Category Archives: toddler-dom

The joyful child

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I try hard not to compare my children with each other. I’m very conscious of letting them be the people they are without trying to label them. It isn’t easy of course as it’s human nature to try to label things so we can understand them.

I have two very strong of mind children however. Actually, all four of us are very strong of mind. It makes for interesting times and will continue to do so as they grow and want to exercise their own opinions more.

As I watched Mr 3 joyfully run up and down the beach yesterday though, squealing happily as sand was tossed towards us by the wind, I was struck with just how joyful he is. And he is full of joy. He has a lightness that the rest of us don’t have. He’s quick to laugh, will find the silly in a situation in order to lighten the mood. He is full of love and wonder.

I was also caught in thought about the baby he was – fair to say he was a pretty miserable baby. He screamed a lot and loud. We walked laps of the backyard under the stars singing to him nightly for months. Until perhaps six months ago suffered from incredible separation anxiety. I tried a lot of things to make him happier. I had people tell me it wasn’t “normal” for a child to be this way. And though I questioned myself as a result of these comments my internal voice took it as a sign he needed my extra reassurance and did whatever it took to let him know he was loved. I left for work many a morning in tears as he screamed behind me, knowing the screaming would not in fact stop for perhaps hours to come.

Over time my reassurances that I would always be back seemed to work and he became happier to be left. But it took a long time for that to happen.

And so….My joyful child worked hard to be so. And so did I.

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Generally

IMG_9333.JPGI don’t usually like to label myself. I hate being hemmed in by a label. I like to think of myself as “generally” one way with splashes of the opposite thrown in for good measure.  Kind of like the yin and yang symbol you know? I guess it’s the rebel within me that doesn’t like such definitiveness.

I am however, generally some ways as I suspect we all are.  I’m generally an introvert who likes other people and a chat for instance.

And when I read this article on gentle parenting on The Conversation last week I nodded along with it. It’s generally the way I parent and I wish I’d known more about these ways when I first became a parent.  I would have done things differently for sure.

I did though, make the mistake of commenting on the post linking to this article on Facebook thereby opening myself up to criticism and contempt from complete strangers as to my parenting philosophies.  Fun times.

Yesterday I took my boys out for a school holiday treat and we stopped at a local cafe for a treat.  As happens, a nearby toddler had a meltdown. Mr 2 put down his spoon, stood up and said, “I be right back ok?”, index finger akimbo.

Fascinated, Mr 6 and I sat back and watched him.  He walked, with purpose, over to the little girl having her loud, vocal moment and said, “Excuse me, I show you my special dance now, it’s called the ‘chip dance’. You watch!” And he proceeded to do his very special, twirly, stompy dance, singing, “Do the chip dance! Do the chip dance! La la la la.” It’s a dance he usually reserves for his closest family.  It, of course, changed the little girl’s mood instantly.  That he recognised the stress in another child and did something within his power to “fix” the situation made me extremely proud.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job of taking care of my family. I get stuck in the cycle of work, chores, school pick up and drop off.  My head feels explosion worthy more than occasionally.

Empathy, kindness, curiosity and creativity are qualities I want my children to have in abundance.  And in this one little scenario my baby bear showed me that, generally, we are on the right track.

In the blink of an eye

IMG_8858.JPGIt’s been a really rough few months with illnesses. Mr 2 and I have been hit particularly hard. There have been many more sleepless nights than usual, more antibiotics than I would ideally like and many, many boxes of tissues.

My biceps are sore from carrying Mr 2 around more than usual. There have been a lot of cuddles, the latest round of separation anxiety and more than a few tears and I’m reminded how hard almost three was when we went through it with Mr almost 6.

I was on the bus with Mr 5 last week. It was full and I stood whilst he sat. He slipped his hand around my pinky. The way he used to when he was teeny. In the blink of an eye I felt the brevity of time since he was teeny. And then he made a silly joke that made me laugh and I was whipped back through time to see him for the funny, clever, kind boy he has become.

These boys of mine have changed my world. The way they grow and change so quickly in such a short time is deceptive. They talk big but they are still small.

Even when they’re not with me their presence is huge. I do carry them in my heart. The time will come when they set off in to the world on their own. It already feels like time has passed so quickly and though the days have been long and I feel like I could sleep for years I know enough to know that the years, like they have already, will pass in the blink of an eye.

Messy Monday

It’s been far too long since my little men and I spent the day without any plans and as the house is in much need of a clean anyway I declared today, “messy Monday”.

I encouraged them to do every possible activity to get messy and of course they were happy to oblige!

We started with play dough, drew and practised letters with texta, I made a batch of tiny and little fingerpaint that we made fruit paintings with and then they drip painted with, they made cities in the sandpit, picnicked and then we made pizza together.

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But this was by far my favourite sight of the day, Bebito reading outdoors.

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The weather turned this afternoon and they are happily reading and playing trains now. This kind of fun, relaxed, messy play is just what the Dr ordered.

The overwhelm & the life list

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It’s a topic addressed on every personal blog I’ve ever read…the balancing act….the “how to fit it all in” thing. And I truly think that because no one person can truly balance it perfectly all the time. I’m about to throw study into the mix of my life too. I know I am nuts but it needs to be done from a professional standpoint and I will take on only one subject at a time. It’ll take me years but I don’t care about that.

I’m in a constant state of balancing and unfortunately it’s often the squeaky wheel gets the oil. There’s nothing strategic about the way I do things at all. I look around and see people who seem to have it more together than I do. Twinges of envy hit and then I go back to trying to just do the best I can.

My friend Megan once told me that jealousy is a good indicator you’re not doing the right thing for you. And I believe she’s right.

There is so much I love about my life but it’s time to make some plans to make sure I’m getting the most of my life.

For me, it’s about getting back to basics. And so, learning again from Megan I made myself a life list. Trying to be as organised as I can…cooking good, simple food….playing with my boys….finding time to have a coffee and read a book even for 10 minutes….making sure I get to Pilates….dating my Mr. Hanging with my girlfriends. Chatting to my Mum. I suspect I need to multitask less, focus more and maybe, cut myself a break!!!

The washing has however piled up, the floors need a clean and all those boring jobs have been put aside too long!

What works for you when you’re overwhelmed?