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 Family, Oliver

Ollie a preschooler!

This bright and Witty charmer is off on his first day of preschool. I will look forward to my brief half days alone, that is, as long as I don’t get phone calls saying he is swinging from the ceiling or giving classmates swirlies.

You all laugh, but I truly wouldn’t put it past him.

For real though, here are all the reasons I know he won’t even flinch with this transition:

1. He’ll most definitely be the class clown

2. He demands attention from the second he enters a room.

3. He has an infectious laugh

4. He is actually pretty brilliant already

5. He is rather thoughtful

6. He is a charmer

7. He is imaginative

8. He loves structured activities

9. He is a story teller.

….

Or I could be getting those daily phone calls that he has repainted the walls with glue, or peed on a classmate.

At least he has that infectious smile to get us all through!!

The very best to you for these preschool days, our little Ollie-pop!


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, Oliver

A few of their favorite things

Its important to me that I make a note of all the things my kids do and love, and that may some day frame who they are in as adults. I never want to forget what toys they were attached to, or how they preferred to sleep, and especially how they show their creativity and innovation, because I think those are the little key holes into the future, and I will one day be able to piece all of this together.

Elliott ~ 2.5 yrs

  • Thumb-sucking. All day every day.
  • His Lego Hard hat. He wears this consistently, before winter hats, We had to fight to leave this hat a home -we eventually gave up- and he wore it EVERYWHERE. Living in a relatively small town, I’m surprised people didn’t recognize him as “that kid…”
  • Hats in general. Wears one pretty much 24/7.
  • Lego. Currently he is into building a two story three car garage, with upper loft man cave for all his hard hat wearing Lego men (which he calls Tom and daddy). We do this everyday!
  • He prefers painting over coloring. He will not participate in finger painting, but has really refined his motor skills with brushes.
  • Television. We do not have cable, so he watches what he asks for on command. He absolutely lives for the Might Ducks trilogy, but also like Zooboomafoo, Bob the builder, Dinotrux, and Veggie Tales. He also really enjoyed the Polar Express and Frosty the snowman at Christmas time. He almost always chooses real-people over cartoons.
  • Construction vehicles. Everything about them. He wont count, identify colors, or say the alphabet, but he can name all the different vehicles without hesitation.
  • Playing the his collection of necklaces and bracelets in mommies jewelry box. He has his very own set of kids bangles, and necklaces.
  • His baby. He has a miniature bassinet beside his bed, and his baby has to be tucked in there every night when he goes to bed. He doesn’t bother with it ,much through the day, however from time-to-time he brings it downstairs and he eats meals at the table with us.
  • Hockey! Anything to do with hockey. He loves hockey cards, hockey jerseys, watching from his bedroom window as the neighborhood kids play outside, He has his own stick and gloves, and has learned to handle the stick really well. He is limited to hockey outside and plays in the catwalk beside our house. Inside, he will use kitchen utensils and a plush soccer ball for an adaptation of hockey.
  • Aden and Anais Dream blankets. They are soft and luxurious so I cant really blame him. We keep one on the couch for movies, and one in the car during the winter if they are not there, he will hunt them down and put them there.
  • A vintage Playskool wooden ride on Giraffe that I found at a yard sale for $5. We have had an assortment of ride on toys come and go in the house, but that is always his go-to.
  • Apple Tea. Obviously! Of course there isn’t such a thing as apple tea served in our home (although I really should go find one) rather Apple tea is just want he has decided to call all beverages after a thanksgiving treat of apple cider, ONE TIME!
  • Pasta. Cleans his plate, always!
  • Pretty much any fruit imaginable, and vegetables for that matter. Though Avocado is probably #1.
  • Birthdays. He can’t get enough. He only started to realize the hype of birthdays after his 2nd. He understood that with birthdays came “Happy cake”. Like, who cares about the presents anyway? Then after a slew of birthday invites from then to now, he has become obsessed with the idea.
  • Books. He never turns down the opportunity to read with, well, anyone. He also enjoys leafing through them on his own after they have been read.
  • Boots. Just cause, Puddles!
  • He would have you believe otherwise, but He actually loves tickles. Right time and place.
  • Mirrored play. If mom sews, Elliott will find objects to mimic mom. If dads working on the car or with tools in the house, Elliott is behind him with his toy version. There are always electrical outlets being adjusted with screwdrivers around here.
  • Elmo calls app. Elmo face times often, sometimes as a wake-up call. Sometimes from a temper tantrum distractor, other times to encourage him to eat his meal. Works every time.
  • Jammies. Why not?
  • Baths. Especially the special occasions he gets to bathe in mommy and daddies big tub.
  • Being behind the camera with his vintage fisher price toy camera. He does not like having his photos taken though.
  • Surprises and being scared.
  • Face-timing.

 

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Oliver ~ 1 year

  • His Aden and Anais sucky blankets (we have a handful and leave them stashed everywhere).
  • Cell phones. Has no idea how to use it, except mimicking selfies by outstretching his arms and saying cheese. But if he doesn’t have a cell  in his hand the world has ended. (The baby monitor is an acceptable substitute, but don’t dare try to give him a toy version)
  • Baths. He is blowing water bubbles too now.
  • Bedtime bottles. Me thinks he’s going to be a tough one to break.
  • Walking. A boys got to take advantage of his new found talent.
  • Unraveling the paper products. Toilet paper, paper towel doesn’t matter as long as he can giggle at the aftermath.
  • Stairs. For the same reason he likes walking
  • Hellos and good byes. He has currently taken to leaning over the toilet and bidding adieu to the poopys and the pee-pees.
  • Thumb-sucking. Although not as much as his brother. He will ONLY suck thumb when tired/falling asleep and ONLY with his sucky blanket which he rubs on his face whilst sucking.
  • Kitchen cupboards and drawers. Anything he can reach needs to wander four feet from its intended home, and immediately dropped or thrown to the floor.
  • Water play. Splishing, splashing, and getting wet. Dog bowls included.
  • The broom, or other unusually large items that are awkward from him to maneuver which result in his frustration and a tantrum.
  • Peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek. Because discovering that one can completely disappear behind their fingertips is simply epic.
  • Rockabye Baby Cds. Particularly Michael Jackson – Asleep instantly!
  • Singing. Currently happy birthday and Row your boat.
  • Pasta, Bananas… eating in general. He is well known for tantruming if he isn’t eating, and shoveling the food in handfuls.
  • Being naked. Running freely.
  • Talking. Seriously, doesn’t stop.
  • Hugs. He check in with one about every two hours or so, he just thrives off of positive human contact.
  • Face-timing. Because. Cell phone!
  • Having his picture taken. “Chhee!!” (Cheese)
  • Laughing, smiling, and being the happiest baby overall.

 

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This!! This is what makes my heart smile, everyday!

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Oliver

A Cuddle in Time

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Couldn’t you just die for the completely unsolicited cuddles your children provide?

My kids are not the overly clingy type, they like to be active, and that certainly can’t happen while glued to moms hip. There is business to be done people! Like building Lego garages, emptying the kitchen drawers, dumping the dogs water bowls, or feasting on kibble. Try as I may, its rare to get a sweet couch cuddle with my children, bribing them with movie cuddles included.

Elliott almost never gives me cuddles at all, he is big on personal space and actually refuses to share a bed, EVER!  I can actually only recall one night that we laid our heads on the same pillow in the last 2.5+ years of his life.

Oliver is far more cuddly, and will actually give me unannounced cuddles from time-to-time -particularly when tired, AND will actually take a snooze in my arms, albeit briefly.

But when the time comes, and my kids march out of nowhere to give me a kiss or a hug, I’m smitten. I feel the knee wobbling-heart racing-butterfly dancing-euphoria. That’s what parenting is all about!

Today, Elliott crawled atop my lap, blanket in tow, and sat for a whole Five minutes whilst watching Dinotrux. In your world that might not seem like a long time, but in mine it was a glorious moment that I had to record.

Tight Squeeze!

Ella