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Katy England Katy England
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Things I don't have to do anymore

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A look back on 2014 as a crazy mom

Time is such a relative thing when you're a parent. It goes so slow and so fast all at the same time. The hour ramping up to bedtime can seem to drag on for an eternity, but suddenly they stop doing a thing that you kind of fell in love with and you wish could rewind a few weeks to do it just one last time.

Calm down hugs I'm not going to lie. I actually miss this. I mean, I don't miss what caused it. One of my girls would just lose her mind. We're talking full-blown meltdowns over nothing. It could be someone playing with her toy, not getting to watch another show, all done with cookies or a little from column A, a little from column B. Whatever, she would go from smiles and giggles to screams in tears in .5 seconds. And the only thing that would calm her down was hugs from Mom.

We worked really hard on getting her to self-soothe. To understand that the way to get things was by asking nicely, not yelling, and certainly not hitting. And it worked. But she doesn't need me to hug her into calm anymore. Which logically, I know is healthy and it frees me up emotionally. But there was something about simultaneously soothing the savage beast and getting some of the best hugs on the planet that I will miss. A lot.

Prompt manners We've been prompting 'pleases,' 'thank-yous' and 'sorries' for a long time. I still remember when we first started hearing 'Thank you.'

It is no longer a mystery why 'please' is considered a magic word: it changes my entire attitude when it comes to requests by the kids. Sure, they will manipulate its use to try to weasel in a third 'Thomas and Friends,' but it makes the demands for more food, more milk, getting up and down so much more bearable.

And hearing 'Sorry, Mama' after a bout in Time Out melts the heart in a way I never expected.

Eating things I have picky eaters. Two out of three anyway. The boy will seriously eat anything and ask for more. And he always has. I still remember the time we wanted to take 'lemon pictures.' You know, you give the kids a slice of lemon and snap pictures of them screwing up their faces with a pucker. Funny, right?

Well, he took the whole wedge, shoved it in his mouth and chewed on it. I had to fish it out so he wouldn't swallow a quarter of lemon. That showed me.

But the girls have gotten better at actually trying things before rejecting them. Which is really all I'm looking for. They don't have to love everything, but trying things has to happen more.

Sippy cups That's right, we're done with sippy cups. And that transition was hellish. You get to a point where mealtime isn't filled with a terrible mess, then I have the bright idea of weaning them off cups with covers. Partly this was prompted by our getting skeeved out with how difficult it was to keep those covers clean. I mean, why are there so many hard to reach spaces on those covers? I'm pretty sure some of those colonies of bacteria had mini-civilizations.

But what you are really doing when you change from covered cups to uncovered cups is relinquishing control. And damn, is that hard. And the mess. So many puddles of milk, juice and water. There is now a fine patina of goo in our dining room.

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