Tag Archives: children

Hitting the Reset Button

Remember back in the olden days when we first had video games in our homes? If you were playing a game and didn’t like how things were going, there was this magic little button you could push and everything would just start all over. Just hit “reset” and you got a fresh start. Now, this sounds like a great thing, unless you happened to be playing a 2 player game and you were beating your little sister, who then decided to hit “reset” and all your hard work was erased in the blink of an eye. Then it was a terrible thing and you suddenly had homicidal thoughts about your own flesh and blood. But right now I want you to think about it as a great thing.

Don’t you just wish you had one of those buttons some days? Or maybe weeks or years? I know I do. The last couple of years have been tough for me. The relocation didn’t sit well with me. That’s why I haven’t written. I’ve thought about it many times, but I didn’t want to explain why the long absence. But I spent most of the last 2 years in a deep depression, a dark place that was of my own making in many ways. However, 2014 did bring me some very bright spots and many happy days. I laughed more and remembered how to have fun. I reconnected with friends I love and was able to spend quality time with them. We had good times with friends we’ve made here in Savannah. And to top it all off, I had family with me on Christmas for the first time in 8 years. There were memories made that I will treasure forever.

This place is too beautiful not to enjoy it.

This place is too beautiful not to enjoy it.

Most of all though, I realized that life has to be lived. You get out of it what you put into it, and if you aren’t putting any fun into life, you won’t get any out of it.

So I’m hitting my reset button for 2015. While I could make many resolutions, I’m just making a statement: This year, I’m going to live my life and not just let it happen. That’s going to encompass all for me. I’m going to do away with the negativity and focus on the fun. Every day I’m going to wake up and LIVE.

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It’s under control.

the kid can sleep anywhere

Yesterday morning I was rushing around as usual, trying to get the three of us out the door. See, mornings are pretty hectic at our house since all but one day a week we carpool the approximately 23 miles from our house to Wildman’s school, then my office and finally to Kev’s school. Sometimes the order changes based on what time it is when we get to town. It may seem to the outside observer that getting all 3 of us going at once should be easier, but it’s not. And Wednesday mornings seem to be the most hectic because Kev is coming straight home from work, jumping in the shower and then heading out of the house again to go to class. (Hopefully, this is the last week for that.) It’s not unusual for both Wildman and Kevin to sleep on the drive in on Wednesday.

Anyway, back to yesterday. I was in the kitchen making breakfast for all 3 of us, packing a lunch and trying to make sure to remember to take the food I had prepared the night before to the office for a cook-out at noon. I’m not sure where Kev was, although there’s a good chance he was still in the shower. Wildman was taking his dear sweet time getting himself together, and I was telling him what I’m sure were too many things to do, all at once. I looked over at him and yelled, “and will you tie your shoes already! NOW!”

He very calmly and coolly bent over to tie them and said “Relax Mommy, it’s under control.” At that moment I could have gone two ways – gotten more upset with him for not taking the proper sense of urgency I thought was needed at the time, or I could laugh at the wisdom coming from this now 8 yr old young man. I chose to laugh. I looked at him, smiled and said okay. And I started thinking that he really had it right – just because things weren’t happening when I thought they should, they were still happening. It was under control by someone, somewhere.

That thought stayed with me the rest of the day, and is still with me today. Anyone who really knows me can tell you I’m a planner, a stress-er and a worrier. I am also a control freak. Yeah, I admit it. But I also have come to understand, especially recently with how chaotic our lives have become, that I can’t always control everything. And sometimes I just have to let go and believe even the things I’m not controlling can still be under control. Now, do I trust that my second grader is going to manage to get himself ready for school without my prodding and pushing and reminding? Not on your life! But do I have to give him a little space to handle things on his own? Probably. Just like I have to step back, relax, and just let life happen sometimes.

And for the record, we were actually early to Wildman’s school yesterday.


Musings of a Perfect Mom

Okay, I want to start by saying that I know I’m not perfect, and I never will be. What I am is a perfectionist. I want to do my best at everything I do, and I expect those around me to do the same. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, I’ve learned over the years that as great as it sounds, being a perfectionist and expecting perfection often leads to more  disappointment than pleasure.

This is especially true when you’re dealing with kids. And I think it’s especially, especially true when you’re dealing with an extremely energetic boy. No matter what I do, he’s not going to be able to sit still for hours, he’s not going to finish his dinner without complaining every night, and he’s not going to remember to use his manners every single time. Does that mean he’s a bad kid? Not at all. It probably means he’s a normal kid.

The part that’s been hardest for me to deal with is the fact that I can’t always make him do what I want, when I want. For someone who wants everything to be just right, that’s a hard one. But I’m starting to realize that as long as he’s behaving when he should and not getting into trouble, I have to let him be a kid as much as possible. He needs to get his “wiggles” out. He needs to be wild sometimes. He needs to be loud and laugh at stupid, silly things. And to be a good mom, I need to do these things with him.

For most of his almost 8 years, his daddy and I have pretty much held the same roles: Daddy’s the fun one, and I’m the serious one. That’s not to say that Daddy doesn’t dole out his share of discipline, because he does. But he’s the one who gets silly with him along with being the hockey coach and the playmate. I’m the one who makes sure homework gets done, chores are completed and teeth are brushed. But right now Kev is working on his senior thesis for college and finishing up his last undergrad semester and he’s pretty busy. I’ve realized that I need to take up for a lack of Daddy time with the Wildman, and try to loosen up and be a little more fun for my boy.

Sounds easy enough, right? Sure…unless you’re just not a loosening up type person. Which I’m not. But I’m trying to be. Just this week the boy and I got into a yelling contest in the car on the way home for the store. He really didn’t expect Mommy to do something like that, and he just laughed and laughed – and that sound did my heart good. My perfectionist nature really didn’t want to be yelling in the car, but knowing we were having fun together made me step back and think about it differently. No harm was being done, so why not?

That’s the way I need to look at things more often. Instead of trying to make him act perfect all the time, I need to let him be a boy and as long as he’s not causing trouble or hurting anything, it’s okay to just let go sometimes. And maybe by doing that, I’ll be able to get him to act more perfect when the situation really does call for it.

So maybe being a perfect mom isn’t so much about having a child that acts calm and just right all the time, but more about being what my son needs in each moment. Sometimes he needs discipline and calm, and sometimes he needs silly and loud. I need to be able to bend when it’s necessary and stay rigid at the right times, too. It’s as much about me as it is about him. I want to be the perfect mom for the Wildman and to do that I have to let go of my ideals and find out what it is that he needs in that moment. That’s how to be the perfect mom, and that’s what I’m going to strive for.


Goodnight kisses

Every night on my way to bed I stop in the Wildman’s room. I have to make sure he’s still covered up and that neither he nor his pillows have fallen on the floor. I’ve done this every single night for going on eight years and I can’t go to sleep if I haven’t looked in on my boy first. There have been nights I’ve gotten downstairs, fed the cat and put the dogs in bed, I’m all snuggled up under my quilt with the tv on some random true crime or history channel show and then it hits me – I didn’t check in on the boy. So I have to get out of bed, run upstairs and go look at him.

Yes, I admit, I’m more than a little OCD, and part of it is that my routine isn’t complete if I haven’t checked on him. But more than that it’s because I love to look at him when he’s sleeping. He’s fairly still and quiet and he’s just so precious at that moment. I can tell him I love him and kiss his cheeks without him pulling away. The older he gets, the harder it is to be able to do that during waking hours.

And his waking hours aren’t all joy and sunshine anymore. He can be a little smart-mouth, and he seems to want to push Mommy’s buttons more often than not these days. He and Daddy butt heads, and he already shows signs of the independent, opinionated young man he’ll be before we know it. We know he gets these traits from us, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it from our son, right?

But it is in those precious, sleeping moments every night, I recall how much I love everything about him.

image

I love those slightly salty, sweaty kisses I give him every night before I go to bed. (He’s sweaty, not me.) I love that he acts just like his daddy – even when they both drive me crazy.

I love that he loves popcorn as much as I do. I love that he loves his dog more than me. I love his sparkling brown eyes and that big dimple that captured my heart from day one. I love that he can’t tell a lie – at least not one that I can’t see right through.

I love that he loves to run and play and be outside in the sun. I love that he skates like the wind and can stop a puck. I love that he’s become a better student. I love that he shares my love of music and reading. I love that he has a sense of humor and his own sense of style. Yes, I love everything about him – even the unlovable parts, like his stinky socks and his dirty ears and underwear on the floor.

And most of all, I love that he’s my son.


What to do with a little boy?

We call our son “The Wildman” for a reason. He’s full of energy, laughter and stubbornness. I hear constantly that he’s “all boy,” as if this is normal or something. Now I’m the oldest of 3 girls, and I have a goddaughter and 6 nieces but only one nephew older than our boy. I do also have a godson, but he’s 6 months younger than the Wildman so he doesn’t count in the total for comparison’s sake. As you can see, prior to becoming a mother I had little experience with boys. For the record, I did babysit a few little boys back in high school, some of them on a regular basis even. They were all much younger than the Wildman is now and were still fairly easy to control. Nothing at all prepared me for being a mother of a little boy. At least not a little boy like ours.

I remember when we found we’d be parents to a son, I was a little freaked out. Without getting into too much detail, I’ll just tell you that our road to parenthood was a short, bumpy, wild ride. Wildman is adopted, and while that’s a story for another time just know that it all happened in a matter of about 3 weeks. For the first week we thought we’d be bringing home a little baby girl. Then we found out that we would instead be parents of a little boy. I’m pretty sure my first thought was “I don’t know what to do with a little boy!” And some days, I still have that thought. More than once a day sometimes. Like when he’s so hyper that he can’t sit still for a whole minute or when he comes home from school with a note from the teacher because he couldn’t behave in class. He’s not a bad kid, and he’s not ADD, he’s just full of energy, and he doesn’t know how to contain it sometimes.

He’s to the age now that he doesn’t want hugs and kisses from Mommy all the time, which breaks my heart sometimes. But there are still times when he’s tired and he wants to cuddle or he asks me to lay down with him at night. I absolutely love these moments. It’s at those times when I can still see that precious baby boy we brought home almost 8 years ago, the one who smiled much more than he cried and who’s eyes sparkled and dimples melted your heart.

Earlier this week was one of those nights he asked me to lay with him for a few minutes, and of course I obliged. He always listens to music when he goes to bed, and right now it’s a Brad Paisley CD that serenades him to sleep each night. While I was laying there with him, the song “If he’s anything like me” played. It talks about a dad watching his son grow from a baby to adulthood and all the things he will do if he’s anything like his dad, things like riding bikes, climbing trees, getting in trouble and getting in fights, and how the dad will get his payback for the kid he was growing up. I really “see” my two boys whenever I hear that song. In so many ways, Wildman is so much like his daddy. He’s goofy and athletic and likes to laugh and tease. Those are traits that Kevin displays daily. They are both stubborn and difficult, although I suppose they’d say the same thing about me. I even see Kev in the way he walks and talks.

I hope that he’s learning some things from me too. I hope he’s learning to use his head and give things a little logical thought. I already see that I’ve passed on my love of books and reading, which thrills me to no end. He’s got my love of animals – although I think the animals in the house probably wouldn’t mind if he loved them a little less some days.

Most of all though, I hope he learns how much being his mother means to me, and how much I love him. I hope he knows that now matter how frustrated and annoyed I get with him some days, he’s still my pride and joy. I hope he knows that while I still don’t know what to do with a little boy sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Starting all over again

I really had no idea it had been so long since I posted a blog. The truth is, I’ve thought about it quite a few times – so many, in fact, that I think I convinced myself I had posted some of them. And they were really good, too. Great, I dare say. There was the one about Thanksgiving, and the excellent one about the Christmas tree. Oh and that other one about the family…

Of course all of those would be outdated now, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to write them as well now as I did in my head a few weeks ago. So instead I’m starting over. It’s a new year and while our routine is about to settle back into the “normal” chaos this week, it is a time of new beginnings, right?

Actually, this time of year isn’t a new beginning for us. We’re in the middle of both Wildman and Kev’s school years and hockey season. We’ve had a nice change of pace for a couple of weeks with the holidays, but starting tomorrow we’ll be doing the same things we were doing 3 weeks ago. That doesn’t mean the beginning of the year is insignificant though. It is a good time to make a point to start things, or rather, start things over. Like this blog. My healthier eating. Planning meals ahead of time and living within our budget. Cleaning the house more often.

Ok, so maybe it is a little of a fresh start. But while January 1 may not be a big, new beginning for us, 2012 will likely be a pretty significant year. There will be a presidential election, an Olympic games, and it’s a leap year. Kev will turn 45 and I’ll have a milestone birthday of my own. There is the potential that the world is going to end, although I’m not really planning for it. Oh, and a little event in the spring in which Kev will graduate from college.

Beyond that little event, I’m not exactly sure what life is going to throw our way. That may be the actual “New year/New beginning” time for us. But right now we don’t know. And really, I don’t have too much time to think about it at this moment because tomorrow is back to school and hockey practice, and there’s Den meetings on Thursday and hockey practice and games on Friday and Saturday. And I don’t have anything planned for dinner.

So while I’m starting over on a few things, I’ll continue along with all the usual things as well. I hope your new year isn’t more than you can handle, and that it brings you some laughter and fun along the way. That’s what I’m wishing for my new year as well.


Sometimes life stinks

The boy and his dog, in less stinky times

No, this is not going to be a post about how bad life can be. I mean that title literally. Sometimes, life smells really bad.

I live in a house with two athletically-inclined males. They play basketball outside in 90 degree heat. They play hockey – and they play hard. So I’m used to them coming in the house smelling terrible. And then they empty their hockey bags and it gets even worse. And even though I’m a delicate female (everyone who knows me personally can stop laughing now. No really, stop now.) I too can be smelly at times. For instance, when I came home from Boy Scout Wood Badge weekend last Sunday night after being at camp for 3 full days and wearing full uniform most of the time, I may have smelled a little bad. Maybe just a little.

I also live in a house with 2 dogs and a cat. No matter how well you try to train them and how much you clean up after them, there will occasionally be a smelly mess to contend with. And then there’s that cucumber that was forgotten in the back of the bottom crisper drawer of the fridge. One day everything is fine, the next you open the door to get some creamer for your coffee in the morning and you swear something died in there.

All that to say I’m fairly used to encountering less than pleasant aromas. None of that prepared me for last night though. Because last night, Macy, Wildman’s 7 month old beagle, got sprayed by a skunk. Now we smell skunk on a pretty regular basis – they are running around the neighborhood pretty often and we see them in the yard. I knew it was going to happen one of these days. But when you have to carry a just-sprayed dog in your house it’s a whole different story.

I tried to prevent the incident, but obviously failed. I didn’t know this stubby little dog could get over our little “dog-fence” so fast. I did manage to get Gabby – our much more obedient dog – to come in the house when I first spotted the skunk. But no sooner than I saw the offending critter, I saw Macy’s little butt chasing right after it.

I guess I should mention here that it was 9:30 at night, Wildman was in bed and Kev was walking out the door to work. I was barefoot and not at all prepared to go chasing Macy around the neighborhood in the dark. Fortunately she hadn’t gone very far and I caught up with her in the neighbor’s yard. Unfortunately, she stunk.

I’ve never had a dog get sprayed. I had no idea what to do first. I couldn’t get her to follow me back to our yard so I had no choice but to pick her up and carry her home. So now we both smelled like skunk. Then once we were home I had to figure out what to do. I had to contain her somehow and the only way I could think of was to put her in the dog crate – which happens to be in my bedroom. Then I immediately did what I always do when I don’t know what to do – I Googled. I knew that the old tomato juice bath wasn’t necessarily the best option (and also knew I didn’t have any tomato juice) and I knew there had to be other things that worked. I found a recipe for a remedy that called for 1 qt of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. Of course, there was no peroxide to be found in my house. So then I did what I always do when I need something and I don’t have it – I called my neighbor, Tante T. She had just pulled in the driveway from work, and low and behold she had a whole quart of peroxide.

To make this long story a little shorter, I let the Wildman get out of bed (he had been awakened by all the chaos) and with him handing me things from a distance I was able to bathe Macy in the kitchen sink. We dried her off, threw away the bed that was in the dog crate when I first threw her in there, and then put her in the crate for the night. I stunk, my bedroom stunk, and I had to throw away not only the dog bed but a towel, a dish cloth, Macy’s collar and my shirt. I reassured the Wildman that his dog was fine, just wet and a little scared. Truth be told, I think we were all a bit traumatized. I got Wildman back in bed, grabbed a blanket and was so exhausted that I was asleep on the 30 year old couch in the bonus room within half an hour.

This morning the house and dog seem to be less stinky. I’ll probably be bathing her at least one more time today, and we have to get a new collar and dog bed. But it could be worse I guess. And I have another life experience I can now check off my list.