The Torturous Threes

March 17, 2014

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When a black cat doesn’t just walk across the street in front of your car, but actually stops and stares at you as if wondering what he/she should do, take heed of the omen. I sure should have. But no.  My cocky self turned her nose up at the idea. “I’m not superstitious,” I scoffed in my head. “We’ll make it to pajama story time, even if we are a few minutes late.”

The idea to venture to pajama story time at the library this evening took root after Vinny took a glorious afternoon nap. My 11-month-old son doesn’t always take the best afternoon naps, leaving him ready for bed by 6 p.m. on most nights. But not today!  Today, he napped until 3 p.m., so I was confident he could muster enough baby attentiveness to make it to 6:30 p.m. pajama story time. My 3 ½-year-old toddler, who has since given up napping, except upon the rarest of occasions, was immersed in imaginative play all afternoon, so I thought she too could handle the outing.

I thought wrong.

Lately, my toddler and I are experiencing intense power struggles. She’d like to be the one in control, but I’m the mother. And, as the saying goes, mothers know best!  Since we went to the library earlier in the day to play with the trains, read books, and color, the event this evening was strictly story time. We were not there to play in the youth room. We were there to sing songs, listen to stories, and do a craft. Sounds pretty fun, right?

Well, my daughter had other ideas.

When we arrived, she refused to enter the room where story time was taking place, choosing, instead to play by the train area. She found a book and wanted me to read it to her.  So she received her first warning.

“Gianna,” I said. “We are here for story time. If you don’t want to go into story time, then we are leaving.”

But she persisted with the book and the train table. So, determined to stand my ground because at some point, whether out in public or not, children need to learn who is in charge, I told her we were leaving and I proceeded to walk out of the library.

Fortunately for me, she will follow me as I leave. If I could have, I would have picked her up, but since I was holding my 11-month-old, I couldn’t.

But let me tell you, we did not leave quietly. She screamed, no hollered, inside the elevator and as we walked out the door and I literally had to drag her down the street to my car.  One would have thought I was trying to kidnap her, she resisted so badly. In my head, I’m thinking, “What am I going to do if she bolts? I can’t just run after her with a baby in my arms. I can’t just put the baby down. I’m still too far from the car to put him in his car seat. Plus, I don’t trust her not to run in the other direction while I take the time to put him in his seat. “

So I dragged her as best I could thinking to myself, “What if I pull her arm so hard, she dislocates her arm from her shoulder?  I don’t want to hurt her, but if I let go, she could bolt and hurt herself.”

Somehow we did make it to the car. No injuries and no bolting away either.

It was definitely one for the books and, Lord help me, I will nip these tantrums in the bud.  I always considered her so mild-mannered, but as of late, she’s giving me a run for the money. Terrible Twos had nothing on these Torturous Threes. In my opinion, the twos weren’t terrible at all. I yearn for those days after an episode like today’s.


Tender moments

February 23, 2014

Some days  Most days, I feel like I’m a referee when I monitor play time with my daughter and son. Often times, I’m trying to help my three-year-old understand that Vinny’s just a baby and wants the toy she’s playing with because, well, she’s playing with it.  “No,” she’ll snap. “That’s mine.”

Sibling rivalry at its best and baring its teeth rather early…ah the future looks grim, but not really. Just look at this: 

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He is just enamored with her. He really is just her biggest fan. Belly chuckle after belly chuckle when she does something as simple as “bamming” (yes we made up that word) her hands on the sofa. Sometimes, she’ll just look at Vinny with a big smile and he’ll return with an ear to ear grin. It’s so simple, so cute, and so loving.

So while there are many moments I spend making sure Gianna doesn’t push her little brother away from a toy she’s playing with and many reminders to “be gentle, Gianna” because she forgets she’s much bigger than him, I know there’s a tremendous amount of love to go around too. 


The “great” things in life

February 12, 2014

There are many moments in the life of a stay at home mommy that can feel mundane. Sometimes it can feel as if you accomplish nothing – the kitchen you just cleaned up after breakfast is dirty yet again because, well, the kids needed to eat dinner. At other times I’m praying to the patience gods to help me get through another bedtime routine with a toddler who loves delay tactics, a nursing baby, and a husband who works late.

But then there are moments like this:

 

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When you stop and realize how lucky you are to not only have two grandparents who are still living, but that your children are able to get to know their great grandparents and can play real games with them, creating memories in their young little minds…That… well that is just a true blessing.

Today the game of choice was nap. Not nap for Gianna, no, just the act of putting everyone else down for a nap. Though Gianna is no longer a fan of napping, she does enjoy putting people to bed. Often, she’ll do the same routine we do – book & prayers, then a hug, kiss and lights out. Today, she assigned each great grandparent a spot on the bed, plus a place for herself and the two baby dolls my grandparents keep at their house for her to play with. After nap, she gave them 10 minutes to sit in the TV room and then it was back to bed. My grandparents, the willing participants, played right along and enjoyed it too!

Even though my grandmother probably forgets we were there (she suffers from dementia), in the moment she was extremely happy that we were (at one point, when Gianna’s behavior towards her little brother was a little fresh, I threatened leaving immediately, to which my grandmother cried, “No, don’t leave!” I assured her, without Gianna overhearing, that it was indeed only a threat.).

So when the mommying moments (yes I invented a word) can be tiring, especially during the winter doldrums, I try to remember the small moments throughout the day that remind me why I’m so happy to be exactly where I am, doing just what I’m doing. 


Christmas jingles

December 18, 2013

Sending my daughter to pre-school was momentous for a couple reasons: 1. She’s attending preschool at the same catholic elementary school I spent the formative years of my education; and 2. Well, it’s pre-school. Huge milestone, people; Come on!

But on Thursday of this week, another huge milestone occurs: Gianna’s first Christmas Concert. Now, friends, the Christmas Concert is a BIG deal. Growing up, it was the highlight of the school year. We performed inside the church and got to stand on the steps of the altar. Like woah! When do you ever get to stand on the steps of the altar?! Plus, we said goodbye to our uniforms in exchange for fancy Christmas dresses. And we even crimped our hair. (Remember when hair crimpers were all the rage?) So the fact that she will be singing in her first-ever Christmas concert for her school is HUGE.

Since her school added the Little Angel pre-school program (yes, my daughter is officially a Little Angel, as if you thought otherwise!), the structure of the concert is slightly different. The Little Angels students go first and when they are done, they actually are allowed to go home (thank you, concert organizers! You know how to please the mommies and daddies of little ones).

Regardless of the abridged schedule for Little Angels, I still alerted the relatives about Gianna’s debut performance.  They wouldn’t miss her sing her two songs – “Baby Jesus” (sung to the tune “Are You Sleeping”) and “Twinkle, Twinkle Christmas Star.”  Just don’t tell the concert organizers that I may be bringing more than four guests. It’ll be our little secret. ;)

So Thursday evening when I walk into the church with my little family for our daughter’s first-ever school-wide Christmas concert, I may grow a little teary-eyed, but mostly, I think it will feel a little surreal. Instead of my parents taking me to the church, I’ll escort my daughter. Instead of my parents coming to watch me sing, my parents will be watching their granddaughter perform.

Same church. Same school. Heck, even the same priest! Life is good sometimes pretty darn often. I just need to remember this on nights when two little kids suck the patience right from my bones!

 


The vicious routine of bedtime

October 7, 2013

Bedtime with my toddler lately feels a lot like World War III. In fact it’s safe to say, I downright loathe bedtime. Delay tactic, upon delay tactic, upon delay tactic, usually ending with me leaving the room to a shrieking toddler. Tonight I was sure the police were going to end up on my doorstep. Her shrieks were that loud.

All of those nice little thoughts of reading a book, saying prayers, followed by a kiss & hug and an “I love you”… HA… visions of fairy tales. If only that were the way it happened with a stubborn toddler. In fact, as I type this right now, my toddler is banging her bunny clock (the one that shows a bunny sleeping when she should be sleeping and shows a bunny awake when it’s time to wake up), probably to the point of breaking it. Again. Yup, she did it last night. She didn’t break it per say. But she did manage to pull the cord out of the back of it, resulting in me having to reset the time and the alarms that wake the bunny up at the right time of day.

So parents of older children, WHEN DOES IT END? If I’m not dealing with a screeching toddler at bedtime, then my infant is sucking me dry as he falls to sleep! (Truthfully, I’d much rather put him to bed lately than my daughter.)

I feel like there was one point in my daughter’s life that bedtime wasn’t so dreadful. Or is that just revisionist history? Was it always so down right torturous? (Now, friends, she has managed to take the face plate off of the bunny clock. Good grief. I’m watching her on the video monitor for those who are wondering how I know this. I really hope she fixes this on her own because if she pulls the cord out again and I have to set the time on that darn thing again… Oh Lord, Oh Lord, send me patience!) I swear there was a point in time where we used to nicely read stories, say our prayers, give a kiss good night and she’d say, “I love you too, mommy” when I left the room. Gosh darn it! It happened! I just know it did.

So then, what changed? I still follow the same routine – potty, teeth, book, & prayers. But maybe I gave in one too many times (an extra book here, another prayer there). Well, mean mommy will now prevail. No more extra stories. No more extra hugs (Now she’s holding the bunny clock over her head, inspecting it. Oh dear… the cord is going to come out, I just know it!). No more extra prayers. It pains me because, really, no extra stories, hugs, and prayers?! What?! Those aren’t bad requests!

But I must stick to my guns (And now the clock just hit the floor. There was a bang too, but no cries for help from mommy just yet.) because if I do, then bedtime is bound to get better. I think…

I’m happy to report that as I finish up this piece, she has settled nicely into her bed. She is now lying down, with her blankets over her as she strokes the ribbon on her teddy bear. Despite the beating the poor bunny clock took, dare I say, she’s finally going to go to sleep. Ahhh. Mommy heaven commence! Oh wait, my five-month-old just started to cry. Here we go again! 


The naptime pitfalls

September 9, 2013

Editor’s Note:

I’ve been MIA due to a severe case of procrastination and writer’s block. But a lovely friend motivated me today to get back at it. So here’s a short little piece this tired momma whipped up, which I’m sure some mommies of multiple children can relate. Enjoy! More to follow!  

I used to love naptime. It was this perfect little piece of heaven, smack dab right in the middle of the day. A guaranteed 2 (sometimes 3) hours of peaceful time to myself that I could spend however I pleased;  My favorite guilty pleasure:  Watch Days of Our Lives sprawled out on the couch.

Now, there are many days where I just LOATHE those two (sometimes three) hours. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the fact that my toddler is a good napper (just the opposite actually because it helps keep her pleasant and well), but my little infant is an on the go machine.

He is the ultimate cat napper – 15 mins here, 20 mins there (Heck, as I type this, my cat naps much better than he does, so I can’t even classify him as a cat napper!). During the two hour naptime for my daughter, I feel as if I spend most of it trying to get my son to sleep.  It’s exhausting! I wish I could strap him in a stroller and take him for a walk, but no can do.

Usually by the end of naptime, I’m just dying to get out of my house for some time where I don’t feel as though I have to constantly entertain my son. But, when 4 p.m . rolls around and my daughter has gone potty, had a snack, and is finally ready to leave, I’m usually too darn tired to lug the troops out the door and to the playground.

So when my two little darlings actually do nap at the same time, well that’s just a little slice of heaven right here on earth!


Power of Positive

July 3, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness & judgment lately: Kindness to ourselves and kindness to others. Two blog posts I read recently really struck a chord with me.

The first, by Momastery Blogger Glennon Melton, spoke about criticism vs. cruelty when people judge your writing. One of my biggest fears regarding sharing my blog had to do with just that – the thoughts that others would have about what I have to say. Is my writing horrible? Do I share too much personal info? What will people think about what I have to say? Will they judge me?

The second blog, which I came across via a friend’s Facebook newsfeed had to do with a mother’s own body perception and what it does to your children when a mother calls herself fat.

Sadly, I am one of the worst offenders I know as of late, but after reading that blog, I have vowed to stop – if not for my own self-worth, for that of my daughter’s. In my heart of hearts, I know I’m not fat, but I would be lying if when I look at my post-pregnancy body I don’t think of a million ways I’d like it to look different.  But I’ve vowed to stop the self-criticism and I ask other mothers to take a pledge to do the same.

What is it about women that we have to criticize ourselves? If we make a mistake, we call ourselves idiots or morons. We blame it on hormones or lack of sleep. But we aren’t perfect. And you know what? That’s OK. Imperfection is what makes each of us unique and special. Some people’s strengths help other people’s weaknesses and when we help each other, we become kind. And I like kindness.

So I urge you mothers, women, and anyone reading this blog, the next time you think to criticize yourself, fight back that urge with a positive thought or comment about you instead. I’m going to try it. Let’s see what happens. Feel free to share your experiences with me!

And in other news…

My little Vinster truly was the Lady’s Man at Marshall’s today. He hates his car seat and hates the Ergo (His shrieks were so bad as we entered the store, I thought everyone who walked by or heard him screaming was certain I was a first-time mom!), so I had to hold him facing out while shopping. And boy did he get compliments. Every person (all women) who was shopping nearby stopped to admire his beauty. And I didn’t mind in the least!

Happy Fourth of July to all my readers.  We’ll be back after the holiday with some Fourth of July cheer!

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