mothering. harder than it looks.

we’ve been experiencing some tricky parenting times. there has been so much going on in our lives recently, and those busy times have taken a toll on our family dynamics. honestly, things have turned to$hit!

 

bear has been a lot to handle. his behaviour has been out of this world difficult. our mornings and evenings have book ended our days with all sorts power struggles masked under screaming and shouting and lotsa tears (and not just his)!

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when i am tired, i can lose my temper quickly, reacting poorly to the situation at hand. heading into this busy week i made a conscious decision to stay cool, offering instead extra love in hugs and kisses and other positive reinforcements. i have focussed on the beautiful, funny, intelligent and creative choices my kids have made, instead of attacking the ugly, messy and unsafe decisions. somehow doing that is harder for me, especially when we are all tired and feeling maxed out. i realize now that sometimes it’s as though i’m waiting for my kids to screw up, instead of expecting sweet success from them. i know that is a horrible thing to admit, but i think it comes from my own habit of yimmering on about stuff that doesn’t deserve my constant attention, rather than focussing on things that do.

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so, once i incorporated extra hair tussles, tickle times and just gentle loving touches into our day, we all seem to have cooled our jets and changed our attitudes. there has been an obvious decrease in the general volume at our house, which in turn has decreased tensions and tears. dear hubby suspected a while that a lot of bear’s “acting out” comes from good ol’ fashioned sibling jealousy and i think he is right. sibling rivalry is a powerful force, often appearing at the least obvious of times.

 

i wish, as a mama to these amazing boys, that i would just always remember to give more during the most trying of times instead of pulling away. when my kids are being jerks all day every day, that is when i must shower them with kisses and pull out some great thing did in between all the jerkyness, and focus on the good.  i know to some this may seem so obvious, and as i sit here and type this, it does seem so freaking obvious, but in those dark days of chronic power struggles it is impossible to see, never mind put into action.

 

i am only human and i too make mistakes when it comes to mothering stuff. i am constantly learning and trying to remember to be stronger and turn the volume down and to just SHUT UP sometimes.

 

this is so much harder than i ever could have imagined.

 

 

xo, mama lola

the sickest of the sick.

 

my littlest lion has just had a terrible run of luck with his health these passed few months. first there was the never ending cold that included fever and one of those coughs that held on and on. then just as we thought everyone was healthy and ready to celebrate easter, my lion started to throw up, got another fever, and then his back exploded in a painful rash. oh, and let’s not forget about the ear ache…

so on the saturday following good friday we visited a doctor who after completing a swab test gave us the bad news, lion had strep. my poor little lamb was put on antibiotics, which kinda knocked him down a bit. being sick and trying to get healthy is a lot of work, especially for a little body like his. anyhow, the antibiotics worked their magic clearing up the strep, and on his last day on the meds he started to complain that it hurt to pee. well, this has happened before and with boy plumbing sometimes things get “stuck” in the pipes, so after a warm bath we were hoping that would be that. it was confusing, because when he wasn’t trying to pee, he was happy and his regular smiling self and didn’t complain about any kind of pain.

but alas, the pain seemed to increase, so i took him to our family doctor who after examining a urine sample determined my wee lion had an urinary tract infection (UTI). more antibiotics then… BAH! what? how could this be? how does this happen? only about 1-2% of boys even get UTI’s and i’ve never even had one.

it took us almost an entire day to get his prescription filled, because there is a manufacturers shortage on some liquid antibiotic… blah… blah… anyhow, long story short, after crying at the pharmacy and sobbing to the pharmacist, with two hungry little kids with me, a friend stepped in and found a pharmacy who could supply us with this antibiotic. more tears. hi and mine.

after a couple of days the pain didn’t seem to get better so i called our family doctor in tears. they told me to come back i. we discussed options and she suggested going to the ER, as there they could do tests quickly and get results quickly. so off we went. after a looooong wait, lots of discussions with the doctor and nurse practitioner, it sounds like maybe my lion never had a UTI, but another kind of infection in his penis, and so the hospital gave us a new prescription for another antibiotic. by now i was feeling quite pessimistic, tired and sad about the lack of options for my little guy in pain, but we had to give the meds a fair chance to work, so that’ what we have done. it is day 4 on the new meds and lion’s anxiety about using the toilet has decreased, although he still says it hurts to pee. he isn’t screaming or writhing in pain anymore, which  is a huge relief.

 

lion by the window

if you’ve ever had  a full blown UTI or other infection in your bits, you know the excruciating pain even one little drop of pee feels like when leaving the body. but, the pain i have felt these passed few days as a mama forcing my child to pee, because he needs to drink a lot to flush out his system, because the doctor needed a urine sample, because that’s how the body gets rid of waste. i have cried with my screaming child as he has sat on the toilet bravely peeing. my bear, lion’s older brother has tried to be encouraging saying beautiful, loving things to his little brother, but i know this week has been very stressful for him as well. watching and listening to other’s hurt is very upsetting, but for a six year old i think it’s even worse, because it is difficult for him to process or talk about what’s going on.

 

oh, my boys.

oh, what a week!

 

i am hoping for the sake of my family that this coming week is healthier, calmer and full of lots of laughter. we have had much support from friends, with yummy homemade dinners brought over, lots of kind, comforting words. it feels good to be part of a village!

MWAH!

xo, mama lola

where is spring: i am losing myself.

i know much of the talk recently for so many of us has been this epic, long winter. it has been cold and snowy, and when i say cold and snowy i don’t mean your typical winter freeze! i mean exceptionally cold temperatures that have dragged on for months, topped off with exceptionally high snow fall, which has led to a winter of great efforts! initially, we all loved the winter activities we were able to jump into so quickly but, now i think my mental health is on the edge. i am trying to hold on, but i feel myself slipping into a sadness, a lethargy and a feeling of total, blah.

 

my insomnia is back. last night i was up until 2am, thinking and thinking about all sorts of things. i tip-toed downstairs, found my computer, sat down to blog a little, then i checked-out pinterest and after an hour decided to go back to bed. recently, the pain in my neck that travels all the way down the right side of my body is back, as well. i had it last spring and it completely immobilized me for a few days. i am trying to keep my head up, but sometimes it feels as though i am fighting against my own body.

 

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the kids are exhausted by the weather as well. last year at this time, we had enjoyed many warm spring like days wearing only raincoats or sweaters, instead of still piling on our woolies, snow pants and parkas. they are completely disinterested in tobogganing or going on winter hikes or going ice skating; they want to run and play without the restrictions of snow. i get it, cuz SO DO I! on the weekend is was pretty cold on sunday, but dear hubby got the kids out to play after some serious convincing, and the guys had a great time! i think their mental health is affected by this long, never ending winter as well. they are eager to get back on their scooters and bikes, fly kites and make some awesome mud pies!

 

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check-out their amazing work in -10c conditions, where the snow is covered with ice making it hard, instead of compact and easy to build with. they really got serious about building their igloo; bear stayed inside organizing ice blocks that his little brother was delivering to him. the team work they demonstrated was quite touching.

 

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i am hoping to find some energy and motivation soon.

i want to play outside, get dirt under my fingernails and watch as the trees all come back to life. it is impossible to even think about gardening, as there are snow mountains 2-3 meters high in our front and back yards. it will take a long time for all of it to melt!

 

how are you coping with this winter?

what’s the weather like where you are?

 

happy tuesday to you!

xo, mama lola

my kids are so different.

i am coming to some big realizations about who my kids are and how i parent them.

my oldest, bear, is an anxious kid. he has struggled with his anxiety for as long as i can remember. because, he is my first borne, i didn’t realize that what he was presenting was in fact anxiety, i just thought all kids had epic meltdowns around new things. my heart aches for him, for me; i wish i had known then what i know now. things could have been so much easier and less stressful for all of us. when bear was 3.5 years i sent him to  morning gymnastics camp with a friend from preschool. he screamed and cried and was a mess at drop-off, while his friend was eager to join the fun and learn some tricks. at another camp that same summer, his screaming was even louder and his grasp around my leg was even stronger, but still i just left him. everyone around me told me it was just separation anxiety and that it was normal. even though nobody else’s kid was having the same severe reaction to being dropped off. (and to clarify, i don’t blame anyone for saying this, it just was what everyone thought at the time : 20/20 hindsight is so clear.)

since that summer, i have stopped pushing him, and only sign him up for things that he specifically asks for.

we have tried slowly transitioning him into things, but that doesn’t always help either. or, not that it doesn’t help, but it often backfires eventually. it’s really hard to mother a child with anxiety, because i know people judge and blame me; especially since i am a bit of a worrier myself. i am the easy scapegoat, as all mother’s (and parents) are.

but, here’s the thing, my second borne, lion now 3.5 yrs has no sign of anxiety. he is definitely sensitive  child, but when he gets nervous in new situations his behaviour is never as extreme as his brother’s. but, he is not anxious. on his first day of preschool he skipped away into his classroom with a huge smile n his face. he just started swimming lessons and happily went into the pool alone with his instructor, put his face in the water and blew bubbles. there were NO tears, no thigh clinging and no verbalization that he was scared. as i watched him this passed monday in the pool, i was overcome with relief and ridiculous amounts of pride. relief, because he was calm and willing to try something new, even though he was a bit unsure. within minutes of his lesson he was fearless, listening to instructions and clearly feeling pretty proud of himself. as he should.

i should add, that bear started Tennis Lessons the following day, and he too was brave and didn’t cry at all. but, leading up to the lessons my stomach was in knots on fear of his transitin into this new extracurricular activity.

all of this to say that as a mum to two very different kids, i have to remind myself that they will probably always respond quite differently to new things in life. they will transition into hobbies, school grades, summer camps and whatever else in their own individual ways. they will both need my love and nurturing, but clearly even at this young age they are expressing their needs differently. i must become more cognisant of their differences in our daily lives; pushing lion more and pushing bear less.

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i am still learning on how to become a good mum. i am work in progress.

what are some of your challenges in mothering/ parenting? share in the comments.

 

xo, mama lola

a new year.

i am a little late in sharing about what this new year means to me. i’m late to the game, because i can’t actually decide what i want this new chapter to look or feel like. i’ve been really trying to think of resolutions that i should make and try to keep, but nothing really feels sincere. in years passed i have tried to really make my own needs a priority, which now that the kids are bigger is just happening. all i can say is, i want to be stronger emotionally, which as a resolution will be almost impossible to measure. does that matter?

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as humans, we are all in a steady flow of change; we are always evolving, gaining strengths, acquiring knowledge, and moving forward. knowing this helps me move on from the burdens of my past and try to maintain a flow towards more positive thinking and living. my ego and esteem have taken a heavy beating, and coming out of that is much harder than i thought it would be. i am always second guessing myself, and i find it difficult to truly like myself. self-doubt has been eating away at me for far too long.

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lucky for me, i have wonderful love in my life. i have people in my village who accept my weaknesses and do not judge me. and honestly, if they do, well, i can’t really do anything about that. i will continue to try to hold my chin up as they say and move on. i have a pretty good life, and i know this. so, i am going to try to control my anxiety, my self doubt and not let these parts of my self control my life.

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source

i am going to try new things even it scares me, reach further out of my comfort zone and accept who i am.

once and for all.

xo, mama lola

preschool is fun or is it?!

my lion began preschool in september. he goes for three hours, twice a week. he started the year with great enthusiasm, excitement and joy, but that honeymoon period seems have come to an abrupt end.
i kinda thought it might.

lion is still eager to go, but it’s what i hear from his teachers that has me a tiny bit worried. apparently, he doesn’t talk very much and is very quiet, even with his peers. which, for a 3 year old isn’t unusual, but lion is a pretty chatty guy with the people he interacts with regularly. also, he is apparently sitting back a lot from activities, choosing to watch rather than participate. again, not really a big deal considering his age, but he says he feels sad and that’s why he’s not participating.
that kinda breaks my heart.


and, the fact that the teachers are bringing it up, worries me. 
i’ve tried chatting casually with lion about preschool. i have tried asking specific questions, but it is impossible to get any clear answers from him. he contradicts himself in a sincere way that only a small child can. 

a couple of weeks ago dear hubby and i spent a small portion of the morning at the preschool playing with the kids and chatting with the teachers. lion was happy to have us, as he showed us all sorts of wonderful toys he gets to play with.


as his mama, i want to do what’s best for him, without pushing him too much. finding that balance, knowing when to push and when not to, is such a tricky dance i seem to be doing all the time with the kids. as a mama, i want my kids to feel challenged, but supported. it’s ok for them to feel apprehensive about new situations and people, i just don’t want them to feel debilitated by those feelings of fear or anxiety causing them to choose not to participate in activities.


to help him feel more grounded, dear hubby has been sleeping on the bottom bunk with him for a couple of weeks. sometimes i think the kids need indirect support, care and love, which co-sleeping allows us to do. i remember going through phases in my childhood, where i would curl into my parents bed.

sometimes these things are phases, and sometimes these things are personality traits. either way, i just hope my lion feels supported at home.
i have such love and pride for him.




 


xo, mama lola

learning to be bear wise.

i am scared of bears.

i live in a country and a province that has bear. black bears, to be specific.
we’ve been at the cottage and i have seen several on the property on a couple of different occasions in the last 5 years. once, when bear was about 9 months old, he and i were playing in front of the cottage when i felt like someone was staring at us, and bam, when i turned around i made eye contact with a black bear up a hill, in and among the forest about 50 metres away!

this is my sweet little guy moments before i saw the bear.


immediately i grabbed my wee baby, ran inside, ran to the window and saw the bear sniffing the ground we had just been standing on. with my adrenalin kicking i tried to find my camera to get a picture, but my hands were shaking so much and my heart was pounding in my chest… it was hard and scary…

this was the picture i got of the bear making it’s way up the driveway. my dad gave a s#it for even trying to get a photo of a bear. you see, i stepped out of the cottage, just a little to snap this photo.


i have always been slightly nervous about bears.
at treeplanting we had bears visit our camp all the time. some people even had their tents ripped open by bears, but luckily this happened when they themselves were out in the clearcut working! ha! at treeplanting there are lots of rules about how and where to keep your items with scent, because shampoo’s and even a tiny lip balm container can attract bears. their noses are so incredibly efficient and curious!

a black bear.

 [ source : government of yukon pages ]


this summer the boys, dear hubby and i are driving north in ontario for our summer road trip. we are heading up to thunder bay to where dear hubby and i met and fell in love! we plan on camping a bit, and i can honestly say that i am already a little worried. so, i did a little bit of research on google about bears.
i found this map.

source ]

it’s pretty good i think, doesn’t really make me feel better, but at least it’s a clear visual of what i should expect. and, i should expect bears.
sigh.

dear hubby bought be a book “bear attacks; their causes and avoidance” after one of my bear sightings at the cottage. i read the book cover to cover, and really came to the conclusion that there isn’t much you can do to avoid a bear, or a black bear specifically. if they are hungry, or feel threatened they may attack. bears do not typically eat people, but again, if they are hungry enough they sure will. what really worries me is the realization that it is difficult to get away from a bear, especially when with kids; bears are fast runners and excellent climbers. where do we go to get away?

plus that whole making noise to deter bears, well, it doesn’t necessarily work either. it can make the bears curious and draw them TO YOU, instead of scaring them and deterring them AWAY FROM YOU. that day at the cottage when bear was a babe and we saw the bear, i was actually singing super loudly and clapping in the hopes of scaring the furry beasts, as a few months earlier i had seen another bear sniffing the baby stroller we left outside!

clearly i have not shared my concerns with the kids. they know there are bears in the woods, because it comes up in conversation, the way the habitats of all sorts of animals do. but, i will not share my fears with them either, especially since my 5YO bear, is quite anxious at times already. hopefully we will not see any bears or evidence of them, but that being said… any night we sleep in a tent i will be laying there eyes wide open listening closely to each creak and tweet in the forest. 

wish me luck!!!

xo, mama lola

a mother’s guilt, a bear’s meltdown.

it is hump day and, boy, are we feeling the midweek burn-out. 

this morning was such a terrible start to the day, especially for my sweet bear. he woke up angry, because he started growling about everything as soon as he opened up his eyes. the growl was deeper and louder, than the usual morning antics. 

it all started, because he didn’t want to wear his jeans. isn’t that the way these things always start? so, i told him he could get another pair of pants from his dresser, but the ones he wanted were in the laundry. of course they were! then as the complaints about the jeans continued, his voice got louder, the screams screechier and the tears flowed even heavier. i was downstairs trying to get his lunch made, lion was eating his breakfast and bear was melting down upstairs. at exactly 7:44am, i knew he was going to be late for school, because he was still in his undies and he hadn’t had breakfast, and school starts at 8:35am.

i phoned dear hubby at work thinking if bear talked to his dad in private maybe that would help, but he actually just escalated. so, i did the only thing i could do. i went upstairs and held him as he screamed at full volume into my ear. i whispered sweet nothings into his ear refusing to let him go. he did eventually, slowly, calm down from that super extreme place where his anxiety takes him. i did get a bowl of granola into him and some apple chunks, before we headed to school in the pissing rain.

at school, we had to go to the office, sign in, change into inside shoes and then trek down to the gym for the anti-bullying assembly. that’s where his class was. there his teacher saw us and came to greet my bear and escort him into the fun and join his friends.
i was left in the hallway with my lion, with a massive lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. i felt as though i was abandoning my guy in his time of need, in a time when he was feeling vulnerable and unsure of his world. i felt overwhelmed with guilt (as usual) and i felt an increased worry about this anxiety. so did what i always do in these situations, and i came home and cried.

look at this adorable guy with his swift scooter and awesome helmet! i love him so.


that was a few hours ago now, and i still upset by the whole thing.
it is so hard for me to shake things off. because this mornings meltdown is about something more than just jeans, it’s about anxiety. and that part of the equation is still unknown to us, and will for quite some time, even though we are in the process of accessing help. the wheels always move so slowly.

for now, we are trying to move onwards and upwards.

xo, mama lola
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