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Learn to be a good mommy to Anya

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sabrynSticks and stones

A few events have gone into this post; I won’t go into details, but suffice to say this isn’t coming out of left field.

Time to change the way I think of others, in order to model better behavior for my kid and get a better handle on my own mindset. This one has two parts:

1. Don’t assume the worst in people.
Yesterday, a car was crawling up my butt on the freeway. I got my first speeding ticket last week (I was distracted by my sick baby, not hot-rodding :), so I’m being extra cautious these days. That this guy wanted to push my 70-in-a-65 to 85-in-a-65 just boiled my blood. Plus he was on a cell phone.

Then I thought: Maybe he’s worried about a sick kid. Business suit and tie…maybe his child is sick, and he’s rushing home after a long day to spend as much time with his baby as possible. Maybe he’s on the phone with that kid now, and the child is in tears, and wants Daddy nownowNOW.

I can relate. I got over. He sped off. I felt much better about us both.

Yeah, his reasons might not have been so altruistic. But who’s to say they weren’t?

2. Don’t let others’ opinions of me wreck my day.
Haters gonna hate. And unfortunately, some of those closest to me will think the worst of me at any given moment, whether I deserve it or not. I can’t control that. What I can control is my attitude towards it. And rather than stew over it, I’m going to take such comments as a red flag that said person is directing even harsher comments towards themselves, and lashing out at others as a result of their own self-loathing. Again, may not be true…but I like us all a lot better when I assume that is the case.

See, here’s the thing: What’s inside ripples outward. When I allow others to make me feel bad, my interactions with my family are altered. When I’m in a bad mood, that puts R in a bad mood, which puts Anya in a bad mood. Nobody wins. And I’m extremely stressed lately, so it takes very little to set me off.

I want Anya to grow up in a home filled with happiness. And that’s hard right now, because I am so very stressed out. But I don’t want her or R to suffer because of that; my stress is neither of their faults. But I can’t control the behavior of others, so I need to start working on my own.

Be kind. Think kind. Who knows – perhaps I will get kind in return. 2 weeks ago


sabrynI know I'm just tired

and burned out, and worried. And that tomorrow, next week, two years from now, I’ll feel differently. But right now, this second, I am sorry I have a college education. Maybe if I didn’t, I could lay in bed and snuggle my sick girl, and her father would be the one earning our living.

Breadwinner mommy isn’t an easy role any day, but it’s especially hard when she’s so sick and wants nothing more than for me to hold her. Because I’m her mother, and that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s my real job.

At least I am here, and not 40 miles away in a cubicle. 3 weeks ago


sabrynToo much of a good thing?

The modern family bemoans their lack of family time. They take trips together annually to connect with each other.

My family spends nearly 24/7 under the same roof. More so this week, as we’re sick and have thus quarantined ourselves.

Here’s an argument that took place this morning, not 10 minutes after A got up.

Scene: A is in her highchair, having just discovered her Valentine’s present of a stuffed Hello Kitty and chocolate. Mumma is trying to take her picture with her present. Daddy is unwrapping chocolate for A to eat. A wants to hug Hello Kitty, chocolate and photo be damned.

A: [Throws a kicking, screaming fit.]

R: Oi! Quit kicking and eat your chocolate!

M: Shush, both of you! [removes A from high chair and hands her Hello Kitty] This is supposed to be a holiday of love and joy, dammit!

Yeah, we gotta take a break from each other. 2 months ago


sabrynSpoiled

At dinner last night, a woman at an adjacent table asked about Anya. (How old is she, three? Two? Wow, she’s tall for her age!) Then she smiled and said “And just a little spoiled, huh?” I smiled and agreed.

I used to bristle at the word “spoiled.” As an only child, I was deemed spoiled for simply breathing air. I may not have had to share my possessions, but I knew kids with siblings who got more – and got away with more – than I ever did. But because I’m an only, I was spoiled and they were not. (I’m still mad about it.)

As a mommy, though, I’m reconsidering what we mean by spoiled. Do we mean a spoiled brat? I don’t think so. Not that we never mean it in that case – but that’s something we say behind the parent’s back, not to her face. No, I think we just mean “treated like a beloved and respected member of the family, not an inconvenience.” In that case, yes – she’s spoiled. Spoiled rotten. And I’m proud of it. 2 months ago


sabrynI'm making resolutions for her now

Two, in fact:

1. De-bottle.
2. De-diaper.

The first one…is gonna be rough. She can, and does, drink just fine from a cup. (Hates sippies with a purple passion, so she went straight to the big-girl cups.) But she prefers a bottle. And in many ways, so do I – the mess factor, for instance. But it’s time (past, really) to wean her from the bottle. And she’s going to take it personally. Wailing and gnashing of teeth will ensue. I may have to recultivate a taste for alcohol just to maintain some semblance of sanity. How I wish I were exaggerating here.

The second one, I’m less concerned with. She knows what to do and when/where to do it. She’s even got the finer points (hand washing and such) down – heck, she wipes out the sink afterward. It’s just a matter of convincing her that it’s worthwhile to stop playing long enough to tinkle in the potty; diapers are terribly convenient. And really, it’s not a huge deal – it’d just be nice to have her out of diapers before we bring another baby into the mix. So I’m going to do my best to sell the potty process in the coming year. 3 months ago


sabrynAll of my THIS

Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-koppelkam/body-image_b_3678534.html

Mind you, it’s hard to stop bitching about my thighs. I hate them so. (Also everything above and below them, some days.) But in the interest of raising a daughter who sees her body as a wonderful gift, not a source of shame, I must do better.

Also, I must make kale. And chocolate cake with 6 sticks of butter. 4 months ago


sabrynAnger management

For years, I’ve heard about the temper that runs in R’s family. About R’s own temper, before we met. And I’ve seen a bit of that temper in A, but nothing like she’s displaying these days.

When I was a kid, and I got mad at my parents, I wrote them scathing notes: “I do not love you, Mom and Dad.” A goes in headfirst, fists flying. In the past two days, she’s injured me twice – she threw a (full) shampoo bottle at me, bruising the snot out of my foot, and last night she bit me. (Not all that hard – she’s bitten me much harder – but she would. not. let. go.)

I don’t spank her. And I’ve guilted R into not spanking her. But I did have to swat her tush last night to get her to release me.

I understand why she does the things she does. She’s little, and she gets so very frustrated, and she doesn’t know how to handle those feelings. So she has meltdowns in stores. She slaps, bites, and throws things. At me, not anyone else. I’m safe. I’ll love her no matter what she does to me.

But damn, am I tired of getting beat up.

I’ve got to find a way to help her manage those feelings somehow.

I also want to find a way to manage my own. While I don’t spank, I do yell. And I hate it. But I don’t know what else to do. Sometimes yelling is all that gets her attention. But I can’t help but think there’s a better way for both of us to manage our frustration. 4 months ago


sabrynRaising a responsible adult

Some of this I do well. Others…not so much. (I am particularly guilty of being a helicopter parent.) And I see in myself how falling short on some of these points does impact a person into adulthood. So I’m saving this here to refer back to.

http://evolutionaryparenting.com/six-ways-to-allow-your-child-to-become-a-responsible-adult/ 5 months ago


sabrynLove. No matter what.

First off, I hope I am this cool when Anya nears puberty:
http://somethingpositive.net/sp11052013.shtml

Secondly, I’ve been less than patient lately; stress plus PMS plus nap boycotts has us butting heads way more than I would like. But I’m making a point of apologizing when I snap at her, and of verbally forgiving her when she snaps at me. I never would have thought to have such conversations with a 2-year-old, but amazingly, they help. We’re both calmer and more considerate towards each other afterwards. And as it’s unrealistic to think neither of us will ever lose our temper, at least I’m setting a precedent for making up.

There is this tension that exists between me and my parents. I’ve come to realize that there are aspects of me that they don’t really like much. I sense an irritation, sometimes even mild disgust, towards things that are a huge part of who I am. Whether it’s truly there or not, it feels like it is. And that hurts. Severely. (I also periodically get the vibe that they think I’m a shitty parent. Not all the time, but often enough. Which is just one more strike against me.)

What I want, more than anything, is for Anya to never feel that way. I want her to know that I love her no matter what. And I want us to always apologize when we say things to hurt each other. Because I want us to be close…not just now, but always. 5 months ago


sabrynRoutines

I think we need them.

Right now, the only person in this house on any sort of routine is me, and mine’s kind of loose. I intend to get up at 5, but some mornings (most, lately), it’s been closer to 6 before I get out of bed. I work. And then…well, whatever.

R never works the same schedule two weeks in a row. And since Anya doesn’t go anywhere for daycare, I let her sleep as late as she wants. Which means bedtime comes whenever she gives up the ghost. She may nap; she may not. Every day is different.

Anya loves routines, as kids do. She likes knowing what to expect. And if I can build some good routines, even with R’s erratic schedule, perhaps we’d all benefit.

The cleaning routine is a start. If we do a little housework each day before dinner, the house will stay cleaner and I won’t feel so overwhelmed. If we have a designated workout/dance party/playtime hour, I will get my workout and she will have an outlet for her energy – which will be really important when the weather turns cold and rainy. If we shower, put on our jammies, and brush our teeth at the same time each night, it will signal to her that it’s time to settle down and get ready for sleep.

So I’m trying to establish routines. Understanding that some days, they won’t be followed. But my motto this year is “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Okay, that’s not true. My motto this year is “Don’t poke the bear.” But sometimes the bear needs poking. 5 months ago


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