Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Tough Long Week

It has been a tough, long week… we have all been sick to varying degrees, I am on general overload and we went out of town for a soccer tournament which added logistical stuff to my plate on top of everything else. I am sitting here now with day three of stomach pains, a week and half of an annoying cough and the general “I feel like crap” feeling… plus my annual exam is today (neat!) and potentially jury duty later this week (even better!). Yes, it has been a tough long week.

I have been doing some research on diet and how it impacts behavior. We have long suspected that food dyes and high fructose corn syrup (and the like) impact Lizard’s behavior and that she may have some level of intolerance. She has vomited with 30 minutes of consuming certain food items. Curiously, it is not every time that she has that food, but it is clearly food related. And Lizard knows… today is “Kool-Aid” day at school (they are counting down the alphabet to the end of school – like Apple day, Ball day, Crayon day, etc.). We have already talked to her teacher about this suspected issue, but Lizard talked to her teacher about not wanting Kool-Aid and she brought her own organic-less-sugar-no food-dye juice. I am very proud of her.

And, after Little Man had his 3-year check up last week, I am wondering how much his diet is impacting his behavior. His doctor suggested some of his behaviors could become worrisome if they are not controlled within the next year. She did not indicate that she thought he might have ADHD or anything like that at this point. And after doing some research, I would be very surprised if that were the outcome (and very sad). But, I am beginning to wonder how much of his behavior is the “boy” in him and how much his behavior would improve with a better diet.

I have had many people…his doctor included…tell me repeatedly that Little Man is more “active” than most children at his age – boy or girl. That is helpful, but I often wonder if it is their polite way of saying “your kid is out of control.” I don’t think so, but in my exasperated state with him many times, I have to wonder. He is defiant, impulsive, destructive, loud and hurtful a lot of the time. On the flip side, he can sit and play cars, likes to look at books and watch a video. So he can settle down. And he is very smart, silly funny and the cutest 3 year old I know. But, my days are mostly filled with refeerring, disciplining and negotiating. Now, most would say that is what you do with a 3 year old. And, yes, I agree; but, not to this degree. I am truly worried about how he will do in preschool this fall.

I want so much for Little Man and all my kids succeed. What parent wants their kid to struggle? I want to make sure we have done everything we can to help ensure they are successful. So my research continues… family decisions regarding food choices and our budget are to be made… So, yes, it has been a long tough week on many fronts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

One Proud Mom

I am so proud of my Soccer Girl! She had her competitive soccer tryouts this past weekend. She made it! Soccer Girl is a very good soccer player – a great passer, very calm on the field – she does not get flustered, good ball handling skills - she can dribble the ball through people, and understands the game and the position she is playing. Where she can fall down is in her aggressiveness. She gets “offended” if the other team is pushing too much. It is quite comical really that she gets offended over something like that in soccer. Sometimes after a game she will go on and on about how they were shoving or whatever. At one game, I went down the side line to where she was playing defense and caught her attention. I said “don’t let them run you off the ball.”  My Soccer Girl mouths the words to me “they are shoving” while lifting her arms out to illustrate. So I promptly yelled back, rather loudly so my point was made, “then SHOVE them back” much to her dismay (and probably to the opponents parents who heard me). As a side note, I don’t say much from the sidelines as I am usually chasing Little Man, but I felt my motherly instincts kick in at that game.

So we have to remind her often that it is okay to shove to fight for the ball, to not let the other players run her off and to let them know she can hold her own. I have even resorted to paying her a dollar if she gets a good shove in to get the ball or if she runs someone into the boards in indoor games to get a ball. To clarify – we do NOT encourage her to play dirty or unfairly. We DO encourage her to use her skills, fight for the ball when she needs to and to not let the other player “run over her” – all fair in proper soccer play.

So on Sunday – it all came together for her. She “showed up” (as I told her) to show them what she can do. It was so fun to watch her and all the girls play their hardest and show off their skills for the evaluators. She loves soccer and playing the sport with her friends. I am so happy for her. And what a good life lesson…if you go into something prepared and do it with focus, you can be successful. As we know, life does not always turn out that way even if you are prepared and focused, but it was a perfect lesson for her, right now. Just perfect! Yes, I am one proud Mom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Little Man

My Little Man turned three yesterday. I can not believe how fast these three shorts years have gone by. He is my blond-haired, blue-eyed “handsome” (as I call him) and I love him with all my heart. And so I don’t forget these things in the years to come, here are some of the things I think of when I think of my Little Man, right now at age three:

He says the funniest things...
-“cupit” (ketchup)
-“cooowboy haaat” (said with a funny little voice that I can’t even describe)
-“my want to” or “my do it” (I want to or I do it)
-“Drewsa no like” (said with kind of an Italian/Mafia type accent)
-“fing” (swing)
-“fick it” (fix it)
-“you soft my soft” (says this when gently rubbing my face and loving on me) Can you stand it?

Little Man loves cars and trucks. He loves any construction related vehicle and knows all their proper names (I honestly had no idea how many types there where – he will correct me if I call a mini loader a tractor – heaven forbid). He loves running and playing outside. He loves it when he can play in the backyard by himself, digging in the dirt with “his guys” (his small construction vehicles) with no one to bug him or tell him “no.” He is so fun to watch through the window…digging, then running, then kicking a ball, then rolling in the grass, then chasing the dog… all with pure joy on his face.

He is a lefty - kicks a ball with his left foot and throws left handed and holds his fork or pencil with his left hand.  He is already a mean little soccer player. He loves baseball and really any game with a ball. He is just like his Dad.

He is really slow to wake up from a nap. It can take him a good 45 minutes to get into the swing of things again. He is snuggly and grumpy all at the same time. He sleeps hard since he plays hard. He has taken to coming into our room around 3 in the morning most days to try to sleep with us. He loves to watch Barney and Thomas the Train videos and seems to love the movie “Everyone’s Hero” (an animated baseball movie which is a great family movie, by the way). He knows his colors and can count to ten usually (having asthma and counting to ten while breathing into his inhaler helped with that!) and is starting to learn his letters.

He is NOT potty trained. Enough said.

He is extremely challenging and exhausting most of the time. He is an envelope pusher in most everything he does. But he is so funny and silly most of the time too. He is a true little boy with all the mess, noise and busyness that goes with that. He has added such joy to our house. I truly can not imagine what my life would be like without him to chase around. Happy third Birthday Little Man. We love you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another Two by Four!

Shortly after finishing my post this morning, I logged into my Girl’s Night Out (GNOs) Bible-in-a-Year blog (a group of friends of mine that get together once a month agreed to read the bible in a year and we have a private blog to post our thoughts). I am severely behind in my reading, but we all have promised each other to keep plugging along and posting our thoughts. I didn’t have anything to post (again I am behind!), but thought I would check in and see what was happening.

I read some, then clicked on a link to a devotional blog posted by a dear friend. I read the blog for a little bit, then scanned the blog topics. I immediately clicked on the topic of complaining. I sat stunned and humbled to say the least.

I read on that devotional blog "...my "wearing" of complaints and grumbling was most affecting my home." And then I read in another post "...The problem really is the balance between the reality of life's little (or big) frustrations and a complaining heart. Where does one end and the other begin? Where is the balance? It is okay, of course, to be frustrated when I splash the bleach on my pants... but how much frustration, for how long and how many times do I need to notice it and say "dang!" I don't know. What I do know is that generally I don't live the balance and I so want to. I want to live in and with a thankful heart. When I allow my frustration to overtake the worship or thankfulness, is that the line?"

After reading this, I knew my last post was just a nice way of saying “poor me.” My so-called complaints and frustrations just hit me between the eyes with a two by four, again.

Wow, God does not sugar coat things. But without my GNOs or that private blog or God, I would not have "heard" it today. And I so needed to.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Ramblings of a "Would-Be" Fly

I often would like to be a fly on the wall of my friend’s homes. Not out of some crazy “I like to snoop” type thing. It is really just to see if I am a typical Mom in my daily struggles. I often feel like I am the only one who could possibly have such frustrations and annoyances. Now friends will commiserate with me about the struggles and frustrations with their kids or whatever. But, come on, do they really have it as bad as me? (I say that with sarcasm). Hence, the fly on the wall idea.

It would really be a good reality check for me. Little Man is mentally and physically exhausting most days. Lizard is snuggly happy one minute then screaming mad within the next nano-second. Soccer Girl is a tween with all the hormones starting to do their thing; really stuck in that middle ground of being a little girl and a teenager. How would my friends handle my daily messes?

I have the best kids in the world, a great marriage, we are healthy, and have food to eat and a roof over our heads. Why then, am I exasperated much of the day? I think part of is that parenting is much harder than I ever imagine…I regret lots of the choices I make as a Mom…I feel like an unappreciated maid many days…I miss time with just Chief…

We tell the kids often to choose differently so you get a different outcome. That is great advice to dish out, but much harder to follow myself. There are days when I can choose differently…change my tone of voice, give choices, spend the quality time I need to with my family. But then there are days that I am mentally “done” before I have even gone downstairs and bark orders like a drill sergeant.

I am in a season of mental “doneness” right now. Chief said to me last night that I don’t seem happy. Honestly, deep down I am happy. What appears as unhappiness is probably frustration, tiredness and an underlying feeling that the tough parenting falls to me most of the time. I get that this is the nature of my “job” to be home with the kids. It is a choice we have made and one I would not change. But, who knew it would be so much harder for me then going to a 9-5 traditional job every day.

I have sometimes rolled my eyes at the advice “take care of yourself first so you can take care of others.” I am finding some truth to that at this time of my life, especially today.  I think I am going to have to reprioritize things and put myself near the top. If I continue down this path, it is going to get bumpy and ugly. I don’t want that and neither does my family.

So…if you see a fly on your wall that looks a bit like me, I am not snooping, really. I am just trying to make sure that I am okay.