People who are just entering the world, just beginning to navigate their ways into this expansive universe in which we live. People who look to me to guide them and make sense of life. People who want me to kiss away tears at the same time as make them roar with laughter. I need to know how to do all of those things for me before I can attempt to help others; an airplane mask of life's lessons needs to be worn by me before putting it on my children. 

Its a good thing this post is ending, my bath is tepid, and I can hear the garage door opening. Its wonderful that I have taken this time to think about me. So I can give the best hugs, ask the best questions, make the best dinners. So I can happily, gratefully, and fully think about them. Right now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Real Consequences for Actions

**this post is from August 2012. I drafted it and never published it! So here it is, a bit late.

  I saw a mom give her preschool kid a real consequence at the park today. She said one more time down the slide and he said "OK!" He went down the slide and then ran back up the playground apparatus. She said nothing, just waited at the bottom of the slide. He thought he was getting away with something so he slid down laughing. Big mistake.

  Mom took his hand and led him to their bench. She picked up her bag and began to walk to the car. He screamed and said she promised him a snack. She responded "You agreed to once more down the slide. You broke your word, now I am breaking mine." I could not have scripted a better response. Then she let him go crazy crying for about 4 minutes, at which point he tired out. Mom picked him up and away they went. Swoon.

  What worried me was the response from other parents after she left. Two moms and a dad were clustered together talking about how harsh the mom was in dealing with her son.

"He only wanted to go down the slide one more time."

"Oh, that poor child!"

"I wonder how that mom would like it if someone led her away from the spa kicking and screaming?"

These were the real reactions from parents present at this situation. Please. I say the child had it coming and I laud the mother for her determination and lack of emotion. He will likely be well-adjusted in his teen years since he knows exactly how far to push his parents (as he has been learning from a young age). I pity the indulgent parents who let their tots run the show. Someday those "sweet" children will be adolescents and think they still run the show. And those parents won't know what hit them.

I cannot believe my last post was March 2012

    And I cannot believe it discussed procreation. And a desire for #2. And how ready I thought I was.

    Because #2 is showing up any day now. Apparently I did not think pregnancy was worth blogging about. Regardless, our family is expanding very shortly. I was ready at conception. I thought I was ready if you would have asked me in July or October. But now? HAHA. Nick, Alexis, and I have such a beautiful rhythm  in our lives right now. It is a struggle to think how we will adjust to a new little one. I know we will but I am going to have to live it to truly believe it. 

    This pregnancy was challenging. From the get-go, it was not as simple as my first one. I felt off much of the summer and never completely comfortable in my skin. Then I way overdid it physically on a vacation right around 20 weeks and landed myself on bedrest with a cervical stitch for 15 weeks. 15 weeks! With a preschooler at home. And a husband who works long hours. Luckily, everything with the baby is fantastic. He (yes, HE) has baked to completion and is now just waiting to pull the rip cord. 

    I wish he would have told me this past Autumn to not worry, he's not coming out. It would be lovely if babies in utero could communicate and tell us when to panic and when to just go with the flow. Actually, it would be nice if babies not in utero would do that as well! Interpreting baby noises, grunts, cries, and facial expressions is in my very near future. 

    Maybe my 4 year old will be able to interpret for me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ready for #2

  Well, I am ready. If other parents can handle the crazy pressure of adding to their brood then I can too. I mean we. We. Have I mentioned that my husband is not emotionally on board yet? One of my friends recommended just going for it and explaining it later. Something about that seems dishonest. And dishonesty is not how a child should be brought into the world. Right?
  Part of me is ready for deception. I don't know why I suddenly want to double my workload. Let's face it, that is precisely what I will be doing. As good a baby as Alexis was, I am out of the baby mode completely. No waking up through the night, no trying new foods slowly on Allergy Watch, no stroller bound outings, no crying only communication. You get the idea.

  Instead, I am basking in 3 year old grandeur. Shouting matches, power struggles, endless repititon, loud voices, and daily accidental suicide prevention. Why would I want to add a sibling into that mix?

  This is why.

  I am ready to do it again. And how much more fun to watch my older child embrace and grow with her new sibling. There is a lot of fun ahead!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Can You Be Too Hands On?

 No, I am clearly not talking about me. I tell Alexis to "try doing it yourself" and "just a minute, I have to finish this first" way too many times in a day. That topic can be a guilt-ridden post for another day. The completely hands-off moms are also a topic for another day (get off your iPhone and talk to your kid for one second! Didn't you choose to stay home and raise your child?). Today I have to discuss the too hands-on moms at the park. I have seen things of this nature many times, but I saw a ridiculous mother the other day that actually inspired this blog post. Perhaps the term ridiculous is too harsh, but I am rarely accused of mincing my words and being too gentle.

 I am all about talking with your children and having fun with them and being a part of the activities, as opposed to just sitting on the sides with coffee and another mom all day every day. But it is okay to let your kid do a little exploring and playing and doing on his own. Please stop following your 3-year old around the entire park with your hands outstretched like he is going to break his neck with every step. Please stop encouraging him to go interact with every new kid that comes to the playground. Please stop putting him into and taking him out of the swing every 3 minutes. Please stop chattering at him about everything he sees, hears, and feels. And most of all, when having a conversation with another adult who is at the bottom of the climbing wall, please don't sprint away in mid-sentence because your preschooler is about to come down the slide and you aren't waiting at the bottom with a huge smile and an encouraging "good for you, Logan!".

 He is 3 years old and will be in school in 2 years. How can he ever make friends with your incessant hovering and meddling? He might fall. He will get up and try again. He may get turned away by a peer who doesn't want to play with him. Wipe off his tears, give him a hug, and send him back out there. When he fails a test, it is him who needs to study harder next time, not you. When he gets dumped by a girlfriend, it is him who will have to mend his broken heart and ego, not you. When he doesn't make the Varsity football team, it is him who will have to find another activity to fill his Autumn, not you. Relax a little, mom.

 As parents, we need to be our child's advisory council, therapist, nurse, tutor, nutritionist, coach, and cheerleader. Most importantly, we need to figure out how to always let our children know we love them no matter how much they fail, fall, or disappoint. We need to dispense hugs and kind words, but withhold the judgement. We need to discipline, but not punish. We need to let them live their lives and help them when they need it and ask for it. This starts by letting the toddler wear whatever garish outfit she picks out before heading to the grocery store. And allowing the Kindergartner to try ice skating even though he is the klutziest kid in the history of the world. And letting your 9 year old go to that first sleepover, even though you are pretty sure she will call you at 11pm crying and wanting to come home. And encouraging your Freshman in high school to try whatever extracurricular they are interested in, even though you know he will never make the final cut for the musical since he cannot carry a tune.

 Let the freedom begin at the playground. Let your child go and play. Of course interact with him some of the time, but also let him just be. He will be okay entertaining himself and figuring out how to fill his time at the park. He knows you are over there loving him the whole time. And because you already enjoy playing with him, he also knows he has someone to eat his pretend cookies when he is ready to take them out of his toy oven.

Daddy Has Returned--Blessing or Curse?

 I realize I have not been blogging much since Nick left his old job, took a week off, and began his new job with much better hours. It is like I actually have a life again and am busy living it instead of writing about it. However, did I mention that my husband is now home all the time? Okay, perhaps only weekends, every other Friday, and by 6:30 during the week, but it feels like all the time. My kingdom is being disrupted.

 I missed dual parenting and having someone else around to laugh with when our kid does something ridiculous. I missed being able to make plans with other couples. I missed watching Gopher basketball, Twins baseball, and Packer football with another rabid fan (sports are just not as much fun on your own!). I have my partner and best friend back. I have Alexis's father back. I have someone to help with chores and do man-jobs around the house.*

 But. There's always a "but". I have to give up control now. I no longer make all the decisions about outings, schedules, TV watching, food, etc. There is another adult in the house who has an opinion! No one warned me that it would take me longer to adjust to a positive change like this. I was fed up with solo parenting and making all the decisions. However, being judge and jury, while exhausting, is also quite a strong feeling of power not easily relinquished. Furthermore, when the child was in bed, the house was mine. Mine to do anything I wanted. I could enjoy the quiet or listen to music loudly. I could make whatever vegetable and flaxseed dish I wanted for dinner and eat when I wanted. I could go to bed at 8:30 without so much as a sarcastic comment about how lame I was. That part was kind of nice.

 That being said, I wouldn't go back. I am enjoying having Nick home, able to watch Alexis as she is right now. Not looking at pictures and hearing stories of our adventures, but being a part of them. Living with us as a husband and father, not just as the guy who funds our house and bills. I may not have the time to blog as much about my days but that is because there is a wonderful man in the house making me laugh, occasionally making dinner, and even changing a few diapers. My husband is back and I love it.

*Nick removed the old and installed the new over-the-range microwave and lifted and cleaned our moldy bathroom flooring all in one weekend.