Dellabee and Me

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Archive for the month “May, 2009”

Trying

I am trying, okay?

My kids will not give me a break.  I feel like I can’t do ANYTHING when they are around because it quickly becomes about them.  If I try to exercise, they get all silly and wound up and start shouting for me to watch them.  If I try to watch a movie, they talk to me or fight with each other loudly enough that I can’t hear it.  If I try to read something, one of them will want to read with me by grabbing the pages, or by asking me repetitive, unanswerable questions about the book cover illustration – while the other one will engage in some sort of illicit activity designed for my swift and direct intervention, like, say, hitting the dog with a plastic gold club.  Even if I try to just sit with them, near them, while they are playing, I can’t be unnoticed.  Soon I am covered in blankets and stuffed animals, sat on, my hair pulled by my daughter “the twirler”, or I am solicited for snacks and stories.

I don’t think I realized when I decided to have kids how much they need.  The first year, the baby year, is so much easier than these preschool years.  I feel as if I am constantly working at a job where the employees are undervalued and overworked.  I often feel like I am drowning, suffocating, unable to breathe without another little face there claiming my air as his or her own.

Sometimes I get snappy.  I don’t think it’s resentment I feel.  I just feel lost, like the world has no place for me anymore, which pisses me off.  I get angry when I finally sit down to eat my lunch and as soon as my ass hits the chair one of the kids asks for more to drink.  I want from my kids something that they are unable to give me – recognition of my value as a person APART from them and their needs.  I assume that this will change when they get older (fingers crossed).

And so I do what I need to to get through another day.  I try to focus on the smallness of the moment and not the enormousness of lifetime.  I try to decide how I will spend today, not next weekend or my birthday or next summer.  I try to remind myself that eventually the kids will not want to be around me at all, that their secrets will really be secret, that they will soon feel irritated and restless because they have to be with ME instead of the other way around.  I try to just embrace what the day has to offer.

I try to find the little pieces of who I was in the now of me.

I am trying.  I am trying.

Beautiful

I re-read my last post and what was meant to be tongue-in-cheek now appears a bit snarky to me. Man, that pms…

I just finished reading Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center. The story itself appealed to me for obvious reasons – the main character is a mom of 3 who has put herself last, and decides to start taking care of herself for a change – but what got to me was the final paragraph of the book.

“Laughter is beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Cellulite is beautiful. Softness and plumpness and roundness are beautiful. It’s more important to be interesting, to be vivid, and to be adventurous, than to sit pretty for pictures.”

Isn’t that great? Since then, my own twisted view of things has weighed heavily on me. I keep suddenly finding reference to the word “beauty” in books, online, every where I look. Is the world trying to tell me something?

I think it is time for a change, my friends.

This is a charmed life. Although there are bumps and snags along the way, well, there is also a lot of beauty to behold. The choice is in choosing to see it.

Today, on this day, I am turning my face toward the sun.

kids at the park

 

Helicopter Parenting

I first heard this term AFTER I had kids and I thought it was so offensive. But it very accurately describes how things have been for me since moving. Oh no, I’m not the helicopter. Far from it.

My parenting style is a philosophy I have coined “active neglect.” I am choosing to be as uninvolved as safety permits. This means if the kids refuse to put shoes on before going outside, I don’t chase them with the shoes in my hand or refuse to let them play shoeless. They just go without shoes, then when they step on something that hurts them or complain because they have dirty feet I remind them “hey, shoes could’ve prevented that.”

When we go to playgrounds, I keep them within eye sight but don’t do alot of “helping” them play. This is because the whole point, in my opinion, of going to a playground instead of playing at home is so the kids can play with other kids and I can take a break from playing cruise director. If I am the one playing with them at the park, what’s the point?

Sure, I’ll help one of them climb up something, push them on the swings, or figure out how to use something. But I won’t go down the slide with them or “catch” them at the bottom if they are old enough to get up to the top of the slide unassisted in the first place. I also don’t use a high-pitched “isn’t this SO MUCH FUN” voice because my kids think it sounds as stupid as I do.

Today at the playground the other parents were helicoptering like it was a war. One little girl, about 4, had 2 parents following her at arms-length throughout the little toddler playground. Predictably, this kid did not want to play with mine because she had 2 grown-up playmates instead, who would not get in front of her on the slide but would instead ooh and ahh at every little thing she even thought about attempting.

Another couple had a little boy who was maybe not quite 2, and he ambled around the fenced area with that toddler confidence that makes one greatful for fenced areas. The 2 adults with this little guy, though, were not content with the fencing and instead insisted upon gripping his hand the entire time they were there.  They also climbed on the toddler playset with him, repeatedly lifted him up over the wide, rubberized stairs instead of letting him climb them himself, and had an adult stationed at the top and bottom of the slide.  One of them even kept raising her arms in fear at MY kid, while she climbed around the structure like a monkey, because “ooh, I don’t want her to fall.”  News flash folks: it’s a TODDLER playground, and they all fall at some point.

It really was an appalling waste of resources.

I do not mean to judge. Honestly, I don’t. Because I know that none of us have the answers and we all want to do this parenting thing well.

I just think when it comes to parenting, trying too hard can be as bad as not trying at all.

GRRRRRR

I am grumpy.

I am so grumpy, I am sick of hearing myself. Everything I say has that bitchy edge to it. All I have done for the past week is glare while semi-yelling/shrieking at my kids or the dog. Literally, I am giving me a headache.

This is likely but a spoke in the wheel of my menstrual cycle. If so, I should be back to normal in another week or 2. If not, well, I think I might need to find a good doctor here and see about getting some happy pills.

I know – ooooohhh, she said happy pills. I did. I have been on antidepressants twice in the last 3 years. I have been parenting for nearly five. Think there is a connection?

It is true, I think, that our children make us crazy. Not only is it in dealing with the shenanigans they pull – my 2 year old continually patting the flat-screen tv with unidentifiable schmutz on her hands despite my threats and glares and the continuing round of time-outs, or being forced to watch the same movie for 3 weeks straight in every waking hour. It is the whiplash of emotions that get to me, how in the span of less than a minute I can go from wanting to inflict grievous bodily injury on my child for laying under the throw rug like its a blanket to wanting to weep and melt into a pink froth because she has crawled into my grudge-filled lap to say “I lubba you too” while I fight with the DVD player.

I often find myself at odds with, well, myself. How is it possible to feel completely conflicting emotions in almost the same moment about the same person? And this is on a good day, so imagine my struggle while in the midst of hormones and anxiety about money and being someplace new.

I think I need a drink, and to check that calendar again cause I need a breakthrough here.

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