Thursday, July 26, 2007

No more fun happen'in here...

That's it. I'm done. You try to plan a nice fun-filled family evening out but, NO, the little ingrates won't have it.

Exhibit A: I got tickets last Friday for Circus Smirkus Saturday night. Our friends mentioned they were going and since it was right down the street from us, and it was forecast to be a beautiful night, I though it would be fun. Picnic dinner, out with friends, and the circus for heaven's sake. What's not to like?

Well, Sweet Pea didn't want to go. I have no idea why. I think she actually get a little nervous about going places where doesn't know what to expect. I knew she'd have fun once we got there so I wasn't too worried about it, but I'll tell you, the whining and complaining ALL THE WAY was just about enough to make the throw in the towel and forgo our tickets. Luckily, I'm as stubborn as she is and so I persisted.


And yes, once we were there, it was fun for all. Though of course they kids ate nothing that I brought them to eat and so we spent a small fortune on hot dogs, pop corn and cotten candy, but heck, it is the Circus.

The show ended at about 9, WAY past the kids normal bed time. But they did great. Well, that is up until we were on our way one and JJ asked for raisins. We did have some with is but I couldn't reach them. So I told him he could have them when we got home. In response to this Abby asked for dessert. Dessert?

"We just had dessert." I told her. "Remember that bag of Cotton Candy you just had? Do you know what cotton candy is? Pure sugar."

"Well I didn't eat all of it. There is still some left." She said. Yeah about a fraction of what she started off with...maybe.

I told her that if she was still hungry I would be happy to get her some real food at home. Now, I'm pretty easy going about sweets and all, more than most, I think. But its was 9 PM, and well, they were not staying up any longer to eat MORE crap. But because I was slightly concerned that they didn't have any REAL food, and knowing that when they go to bed hungry they do not sleep well and wake up early, I was somewhat motivated to get something in their stomachs if they were in fact still hungry.

But when Sweet Pea heard she could not have more dessert, the shit hit the fan. Now it is entirely clear to me she is not hungry but is beyond tired and has lost all sense of reality.

Getting them upstairs, into PJ's was a nightmare. Crying and screaming at the injustice of actually having to wear pajama's and then, can you believe, we asked them to brush their teeth. I know, you're shocked. By their reaction one would have thought we asked them to pull their teeth out one by one. FINALLY, we tossed them into their beds and said our good nights. And then I vowed to my husband, there would be no more fun outings for this family. At least not until tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maybe this is the perfect balance?

I finally started my part-time schedule. After 5 years of working full-time, post childbirth, I have finally managed to negotiated the part-time schedule I think I wanted. I say, "I think," because while it is what I wanted, I'm pretty sure the less I work, the less I will want to work. I've always said, "I could NEVER not work at all." But the more the think about it, and the less I work, the more I think, why they hell not. And frankly, as the kids get older, the more appealing the idea of having more time with them is. It's not that I didn't want that time before, though it was not an option financially, it just's easier now. And I really do believe this is the beginning of the time they really will need more of me.

Every time I say this I wonder if it's really true. Do they really need me more? Or maybe I need the time with them? I'm one of those moms who finds it hard to be away from her kids - to a flaw. Jonathan and I have not really have one vacation alone in five years. Oh wait, we did drive to Montreal for my 30th birthday when Sweat Pea was 18 months. (I refused to fly without her so we were left to find a place to drive to that would still feel "foreign.") We left her with my parents for three nights. Four years ago. Since then, we've gone away for a night here and there, but that's it.

I am now finding it easier to go away without them, now that they have each other, and I know they are old enough to understand we are coming back. But it's the day to day I find difficult to miss. When I go out for a rare and random night with a friend I find myself racing to get home. What are they doing? Did I miss anything? I find it difficult to miss any of their every moment. Not that I want to be there for EVERY whiney moment or tantrum over who knows what. But their cool, those kids...and fun, most the time. But it is this very realization that will FORCE me to keep this part-time schedule and not turn it into a total hiatus. I fear I would become so immersed in their lives I would loose my own. (Not that I really feel like I have one now.) But one day, I think having that something for myself, even if it is work, will be the key to allowing my children the space they will need. And what I will need to remind me, I did once have a life apart from them, even if I can't remember it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pierced Ears

Sweet Pea got her ears pierced on Saturday. No, we had not been talking about it for a while. No, she had not really expressed an interested in getting them pierced before this very morning. She simple walked in the house Saturday morning after returning from a brief trip to the bakery with her Dad and said, "I want to get my ears pierced today." Completely out of the blue.

I figured there was no point in making her wait. I was five when I got my ears pierced. And if she got there and changed her mind, so be it. Why really wait a few days, just to have the extra time to THINK about how much it might hurt. She seemed determined. And when she is determined, there's no getting out if it.

So off we went that afternoon with my mom, aunt and cousin, because after all this is kind of a big deal for a little girl, despite the fact we had absolutely no build up to it. We got to the mall and found our way to the store. She hopped up on to the chair, picked her earrings (first the gaudy, huge diamond looking earrings, and then the more appropriate little flower earrings), I had to sign away her life and, wham bam, she had pierced ears. She barely flinched. I was so proud. Not necessarily because she got her ears pierced. Frankly, this was never something I gave much thought to, but because she set her mind to something and she followed through.

She then proceeded to drag me through the mall from one teeny bopper store to the next, as I whined, "Can we LEAVE yet???" (Now she knows how it feels!) I have quite the shopper on my hand! And I can honestly say, this, she did not get from me. The whining....well that's a different story.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A kiss is just a kiss...right?

As parents we always worry about making mistakes. And with the media attention given to parenting these days with stories about how we can damage our kids by the food we feed them or how much TV we let them watch, how can we help but wonder if we are doing the right things for our children. We live in a constant state of always questioning what we're doing and how we do it. I think that is, in part, why I totally lost perspective during an unexpected conversations with Sweet Pea, which, I just wish I handled differently.

Here's what happened:

As I arrived at school to pick of the kids, I quickly noticed "something" had Sweet Pea all excited and gitty. She was running around with her friends and wanted me to pick up her brother first, which she NEVER wants. And there was whispering going on. When I went over to give her a big hug and kiss hello she told me to go away. Something was going on. When I ask her what was happening she replied, "It's a secret. I can't tell you." Okay, well, she's entitled to her secrets and so I didn't press her.

When we finally got in the car, she obviously wanted to tell me her secret. As I buckled them in she said, " 'A' kissed me." (A is a five year old boy in her class.) Now, this alone may not have sent bells off in my head, but that coupled with the fact that as I was buckling them in, this very boy was waving to her saying, "Bye sweetie."

"Bye Sweetie?"

"Are you talking to my girl?" I thought. Who do you think you are Mr. 5 year old boy, who incidentally has two significantly older siblings whom clearly he has learned a thing or two from.

As I got myself in the car and we headed on our way, I responded to Sweet Pea, "Don't you think you're a little young to be kissing?" This is where I wish I said something differently but for now, I continue on with the story as it happened.

"No," she said, "I'm 5 and half." Oh yes, that's right, well glad we cleared that up.

At some point I think I asked how this came about. She replied, "He wanted to." Now I was getting agitated.

"You know Sweet Pea, Your body is your body and you should never let anyone touch you in any way you are not comfortable with."

"Well, I wanted him to."

"Oh, I see." I feel so much better now.

"Where did he kiss you?" I asked. "On the cheek?"

Now at this point I may be saying all the wrong things, but I am trying very hard to at least SOUND casual about the whole thing.

"Well," she asks, "Where would be the hardest place for him to kiss me." To this, I do not know how to respond. The hardest place? What exactly is she asking me?

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"I mean, what would be the baddest place for him to kiss me." Now, I don't know if now she thinks in her mind she did something wrong or she's simple afraid I will think she did something wrong. And because I didn't want to put any ideas in her head, I was afraid to ask too many questions.

Finally she came out with, "He kissed me on the cheek." Sigh...."Oh the cheek. Well, that's sweet." But it came too late. Now she's mad at me for "being mean to her friend."

"What do you mean?" I ask. "I didn't say anything mean about your friend."

"Yes you did. You said we were too young to be kissing."

"Well, it is my opinion you are a little young. But a kiss on the cheek can be sweet. I'm not mad. I'm glad you told me." To which she replied, "I wish I had never told you." She might as well have stabbed me in the heart.

Now, before I explain what I wish I had said, let me explain why I think had the reaction I did. We have friends who live right next door and their oldest son started kindergarten last year. I remember there had been an "incident" where he and some girls were kissing, or were thought to be kissing, or he was being chased by girls who were kissing him, I don't remember the details. But I do remember it turned into this whole big deal with the principal, parent conferences, etc. So this was at the forefront of my mind.

While I do believe a kiss at this age from a sweet boy (which this boy is, though perhaps a tad ya think?) is harmless, I didn't want her to think it was always appropriate to run around kissing other people, or for them to kiss her.

But I see now that this was just a simple sweet harmless kiss that she wanted to tell me about and share with me. And I totally ruined it for her with my own anxieties. (Pause for a moment while I run to take my Celexa I forgot to take this morning......)

Okay, so what I wish I had said was, "Oh, that's sweet. He must like you?" End of story. While I did later on in the conversation say this. That is, once I learned it was a simple kiss on the cheek. It was too late. I had already made her feel bad about it. WHY DID I NOT SAT THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? Why did I not even think to say that. Why was I feeling so threatened and alarmed by what she shared. I didn't really think they had done anything wrong. I was just so worried about sending out a message that to go around kissing is okay. I mean in some situations it might be....but not in all. And, she's my baby, and hearing this boy say, "Bye sweetie," to my five and half year old, just rubbed me the wrong way.

But now I am afraid she won't confide in more anymore or share these important moments with me. That my response felt too judgemental for her and she'll think twice next time before sharing. Sweet Pea is very sensitive, and very intuitive. She sensed my anxiety, despite what I said in the end.

I've thought about bring it up with her again but I don't want to make a big deal about it. And despite this long post, the whole conversation didn't last that long. Maybe 5 minutes.
Deep down I don't she'll think twice about what I said, but it's one of those moments I wish I could do over. Next time I will take a long pause before responding, and try not to think about what would be the "right" or "wrong" thing to say, but think about, what does she need me to say.

And to all those experts out there writing about the do's and don'ts of parenting, "bug off!" "Do you know where YOUR kids are today?"

Sunday, July 1, 2007


As I held his little two year old body in my arms, I couldn't help but think this could be the last time I am holding a two-year old of my own. In just nine short hours, he will be three.

He has mastered potty training in just five short days. He can dress himself. He can talk back in defiance and get away with it as only a three year old can because he is so damn cute.

There are so many things to celebrate about him turning three. Life in many ways is getting easier as he becomes more independent. (Harder in other ways as he has entered the stage of the terrible tantrums - though they still pale in comparison to those of his sister when she was three. Thank god!)

But I can't help but feel sad about what I might never have again. The decision to have another child is hard a one. I can't imagine having another child. But at the same time, I can't imagine never having another child. That this soon to be three year old, would be the last two year old I will ever have. That, is hard for me to accept. Despite the exhaustion that comes with caring for young children, is there really anything better than this? What else would I rather being doing? Sure, more sleep would be nice. More time alone with my husband would be good. But I'll tell ya, nothing beats this feeling of holding that little body, hearing them breathe, feeling their little finger tips grasp your arms as they flinch while falling off to sleep. Or the little face that looks up at you and says, "Kiss and Hug?", even if it is 4 AM.

Time will tell if another child is in our future. But for now, I don't care how old he gets, he'll always be my baby.