Sunday, May 27, 2007

making time for Littleman

Sunday, May 27, 2007

making time for Littleman
Current mood: hopeful

Ah, some peaceful moments. . . it's been a good week. Billy took a few days off to spend with the boys- he took Littleman on an overnight backpacking trip (along with Uncle Aaron), and they had a great little adventure. Sweetcheeks and I stayed home, did laundry, caught up on some shopping, took naps and went to the park. Then the following day, Billy took Mr. Cheeks out to the mall and a restaurant, while Littleman and I shot his new bow and arrows, did laundry, took a nap and washed dishes together. It was nice.

Spending that time with Littleman was especially important for me, I think. Lately he has really been acting out toward me, not wanting to speak to me if Billy is around, and not wanting to be polite to me or show me affection- generally not wanting to have anything to do with me as long as his Daddy is around for him. Then any time Billy is gone to work or elsewhere, Littleman will often moan about it for hours, saying that he doesn't want Daddy to leave. And any time he gets in trouble for something, he whines "Daddy" over and over, as if I am the Evil One and Daddy would make it all better. Never mind that he'd be certain to have gotten in trouble whether Daddy was home or not! Billy tries to help the situation by helping with discipline whenever he can, and making a point of showing appreciation for the things I do for the kids. He makes Littleman say thank you to me for things, and even give me a hug. But part of the problem is simply that I have little time any more to focus solely on Littleman, and do fun things with him. I understand some of his frustration with our relationship, because I feel it too- too often it seems like the only time I am paying direct attention to him, it is to discipline or to hurry him along.

My time is so stretched, and these days (with the pregnancy) I am SOO tired. When it is just me and both boys, so many activities become too difficult to tackle- taking the boys swimming is more than I want to handle alone, and a simple trip to the park or the library can be hair-raising. Even at home, trying to do fun projects is difficult- Sweetcheeks is livid to be left out of things, but including him when Littleman and I try to do a project can simply derail the whole experience. Having a day with just Littleman and I together highlighted the things we've been missing. I was able to be more relaxed around him, because I did not have to be as vigilant as I am when little brother is around. I could let Littleman do many things for himself that are off-limits to Sweetcheeks, and I could turn more of my attention to Littleman alone. It felt good- so much more like I would like our homeschooling environment to be.

So, besides having a bit of a break this week, Billy's time off has helped me realize that I need to be making more of an effort to send Mr. Cheeks off on his own little adventures (overnight to my Mom's for instance, or out with Daddy for the day) so that Littleman and I can have our own time. It will be good for everyone involved. Also, I need to come up with confined, fun, messy and absorbing activities for Sweetcheeks to do once in awhile, so that he will have something satisfying to do while Littleman and I complete our own little projects- whether we're cooking together, washing dishes, potting plants, drawing or crafting, whatever. And finally, I need to remember that (mess-be-damned) I should make time for these things often. There are more important things than a clean house.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Friday, May 25, 2007

Current mood: grateful

I'm tired so this will be short this evening. Hopefully I'll blog tomorrow too.

But I felt like typing my gratitude list for the night. . .
Tonight, I am grateful for:
- my little men
- that they have a super daddy
- clean laundry
- the plants in my vegetable garden (may they live long, fruitful lives this season)
- the live snake Electra brought me today (not!)
- that my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated so far (may it continue so!)
- naps
- adults to talk to

And for the news only a mother can love, let it be known that Mr. Sweetcheeks pooped on the potty today! It's probably just a fluke for now, but it is the second time he's done it so that's good news.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thoughts on clean-up and good parenting

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thoughts on clean-up and good parenting
Current mood: depressed

You know, parenting books and common sense tell us that we need to teach our children from an early age that they must pick up after themselves. It's a vital skill for them to learn, and one that will (in theory) go great lengths to salvage Mom and Dad's sanity. Teaching our children how to tidy up their own messes promotes responsibility and independence, builds a sense of self worth and gives children a way to contribute in a positive way. On top of all that, it helps keep the house tidy and leaves less work for Mom and Dad! What's not to like??

So far this morning:
- It took a concerted effort from Billy to get Littleman to put his wet diaper and dirty clothes in the proper receptacles, and to get dressed without leaving clothes strewn all over his room. Never mind getting both boys to put away all the assorted toys and magazines they pulled out while Billy and I were still hiding in bed- there's barely time to get the boys pottied or diapered, and dressed at the rate they move. Chalk one big mess up to the toddlers.
- The boys made their usual disaster at the breakfast table. They sort of assist in putting away cereal boxes and sometimes dirty dishes to the sink. . . but that alone takes so much instruction and repetition that often we just go ahead and do it ourselves. Never mind getting them to sweep or clean off the table!! Chalk another big mess up to the toddlers.
- The boys dumped a ton of matchbox/hotwheels cars everywhere. Billy persevered and helped them put those back in their box. Chalk one up to responsibility and cleanliness.
- Littleman dumped out the megablocks and enjoyed playing with those for awhile. Afterwards he went upstairs, but I warned him that he'd have to clean them up when he came back down. It ended up taking about 2 hours to get those picked up- it finally came down to me giving him 5 minutes to finish picking the blocks up, and letting him know that when time was up he'd have a spanking if there were still blocks out. We went through 2 spankings and nearly 15 minutes but that worked finally. Chalk one up to responsibility? Or just intimidation?
- After that debacle Littleman entertained himself pulling books off the shelf and looking through them. I showed him a few things of interest in passing. That was nice. When he seemed to lose interest, I told him to put them away. That turned into a 30 minute ordeal, (same drill as the blocks) and involved one spanking. Chalk another up to responsibility (or just intimidation).
- I'm not mentioning minor messes that I just repaired myself as I've gone along today, nor the messes that have appeared without my noticing who generated them. Right now Candyland is scattered all over the living room floor, along with assorted play kitchen accessories, a few alphabet magnets, shoes, socks, a paper bag and some cars that have strayed back onto the floor again. Chalk another up to the toddlers. (Never mind the dog hair).

So, let's see- after nearly 5 hours, 3 spankings (which I'd prefer not to use), immeasurable frustration, time lost at my other tasks and (I'm sure) elevated blood pressure in Mommy, we're barely even. I have to ask: Is it really worth it to go to all this trouble? Am I actually teaching my children to be responsible for their own messes, or am I discouraging creative play and exploration? Am I helping things or harming them? I feel like the only time I get to pay attention to them, it's to enforce clean-up. (Or feed, diaper, bathe or groom them- though we do get to read books every night at least). And if I'm helping things, how long do I keep this up before they start to show a little initiative in cleaning up??

It's lunchtime. I'm tired. And Mr. Sweetcheeks just dumped out all the blocks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

our yearly getaway

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

our yearly getaway
Current mood: content

Had my yearly (for our anniversary) overnight vacation from the kiddos this last Sunday and Monday. It was soooo nice! Billy and I rode the motorcycle to a place in NC that we've wanted to stay at. It's been literally a year since I last rode the bike, and Billy is a bit out of practice too. That being the case, we didn't exactly kick ass in our riding this trip. It was hard to find our groove. That was OK, though- we took it easy and enjoyed ourselves. There's no need to try to prove anything if the skills just aren't up to par right now. Hopefully we'll get a chance to practice more after this baby gets a little older, and in the meantime we were mostly interested in enjoying each other's company and trying to rejuvinate.

I was surprised at how difficult I found it to relax and feel my connection with our surroundings. That's usually a skill I can access with just a little effort, but it took me awhile before I started to really "see" the landscape and to feel my energy flow more freely. At some point, all of a sudden I could feel fingers of beauty reaching inside me to poke my soul awake. It was still gradual from there, but more and more I started to notice the spectacular details and magic we passed through. I don't think I ever reached a point where I was truly connected, but I certainly came close enough to refill my spiritual reserve for awhile. Damn, I needed that.

Incidentally the place we stayed is called the Snowbird Mountain Lodge, and I highly recommend it. We never stayed there before because rooms are over $200, and go up from there. However, we realized that the room rate includes three meals, and let me tell you the food was excellent. Dinner was superb, and included four courses. Alcohol is not included in the price, but if you choose to drink they have an amazing wine list, a full bar and a fantastic array of beers to choose from. (No I didn't get to partake of course, but you can bet I'll go back sometime when I will be able to!) The coffee and teas are scrumptious. Then there's a full breakfast the next morning (don't miss the warm scones!) and they send you off with a picnic lunch. Yumyumyum! Not to mention the Lodge itself was wonderful- they pay close attention to every detail. They do not allow children under 12- a benefit in this case. It will be awhile before I'm able to get away for this again, but I sure hope to go back when it's feasible. If you need a luxurious, relaxing getaway consider splurging on this place. I wish we could have stayed much longer!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

toddler humor

Thursday, May 03, 2007

toddler humor
Current mood: sleepy

I am so tired of the word "poopy", I could scream. "Pee pee" and various incarnations of "in your eye" come in as close second and third in the irritant arena right now. (As in, "pee pee in your eye" followed by delighted snickering, and "poopy in your eye" etc.) WHY does this CONTINUE to amuse him?? I have banned such talk from the dining table, and if I'm really sick of it elsewhere I will calmly tell him I don't think it's funny, and I'm tired of it and I'd like him to think of something else to talk about. Most of the time however, I just flat out ignore him. Yet, it has persisited for months now, and Sweetcheeks has started copying Littleman now. They feed off each other.Driving in the car:
Littleman- "Say poopy".
Sweetcheeks- "Poopy".
~out of control giggling~
"Say poopy".
~more laughter~
"Say poopy". . .

Ad infinitum.
Not to mention the scenarios and creative little stories that Littleman comes up with, all leading to the point of "Poopy in his eye! Hahahahahaha!!!" or something painfully similar. Sigh.