Tuesday, 24 August 2010

life list, ponderings

My life list is actually quite boring, because at 34 yrs old, I've already done quite a bit. I have to choose from all the things I haven't yet done. I am relieved (or sad?) that I can't reach 100. Hmmm....

Life list (composed in 2010 at the ripe age of 34).
*drive across Canada *learn to sing *write a book *lose 10kg and KEEP IT OFF for at least 10 years *learn to swim "normal" *go bungee jumping *volunteer abroad *visit the Grand Canyon *go to Hawaii *visit Australia *have a 3rd child (really?) *be a stay-at-home mom for a few years *take my kids to Peru *see the Northern Lights *go to Tahiti *visit Auschwitz *do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela *take a drawing and painting course *learn to do pottery *live in the Southern Hemisphere
*take a sewing course *learn to play violin *go sky-diving *go to the Maldives *learn German fluently *learn Arabic *learn to water start and windsurf well *go wakeboarding *live in a Spanish-speaking country *get a Master's degree *read War and Peace *go scuba-diving *compete in the Marinera Competition in Peru *learn to surf *swim with dolphins *get a convertible car *take a pottery course *use a pottery wheel *learn to flip my hair when dancing salsa *become an awesome salsa dancer *teach my kids to love themselves *teach my kids to love everyone else.

separation of church and state

Or of family and work.

Of friends w/ kids and friends w/o kids.

Of Italian friends and N.A. friends.

Of my mom and my dad.

Of hubby and nanny.

I live a continual dichotomy and my head is starting to hurt.

gentle nighttime parenting

After the torture of this past summer regarding Sebastian's nighttime sleep habits, I have reached a peace: I want to cultivate and nourish Sebastian's gentle side, his sensitivity, his affection, his general sweetness. Not stomp it out. Despite it being a potential source of future suffering (but really, it will be just a specific type of suffering, because no one escapes suffering all the time!), it is also a powerful source of change and beauty and hope. And I want - no NEED - to be proud of this and treat it like the rare, delicate flower that it is.

So the doubts are gone. He can come into our bed whenever he needs. If it takes another 3 years, so be it. When he grows up, he will have his loving childhood to comfort him in moments of darkness. If not the visual memory, then the emotional one.

Yes! I love it when I am sure of a parenting decision!

to sibling or not to sibling

In recent months (well, months are more like years, because it's been 18 months), I have been rethinking just how smart it was to have a second child so quickly. I was a preacher for "siblings will make it easier in the long run!" camp for the longest time. Then the work set in. Even when they play together and give me a few moments of peace, they soon start fighting, so it never lasts long. It really is exhausting having two. Plus, both become more needy and demanding, because they are both fighting for mom's attention at any given moment. God forbid that I am doing something age-appropriate with one child, that the other comes ramming his interest in and essentially ruins the game!

In fact, because of this, I forced hubby to send baby no. 2 (the "easier" one) to his mother's while I was in Washington for my Master's residency: I wanted to ease the pressure on both nanny and hubby.

These past two days I've had alone with Sebastian have been just WONDERFUL. So much easier and relaxed. I am back to enjoying motherhood. Sebastian has been perfectly behaved, not needy at all, eating everything, not whining, regular in the bathroom, etc. It has been just wonderful. He is just the perfect little boy all the time.

BUT... Yes, BUT...

...the absence of his brother also means the absence of obstacles: those of sharing (both toys and mommy's time), and of human relationships, and standing up for yourself, of trusting, of letting go of toys, hang-ups, hurts, problems, the list goes on. And I firmly believe that obstacles are the best way to become better people. Always. So, in essence, having a brother forces my boys to deal with these issues throughout their lives, throughout their development. Their reactions to situations will be influenced by their age, context, and most importantly, by me. By the time they are adults, they will be experienced pros at dealing with these pesty issues of human relationships.

My role as a parent is to keep them heading in the right direction with the right values. Even if it means that I lose my S**T multiple times per week. What IS the best way to react to a situation? What IS the best approach when someone grabs your toys? What can you do when someone doesn't want to play with you right now? How ARE you supposed to manage negative feelings towards people you love?

So, it really was a good decision to have two children. (so suck it up, Nat! :/ )

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

losing the nanny

So it turns out we won't be having my good friend as our live-in nanny this year. I am both sad and relieved: sad, because she's like an aunt to the kids, and almost like family; sad, because it was like having a sleep-over the whole year; sad, because having a live-in offered freedom in the evenings and weekends, and last-minute babysitting needs; relieved, because there won't be anymore tension between hubby and nanny; relieved, because I don't have to worry about the needs of an extra person in the house; relieved, because there will be no more risk of some accident with the kids under the influence, which would have left us all with lifelong regret.

We will put Lucas in daycare, and hope that we find a regular babysitter for the occasional evening or weekend. And I don't want my mother-in-law to be that person! Crossing my fingers...

losing it at bedtime

Every evening, I determine to not lose my shit with the kids, to just go with the flow, chill out and not try to hurry through things. Kids will be kids, and there is no rush to get their pyjamas on, etc.

But, every evening, I lose my shit.

Sometimes it shows, sometimes it doesn't, but I lose it in my head either way.

The latest form of Sebastian's torture it crying inconsolably crying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" asking for anything and everything: my hand, to sleep in my bed, for me to get into bed with him, to hug him, just to respond to him. I've tried scolding him, I've tried shushing him gently, I've tried ignoring him, I've tried positive rewards, I've prepared him through the day for what is to come at night, I've explained why big boys sleep in big boys beds, I've tried EVERYTHING.

And every evening, it escalates and escalates until I have to leave the bedroom with murder in my heart, and he is yelling at the top of his lungs. Hubby or nanny goes in, and it stops - within 5 minutes he's asleep.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Please let me know so I can find a solution!!!!