Today, I’m blogging from a Starbucks. I have my iPad and I’m using the WordPress app.
Ideally, I should have brought my laptop, but it’s just too much to carry. Also, from the looks of the crowd in this Starbucks, all the tables with outlets have all been taken…
I’m actually at a loss and totally beside myself. Hubby has the baby and M is in her Gymboree drop-off class right now.
For the first time in forever, (wink, wink, Frozen fans…), I’m without kids and not because I have an errand to run. I’m actually without kids AND I have nothing to do…
It’s a strange feeling….
I think I have forgotten how to relax. I think I have forgotten how to think about things outside the realm of parenthood and motherhood. My mind is constantly on my girls, especially now that I’m not with them.
Doesn’t help that Hubby just sent me a super sweet text of little K flashing her sweet gummy smiles…
My eye is also on the clock too. I don’t want to be late to pick up M, but I don’t want to be too early and waste valuable “relaxing ” time…
I can’t be the only that feels this way during these rare “mommy breaks,” am I?
Today, let’s make a list of things I’ve learned when dealing with life as a mother to a threenager…
Don’t stay mad
I’m the type of person to hold grudges. I’m type of person that tends to stay mad. However, M isn’t. She goes from super defiant to super cuddly in the matter of minutes. I have to learn to follow her lead. Why would I stay mad when she’s trying to be a good girl? It’s outside my comfort zone, but I know that staying mad when she is passed the moment doesn’t do anything but cause stress for both of us.
I do this when things get really bad. I make sure she’s in a safe location, and I step away beyond her line of sight. I’m always only a few steps away, but when she can’t see me, it’s a pretty big deal. Two things can happen when I walk away. One, she cries harder. Two, she calms down, gets up and looks for me. Stepping away not only helps her (sometimes), it helps me. Stepping away for awhile helps me take a breather, maybe silently scream to myself, and regroup.
In the midst of M’s tantrums, she often goes in for a hug. Sometimes I know she’s just deflecting. Other times, I know she really feels bad and sincerely needs a hug. I always make sure I don’t deny her of her hugs. If I know she’s deflecting, I make sure to take a hold of her, and before I bring her in, I bring her face to my face, and I try to talk things out with her. Then once I get my message across, I bring her in for the hug. Other times, when I know that she really needs the hug, I swallow my anger, and bring her in. It’s while we are hugging that I start to talk to her about what happened and how to fix it. Sometimes, hugging her is hard when I’m right in the middle of feeling angry and frustrated. However, I know that no matter how mad I feel, I’m still her mother and she needs me for comfort, even if I’m the one that seems to be causing her tears.
Break the cycle
Some days, it feels like all I do is reprimand her. I feels like it’s one thing after another and all we do is go back and forth with each other. Some days it seems like she’s in tears all day. It’s days like those that I find ways to break the monotony of frustration by finding ways to praise her. During moments of calm, I find little ways to show her she is a good girl. I find little tasks that she can do for me so I can praise her on how well she is listening to me. I tell her to sing a song to her sister. I tell her to pick something up for me. I ask her to help me out with something. It’s those little things that break the cycle of our fighting and can sometimes lead to a calm rest of the day. This is something I learned to do recently. I got tired of the constant tears and I wanted to find a way to start making her feel good about herself after having a rough day.
So far, these are the things I’ve learned with dealing with “M the Threenager.” I know as the months go by, I’ll learn more things about how to deal. M and I are both learning. I just wish it didn’t involve a lot of raised voices and tears!
What have you learned about dealing with your “threenager?”
Dealing with a three and a half year old is hard.
One minute she’s super duper sweet and cuddly. The next minute she’s refusing to do anything.
“No!” seems to be her favorite response to everything, yet, I’m not allowed to say it.
She dislikes when I raise my voice or talk firmly to her, but doesn’t realize that if she just listened the first time, none of the consequences would happen..
One minute she’s my best friend. The next minute I’m her worst enemy.
I hate that, on some days, I feel like all I do is reprimand her. I feel like all I do is make my kid cry.
In the midst of her tears, I keep telling her, “all you have to do is listen…” over and over again. I feel like a broken record.
Now I know how my mom felt…
I totally know this is a phase. I’ve taken enough child development classes in college (ok, just one...) to know that this is the age where she’s learning how far she can go before I lose my mind and she gets in trouble. I know she’s testing her boundaries. I know that it’s up to me to set those boundaries.
But it’s exhausting.
I’m taking things one day at a time. Yesterday may have been a bad day, but we always wake up the next morning with a clean slate.
Everyday with a three and a half year old is different. Good or bad, I fall in love with her more and more everyday.
I didn’t think that I would need coffee once I quit my job and decided to stay home. I thought coffee was only because I would wake up really early in the morning and drive a 45 minute commute. I thought coffee was only because I needed to stay awake and productive for the eight hours I was working.
Turns out, I still need coffee.
Sure, I wake up a little later than I used to. Sure, I’m not driving anywhere unless we have to. Sure, being productive at home is a lot more different that being productive at work.
But I still need coffee…
And because I don’t have time to prepare a freshly brewed cup…
And because I don’t have my Keurig anymore (nor do I really want one anymore.. but that’s another blog entry for later..)..
And because I haven’t perfected the art of making the perfect up of coffee with my French press..
I drink instant coffee… it’s definitely not the best, but it’s quick and it seems to do the trick.
Now, if I could just build my own little Starbucks inside my kitchen.. that would be perfect!
Gotta love three year olds.
They really tell it like they see it.
Read story below:
My phone was on the couch one afternoon when Hubby came home from work. M saw my phone the couch and grabbed it. She sat on the couch, turned my phone on, and started up my Youtube app.
She looked up at Hubby and said, “I’m Mama, I sit on the couch on my phone and watch Youtube!”
Hubby looked at me and said, “That sounds about right…”
We couldn’t help but laugh.
Yes, it does seem like I’m on the couch for most of the day. Yes it does seem like I’m on my phone for a lot of the day. But what she doesn’t seem to remember is that I’m either feeding K, rocking K, or holding a sleeping K.
I have to admit that I got on the defensive a bit. I started enumerating the many times I pick up after her and how I’m pretty much at her beck and call when it comes to anything she needs to eat or drink from the kitchen.
I’m sure it was funny to see myself defending my daily actions to a three year old.
I guess it’s a lesson learned… kids really see everything…
On Monday, I started a new job…
It’s a job that I’ve wanted for almost all my life. It’s a job that I have been begging for since M was born. It’s a job that will be the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s the only job I’ve ever wanted.
Stay At Home Mom
Yup. It’s official.
I put in my resignation last week and started this new job on Monday, officially.
I’d been home since July since there were complications with my pregnancy with K. It seemed like the most logical choice to stay home. I had been home for almost a year already, 10 months to be exact. M was just so used to having me here. I’d ask her if she wanted me to go back to work and she’d tell me, “No, just stay here with me.” How could I leave her knowing she wanted me around?
Now I won’t have to feel the anxiety of knowing that I’ll have to leave these girls behind to spend most of the day somewhere else. Now I won’t have to worry about how much time off I have left every time one of them would get sick. Now I won’t have to worry about how they are doing, what the are eating, how they are feeling while I’m away. Now I won’t have to leave the comfort of a nice warm cuddle when the alarm goes off in the morning. I can stay up late with any of the kids and not have to worry about how many hours of sleep I will get because I’ll have work the next day.
I can spend a sleepless night with one of the girls and not have to worry about how much coffee I have to drink to function the next day.. wait, no… this will still happen.. It just won’t have to happen at work…
I’m not going to miss a single smile, coo, movement, cry, laugh, or anything in between. I’m going to watch K grow up the way I wished I got to see M grow up.
I’m very excited for this new chapter of my life and what direction my blog will take because of this change.
Anything involving both kiddos is hard work. I don’t know how other moms do it while looking absolutely calm and collected.
I always feel like I’m bumbling around and so uncoordinated and not graceful at all!
Why we decided to go to the zoo is beyond me….
Ok, I’m exaggerating…. It wasn’t THAT bad, but it was definitely hard.
For starters, we have a double stroller. Then, we obviously have to carry around half of our belongings to accommodate the baby…
Maybe if I was breastfeeding, it would have been a little easier. Having to carry around bottles, water and formula was just bulky and such a hassle.
Then, the logistics.
M wanted to see and do a lot of things. K just wanted to eat.
I felt that I probably spent most of my time sitting on some shades table feeding K and allowing her some time out of her carrier…
It was definitely not easy and I can clearly remember why we never to M anywhere like that when she was that young. However, Hubby was on vacation and we felt that M deserved some fun time and we decided to suck it up and just go.
I’m glad we went. The whole experience just left Hubby and I absolutely exhausted!