Saturday, January 29, 2011

'To Sleep, Perchance to ...' - Forget Dreaming, I'll Just Take Sleep

Sleep.  It is highly underrated.  Ask any parent of a newborn.  Any of you out there who don't yet have children but are planning to - you know who you are - please, take my advice.  Sleep now, while you can.  Enjoy every minute!  I'll live vicariously through you.  I remember fondly those weekend mornings I used to sleep in, have breakfast, and then go back to bed.  Ahhhh.  Those were the days.  My goal is to be able to do that again, some day.  (What a crazy dreamer I am.)

Last night was a 3-child-up night.  And not just once each, no!  That would be a breeze.  One of them was up at least three times, crying with nightmares.  The other was up several times coughing.  The other was up with growing pains.  He wanted me to massage his legs and I kept falling asleep in the middle, only to have him say, "Mommy!  They still hurt!" 

I want to be there for them, I really do.  It's just hard to function when you're lacking sleep.  I remember at one point I was so tired that I was having trouble forming words in my head to ask my son about the bad dreams.  Once I thought I had asked him a question, but I don't think anything actually came out of my mouth, so my son just stared at me uncomprehendingly.  (Come to think of it, he does that a lot.  I'm not sure why.  Hmmmmm.)

I mean, it's not as bad as when I was nursing a newborn.  That was the worst.  I felt like everything was a blur.  I remember being so tired and clumsy that I would walk into the sides of doorways, and not even realize it at the time.  Five minutes later I would be rubbing my shoulder, thinking tiredly, and with unreasonable suspicion, "What just happened?  What is going on here?  And who am I, again?"

You know it's bad when you have a dream that you're not able to sleep.  You're actually sleeping, and you can't even enjoy it because you're dreaming that you just want to sleep so badly and you can't.  Now that's a nightmare! 

The other night I had a dream that I was chasing the kids around.  I mean, isn't it enough that I do that during the day?  I have to do it in my sleep, too?  Why can't I dream that I'm lying on the beach in Cuba with a nice cold pina colada and a great book?  Why?

Of course my children are worth all the fatigue; worth everything.  And I also loved those days of sleeping beside my babies and nursing them. It was so nice to have them close and cuddle them.

Maybe for my birthday I'll ask to be able to go to a B&B.  People will say, "Oh, we understand.  You want to go there to get some quality time." 

"Quality time?  Ha!  Who needs that?  Quality SLEEP, you mean!  Now you're talking!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kid Speak

The other day I was having a tea party with my daughter.  I offered her a plate with cut-up apple on it (she loves apple) but she pushed it away from her.  She stated haughtily, "Mommy, princesses do NOT like apple."

I was nonplussed.  "Well!  That isn't what Cinderella told me just yesterday.  Princesses love apple.  They can't get enough of it.  Apple is right up there with princes and glass slippers and ...broccoli.  Yummy!"  I'm not certain I convinced her.

Although my daughter loves princesses, I'm trying to make sure she doesn't ACT like one.  When she asks me to play the prince, and has the princess fall off a cliff (the piano stool), I save her.  But then, I pretend to fall off the cliff too, and yell for the princess to save ME, and she does.  The other day she was playing with her Rapunzel doll, and was having her hit the Flynn Ryder character over the head with a frying pan (that happens in the movie).  She was hitting him quite hard and with obvious enjoyment.  Then she was making them kiss.  So I guess I still have a lot to work on, there.

I have to deal with both a little princess and little princes.  At dinner last night we were talking about how old everyone is.  When my son found out my age, he gasped.  A little too loudly for my liking.  Then he exclaimed, "Wow, Mom!  Are you going to RETIRE?"

Although this was very sweet of him, it wasn't as bad as what my five year old said to me very matter-of-factly the other day.  He looked me right in the eye and stated,  "Mommy, when I'm 99 you'll be dead."

I took a deep breath.  He wasn't trying to be mean.  He was just making a statement.  It takes kids awhile to learn social niceties and the nuances of conversation.  I mean, I'm still trying to teach him not to wipe his nose on his shirt.  I thought of and rejected several different responses.  Finally I answered, "That's right." 

I was thinking that I had been having a tiny bit of trouble thinking of facing 40 this summer, but now he had, how should I put it, given me a little nudge past the whole 40 thing.  40, ha!  So...thanks for that, sweetie.  Thanks a lot.

He made up for it later, though.  He ran up to me out of nowhere, gave me a big hug and kiss, and said, "You're the goodest mommy ever!"

Friday, January 21, 2011

'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother'

This is the book written by a mom about a very strict Asian parenting style.  I haven't read the whole book, only articles about it.  So I'm not fully informed.  (Nothing new, there.)  From what I understand, though, she wouldn't let her children have play dates, watch TV, play computer games, or even play at all really.  The children had to do hours every day of school work and practicing music.  On one occasion she wouldn't let her daughter go to the bathroom or have a drink until she'd successfully played the music piece, which took hours.  If the children disobeyed her she would threaten to burn their stuffed animals.

Wow.  On the serious side, as a Western parent, this seems to me to be very harsh.  Now I'm not one of those parents who thinks it's good to give her kids everything and to be their best friend.  In fact I think this is a recipe for disaster.  I know how crucial it is to give children responsibility and to give them chores.  It's important to teach respect and a work ethic.   However, I do think 'Tiger Mom' goes too far.  I think you can teach the value of hard work without torturing and degrading the poor kids.  There's got to be a middle ground. 

On the lighter side, all of a sudden I feel like such a great parent!  Instead of castigating myself for yelling at the kids too much, suddenly I'm congratulating myself that I have never, not even once, threatened to burn their stuffed animals.  Not only that, but I allow my son to go to the bathroom during a time-out.  I'm pretty good, right?  He knows he has to get right back on that time-out chair when he's done, of course.  But there's teaching and there's humiliating, and a big difference in between.

I'm not sure if my children really appreciate what a great parent I am, however.  Surprising, eh?   My boys complain if I give one of them .5 more of a sprinkle on his ice cream than the other one got.  (Hmmmm....maybe I should work them a little harder.) 

I guess the message is not to be a tiger mom or a mouse mom.  But something in the middle.  I'm not sure what.  An 'elk mom' doesn't quite have the right ring to it.  I'll get back to you.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Wagon?

I fell off the wagon.  To be honest, it's not so much as I fell, as I jumped well clear of the wagon and started running as fast as I could in the other direction.  From where I am right now, I can't even SEE the wagon.

I was doing so well.  I've been running, and going to boot camp, and trying to eat healthily.  And then there was Christmas.  But again, let's lay it all out on the table, it's not Christmas so much as it's the chocolate.  I have no willpower when it comes to chocolate.  I will be saying firmly to myself that I will not eat one more of those delicious, melt-in-your-mouth Lindor chocolate balls, while simultaneously shoving them in my mouth with my other hand.  And don't get me started on the shortbread.  Those cookies that I got for Christmas that I swore I would take in to my work so someone else would eat them.  Except they're still in my cupboard.  And yes, they're almost gone.

Anyway.  I'm back at boot camp and either running or doing workout videos.  And last week I went cross-country skiing.  Twice!  So I'm again approaching the wagon.  And I'm going to haul myself up on it again.  Come hot tamales and lots of hot chocolate! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm a Hockey Mom and I Like it

I'm a hockey mom.  I never aspired to be one.  It didn't really occur to me.  My husband wasn't playing hockey when I met him or for the first eight years of our marriage.  But then our first child became old enough to be put in hockey.  I should have known at that point, because he was only three years old at the time.  Some parents don't start their kids that young.  I remember wondering, "Is he really OLD enough to play right now?"  And we didn't do skating lessons first - no.  He went right into hockey. 

It's so funny to watch kids play hockey when they're young.  Skating is really hard to learn, let alone to skate after a puck with a stick while being chased by other kids similarly armed.  The kids will try to take a big shot with their stick only to fall on top of the puck.  Or they'll skate over to the puck and then keep going right past it because they can't stop.  I love this one kid who, every time he comes off the bench, trips over the edge and does a face plant on the ice.  I'm sorry to say that I laugh...every single time he does it.

You know what I really love?  I love how, when a player gets injured in a game, all the other players on both sides get down on one knee while they wait for the player to be assessed.  When the player gets up again, the kids smack their sticks on the ice as applause.  I love it!  Now that's great sportsmanship.

I'm such a hockey mom that I can put on all the hockey pads by myself now and do up the skates, and I only put the elbow pads on backwards occasionally.  It's like a puzzle, I swear!  The first time I did it I was sweating and cursing while my son was saying, "That's my LEFT shin pad, not my right.  That thing over there is my NECK GUARD, it doesn't go on my wrist!  You're supposed to put on my shorts AFTER you put on the jock!"  There should be a course, or something. 

Don't get me started on when I had to do the goalie pads by myself when my husband was away.  Whew!  I felt like I had really accomplished something when I got those things on right.

I've mentioned in a previous post that my sons call our oven 'Ovechkin'.  The other day we were in a sports store looking around and I noticed something.  "Hey, Ryan!"  I called.  "Look at this!  This hockey stick has the same name as our oven!"

I guess I still have some things to learn.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Wonders....I Mean Mistakes

I was driving my oldest son to his friend's house.  I asked him what he wanted to do with his friend.

"I can't wait to tell him all about my Christmas!"  my son exclaimed.

"That's great, honey," I agreed enthusiastically, "I'm sure he'd love to hear all about everything you did."

This was so nice.  He could tell his friend all about the happy Christmas memories he had from our family events.  I wonder what he would tell him first.  There were so many fun things to choose from!

"Are you going to tell him about how we drove to a farm and cut down our very own real Christmas tree?" 

My son shook his head.

"Are you going to tell him about the gingerbread house we decorated, or about how we baked your favourite ginger cookies?" 

Again my son shook his head.

"Hmmm.  Are you going to tell him about the outdoor skating and the sledding I arranged with your friends and how I brought hot chocolate with marshmallows in a big thermos for everyone?"

"Nope!"  My son answered.

"Okay, okay, I know.  This must be it.  You're going to tell him about our big Christmas party that we had, right, that was so fun, and we did Christmas crafts and decorated cookies?"  I asked hopefully.

"No, that's not it, Mom!"  my son said happily.

"Well, it will definitely be about the great gifts you got from Daddy and I and Santa, then, and how you got practically everything you wanted on your list except a DS even though I have told you and told you that you are not getting a DS because you have a Leapster!" 

I was sure that settled it. 

But no, again my son was shaking his head.  "I'm going to tell them, Mom, about how you wrapped a gift and put my name on it instead of Ryan's by accident, so I opened it and it wasn't really a gift for me at all!"

Ohhhhh - THAT happy Christmas memory. 

I had been wrapping the gifts and then got distracted for some reason.  I can't remember what is was.  Probably someone started screaming because they fell down, or someone probably punched someone else and they were crying, or the buzzer on the oven rang, or - you know, something really trivial! 

My hands tightened somewhat on the steering wheel. 

"Anything else?"  I asked cautiously.

"Yes!"  my son answered excitedly.  "I want to tell him how you bought me a Lego pack that I ALREADY OWNED!"

Ah, yes.  I suppose I should have known that, but I was so busy....

"AND," my son continued, "I have to tell him how you COMPLETELY FORGOT to give all of us this one big gift and so we didn't get it until TWO DAYS AFTER CHRISTMAS!"

"Right, yes, well - that's ... great, honey.  Really....great.  I'm so glad you have all these positive happy memories!  That's fabulous!"

Kids really keep you humble, don't they?