Wednesday, August 31, 2011

These Days

It would be ideal to be the mom who is constantly engaged with her kids, coming up with cool craft ideas, happily singing little songs, and staying patient and kind, but it is simply not me.

Some days I am so engrossed in my own book that I hardly notice they are there. Other days I just want to blast my Dixie Chicks in their ears all day even though they would rather be singing Wheels on the Bus. Some days I sit in a lawn chair while they scamper around me outside because I am too tired to get up and play catch or whatever with them. Most days my house is a mess and I am not motivated to clean it because I know they will follow behind me messing it up again. Some days I yell too much. Some days I think that I have lost my mind for deciding to stay home.

But some days are beyond fulfilling. I work on their ABC's and their math because I am the teacher type. We make cookies because I like to bake. Some days we kick our legs and splash each other in the swimming pool. We talk about science and conduct experiments. I argue with them about tv time and computer games and snack consumption. Some days we spend hours at the museum, just because we can. Some days we read dozens of books together because there is nothing I would rather do than read. Some days we paint and paint and paint and paint. Some days we play tag and hide and seek and then stuff our faces with cookies.

And some day they will be big and this will all be over. So today I am remembering to appreciate it and trying to slow time down a bit so these days aren't over too fast.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Playground Charades

I like the playground. I like it a lot. Mostly I enjoy it because I can sit back and relax while my kids go berserk. The only bad thing about going to the playground is other parents.

Now I remember a time kids played on the playground alone. When parents sat on the benches and talked to each other or read a book while their babes frolicked unhindered on the dangerous and hot metal equipment or even let their kids go to the playground alone. Gasp! Those days are long gone for some parents, but not for me. Give me a hard bench and a good book and I will ignore my kids for hours.

But it isn't always easy. Even I sometimes give into those looks from other parents, as they watch my kids go down a slide alone and headfirst. They look up and glance around the playground, desperately trying to figure out which neglectful parent allowed their child down the slide without standing at the bottom and clapping "good job!" while giving step by step instructions to proper sliding. I often lay my book down and go stand in the vicinity of my children so the other parents are not tempted to call child services.

Whenever I go to the playground, I have to engage in a game of charades of sorts. Does this other parent want my kids around her kids? If I sit down, will the other parents start hovering over my kid and look around fearfully if he climbs too high? I watch body language and listen so I know their tolerance level. But really, I just want to sit and read. Sure, I am keeping an eye on my kids, but I really don't want to follow them everywhere.

Playgrounds are made for children and there is nothing worse for a kid than trying to climb up a slide ladder only to have another mom's butt in his face. So if your kids are too small for the equipment, take them to the toddler playground. If you are going to play on the equipment with your kids, then play, don't hover. And please just leave me alone with my book and learn to ignore my kids like I do!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flash Point

The sibling rivalry has been at an all time high around here since we arrived home from vacation. the boys may have spent a bit too much family fun time together and are now jockeying for position at home. All the fighting this week has made me think about an issue that probably pops up with multiple child family. When is the right time to intervene in an argument?

Let's say you take the approach of letting the kids work it out with each other. I fall into this camp, but what I have found is they just don't know how.  This philosophy may be more practical when they are older, but right now they are not capable of knowing when to stop hitting and start talking. I could let the physical fights play out, but they tend to escalate if I don't intervene and it doesn't seem fair to the smaller one. I try to time my intervention right. I want to make sure I am not stopping them from working it out with each other, but I also don't want it to get to the point of no return.

Once I intervene I attempt to get them to come up with a solution to the problem on their own, but sometimes the emotions are in control and they can't get to that point. Sadly some situations don't get solved, they just go away. The toy gets put in the closet or one child is removed to another room to calm down. As they get older, they will learn to articulate their emotions with words better. Until then, I will try to time my interventions correctly and give them the words they need to analyze and solve problems.

Overall my boys get along well with each other and only get in a few arguments each day. I think this is great considering how much time they spend with each other. I wish there was a no-fail parenting solution for how to handle their fights, but I think a parent has to analyze and approach each situation uniquely. It's a bit more work than having a set methodology to follow, but I think the end results will be worth the extra time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Winning at Weaning

It is time. I am done and she seems to be too. This two week vacation confirmed what I have known for a month now. It is time to transition from the boob to the bottle and a mostly solid diet. Like I have said in previous posts, I am not overly emotionally attached to breastfeeding, at least I thought. I didn't have trouble weaning my first baby, but this one is proving more difficult. And I am the one having trouble with it, not her. She seems perfectly content with the bottle and is happy to be rocked to sleep without having a boob in her mouth.

I don't intend on having another baby. At least not one that comes out of me. Because of that, the fact that I will probably never breastfeed again is freaking me out a bit. I like having a use for my boobs. I have spent so many years carrying these things around and they are finally coming in handy! I would like their usefulness to last a bit longer before I face the prospect of breast purposelessness.

So I am weaning, but I am not feeling very gung ho or enthusiastic about it and I am still sneaking in some breastfeeding sessions, mostly in the middle of the night. I am sad that I probably won't breastfeed again, but I guess that will leave me more time to work on my novel(s).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Packing it in . . .

For our anniversary once, oh so long ago before we had kids, we booked plane tickets to Seattle, threw some clothes in a bag, drove to the airport, and left. This all happened in the span of five hours. We spent three days driving around Oregon and Washington in our rental car and staying at whatever hotels we happened to find along the way. It was amazing and was not an isolated event. We booked tickets to London the day after the subway bombings because the price went down and were there less than two weeks later. It was the way we did things!

Fast forward five years. We are leaving on a trip in three days. We are taking all the kids with us and I feel like I have to prepare this time. I miss being completely spontaneous and doing things last minute, but I really can't forget to take a change of clothes on the plane for the kids or leave someone's inhaler at home. There are blankies to be washed and toys to be chosen. We have to mentally prepare them all for the trip and explain over and over what will be happening so we can avoid any meltdowns.

So here it is, three days before we are leaving and I am already in the process of packing. It's not my style, but I'm sure the extra preparation will be worth it!