Wednesday, August 01, 2007

August First--Two Months Into The Race

Did you ever read the "Frog & Toad" adventures by Arnold Lobel? They were among my sister's favorites when we were younger, & my son has picked up the passion. There is one humorous episode where Frog recalls to Toad how he (misunderstanding his parents' expression that "Spring is just around the corner," as a literal turn around the house) went searching for, and found Spring!

Well, I feel I have turned a corner, myself. My little temporary family-of-three has fallen into a workable groove. I have grown accustomed to my dietery restrictions (with hope for changes still looming). It helps that Tom was in town for two weekends in a row, and that his mother came to help out for about a week. The edge is gone. I just needed that little boost of assistance to find my sane self, and buck up a bit. Now that I'm back to seven days a week of solo parenting, I am running away--ha ha! (Better than being taken away, ha ha, to the Funny Farm, where life is beautiful all the time...!

On Thursday I will take my children to visit their Grandpa Joe in Kentucky and then hike on up to Michigan to visit with more family (my parents, Mom & George). No, not literally hike! We'll be traveling in contemporary style--MINI-VAN!!

When you are solo, there is no cure for desperation like joining up with FAMILY, no matter how dysfunctional they, themselves, may be. Togetherness is better than lonliness. So, adieu! I will likely have zero blog-time on the road since we eBay'ed my laptop some time ago to up the memory/power/storage capacities of this mega Mac. I can edit video, now, but I cannot carry my G4 on the passenger's side all the way to KY & MI. So, I'll update you in September.

Reminds me of a great Oldie, "Will I see you in September? Will I see you when the summer's through? Here we are, saying goodbye at the station; summer vacation is taking you away. Have a good time, but remember, there is danger in the summer moon above. Will I see you in September? Or lose you to a summer love?"

Funny. I might be wise to not go on too extemporaneously about that lyric... It's just a brain dump tonight. Ah, blogging.

The other saving grace for me has been my return to nightly reading. Here is one benefit of single parenting. Once the house is tidied and the kiddos are snoozing (presumably through the night), I have the bed to myself and can leave the light on as long as I want. So, I have been digging into some critical parenting books. I need some help with the stubborn independence of my four-year-old. I found it in this: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.

YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK NOW!!

Oh, that is not the way Faber & Mazlish recommend speaking to a child, by the way. Here's a better go at this: "I just read a wonderful book that helped me recognize more effective means of connecting with my children without yelling at them when I'm frustrated. Do you think that might be something you could benefit from, yourself?" Well, something like that, anyway. I've just begun, so I'll get back with you on technique...in September.

All to say, I fell into a trap, as I know a number of my friends have, recently. Our children hit a particularly "unbalanced" time in their development (see Your Four-Year-Old, Wild and Wonderful Thank you, Abby, for that healing recommendation), and their tottering sends us teetering over the edge. We are confused--"What happened to my sweet son? When did backtalking come into fashion? Hold-up! Who do you think you are, Mister? Uh-uh. I will not tolerate that in my house!" and so on... Oh, Man! We look ourselves in the mirror after a particularly painful head-butting and cry out, "There has to be a better way to do this!"

I read on the Reston Baby blog today how much moms, like me, feel like we've failed. Wait, I don't think it was Reston Baby...it was a link from there out of a post by another user,Stephanie Balvin...but, anyway, it's true! Life with your child starts out spiritually overwhelming--rewarding, awesome, unbelievable. You cannot take enough photographs, you cannot give up enough of your time/energy/self to touch, hold, feel, smell, breath in the new life of your child! Here is this soft cherub cooing at you, hanging on your every word, laughing at his bathtimes, wide-eyed and inquisitive. And, as you grow together, still, you find yourself in an unexpected symbiosis with a miniature person who has amazing control of your moods and emotions. Then you begin to realize that the person you have been given to nurture and raise, is his very own self with individual likes and dislikes, loves and hates, obsessions and aversions. He is not you as he first seemed. He is himself. Period.

The age-old Nurture/Nature challenge hits you squarely between the eyes as you stare in shock the first time your son belts another child in the jaw (OK, not my child, but he has a mean little streak in him and a moddiness very like mine, and can get to be less fun to be around when he turns Boss on his friends, demanding that they play his way or else!) Who is this child? Where are his parents, and why are they letting him get away with this?

Oh, crud. I am his parent... Now, how do I put an end to this...this...this independence!?

Ha! So, How to Talk... is fabulous for dunderheads like me who get S-T-U-C-K in a bad pattern and are clawing for a way out of the hole they've dug for themselves. It has c_a_r_t_o_o_n_s in it!! Wheeeeeeee!! My numb mind needs cartoons!!! Words are too much for me--don't tell me; show me!!

And, they do. So, if you are facing the same challenges with your Little Man or Little Woman as I have been facing (I know you are, you told me so!), GRAB & READ THIS BOOK NOW!! IF I'VE TOLD YOU ONCE, I'VE TOLD YOU... (no, no, no...there I am, slipping back into that bad pattern). Well, I recommend it. Read it or don't read it. It's your choice.

=-b

2 comments:

Jen S. said...

Hope you have a great trip! I just returned from a short trip to PA with Luke and my dad. Overall he did great, but I let him stay up late several nights, and it caught up with him. I've heard it before, but I could really see it in action this time: Lack of sleep can totally change your child's personality! Our last day there he threw a lovely little fit right in the middle of a quiet Amish market, all because I would not buy him a lollipop. He normally doesn't melt down that quickly when I tell him I won't buy him something, so I know there was something else contributing to it. It was a long ride home, to say the least!! But after a good night's sleep I'm happy to report he's doing much better. Anyway, I hope you guys have a great vacation!

ModMomMuse said...

Jen,

This will certainly be the trickiest part of our vacation because Michigan, although in the same time zone, gets late an hour later or even more (my parents are on teh farthest western geography of EST). Add that to summer's DST and...well, if I can get my kids down at 8:30 every night, it will be miraculous! PLUS, my mom just loves spending tons of time with Logan reading as many books as he requests at bedtime, even if the hour gets late--so, I will have to take his daily sleep temperature and work hard at keeping it all in line. Whew! Drive or fly--that challenge exists either way. Yikes! Thanks for the reminder.