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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Shortest Post So Far

After a full day of having to listen to other people whine (and I am not just referring to my children) I am tired, beat, exhausted and more.  I may later regret it, should I actually speak my mind on today's adventures.  I am going to sit, have a cup of tea, kick back and watch American Idol and just keep my thoughts and opinions to myself.

ETA - My awesome hubby was NOT one of the participants in this "it's Whine-Day" and for that I was very grateful!!  :-)
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pre-MenoWHAT?!?

Earlier today I spoke with a friend of mine who was having one of "those" days.  You know, the one that starts not so great and then only gets worse?  That one.  Our conversation took place around 9am and at that point it was obvious that it was going to be one of those days for her.  Especially since she hadn't had her Java yet.  Ah, the a.m. Java and the p.m. glass of wine.  What would we do without them?  I was happy to be her "venting buddy", but when she went into a bit more detail about the mood swings that had been plaguing her lately, I felt as if I was listening to myself.  Her assumption?  It must be a pre-menopausal thing.  WHAT was that?!?!  WHAT did you say?  Did you just say "pre-menopausal"?  Oh no girlfriend, I am soooo not ready for that yet!!  For one person it may be a pre-menopausal thing, but I think in my case I prefer to call it "being-mother-to-two-lovely-cute-little-boys-who-regularly-test-boundaries-and-enjoy-pushing-buttons" (my buttons, that is).

In the beginning of January I committed myself to a little experiment: for 3 weeks, upon waking in the morning, I would choose how I wanted to be throughout the day.  I had a little bright pink Post-It note taped to my bathroom mirror, so it would remind me.  Every morning, I took a deep breath and decided what I was going to be about and how I wanted to be with the children.  These 3 weeks turned into 3 amazing weeks.  I admit that I wasn't always successful in maintaining the attitude that I had committed to in the morning, but the few times that this happened, it didn't take me much time to realize what was going on and to get back to where I wanted to be.
It was difficult though, especially with a stubborn, trying, testing the boundaries toddler on my hands.  He seems to have a knack for finding my buttons and pushing them.  Heck, sometimes the kid manages to turn me into one huge button in and by itself.  I hate it when that happens.

Luckily David and I manage to rotate those days; the days that I am the big red button that walks around signaling "Push Me!  Push Me!" are the days that he seems like a Buddhist monk: calm, together, nothing can possibly ruffle his feathers.  And then there are days that those roles are reversed (although I hardly ever consider myself as calm as a Buddhist monk).  Yep, it's a perfect marriage.  We compliment each other pretty well.

Over the past weeks I have had my share of being the Big Red Button around the house, today I was the calm, together, Buddhist monk (wannabe) and it came with my "aha" moment: as parents of toddlers we are pummeled with "give them a clear choice", "be consistent", "draw a clear line", "communicate well", "pick your battles", and so on.  I realized that in many occasions (when I have a Big Red Button day), I "react" and the reaction is what fuels the fire.  Choices are great, but not as a reaction to an action.  The choice needs to come first, before the action.  If that is the case, there is no need for a reaction.  Confused?

Here's an example:
It's bath time and Kai doesn't want to go in the bath.  It's time to get in, he runs away and turns it into a "catch me if you can game".  We react and tell him that he could either come, get in the bath, and have his daily pillow fight prior to going to bed, or we will come get him, in which case he'll go kicking and screaming and the pillow fight will not happen.  This is where it goes from bad to worse. 

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Bath time arrives and we give him 2 choices: a bath followed by his pillow fight, or straight to bed.  Which one would he prefer?  Whichever one he chooses, we'll just have to make sure that we're okay with it.  If per chance he changes his mind somewhere half way through the process that follows, it'll be a lot easier for us to calmly explain that this was his choice and if he wishes to do it differently the following day, he can.  We're not reacting with an action, we're reacting with an explanation.

It is fascinating to me that those days that I felt like that Big Red Button, were the days that I didn't take the time in the morning to decide how I was going to be throughout that day.  I let my toddler who came running in and started using my bed as a trampoline, yelling "Mama, wake up!  Make Breakfast!  Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!", waking the baby in the room next door have an effect on my mood that day.  (It may be hard to believe, but a scenario like that, does make it somewhat more challenging to wake up in a calm, relaxed, and zen-like mood.) 

At this point, I can happily say that I have put the thought of pre-menopausal challenges to rest.  Those challenges will have to wait until a later point in my life.  For now, I am simply a mother to two little boys (who I love and adore to pieces) and who are discovering the world around them.


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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And ... He's Off!

Having 2 children whose birthdays are within a week of each other is great, but this year it has put me on the Xtreme Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions.  Not only did my baby turn 1 last week, but 4 days later, my other "baby" turned 3 and then today...he left me.

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With his backpack in one hand and with his "computer" (Scribble & Write) in his other, he marched out the door at 8am, ready to start a new chapter in his life: Preschool. 
I think know he was more ready than I was;  for the past several weeks, he has been reciting the alphabet forward and backwards, teaching it to his 1-year old brother, spelling out every word he sees, counting everything he can count, and finding the greatest joy in going through the alphabet by naming a word for every letter.  "A is for Apple, B is for Boy, Ball and Bee, C is for Carrot" etc., etc.  Mind you that the "K is for Kai", the "M is for Mommy", the "O is for Opa and Oma", the "P is for Papa" and the "R is for Baby Ryder".  Just so we all know.

For several days I had been telling him that he was going to go to the "big boy school", that he was going to make new friends and that Ms. Jill was going to be his teacher.  Forward to this morning.  My alarm clock went off at 7am.  My plan was to leave at 8, so he could be there plenty early to play before class started at 9am.  The school provides breakfast and lunch, so fruit was going to suffice this morning before our departure.  After wakening this morning, I asked him: "Do you know what's going to happen today?"  His response: "I'm going to see Ms. Jill!"  I guess Ms. Jill had made an impression on him, despite being brunette (he tends to prefer blonds). 

So, my cheeky monkey was off to school. On one hand being delighted to (only) have to focus on 1 child this morning, it (obviously) was bittersweet for me.  Kai is growing up; this would be the first day of the rest of his educational career.  From now on, he will either be in school, in college or at work (or so we hope).  Never will I have him home full time anymore (except for summer break).  That chapter is behind me, at least for him.  Honestly, it makes me sooooo happy that I have another one at home!  But it also makes me want to REALLY enjoy and get EVERYTHING out of the time that I now have left with Ryder, while Kai is in school.  I now, more than ever,  realize how fast (as in: incredibly fast) time goes and it makes me sad.  I wish that sometimes I could bottle moments, or make time stand still.

Having said that, I am incredibly proud of my toddler boy.  He's an absolutely awesome dude (though I wasn't so sure about that last night during his Tantrum of the Century) and I was proud and excited to drop him off at school.  He is more than ready and at the end of the day that is what's most important.  If it were up to me, I would hold on to him forever, but that just wouldn't be fair.  What's best for him is what's most important, not what's best for me.  And school is absolutely the best thing for Kai right now.  So there he went.

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In the car, he was mostly occupied with his new "computer" - by far the best investment of this year's birthday gifts.


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He loves the thing and takes it everywhere, to the point where I have to convince him that the bathroom really isn't the best place to take a piece of electronic equipment. 
Anyways, off to school we went.  It took him about 5 minutes to get used to the place.  We found his cubby where we put his backpack, he put on his smock, and when Ms. Jill suggested he traded Mama's hand for hers, he was officially "at home" at his new school.  Outside play awaited.  Fun! 
Mama left, empty handed and with a heavy heart, harboring so many mixed emotions.  Initially, I was planning on spending it playing with Ryder, but the fridge had cried out desperately, requesting to be filled for the sake of the children, so we spent it grocery shopping instead. When the fridge was filled, Ryder and I returned to the school to pick up Kai.  Upon arrival, we found him digging into Taquitos and consuming his 3rd glass of milk.  I don't think he was grooving too much on the rice and beans, but several taquitos and a 4th glass of milk later, we left.  My question "What did you do at school today?" was answered with "I had waffles for breakfast and taquitos and milk for lunch" told me everything I needed to know.  He was fine.  He did tell me had had fun and when I put him down for his nap he said goodbye, talking about the next school day.  I am beyond thrilled.  Still a bit sad, but beyond thrilled.  Today was the beginning of a good thing.

The rest of the day was spent laughing, giggling, having fun and giving hugs 'n kisses.  My idea of a perfect day.

Here's to preschool and to my big toddler boy.


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