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Monthly Archives: February 2014

My Pinkalicious Daughter

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Earlier today, we were in the car, driving to drop Meredith off at her grandparents so that Nora and I could meet some friends downtown for lunch and to see Pinkalicious at The Children’s Theatre.  I stopped at a light and turned around to look at the girls in the backseat.  Nora had the most precious smile of joy on her face as she looked up towards the ceiling of the car.  When I followed her gaze, I realized that she was watching the sparkly lights that my wedding ring was making in the sunlight.  “It looks like the stars”, she said.  I fell in love with my oldest daughter all over again in that moment.

I love both of my kids immensely.  But, I absolutely love those special one on one moments that I get with each of them from time to time.  Now that Nora is in school, I am blessed to have a lot of mornings with Meredith.  We have snuggle story time and gymnastics class together.  We go get coffee and bagels together.  We take walks and go to the park when it’s nice out.  That time means so much to me.  However, the flip side is that I don’t get as much special time with just Nora.  Today, was a day for the two of us.

Pinkalicious was the perfect play to go see with my cupcake loving, pink wearing, girlie girl. 

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And the fact that the weather blessed us with a gorgeous sunny break from the snowy cold of this winter didn’t hurt either.  Aside from the moment in the car, here are my top memories from the day:

1) Seeing such a genuinely happy smile on Nora’s face when we first got downtown and walked out onto Fountain Square.

2) When Nora tried to order her chocolate milk from the hostess at the hostess stand at Rock Bottom as soon as we walked in.  The hostess must never be around young kids because she had a look of shock on her face and didn’t know how to break it to her that she wasn’t the one who would be getting our drinks.

3) Drinking a draft beer and eating yummy fish tacos for lunch.

4) Feeling warm sunshine on my face.

5) Seeing Nora and her friend Adelynn holding hands as we walked to the play, listening to them yell something (Amy and I aren’t entirely sure what) at the top of their lungs over and over again.

6) Watching Nora’s face as she knelt on her chair watching the first 15 minutes of the play.

7) Snuggling with Nora as she sat on my lap for the rest of the play.

8) Enjoying a relaxing afternoon with Amy and her precious daughter outside of work.

9) Having a real conversation about life with Nora (when did she grow up?) on the drive to pick up her sister.

10) And later, enjoying some outside time with BOTH of my girls.  First, at the park and then on our deck.

 

I am blessed.

The Stage You Don’t See Coming

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Terrible Twos.

Troublesome Threes.

People talk about these two phases of development pretty regularly.

In my opinion, the terrible twos are due to the fact that their little communication skills are not even remotely close to being fine tuned, which results in easily triggered frustration and tantrums.  And lord knows you can’t reason with them.

My theory about the troublesome threes is that they are really just an extension of the terrible twos, but since they are a year older, it’s even less cute.

I was prepared for these.  I was ready.

What I wasn’t ready for is the stage that no one tells you about.  Until one day, you turn around, and there you are looking at your precious little four year old and you realize… you are now in the Frightening Fours.

So let me tell you a little bit about this stage from my current life with Nora.  This is the age where they start learning some of those unpleasant little personality traits that they have, up until now, been too young to grasp in their complexity.

Things like lying.  Oh, the lying.  Thank goodness Nora isn’t very good at it, because she does it all the time.  I despise lying.  It’s immediate time out in this house.  And it’s tricky because then if she doesn’t lie, I have to find an alternate punishment that still addresses the inappropriate behavior I am calling her out on, but doesn’t punish her for telling the truth.  But, seriously, when did she start thinking so elaborately to plan out her actions AND the cover up?

Most of the time I feel like I am talking to myself.  She will look me in the eye, I will explain to her why I don’t like a certain behavior and she will turn right around and do it anyway.  Then when she gets in trouble for not listening, I get to hear “Mom, you never let me do anything fun.”  Oh yes, I forgot, the only fun in this house requires being allowed to climb up the door to the deck, using the trim as a ladder.  (Yes, she actually does this.)

We are also entering into the age where things that were “excusable” before are now bratty and rude.  And I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the limit testing that is going on right now.  I feel like I am constantly working to try to mold this precious little creature into a kind and decent human being.  And it is work.  The growing pains are testing me in ways I wasn’t quite ready for.  The fours… they are rough.

I am slowly beginning to accept the fact that parents never figure it out.  We are frantically trying to keep our heads above water, while making our children think we are actually effortlessly floating on top.  But, I guess all things worth having are worth working for.

Someone I know recently said that she has enjoyed her daughter at every age she has been.  I think this is true.  It is so fun watching your children grow and change, even when there are things you don’t like about those stages as well.  So four years old.  It is a challenge.  But there is a lot to love about the age.

Nora has an absolutely incredible imagination, determined independence, and genuine excitement and enjoyment of new things and experiences.  She tells me stories she makes up and I can’t believe the thought and detail that goes into them.  She is so loving and sweet.  She gives great hugs.  She dances with abandonment and joy.  Nora is so proud of every new accomplishment or difficult task that she manages to master.  She loves making new friends and finding out what makes them similar and different.  She sings at the top of her lungs.  She is creative.  She is caring and offers to take care of me and her baby sister when we are hurt or sad.  She is accepting of everyone.  She is mine.

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Orange Rhino

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ImageA friend (who I greatly admire for her ability to not yell) directed me to this website a while back.  The author has several very interesting articles on how to work towards a life style where you learn how to better manage your frustrations and anger towards others, primarily your kids, and eliminate yelling from your daily life.

12 Steps to Stop Yelling at your Kids

This concept intrigues me.  I yell more than I would like to admit.  And while sometimes, I do feel it is justified, I also realize that A) it really doesn’t help anything and B) it doesn’t make me feel any better.  I also know that I tend to yell at my kids more when I am mad at my husband.  How is that fair?

This past week I decided to take another look at this website.  I especially identify with what she says about triggers and how being aware of these (and preparing ahead of time to emotionally deal with them) can make a world of difference.

Tracking my Triggers

How to Fight Yelling Triggers and Win

The Orange Rhino also talks about how, when deciding to eliminate yelling from your life, you should set goals.  Her goal was 365 days, but she encourages people to set smaller goals if that is what they need to do.  So, I decided to give this a try.  My goal, sadly, was one day of not yelling.  A tiny goal, but ya know what… I did it.  I did not yell today.  Now, this does not translate into not feeling aggravated, stressed or upset.  And it was not easy, which I did expect.  But, every time I felt my voice rising, I was able to call it into check and take a breath and either take a minute to regroup or formulate a new approach to whatever interaction with my girls was currently frustrating me.  And we still had a few times outs… one Meredith even put herself in.  But, all of this was done with relative (external) calmness.

My new goal: 2 days

Because I think that what she says here makes sense and sounds wonderful.

http://theorangerhino.com/10-things-i-learned-when-i-stopped-yelling-at-my-kids/

From the Mouths of Babes

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Love this.  However, I also think you should listen to your kids because, quite honestly, they are really funny.  At least I think mine are.  It doesn’t matter how aggravated or exasperated I am with them.  They can manage to pull out the most random and truly comical things ever and make me smile.  They make me laugh on a daily basis.

A few gems from today:

Me: Nora, did you clean up your toys yet?

Nora: Yes

Me: When?  Because I haven’t seen you move from the couch.

Nora: Maybe I used my mag-ick!

***

Meredith: (Out of nowhere) My booty is talking to me.

***

Me: It has been a long day.  We are all running out of energy.

Nora: I still have enerties.  I have at least 200 enerties left in me.

***

Meredith: I am an astronaut.

Me: What?

Meredith: I am a staff for an airplaner.

Me: Huh?

***

So listen to your kids.  Both because you should and for the entertainment as well.