I’ve been meaning to post a blog about how I’ve been trying to do more science and art activities at home. Pinterest is amazing at generating some simple, fun and attainable ideas for any mom… Not just supermoms who never sleep.
I am not one of those… But on Saturday we managed to use the nice weather to knock out a few experiments on the deck.
What did we learn?
1. Solids (ice cream) + Liquids (soda) are delicious together an produce a lot of foam (gas)
2. Siphons make for a lot of sucking fun and color mixing. Plus Simon got to be super super careful about not overfilling each bucket.
3. Oil + vinegar + food coloring + baking soda = just as much fun for all the adults as it was for Simon
I feel shy about sharing this stuff, because it is a bit much to turn a warm Saturday into a lesson. But I can’t believe how much we all enjoyed it!!
and browncoats, Stelena, runes, Inigo Montoya, Elementals, Team Edward, the fayz, bifrost, the Frog brothers, Willow and Xander…..so many things to share…..
Or how odd it is that you and your brother argue about whether you should listen to Devo or Autobahn… Ahh, molding little nerds.
I love that this will just be “the big red barn” and be associated with home and fall fun… long before Charlie and Simon can appreciate the value of local business, seasonal produce, or the convenience of it all. Their POV is way cooler.
Simon 6-8 months ago when asked to di something he didn’t want to do = stick his tongue out, say NO, run away
Simon today, literally…
1. “I don’t want to do it alone. I’d be sooooo proud of you if you did it with me. You’d be my best friend.”
2. “Not until you answer a riddle!!! What says Choo Choo and boo?”
I waited and waited patiently. I tried to show them the love I had for each of them individually. I tried to be patient with their frustrations and annoyance. And I finally have two boys, two brothers, that thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. Maybe not ALL the time, but pretty much most of the time. I am ecstatic.
There are many moments when I have no idea how I’m going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.
I am guilty… of making myself feel guilty. I am guilty of pushing myself too hard to do ridiculous things. I am guilty of flip-flopping around on what I think is important.
Do I have a relaxing day with my kids where we just calmly, slowly, leisurely enjoy each other’s company? Do we be spontaneous and come up with activities together? But… if I don’t push them to explore and do new things, who else will. Isn’t it part of my duty to challenge them and inspire them? To make learning part of life and part of fun.
Then I realize how incredibly hard I am working to come up with activities that are not only educational, but fun and flexible. And I go and pick them up from daycare and see how redundant I am being, since their daycare is actually crazy awesome at those exact activities EVERY DAY.
So I kick myself and say… why don’t I just relax with them? Go to the park. Have a picnic. We can chat and sing songs and do whatever we want to do. Whatever!! No plans. And we do that, and it feels good, but then I get that itch again… that itch to use my precious time with them wisely.
So I work hard, I come up with activities, and you know what that feels good too, and we have fun together. And I enjoy seeing them latch onto things I made or ideas I came up with. I enjoy learning from them and seeing the world through their eyes.
It’s all good. There is no WRONG way for me to spend my time with them. Even if that time is me letting them run around and do their own thing while I sit back and read a book or catch up on all the chores.
The awesome thing about having been exposed to so many different parenting styles is that I always have one to fall back on as an excuse for why what I am doing is okay at any given moment…
Letting them run around on their own = at least I’m not a helicopter parent.
Getting too up in their face and pushing them to try harder = at least I’m challenging them and showing them I care.
Letting them make cookies and watch movies = at least I am letting them create and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Getting the hell out of there for a much needed date night = at least my kids are comfortable hanging out with their grandparents, and know that mommy and daddy enjoy each others company.
Yelling at them because they are driving me up the wall = hey, I’m just a person too.
My own mother will cringe at my use of that word “FAIL”, but since I became a Strickland (a beautiful group of blunt, sarcastic, funny peoples) and since I don’t actually Fail, with a capital F, that often… I am calling this like I see it. And I am also calling it quits.
Potty training Charlie was a bust. And while I could easily make myself feel better via a number of logical arguments… like that this was a learning experience or that it will be easier next time around. Or that maybe he is so interested in so many other things, like letters and songs and animals and counting, that maybe it shouldn’t surprise me that there is at least one thing he ISN’T interested in.
But that wouldn’t be nearly as fun. So here are my biggest fail moments of the weekend:
1. Using chocolate treats as a reward system
Do I need to explain this one? Just imagine wet little hands. M&Ms. And very questionable aiming. Which leads me to…
2. Leaving a pooping child unattended
Their is such a big big moment for celebration when your child poops on the potty for very first time. But add in the fact that he actually pooped ON the potty, like the lid of the potty, like covered the entire lid of the potty in a giant pile of feces that he then referred to questioningly as “rock? mud?”… no sweetie that is your POOP, and the fact that you didn’t even flinch or yell probably should have been an early indicator that you just aren’t that into this.
3. Trying to do anything else, at the same time, ever
On Friday, I was trying to do simple games and activities to keep Simon and Charlie both interested. And what I should have done was made the entire day specifically dedicated to Charlie alone, and make it all about the potty, NOTHING ELSE.
By Saturday and Sunday, I had figured that out… and thus my mom and I really only did craft activities during nap and after bedtime. We also took turns with him, which was amazing on her part. But, by the end of the night, we were crazy exhausted and mentally drained.
It’s too much work to do anything else at the same time. And also, that kid would seriously pee the second I had my back turned. If he even rounded the corner a second earlier than me, I would arrive to find a giant puddle. Seriously!?!
4. Thinking the only real factor was my resolve
This was my biggest FAIL, and I think I owe a big apology to a lot of moms that don’t even know it. I was so skeptical when I listened to people explain their potty training troubles. Just as I imagine that many moms who were blessed with “great sleepers” or just generally well-behaved children sit there and have a hard time hearing moms go on about their sleep issues or discipline drama.
It is SOOOO easy to think that your have so much control over the way your kid acts or what your kid does by a certain age. But the reality is that so much more has to do with them. Their personality. Their development. And you are just along for the ride, trying to guide them and help them.
I now understand and appreciate what it means for a kid to “not be ready” and not really get it. And while I managed to guide him to understand proper bathroom procedure and communicate when he needed to go and when he did go, I did not at all make him interested, excited, or more importantly capable of using a potty.
The Bright Side
Since I can’t really end on such a negative note, I will say that at worst I lost parts of a fairly cold and rainy weekend. This summer will bring so much more in the way of time, activities, and weather, it is hard to care about that.
Plus, this weekend brought me a stronger appreciation for everyone else in my life. My mother, who always keeps up good spirits, and enjoys hard work for the challenge and creativity of it all. My husband, who honestly tries to be a help and a relief to me in whatever way possible. And Simon, who showed his true “big brother” colors this weekend… who tried to help and encourage Charlie at ever turn.