Monday, June 30, 2008
Thank you to those who offered advice and understanding to my Love vs. Respect post. Things haven't really improved yet since we're in the middle of a move and are staying with my parents. The kids get away with everything here. My parents give them candy and soda ten minutes before bedtime and don't think anything of it until they see the incredulous look on my face. My parents didn't do that kind of stuff when I was a kid.
I've noticed that everyone who doesn't have kids at home, or who doesn't spend all day with their kids (*cough* dads *cough*) don't really understand what mothers with small children go through.
These people tell me to calm down, chill out. They tell me that whatever hell my kids are raising, it isn't a big deal. Then I notice when they spend ten minutes with my kids, and I refuse to step in and help so they have to actually deal with the kids themselves, they go bezerk just as much as I do. Of course then they either don't notice their behavior or the kids all of a sudden are little hellions and their frustration toward the kids is justified.
Everyone knows how to parent until they have to do it. Everyone knows exactly what tactics to use until they try them and find they don't work any better than what the mom was doing.
How do you think the mom feels? Completely lost, maybe? Babysitters, grandparents, and even fathers spend so little time with the kids that there is no way for them to possibly understand how a mom feels. Even giving mom a day out and having a grandparent or the dad watch the kids all day doesn't get the message out. Know why? Because the dad and the grandparent know that in a matter of hours things will go back to normal. The mom will come home, take the kids, and then they can go back to their nice normal lives with other adults who can speak in complete sentances, have brains capable of reasoning, and can wipe their own bottoms.
Even though I know it will do no good to write this, especially since most of my readers are mothers who feel the same way I do, I will attempt to convey how I feel about motherhood at present. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids and I like being a mom. I don't think I can say I love being a mom today-rough day. Maybe tomorrow.
I said it above. Lost. As a mother I feel competely lost. I'm in a strange city, with weird people who can't seem to tell me how to get back to the highway. I don't have a map and the strange city's convenience store threw their stock of maps away years ago. Every street I try is a dead end with people yelling at me to turn around and try a street that I can't find because there's no grid system. The roads Patience Court and Gentle Way are under construction and impossible to get to at the moment.
When I'm driving and can't find my destination, I tend to cry.
I feel like I'm doing all three right now. I'm out of ideas and I'm out of patience. I'm tired of trying to find the missing streets that don't exist. I'm tired of being pointed at by everyone without young children and those who don't spend a significant amount of time with their own to know how I feel. I'm tired of seeing moms pretend life is perfect, or near to it, and then feeling like I have to live up to that and compete for my own children's affections, respect, and good behavior. I'm tired of people telling me I can compete and need to (though not in those words, of course). I love my kids and of course I want their love, affection, respect, and good behavior, but I don't know what to do anymore.
I've come to the conclusion that no one knows what they are doing. I'd like to say more on that, but I think it is a bit harsh so I erased it.
I'm not really looking for answers or help, as my erased part would tell you if I hadn't erased it. I'm just venting because I'm tired of being told what to do by people who don't understand.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I had to say good bye to my friends yesterday and it wasn't easy, but since it still hasn't hit me, it doesn't feel real. I feel like I'm just in Texas for a visit and then I'll be flying back to Utah. I wouldn't mind if that was the case, but I think Nathan would be a little upset since he'll be in Ohio.
For the last six years (the entire time we've been in Logan) all I've really wanted was to finish school and get out of Logan. Now I'm realizing just how much I really loved it there- minus the snow. I hate the snow. But I really loved the city and the people there.
During our six years in Logan we stayed in the same ward, the University 27th. We've watched many couples and families come and go, always wondering when our turn to move on would come. When we didn't get into dental school right away (or even not right away) it was frustrating to be left behind while it seemed like everyone else was getting careers or getting accepted to graduate school. Now that it is our turn to go and Nathan has been accepted to dental school, I don't want to leave the ward.
Of course I am excited for Nathan to finally start dental school. And I've been trying to have a positive attitude about moving to a "scary" place. Go ahead and laugh, but frequently people tell me it will be "an adventure" and I am so glad that they do. After you read this post you have to scroll down to my list of favorite things and click on Charlie the Unicorn. Watch the video and you'll know why it makes me happy when people say our move will be "an adventure." It makes me smile every time.
There are so many emotions in me right now with this change and I can't seem to express how I am feeling and what I am thinking. It might be that I'm completely exhausted or it could be that Megan keeps coming in asking me to color Dora the Explorer pictures. I'm not sure which. Anyway, I really am tired and I told the kids I was going to take my contacts out and brush my teeth, then go to sleep. Since I obviously did that, (not), I better go.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This is Hunter Park is West Valley City. (Sorry Pam, no where near Logan.) They have a free lunch program for kids under 18, so Nathan and I ate the lunches we made for the kids and got them the free lunch that included a dessert. We met up with my college roomie, Janeen, and her kiddos and I told Megan it was a date for her and Janeen's son, Keegan.
The kids loved rolling and running down this huge hill.
Jeremy showing off his grass bracelet.
I don't know if you can tell by the angle in this picture, but that slide is WAY steep!
Megan and Keegan
Megan and Jeremy with their air rockets. We went to a wedding luncheon and they supplied all the stuff to make your own rockets and they brought the thing (I can't remember what it's called) to launch it. The kids and Nathan had a blast launching their rockets over and over.
We also went to the Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake. There we met up with our good friends, the Johnsons.
Megan tried to touch the sting rays (minus the stingers), but got too scared every time one came near. Jeremy just played in the water, not really caring much about touching the rays. I hadn't planned on sticking my hand in the water, but surprisingly I was brave and stuck it in there, touching a couple of the rays.
The jellyfish are just dang cool.
This guy in front of Megan is holding a tarantula. I think he's an idiot. Who holds out a tarantula to a little kid? They had a really cool rainforest animals presentation where almost every animal they brought out to show was one I would squish.
Here I am being brave.
The kids with Grandma Joanne and Grandpa Blaine.
Jeremy pushing Megan on the swing and Grandpa Kent and Grandma Rosie's house.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Jeremy has always been a little tricky with bedtime ever since he figured out how to crawl out of his crib. Then we bought him a big boy bed and the getting out of bed problem changed only in frequency. Megan was always great at bedtime-until the last few months.
Now it isn't like we don't have a routine or haven't tried different tactics. We have a routine of brushing teeth, reading a story to each kid, saying night-nights, a prayer, and then we sing quiet songs. It's about a half hour long routine and you'd think by the end of it the kids would know what is expected of them on their end of the deal.
Unfortunately, they don't care what their end of the deal is. Jeremy gets out of bed even if I'm still in the room. If I'm not in the room he likes to see how far out of his room he can get and if he can score some extra food (which makes perfect sense because of course he's still starving, the kid didn't eat all his dinner!) Megan talks to herself (sometimes in an attempt to keep Jeremy awake so that she has more reason to be up). They both kick the walls by their beds, kick off their blankets when I attempt to tuck them back into bed, and make crying, screaming, and other generally unpleasant sounds. Timeouts and spankings don't work, taking away privileges doesn't work (or maybe I haven't discovered what the magic privileges are that would work, I don't know).
Two days ago I'd had it. Megan and Jeremy weren't going to sleep, they kept getting up and playing in their room. I knew they were tired and could tell Megan was getting a little congested and needed to rest. After an hour of trying to get them to sleep ( keep in mind that they hadn't exactly been angels the rest of the day, or week- I'm still finding rice and sugar on the floor of my laundry room, but that's another story) I was finished. I told them to get out of bed and get dressed. I got Emma ready and we went out to the car. I told them that if they wouldn't go to sleep then they couldn't go to sleep. I'm so cruel, aren't I?
We drove up to campus, I parked, and then we walked to the Quad. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Utah State University campus, the Quad is a beautiful grassy area that is surrounded by trees and campus buildings. It is frequented by sunbathing, studying, or general chilling out students. As soon as the weather is remotely not frozen (note, not frozen doesn't mean actually warm) many teachers can be persuaded to take their classes out to the Quad for lecture.
Anyway, we walked onto the Quad and once we reached it I looked at the kids, let go of their hands (I had Emma in the Snugli) and said, "Run." I made them run around the Quad until they were too tired to run. Then I made them walk around campus, from the Quad, to the Eccles Conference Center, to the Taggart Student Building, to the Institute Building, to the Bus area, back to the Institute, to the Physics Buildilng, to Old Main, the Quad and back to the parking lot. I had planned on taking them somewhere else they could run more, but Megan skinned her knee in the parking lot. It hurt her to walk, so I wasn't going to make her run, no matter how much she needed the lesson. Instead we went to Wal-Mart to see Nathan. Actually, we went so I could vent to Nathan.
When we got home he put them to bed because I didn't want to do it- obviously.
Now, yesterday it was the same thing plus some. They wouldn't go to sleep and Emma wouldn't go to sleep. She also wouldn't stop crying, so I had no chance of getting the other two to sleep with her howling. I finally got Emma to sleep after feeding her (probably more than she needed, but it made her tummy full and closed her eyes for more than ten minutes at a time) and so I went back to trying to get Megan and Jeremy to sleep. The continued to ignore me. They ignored my speaking, my yells, my pleas, my threats, my laying down with them, my bribes. They didn't just say no, or that they didn't care, or look at me defiantly. They just flat out ignored the fact that I was talking. They didn't even look at me most of the time. They acted like I wasn't even in the room talking to them at all.
I finally couldn't handle it anymore and called my friends Amber and Zann. I asked them to come over and watch the kids until Nathan got home so I could escape. Being the wonderful people they are, they rushed over and actually got my kids to go to sleep. Amber offered to come with me if I needed to talk, but really I just needed to drive and have my music up at an obnoxious volume. I hadn't had a 7-11 Slurpee in a long time, so I went and bought one (I no longer have cravings for one since it was pretty gross) and a Baby Ruth ice cream cone. I was going to find a nice spot to read, but realized I was feeling kind of violent. Maybe I shouldn't say violent, maybe I should say I felt like I had a lot of energy I needed to get out, but all the only ways I could think of to get rid of the energy were violent- kickboxing, punching a punching bag, kicking something. . . . So instead of reading I went to Wal-Mart and bought a soccer ball. I took it to Adams Park and kicked it around until I was too exhausted to run any more. Then I got into the car and read my book until it was too dark to read. When I got home Nathan had some Rocky Road ice cream ready for me and we watched a few episodes of House, packing boxes while they loaded from the website.
Nathan said he'd been praying about me and the kids, trying to know what to do to help us. He said the only impression he's received is for us to be better about having Family Home Evening. If you don't know what F.H.E. is, it is a program started by our Church where we as a family spend time with each other. We have an opening hymn, a prayer, a lesson, activity, treat, and a closing song and prayer. It doesn't have to be fancy or long, but it does need to be quality. Most of our lessons are off the cuff and all of our F.H.E.s are few and far between, so we have plenty of room for improvement.
So this is our current strategy. Does anyone else have any suggestions on gaining respect from their kids? We've noticed the problem isn't just at bed time, that's just when it is at its worst. They ignore me quite frequently through the day, so it is frustrating all day long, then when bed time comes and I'm ready to be by myself for a bit before Nathan comes home and they do this, I'm just finished and can't do it anymore.
Ok, Emma's crying so this is the end of the blog for today. Send suggestions, please!!
Monday, June 16, 2008
For Father's Day we went to Church with Nathan's family and then had a massive BBQ. Nathan's dad's present was a new huge grill with a bunch of BBQ stuff, so we had to break it in. Nathan's present was a list of the kids' favorite things to do with their Papa. Megan made a purple hand print, Jeremy an orange hand print, and Emma a green foot print on a piece of white cardstock. Then we printed their lists (Jeremy and Emma made their lists with a little help from me) on top of their prints. We framed it using a floating frame since Megan's print was right on the edge of the cardstock and a regular frame would have cut off her thumb.
Now we are home and I am attempting to get more packing done. I need to become Super Packer for the next few days since we've only got 8 days till we move.
I decided to post some pictures here because my mom is always asking for more pictures.
Megan holding Emma
Jeremy holding Emma
Megan and Jeremy playing Train Ride. Jeremy is driving the train.
I knew the kid was skinny, but this skinny? And yes, Leanne, that is the table y'all gave us before you moved!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Megan surprised us last Sunday. We were eating breakfast and watching the pictures slide show on our computer (we use our pictures as our screen saver) and saw a picture of Megan when she was maybe 18 months old. Her hair was a little shorter than the middle of her back and we pointed out to her how cute it was. We've been trying to get her to agree to a haircut for a long time, but she totally freaks out every time we mention it. On Sunday when we saw the picture we asked her if she'd want her hair to look like that. To our complete surprise she nodded her head and said, "Sure." Nathan and I looked at each other and asked her if she understood that would mean cutting her hair. She understood and so we asked if she'd want to cut her hair that day. We didn't want to wait if she was willing. She just nodded again and repeated, "Sure." I ran for the phone and got Nathan to call our friend Sara who cuts hair. He asked her to come over as quickly as she could before Megan changed her mind.
Here's the before and after and a short video of Megan's amazing change of mind. Oh, and mom, don't worry, her hair still curls a little at the ends. The end results aren't as drastic as the original picture that we saw. I just couldn't go that short on her for a first haircut. Sara put some cute layers in her hair and I think it turned out cute.
Monday, June 2, 2008
"Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken; but where, as in this case, though the conduct is mistaken, the feelings are not, it may not be very material."
Jane Austen's Emma
It ended up that we got there late and I didn't feel like dragging three kids through the pews, so I decided we'd sit out in the foyer and listen to the meeting instead. It was still difficult, but not as bad. Jeremy constantly tried to get into the Chapel and succeeded once, getting all the way up to the stand and onto the lap of our first councilor. I was feeding Emma and couldn't just run up there. Luckily, my friend that offered to help saw what was happening and ran up to get him. Then she let him sit with her and her family for a while. Megan, on the other hand, was "Little Miss Immodest." The girl loves to (loudly) point out girls that dress immodestly and loves to tell me when the Disney princesses aren't dressed appropriately, especially Jasmine. But put her in a dress and she will sit in the most inappropriate positions so that all you can see is her bright, multi-colored panties. I could not get the girl to close her legs for more than ten seconds.
It wouldn't have been too bad if that was all she'd done during the meeting. However, there would be no post if that was it. As the closing prayer was being given she started to open a door into the vestibule. I didn't want her and Jeremy going into the vestibule and escaping outside, so I told her to come back and fold her arms for the prayer. She looked right at me, opened the door, let Jeremy through into the vestibule, and then started to walk into it- all the while watching my eyes flicker. I'd had enough of her not listening to me.
Of course it wasn't just the underwear thing where she'd been disobedient, there was a multitude of little things, so it was not like "Ok, that's the second thing you've done to tick me off, no more nice mom!"
I went over to her and told her to sit down on a chair for a time out. She yelled no at me and so I told her that if she didn't go sit down, I would pick her up and put her in the chair. Once again she yelled no at me. I told her to stop yelling no and of course she yelled no at me again. I picked her up and put her in the chair. She continued to yell no at me over and over. I went back to her after getting Jeremy out of the vestibule and warned her that I'd give her spanking if she continued yelling no. She yelled no and so I smacked her upper thigh. It wasn't hard, but it did echo, thanks to the wonderful acoustics of the foyer.
As soon as I stepped away from her so I could go catch Jeremy again she began to cry. No, cry isn't a strong enough word. It was more like a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then came the kicker. She began to scream, "It's bleeding!! It's bleeding!" Over and over she proclaimed to the whole ward, that was by now getting up from Sacrament meeting, that she was bleeding. Of course she wasn't bleeding, but this is one of her favorite things to say after getting a spanking. I don't know if she honestly thinks she's bleeding or not, but it is really annoying.
Now you have to understand. I really didn't spank her hard at all. You could pat her head with one finger and if she misinterprets it (or interprets it correctly for that matter) as a punishment, then she will promptly scream out in "pain" and declare that she will die from your intolerable and insensitive cruelty. The girl is a Drama Queen in every sense.
Does anyone else's kids do this? I thought for sure someone was going to call Child Protection Services on me.