Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

A lesson in Motherhood – A future letter to my boys

Now that you have gotten much older, you both likely reflect on many events from your past and woven through those memories are your interpretations of my behaviour as a mother, so I want to clear this all up for you here and now.

I know you have always thought I treat your brother differently.

You are absolutely right!

You two were not born the same,  you both possess different genetic matter (albeit from the same gene pool) and with that comes entirely different preferences, opinions, and needs. While you will never understand this until you are a parent of your own, I did treat you differently, but not by accident and not by any favouring of one of you over the other – but simply because it was my absolute intention to fulfil your emotional, physical and mental needs to the best of my ability. Maybe not in your day, but in ours there is this misconception that parenthood is simply the ‘forming’ of children in our image, but this isn’t true, our mission is to honour the form that you brought into the world and teach you how use it, refine it, and build upon it. Parenthood isn’t about spreading myself amongst you in fairness and equality but about learning and adapting to each of you independently, and each of your needs as they present themselves.

Just the other morning, for example, Elliott, you cried as the bus reached our stop and it was time for us to part ways. I was shocked and annoyed by the situation because up until that very moment you were perfectly prepared to return to school after the Christmas break, but as the bus pulled away and you stared out the window at me with your tear stained face, I realized something monumental in our relationship. You hide your emotions, you bury them deep inside you and avoid its release until it is inevitable and you need me. Earlier that morning, while I busied myself in the kitchen preparing your lunch and organizing your school bag, you were reeling with the conflict of leaving the house and I had no idea. You needed me – differently than your younger brother, who gathers his things and runs out the door at every opportunity – you needed a whisper of hope, you needed assurance, you needed reminders of all the wonderful experiences that school holds for you, you needed me to prepare you; that nothing is different that this school day is still the same as all those you had prior to the break because change is something that intimidates you.

I only hope in all the days we have spent together as mother and son, you understand how much I love and appreciate you for who you are. While, I sometimes seem annoyed that your nervous intimidation inconveniences me, I am more honoured and humbled by it than anything. It keeps you safe and it keeps you needing me and wanting me, it keeps you seeking answers and assurances that you deserve. My only condolence to you for this day, is that I vow to move forward holding your hand as we respect your sense of nervousness, while recognizing when it could be holding you back from living and breathing new experiences. I am forever thankful to you for this lesson.

I have learned by now, in the four years of motherhood you have gifted to me, that you are never comforted with showings of affection. While sometimes a brief hug can settle your anxiety it isn’t the long-term answer. You need your personal space, and a quiet moment to process your feelings. You need to meet with me alone and sit in silence for a moment, before I canvas you about your fears. Sometimes I have to pry the information from you, before we can brainstorm a plan and solution together. I cherish this new way of seeing life unfold.

Oliver, you have entirely different strategies for handling change. You embrace the unknown and jump in feet first with very little hesitation. You pride yourself on being brave and adventurous and socialize easily. You expend so much energy in a day with all your activity, that when you return to me you need to be refreshed. You will never turn down a cuddle and want to be smothered with kisses. I am happy to oblige. I also know – much to your dismay – that you need your sleep so I often invoke your nap times to keep you grounded and feeling in control. I know at 3 that seems counterproductive to you, but I promise I have had your best interests at heart. You challenge me in ways that your older brother never did, and so everything we share together as mother and child is also a new exploration into the realm of parenthood. You have an intense conviction to your beliefs and choices and I commend you for that, but it certainly isn’t an easy trait to parent, especially because I know we share this conviction and we are often not on the same page. Still, I know you are filled with amazing potential and it will truly shine in your adulthood, I know this with certainty, because that is where I am at now.

My frustrations are never about you two, they are birthed from an inner conflict with myself because I know in these moments I have failed you. Motherhood isn’t perfect, in fact, perfection in parenting is probably the least achievable thing we will ever attempt in our lives, it is a variable education that we can never be prepared for.

So, Yes! I do treat you both differently, with reason and intent for the betterment of your well-being, and while you may not always see your childhood though my eyes, and you may never understand my intentions, I vow to preserve your organic self – because that is what parenthood truly means.

Tight squeeze!

Mama

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Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

Why I will no longer say that my kids drive me to drink and other ridiculous nonsense 


Yesterday I joked to my co-workers that it isn’t so much my job that drives me to drink but that my kids sure do…

This morning, in my infinite post-slumber wisdom, I woke up full of guilt and immediately wished I could take back those ridiculous words.

I’ve heard it time-and-time again, and I’ve said it myself but I’ve suddenly become aware of the implications of that statement – and not on the alcohol front – but what this (and other equally ill-suited statements) says about my children.

There is actually nothing painful about a three or four year old, in fact, they are by nature the windows into the soul of Mother Earth, the most organic form of humankind to exist. Pure, neutral, and loving. It’s not my kids, it’s really just motherhood as a whole that gets our panties all in a bunch.

This totally exhausting, completely unerving stage of motherhood is filled with amazing humans and to say that THEY drive me to drink is really just implying there is some kind of fault with them as children – which thank my lucky stars – there certainly is not! They are prefect beings acting completely in tune with themselves exploring curiosity, practicing conflict, learning their physical limitations, and expanding their mindset. They are truly in harmony with themselves and their authenticity and when I think about placing blame on them because I can’t keep up with these systemic expectations of motherhood, well that is just absurd!

The responsibility of motherhood, on the other hand, is what interferes with my ability to bask in all the glorious adventure my children bring to me.

You know… Motherhood; the toppling laundry piles, nagging house keeping tasks, home cooked meals waiting to be made, honey do lists, daycare planning, Taxi service scheduling. It’s all those looming accessories to childhood that really get to us. Add in this new millenial motherhood where we needlessly busy ourselves sweeping dirty laundry under the area rug so we can post a perfectly curated picture of ‘real life’ on social media, Document a reality tv show via live story options, and post minute-by-minute twitter updates of the goings on of our lives.

So let us give credit where credit is due; our  preschoolers and early elementary children are just busy living their intended life, and being awesome at it! If we are struggling to stay above it all, we need to shed a thing or two from the mundane task lists and take more time quietly enjoying our kids.

Forgive yourself mama! Motherhood is the scariest hood you will ever go through, so drink that wine (or otherwise choice of chill-out beverage) just don’t make your children the “excuse” you think you need!

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Family

Elliott in Kindergarten


If we have done anything right, the only remarkable thing you will be wearing to school on this first day of kindergarten is your confidence. Even though I may have thoroughly planned your first day outfit, and carefully selected a suitable backpack it’ll only be these years of character building that will matter when you walk through your schools double doors.

As you embark on this journey that will carry you through your more impressionable years I will be cheering you on to be your best – most authentic – self.


Never trade in your individuality for some carbon copy of your peers.

Never feel the desire to dull your inner sparkle that is after all our favorite part about you.

Never lose your sense of curiosity and continue to ask questions to gain better understanding.

I encourage you to share your creativity with your peers! I’ve witnessed first hand the magnitude of your imagination and know your talents will be endless.

Bravery is your most cherished attribute, and I know undoubtedly that you will persist outside of your introverted comfort zone, because you are also amazingly adventures despite those limitations.


You are a social butterfly, who has never shyed away from creating new friendships, be bold and befriend even the under dogs.

Smile and face each of those tougher days with grace and persistence, for they don’t last long.


You are a fascinating human! And we are proud of you for waking each morning with a positive outlook on life and rising to the challenge of facing another day. Everything else you accomplish is simply a bonus!

I vow to take heed to your struggles, and be sensitive to your needs this first year you adapt to this new life.

I vow to love you and protect you on this journey.

I vow to let go of my need to be in control and allow this village to help guide and protect you.

I vow to never underestimate how precious your mind is, and to fill it with positive thoughts and encouragement especially in these days that you are feeling vulnerable.


You are full of greatness!

You are full of potential!

You have incredible determination!

You are (mostly) equipped with the tools to do this,

You will do this!!


You are kindness, and gentleness, and intention.

You are you, and that is perfect!

I am going to miss you! But I am more proud of you than you will ever know, and that fills my heart with excitement these first days!

Go now, with my heart, and relish in all the joy and learning your school days have to offer. You will do great things!

I love you!!

Xoxo

Mama


Posted in Elliott, Family

Elliott is 4 ever young!


Elliott is turning 4.

4!

A two year tumultuous infertility journey has somehow rapidly shifted gears into a four year adventure that has led us here.

Now nearly 4 – our boy – is his own person blossoming with his own thoughts, beliefs, and a timid but certain voice.

He’s still a thumb sucker – there is certainly no denying that – but regardless, somewhere in the last year, he has morphed into a mini man.

Elliott has spent the last nine months learning and growing expansively in a local Preschool program. At the time of enrollment, he was completely uninterested in anything scholastic. We knew he needed a program like this to get him ‘school ready’ and the exposure to the whole ‘small fish in a big pond’ phenomenon, as well as the socialization with peers he really needed.

Spending the last nine months facilitating this transition has been joyously rewarding. He still has difficulty recalling the daily events to report about it at the dinner table, but hearing him tell me about the friends (most of whom still remain nameless) he played with all day is just enough to ignite the heartstrings. Pre-preschool he was social – yet shy, intelligent – but hesitant to try, curious – but cautious, so our in home childcare situation was really holding him back from experiencing life the way its intended. He needed that push so-to-speak to force him to take responsibility in this integral learning phase. And so, this journey began. He has mastered his color identification, he can identify and mostly spell and write his name, he struggles with the alphabet but there is marked improvement. He plays blocks, and does crafts, and is friendly with the kids in his class. Just the other day, we were making a quick errand run through Walmart, and as I thoughtlessly rushed my son down the aisles, he was calling after me “Mom… mommy!” When I finally caught wind of this and turned to see, he was pointing out a school friend, the pair of them so excited to find a friend in-the-wild, neither of them able to recall each others names. It was exciting none-the-less, and neither of them wanted anything more than to remind their mothers that they know people outside of their family dynamic. It was just the sweetest thing to witness, and in that moment I kneelt to the floor and held my nearly-four-year-old  in a deep embrace and told him how proud  I was that he was building friendships with these kids.

His teaching/learning journey has always been a struggle; he was slow to talk, hesitant to walk, he resists sitting in quiet study <Where he shines is on the physical experiences of life hands-on, tactile play, and the arts, and sports.> Do I wish he could just learn with ease? Sure! Would I change a single thing about him? Absolutely not!

Elliott loves bumble bee (as in the yellow Camaro that transforms into a robot), he is obsessed with everything superhero, and we get a daily dose of hero dramatics every single day (aren’t we lucky!). He is into planes, and trains, and automobiles, and now that he has been provided with a kid-leveled bookshelf you can find him curled up with a book just about anywhere. His love for hockey has remained unchallenged, though, he has expanded his love to pretty much all sports and remains active outside (or in) day-in and day-out.

Elliott doesn’t want to turn 4.

He has resolved to stay 3 because it’s his favorite number, or so he says.

I can’t blame him, I am not so fond of him turning 4 either, it’s one of those difficult transitional ages, he will suddenly be swept into the responsibility of the educational system, and miss out on all the 1:1 time he got with family. That’s a tough transition for any age.

At home, this past year he has been such an admirable big brother. He is thoughtful and  encouraging with every interaction he has with Oliver. His only fault is that he worries to much about his reckless counterpart. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better mentor as a big brother. He is everything we wanted and more. Some mornings the kids wake on their own, and without even coming in to wake us, they get straight to business together cooking a breakfast on their little wooden kitchen set all the while chatting together like old comrades. It’s just the bees knees!

If there is anything we are most excited about in this past year, as far as milestones go, its that Elliott is a swimmer now. There was no lack of effort on his part, he hustled hard. It isn’t so much that he succeeded that we are so excited, although that is certainly a bonus, but that he worked so tirelessly to achieve it. He fought about as hard as his little body could fight to get here, and earned the reward to swim 6-10 feet without a life jacket because he developed that skill from the ground up.

If you were to ask Elliott now what he thinks of himself he would tell you that he is Smart, and brave, and nice. These are how he chooses to define himself at this ripe old age of 4, and I am one proud mama, that those are the only qualities that matter.

 

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

 

 

 

 

Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

One of THOSE days!

Try as I might, I am having a difficult time filing this day as a great one in the old attic of childhood keepsakes.
Don’t get me wrong I’m thankful for any day spent with my family, but this one was particularly tough to endure.

Between the three-angers and the terrible twos we were sure to be met with our fair share of challenges, and one giant dose of our fair share did we indeed get!!

The whining, good God! The whining! The fighting; hitting, biting, pushing, WWE over toys and the “who who gets a first chance at the slide” woes. Then the meal time strikes, we are at an all time high of 3 missed meals today by the pair of ’em. And the tattle-taling, and the ‘oh woe is me’ over every favour or direction mom and dad ask.

The terrible twos are a fairly new concept to me since Elliott clearly soared though it with little resistance, but the oppositional defiance we get from Oliver over every-little-thing is enough to make up for the two of them combined. Like, I literally just watched him slide his hand over a patch of wet paint immediately following my firm direction not too. The whole while he made eye contact with me, I swear I saw them turn an evil green, and that cheeky grin. He absolutely thinks he is hilarious. (Le sigh)

We had more time outs today alone, then I think we’ve ever dished out in total before. Just one of those days that has your left questioning why you would ever consider having another child again.


And onto tomorrow!! Let’s pray for a better one!

Tight sqeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Oliver, Uncategorized

Mama Life Mastered

Another apology ahead; I have found myself slipping away from the blogging world because, well, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been totally rocking this mom thing.

My house has had a pretty substantial deep clean over the last few weeks, my boys and I have been active and enjoying the sweet summer sun, and overall, I think I finally have some semblance of a rhythm going on in this crazy life.

When it comes to activities, it can be daunting to think up creative ways to keep the kids interested without always dropping a C-note on overpriced theme park tickets, and museum tours. Lucky for me my boys are dirt worshipers and anything that requires shoeless feet and muddy hands keep them entertained all summer long.

My camera, which I thought needed some major TLC is miraculously healed, and we’ve been busy trekking it around our neighborhood for some good old fashioned local fun. My three year olds mind was completely blown when he realized I wasn’t just telling stories and our seven year old Lab, Sophie, does actually love swimming. Honestly, if you could have witnessed his amusement in that moment, your heart would have melted too.

Needless to say our adventures have left me speechless, unable to record in this journal my thoughts, because I have just been completely lost in my boys, and my family.

Just when I thought I couldn’t keep up the excitement while revisiting the same beaches and parks over-and-over, I came up with the brilliant idea of collecting rocks, that we would later paint on gloomy days – SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT – this same routine stop became a whole new adventure with a completely new agenda. Also, throwing rocks into the water is a favorite pastime for these two.

As they are growing bigger they are becoming daring and confident. Watching as they brave new playground feats is the source of all this mamas pride, oh and their outgoing social skills as they make friends (clearly a trait they inherit from their father) has me getting all wobbly in the knees!

On the ol’ Homestead, we’ve got things rocking there too, squeezing in time for all the chores when there is just too much house to handle has been a serious thorn in my side, but making it a priority once in a while, making no excuses on cleaning day, and rocking a killer soundtrack has got me owning it. It feels “So fresh and so clean, clean” (I dare you not to sing that!)

 

 

While, I’m out now, I have some finger prints that need some windex, and a quick park date to arrange.

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Uncategorized

Success at the end of a day!

If you’re a parent, this is exactly how success is measured at the end of a day. Your child has spent all of his energy, has read a book with dad to wind-down, and is tucked cozily in bed.

Aside; Despite the appearance of monsters on his jammies, this particular set of nightwear will forever be known as robot jammies, because no one argues about clothing with a toddler! #itriedandlost

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Sleep – tight – Squeeze!

Ella