Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Each night, I tell the kids what the next day's thing is and in the morning they are SO excited. This morning, Cam was in my bedroom naked asking if I could help him find his Transformer PJs. He had woken up, gotten undressed and tried to get himself 100% dressed for PJ day. I'm sure other moms of 3 year olds understand what a HUGE deal that was.
I spend a lot of time looking for fun things to do with the kids. I know that they are too young to remember half of the things I'm doing. But for me, I have as much fun as they do (if not more). This week? I realized that they are probably just as excited to wear PJs to school as they would be to go on some expensive and/or complicated adventure. So when the email came across about a groupon for a the circus, I deleted it. The offer was for a weekday morning show (so I would have to take time off work) and was all the way in Boston. As I was trying to figure out a way t o make it work, I realized, no need to work that hard. Sure, I'm still taking the kids to do fun things - this weekend we are going to the beach! But I'm going to remember that the simple things are a lot of fun too.
* This would only work for kids with shaved, light color hair, but I took a washable marker, and drew two stars on either side of his head with the help of a star cookie cutter. It looked fun and Cam loved it.And a friend cracked me up by making a twist on the Sneetches: " The Star Headed Cameron's had heads with stars, and the Plain headed Cameron's had none upon thars."
Monday, April 23, 2012
Now I survived all this, of course - but many things fell by the wayside. Things very low on my radar - like gardening, clean closets, my wardrobe. Nothing life threatening, but I would see it and think, I really need to get on top of that. And be annoyed that I couldn't find the time or energy to actually do it.. But just recently, I've found space in my life to deal with these types of things. In the past few weeks, I've managed to organize my closet and get a start on getting new clothes to fill the voids that came from throwing away clothes that don't fit or have HOLES (seriously. WTF was I keeping them?) or things I just never wear. I've weeded and set up my gardens to at least have mulch and be weed free. I even manged to set up a eye appointment (I've been feeling eye strain by the end of the workday) and that was this morning. I do need glasses (it was pretty obvious) so I'll have those next week.
It's not HUGE things, but little things that I'm getting taken care of and it's making me feel like I'm more in control of my life. I'm getting my shit together. And it feels good.
Friday, April 20, 2012
- With all that stressing about Maggie and her tantrums, she's been significantly better the last few days.
- We went to the aquarium last night. We are members, and they had a members only night - so much fun. I was somewhat nervous that we would have a big meltdown as it didn't start until 6:30. Cameron didn't nap, and Maggie - well, she is a bit unpredictable. But both kids had a blast. We had the excitement of picking up Daddy at his office and then going to dinner at Fanuial Hall. Both kids were great, we saw everything, and spent a huge amount of time at the new shark touch tank. I was pleasantly surprised.
- This weekend we start with the 'responsibly chart'. Finger crossed it works!
- I'm planning on getting Tyke's Club tickets for the local triple-a baseball team. For $15 you get tickets to the 6 home Sunday afternoon game. I think it'll be a blast for the gang. And I like to sit and watch baseball - win win.
- This weekend I'm cleaning out my closet. I haven't really bought clothes for myself since the twins were born, and things are looking awful. I went out yesterday at lunch an got myself a few new things and then order a few from Old Navy, and will slowly work up my wardrobe again. I need to buy clothes for the body I HAVE not the body I want. And let's get real. If I do lose 50 pounds, I'm not going to want to put on clothes from 4 years ago, I'm going to want NEW things.
- Another goal this year is to finally be on top of my gardens. This house came with 3 BIG flower gardens - that I think were hastily put in to help sell the house. I've been working them down to something I can realistically deal with for the last 6 years. I've planted mostly lilies (Asiatic and day-lilies). There were a huge amount of fast growning bushes that I've had Aaron pull out - as they were always getting out of control and some had thorns, which added to my issues with weeding. Those bushes would get huge, and I would make a lame attempt to weed, get attacked by these damn bushes and give up.
- Two nights ago, I made myself a somewhat strong vodka drink, set up a finger food picnic for the kids, and did a bunch of weeding and mulching. Weeding is much more fun with a little buzz on.
- I'm hoping to plant some more day lilies and add in Sedum. I used Preen - which is supposedly able to limit weeds. If I can keep everything weeded and fend off the red beetles that eat my Asiatic Lilies every year, I'll be happy.
- Do not fear. I'm not going to turn into a gardener. But all the women in Aaron's family have amazing gardens, so I really need to have mine at least not totally filled with weeds.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
And actually, I have done that. Perhaps not my best parenting moment, but I'm human.
I also recognize that there has to be a better way, right? There has to be some tool or something that I'm doing that I can change/implement to help this. Because the current situation is not great. In the morning, I basically pray that we can get out of the house without a meltdown - and then 50% of our evenings are filling with crying kids. It's too much.
So we've got plans. And unfortunately, I kind of had to steamroll Aaron on this - because his opinion is that the kids are old enough to understand what they should and shouldn't do, and just do it. He has this thing he does with Cam 'first time every time'. He tells Cam that he shouldn't have to tell him to do things over and over - that he should do it the first time he is asked. Which is great, but he's 3. I think that we may need a bit more than a rational talk to get things moving smoother.
- First thing - is that I know we are doing the right thing with Maggie's tantrums. She can cry all she want, but she gets no attention while they are occurring.
- I'm still going to insist on 'sorry' when a child does something to hurt the other. But it doesn't have to be just the words. A hug is just as good (and it totally worked last night! Maggie hit Cam on the head, he start to cry, Aaron told her to say sorry or give him a hug, and she hugged him and said sorry. No meltdown. Progress.)
- We are starting a form of a chore chart. This will definitely help with Cam - but I also hope it will with Maggie.
- I'm planning on tying the chart to 'prizes'. I know the kids will love it. Hoping it gives incentive to better behavior.
- We are changing up Maggie's night time routine. She really likes these sesame street ABC books which are very short. It take me about 2 minutes to read one book. So I've been letting her pick a PILE of books to read each night. Which has turned into a thing. And pretty much every night, when I leave the room, she cries for want of another book or another song or another SOMETHING. I try to calm her down, but eventually leave, and she cries and cries. For a long time. After about 15 minutes, Aaron goes in and soothes her. Which always works. Last night, we started the same 2 book rule we have with Cam, and when she cried.... we let her. We have the video monitor, so we know she is fine - it's just like the crying chair. It was brutal. But once she realized Aaron wasn't coming in, she settled down and started playing with her toys.
- Final thing? Calms Forte for Kids. My friends at Nini Bambini swear by it. Figured I would give it a whirl.
I'll report back and let you know if my plans actually work.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Now, we add in the hitting and/or injury to another person. She usually cries because I tell her NO in a firm voice and ends up in the crying chair - but both Aaron and my instinct has been to tell her she can't get back the toy/do anything fun/have ice cream/whatever until she says she is sorry to the person she hurt. This has not been going quite as well. She will sit there and not say anything for upwards for 45 minutes. She'll cry herself into a hiccuping mess, and if she calms down and you ask 'Are you ready to say sorry?' she'll say no and just start crying again.
It's frustrating. I know she understands not to hit. I know she understands that she needs to say sorry (maybe not the exact meaning of sorry - but that is the same issue with please and thank you in my eyes. She is learning to be a member of society.) But she is so freaking stubborn, and in reality - it's ruining MY evening to have to sit there with a tantruming baby almost every night. So I asked around. It's an interesting split. Some people completely agree with me, and others say that she is either too young to understand and/or forcing someone to say your sorry will make her 'resent' the person and also make her realize that you don't have to mean it when you say it.
What are your thoughts? I will persevere with the course we have set (unless someone has some other wonderful idea). Like I just said in my last post, we have very few rules, but 2 of the biggies are to be nice to other people and have good manners. Hitting and then not saying sorry are basically blowing all the house rules. But it's brutal! Please tell me that you have been through it and it's just a stage? Or at least tell me that I'm doing the right thing!
Friday, April 13, 2012
- Today is Aaron's birthday. I made him a fun word cloud that he loved. Everyone should do this. Go check out wordle.
- Maggie is going through an awful stage where she cries about 60% of the time. The other 40% of the time she is ridiculously cute. I'm starting to lose my shit.
- I was afraid to go into her room this morning because I had no idea what version of Maggie we'd be blessed with. It started out as cute Maggie, and then she cried for 20 minutes because I insisted she get dressed.
- But I gave her yogurt covered raisins and all was well. Until I wouldn't let her bring her dinosaur to school.
- I can't win.
- Well. I could. But then Maggie would get her way 100% of the time and life would be very, very, different.
- Things have slowed down here for a bit, and I'm happy to do nothing for a while!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Consistency - we have rules. There aren't too many, but we have them and we are consistent. You have to say please and thank you. You have to help clean up your messes. You can't play on the fireplace. You can't stand on the furniture. We are always nice to each other (no hitting, yelling or SPITTING at each other). If you need to cry (due to a temper tantrum), you sit in the crying chair until you are done.
Routines - It's another way to say consistency, but my kids know what to expect. We eat a home cooked dinner together about 95% of the time. After dinner, we clear the table. We have a bath, read books and go to bed. In the morning, we get dressed, go downstairs, have breakfast and go to school. Mommy drops off, Daddy picks up.
Give the kids power. I see a lot of power struggles with some of my friends. In my house, these are some mantra's that help me. For eating - 'It my job to supply the healthy food, and their job to eat it'. For potty training - 'It's their project, not mine' (as in - I supply the tools to train, but we do it when they are ready. I desperately want Maggie to be ready, it's taking all my willpower not to push it) For getting dressed in the morning? I used to yell a lot at Cam - he can totally do it himself, but will often tell me 'It's too hard for me - you do it'. I would get frustrated (this morning he can't put on his sock, the last 4 days he put them on with no issues) and end up yelling. Which I hate to do. So I started saying - you can either dress yourself or go to school naked (or without pants, shoes, whatever the issue is). I have yet to need to follow up with this threat... but god save me when we appear at school naked, lol. We do lots of 'acceptable choices' - Do you want to brush your teeth in the tub or after the tub? Do you want to read 2 books or 3?
Follow through - this is the hardest one. But I do it. It's hard in the moment, but always pays off in the end.
Have fun. I'll put off a chore or whatever if the kids ask me to play a game or go outside to ride bikes about 75% of the time. The other 25% - I tell them to play themselves! Explore outside! Play next to me while I work! If I put off all the 'work' we do around the house (cooking, outside work, fixing things, laundry) to when the kids aren't around, I would never have time to sit and relax. So while I know one-on-one time is important, Mommy's sanity is also important. I strive for a balance.
One-on-one time with each kid. Aaron and I take time often with just one kid. It often ends up being Cam with Aaron and Maggie with me - but that is the kids preference right now. They just eat up the one on one time!
Empower Aaron - I let Aaron do child related things all the time. Without direction from me. Does he do it differently than I do? Yes. Is it done and the kids are happy? Yes. Let it go. It means that Aaron knows he is a capable parent, and I know that I can leave the house. This was much more important when the kids were infants, but it still rings true now - Aaron makes the school lunches every day - huge time saver for me.
I think those are the big ticket items - but it makes me happy to see that I'm the Mom I wanted to be over 4 years ago. Nice.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Cam needs a pillow when playing with his iTouch? Henry is there:
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Anyway. Before we got married, all I knew of Aaron was that he is a great guy, fun, good heart and he could make me laugh. He is responsible, we have the same basic life values - all the stuff that you are supposed to look for in the person you are going to spend your life with. Which very important.
BUT. When we bought our house (about a year after we were married) I found out I hit the husband jackpot. Sure, he is kind and sweet - but my husband? He can install hardwood floors! Build additions! Do electrical! And this weekend, he fixed two major issues in our house that involved plumbing. First big issue is related to the fact that our house is crooked. The toilet in the guest bathroom isn't seated right, so it rocks when you sit on it. And it's an original toilet to the house, so it needed to be replaced. We finally went and got a new toilet. When he went to install it, he found that the floor is 1/4 inch higher in the front than the back. And the sleeve that you mount the toilet on was all rotted. And the valve that turned off the water was broken. So - three trips to the hardware store later, he got it fixed. My hero.
And the master bathroom had an issue with the sink. The cold water wasn't shutting off. So until he could get to fixing it - I was brushing my teeth with hot water. It was nasty. It took him no time at all to throw in the new faucet.
Most people? Would have needed a plumber to do all that work. Not us! Aaron can sweat pipes, install toilets - he can fix anything! It's awesome. I joke with one of my girlfriends who also has a husband that can fix anything - we can never get divorced, as not many guys can do this stuff.
I really hope that my kids take an interest in learning this stuff from Aaron. Because it's empowering to be able to fix things by yourself. I know that just being able to know how to change a flat tire on my car has saved my butt more times than I can count. I saw some teenage boys on the side of the road sitting and waiting for road service with a flat tire - and that made me sad. Both of my children will know how to change a tire before they get their licenses.
Monday, April 9, 2012
We did so much this weekend, it's almost too much to report on. We spent a lot of time with family and friends, and Aaron even had time to fix some major things around the house. I started off the weekend with making some Easter baskets for the kids:
We did the magic jelly beans - into lollipops plan - both kids thought it was great.
Actually, Maggie thought the entire idea of a candy filled day wonderful. She had candy for breakfast, a lollipop at 8 AM, more candy during the Easter egg hunt, and then she continued with this trend as the day wore on.
Most fun part of the day was when the Easter Bunny (AKA Aaron) arrived. We were gathered on a friends deck, waiting to start the Easter egg hunt, when Aaron hopped into view. You could have heard a pin drop.
We also had a wonderful Easter dinner. Aaron made a leg of lamb, and my mom made a turkey breast. We had Suzanne and her family join us, along with Aaron' uncle. A great time had by all.
And now I'll spend the week recovering, lol.
Friday, April 6, 2012
- Tonight we are getting a babysitter and going out to dinner. Is this now a weekly thing?! Love it. But this time it's to hang out with some family that is visiting.
- Usually we have the babysitter arrive right as we leave and the kids are already in bed. It's never an issue because our kids wouldn't get out of bed. A few times ago, Cam got out of bed and came looking for us and FLIPPED out when we weren't there. So now we are asking the babysitter to come about 30 minutes before we leave and give Cam full disclosure that we will be out of the house. I still feel bad about last time.
- Cam has a buddy in school who used to be his best friend, but is really aggressive. Cam stopped talking about him and playing more with other kids. But yesterday, for whatever reason, Cam and this boy were hanging out, and they were hitting and SPITTING at other kids. Great. So we had some stern words about that. Spitting?! Seriously!?
- We are becoming friendly with a couple that moved in a few houses down, and have started weeknight play/dinner dates. It's a blast. Cam will be in the older daughters class, and Maggie with be in the same class that their twin daughters.
- Yep you read that right - twin daughters Maggie's age. What are the odds? But they are really sweet and I'm slowly getting past the PTSD.
- This weekend is Easter and we DO IT UP around here for Easter. We have a big neighborhood Easter egg hunt and Aaron dresses up as the Easter bunny. It's a blast.
- I usually don't do a big Easter basket, but I mentioned that yesterday and everyone was appalled that I wasn't. And of course, I couldn't just get a store bought basket. I spent the morning making handmade baskets for the kids and filling them up. The tutorial I was following wasn't super helpful, so I gave up on it and did it my own way. They aren't perfect - but cute enough.
Happy Easter everyone!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
- Onion Ring Eggs. I tried this just this morning, and OMG. Simple and delicious
- English Muffin Bread. This was insanely easy bread to make. And it makes three loaves.
- Refrigerator oatmeal. This is awesome, awesome, awesome. I love warm oatmeal so was nervous that cold oatmeal would be nasty. It's not. It's delicious! I have tried the Blueberry Maple and Mango almond. It takes seriously maybe 2 minutes to make, and a perfect breakfast in the morning. Next I'm trying the Banana cocoa.
- Surprise Eggs. I didn't make them with the polka dots - but I already made these and will be using them for place markers for Easter dinner.
- Fun Chick Deviled Eggs. Haven't made these yet, but are planning on taking them to Easter Breakfast at a friends house.
- Magic Jelly Beans - plant these the night before Easter and they turn into a lollipop! I'm doing this instead of an Easter basket.
Monday, April 2, 2012
We just never sit and TALK. About life. About hopes and dreams. About things that are in the back of our minds. Not that we don't want to, but that stuff gets pushed to the wayside for the daily grind. And date nights? As we love the movies, we usually opt to go to a movie theater, where we sit and hold hands and watch a screen. If we do go to dinner, it's a quick hour or so to rush back to the sitter.
I knew we needed a night away from the kids, but I didn't realize how great it would be. We let our hair down. We had an insanely expensive dinner that was quiet possibly the best dinner I've ever had. We drank a bit too much. We talked about our wonderful kids, how we still miss Nora, how our life is pretty damn great, and what we want to do. We giggled and teased each other and just had FUN. It was wonderful.
We got back to the hotel, sat in the bar and talked MORE, went up to the room (leaving to the imagination a few hours of time) slept like rocks and then woke up, ready to go hug our kids.
I felt like we were already doing a good job of connecting as a couple. We do date nights, we give each other time away from the kids, we often spilt up the kids so that each kid has alone time with each parent... but this overnight? I am going to be telling all parents to do this. Take a full night off together. Have a wonderful dinner. Drink some adult beverages. Reconnect.