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 swimming 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

nobody listens to me.

i am experiencing some mama-rage and need to vent…

so, i think my family is somehow confused, because when i speak, instead of pausing whatever it is they are doing, they walk away, talk over me, start another conversation with another member of our family, start singing, fall asleep, or just blatantly ignore me. the continued lack of listening is starting to really wear me down. i mean sure, not everything i say is interesting or funny, but maybe if i wasn’t always repeating myself a hundred million times a day, then i’d have time and the brain capacity to be hilarious, ya know? every day my kids and i go through the same motions when getting ready for school. every day the volume increases at the same points and every morning i list off the things they have to get done; brush teeth, get your boots on, get your backpack, stop fighting with you brother…

this astounds me, i mean c’mon, how is this my life?

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i am not quite the mother i always dreamed i would be. but, in my own defense, my kids aren’t quite the way i had fantasized either. in all honesty, in my pre-mothering days, i thought my kids would be better at listening to me, but to my utter dismay, i am a mama who has to raise her voice in order to see results happen around this house. and let me clarify, it’s not as though i raise my voice and say “get your outside stuff on” and then the kids do it. no, no, i have to crank the volume of my voice and hit repeat; i say the same $hit to them over and over again, until i feel like i am going to explode. it seems to only be getting wore with age… gah!!!

and, my sweet DH? well, some days he’s not any better…

please, PUH-lease tell me i am not alone in this…

xo, mama lola

sickness.

sickness has entered our home. it is stubborn, unrelenting and refusing to leave.

last monday night bear developed a fever. it kept creeping upwards, it hit +39.4c and plateaued. my 5yo was lethargic and listless,  without any other typical sick symptoms’ no runny nose, no belly ache, no cough, no nothing. just a fever. then finally the fever started to creep back down, and bear began eating more and playing again. he missed so much school last week. luckily he is only in SK so it’s not as though he will fall behind.

today to my dismay, a cough and drippy nose has bravely presented itself in bear’s head.  he is coughing chronically, consistently and it is driving us all bit mad.  his eyes look red from the tired that sickness brings. his behaviour is just plain obnoxious, as he is trying to keep up with the day playing and interacting with his family. all his body wants to do is rest.

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a morning bath, while his little brother was at preschool.

as his mama, it’s hard to find that balance with rest and play, especially because so much of last week was spent vegging, watching tv and sleeping. we had a busy weekend planned, but had to pull back and stay closer to home. i wanted bear as recharged for school, as possible. i did send him to school today, because he and i  need space. plus, i think he was healthy enough.

(knock on wood!)

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my lion has been stuck at home, by default. luckily, he has been happy to play and lounge in his pj’s!

the rest of us see fine and  not showing any signs of illness, but i’m not holding my breath. i am sure with time, we too will get knocked down. sickness will kick our butts sooner rather than later.

such is life.

xo, mama lola

paper bag puppets!

this was a HIT as an after-school craft last week. i was watching a friends lovely ladies, so i had to come up with a craft that would interest kids from 3yrs to 7yrs. this was it!

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before i picked up the big kids from school, lion and i got all the supplies ready.

* brown paper bags

* glue

* feathers

* markers, pens, pencils

* pipe cleaners

* pom-poms

* googly eyes

* construction paper

* cotton balls

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each kid chose something different to make; we had an alien, a kitty, a frog, a bird. it was so much fun. the older kids made more detailed puppets, and my three year old made a pretty simple frog, but it was still fun!

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look at these wonderful paper bag puppets! we used cotton balls and small pom poms for eye balls, which i think were quit effective! pipe cleaners make wonderful antennas, or whatever!

lion gifted his frog to his mummo for her birthday, so i didn’t get a picture of it.

below is a silly, green alien!

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this is bear’s cat. it has a red collar and a curly tail! fancy!

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what kind of puppet will you make?

this is my bird. it’s eating a fish!

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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

halloween fun!

we had a fantastic halloween this year! the kids were so psyched and everything seemed to fall into place perfectly!

lion decided he wanted to be a robot. so, he and i made him a simple costume out of a some vent-tube stuff from home depot, a cardboard box, a cereal box, spray paint, and various odds n’ ends we found at home. he loved his costume and i was so pleased with the way it turned out. 

bear wanted to be an astronaut. i had seen on pinterest several posts about how to make the jet pack out of empty pop bottles, but i wasn’t really sure how the rest of his costume was going to look like. but, thanks to a quick trip to the local thrift shop at the end of a dae night,  it too came together swimmingly! we found a super shiny vest and short set, which were perfect!



the boys had their own halloween parties at their school’s. that meant i had to do some creative back-n-forth driving to participate in both, but it all worked out, and i was so happy to join the fun!

after dinner it was time for the main event to get started : TRICK OR TREATING! with their boots on and their thrift store pum’kin buckets in hand, we headed on out. 

it was a dark and stormy night… no, for real. the downpour was ghastly, but making it worse was the incredible winds! i was holding onto the brolly with all my might and still it tried to fli inside out on me! but, the kids didn’t even notice that they were getting soggy!

once back home in our warm home, we all quickly changed into our pajama’s, made some tea and then checked out the mountain of candy. the kids received an enormous amount! maybe people were extra generous due to the weather, or maybe t’s cu they were just so darn cute, but whatever the reason the boys were delighted!

 


how was your halloween?

xo, mama lola

welcome, november.

a view  up at the trees and the sky from my backyard.


we are shockingly now into the eleventh month of this year. 
a year filled with so much change but also sameness, a year with new habits, but with the old ones still clinging on. 
it has been a year of re-connection, of resurfacing. 

i have been feeling a little retrospective, nostalgic and sentimental as of late. last november was a particularly difficult time for me and my family (i will not get into any details). i know there are people around us who are holding their breath to see how we fare as we reach this new unremarkable, but painful anniversary.

and for anyone who might be wondering…
we are just fine. better than fine, in fact.
DH and i are splendid. just recently he brought home a lovely bouquet of fall flowers; a small token from his big, loving heart. sure, we have our ups and downs like all couples, but nothing we cannot handle.
our boys are better than splendid. they are growing and learning so much; all i want to do is push the pause button so i can drink up more of their childhood before it’s too late. 
time moves so quickly.

but, i welcome november with strong, open arms.
bring it on, i say.
i’m ready.

xo, mama lola

am i taken for granted? a mama vent.

as a stay-at-home-mum, i do a lot of stuff for other people. my days start early with thoughts of getting kids to school, what to make for dinner, how to dress my boys, remembering their vitamins and signing whatever form school sent home.

then, at school i kiss my eldest for the day and depending on if it’s monday or tuesday or wednesday or… well, you get the idea, i go grocery shopping, drop my youngest off at preschool, organize playdates, do laundry, wash floors, mend torn pants, make halloween costumes, or i think in detail what any of us may need depending on the season in regards to winter clothing, summer clothing, i book dental appointments, optometrist appointments, doctors appointments.

just a little humour from pinterest!


and, where do i fit into all of this?
who takes care of me? who reminds me of my appointments, who asks me if i need new winter boots and then buys the for me?

there are days when i feel as though i am empty. as though i have given the last morsel of myself to my family. and, i don’t actually mind feeling empty and exhausted from giving, because i have chosen this role for myself. but, i am hurt by the lack of acknowledgement, gratitude and attention my continue efforts are rewarded. i am not asking for a parade, or gifts, but i do expect a simple thank-you, a hug or a nod in my direction. the thank-you’s and hugs are what re-charge my batteries and inspire me to do more. but, when i am continually what feels like ignored, i become filled with resentment.

clearly, i am feeling taken for granted as i write this.
i know my family isn’t hurting me on purpose. 
i know they love me with all of their hearts. they just forget to mention that they appreciate their dinners made from scratch, clean n’ fresh undies and my undivided attention.
i have not lost perspective.
i just need to vent.


thanks for listening.

xo, mama lola

bear’s mental health day from school.

today i kept my eldest, my 5 year old bear home from school.

i did this for a couple of reasons. first, he’s a bit of a sensitive guy, who gets overwhelmed easily. when he’s tired from the routine of school his behaviour at home becomes less than ideal. he starts to antagonize his little brother, he says mean things to all of us and he just becomes unpleasant to be around.
another reason i kept him home, last night when DH and i headed for bed i found bear sleeping in our bed. my heart kinda melted. he goes through phases where he wants to sleep with us, and i think it’s when he’s feeling overwhelmed, tired and slightly stressed. by sleeping with us, i feel like we are all re-connecting with each other. i’m hoping he feels supported, loved and grounded by cuddling in with us.

so, i listened to my mama instincts and decided he needed some quiet time at home. his little brother, lion went to preschool, so that means we get to have some quality time together. it meant, he got to be at home and play without the disruption of his brother and enjoy some much needed peace for a change.


we played trains as soon as DH and lion left this morning. then we had a snack.
then he decided to write a book.


this is the kind of thing that really gets me as a mother; his thirst for learning and creating is incredible. everyday he works on various craft projects, writing and creating. it is amazing! at school his class is large, and although his teachers are wonderful, i’m sure it’s hard for bear to accomplish what he wants. and, the school days are long, so by the time we get home, eat snack, there is a small window for activities before it’s time for dinner.

today, after watching him, talking with him and just being with him, i know this was just what he needed. what i needed.
a simple day at home can really do wonders for one’s mental health.

i am his mama and i know what’s best for him. 

xo, mama lola

the blah’s.

it is mostly dark and grey outside, with spurts of warm sun here and there. the temperature is dropping outside and we are down to single digit temps now. fall has wrapped it’s soggy, wet arms around us tightly and will not let go.
fall is here to stay.

this time of year is a time for transitions. we are shifting seasons up here in canada, and at home we are shifting gears. my kids are slowing down, sleeping a little longer, wanting to play inside more and i’m just waiting for the sickness to kick in. i have brought out extra sweaters and layers to help keep the chill away. we turned on the furnace, as +16c seemed a little cold as an inside temperature!

and, me? well, i too am slowing down, wanting to cozy up inside and i too am feeling lethargic. actually, i have felt tired and not quite myself for a couple of weeks now. i have started to take an iron supplement, a multi-vitamin, i exercise somewhat regularly, eat pretty well, but something is making me super exhausted. there are days where i feel like i am a narcoleptic, doing everything in my power not to pass out.
sounds funny, especially since i’m only 34 years young!
but, quite honestly, it feels unsettling.



my friends are suggesting i go see my family doctor, just to find out exactly what is going on. but, when will i find the time? between school drop-off’s, grocery runs, vacuuming at home, nap time, it’s really hard to squeeze in an appointment for me. also quite frankly, i am a little reluctant. the last time i felt crappy for a long period of time and talked to my doctor we discovered my pituitary gland tumour. now, i don’t want to sound dramatic, but i am a little nervous about what she might tell me. is it better to know, of course it is, because knowledge is empowering, but i feel like we are finally finding some kind of peace and calm at our house. i don’t want to stir the pot.
i don’t want to go looking for a problem or issue.
and, i don’t want to seem like i’m wanting attention or sickness…

maybe it’s just the fall blah’s.
yeah… it probably just is.





xo, mama lola
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