Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just Be

It seems like in motherhood, or parenthood for that matter, there are some really hard days. The ones that take it out of you, that make you question if you were really cut out for this journey, if you will have the strength to make it through to bedtime (if it happens) without a stiff drink and a few tears.
I have those days a lot.
But days like today make up for all of those.
There was nothing particularly special about today. We didn't have anything planned. There was no major even going on, we had no plans to go anywhere. Nothing.
We just let the day happen.
And today was amazing.
I wish I could explain it in detail, dissect why today seemed like a special day, what I did differently, how today worked. But I can't. And maybe that's the magic about it.
Today just worked. We had fun. We painted, we glittered glued, we watched a movie as a family. We did a little shopping and a lot of playing. We had a whole lot of fun.
One of my most prized possessions is a necklace that Mike bought for me. It says on it "Just Be". I wear it all the time, because it reminds me, whenever I have it on, of that phrase - just be. It means different things on different days. Sometimes it reminds me that the best person I can be is myself - not some version of me that is louder or quieter or prettier or smarter.
And, sometimes, like today, it reminds me to just let things be. Don't push everything to be perfect. Who cares if the laundry is done, if my house is spotless or if my hair is shiny. Just be - and let life go on.
And, you know what? Today I did just that and the day worked.
Sure I am still worried about a ton of stuff - our upcoming move, our finances, Christmas, etc.
But today I let it go. And I relaxed. And enjoyed.
And today ... was perfect!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mean Mommy ... continued

I have decided I don't like the term Mean Mommy. Tough yes. Mean no.
We're on to day 3 of this reformed parenting. My basics - still be fun, but a little firmer. Don't accept the stuff that is bratty, but try to enjoy the stuff that is fun.
Last night we put it to the test - with a night on the town.
Okay, really, I'd had a couple drinks after work, Mike picked up Matt but there was major traffic, so we decided to meet at Yonge & Eglinton for dinner. I promised to order ahead so that it wouldn't be a long wait.
This was the first dinner out, pretty much since Matt was a teeny tiny sleeping infant, that I can say we actually were relaxed at dinner.
Here were the ground rules. We had a booth by the window, so he was allowed to stand on the bench, sit by the window and go under the table. He could colour and could drink chocolate milk. Screaming, running around, jumping on the bench or climbing on the table, as well as this weird hold the table and climb the bench backward trick were all forbidden.
Amazingly, he complied. He sat for dinner, he chatted, we all had fun.
When he started to misbehave there was no waffling. We didn't go with the "no" we so often use, we told him that we did not like it when he jumped on the bench. We told him it was not how you behave.
For the most part he listened. And, it was a long dinner since Pickle Barrel service is SOOOOO slow. (seriously, I hate how slow their service is).
In fact, he was so well behaved and we were so impressed that Mike - yes, Mike not me - suggested that we take him to Indigo to play with the Thomas Table.
So off we went to Indigo for 45 minutes. Mike bought us coffees and Matt played Thomas.
Again with the tough parenting, we made it clear that he needed to share the toys or we would leave. So, the one really funny part was when he started to yell - "sharing sharing" as he took another kid's toy. But, that was funny - and quickly resolved. We actually enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee and chatted while our remarkably well behaved child played. It was fantastic.
The only low part of the evening was leaving. He left the store just fine, but when we didn't let him go on the car and boat rides for more than a minute he completely freaked out.
So, there I was holding a screaming, kicking toddler under my arm as we rode down the escalator. He was screaming "I want the RRRRIIIDDDEEESSS" as I was firmly saying "I don't care - that's not how we behave".
The moment ended when Mike suddenly said "Christmas Tree" and Matt was distracted.
All in all a good evening.
Fingers crossed this is a new trend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mean Mommy

Lately I've been struggling a lot with my son's behaviour.
Yes, he's a toddler. Yes, he says the word no a lot. Yes, that's typical toddler behaviour. I know temper tantrums are to be expected, and I'm ready to face them head on.
But, what I've been thinking about, and really questionning myself on is how much of this is typical toddler behaviour and how much of this is me allowing my child to be a brat. Because, some days, I have to admit that Matt is kind of bratty.
Don't get me wrong. I love my child to death. And, much of the time I appreciate him for the adorable, wonderful, loving child that he is.
But, I don't want him to be a brat.
I'm starting to notice that some of these bratty behaviours occur only around me. For instance, he can be playing really nicely at daycare, see me, and suddenly start whining. Or, I'll stick around to talk to his teacher and he just starts being bad.
His favourite trick is to pull my arm really hard until I leave. I just let him do it. His teacher stepped in and said "Matthew. That hurts Mommy. Stop."
She was firm and serious and he stopped. Right away.
Or, if he goes to open the door and leave I let him do it, and then chase him down the hall. Kayla (his teacher) tells him no, and he just walks away.
According to the reading I've done, part of this is because I'm his mom. And, he's more comfortable around me. Knows my limits, all of that. And, his teachers play a different role. So, okay. That's fine.
But, I am learning I need to be a little firmer.
So, I've started.
Call it Operation Mean Mommy. Call it whatever you want. But, I've had it with all of this bad behaviour.
The one thing his teacher suggested is that I need to be really clear in my demands. So, today when he kept saying no to me about getting dressed I said (in my new mean mommy voice)
"Mommy does not like it when you say no to me."
So, he looked at me, said yes, and on went the clothes.
Ummmm ... okay. This is easy!
Then at daycare I asked for my hug goodbye. He was completely pre-occupied with his trains and said "not right now. Wait a minute" (well, actually he said "wait a millet").
So I said "No. Mommy has to go to work - I don't like it when you say not right now."
And he jumped up and came running for a kiss.
Apparently we need to use the phrases that work for him. So, we are learning. But, the one thing I do know is that as Matthew gets older I want a child who is fun to be around. I'm not looking for a little soldier with no opinion. But, screaming at me, hitting me, and not respecting me at all. I've finally had it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Donuts to Dollars ... A new babysitter

Last night we had a babysitter.
Shocking. I know.
We had a final shoot for the show we are doing, and in desperation I e-mailed the producer and she arranged for a babysitter while we went to do our shoot.
I was totally fine with the idea of this girl coming over. She's a kindergarten teacher, studied ECE and has babysat for numerous families. And, I trust Matt with the teachers at daycare every day. So, what's the big deal.
Who knows - I just totally panicked about 15 minutes before she arrived. Our house was messy, I didn't have a fullsome emergency contact list (okay - the list had about 20 people on it) and I was worried. A babysitter. In my home. We honestly have never done that.
When Lara arrived I calmed down a bit.
First of all, she was really cool. And, totally relaxed. And she asked all the right questions - bedtime, teeth brushing, tv, etc. Matt seemed to like her. And, so we left. (okay more like Mike dragged me).
But, I've gotta say. It went really well.
We came home to a sleeping child who had his pyjamas on, his teeth brushed and was happy. The girl worked magic.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hats, Hotel Discounts & Hilarity - Buffalo Style

Ahhh - the girls' weekend.
There's so much I want to blog about, and so much that just cna't be explained in words. Just in experience.
To start with, I have to say this was a weekend that we all desperately needed. It was a weekend to have fun, be silly and not worry about kids. And, trust me - fun was had by all.
The fun started when we were sititng in a line for an hour to cross the border. For some reason none of us (my sister Becky, friend Ketly and I) thought it was a bad idea to get grande lattes from Starbucks en route. By the time we hit the border line - an hour and a half line up - we all needed to pee.
So, in order to get our minds off of the need to pee we decided to pull out the Cosmo that I had so wisely purchased and do the quiz. Now, for 3 old married women (ha ha) the question of whether or not we were aggressive with men was pretty funny. What was even funnier was when Ketly, who I would never describe as shy, was told that she was not aggressive enough with men, and was sent to a different storyin the magazine - How to draw out your inner sex kitten.
By the time we got to the border crossing we all knew how to bring out our inner sex kitten, which may explain why the border guard waved us through despite my lack of proper i.d.
One pee break later and we were ready to shop.
We just had to get to the outlets.
So ....
We passed the outlets. Four toll bridges, 3 u-turns and one phone call to my dad later we finally made it to the outlet mall.
There were some incredibly interesting things at the outlet mall.
There were the boots that Ketly found that had some extra bling on them. (bling=sugar in Becky's world).
There was the tam at the Burberry outlet - that had a giant pom pom on the top. That I insisted I try on. It was stunning.
And really, it went on an on.
Sadly, my big outlet purchase was a box of Mike and Ike's at the dollar store.
We then went on a target shopping trip. Again - not so successful - except for the 12 pacakges of daily lip glosses I bought. They were super cool. Super cool. (I bought ones for my BFAW's - love you guys!)
So, by the time we got to Olive Garden and were told it was an hour and 20 minute wait we were getting a little giddy.
And we went to Big K - Kmart - for some shopping fun. Okay, so I did pretty well there. I got the coolest skirt. I love it. And, as I went to pay the funniest thing of the entire weekend happened. The woman behind me was purchasing about 5 million hats.
So, picture it, I had my stuff on the counter, and then I looked behind me and she had put down a red fedora. Weird.
And then she started to pull out tons and tons of grey and black hats. I started to crack up and then Becky and Ketly saw and got started.
Anyone who has seen me have a complete giggle fit will understand what suddenly happened. The more hats she placed on the counter the funnier it go. She had about 100 - and she kept counting them. As I'm losing it, this man walks past, stops, looks at the scene and says to Becky and Ketly "Wow - who buys that many hats." I was gone.
I tried to contain myself. And, the laughter just kept popping out. I got to the table at Olive Garden, got all the way to eating with just little giggles, but when the waitress brought out Ketly's meal and dropped the steak I lost it. I'm still laughing about it.
The rest of the weekend. Well, it mostly had it's highs. Like when I complained about the room we got at the hotel and they took $53 off the room price (apparently the "tree people" had been there and torn the hotel apart and made the rooms stinky. Who are the tree people??? Why $53??? We will never know.)
And, then we went to another mall and filled my shopping quota.
It was a good weekend.
We'll do it again!!!!