Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Talking Back Stage

Are we teaching our kids to be passive aggressive when we deliberately, but calmly, advise them to do certain things, even when they don't respond?!  Because when we do that, we then find ourselves repeating with a kind voice... and it's pretty much never as effective as yelling.  And then it feels like we're being demure pushover parents when they don't respond and we just sit there indifferent about their lack of action.  I mean.. sometimes we provide a logical or natural consequence, but for the most part, it's hard to find something relevant and reasonable when you're ticked off.  Luckily, we don't normally stay calm that long.  For the most part, shamefully so, we are yellers.  And sadly... we've watched our oldest turn into a bit of an explosively anger management study, knowing it's mostly because of the models he's got in the form of parents.

It's really quite depressing.  This whole parenting thing is a lot harder than we initially thought when we were just covered with sleepless poop blowouts and spit up.  Turns out it does get harder.  I hate that the older parents who always warned about how fondly we'd look back to the baby days were a bit right.  Dang it!

I even signed up for a paid parenting course in the name of becoming more positive and not ever yelling at my kids again.

It worked for a while.

The problem we are running into now is that everything is out of whack once you add a newborn to the equation.  We're all trying to figure out the new rhythm of normalcy.   Meanwhile, our two older boys are testing the waters of independence, dependence, reluctance, disobedience, and successfully navigating the art of talking back.  On the bright side, Dagny has become the model child.  Stuck between the demanding difficulties of a newborn who won't sleep without being held (and who has co-slept since birth) and two older dominating and seemingly deaf brothers, she has become the good grace, innocent, fun talking, and incredibly obedient good sleeper and eater, who easily steals our hearts daily.  It's really not a fair comparison though, her temperament and love for food and sleep and a desire to obey is beyond belief.

I know we need to be less angry.  I know we need to yell less.  I know we need to change.  But knowing doesn't seem to help us much with actually doing.  You know what convinces you to do something?  Losing your voice.

This weekend... I lost it.  I think partially because I have a bit of a cough, but mostly because I yelled the crap out of my kids this weekend.  I have never yelled so voraciously, but parenthood gives you abilities you did not know you had.

So now.. as I try to recoup my voice, I'm also trying to be a better parent, one who has more patience.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Fine Line Between Good and Bad

I've been thinking a lot lately about that delicate balance of being a happy and frustrated mom.  On one hand, there's the knowledge that silver linings, tender mercies, and gratitude help to shape a much more delightful experience, attitude and overall perspective.  On the other hand, being cautiously realistic and pessimistic, groaning about the woes of motherhood seem to provide ample opportunity for bonding with other parents since we're all in essentially the same boat and relieve ourselves from feeling alone in tough situations.

I've been trying to balance between the two, because I don't want to only make light of difficult situations, but I want to also be positive and lead my children by example (cuz even though I want to whine, I really hate it when my kids do...).  I also don't want to perpetuate a vicious cycle of settling for kids who don't listen and me as a screeching yelling upset and overworked mom.  I don't think it's just a stage, I think there is a way to happiness, or being better, it just takes some humble hard work and change, something that is never comfortable or welcoming, but often key.  And yet I have to be careful that I'm not too chipper, too excited about every chore and task I have on my long list because if I'm truly frustrated, I want to express that and show my kids that we can work through our emotions, even the hard ones, and more importantly, I don't want to be fake and just say it's okay when it isn't.  I want my kids to learn that being an adult and parent is hard, but we can work through it.

I want to whine to my friends, but then I want to brainstorm with them how I can be better.

I want to talk about those moments of frustration when I can't believe I made it through and just wanted to curse really loudly because nothing could free me from the situation at hand, but then I want to laugh about it and put it behind me.

I want to be a happy mom, but then I want my kids to contribute to that by helping out around the house and doing what they're asked to do in a timely manner.

I want to value the good in every situation, but then I don't want it to always be because things could be worse.

I want to laugh out loud with my kids, so hard that I am snorting and wheezing with tears streaming down my eyes, but then I want to be serious when we're doing homework or practicing and developing good habits to arm them for the future.

I want to be positive with every bad meal I cook, shrunken clothes I've washed and messy drawer that becomes, but then I want to look towards the next opportunity I have to overcome my own shortcomings.

I want to be of joy.

I want my kids to love me, not because I'm their mom and it's a default emotion, but because they genuinely love being with me and learning from me, and can't wait to spend more time with me.

I want to take those not so great moments of parenthood that I often gripe about and turn them into a learning experience where I can slowly survive... quickly continue... and hopefully consistently thrive.

I want to be better.  For them.  And who am I kidding.. for me too.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What a Week!

Amazing - We're learning how to be with less Lynne and there have many a lot of really high and really low moments.  I'm eager for that moment when life with four kids returns to normal in the middle mediocrity.  Currently, we've enjoyed some yelling, bargaining, lots of screen time, and even some St. Patrick's Day fun.  I was able to finally live out my Pinterest joy of leprechaun footprints on the toilet and green food dye in the toilet, a treasure hunt with clues, Lucky Charms for breakfast, and some rainbow coloring.  We watched the same video as we did last year while in DC (time flies!) about the history of St. Patrick's Day earlier on during the week, and didn't repeat the marshmallow stamping debacle of 2016.

I was telling Andy that I really enjoy St. Patrick's Day and March Madness, I think it's because of my former life as an auditor, when these holidays coincided with the ending of Busy Season and a reason to party sponsored by the firm.  I was never a huge St. Patrick's Day person in college or even high school, and growing up, I hated the day so much because I rarely had any green, my mom would forget, and I'd always end up getting pinched.  But today, I noticed on Facebook that I've always had fond memories every year on 3/17 since I started working... Hehe.

Awful - On Wednesday morning, I asked Lynne not to come until later, and that morning was chaotic.  Bubba went to to poop while I was nursing Cooper, and then he said he was done and needed to be wiped.  I kept telling Bubba to wait, but suddenly felt like I should go help him.  So I took Cooper off, put him on the floor, and went to help Bubba.. only to find that the toilet had overflowed.  Ugh.  I'll tell you, dealing with poop water is never fun.  But when you have to also watch over four children, making sure nobody steps into the room, and disinfecting the entire area meticulously while your almost 3 month old is crying bloody murder because he not only hates being left on his own but is still hungry... it's a whole other kind of stress.  I was so mad I cursed.  My kids didn't hear me, it was more of a muttered curse under my breath.. but it oddly felt good and then regrettably bad later once I had calmed down and realized my non-cursing streak of almost 8 years had been broken.  One thing is for sure.. being Mormon has cleaned up my once quite potty mouth quite a bit, and it took a lot of toilet water, children running amuck, and a screaming baby, for me to get here.. so at least there's that.  I'm actually not sure where Dagny even was during all of this mess, but I did sadly yell at Bubba to go wash his hands, not understanding he was trying to do just that when he walked back into the restroom where I was dealing with an overflowing poop water filled toilet, when I yelled for him to get out!  Jordan was somewhere asking me to check his homework so he could go back and play.  Awful.  Just awful.  But the moral of the story is, never leave your kid in the bathroom alone for too long.

Amusing - Sometimes it's lonely in Utah because though I have a lot of friends from Church and lots of family and a lot on my plate with four kids, there's nobody to really talk to or just hang out with.  Everyone has kids and families and their own obligations!  I pretty much keep myself super busy with activities, side projects, work, kids, cooking, cleaning, etc., but lately, I'll be at classes for my kids waiting, and I'll just eavesdrop while the other moms there with their friends are chatting.  I'll try to get in on the conversation, feeling like a insecure freshman in HS, but then even if I have a few words, I'm still an outsider and they're all friends, so they are always talking about what they did or what they're going to do, etc., so really it's just easier to get on my iPhone and be antisocial.  This week, two things changed.  First, I struck up a conversation with a random mom at a class who was there for the first time who turns out has a husband working on the Lion King production and travels here and there with whatever Broadway show he's working on, and goes to Little Gym classes wherever she happens to be.  It was fun talking to her.  And realizing how old I am since I saw the production when it first came out and it's going on almost 15+ years now...   I've also begun to hang out with Andy's cousin, Dani, again, on a weekly basis.  The adult interaction and conversation is so refreshing and necessary, and it's nice to have someone in person to talk to.  I mean, I talk to my mom, my BFF, and my sister-in-law throughout the week, but there's just something different about non-facetime interactions that I suppose I need.  I didn't realize how much I missed having Dani's company as we've found it harder to reconcile our busy schedules in the last year or so after I had Dagny, but seems like we're back on track with our weekly hang outs and that makes me one happy gal.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trip to the Mall

Amazing - On Thursday, I made it to the mall with my three littles on my own while my oldest was in school, and we had a great time.  We went to the playground and had smoothies before we left.  Cooper slept the entire time.  Both Bubba and Dagny fell asleep on the way home, so I suppose they had a very active and enjoyable time. 

Awful - I never thought I'd be sad about my kid going to school for the entire day, but the more I realize Jordan will be starting first grade next year, the sadder I am that my kids are growing up.  Sure, there's always a silver lining, like the fact that it will be logistically easier to run errands without all my kids in tow, but I'm so used to having all my kids with me for most of the day, even though we do a lot of activities, they're not in daycare so besides a few 1-2 hour breaks here and there, we're used to being together most of the time.   

Amusing - It started to warm up so we've been enjoying time on our bikes, scooters, and wiggly cars and I almost wish we had this huge enclosed gate so I could just let the kids go play outside without physically being out there with them.  Too bad, get off your lazy butt and get out there with them Mom! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ice Skating Fun

Amazing - We blessed Cooper today at Church.  It was so beautiful, but I missed the lion king display by Andy because I was busy closing the voice recording (we  have recorded all our baby's blessings).  Dang it! 

Awful - My shoulders hurt so much lately, I need a massage or something.

Amusing - We went ice skating this weekend, and lucky for us, the rink had these adorable seals that you could push the kids around or use as a handle and help.  The kids looked so cute in their tiny little ice skates.  At some point, I guess Dagny was done and said, "I'm done," but OGO, who was pushing her, didn't hear, and she tried to get off.  Instead of getting off when the seal wasn't moving, she got off in the middle of being pushed, and ended up falling flat on her face.  Her poor face was hurt, and when we asked her if she had fun, she responded, "yes!" but when we followed up with, "do you want to come again," she happily responded, "Umm.. no." 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Day My Girl Scout Cookie Boycott Comes to an End...

Amazing - Jordan in school, Dagny napping, Cooper napping (on me), while Bubba does "quiet time" building a city with Jenga blocks.

Awful - Trying to keep the home clean when there are three kids and a newborn.  Even with the help of Lynne coming four days a week, I am at my wits end.  I want the kids to play, to enjoy their time with Lynne, and the dishes and laundry gets done, but the toys.. the cushions...they are absolutely everywhere.  I suppose, it's all with good reason as I may nurse upstairs an they bring toys to be with me.  But then Andy gets home and we eat dinner, do something fun, and then bedtime comes before we know it!  The only way it stays decent is if Andy or I go around to pick up stuff.  The kids can only do so much when we are limited in time.  

Amusing - I haven't touched girl scout cookies since 2012.  The year they were raised in price (I think it was 2013) from $3 to $4 a box, I decided enough was enough.  First, I cannot figure out why I can't just eat one.. and one becomes three boxes later.  Thin mints and Samoas are my weakness.

Alas, a friend's kid was selling them this year, so I sadly succumbed and abandoned my boycott.  It was a good 5 years, but times are changing and so must I.

I only ordered 2 boxes, but I've already had 2 so.. better now before all the extra baby weight comes off (or so I'm telling myself).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Things Kids Say

Amazing - when the kids wake up and go off to play, letting me sleep in a bit longer with Cooper... 

Awful - when Cooper can't seem to figure out what's bugging him, sometimes it's just gas, sometimes it's just a big burp, other times, it's a big poop or spit up on its way.  Whatever the case, today seemed to be one of those days when he couldn't be put down, just had to be held ALL DAY LONG.
Amusing - the things kids say.  Bubba today, "When Cooper grows up, we'll need another baby."  Me: Well, that'll be your baby, cuz I'm done.  "Bubba: "When I grow up, I'm going to have a baby girl, and I'm going to name her Isabel."  Hmmm... ok.