Monday, February 1, 2010
you're just figuring this out?
i need to lighten up.
as i mentioned a few posts ago, having a new baby around seems to have shifted my perception of my 3 and 4 year old. when i look at tali i see that she is a little tiny baby capable of nothing outside of me. she can't feed, change or clothe herself. now when i look at my 3 and 4 year old, i see that when they feel like it they can feed, relieve, and clothe themselves. when they don't, i kinda want to break windows.
four months ago it wouldn't have been that big of deal to help lily sort through her myriads of clothes to find just the right outfit, or help oz hold his pecker down while he poops. in fact, i was just in the habit of recognizing that sometimes they need a little extra help...
and it isn't just the basic day to day things. i've always been a little crazy about manners and behavior. i think because my kids are naturally pretty mellow and well-behaved that when they do act up i find it almost un-tolerable.
over the holidays having so many people around, i felt especially on edge. not taking the time to consider that there were suddenly 5 or more people around than usual, and that they were just 6 weeks into having a new baby sister, i felt like their behaviour was not up to par. when the dust finally settled and i had the chance to de-brief with b, a few things stood out.
i don't need to feel crazy when when my kids mis-behave around their grandparents. it seems trivial, but it was like i finally realized that they are just kids. they are 3 and 4. that's really little. i've spent the last 4 years with very little tolerance for bad behavior. its time to lighten up. i'm all about dissolving tense situations with humor in the real world, its time i started doing it more with my kids. when my 4 year old tells someone she doesn't like them, i don't need to freak out on her. i have to recognize that that is really how she is feeling in that situation. does she know its not okay to say that? yes. does she say it anyway? yes. by letting her feel her feelings am i accepting defeat? no. i actually have the choice to deal with the situation with grace and move on.
after talking through all this with lealah she gave me some really good advice. but like the good friend she is, she first told me all the way worse things her kids had done--ha. as we were talking about our crazy expectations for our oldest, and how we are so much more laid back with the younger ones-- she said, 'the reason you're like that with lily is cuz you've never done 4.5. its easy to write it off when oz acts out cuz he's 3, and you've been through it plenty of times with lily and came out okay. but when lily does something new you're not sure what to do, cuz her age is, and always will be new to you.'
me relaxing doesn't just start and stop with the behavior- its in everything. like letting my kids make messes (finger painting all over each other) or creating a bug habitat using most of the flowers from our garden, or spraying each other with the hose while jumping on the tramp, or even cracking eggs with the huge risk of shell bits falling in the bowl. before, those things would make me so uptight i'd put an end to them... now i'm just cleaning up after them. no shoes, no shirt, no problem. lets live a little uh?
realizing that my kids seem to be turning out okay has recently giving me the freedom to loosen up. i'm finding that more grace for them is actually turning into better behavior. they seem to be treating each other better and obeying me and b faster. i still have a few freak out moments like when lily decides to lift her shirt to reveal a tiny tank top and announce to everyone she sees that 'she has a bra on,' or when oz yells at his friends when they aren't sharing, 'you're in a bad, bad choice!' but all in all, i've definitely taken some steps to chill the freak out.
as i've mentioned before, i want to look back on these years of my life as a time full of joy.
the other night my mom was over, and b was making a fire. the kids were playing a game, and tali was chillin in the bouncy. my mom turned to me and said, 'hol, these are the best years of your life. you are going to look back on this time and remember it with such a joyful heart.' my response was, 'really? i've never thought of that before.' 'oh yeah,' said my mom, 'are you kidding? this is the sweetest time in raising kids. think about it-- they are home all the time, you have complete control, and they just think the world of you!'
after she left and i thought about what she said, i realized she had a point. even though most days i feel like i'm gasping for air, it is such a special and unique time... the last thing i want to do is wish i was more present.
so here's to 2010, i'm gonna lighten up, play with my kids more, and really try my very best to enjoy and remember these sweet days.