my weekend state-of-mind.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Our children drop into our neat, tightly governed lives like small, rowdy Buddhist masters.  Each of them sent to teach us the hard lessons we most need to learn." - John Kabat-ZInn.
i believe that.  gosh, it makes sense, doesn't it?
i'm sure i've brought this up before.
fridays, i start to shut down.  my mind and body is tired from the previous week of a jam-packed schedule, routine, car-pooling, groceries, laundry, cooking.
friday morning, is technically, the weekend already.
so i wake up slowly, invite the kids in to bed to snuggle,
drag myself slowly through the morning routine,
skip the workout,
eat more chocolate,
i do the bare minimum.
i try not to make dinner (easy.)
i try not to do any laundry.  (i've been doing it all week.)
i try to talk on the phone as much as possible to friends i have been trying to connect with.
i try to lay on the couch and shop online.
it's shut down day.
but my THINKING.  my CONTEMPLATION never really takes a holiday.
which is kind of annoying.  it's getting annoying, at least.
i'm sure it is for all of you, too.:)
but when i have something on my mind, i have to share it, talk about it,
ask for feedback and advice.
or simply just ramble on to release it from my jacked-up brain so i can get on with the relaxing.
so these little buddha's. . .
tuna truly IS a little buddha.  belly and all.
and kids.
those who are blessed to have them,
we don't just 'get' them because we want one or because we can.
we're GIVEN them or NOT given them for a reason.  each one.
right now, charlie is my baby.
(technically, he IS the baby.)  but i've been preparing myself that he may be the last, so i feel like i'm holding on to him more, squeezing him more, relishing in his every look, more, because, 
what if?
and shouldn't i be doing that regardless?  with each of them?
and so i have been.
but charlie, he gets away with a lot more, gets to snuggle a lot more, maybe gets disciplined a little less, 
partly because i'm getting lazy with my discipline,
partly because, to me, having to crack the whip a little more, 
only means he's growing out of the baby-ness in to a CHILD that needs rearing,
a toddler, that needs more of what the other two before him needed at this age,
no longer a baby, old enough to start to 'know better' and learn the ropes of this world he's livin' in.
not a baby, but a child, who LOOKS for trouble.  
thinks it's ok to shove an entire bag of marshmallows in between couch cushions while i'm upstairs for FIVE minutes.
who thinks it's ok to trash ANYTHING in his path,
pull dirt out of the house plant,
take off a poopy diaper (because i've been ignoring the fact that i need to change him, for 5 minutes too long,) and hiding it somewhere but i don't know where because i can't find it, but can only smell it.
who thinks it's ok to chuck his snacks, his cups, his toys at me, just because he doesn't want them, 
then throw himself on the ground in a possessed state, kicking and screaming.
but damn, he's beautiful. 
so he gets away with it.  most days, without much more than a sigh from me.
(because i'm also a little bit to blame, for leaving him alone at all.  what was i thinking?!)
and then i think about that.
how different each of them have been at this age, 2,
how different they are in general.  
how they all came from the same place, essentially,
but have different needs and have all kind of gotten a different mommy, depending on the year, the mood, the age, the energy. . .
as a naive, ignorant, peace-filled first-time mom,
i thought there was only one way to parent. . .the RIGHT way, 
whatever that was, and that's how i was going to parent, no matter WHO came along.
how silly i was.  
it's even taken charlie, to show me i can't parent grace the same way i do jack, nor charlie the same as grace.
that although we are family and our blood binds us, 
they are all unique little beings that are going to need completely different things in life.
looking back at my own sisters and i, how we were all parented differently because WE are all so completely different, 
but at the core of us, and at the core of my own children,
there is something. . .

a similar fire, despite the contrasting personalities, that is evident in their reactions to things.
and i wonder how my mom did it?  she was good at that.  allowing us to be individuals, somewhat free in our young ages, and how that beautifully molded us in to independent, self-motivated, assertive, passionate women.  
yet i'm so different as a parent, striving for discipline, respect, authority. . .but for what? 
for feeling a sense of control over my brood?
wanting desperately to raise my children to all be the same?
respectful, kind, caring, aware of others and their feelings but able to defend themselves and those who need a hand or a little sister who's getting her hair chopped when she shouldn't be?
acting with militance, order, strictness most days, but working SO hard too, like my OWN mother, to mix in freedom, screw it, i don't care what you do, a sort of laxidasical surrender to the 'way it is' with little ones and save the disciplining for puberty.  
i'm wishy washy.  all over the board with my parenting. . .working daily to find myself as a mother, taking SO much inspiration from the mothers around me, who do it their own way too and do it beautifully.
but feeling that odd sense of urgency, knowing how fast this time of raising toddlers will go.
and that if i don't keep attitudes in check, teach respect but kindness, determination and self-motivation but knowing when it's good enough, to do your best but surrender if you need to. . .
i feel like we have to get them now.  before it's too late.
but i've also gotten to a weird place recently, where i also don't care.
where my consistency, needling, questioning, isn't doing any good.
that my voice has just become a loud, background siren that is simply now background noise to the kids, something they've learned to tune out, like i can tune out charlie raging on the living room floor.
it sounds bad, and i'm sure some mothers would gasp in horror at my approach,
the, 'you and your brother were fighting (i was fully aware but ignoring,) and you got poked in the eye?  that hurt didn't it?  well, that's what you get for not listening to mommy!'
'you fell off the couch (the once-over shows no broken bones, so i can keep at my rant,) and hurt your leg?  that's what you get for jumping on the couch!'
i tend to sway more on the side of tough love, because i want them to learn, maybe the hard way, because that's how i learned.  and i want them to be smarter.
i've stopped rushing to their side when they face-plant,
when someone gets pushed in to the ficas in the corner or 
rolls off the bed, because most likely, they deserved it.:)
go ahead, gasp.:)
and although i used to feel bad and a little embarrassed, for putting a hook-lock on the outside of gracie's door to keep the at-the-time, 3-year-old beast contained, so i wouldn't hurt HER in one of her rage-filled fits (and still use on occasion, when it's needed,)
i realized, 
each child needs something different.  you go in to survival mode and do what ya' gotta' do, 
to keep the peace,
keep THEM safe,
keep YOUR monstrous-rage at bay,
and yes, even if it means locking them in their room.
horrendous, i know.  sue me.
but also teaching them.
i know there are better ways to do this,
and i'm still learning.
and i wonder often if my high expectations for jack, who is a completely different child, have unfairly filtered in to the way i parent grace, 
and that SOMEHOW, this laziness in parenting well and individually, will not slowly, widdle away at her self-esteem, her need to be loved and heard and doted on just the same, 
and won't push her in to a life of promiscuity, drugs, a horrible self-image.
it would be SO nice to have a little therapist on my shoulder, or swiftly on my heals, tapping me on the shoulder when i needed it, 'ah, tone it down a bit.'  or 'just let them do it.'  or 'she needs more hugs and less yelling today.'  
we don't have that luxury.  but we do have the power within us to make better choices and as i keep saying, try harder each day and learn from our mistakes from the day before.
i take heart and find peace in that,
and am truly grateful for that ability.
that i can get up every day and i try again.  that i can harness one of the great things about myself, my openness and acceptance of new ideas, new ways of doing things, and use that and the inspiration i find in my chicks, well, AND of course, remembering that i AM still technically a newbie at this whole 'mom' thing,
although it's been a hard spot to get to, i know now that although our children are 'technically' cut from the same cloth, that they are so different,
that i can give up on the battle of trying to grow a fern, an orchid and a cactus all in the same pot.
because it doesn't work.
all i can do is my best with each one.
continuing to do my best at letting them be who they're going to be,
but being sure to teach them the life lessons they'll need,
the big ones and the little ones,
like always washing your hands after you go to the bathroom.  always.
(and making sure you put pants on before you go outside.)
and yes, rock those dimples while they're cute and sweet.

nestling my nose in to the warm skin of gracie's shoulder blade before the sun made it's appearance this morning, before the house has stirred awake (except for her, wanting to snuggle,) crafting my next therapeutic (for me,) blog post but trying to relish this moment, these fleeting moments that are gone in the blink of an eye, i thought about how much we, as mothers, blame ourselves.
from the most trivial of instances, 
to the big ones. . .unnecessary haircuts.
as i ran my fingers through gracie's thick helmet of hair, that is SLOWLY but surely growing in, but shaggy and awkward as can be,
i'm reminded, daily, every time i try to get her jagged bangs back in a barrett or see if that weird neck hair should really be curled up or something,
of that day.  
apparently i still haven't moved on.
and here's why.  it was FORTUNATELY, one of the first huge 'things' to happen to one of our children,
that pulled the rug out.  not a bad way for that to happen, i know.
but for ME, rocked me to the core, showing me as she stood there on our front steps, in her sweet little sundress, hair floating on the tops of her little shoulders only a short half hour before,
now a chopped mane, circles of scalp polka-dotting her head, bangs that once matched the length of the rest of hair, now cut as close to her head as you could get, without cutting skin.
GI Jane.
it wasn't the haircut.
but the realization that i will not always be there to stop things from happening, 
that i will not always be able to protect, teach lessons on the spot,
stop pain, heartache or suffering.
that i won't be in control the way i thought i was.
(well, i know better now,)
but her hair NOW, is a sigh, a little laugh, an acceptance, that we BOTH have more lessons to learn and all i can do is my best, to keep them safe and better 'equip' them while they're on my watch,
and accept where we're at in the journey.


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