Sunday, February 27, 2011

The routine

It's been a whirlwind around here. We have been doing fun things, routine things, and dealing with the unexpected, but all in all, just living life. I feel like there is so little time in a day, but the days seem to stretch into eternity (especially when there are missed naps). Every morning I wake up and have a list of things I want to accomplish. It usually goes something like this...
Clean up the kitchen
Clean up one other thing (bathroom, vacuum, our room, the office, maybe even the kids)
I also usually get all motivated in the morning, looking at the things I have been meaning to do and decide on something I want to do when the kids go to it sew one of the many projects I have, complete our taxes (or even start them for that matter), catch up on the blog, catch up on the kids photo albums, bake something...the list goes on.

Then my day happens. A slow paced day goes something like this...
I put in a load of laundry. I get all the kids fed. I jump in the shower while Mandy sleeps and the kids have room time. I get dressed. The boys get dressed. Mandy wakes up and gets dressed. Mandy proceeds to puke all over me and her fresh outfit and we have already managed to defeat my first to accomplishments of the day...laundry and shower. But that's okay...we wipe ourselves with a baby wipe, throw the first load in the dryer and the next load in.
Then I let the kids play while I try to clean up the kitchen from breakfast. By the time I have come out, Mandy needs to be fed and the boys have definitely made at least one room messier than it was before, if not multiple rooms.
At this point I usually have them clean their toys and watch a show while I feed Mandy. When we are done, I make them turn off the Tv and listen to them beg for more shows. (What they don't understand is that if I let them watch too much in the morning, I will feel horrible letting them watch more if I need to pull it out of my back pocket at night because my patience is at it's lowest ...really, I am serving them here!) Then we try to find something like play dough, a game, puzzles or what not to occupy them while I fold laundry.
After a few activities, we make lunch, attempt to clean the kitchen again. Mandy eats again and pukes again. We both change clothes again. We play some more. Getting things out, putting things back. Correcting, correcting, correcting. We change diapers, go through burp clothes, wipe noses, wipe bottoms, wipe spills and wipe tears. Then praise be to's naptime. But alas, Gavin is 4 and thinks he doesn't need a nap. We negotiate a quiet time activity. One out of three days he sleeps...the others he plays for an hour in his room, then out he comes ready to play, but definitely with a grumpier demeanor. All the while, I try to clean up one room in the house for real, and make the others at least look like things are in their place.
Brayden wakes up and snuggles and whispers in my ear, "nack". Snack time.
We have snacks and chat for awhile, then it's back to the drawing board on finding things to occupy time. For some reason it is about 100x harder post nap to be creative and things hold kid's attention span about 100x less than they did before nap. A very strange phenomenon indeed.
I start on dinner. The kids have to be hearded out of the kitchen about 10x during this process. Mandy gets in her jumper or exersaucer and about 10 minutes in, pukes again. I start another load of laundry. We eat dinner and feed Mandy...and you got it, she pukes again.
We clean the kitchen and settle in for some legos or some games at the coffee table. Finally it is approaching bed time and we do our clean up for the night...we put toys away and various other things that have managed to be drug out or left behind during the daily doings.
We all go to the boys bedroom to get on our pajamas. The clothes come off, potty tries are made, diapers changed. Pajamas go on, teeth get brushed, we pick out books. We read. We pray. We go to bed.
I puts in the last load of laundry. I look at my list.
Laundry...well, I did about three loads, but it's still going
Shower...yes, but the distinct odor of spit up seems to be emanating from somewhere on my body
Clean the kitchen....did it twice, but there is still an empty bottle and some dishes from dinner.
Clean one other things...well, it seems as though I cleaned about a thousand, but nothing looks especially shiny or fresh.
And for some reason, I have completely lost my motivation to start that project I was oh so motivated to do.
It is a fortunate thing that children are so peaceful and appealing when they sleep, because at the end of the day, when you tuck them in for the very last time, it all seems worth it and gives you just enough to get up and do it all again. You think to yourself, "Who knows, maybe tomorrow the motivation will stick and that project will be tackled". Or, "Maybe the spilled OJ won't stick and my kitchen table will still be shiny at the end of the day".
Either'll do it again, because when you see those sleepy little faces, hands tucked under cheeks, something inside you melts and all the chaos and redundant jobs of the day fade away. I think maybe I am going to take their pictures like this and stick them up above the washing machine and the kitchen sink. Now there is a brilliant idea!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My little Brayden

Thanks to a conversation with a friend and a deep conversation with God, I have had a revelation about my son Brayden...he is just 2.5 years old. Now, this may not seem like a revelation, seeing as I was at his birth and all, but truly, it was a divine moment.
I had been struggling with Bray and his independent spirit. He is so full of life, but so full of defiance as well. Not an out right maliciousness, just a testing and pushing kind of defiance. All the time.
I had been struggling as a parent how to work with this. If I punished him every time he said "no" he would be punished all day long and I do not want his days to consist of continual negative interactions. After talking with a dear friend, who teaches parenting classes, a certain line stuck with me..."Work on one thing at a time, remember...he's just 2.5". That night as I prayed, this line kept coming back. He's just two. He's just two. I kept asking God, "What's your point?" And then it hit me...I treat him just like Gavin...who is four and a half. I expect him to understand directions, I expect the same timely follow through on those directions, and I expect him to obey the directions.
In a strange way, this is a credit to Brayden. He is so verbal, so quick, very bright, understands a great deal and is quite capable. But still...he's just two (well, three in April, but still). So I have just been going alonng, and due to his little advancements, expecting him to keep up with his brother.
Oh...I wanted to cry, I felt like such a bad mom. Not that I had been horrible to the kid, but just that I had expectations of him that were unfair and caused us to butt heads way more than necessary.
The next day, I saw my little guy in a whole new light. I saw how smart he was, how much he does do right, and how much he needed his mom to back off a bit and show him how to do things, encourage him along and not just demand he do it himself. It has made a world of difference. We have been laughing and playing and I have been thoroughly enjoying my days with him.
Lately, Brayden has taken to wearing his firefighter coat, hat, and boots everywhere (I make him leave the gloves and binoculars at home if we are going out). He diligently puts the whole get up on each time we leave the house. It reminds me of what an amazingly unique, fun, crazy and huggable individual this child is. I love this kid. I wish everyone could see the little man we get dancing around the house, singing, acting, dressing up, using his special voices and laughing his way through life. I am so glad I get to and that God opened my eyes to see an even clearer picture of how truly fantastic he is!