motherhood

hello third grade…

Posted by on Sep 4, 2012 in memories, motherhood | 0 comments

When I think back to elementary school, third grade stands out as the first year where I have distinct memories instead of blurry images. I remember making globes out of gluey strips of newspaper and balloons. I remember roller skating parties in the gym after school. I remember (traumatically) watching the Challenger launch in the neighboring third grade classroom. I remember trying to beat this red-haired kid Patrick in a foot race on the playground. I remember reading and reading…digging deeper into the musty library stacks to find new books to read.

Memorable moments.

And as I send Madi off to third grade this year, I am struck by how fast we have gotten to this point. Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was learning to write her name and how she is writing everything in cursive? Overnight she has turned into this flutter shirt wearing, constantly chattering, lover of Cupcake Wars, and convinced that she is going to be the world’s greatest chef someday. She’s self sufficient and brave (most of the time) and can read as fast as me.

I wonder what third grade has in store for my Madi-girl. I want…I pray that her year is as memorable (in good ways) as my third grade year was. May her friends not be catty and her teachers understanding. May she find ways to shine in a world where everyone is graded on a curve. May she realize her potential instead of just doing what needs to be done. May she walk boldly through the school door without having to look back and see her mama with tears sliding down her face as I watch her slip through my fingers.

Make some moments this year, my girl. Make it a good year, a year to remember.

Giggle.

Learn.

Grow.

Be strong.

Hug your mama.

Talk.

I’ll listen.

Blue Couch Confessions: Adjusting ain’t easy…

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in Blue Couch Confessions, motherhood | 0 comments

This week’s middle of the night “Blue Couch Confession” isn’t about decorating, even though I definitely need more help with that. Instead, I am thinking about trying to help my kids adjust…any ideas?

 

 

Well, what do you think?

 

The house rocks, Mom & Dad…

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in building our Home, motherhood | 0 comments

The first few days after we officially “moved in” to our house were admittedly tough. There were piles of boxes to unpack, we had to put the kids to bed later than normal because there were no blinds on their windows, and everyone was overtired and overstimulated. Parker was bugging his sisters like crazy, Fiona found an extra-loud decibel to scream back at him, and Madi…well, Madi was a bit harder to figure out.

She told us repeatedly that she didn’t like the new house, because it was too new, too fancy, and she didn’t like sleeping in a room by herself. She whined about everything, woke up crying because she was sweaty from hiding under her covers, and had an attitude that registered off the normal chart in every way possible. I didn’t know what to do, because she typically doesn’t act out this much, and I wasn’t sure if she was hitting a new cranky phase or whether I could blame it solely on the move.

How do you help your kids work through big changes while still parenting them appropriately? It’s tough, because you know that there are external forces at work and you want to be sensitive to those, but at the same time, you don’t want to send the message that every time things are tough, it’s carte blanche for behaving badly. Not the best lesson, in my mind.

So, we worked through some major temper tantrums, survived lengthy crying sessions, and refused to tolerate the attitude. It was only a week, but it felt like ten. I can’t imagine being a family that has to work through a really serious upheaval. To that point, it gives me a greater appreciation for what my parents had to deal with when we moved after my sixth grade year, and I acted just like, if not worse, than Madi…for almost two years. Yikes.

But then, today rolled around, and I came home from work to find two little cards that Madi had made for Ben and I…

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So sweet, in a perfect seven-year-old way. It did my heart good, and made me relax just a little bit more. Now…if I could just figure out how to get Fiona to sleep through the night?

Five Minute Friday: Enough

Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 in Five Minute Friday, motherhood, perspective | 2 comments

This week’s 5 Minute Friday is all about “enough”…just writing, no thinking…

GO

I sit on the couch, every muscle in my body aching from moving countless boxes and bins into rooms and hallways, storage closets and playrooms. Projects pop out of every corner as I walk through the empty rooms – shelves there, shower bar here, collage there – and I wish that my body could move twice as fast.

I sit at the table, scribbling my to-do list on slips of paper, trying to capture the responsibilities of a busy family. Tasks that never seem to get done, overdue thank you notes, and a pile of magazines to flip through gets simply dumped in the trash. No time, unless I stay up all night.

I look at my kids and feel defeated. We don’t spend enough time working on writing Parker’s numbers the right way, we are behind on Madi’s piano lessons, and Fiona follows me around with a stack of stories to be read. We dash to activities and play dates, shopping and gas stations, trying to visit family and friends, and fall into bed exhausted and overtired.

Enough? Today it doesn’t feel like it.

STOP

on leaping off the boat…

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in motherhood | 0 comments

The kids splashed and giggled in the warm lake water, awkwardly swimming in their bright orange life jackets while I stood on the edge of the boat. I hesitated for just a moment, but then leaped awkwardly off the edge, plunging under the surface before popping up and wiping the water out of my eyes.

“I can’t believe you jumped in!”, Ben said to me as he swam over with Fiona tucked in his arm.

“Really?”, I replied, a little confused to why he would think it was so strange, but then Fiona wanted to come over to my arms, and our conversation ended abruptly, as usual.

As I sorted through what he said, I kept circling back to the time I have spent as a mom. Eight years. Over half of that time, I spent either pregnant or nursing (with a few blissful months in-between), and spent the last two years with a very clingy toddler. That means that doing anything “adventurous” was severely limited, both physically and emotionally. No hot tubs when I was pregnant…nothing that lasted longer than a half an hour when I had an infant or a toddler for that matter…

And honestly, after a while, it just was easier to tell Ben to take the kids on the water slides or on a boat ride or canoeing or swimming or whatever. As soon as I would get my suit on or try to head out to do something “fun”, I would have to take a kid to the bathroom or find a snack or nurse a baby. What was the point?

But this summer, things are different. All three of the kids are relatively independent, I am not on call 24/7 as a feeding machine, and get this…they can sometimes even get their own snacks. And I am finding myself re-learning how to live a little bit, and I do mean “learning”. Saying “no” quickly becomes a habit, and I still turn down things that could be “fun” because the kids might need me, even though they don’t, and they shouldn’t…at least not every second. (They are learning that too.)

So I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that Ben expects me to just say “no” too, because I have done it for so long. And I suppose that it would be a little surprising if I suddenly started doing things that seem out of character. I would have never jumped off a pontoon boat into a lake to go swimming, even last summer. But I did, just this last weekend, and got the frizzy, lake tangled hair to prove it.

“Motherhood” often is synonymous with the word “sacrifice”, and I wholeheartedly agree. I would give up whatever I needed to for my kids. But what it doesn’t mean is “unnecessary sacrifice”, and I am beginning to understand what the difference means. Giving up my time to listen, play, and cuddle? Absolutely. Denying myself a bit of evening swimming just in case they need me to be dry on the boat? Probably not.

I swam around for a while, chasing Parker and searching for “warm spots” while Ben got out with Madi and Fiona. A little while later, Fiona had to go to the bathroom…in the middle of the lake…and wouldn’t just go in the water.

But that’s another story for another day…one that required a bit more sacrifice, and a bruised knee to boot…

 

on pulling teeth…like a dad…

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in memories, motherhood | 0 comments

See that wiggly tooth? The one that is sticking out all perjankety and sideways? It was about two weeks overdue to come out when Ben left to go camping for the weekend. I told Madi that we could work on pulling it out while he was gone, but I was only kidding myself. I am not the tooth puller in our family….Ben is.

His approach is ultra direct…he dives in, cracks the tooth to one side, and yanks it right out.

My approach is a bit more subtle…I gently tug and twist, with very little success (obviously). You might even call it wishy washy or a failure to commit.

When it comes to parenting, Ben takes the same no-nonsense approach as well. Act up? Go to your room. Need a new bike? Let’s go buy one. Extra energy? It’s “go time”.

Me, on the other hand? I give way too many “opportunities to obey”, hem and haw about larger purchases, and sometimes will say “we’ll do that later”, even if I know later will never come.

We probably make a good team, the yin and yang of parenting styles, but I have found myself trying to learn a few of his tricks. How to take action instead of being frozen by indecisiveness. How to take a stand and stick to it. And maybe…just maybe…I’ll learn to pull out a few teeth.

Ben came home, waterlogged and tired from camping, and he and Madi ducked into the bathroom to check out her tooth. Ten minutes later, she emerged…tooth in hand.

Just like that.

 

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

I am linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week to “Share something you’ve learned from your husband about parenting. What makes him good at what he does?” To which I replied…”Just one thing?”

 

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