It’s Just a Phase, Or Is It?

“It’s just a phase.  He’ll grow out of it,” my mother says to me for the one millionth time as I’ve called her pleading for advice, help, a drink, anything.   She then goes into stories about my brother, how strong willed he was and determined to carve his own path regardless of who was standing in his way.   Sounds about like my Henry.

I don’t remember Davey being this terrible.   I don’t recall that every other word muttered under my breath was a swear word, as I found some sort of outlet for myself while travelling along the not so dusty road of a two year old.   I was actually pregnant with Henry when Davey was going through his terrible twos, and no way was my patience, or lack thereof, this bad.   No way!   And no way was Davey this demonic.  I’ve even snuck into Henry’s room some nights just to see if his eyes glow, or if he’s chanting in his sleep.   At least that will confirm what’s going on with him.

It’s gotten to the point where I wonder if it’s too early to start researching military academies for Henry.   Is it?   I mean, if I tell them my child is a juvenile delinquent and that I’m unable to whip him into shape the way my parents did (spankings and what not), then will they do it for me?   Seriously, I’m considering it.

I tell people about Henry and I hear the same. old. thing.   “Not my sweet Henry.   Not that cute little boy.  Maybe you should let me have him for day.”  Yes!  I will give him to the least highest bidder for the day.  Heck, I’ll even pay you and I can guarantee that if he doesn’t turn you into a knee walking drunk, who wants to drown her sorrows in a bathtub full of whiskey every night, nothing will!   I would stake my life on the fact that my boy would turn even the driest person in the world into a raging alcoholic.   And I’m not really sure if they’ll thank me for it or forever curse me later.

I’ve been told it’s the second child syndrome.  Perhaps!  Perhaps that is the case.  He’s eager to do what his big brother does, but to do it in his own way, AND to do it better, no less.   He is strong willed and honestly there are some days when I’m almost tempted to rip off my shirt and just get the verbal, toddler flogging over with!  It’s a daily regime.   There’s rolling of eyes (mostly his), gnashing of teeth (both of us), and roars that could wake the greatest of hibernating bears (and I think he has me beat with the roars).

He’s bossy, domineering, whiney, dramatic, and I swear if he didn’t have his man parts, I would think I’ve been given a daughter!   I wake up daily, praying to make it at least through my coffee (I’ve given up trying to make it through breakfast) before having a melt down to rival that of Chernobyl.  I actually get up EARLY just so that I can have some peace and quiet!  I sacrifice my sleep! By 10 am, I’m wondering if I could sneak in a beer.   By noon, I’m thinking my husband better not be late getting home.  By 3, I’m telling myself it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and then considering how it would look to go into the local liquor store with my two kids in tow.   I think the owner and everyone else would understand and once they met Henry, I bet my first bottle would be free.

The one perk to this kid’s attitude…I NEVER regret my decision to have a tubaligation.   Smartest decision I’ve ever made. EVER!



Criss Cross Apple Sauce

When I first became a stay at home mom, I immediately began taking Davey to our local library.   I wanted to have interaction with other adults and for Davey to have interaction with other children.  It was a wonderful experience as it allowed me the opportunity to meet other stay at home moms, and we even formed a playgroup that met weekly outside of the library.   It was an absolutely wonderful thing.

As with most things in life, people grow (children more specifically) and responsibilities become more and more burdensome.   Our playgroup fizzled apart after about a year when moms were having other babies and unable to attend or were moving, as was the case with two of the moms.   It was a sad day for me as this became such a wonderful thing for both Davey and me.

With the introduction of Henry into our lives, I found it hard to maintain our once hectic schedules and I stopped taking Davey to the library.   I soothed my guilt by saying that he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program and that was plenty of social interaction for him, but by doing that I neglected to let Henry have his own thing.  I didn’t take Henry to the story time at the library because it was geared for little ones (his age) and met on the days when Davey wasn’t at Mother’s Morning Out which meant he would be with us and thereby bored with the baby stuff.   So, Henry’s social interaction fell to the wayside.  I firmly believe that my lack of getting him involved with programs the way I did with Davey is the reason he’s so clingy to me when he attends the same Mother’s Morning Out program Davey did.

Fire Safety day and story time at the library consisted of a real truck.
Fire Safety day and story time at the library consisted of a real truck.

Yesterday, I decided to brave the elements…not the cold, but the “elements” of taking two boys to a story time at the library.   I hemmed and hawed about it.  I’ve gotten into my own routine, my own comfort level, but I need to step out of that and step out of it quick for Henry’s sake.   The story time consisted of books about fire trucks and fire safety.   There were even firemen and fire trucks for the boys to explore.

As soon as I walked into that same room of previous years’ story times, I had an immediate twinge in my stomach, twinge of regret as I didn’t know how my two boys were going to react.   When I originally began story time, Davey was a free spirit.  He was the child who never say with his mother, was always running around, liked to sing the loudest, touch everything, climb on other mommies, and just not focus at all.   He was the child who refused to sit still.   I was always jealous of the other moms.  I would come home and tell my husband how Davey would run around, how I felt he was getting nothing from story time, and how frustrating it was for me.   Henry is becoming the same way, but Davey?  Well, let’s just say this mommy was pleasantly surprised at how well her big boy is growing.

Davey immediately sat down in my lap, eagerly listening to stories and rhymes.   Henry?  Well, he was a Davey of years past.   He ran around, screamed, tried to take sippy cups, climbed on chairs, took books.   He was my terror, the one who would not allow me to enjoy the program with all the other moms.  Davey; however, decided to join the circle of other kids.  He sat criss cross apple sauce the entire time.  He sang the songs, listened intently to the stories, and even participated in the “stop, drop, and roll” with the firemen.   If I hadn’t been chasing after Henry and trying to quarantine him, I’m likely to have sat in the room, mouth agape at the astonishment of how much my oldest has grown.   He can sit quietly, albeit for just a short time, but he can do it.

Henry was able to sit still for just a split second.   Long enough for me to get this picture.
Henry was able to sit still for just a split second. Long enough for me to get this picture.

As I sat discussing the days events with my husband, he remarked, “remember how you never thought Davey would sit still?”   Yes, I do remember that.   I suppose that since I survived Davey and his terrible twos, then I’m capable of doing the same with Henry.   Maybe in two more years, I’ll be amazed at his ability to sit criss cross apple sauce as well.

Survival of the Fittest

It’s a motto used by athletes and intellectuals all across the board.  Celebrities use it, common folk use it, politicians use it.  Once upon a time, I even used it.   These days, I don’t know how much stock I actually put into the words.  I’m getting older, a lot less bolder, and I just want to make sure that I can survive the raising of my youngest child, regardless of who’s the fittest.

Davey has become a lot easier these days.  He sasses me more than I’d like, but he’s also settling down more and becoming a bit of an asset to me (if children can be considered that).   He helps out more, is able to watch a television show and even most of a movie, thereby allowing me some downtime or the much needed chance to get some chores done.   He understands his chores and because I’ve chosen them wisely, he actually enjoys doing them.

I can take him places, football games, museums, restaurants, and not be too terribly concerned about either not enjoying myself or management kicking us out.  It’s been a long ride to get us to this place, a lot of heart aches and head aches, but we’re there.   Looking back, I never thought it would happen.  So, I can say I have at least survived my oldest son’s terrible twos.  Whew!  Henry?  Well, he’s a different story.

I found myself feeling as if I were having a Mommy Dearest moment the other day.  I came downstairs to find the 1000 piece puzzle I’ve been working (yes, I work puzzles, they’re fun and relaxing, while also stimulating) demolished and on the floor.  I snapped.   I got so mad,  I wanted to punch a hole in the wall.   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.  I wanted to punish whoever did it.   I almost wanted to take a wire hanger to someone, but I didn’t.   I did stomp around, interrogate both of my boys (although I knew who was the culprit) and then I threatened to take away all of their toys.   I made them clean up and all the while I was seething inside, the pressure mounting and a pain began forming in my left chest and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.   Dear God, was I having a heart attack, or coming near to it, all over a puzzle?  Nah, I think it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Henry.  Yes, Henry is the one these days who’s bringing me to the brink of death.   Henry is devious, strong willed, independent, and doesn’t seem to consider any consequences with his actions.  I’m aware he’s not yet two, but he’s very smart for a two year old, much smarter than Davey at times, a feat I didn’t think possible.

Henry is entering his terrible twos, which if I remember correctly means I have at least another two years of this behavior.   TWO YEARS!  I don’t know if I’m fit, mentally or physically, to survive.   I genuinely believe he will take me down, he will destroy me piece by piece, eroding away my armor, until I’m completely naked and vulnerable, where he’ll then deliver the knife to the heart.   Maybe I’m a bit melodramatic, but I really think Henry will be the death of me.

He’s adventurous, has zero fear, doesn’t listen (likes to run towards the road, regardless of how many times I’ve said “no”) and believes anything his four year old brother can do, he can do it better.   I’m going to die.  I am literally going to go into an early grave with this child if I don’t learn how to relax.   My problem, though, is that I’m not thinking on the level of an almost two year old, or even a four year old for that matter.  I’m assuming, falsely I might add, that these boys are on my level.   I’m not coming down to theirs, and therein, my friends, lies the problem.   I find myself every night saying these words, “I just don’t understand.”

So what if the fence is colored with chalk, it’ll wash off.  So what if my puzzle is destroyed, it can be put back together.   So what if Henry threw my wallet in the trash can at the museum, it was recovered, albeit a half an hour later.   That third thing did happen, by the way.   So what if he’s not eating his food, throwing it across the room, he’s obviously not starving.   So what if he instigates half of the fights with his older brother, he’ll learn not to mess with a bull or that those horns will hook.   So what if he’s pulling poop out of his diaper and wiping on walls?  So what!  Those are the words I should be saying to myself every day.   He is only going to be this age for a while and then all new headaches will start.   Sigh.  I don’t think that thought is really helping my cause as I’m sitting here at 4 am on a Friday morning writing a blog.

The only thing that even remotely makes me smile about the idea of if Henry puts me into an early grave, is knowing that my husband will no longer have a buffer.  He’ll have to deal with these boys on his own.  He’ll have to suffer through my torture.  I’m not thinking nicely, shame on me. I wonder where Henry gets his devious nature?  Hmmm.

Happy Friday, y’all!

The Not So Patient Mommy

I think it’s getting worse, either the older he gets or the older I get, or perhaps just both! Shortly after I made the life changing decision to become a stay at home mom, I truly thought I was developing that virtue that had eluded me my entire life…PATIENCE. For a while, I actually believed that I was turning a new page and becoming the patient person I had always hoped I’d be. Then one day it was no longer just the two of us at home. Henry had come along and I was now forced to find a way to split my time between the two. Not an easy feat, but one I thought I was accomplishing.

Now that Henry has become more mobile (I always envision myself saying that in a British accent, not sure why), he’s started impeding my progress with Davey. This, of course, is infuriating to Davey as he’d truly like to have me all to himself. And since I am a stay at home mom, I believe it is not just my duty, but also my responsibility and obligation to mold my children. I am accountable to their character and integrity, their strengths and weaknesses, their emphatic abilities, and their learning and intelligence. This is mine. It falls squarely on my shoulders.

I do send Davey to preschool, which my husband really refers to as “glorified daycare”, and truly I can’t really argue with him, but I don’t do that in order to wash my hands clean of my responsibilities. Davey goes to preschool, 2 days a week, 3 hours a day, 6 hours a week. It’s a minor amount of time, but one that is vital not just to my sanity, but to his, Henry’s, and really my husband’s.

Sending him to preschool does not alleviate my role as his primary teacher, nurturer, guardian, and confidant. It’s just a little added padding to what I’m already doing with him. Unfortunately, I’m finding it harder and harder to teach Davey anything the older he becomes. He suffers from the horrible Doser/Bruce trifecta of being independent, strong-willed, and hard-headed. It’s becoming virtually impossible for me to teach him anything as he refuses to sit still for more than 3 minutes and listen to me explain something. How can I explain to him how to tell time when he won’t look at the cards or me?

He’s still young, albeit a few weeks from three, but I can’t believe that he’s not capable of learning more than he’s willing to at this point. Problem is how do I teach him that something more, when I have a 9 month old screaming and crying, pulling on my leg, a dog whining because the 9 month old’s crying is driving her bonkers and she won’t go outside because it’s raining, and a nearly 3 year old who tells me he already knows everything? How do I teach in that environment? This is why I never chose a career path as a teacher.

So, while once upon a time, my patience was finally starting to blossom, all it really took was the Terrible Twos and Trying Threes, to really stomp it out of existence. And people wonder why I “torture” myself with training for Triathlons and Marathons. If I didn’t have that outlet, I would literally go insane.

Extension of Life

Watching my boys grow is when I see him the most. At night, when Davey is acting silly or trying to squeeze in that one extra minute of playtime before bed is when I’m most reminded of him. Or the days when Henry is smiling so big and proudly reaching for my necklace, that’s when I know he’s still with me. It’s bittersweet sometimes because I would give anything for to be able to see his face again, to be able to see him watching my boys grow. I see him everyday in both of my boys and I’ve even found myself from time to time slipping and calling Davey by his name.

Nine years ago today, my parents and I sat in a hospital room at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA and prayed for what we hoped would be a cure or at least an extension of a life that was being cut much too short. Most people were panicking that day about the fact that they had waited until the last minute to file their taxes. We were panicking because we were unsure if the bone marrow transplant would even take.

A couple of days earlier we sat and listened to the doctor talk about concerns that the leukemia would come out of remission before he got his bone marrow transplant which meant he couldn’t have the transplant. I sat there and looked at my brother, who for the first time since he was first diagnosed with this horrible disease, showed genuine fear in his eyes as he asked, “does this mean I won’t get my transplant?”

Each year when this day comes around, I’m haunted by those words and I think back to the tortured look on my parent’s faces as they stood resolute and told my brother he would get his transplant. I look at my boys and I think about how wonderfully blessed our lives are, but also how quickly they can change in the blink of an eye. In the day to day frustrations of trying to raise a toddler who’s standing firm in the Terrible Twos and a 4 month old who’s eager to start mimicking in his older brother, I often take for granted that I’ll have the next day with my two healthy and happy boys.

My brother did get his bone marrow transplant on April 15th, 2005. By January 3rd of 2007, his leukemia was back and there was no longer any hope of another transplant. We prayed to God on that warm April morning and asked Him for an extension of Brian’s life. He answered our prayers, perhaps not giving us as long as we wanted with Brian, but He did extend his life.

Tonight, as I rocked Henry to sleep, I found my mind drifting off to my brother again and the significance of this day. I saw Brian in the sweet quivering of Henry’s lip, something he does a lot before drifting off to sleep. And before I wrote this blog, I saw the playful, yet mischievous nature of my brother in Davey as he decided he wanted to climb onto the back of the couch and try to walk on it like a tightrope. My brother is everywhere. He’s with me everyday, but I’ve never noticed it as much as when I became a mother to two boys who are mini-me versions of one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.

Like Mother, Like Son

That just doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t flow off the tongue as smoothly as the old adage, “Like father, like son”, but alas my sweet boy is growing up to be more like his mother everyday. I’m not too terribly happy about this especially considering the fact that he’s really only picking up on my bad habits and traits. I was hoping he would avoid this side of me.

I’ve said this before, I’m not a patient person. Shortly after Davey was born I started to think I was turning the corner, that perhaps this patience virtue that had avoided me for nearly my entire life had finally come home to nest within my personality. I found that I could be patient with him, that I could guide him, teach him, encourage him and do it without a single point raise in blood pressure. I was actually doing quite well with it until the Terrible Twos hit BEFORE he was actually two.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of behavior in Davey that really seems to mirror my own behavior, or at least the behavior I know I had when I was a child. Davey is very competitive and in a lot of cases eager to please. He wants to win the races. He wants to beat the timer. He wants to answer the questions correctly, but when he doesn’t he seems to throw a bit of a tantrum. And unfortunately, when he doesn’t do what I want him to do, I’ve noticed that my patience seems to hit a boiling point with me. I’m quick to try not to let him see this behavior in me, but I know I’ve slipped.

I try to not let him have my iPad, but instead encourage him to play with traditional toys. He he only gets my iPad when I’m nursing Henry and need some quiet time, but that time doesn’t really seem to be quite so quiet.

He has a few apps he enjoys playing, one of which is to put together a puzzle while trying to beat the timer. If he can’t do it, then he hits the iPad and starts screaming. I’ve been told this is a normal reaction, but I’m not so happy with it especially since it seems to be a part of my worse side. When he plays basketball, if he doesn’t make the basket, then he stomps his feet and screams at the goal. If he’s playing with his trains and one goes off the track, then he has on occasion picked it up and thrown it. This whole behavior is not something I was hoping to see in my little boy.

If he’s losing a game, then he screams and knocks the pieces off the board. If he can’t get a puzzle piece to fit, then he starts screaming and crying before tearing apart whatever part of the puzzle he’s already completed. This is all me, or at least it was me, or maybe it still is me. Yikes!

I try to reason with him, but it’s like trying to reason with a terrorist…you can’t, which only makes my patience run low and I have to find a way to contain my screams! I’m sure I’ve let a scream or two slip with Davey especially when he’s doing something I don’t want him to do. I’ve gotten better at really taking a step back and counting to 10, but truthfully I feel Davey’s pain. It just feels so much better to let it all out.

I guess I should try to find other ways for he and I to both express ourselves and our frustrations. I don’t want people to avoid him because they fear he’s too emotional and flies into a rage (which has happened to me in my adult life, but in my defense I was in my final month of pregnancy with him during a very hot and humid summer down South). Is this just a phase or something much more deep seeded? I’m going to go with Option A and think positively that he will grow out this horrible trait I have. And hopefully, he’ll do it soon because there’s really only one room for a Drama Queen in this family…and I’ve owned that crown for much too long.

A Battle of the Strong-Willed

I’m not going to lose and I’m not going to cave in. I am the parent. I am older. I am wiser and frankly my will and determination are greater than that of my 2 year old, or at least I hope. No wait, it is greater. I will win this battle.

How do you parent a child who is exactly like you? How do you discipline and teach a child who is as hard-headed, stubborn, smart, and strong-willed as you are? I don’t know, but you better bet your Uncle Ronnie’s britches that I’m going to find out and I’m going to do it. I will be the victor.

Lately, Davey is refusing to take naps, to listen to me and my husband, and to behave. Frankly, he’s becoming the spawn of Satan! Last week, while he was suppose to be taking a nap, he instead decided to climb on his dresser, the one thing we don’t have bolted to a wall. Of course, the dresser toppled over on him. We went to the doctor and there were zero injuries. Hopefully, my name wasn’t flagged by the doctor to report to DSS for child endangerment. I ask Davey what was he thinking? What was he doing? He’s remark to me with the most sweet and innocent eyes, “I don’t know, Mama.” Great! He did; however, tell me that he was interested in making his own steps so he pulled the drawers out, staggering them, and tried to climb them and that is why the dresser fell over on him. The kid has ingenuity. I will give him that!

“Davey, did you learn your lesson?”
“Oh, yes, Mama.” And then the next day, I caught him trying to climb MY dresser!

Most days our lives consist of the following:
“Davey, don’t touch that! It will burn you.”
“Ok, Mama.” And then he starts reaching for it again.

“Davey, please don’t climb on that rocking chair. It could flip over on you.”
“Ok, Mama.” And he continues to stand in the chair, draping over the back of it as he rocks harder and harder.

I don’t want to be a so-called “helicopter mom”. You know what sort of mom I’m talking about! Heck, some of you probably ARE helicopter moms. I don’t want to hover over him. I know he will have injuries and I know he must learn on his own, but really? Why is it so hard to just do as I say? Can’t you just understand that everything I’m doing is in your own best interest and I’m not talking just to hear myself speak? Ugh!

I’ve always sworn against the backpacks with the leashes for kids. I’ve always thought they were demeaning and belittled children, not to mention the fact that they seem to take away the child’s sense of dignity. These days? I’m not so concerned about how they make Davey feel. I don’t have the ability to chase after him while carrying a 12 pound infant in a baby carrier. I’m not Wonder Woman, for crying out loud. If wearing a leash makes you feel like a dog, my son, then perhaps you shouldn’t run around like a dog thus forcing me to use the intrepid leash!

Mr. Independent can do everything on his own. “I do it, Mama.” “No, Mama, not hold my hand.” And all of this is occurring as I’m trying to drag him out the door or down the street while his legs have become like wet spaghetti noodles. I actually had to tackle him last week at the gym just so he wouldn’t run out into the parking lot. When I got up with my hysterically laughing child, I was immediately met with looks of shock and consternation from the senior adults in the gym. What I must look like to them! And did their children NEVER do this? According to the glares I was receiving, “no” their children NEVER behaved this way.

We are learning the importance of at least holding mommy’s hand while crossing the street, but not the importance of still taking a nap. Important in the aspect that I NEED some quiet time from the Terrible Twoodler and that really he’s just a better child in the evenings. I will; however, win this battle as well.

Before having children, I used to count the minutes on the clock until it was 5 and I could go home. Now, I just count the minutes on the clock until my husband gets home and even then I’m much too exhausted to really be any fun.

So, as another day is wrapping up, I’m once again faced with a non-sleeping toddler and a 2 month old who doesn’t want to be anywhere except tied to my breast! Oh, I know I will look back on these days with much love, but right now this mama could do with a little respect and R&R.

And That’s A Wrap

I’m always torn when the Christmas holiday comes to an end. There’s a side of me who is anxious to have my house back in some semblance of order, but then there’s the side who’s regretful as to how quickly the time passed and what I didn’t get to do. This year, thanks in no small part to the birth of Henry, a lot of the plans were left to the wayside.

We did; however, have the opportunity to make cookies with Davey. I did at least get two Christmas trees up (leaving the other 5 packed away in the attic for another year of hibernation). We were able to celebrate Christmas with my family, but as for my husband’s family in Western NY, we were forced to celebrate with them via Skype and Face Time.

Decorating Cookies
Decorating Cookies

I’d had grandiose plans of getting cookies and milk out for Santa and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Christmas Story (directly from the Bible in Luke Chapter 2). I thought this year would be a great year to start that tradition with Davey. He loves to read and it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Alas, that was not to happen because Christmas Eve already seemed much too packed for him, not to mention the fact that he didn’t take a nap so he was suffering from a quadruple dose of the Terrible Twos.

Christmas has started taking on a new meaning for me, the older I’ve become and especially since I’ve become a mother. Gone are the days when I was anxious to open presents. Instead, they’ve been replaced with the joy of seeing my son open his presents. I loved seeing his expression, his genuine happiness and sincere hugs and “thank yous” to those who bought him gifts. I’ve enjoyed watching old classics that I grew up on like “Frosty the Snowman” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, with my son. He comprehends so much and nothing brought a tear to my eye more than the fact that he watched Charlie Brown so much, he was then able to learn the words to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Unwrapping Presents
Unwrapping Presents

Fortunately, we have a wonderful church family who have been able to step in while I was on bed rest before Henry was born. Davey learned the true meaning of Christmas through them and even brought his Bible to me during the Christmas season and asked for me to read the story of Jesus’ birth. So, I did get the opportunity to read it to him, just not in the Norman Rockwell romantic way of sitting by the fire with our warm socks on, a cup of milk, cookies placed strategically on the table beside the fireplace, and Christmas music playing in the background.

As with everything in life, I have these grand visions and when I don’t seem to accomplish them I feel like I’ve had a huge let down, like my balloon has been deflated prematurely. I felt this way as I undecorated one of our Christmas trees yesterday. I took a moment to look at the new ornaments we’d added this year…one for Henry and his first Christmas, another for Davey (these two courtesy of my mom and dad), and three new “handmade” ornaments from Davey. I smiled as I remembered how excited he was to bring them home from church and school and how he’d chosen exactly where they needed to be hung.

Another Christmas has come and gone. We’ve added a new member to our family and celebrated our many blessings with family and friends. I’ve already started planning for next year, Henry’s first to actual participate, and I’m feeling with joy and excitement with the new memories we’ll be creating. And to all of you, I hope that your Christmas was as stressed and relaxing, happy and boisterous, and memorable and loving as ours.

Leaning Back

I received my January issue of Parents Magazine in the mail today.   For the first time in what has seemed like a while, I was able to immediately sit down and start perusing through the pages.   Of course, it helped that this issue seems to be a lot smaller than the others (meaning I felt like I could QUICKLY make my way through the magazine).  

I came across an article that caught my attention because it had a subtitle that was meaningful to me.   It’s something that my husband and I have discussed as recently as Monday night when it comes to parenting (not raising) Davey.   He’s hit the Terrible Twos, well he’s actually be in this stage for a while, but for some reason it seems like it’s getting worse.   Maybe it’s just my perspective because I can’t be as active with him as I once was (final days of pregnancy #2 impeding my abilities).  He’s become more temperamental and impatient, even screaming when he doesn’t get his way.   He lies on the floor and kicks his feet, has started hitting (mostly me, which we’re working to curb), and is becoming quite defiant.   So what gives?   I think this article summed a lot of it up.   It’s titled, “Why We Need to Lean Back (from our kids)”. 

We seem to be running ourselves ragged parenting our children.   I know I am and I’m only raising one at this point.   This article suggests that perhaps it’s time for me to be less hands-on, something my husband discussed with me on Monday night.   The article talks about the pressures parents feel to invest every amount of energy into our children and their futures.   I know I’m guilty of that!  Being a stay-at-home mom makes it a lot harder on mothers, or at least that’s how I feel.  We’re trying to compensate for variables that other children who go to school/daycare may receive.   

I’m constantly racked with guilt about if I’m doing enough where raising Davey is concerned.  I have some mothers and friends who pass judgment on the fact that I chose to be a stay-at-home mom.   Some believe I’m causing irreparable harm to my son because he’s not socializing on a day-to-day basis with other children.  It’s forced me to seek out activities outside of the home for him.   From the moment I became a SAHM, Davey and I were enjoying story time at our local library.   He was 4 months old at that point, but I was eager to make sure that I was still giving him enough social interaction.   I was still eager to make sure that since I had chosen to no longer have a career outside the home, that I would turn raising my son into a career.   I made myself be hands on.   Actually, I think I guilted myself into being hands on and from that moment forward I’ve become the mom that seems to micromanage every waking moment of his life.   I can’t do that anymore especially with Henry on the way in two days. 

Is it too late to right the ship?  I don’t think so, but I’ve decided to do more “leaning back” and let Davey decide what he wants to do.   I still find ways to structure his day, even if he we’re unable to really go out of the house.   I still allow him to have an hour of television time (perhaps more if I’m sick – and I know I’ll get some judgments from other moms here), but what used to be is no more.   Instead of telling him we’re going to read a book, I turn the television off and I sit down and read a book, sometimes an adult book, which spurs him to bring books to me so that I can read to him.   He even sits on his own little couch and reads some of his books (since we’ve read them so many times and he knows them by heart).

When I want to do crafts with him, I go to the kitchen table and pull out the crayons and paper and I start coloring.   If he wants to join me, he does; otherwise, he does his on activity.   When he plays outside, or with his basketball goal, or his Matchbox cars, I use that opportunity to do some of my chores, like laundry and dishes.  It’s only been a couple of days, but already it seems like there’s a difference in his attitude.  The fact that I was inhibiting his independence, I believe, was really forcing him to rebel.  

My mother worked out of the home and my brother and I went to daycare.   She or my dad picked us up after work.  My mother cooked dinner, my dad played with us, we ate dinner as a family, and then we did our own thing.   My brother and I learned to amuse ourselves, to be self-sufficient, and to solve our own problems.   For so long, I’ve felt that I owed my son more than what my parents gave to me, but what I really owe him is my unconditional love and support.  

He’s a good kid, a smart kid, but with a mama who might be just a bit too involved in every challenge my son faces.  I wish I had started this approach sooner than just 2 days ago, seeing as how my attention will DEFINITELY be divided in 2 more days, but better late than never.   And oh, by the way, since I decided to “lean back” with Davey, he’s figured out how to pedal his tricyle all on his own.   It’s something I’ve worked on since this summer.   Maybe this will help in the potty training arena as well! 

Preschool Blues

Today I dropped off the paperwork and registration fee for Davey to start a Mother’s Morning Out program the first week of September. It’s something I’ve considered for quite some time especially with Henry on the way and truthfully I think Davey and I need the occasional break from each other. I researched, discussed it with my husband, and then contacted one of my girlfriends who sent her son to this same program. And it really didn’t take much coercion for me to decide that this is the place I wanted to send Davey or that I even wanted him to go.

Of course, it was almost a month ago when my husband and I made the decision to send Davey. At that point, September seemed so far away and I was almost conflicted about the whole thing. Actually, I’m still conflicted. Last month, I was almost desperate and at my wit’s end. I needed an outlet for Davey. I needed some place he could go so that I could have some time to myself. As a matter of fact, I would have sent him that very day, but now I’m becoming sad and a little nervous about the whole thing.

I’m sad because this is yet another sign that my baby is growing up and he’ll no longer be my baby. I’m sad because I almost feel like I’m a failure for needing to send him to a Mother’s Morning Out program. I’m sad because while he may be my Achilles heel at times, he won’t be with me all day. And then there’s the nervous end of the spectrum.

What if he doesn’t like it? What if he’s a little minion? What if he displays his stubborn, independence with his teachers and they want him to leave? What if he doesn’t really learn anything? What if he sees it as abandonment? I don’t really think he’ll feel abandoned, but I still worry about him. Supposedly, he’s a completely different child when he’s not around me. I should be thankful for that. I guess I’d much rather have him displaying his Terrible Twos around me as opposed to anyone else.

We go next week to Open House where I’ll be able to meet the teachers and introduce Davey. This is a big step. This is huge. This is the next milestone in our relationship as mother and son. I can’t help but wonder if he’ll be like me when my parents took me to Open House before I started kindergarten. Apparently, I wanted to stay and my words to my mother were, “You never let me do anything.” Or will he be like my brother, who screamed bloody murder and latched on to my mother’s leg? I don’t know how my husband was with his first day of kindergarten or preschool, but I can only hope it was a piece of cake.

On the plus side, this will give Davey social interaction WITHOUT me, which is a good thing. I’ve had him involved in a lot of things since I became a stay at home mom, but I’ve always been with him on each adventure. And then, I’ll have at least one day a week for three months to myself, that is before Henry arrives, and then I won’t be alone again for a while.

So, this weekend I guess we’ll be off shopping for a backpack and lunch box for Davey and I’ll officially be one of those moms who’s up and packing lunches and getting together school supplies (the school supplies are a little ways off still). It’s exciting and scary all rolled into one. Yikes! Here’s hoping Davey and I both survive!