Sunday, February 21, 2010

No. Seriously. Stop.

"Stop". "Don't".  "I said don't".  "Did you hear me?" "Are you listening to me?"
It's just been that kind of day.  Actually, that's a lie, it's been that kind of an evening.  I felt like a broken record, and as ineffective as could be.  I feel negative and that just makes me feel guilty.  Ahhhhh!!!!! 
If I'm honest with myself, and allow myself some true insight, I know that what I experienced this evening was just the result of an overly-stimulating day.  We had a visit to a friend's house today, which both kiddies thoroughly enjoyed.  There were a couple of little tiffs, but nothing earth shattering.  But it doesn't matter, because even if that went well, the whole time he was there, he probably felt socially confused and anxious.  So, it just makes sense that once he's back on the sacred soils of 'home' he's going to let it all go.  He's going to unwind...and God help the rest of us!
You see, when I take the time to put it in perspective, it makes sense.  And my patience is restored.  And I can empathize with him, like he needs me to.  But when I'm in the midst of nonstop noncompliance coupled with the energy of  a bucking bronco, it's harder  not to feel defeated. 
I can handle a lot of emotions.  I can handle feeling anxious, I can handle being scared, but I cannot handle losing hope.  Hope is what drives me, hope is what makes me keep trying.  Hope is why I take him to so many different activities, knowing it is stressful for the both of us. 
As usual, hubby came through with the sound advice I needed.  I was feeling pretty low once the kids were finally asleep in their beds...and he told me it was okay to lose hope, but to try just to lose it for one day.
He's right, as usual.  I'll be filled with hope again tomorrow, somehow it will spring up while I'm sleeping and fuel me.  Tomorrow morning I'll look into the beautiful little face that I've been trusted with, and feel instantly replenished. Just the same, I'm glad that he could acknowledge how I felt, allow me it, and somehow let me know that it too would pass....  And all in one sentence!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lovin' Lego

As a kid, I loved Lego.  As a mom, I love it even more.  It is such amazing toy, and I am blessed to have a little boy who just adores it.  Most mornings, when Aiden first comes downstairs, he heads right for his Lego bins.  And I couldn't be happier about it!
This is a toy that was designed for kids like him....creative, and "builders" by nature.  It has been so useful for him, it is a hobby that has helped him to spend quiet time with himself, he is able to sit still and work on his creations for long stretches of time.  I'm not worried about lack of activity, he can burn more calories in 5 minutes than most kids expend over hours of time, so these little islands of stillness that Lego offers are a blessing.   He can share this interest with lots of other kids, and it's a nice way for him to spend time with me and his's something we can all play with together.  (We're still working on making Margaret's input more palatable!)
Lego is calming, quiet play.  Lego can be used to work on following directions if you work on step by step plans, or it can be 'freestyle' creating.  Love it, love it, love it!  I am amazed at the different things Aiden is able to come up with.  He never fails to impress me with his attention to fine detail.  In fact, I'm just downright proud of it altogether!
It doesn't make noise, or have flashing lights, it's just good old fashion skill-building, creative, imagination-allowing fun.  Lego, you rock!   Of course, in a pinch, a pack of markers and a pad of paper are pretty good too!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Music Appreciation (?)

Yesterday was one long day.  The morning started with a concert by the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra at the local Arts and Culture Centre.  I didn't know how Aiden would like that...but in an effort to expose him to lots of different things, I thought it was worth a go.  Besides, he seems to have a soft spot for some music, typically the melancholy sort.  Also, he really likes the fancy red flip down seats at the centre.  OK, and I admit it.  I was hoping he'd  be drawn to the cello, or violin, and thus awake a yearning to learn to play such an instrument. (Fast forward, didn't happen.)
However, he did sit through the entire performance without too much hassle....certainly my contraband stash of gummie bears didn't hurt. About half an hour through, he started asking to go I whipped out a pen and some paper so he could doodle quietly for the rest of the show.  But, when the orchestra played Blue Danube, he just stopped talking, rested his head to the side, and didn't say a word.  Bingo!  The moment I'd been waiting for!  He enjoyed it, I know he did.  Yay!!!
However, on the way home, when I asked him what his favourite part had been, he said. " I liked the part where we went home." Groan....
Later in the afternoon we had a homeschooler's Valentine's Party, where he thoroughly enjoyed himself.  I was a little flustered by trying to sort through endless stacks of Valentines to stuff into boxes, but he just had fun.  Which is great.
But by last night, after all the candy from the show, and all the cookies from the party....he was "on the go", and I was wiped out! So today, I might just take it easy, I was hoping that the forecasted freezing rain might cancel this afternoon's swimming lessons...but I don't think so. Hmmm...maybe I just won't mention that it's Friday!
Because honestly, the very act of writing this post, is a celebration of sitting down.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roots and Wings

A famous Chinese proverb states, "It is the wise parent who gives his child roots and wings."  Sage advice, but a lot harder than it sounds.  Ideally, we all want to give our kids a solid foundation, great self esteem, confidence, life skills, manners, experiences and an education that enables them to become strong independant people.  People with wings.
Unfortunately, finding that balance can be hard.  Because they don't just wake up one moring and grow wings.  We have to give them little test flights along the way.  And therein lies the hard part.  Knowing how much leeway and freedom to give along the way, and trying to decide how much they can handle.
I've been trying to give himself some more freedom at gymnastics, trying to stay in the parent's waiting area, with the large windows, just a hand signal away from the coach.  But it's tough!  If he goes in by himself, he is practising independance, and interacting with another adult without my help.  But, on the other hand, he isn't participating as much in the actual gymnastics....which is more important?  I find that I'm always trying to decide what my goal is, what to prioritize.
I wonder how it might be different when Margaret is old enough to be "in stuff"....I notice how other parents can stress about having their kids enrollled in enough different activities, but they don't seem to stress about how their kids will behave or perform in all of these activities.  I guess my goals are different.  I don't actually really care if Aiden becomes a pro gymnast, skater, swimmer, soccer player, artist, etc....I just want him to have the skills that allow him to participate,and ensure that he gets to play and interact with his peers on a regular basis.
Maybe I should forget about the wings for awhile.  Perhaps I should set my sights on a parachute, or a hang glider for the time being.  Let him soar, feel the winds push him along, but less freefall.
Hmmmmm....being a wise parent is hard.