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Sometimes admitting you’re wrong is only part of the problem

1 Sep

vivkyleros.jpg

Waiting for the bus on this cool morning, fall in the air, I hear an old woman behind us.”Such wonderful children! They behave so well!”

I search around with my eyes quietly until I realize she’s talking about my daughters. I look back at the girls, who are sitting chatting with a little heartbreaker named Kyle, he of brush cut and toothy grin, sharing the stoop of a doorway.

“Oh, mine? Yes, they are, today.”

I minimize their goodness. I reduce the times when then act as I expect to smaller moments than I should. They ARE good kids. They DO listen. They are happy to be with me. They are learning. They speak kindly and properly to other children and adults.

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(Vivian sees man in Cowboy hat)

“Wow! A man in a cowboy hat! Cool! Is he a cowboy?’

“Ask him Vivian.” I snicker a little, inside of course

“Are you a cowboy!” she bellows?

“No.” he grins “I just kinda like the hat.” He smiles gently at her. She beams back.

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They spread joy and warmth where ever they go most days. They are fine children I should be proud of. They are the children I wanted when I first learned they would be mine.

It’s time to focus more on them, on how they are that makes me happy, rather than how they are that upsets me. When they misbehave, it’s more like a wolf attacked a sheep, it’s nature, and it’s necessary. How I react dictates how the day is spent.

Time to stop reacting to the things I hate most I wager.

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We ride the bus home with Kyle and his Grandma. Vivian drills him on what he likes.

“Do you like Tigers?”

“YEAH!”

“Do you like snakes?”

“Yeah!”

and on and on and on it goes.

My kid rocks, even when she doesn’t.

18 Aug

I wanted to take the girls to the park, but it’s threatening to rain, and even thundering once in awhile, so I decided against it in favour of a short walk and a ring pop at the store.

As we walked, I noticed how tall Vivian is getting-how “child” like she is now instead of nubby toddler. She is a little girl in the truest sense of the word. And yet again I am at a loss to know where the time has gone.

Yes, I talk of this often. Because it melts my brain a little. I don’t understand how I can suddenly turn around and have a child standing there in place of a baby. But I also don’t understand how it can feel like an eternity at the same time. Where before we listened to Kronos Quartet as I swayed with her in my arms, now she demands Legion of Superheroes as her TV treat and can talk to me all about the JLA. She likes Regina Spektor, but not Sarah Harmer. I can no longer sing Tori Amos songs to calm her. She wants what she wants, and I’m slowly learning to begin to let go, even if just a little bit.

I’m beginning to no longer grieve this movement. Instead I’m fascinated by it-the person she’s becoming, the helpful little girl she can be, the model for proper behaviour she can be for her sister. (Today, Rosalyn walked for awhile with Vivian in the stroller, and she picked up garbage just as Vivian usually does. So cute!) Her imagination is blossoming, s evidenced by her “pretend friends” this morning-Purple Donkey the Dog and Soccer Ball the cat.

It makes me snickergiggle.

Maybe this is the secret to living. Just absorbing what you can, and sitting still for the moments that matter. Maybe it’s just knowing what a hippo slam is. (A hippo hitting the wall for those of you also wondering)

Sure, she’s full of whining and tantruming, but that’s more to do with us as parents than her. We can beat that, and make sure that the sweetness that lies beneath comes to light.

Last night

14 Aug

Last night I lost it.

After days of whining, screaming, snivelling, acting up and generally making my life a living hell, despite the birthday festivities, I lost it completely.

I screamed. A lot. Loudly. That version of me doesn’t come out often, but when it does, get out of the way.

Vivian got a non PC swat on the butt to reinforce that I am more than sick of her constant refusals to cooperate and her whining and snivelling and flat out fibbing.

With visions of wanting to tear my child limb from limb, I slammed the door and stalked off to sit on the deck as they cried their crocodile tears. (You know the type-start, go one weakly, stop to see if anyone is coming, start again. Rinse. Repeat)

I don’t want to be a mother they’re scared of, but the other version of me seems to be the one they feel free to walk on, to push and push and push. I’m terrified of something happening to me, so I have trouble walking away from them.

Not so last night. Last night I entertained all the ways I could run away or just be done with kids. I didn’t want them anymore at that point, and why would I? Nothing we do seems to have any affect-I don’t know how to parent small children, and I have no parent to ask. (My father can joke, but he worked when I was small, and has no idea what my mother did)

WHY do I feel so alone in all of this, so helpless? Why can I not find my loving sweet caring daughter in all of this? Why is she so driven to driving me mad lately?

While yelling myself hoarse out of frustration and anger and sadness, I blurted out the one thing I didn’t want to. “Do you want Mommy to go away again?!”

I feel so fucking terrible about that the most. A swat on the ass you get over. The fear of being abandoned, not so much. I feel so fucking helpless because most of the advice I hear or see is great for parents other than us-people with one child, or a stay at home parent, or children spaced further, or for parents who are sane, or for people who have help, and lots of it near by. We are NONE of these things.

I hate myself today. I hate who I have to be with my kids, but I don’t see what else to do at this point. I really don’t. 

 ETA:

My post in the same vein up at GNMParents today. Go read it. It’s just as irritated and depressing.

Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.

12 Aug

Someone asked me in an email if I found being the mom of “A kid” weird.

I do, kind of. It’s odd after years of haunting the baby aisles to know that I don’t need to anymore. New bottles appear. Cute outfits come and go. I find myself crawling up the store into new areas, legs stretching to find where my oldest daughter now fits. I mourn silently the baby time I have lost. It’s a new place this type of motherhood.

As a new mother, you wander streets and malls with the same tired eyes, floppy deflated bread tummy, hopeful grin. You meet the eyes of other first timers, and share a moment of wonder, a look that says in one second “I know exactly what you’re going through, and it sucks but we’ll get through it” like the baby confers ESP. You pass along coupons in the diaper aisle, recommend wipes and new ideas for stimulating play. You have something to day. You’re scared and excited, all at once, and you’re young. Oh so very young, fresh.

Now I look at new mother’s and wonder if I was ever that young and fragile looking, that tired and washed up. I’m a soldier on her 2 tour surveying the fresh troops. I envy them the knowledge they don’t have-the newness awaiting them. But I don’t envy the fear, or the lonliness, or the long days and nights of nothing working and nothing good to say.

Today, the mother of a “kid” and a toddler turning into a preschooler, I hardly recognize myself in them. It’s only been 4 years, and I marvel at this. 4 years have changed me so utterly, altered my being and my sense of space in so many ways. 4 years have matured me in ways impossible without children. I have become responsible not just for another life, but for another person. Who they become, the values they hold, how they treat others, that is MY doing. Which is why I’m now just as terrified as a new mother. I can break them in such subtle ways now. In hindsight, cuddling a baby for hours to help them sleep is a breeze compared to talking down a “kid” having a meltdown while the toddler decides to join the fun. It’s hard work to be understanding and calm some-days.

I’m not my mother-I’m something else entirely. I’m my own person. My girls clamber for me-last night, after the excitement of the day, they wouldn’t go to sleep, and Rosalyn needed a few moments of Mommy alone. And with her head tucked under my chin as we watched Dirty Jobs (ooh! Alpaca’s!) I remembered how fleeting my girls are, how nearly invisible they are in the long span of time. Today they play hide and seek and pretend. Tomorrow they might be choosing a trade or backpacking through South America.

It’s all new once again. And I’m glad. I could use a spit shine.

The kid who don’t care

2 Aug

Sigh.

I just spent a frantic hour that should have been nice and family like but instead involved a lot of running, stomping, heaving, getting angry and sweating. (Not necessarily in that order)

Vivian, as most of us are aware, is 9 days away from turning 4. (Four? Four? Where the frick did 2 and 3 go?). And apparently, she’s entering a new developmental stage as well. I’ve begged for answers to this question in the past.

I’ll be frank. I don’t know how to discipline my kid. Or rather, I do, but it doesn’t seem to work.

I know it’s the age where she’s going to ignore me and be willful. Is giving her options and a little autonomy really going to help? or will she be the devious little rat I suspect she will be and decide to see just how far she can push until Mommy snaps? Aside from that smack the other day, I do NOT intend to make physical punishment part of our regimen, because I know that shock value wears off, and all it really does in many cases is relieve my own stress and anger. Should we try time outs? Time in’s? Ignoring her? (I so can’t do this, not the the extent that might be necessary)

The problem is that this child is extremely willful (I think some people call it “spirited”) she doesn’t understand mellow-crap, the only time she’s mellow is in front of the TV (which has been taken away for the entire weekend). I think she’s watching entirely too much of it, and intend to shut that down for at least a few days. I don’t remember watching 2+ hours of TV a day when I was a kid, and my mother didn’t take any shit from me.

Something has to give. She screamed for an hour straight for poor Mogo when she was punished for something earlier today. I know part of it is that we have difficulty picking our battles, and that when you ride transit, you can’t just toss the kid in the car-the “we’re going home NOW!” threat doesn’t work as well. But I still want them to learn how to behave in public.

On the other hand, before they lost interest in their meal, the waitress commented on how good they were being as they ate, so I don’t know if I’m expecting too much from them or what. I see other kids who are good and quiet. But then, they look like they’ve had life beaten out of them

Sigh. Little help here?