I didn’t want to fall for the trap.
I’m a fairly…cynical person. I’m especially cynical of things I know will entertain my children. I don’t think they’ll actually entertain me, too. Plus, I haven’t been a big fan of princesses since I was maybe 12.
So, I didn’t think I was gonna fall for the trap.
I totally fell for the trap. Meaning, that when my husband and kids went to Medieval Times at Arundel Mills Mall, I ended up being just as excited as my kids about kings, knights, princesses – alladat.
I’d totally go back for more.
The way it works is that you enter the “castle,” and are shown to your seat. Your seat corresponds with a color and that color corresponds with a knight that you are supposed to cheer for. We got the blue knight (isn’t he adorable?).
There’s a whole performance with a king and a princess and even a bad guy. Then, you get served a meal you get to eat with your hands.
Even though I went pretty much specifically to entertain my kids, there were really people of all ages there – from kids celebrating their birthdays to older couples celebrating their wedding anniversaries.
I will say this – my son was a little nervous about entering the castle at first, as I knew he would be. It takes him a while to warm up to things, so he was a little freaked out at first. By the end, he loved it. So, if you were to go I’d suggest going early (you can actually go up to an hour before the performance but we were running late) just to let younger kids get comfortable.
***Medieval Times gave me free tickets to attend the show. Learn more about them and it here
Apparently I talk too much during time outs.
I should clarify that these aren’t my time outs (though lord knows I could probably use one or two). They are Cameron’s. You see, even though Cameron is the sweetest, smartest, most affectionate boy ever – sometimes he has a nasty temper. So, he gets a time out.
Have you ever read 1,2,3 Magic? It’s a childcare manual that my mom told me about. The whole magic is that when your child is bad, you give him 3 chances to straighten up and act right. On 3, if the kid continues with the bad behavior, they get a time out. The book’s author, Dr. Thomas Phelan, says that throughout this, you should be as calm and even-tempered as you can. That means no grabbing the kid and tossing him in the time out chair, no empty threats, and very little talking while the kid is in time out. No emotions from you. You are the adult.
I’m so bad at keeping my emotions out of it.
I was raised by parents who under no circumstances would have tolerated stuff like talking back or open defiance. In fact, I wouldn’t be here writing this if I’d have tried half the stuff Cam tries with me. So I get angry when he is angry and disrespectful with me. However, i know I have to get better at these situations. I was talking to a childcare expert Monday and she re-emphasized what I already know. I need to count to three, and if it turns out that he goes to time out, it needs to happen with as little fuss or drama as possible. I need to calmly let him know that his only option is to serve his time out. There shouldn’t be any bargaining or even explaining why at that point. If he is in time out screaming and carrying on, I’ll say stuff to him like “you aren’t getting up until you calm down.” But that’s a no-no.Talking happens later, when he is calmer and more receptive.
Poop. Poop. Poopoopoop. My life is currently centered around someone else’s poop.
Whose poop? My son’s poop. He has pretty much never, ever pooped anywhere except within the confines of his own diaper/pull-up/big boy underwear.
So, yeah. Poop.
This is all very dramatic. It has caused fights between my husband and I, even. We’ve been to the doctor. I have begged, cried, yelled and pleaded.
Still no poop. Well, not in the potty at least.
Did you know there is some special potty training guide selling for almost $100 just to download? There is a special place in hell for the person profiting off of parental misery like that.
In this life, however, I’m sure that person is living high off the hog. Because poop. Dear, God. I’m pretty much willing to do anything to make the poop talk stop.
I’m pretty sure I’ve written about how much I love and need my lists before. Lists help keep me on track and focused. I have not been on track and focused lately, but that is ok. I’m starting today. Er – tomorrow.
Here is some stuff I want to start working on.
1. Practice writing with Cam every day.
2. Look up some resources for helping Cam manage his anger. This might help keep him out of time out and make life around here a bit more pleasant.
3. Work on letters, numbers and shapes with Grace once a day.
4. Make it a priority to get outside more. I hate the cold so I’ve been staying inside way too much.
Ok, that’s it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
My children changed me, and it has been absolutely for the better.
When I got home from the hospital after giving birth to my son, i cried and cried. I was so terrified. So hormonal. So bad at breastfeeding.
Everything got strange. This tiny person was unavoidably here all the time. Nothing that I’d done before worked the same way that it did after I had my babies. I was forced to change, and for a long time, changing hurt.
To make it in this strange, sleep-deprived land, i had to give up what was comfortable and familiar. I changed the way I kept house, the way I viewed my work life, and finally the way I viewed myself.
What would I be without my children? How would I know that I can learn to do almost anything? That practice can be hard and frustrating but so necessary? That i don’t owe anyone an explanation? That my words are strong enough to stand by themselves?
I am so happy that I’ve been able to go on this incredible ride. I’m so happy for the opportunity to get to know them and to get to know me.
My children are (in my completely objective opinion) very bright. They ask lots of questions, they test boundaries, they fight, they play 5 million imaginary games. It’s fun! it really is. It can also be exhausting.
I am the quiet, thinky type. I like to be alone in my own head. I like to read. I like to sit down some damn where.
Of course this never happens when the kids are up. So, by the time bedtime rolls around I’m tapped out. I need to crawl back into my shell to rejuvenate.
I’m writing this in the dark, underneath my covers. And it feels amazing.
The good news is, I am not limping.
Today was not exactly anything to write home about. Why? Doesn’t really matter. Mostly stuff that isn’t important in the grand scheme of the universe, but that mattered very much to me in the moment.
But, here I am. The day is over. I survived it. The moments passed and the kids went to bed early. And I’m not stumbling, limping or even crying (at the moment).
Instead, I am stubbornly optimistic. I am trying very hard to walk in the light because I’ve been in the dark and it sucks there.
I have spent the last few years adjusting to where I am now. Trying to make neat piles of the vast amount of stuff you inherit when you become a parent. Education, discipline, love, fun, respect. Can you even wrap your mind around how huge those words are when they hand you your tiny newborn?
Anyway, the point is, I feel like I’m…not lost right now. My path is still a complete mystery, but I’m strong enough to take it. I won’t limp. I will walk. I may even run eventually.
I’m in the midst of potty training Grace. I’m…um…doing some…potty training fine-tuning with Cameron (I don’t want to talk about it). That means I have to be consistent about sending them to the bathroom. How do I do it? I set a little alarm on my phone.
We have new activities that we’re involved in now that the fall is here: a twice weekly play-date/pre-school thing and a couple of reading times that take place at some local libraries. How do I remember what’s happening when? I put in on the calender on my phone.
I have been completely outvoted on what we get to watch on television (no Disney, no peace) so what’s the quickest way for me to stay updated (read: freak out over) the presidential election? The internet on my phone, of course.
Recipes? Parenting question? Kids’ videos? Phone, phone, phone.
I’m sure my grandmothers would both be both confused and amused to know that they have a granddaughter who uses technology so much to parent and run a household. I actually find it pretty funny, too. But, one of the things I learned early in this whole parenting thing is using the tools that you have. It’s not like I’m using old t-shirts to make blankets, or catching and plucking my own chickens, but this is my small way of trying to be better by using something I already have in my purse.
Oh. And when I’m feeling like doing something a little out of the ordinary, I even make a phone call or two on it. Crazy, right?
I’ve been working to get better at disciplining the kids. Before I had kids, everyone told me they saw me as being a “nice” mom — too nice to be mean when I had to be. I always argued against that. I hate seeing ill-mannered kids! I would not take any crap! I would be fearsome!
Yeah – no. Cameron and Grace aren’t…bad. But I know that I need to be more firm with them. I need to establish good habits so that they know how to speak to me, how to speak to other adults and…um…not act a damn fool and embarrass me in public. Ahem.
I think that I am, by nature a gentle person, so it’s hard to be firm. I also have hippie tendencies, so I don’t wanna harsh anyone’s buzz or squish my precious little angels’ dreams. I want them to be happy – but within normal boundaries.
My kids are incredibly bright and incredibly stubborn. Whatever they want, I want them to have because I love them. Also, they sometimes convince me that they need it, so powerful is their whining and crying. It feels unnatural for me to assert myself with them. But I have to. They need to understand that I’m not Lisa, the lady who they debate with. I’m the mommy. What I say goes. I run this.
I’d love to say that I have come up with a solution. That I now know the perfect way to discipline my kids without being too overbearing or too gentle. Nope. I’m still working at it honestly. I’ve been using a timer for time outs which helps me stay focused. With two kids running around, it’s easy to get distracted so that the prisoner takes advantage of the opportunity to escape. I also have to bark a little bit, which honestly feels weird. But it works. My mother, who was an elementary school teacher told me a saying among other teachers, “you don’t smile until November.” I’m not going that hard, but I am trying (oh how much of a wimp do I feel like for even typing that) to not seem so “nice.”
And now? I’m tired. It wears me out stepping outside of myself, but I know I have to do it.
A preamble – I have not historically been the most organized person on the planet. Actually, I am not even usually the most organized person in my car. One of the reasons I even have this blog is that it’s a way for me to fumble my way through this parenting/adulthood thing learning as I go, with the end result being not only have I not dropped my children or left them in a bar – but that I’ve turned out a pretty good family.
And now I will write about a rudimentary part of organization that I am just now using in my 31st year of life: list making. This summer, like last, I have the kids all day every day.
Last summer didn’t go so well. It actually went very poorly. For me, it felt chaotic and anxiety producing. I’d careen from random thing to random thing, always feeling like I was late for something else. It was too late to be taking them to the park because it was almost lunch time. I should have already thought about what we were having for lunch instead of waiting until 11:59 am. I should probably get some education into them so that they will grow up to be co-presidents of the United States. Except then I would just let them watch another two hours of Sesame Street and the Wiggles while I talked myself out of a guilt-hole. It wasn’t pretty.
Oh, last-year-Lisa. I want to go back and hug myself. Then pat myself on my poor, dumb head. Lists! Lists make life better! Lists mean I know what options I have for fun activities to get out of the house (and away from Sprout), what other adult responsibilities I need to handle, and I can even get some writing done in the process (see: this post). Instead of walking around fretting about the seemingly million things that need to get done, I write it down and have a good handle on what actually needs to get done and when.