Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Horrible Mother? Then So Be It.

I so clearly remember the days when I was the perfect mother.  I really was.  I had the answers to every problem that parents may come across.  My children never misbehaved in public.  My children listened to everything I told them and if not, I would explain things to them lovingly and then they would say, "You're right, Mommy. I'll do what you asked."  My children slept through the night in their own cribs and never come into mine unless they were sick or had a bad dream. I let my kids be kids and understood that they may not be perfect (even though they had the perfect mother) but I could quickly remedy any out-of-control behaviors. I also didn't understand why some parents looked so exhausted and frustrated with their children sometimes.  I mean, the parenting thing really wasn't that hard.  I really had a handle on it all and by God, I was good.  And then something changed -- I actually had children. And I was no longer the perfect parent.  OK, so maybe I really didn't have all the answers.  Truth be told, I quickly felt like maybe I didn't know any answers. 

As we'd venture out in public and Cole would talk loud or run ahead of the shopping cart, I would allow him to do so knowing it was fine, but inside I cringed that Other People (you know who I mean - "they") would think that I was a terrible mother.  If we went out to dinner with child-less friends and Cole couldn't sit still or complained, even though I knew he was a typical 2 year old, I still worried that our friends would think we didn't know what we were doing (notice how I brought Scott into this with the "we" - hee hee).  If we visited someone and he didn't use his manners at the exact right time, I thought, "Uh-oh they are going to think we are raising him to be rude."

I struggled with this parenting dilemma for years.  The knowing-what-is-right-and-ok for MY kids (maybe not yours, or theirs, but mine) and the perception that other people may think I'm doing it wrong.  It was something that filled up large amounts of thinking time while I was out with Cole. I knew I was not the Perfect Mother, and far from it. But I knew that I was a good mom.  I knew I wanted my kids to be kind, polite, friendly, funny and respectful.  I knew that what we were teaching and modeling for Cole were things that would help him be that kind of person.  But I also knew that kids need to be kids and that talking a little to loud or running ahead of the cart wasn't the end of the world.  And eventually (eventually being 4 or 5 years) I came to realize that I am being the best mom I can be and if others have another opinion, then that's their prerogative.  They're wrong, but they can think it. Ha! And when I see a mother in Target or at a friend's house whose kid is being a kid, I can relate and nothing crosses my mind other than, "Aw, been there.  Will be there again. That sucks."

So now that I no longer care what people's perceptions of my parenting are (that is totally NOT true, I just care less than I used to), I have two stories to demonstrate just how far I've come:

I am loving that Chase is talking now.  It is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world. It makes life much easier.  It is so sweet to hear him sing.  It is also hilarious.  The other day in the course of a trip to Target, he informed me - and all the other shoppers - that "I hate this," "That's stupid," and "I had it first".  And of course he didn't just say each of them once, it was repeated over and over. Funny that these little things happened to come out while Cole was with us.  Not blaming Cole.  I'm just sayin'.  That older brother influence is so educating.  But as he was belting out these lovely phrases,  I'm sure other people were thinking what a horrible mother I am, but at that moment I truly didn't care. I was overjoyed at hearing Chase put more than 2 words together, and very clearly at that.   Hopefully there was another mother there that heard this and just thought, "Been there. Will be there again. Ha ha." 

When my nephew Jim was about 9, he came to Ithaca to visit me.  As we were driving to Pizza Hut and bowling, he started telling Scott and me about how he could change his body temperature like a bird.  Just by thinking about it.  That he never really gets too cold.  To this day, Jim still wears tshirts even in winter.  Anyway, to this day, we still bring up the "bird theory" and it always brings a good laugh.  But now, the last laugh is on us.  We now have a 7-year-old that is the same way.  It is October 26th and although it is warm today, there have been many days since school started that it has been quite chilly.  And on every one of those days Cole has worn shorts.  A couple of times he has worn track pants over the shorts, but generally, it's just shorts - and tshirts.  In his closet hangs a large number of very nice long sleeved tshirts that just keep hanging out.  Never to be worn.  I guess Cole is like a bird, too.  :o)    I have no problem with him wearing shorts because if he gets cold, he will put his pants on or learn to dress warmer - he's smart like that.  However, that old parenting fear came back so I emailed his teacher to explain that he gets hot so that's why he's wearing shorts.  Felt like I needed to explain because I was afraid she would brand me as a bad parent because it's 40 degrees and he's wearing shorts.  She told me her son is the same way, not to worry about it.  And she is right.  Cole is MY child.  He is isn't hurting anyone by wearing shorts.  It doesn't effect his learning.  He is still a kind boy. He. Just. Gets. Hot.  And that's not being a bad parent.  It's being a parent who understands her child and knows that her child is capable of making decisions for himself. 

Maybe it took a little bit with the Cole example to get to the point that I could let it go, but I got there.  Years ago, I would have let him wear shorts but would have constantly made excuses for it and wondered about The Others.  But now I know better.  Our kids are happy, have personality, are kind, loving, polite and friendly.  We must be doing some things right.

And if sometimes I am thought to be a horrible mother?  Then so be it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 1 Is Here! LET'S GO RED!

Today is the first day that the hockey team is allowed to practice with the coaches present. Other NCAA teams have been playing games for weeks, but due to Ivy League rules, practice cannot begin until Oct. 15.  Seems to give some teams quite a disadvantage, but Cornell will be fine. Tomorrow night they have their inter-squad game - The Red/White game - where we get our first peek of the team.  Hope Cole and Chase are ready for erratic weekend sleep schedules.  Hope Scott and I are ready for the boys' erratic weekend sleep schedules. :0)

Here's to a great season!  LET'S GO RED!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NOOOOOOO...Not the Swivel Sweeper

Did you ever have one of those products that you can't live without?  That you use multiple times a day?  That is sometimes your saving grace?  Well, I do and it's the G2 Swivel Sweeper and it is fantabulous. It is a cordless, battery-powered push broom that cleans up those little messes (like spilled goldfish crackers) in a jiffy.

Our Swivel Sweeper is very loved and appreciated in our house.  We actually call ours "The Zamboni" because one time when Chase and I were going to play hockey, I ran the SS over the floor first and had to tell him it was the Zamboni because he just wanted to play and didn't want to wait.  Hearing it was the Zamboni made it all ok and the waiting much easier.  

So as luck would have it, today Chase was using the Zamboni, dropped it and then stepped on it.  It cracked the handle in half.  I told him it was ok, it was an accident, but inside I was screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO -even louder than I will if Obama is elected to a second term (that's not true - if Obama is elected again, I don't think any human will be able to scream as loud as I will. But I digress).   

Hopefully a little super glue can fix the Zamboni.  If not, I'll have to buy a new one because I really don't know how I could go without a G2 Swivel Sweepr now that I have experienced it. 

Disclaimer: The manufacturer of the G2 did not compensate me in any way for this blog entry. However, if you'd like to alert them to it, maybe they'd send me a free one. Ha!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hockey Widow...Again

Boo hoo hoo. Scott is away again.  He is in Toronto and we are left here in Dryden by ourselves. Again. Ok, not really by ourselves because Mom Mom and Poppy are coming today so we only had 1.5 days alone before he comes back around 1:00am Sunday. But I will still miss him.  When do I miss him the most? At times like:

- when I hear a noise in the middle of the night and am sure it's no longer just the three of us in the house

- when it's dinner time and I have to figure out what we'll have AND prepare it (or run to the drive-thru all by myself - geez!)

- when it's been a long day and the countdown to 5:30pm (until practice starts then 6:30 or 8:00) doesn't matter because relief isn't coming

- when I feel like I can't clean another minute without losing my mind because Dr. Destructo is right behind me undoing all I've done

- when I'm about to blow my stack because Cole has once again body-slammed Chase without understanding his own strength and my patience are just about GONE!!!!!!

- when Chase wakes up 4 times a night and then for good at 5:55am

- when Cole says he misses Scott and then Chase says "Daddy. Daddy. Home."

- when all they want is a hug from Daddy and all the hugs from Mommy just aren't the same.
- when...ok, all the time he's gone he is missed.

But I also know that as hard as it is on me and the boys, it's just as hard, if not harder, for him to be away from us.  Because really?! Who wouldn't have a hard time being away from me? Ha!  But seriously, Scott: we miss you and know you have to be away, we'll be just fine, but we can't wait til you get back. Oh, and hopefully you find some good recruits so it'll be worth it. Hee hee :)

Oh, and I put the text in larger letters so the "elderly" can read it easier. Aren't I funny?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Many Talents of Chase

Yesterday was one of those days that I really love cell phones with video capability.  I managed to get not just one, but TWO videos of Chase showing of some of his many "talents". 

As we were walking to the Tech Decks in Target (a favorite of Cole and Chase), Chase spied a new fun toy! A dancing Mickey Mouse.  I thought for sure he would run away saying, "Done. Leave. Go home." But as you can see in the video he joined right in and got down with Mickey. (Sorry about it being sideways - trying to get Chase AND Mickey in the video.) AHHHHHHH!!!! After trying several things and reading that many people have this issue, I still can not get sound on the videos. So on the Mickey Mouse one, please imagine Mickey gettin' down to some Latin and Hip-hop music. Sorry.

I may have to go to Target every day now just to watch him. Although, with the amont of money I spend each time I go to Target, I think it would be more financially responsible to just buy Mickey!

Video 2:
Last night Chase had a great surprise when we got to football and his buddy, Kennedy, was there. He loves playing with her and it's great for me because I can actually watch Cole's game. 

You can see he has fun with her!

Whenever we go to Cole's practice, Chase has to bring his own football to play with.  Kennedy plays with him almost the whole time and he just loves it.  Tonight he was practicing his punting and I managed to get it on video.  Now, I am by no means an expert, but I think this is pretty darn good for a newly-2 year old. 

Pretty cool, right?

I can just hear myself saying to the boys someday, "When I was little, you couldn't take a movie with your phone. You couldn't even carry your phone around with you."  The horror!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ha Ha!

Chase wanted to wear big-boy underwear today like Cole and Daddy.  He was adorable in his boxer briefs running around the house.  After a few minutes he said he wanted to go on the toilet so we went in and he tried.  I made a big deal of him trying and clapped and cheered.  He went in the kitchen and Scott asked him if he tried to go and Chase said - while pointing to his penis - "Not working. Not working." I love that he can talk now!!!!

PS - soon after he peed his pants, but at least he tried.  Maybe he's getting ready :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hockey Widow Madness

Scott just returned from a 6 day trip. Where was he? Somewhere in western Canada where the time zone was 3 hours behind ours.  Where exactly? I have no idea.  I do know last night he was telling me he saw his friend Sean in Edmonton, so he must have been there for a short stint, but that would be all I know.  Oh, and I read on someone's FB page that her husband had dinner with Scott in British Columbia one night, so I guess he was there.  Wait?! Are BC and Edmonton the same place? Kidding! I know they are totally different states. Uh, I mean, provinces. Right?

While he was away, the boys were pretty great.  So why was it madness?  Just because. By day 4 and 5 of him being gone, I'm ready to lose my mind and just want a break. And I have to be honest.  That man does A LOT around here.  When he leaves, it becomes even more obvious what a terrific husband and father he is and how much we (I) depend on him.  (He doesn't read this blog all the time, so if you see him, don't tell him about the nice things I said.  He doesn't need to know.) I keep telling him that if he would just be a shitty father and husband, it would really make it all a lot easier when he travels.  He doesn't seem to want to take that route, though.

Besides the things he does around the house to help, I just want him back home. I get tired of watching tv at night and making funny jokes in my head and having to laugh at myself.  (Come to think of it, I have to do that when he's home, too, because for some reason, he doesn't find me as funny as I find myself. Odd, right? LIke my joke about BC and Edmonton above. Me - I think it's hilarious.  Him - not so much, I'd be willing to bet.)  I get tired of having to decide what's for dinner each night by myself. Really, I hate that.  Oh, man and one of the worst things is having to get out of my pajamas and put my contacts in by 8:30 to walk Cole out to the bus. I don't like being rushed like that in the morning. 

I joke because it keeps me sane - depending on whose definition of sanity you use.  But in all seriousness, the madness exists probably just in my head. I have a great life and am thankful that I am able to have this life.  I have purposely kept our life pretty simple in terms of activities and what we are involved in, so that when he is away, I can maintain sanity and just enjoy the boys without having to stress about where to be next and what we are supposed to be doing next.(Someday I hope to be a more "involved" person but right now I know my limits. I watch my friend Lacy, and am amazed and awed by everything she can do for her church, MOPS, and her friends with three girls ages 4 and under - whether her husband is home or traveling. I someday hope to be like her, but if I tried now, I'd reach the legal definition of insanity, no doubt. I used to think that sounded selfish, but now I realize it's not selfish, it's self-awareness of what I can do.)     

But really it comes down to the fact that life is just easier and more enjoyable when the person you want to share everything with is around each day. Everything runs more smoothly and things don't seem so business-like.  It feels like family. To quote a wise 7-year-old, "When Daddy is gone, it feels like one of the parts in my heart is missing and doesn't come back til he comes home."

More Pictures for a Quick Update

 Here are some pictures of somethings we've done recently.

Took this picture to send to all the grandparents.  It got good reviews, as you can imagine.

Chase enjoying a new favorite activity.

Ah, the joys of having a big brother!  Nice wrapping, Cole!

Lowe's shopping carts are a little small for Cole these days

Pictures of Chase from Gymnastics

 This was an extra-special day because Daddy, Cole, MomMom and Poppy all got to watch. And Mommy got to take pictures!

Apple Picking with our Preschool Playgroup

Chase and Campbell pushing Colbie in the stroller.

Sitting on a green pumpkin.

Chase and Campbell

Buddies. Most of the time.

Checking out their fingers "turning orange".

Proud of his apple stash.

Playground Pictures

Saved the best for last! May need to make this the picture at the top of the blog.

Hope you enjoyed catching up on what we've been doing.  I really have great intentions of keeping up more, but I just seem to not stay on top of it.  Maybe today will be the turning point.