Labeling My Spirited Child

I’m listening to the audio book ‘Raising your Spirited Child’ right now and so much is resonating with me.

My soon to be 3 year old is very much a spirited child and I’m seeking ways to be a better parent to him.  I don’t like feeling like I’m constantly battling him.  Like I’m always losing my temper and I most definitely don’t like feeling like I don’t like him or this ‘phase’.  Because I love him so much and there are so many amazing things about this phase, but it’s also extremely challenging for me.

So I’m looking to better understand him, help him, and in turn help myself.

I’m only on chapter three but I really like what the book is saying so far. I just listened to the importance of labels, and unfortunately, I have not been using very positive labels to describe my child.  I call him:

  • crazy
  • temperamental
  • emotional
  • wild
  • energetic
  • sensitive
  • perceptive
  • imaginative
  • willful
  • exhausting
  • rude
  • destructive

The author talks about how children develop their sense of self and when negative character traits are thrown at them, well, it doesn’t exactly help them to feel good about themselves.

She encourages  participants in her groups to say, out loud, “my child is ____” and see how it feels.   When I hear myself say “my child is exhausting”  or “my  child is rude” it doesn’t feel good.  Because he’s not.  That’s not who he is.

My child is amazing.

My child is beautiful.

My child is insightful.

My child is creative.

My child is energetic.

My child is sensitive.

My child is funny.

My child is imaginative.

My child is determined.

From now on I’m going to be extremely mindful of the words I use to describe my  son.   I want to portray a positive image of him for both his sake and mine.

In fact, I really ought to do this for my husband and myself too.  I think everyone I love could benefit from kinder labels.

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Working on our Marriage

After what I considered to be one of our worst fights yet, we have decided to give marriage counselling a try.  The main reason is that we just keep seem to be having the same discussions over and over again and nothing is changing.  If anything things seem to be getting worse and worse.

After that fight I started to seriously think about our options.  Stay? He go? I go with the kids? I thought for about two days that it would be best if we took a break.  A little space from one another.  Then this morning when he said ‘I think you’re right, I think we should separate’ the reality of the possibility set in.

I don’t want to separate.

But we both agree that we can’t keep on like this.  It’s too much work.  And not the good kind of work that brings us closer.

So I called a therapist today and left a message. Hopefully we can start soon because things are falling apart fast.

 

A Little Self Love

It’s 8:15 pm and I am laying in bed exhausted and unable to turn my mind off. These past two days have been so hard.  Not just because I’m sick, but because it was such an emotional couple of days.

As a mother to my two littles I find I’m quite good at putting my own personal, physical, ailments to the side.  When they reach for me I pick them up without second thought to my twitchy back. I wore my son in the ergo for hours when it hurt my hips because it was the only way he would sleep.  I’ve spent countless nights in an uncomfortable position so to not wake a dozing baby laying in my arms. I stayed up all night with him when he was throwing up, even though I was in and out of the bathroom too.  I’ve had my hair pulled, my chest scratched, my eyes poked and have had more things thrown at me than I care to count.

These things do not keep me up at night.  I just accept that it’s part of the package and move on.  Such a martyr, I know.

But the emotional stuff, it’s the emotional stuff that I can’t handle.  Not only do I not know what to do with my sons temperament, which when he’s sick is just so incredibly trying, but more importantly I don’t know what to do with my anger that rises so quickly when the outbursts just don’t stop.

I’m laying in bed right now feeling so much guilt.  So much sadness.  He’s sick.  He needed me and I couldn’t be there for him in the way he needed me.

Today he was exhausted but wouldn’t nap.  My one year old is also sick – we all are – and needed to be in my arms all day.  I managed to get him in his bed. He wanted me to cuddle, but he didn’t want his sister in the room.  I was torn.  I couldn’t do two things at once, be two places at once.  One of the babies was going to be unhappy.  I put her down and she screamed and screamed.  He seemed placated by this, happy even.  Once he was calm, I told him I have to pick her up, and he  screamed. I even tried nursing her laying down in his bed but she just wanted to crawl on him, which, you guessed it, made him angry.

There are no options here.  I don’t know what the loving thing to do would have been.  The more he cried the angrier I got.

God I feel like shit about that. Here I was getting angry when all my sick baby needed was me.

Things had been building all day.  My daughter was extremely clingy (which can be trying all on it’s own) and the more she clung to me the more upset he got.  He threw his food (and grinned at me after he did it), he hit his sister, he scream cried when I gave him a smoothie that he didn’t like and then threw that across the room.

I find this stage to actually be harder than when she was a newborn. At least then she slept or would just lay contently on his floor while I gave him the attention he needed. I mean, how do you discipline a sick child who is clearly lashing out because he wants my attention?

Having two kids under the age of two is hard. It’s really fucking hard.

[Cue self talk: I am doing my best. I am doing my best. I am doing my best.]

Usually wanting to be better is a good thing.  It can really fuel you.  But when it comes to motherhood, it never feels enough, it just feels suffocating.  Especially when you add it to the pile of all the other stuff that’s not working right now.

I opened up my computer tonight to remind myself that I am a good mom.  I am a good person. I love my babies so much it hurts sometimes. I am capable of having so much compassion, but when I’m strung out, as I am now, it’s impossible.

So instead of sitting here wracked with guilt and other not so helpful emotions right before bed, I’m trying to cultivate a little self love.  A little forgiveness.  A little compassion.

And when the babes wake in the night, which the inevitably will, I will go to them and cuddle them and kiss them and whisper in their soft heads how much I love them.  And pray that we all get over this awful cold/flu soon!!!

Side note: how fitting is it that my husbands vasectomy is tomorrow? More about that another day….

 

All Sick

This has been a rough week.  I’ve had my three year old home from daycare with me since Tuesday because we’ve all been sick.  We kind of got it in phases, first my husband, then my son, then me, and now my daughter has it.

Yesterday was the hardest day for me.  I was running a fever and had to care for an extremely temperamental toddler and a clingy baby.  My mother in law came by to help out and my son lost his mind.  He screamed ‘no grandma’ and then threw the worst tantrum I’ve seen in a long time.  She left – even though I really needed the help – because he was really losing his mind.  And he’s sick right, so I can’t just punish him.

It didn’t help that she kept saying ‘what’s wrong with him’.  I think I got a tad defensive.

I’m feeling better today, my fever broke last night, but he’s still sick and being a total jerk today.  I’ve had to take several deep breaths and remind myself that he’s sick.  It’s so hard to be compassionate after he throws his food all over the floor and then demands different food.

Deep breaths.

He’s sitting on my lap right now crying that he wants to wipe his boogers on me.

Marital Issues

My husband and I only talk about two things these days: the kids and the state of our marriage.

Last night after the kids were in bed I went downstairs to my husbands “room” or as we’ve started calling it, his apartment, to chat. He recently got a big raise and an even bigger bonus, so this is exciting stuff and I asked him if he wanted to do anything fun with the money.  He couldn’t think of anything.  He thinks that because our kids are young we’re tethered and can’t do things.

I disagree.

I think it’s more complicated, for sure, and extra planning is involved, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things.  Go out for dinner.  Go to the gym together.  I think we could even go away for a weekend.  But more about that in a moment.

I told him we can just put the money aside for our family home.  We own our place now but it’s a townhome with no backyard and the space just isn’t working for us anymore.  We’ve been talking about moving for a few years now and I’d like to move this summer. And he says, are you sure that’s a good idea?  And I say, yeah, why not.  And he says because of our relationship.

And cue the relationship conversation.

So what was supposed to be a fun chat about what we can do with this money turned into a conversation about co-parenting and other separation options that I guess he’s been looking into.

I just don’t even know anymore.  It feels like we have the same talks over and over and nothing is ever resolved.

I think we could use a weekend away.  To reconnect and just have fun away from the kids.  He thinks it’s not a good idea until our smaller interactions are better because if we go away angry or irritated at one another then it’s a waste of time.

And he’s not wrong.

I know we have some big and small problems that we need to sort out.  Our communication is good, but it’s not getting us anywhere.  We both agree that counselling might be a good idea.  So yeah, that could be a fun way to spend some of the money…. ugh.

Thoughts While She Naps

We are now officially down to one nap a day.  After weeks of fighting her second nap we’re going for it.  I feel super good about this.

Well, I feel super good about the fact that she’s slept through the night since we stopped putting her down for her first nap.

And there you have it.

OK, it was only two nights in a row but if you’ve read my recent posts you will know that this is a really big deal.  I’m not getting my hopes up that this means she’s now ‘sleeping through the night’, but two full nights sleep in a row feels aaaaaamazing.

I feel like a new woman.

All I needed was sleep.  I knew it.

Oh wait, my 3 year old made me super angry this morning because he wouldn’t get his snowpants on.  I may have some other shit I need to deal with.  Or maybe just more than two full nights sleep.

So yes, I got angry and I yelled.  Once I calmed down I said to him, I’m sorry I got angry with you and do you know what he says to me, he says, thank you for saying sorry I”m sorry I made you angry.

This boy.  God I love him so much.  He really is so beautiful and sweet and I  know he’s just doing what 3 year olds do.  This kid, he is a tornado.  He’s a natural destroyer and loves to break stuff and make messes and he’s so loud and funny and he’s all about pushing boundaries right now.

I need to figure out a way to work with him to get out the door in the morning.  Because this morning battle to get all of the winter clothes on is getting old.

I also just need winter to be over.

I”m super excited about being down to one nap.  This frees up our mornings so much, we can get out and do all of the things.  It’ll be even better when the weather warms up.

A Little Birthday Tradition for my Kids

My baby girl turned one yesterday!!!!  We had a such a great day and I only had one, ok maybe two, emotional moments.

Ahhhh one years old.

Longest and yet shortest year ever.

Also, she slept through the night last night.  After a few weeks (months?) of pure torturous sleep, we all finally slept.  Yes, I slept too.

So all I need to do is throw a party, change her sheets, run the humidifier in her room, and let her take only one nap – every day.

For real though, we are now on a one nap schedule.  Hopefully this fixes all of our sleep problems.

And so yes ,she’s one now and we had such a perfect day celebrating her.  The house was full with family (so many cousins) and friends.  She devoured her cake. Oh man, that girl went. to. town.  Made me a proud mamma haha.

Before I went to bed I wrote her a letter, as I’ve done for my son on his birthdays.  I wrote to tell her how much she is loved and how truly amazing she is.  I also wrote her things like where her dad works, what our days look like, what her favourite foods are and things like that.  On her 18th birthday I’ll give her the box of letters.  I hope it gives her some insight into what she was like at each age growing up, what our (me and my husband and our family in general) lives were like and most of all, how much she is loved.

That girl is so loved.

Happy birthday sweet baby girl.