Still lots happening all the time. Griffin is progressing with Kindergarten, working so hard to do a better job of listening and staying on task as he's had some issues with, well, not doing those things. He had his first playdate here the other day with a classmate and they had loads of fun ransacking his toy collection and sharing stories about cats and horses. Noah just trucks along happily most of the time at his morning preschool, though he has shown a stubborn side as well when it comes to taking instruction. What can I say...these apples don't fall far from their trees. According to my mom, when I was little, if it wasn't my idea I didn't want to do it...and their Dad certainly marches to his own drum. You can talk to Griffin until you're blue in the face. His hearing is fine but he has a true talent for simply tuning out. I swear he's wandering around in a whole other world in his head, building entire towns and putting out fires and probably hanging out with Super Mario while eating peanut butter toast. The trick with Noah, who is three, is finding the consequence he will respond to. Much of the time you can tell him "I have asked you not to throw your toys/jump on the couch/chase the kitten twice already. If you do it again I will take away your drawing board/you won't get chocolate milk after lunch (etc)." He just literally laughs in my face, while committing the crime again.
Raising two boys is exhausting. Perhaps I am too soft at times but I make up for it by yelling. I am horrified to find I am that hollering mom when they drive me over the edge. When I am not sleeping well, which seems to be usually these days, that is often. At the end of the day, when I am drifting off to sleep, my inner self invariably pipes up with something like "HEY! Did you HEAR the way you screeched at those children today? You are a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE PERSON!" Yes, really. Then I remember I forgot to switch over the laundry or turn on the dishwasher and it's all over. I end up getting up to fold towels and tiny pairs of socks and contemplate the things I should be doing differently.
At least I can say that even from this place of constant fatigue and anxiety (which is the place I end up when I am not doing regular, intense cardio and eating properly - more on that in a bit), I have been making some really good changes and have seen almost immediate results. When Griffin and I get tense and annoyed with one another I remind myself that I am the one who sets the tone. We were having a time of it in the tub the other night with neither of them listening and the volume of my instruction becoming increasingly loud and frustrated. As I pulled him out of the tub to help him dry off, I said "Griff, I think we need to take the mad-at-eachother, pick it up and smash it on the floor. Do you see it here right between us? Let's pick it up." He didn't even ask me what I meant. His hands came up to hold a kind of invisible ball. I said "You've got the bottom? I'll take the top. Got it? Okay, let's smash it on the floor. One, two three..." And together we picked it up and hurled it into smithereens. Then we smiled. Then Noah came out of the tub and started complaining about something. So I joined. Not mocking, but coming up with my own list of complaints in a really ridiculous, lispy voice. Then I told him not to laugh at me. He laughed. I laughed. Griffin laughed. We all felt so much better!
It can be a huge challenge from inside the full-time mom bubble to step outside of it to take stock; to manage to remind myself between the demands and cries and the general constant, spinning energy little boys are made of and putting out, that it is up to me to determine what happens next. I can change the course of events for all of us if I can just remember that my little boys are counting on me to do so. Even when they are annoying the living hell out of me and I haven't had time to shower or pee. I love my kids, so much. the early years weren't easy for me - I seriously had no reference point at all when it came to producing and caring for baby boys as one of three girls. I have regrets about how I handled things with my Griffin when Noah was a baby...I wasn't always patient and his feelings were hurt more than once. But the amazing thing is, they still love me. They forgive me and they trust me. And I am determined not to let them down. I am actually excited about our next phase together. Life is kind of fun, most of the time. And these kids are healthy, strong, inquisitive and creative guys. As a creative soul myself I know the adventures will just become more formidable from here.
On the topic of taking care of myself, I want to address this as a note to all moms. I have really been all over the spectrum in terms of self-care. I have been in a manic, work-out all the time and eat nothing but yogurt and salad kind of place, and I have been in a no work-outs, too-much-wine-too-much-of-the-time and just not eating well kind of place. I have been everywhere between the two, and the truth is very very simple: There is no magic pill, there is no crash diet, and no one is going to do it for me. When I don't take time to work out, eat properly and in proper amounts and get the sleep I need, I am a depressed, anxious mess. The sleep issue has a variety of contributing factors, obviously, but when I am getting my cardio it is so much less of an issue. Having slimmed down recently and put a few pounds back on, I know it's worth the work to feel better. It's not just about how I feel in my clothing, though that is certainly part of it. It's about a feeling of balance; about renewal and putting a little back into myself to counter all I put out.
Last week I went back to Jazzercise after almost four months away. I have missed Vicki and the community she's created so much (Seriously. Almost cried when I got there). After an awesome, fun workout, I stayed to chat. This is a woman with a huge following of people who admire her and request her guidance and support on a regular basis. And still, when I told her I had been having a rough time her eyes welled up and she commiserated with me a little and told me she's there if I need her. What a lift she always gives me. What a mentor. Always ready to extend herself and her amazing, positive energy. I guess Jazzercise is kind of like my church. If I can only get to it once a week (I am going to try to go on Saturdays as it's the only time that works right now), it will be enough for now. Big love to Vicki Waters and the Jazzercise community!
In addition to this I have decided to hit her program again (the one that worked for me in the spring)on my own, beginning on Monday. I am not spending the weekend eating cheesecake or anything but will have a glass of wine or two this evening and just not worry about much beyond planning for the week ahead. It won't be an easy week as the first of the seven week program is the most restrictive, but it will give me fast results and get me back on track. The trick will be making more of the guidelines permanent/long term changes so I can maintain my happy. My weight too, but mostly I just want my happy back. If you have questions about Vicki's program, she will be running more of them in the new year and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her Vicki Waters Jazzercise page on Facebook. If nothing else you should check out one of her classes here in Victoria. Killer fun!
Before I sign off I must share our newest family member with you. We have adopted the most beautiful, sweet little kitten! His name is Bruce, after our late, great friend and the designer of our home, Bruce Wilson. We have been calling him Brucey, and he is a love! Welcome, little furball! And apologies to our Sadie, who is disappointingly, utterly pissed off about the whole affair...