May 18, 2015

Take on the World: Truth Telling Tuesday

I watch the Disney Channel.

There, I said it. I admit it.

It's not, I watch the Disney Channel with my kids. And it's not even I found myself continuing to watch the Disney Channel after my kids left the room. I actually watch the Disney Channel. On purpose. By myself.

The truth is, I don't really pay attention to most of the shows, but I've found myself really enjoying Girl Meets World. Okay, more than just enjoying it. I sat down and sought out Girl Meets World via On Demand last night. I can't help it. I realize it's cutsey and a more a little ridiculous at times, yet there's something about the show that comforts me.

Maybe it's the fact that there's so much on tv that I can't (or won't) watch. Lately, I am so sensitive about television that I have no desire to watch dramas that are serious and depressing, and crime shows scare me so much that I end up awake in bed imagining all the terrible things that might happen. Most of the comedies are on before my kids are in bed (therefore too early for me to watch) and the travel/home improvement shows leave me feeling like I should be unhappy with my life/home. I'm not left with a lot of choices for quality programing.

Of course, one might argue that for a thirty-three-year-old-woman a teeny bopper show from Disney Channel does not qualify as quality programing either...

The thing is, the story of Girl Meets World is kind of a continuation of a story that was started when I was a kid, and although I never watched the original show (Boy Meets World), I like that these characters feel somewhat familiar. I like that these kids who were kids when I was, now have kids of their own, and we get to continuing following their story.

I know. I hear myself too. It's okay to laugh.

I find it a little hard to believe myself. But I like it. I won't deny it. I like that it is light-hearted and silly and everything gets neatly wrapped up in a little bow by the end. I make enough stress and discomfort and drama in my life all on my own, I don't need to add it via television too. At least not right now. I'm too tired right now for extra drama.

I am perfectly content with my campy Disney Channel show, thankyouverymuch.

Now if you'll excuse me, I might have something I need to go watch.

xoxo, christine

****"Take on the World" is the theme song for the show. 

May 14, 2015

Mr. Sandman, Bring Her a Dream

Nora is now ten months old. She still sleeps in a pack-n-play in our bedroom, that is, if she sleeps. Because, you see, she still does not sleep through the night. She is ten months old. She is waking up multiple times at night. I am feeding her multiple times at night. Yes, it's pretty bad. I am so exhausted and so done, even though I know it's of my own doing. When there's a fussing baby twelve feet from my ear, it's really hard not to get up and go to her, and go to her right away.

Yet, even in my "doneness" I am so not done.

I still don't feel ready to put her in her own room. I desperately want to keep her with us, a symbol of her babyness I'm not ready to give up. But I want it to look like a bedtime snuggle, laying her down, all of us sleeping soundly, and then waking in the morning to a cooing and happy baby. And that is so far from what our nights look like right now.

I want to keep her in our room, but I'm so tired and at my wits end with the nighttime crying, I want to put her in her own room. And I want to help soothe her when she's have a particularly rough patch, yet it's getting so long and difficult that I just want to let her cry until she ends in exhaustion.

My heart is so wrapped up in her little twenty-one pound body, I am "that" mom, the one who doesn't want her to be too far away from me. She is my baby. I don't want to transition her away from us, even if I'm planning on sleeping on the air mattress on her floor for a few nights for comfort. My own comfort, of course. But she is two months from being a year old (What!?) and she really needs to learn how to soothe herself back to sleep, to be able to sleep through an entire night. And I need her to be able to soothe herself, and let me get an entire night's sleep.

Oh how difficult parenting can be, even the third child around. I've been through night time stressors twice before, yet it all feels as heartbreakingly difficult as if she were my first. In fact, it almost feels more difficult... perhaps because she is my youngest, my baby, my living child after a loss.

A morning snooze. Perhaps because she didn't sleep enough during the night?
I don't feel quite as worried that I'm traumatizing her like I did several months ago (although there's still some questions and guilt), but I just don't feel emotionally ready to be physically farther away from her. Yet I also don't feel emotionally functional to be physically getting so little sleep.

I feel like her being in our room is coming to an end, faster than I am ready for. I want to keep her in our room, but I really really need to be getting more sleep. Really.

It might be time to pull out the air mattress. Or maybe I'll give it one more night.

xoxo, christine

May 12, 2015

We're Still Adjusting Too: Truth Telling Tuesday

Even though Nora fits into our family perfectly, it's not all easy peasy lemon squeezy adjusting to life with three kids.

Like when I'm trying to put Nora down to sleep and a little blond head pops in whispering, Mom, can I have a snack? or Mom, can I watch tv? or Mom, can I play outside? I furrow my brow and wave vigerously as I want to scream, No. Nonono. No! Go away. Because if Nora sees a sister or hears a sister or even senses a sister is near by she is going to be ready to find out what kind of fun her sister is doing and how she can be a part of it too.

No matter how many times I remind the older girls that unless it is an emergency -- Is someone in trouble? Is someone hurt? -- then whatever it is they want to ask can wait. This is not a free-for-all "yes" to any question, it is a you-can-wait-the-few-minutes-it-takes-to-get-your-baby-sister-down-to-bed-to-ask thing. I try to emphasize that it takes at least twice as long to get Nora settled in if our routine gets interrupted, which means twice as long until I will answer their question, but it's a hard lesson to grasp.

We've also had a little realization that babies require a lot of attention, which means that if you're an older sister you get less attention, and if you're the oldest you seem to get the least amount of attention. This was part of a conversation I overheard the girls share in bed awhile ago. It's hard for their minds to understand the needs that babies have. We aren't giving them less attention, but I'm sure it feels like it because we have to provide all of Nora's needs. Plus, it's difficult when you're a seven-year-old and your two younger sisters are home with mommy getting more one-on-one time while you're at school all day.

Also, now that Nora is completely mobile they are starting to grasp that she can get into their toys. Mom? Can you grab Nora? We're trying to play here. I understand how frustrating it can be, to have a baby demolishing the elaborate set-up they made to play, and sometimes I will keep Nora away. But there are other times that if they want Nora kept out of their toys, then they are required to move their play into their bedroom. Sometimes they like to play with their baby sister, but lately there have been quite a few, Nora! Stop it!s drifting in from wherever they're playing.

Still, it is worth it all.

The way they rush to Nora's side when they hear her wake from a nap. The way Nora smiles when she sees one of her sisters walk into the room. The way Hope wants to feed Nora at dinner time. The way the older sisters giggle and copy the silly faces Nora makes. The way they fight over who gets to sit next to her, push her in the swing, give her more hugs, try to make her laugh. The way she looks at them, like they hang the moon, which as her big sisters, they do. They are her world. And she is theirs.

And the three of them, they are mine. I will take it all. The easy, the hard, the good, the bad. I will take it all because it is all where I am. It is all where I want to be.

xoxo, christine

May 5, 2015

A Stubborn Refusal to Laugh: Truth Telling Tuesday

Last night at the dinner table I couldn't keep myself together. I didn't cry or yell, but the deflation I felt left my body in a huff of frustration. I was hoping to have a quiet and involved conversation, with everyone contributing and listening at the appropriate times.

See, we used to do Highs and Lows during our evening meal as a way to connect with each other and gather information about each other's days. Especially from the girls who aren't always willing talk about their day's experiences and feelings. In an effort to gather data from Paige, who seems to be struggling with some recent anxiety, I wanted to use the non-direct "game" to try to gather some clues as to where this might be coming from.

Of course, as a seasoned parent, I should know by now that expectations are dangerous gambles, ones that usually do not pay out. There is little control for how things will go when it comes to children.

Dinner was not full of thoughtful conversation connecting us together, it was loud and chaotic with me struggling to keep the conversation on topic and no one really paying attention. I was upset and frustrated and worked up so, like the adult that I am, I finally sprang up from the table and huffed into the kitchen. (I'm incredibly mature like that.)

I should have let the moment go where it wanted and released my grasp on needing to pull the conversation somewhere specific. Sometimes you just have to let go of the idea you had in your head of how things are going to be, and just let things go where they want instead. I should have done that. I should have let go.

But I didn't.

I got all annoyed and offended and put out that people weren't listening to me and taking me seriously. Instead of a serious discussion about our days and how we were feeling, dinner was full of loud noises and giggling and a vocabulary lesson courtesy of my husband's joke that had the word "ass" in it. My mood was much too serious for the evening and instead of letting their laughter lift me up, I pushed myself further and further down into serious grumpiness. I refused to budge out of my annoyance that dinner was not going as planned and into the much lighter tone at the table.

I do that sometimes. It's like I can't let go of my surprise (turned annoyance) at things getting silly, but instead of just going with it, I dig in my heels and fight it. I refuse to let go of whatever I wanted to be going on and enjoy myself, and instead make myself more and more miserable until I either completely explode in anger or deflate in exasperation.

The deflation feels a lot like giving up, unlike giving in to the moment which feels like changing my attitude and perspective and laughing with my family.

It's sad to me, that I can be so stubborn like this, unable or unwilling to change my attitude on a whim and be silly. Yet, at the same time, there's still a part of me that is disappointed that we didn't have the conversation I wanted and that no one seemed to take me seriously.

Of course, since we weren't going to connect as a family with a serious discussion of Highs and Lows that I was hoping for, I should have seen and seized the opportunity to connect as a family over being silly and chaotic.

Still, I wouldn't turn down an apology, or even just a hug or two.

xoxo, christine

I am trying something new, Truth Telling Tuesday, posting every Tuesday a truth about myself. I think on of the best way to connect to other people is to share our truths. I feel the most connection to someone who has gone out of her way to be authentic and unafraid to share who she is and what she wants and how she feels. Her truth. So I'm going to try that out here. Sometimes the truths may be serious and deep and other times silly insignificant. I have no idea how this will go, or if I'll even keep doing it. But I just wanted to give it a try, to give myself a push into sharing my truth.

May 3, 2015

Too Much TV

I am in need of some rejuvenating. It seems like the time of year itself should give me the boost I need, an excitement that propels me toward summer. But I feel a dull dragging. I see photos posted on Instagram of beaches and mountains and quaint cottages in the country. It all looks so refreshing and I find myself longing for the feelings those photos invoke.

(There is that whole voice that reminds me not to compare my every day to other people's highlights. But that's a topic for a whole different post.)

Hope's school is encouraging a screen free week, and I'm wondering if I should (or could) view this as an opportunity for some rejuvenation. It's not like we watch an inordinate amount of television, or play multiple video games per day, but I understand the importance of breaking away from screens and enjoying the many other ways to spend our time. Still, it might be difficult, not necessarily because of the amount of time we spend in front of the television, but because of the routines we've mastered -- like that of the girls watching a show or two before school every morning, which they have been doing for years.

Our whole family has agreed (more or less) to participate, with a few exceptions. Writing here is one of mine. But it will be good for us to attempt a week without the option of a screen to entertain us. And I am hopeful that a break from technology will give me the boost I've started longing for.

It will at least give me some time to sit in the quiet, or as quiet as my kids will let it be, and focus on my thoughts instead of distracting myself at every free moment with Facebook, email, Disney Channel, Facebook again, Huffington Post, Instagram, Facebook, well, you get the idea.

If I can't take a week for a quiet getaway in a rustic cabin or a relaxing beach vacation with sandcastles and three little girls in polka dot swim suits, I suppose I'll take my glass of screen-free liquid and look at it as a half full opportunity to rejuvenate in other ways. Reading, writing, photography and reminding my kids that it's not my job to entertain them if they're feeling "bored" -- which, by the way, was a four letter word in my house growing up, something from my childhood I am definitely passing on to my own family now.

All-of-a-sudden I'm feeling some trepidation about this whole thing. Sheesh. Pathetic how dependent we've become on needing screens to entertain us.

Crossing my fingers (and toes) for no one going crazy this week.

xoxo, christine