Not sleep as in “WOW! I actually got to SLEEP!” … I would be thankful for that…but thankful implies it is something you have…so…..
The sleep I’m thankful for is when you are holding your child and you get to witness that single moment when they slide from awake to sleep.
When they were infants my children slept on me often. I remember how peaceful that sleep was. As they’ve gotten older, any sleeping with or near them usually involves snoring, teeth grinding, kicking and crazy gymnastic feats.
SuperBaby, now 3, has been going through a growth spurt this week. At least that’s what I’m blaming for his chaotic sleep patterns, maniacal behavior and eating like he hasn’t been fed in weeks. Napping has been especially hard. He keeps running around, hiding, destroying things….laughing like a troll doll the entire time.
Today after I pulled him out of the linen closet for the second time…
I decided that drastic measures would need to be taken if I ever expected him to nap.
So we snuggled.
He tossed and turned a little, sucked his thumb, turned into me and nuzzled his face into my neck and whispered “Nanks fo’ hahping me seep Mommy”. Then I felt his little body relax as he slipped from awake to asleep.
It was this blissful moment that I don’t often get with the kids as they continue to grow up and away from me. Holding him, feeling his warm breath on my neck, hearing his breathing become very rhythmic and calm and feeling every muscle in his little body just relax as he drifted off.
I couldn’t put him down…. I couldn’t walk away. I laid there for quite a while and just breathed in his calm… reveled in the knowledge that my arms provided him with the space he needed to relax and unwind.
I’m so thankful today for my little boy’s sleep.Read More
This is a picture of SuperBoy last Monday in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.
No, he didn’t fall and hurt himself.
Amidst screaming, ranting and yelling while I directed him to a less people laden location, SuperBoy threw himself on the ground in one grand finale meltdown.
I struggled with posting this picture, which I snapped to show him in our post-meltdown breakdown. I don’t ever want to embarrass my child, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Tired, hot and dealing with a dad who was also tired and hot…. I had been waiting for this meltdown to occur. I was prepared. I had a plan of action. I knew I would carry out our normal melt down protocol right there in the middle of Disney …. so that SuperBoy would continue to learn how to bring himself out of these situations…and so that he would know that even in the most magical of places…. I will not tolerate that behavior.
It was harder than I thought.
I felt sorry for him. The kids really had been holding up amazingly well. This was day SIX …and the first sign of major meltdown. I thought we would see it by day TWO. This was not a melt down brought on by selfish desires, it was pure over stimulation on ten different levels.
I was embarrassed. Horrified, actually. Part of his melt down routine is to yell and scream about how I’m hurting him when I place my hand on his arm to remove him from a situation. He stayed true to form and screamed and yelled, loudly, in Hollywood Studios, that I was hurting him and to “Please just LET. ME. GO!”
The most awful part of this whole situation?
The judgmental looks and scoffs I got from the parents around me. Parents who apparently have angels for children, or are only on day ONE of their trip. When I removed SuperBoy from the Muppet 3-D attraction I took him to what was the most remote area I could find in the immediate vicinity. One mother sitting across the street from us (reading a book while her baby apparently slept in the stroller) shot me a dirty look, huffed and puffed and then moved up the street and complained to the strangers around her about “some parents”.
The older couple that had been sitting next to her did not move, watching us without even pretending to look away, shook their heads and whispered to each other.
When I see other parents suffering the trials of a child melting down I either give them the silent, knowing and supportive nod … or I inwardly smile and breathe a sigh of relief because it was them….and not me. Most of the time I do both.
Part of my strategy for addressing these melt downs is to simply be in his space, but to be silent. I let him scream and yell and fuss….until he can pull himself together. We’ve tried talking, we’ve tried rationalizing. He’s old enough to know those words by heart … he needs to be able to soothe himself. When he is ready I will hold, rock, hug and kiss the daylights out of him …but not until he has calmed himself down.
As I sat on the curb waiting for him to pull it together a mom walked up and looked at me with disdain (I really don’t think I’m exaggerating)…then went to SuperBoy and asked him if everything was okay…if he needed help. (?!) He looked at her, very confused, then continued on his tirade. I looked her squarely in the face and said “He is over stimulated, overly tired and having a temper tantrum. He’s six, he’ll get over it.”
I half expected someone to call the authorities on me.
After half an hour (yes, half an hour) SuperBoy pulled himself together. We went on with our day and enjoyed the rest of Hollywood Studios.
During his meltdown I was encouraged greatly by the support I received on Twitter from my fellow Disney Social Media Moms parents…. reminding me that Disney World is the meltdown capital of the world (for kids AND grownups!). It also served to remind me, yet again what a great group of people I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with during this phenomenal event.
Turning off of the interstate today to pick up some lunch for the kids I headed down the street with a Subway to my right and McDonald’s on my left. I was steeling myself for the debate regarding sustenance of choice when SuperBoy piped up in the back seat: “Can we go to Subway? My tummy feels better when we eat there, I don’t really like McDonald’s anymore…” reeling from the shock I hear SuperGirl pipe up “Yeah, me too!”
To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.
As we picked out our sandwiches and the kids asked to go and pick out apples while I refilled their water cups…. I was thrilled with their decisions. Decisions that I will allow myself to take partial credit for because while we have had the flat burger meal on occasion, I have made a conscious effort to discuss healthy choices with them…to limit their intake of sugar and gross processed foods and I have spent time talking with them about how their bodies feel after they eat!
Your tummy feels yucky? Do you think you ate too much sugar? Maybe next time you should try an apple instead of a cookie. Do you think you are really hungry for a snack? When was the last time you had a glass of water? Did you know that your body can feel hungry when it really just needs more water?
I’m hearing some of these things echoed back to me around the house…and now I’m seeing it in their actions!
While the kids making the choice to dine and one establishment over another is a Little Thing, seeing an essential piece of my parenting efforts come to fruition most certainly is not.
A smile is not always a little thing; sometimes its the hardest thing to conjure….but it is always the easiest thing to give away.
When I drop my son off at Kindergarten each morning, I park in the parking lot and walk him across the drive. I could wait in line and
throw him let him jump from the car as I glide past the entryway….but this little bit of extra effort makes him happy. It is less stressful to him (and, frankly, to me) to hold his hand and walk up to the classroom door where I can hug him goodbye and plant one large, embarrassing Mom Kiss on his face as I send him off into the world.
This morning when I was returning to my car, one of the women who very faithfully directs traffic and monitors the parental drop off craziness each and every morning said to me: “I just love seeing you every morning, you always wear such a great smile”.
Despite my harried mornings, despite my often dragging spirit and the bags under my eyes… I’ve been smiling…and apparently it makes someone else’s day. THAT is something to smile about.
It’s the little things in life that make the difference….and not always just to ourselves.
This photo was taken by my friend Kristen from Dine and Dish during a photo shoot that my other fabulous friend Sandra from Sandra Hale Photography was doing during our (not so) recent get away in November.Read More
I remember reading a parenting book when I was pregnant with SuperBoy and what resonated with me this idea:
As parents, we want to encourage our children, build their self esteem and make them realize that they can take on the world; do whatever they want to do. Consequently, we too often don’t allow them to fail. We also get busy and frequently offer “blanket praise”… a “That’s Great, Honey!” Kids eventually realize that no matter how far out of the lines they color, we will say “That is amazing and beautiful!” The book went on to teach that not only can you be honest with your kids (gently and with a kind heart, of course) but that when you are praising them, be specific. Make your compliment or praise unique so that they realize it is not that blanket statement: “I really love the way you made the whole picture purple! It reminds me of grapes and those are my favorite fruit.”
I’ve tried very hard to adhere to that idea. To take those few extra seconds to be specific, to truly appreciate what they’ve done rather than spitting out a rote compliment.
Recently in a parenting group I attended at church it was suggested that while sharing with our children how proud we are of them, ultimately their self esteem must come from themselves….they need to be proud of themselves. (Well, duh. I hate it when something obvious finally becomes, well, obvious.)
So I readjusted my mindset and made a determined effort to say “You should be really proud that you chose to follow directions and get your room cleaned” … (or other such daydream material).
A few weeks later I had the revelation that while I was headed in the right direction…I was still telling them what to be proud of. The idea of pride in one’s own work was there…. it was however ultimately provided by me.
As being a parent is a very obvious progression and work in progress, I made another adjustment to my “style”.
Now, at the end of each day, I ask my two big kids, “What have you done today that makes you proud?”
I was stunned the first time I asked this question and got blank stares. They didn’t understand what I meant. *deflation of self-proclaimed master parent status*
We talked though what they did in the day and eventually landed on what they were proud of. Now SuperBoy(5) gets it and is starting to provide a quick reply. SuperGirl (3) still has a rough time with the definition of “proud”; she seems to think it means something she likes so I often get the answer “The dessert we had after dinner….”. I’m getting good at redirecting: “You mean that you are proud of yourself for making good decisions so you got to eat some yummy dessert?”
“NO! I mean the dessert!”
Okay. We’re all learning.
What Have You Done Today that Makes You Proud?
I raised three beautiful children.