Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Patience is a Flower

In college, a friend of mine had a little saying taped to her wall:

Patience is a flower that does not grow in my garden.

If you knew my friend, you knew this saying to be true.

Personally, I've always thought of myself as a relatively patient person. I tend toward the type A personality, but I'm pretty calm in my nature. Not the go out, party all night, dance on the tables type of girl (although there have been times I've secretly wanted to be that girl). But I digress...

I bring up the topic of patience, because since having kids, my patience is constantly tried in new and interesting ways. And there are times when my lack of patience really gets the better of me. I find it happens most recently with my 2-year old. Abby's always been a pretty easy kid. She eats well, sleeps at night, takes her nap, has a good attitude, is smart, does what I say for the most part. Lately, however, she pushes the limits. In my head, I understand she's 2 and this is what kids do - they push their limits with the ones who love them the most because we're the safest ones with whom to act this way. But because she's always been such an easy kid, I find her being difficult extremely trying in the patience arena. I can only answer "Why" and "Why not" so many times a day. I can only repeat her phrases back to her so often. I can only give her exactly what she wants 85% of the time.

The parents in Abby's class seem to be having similar difficulties with their kids, which, quite honestly, makes me feel a lot better. I take comfort in the fact other peoples' kids give them a hard time too. It makes me feel a little less alone in the battle. During Abby's classes, we do a separation time, so the kids get to play by themselves and the parents get to have some discussion time. Yesterday's discussion centered around how the kids are trying us right now; the kids in this class are 2 and 3. And you know what? Every one of those parents admitted their kids drive them crazy at times. And they all had problems with losing their patience.

So, what gives? Obviously we all want to be the best parents we can be. But when the kids aren't being the best they can be, how do we handle it? Do we use time outs? Discipline? Remove ourselves from the situation? Yell? Have an extra glass of wine that night?

Come on readers, what do you do, when the patience flower is wilting in your garden?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shopping Tip

My children are severely lacking in the chub arena. They're both rather long, but neither one is particularly chubby. This can make pants a problem as they tend to fall down...all the time. It's mostly a problem when it comes to jeans. Even though most jeans have elastic bands, they still tend to be too large. And jeans are basically a staple for kids, right? Particularly for the kids who play hard and live in the colder climates.

Cherokee, a Target brand, has come up with a solution to the pants falling down problem. Essentially, they make tiny little maternity pants. You know, the pants with the buttons on the inside of the waistband, so you can pull the elastic tighter and then let it out as necessary? Well, Cherokee has this in some of their jeans now. And it works wonderfully well! Although I'm quite certain my girls will outgrow the length of their jeans before they need the waistbands let out, it's great to have a pair of pants that will actually stay where they're supposed to be! I even lucked out and found 2 pair of size 2s for around $9 a piece. Talk about a bargain!

My friend has a little boy with similar waistband issues. She's mentioned the Gymboree brand also carries similar pants styles with the adjustable waists.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Solo Weekend

As you know, my husband works and I stay home with the kids. With that particular set up has come compromise, the occasional argument, feeling of bitterness, moments of feeling put out; the list goes on and on and applies to both my husband and myself. For the most part, we work through things, but sometimes the feelings, no matter how ridiculous at the moment, rule the roost.

My husband is a hunter. For him, and his family, pheasant hunting is basically the end all be all. He literally lives for this time of year. I am not a hunter, but it is in his blood and he loves to do it. This year, I decided to really go the extra mile and encourage him to hunt as much as he can during the weekends this fall. Pheasant season basically goes from the 2nd weekend in October through the 1st of the year. Dana works very hard for us at a job that's very physically demanding; he deserves to have some weekends to enjoy himself.

Although he deserves his weekends, I continue to find it difficult to "let" him go out and have fun. It's not that the girls and I don't have fun while he's gone, but when he's gone, I'm literally on duty 24/7 until he gets home. And, if we're being perfectly honest, I'm never really not on duty. Sometimes, I'm simply sharing the duty for a few hours.

So, how do I resolve these feelings? I want my husband to go out and have fun. I want to go out and have fun. I don't want to be bitter about my husband having fun without me. Is it possible to accomplish all the aforementioned? Or does something have to suffer?

What do you think, readers? Suggestions? Ideas?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Moment of Enlightenment

Every night before I get into bed, I check on my girls. They're generally fast asleep when I go in there and they usually don't waken when I enter their room. Every once and a while, though, I step in the wrong spot at the wrong time and one of the girls wakes up a bit.

The other night, my oldest woke up and was very upset about something she wanted to sleep with but wasn't in her bed. It took me a bit to understand what she was saying (she was mostly asleep and she's only 2) but I finally understood she wanted this little glowworm toy she's been obsessed with lately. I couldn't find the toy in her crib, so I gave her a puppy instead and she went back to sleep.

After getting the girls tucked in, I went into my room and got ready for bed. I had no intention of looking for the glowworm, but I happened to find it in my drawer, so I took it back into the girls' room. My oldest daughter barely opened her eyes, stuck her hand in the air, took the proffered toy, mummured "thank you" and promptly went back to sleep.

As seemingly insignificant at this moment may seem, to me, it really solidified my role in my daughters' lives. My daughter inherently seemed to know I would supply her needs/desires. I didn't even know I would find the toy, but apparently she had no doubts. It also told me something about the connection we have. Upon entering the room, I didn't have to say a word; my daughter simply knew why I was there and what I was doing.

There are days I feel like I'm still playing dress up at being a mom. I don't feel like I look and/or act like the other groups of moms you see everywhere or the groups of moms I saw all the time when I was a kid. But moments like the other night, simply supplying a toy, make me realize that to my daughters, I am the mom, whether I always feel like it or not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'd Tap That

Forgive my sassy title, but the following story should help clarify:

A couple weekends ago, I went shopping. Big deal, right? People go shopping all the time. Well, the shopping trip was important for 2 reasons:

1. I hate to shop.
2. I needed to buy pants.

Now, my fellow females will best understand what I mean when I say I needed to shop for pants. And my fellow females who've given birth, ever, will understand the process even better. Pants shopping can be a painful, time consuming project. No pair ever fits the same and you have to try on everything. For the non-shopping type like myself, it's akin to a trip to the dentist. Since having the girls, I've not really gotten back into my pre-pregnancy clothes the way I would like to and have chosen to wear ill-fitting pants that are technically too big rather than endure the tribulations of pants shopping.

I had a gift card to Macy's and the department store happened to be having a sale that weekend, so I took a deep breath and steeled myself for a trying evening. I walked into the store and grabbed the first pair of jeans I saw. Ralph Lauren. Around $70. Now, I normally would not pay that much for a pair of jeans, but I was determined to have some pants that fit well, so I was somewhat willing to bite the bullet.

Joy of joys the freakin' jeans fit! Not only did they fit, but I was officially back into the single digit sizes. And let me just tell you, my ass looked great in these pants. I'm not an overly conceited person, but I was impressed by what I saw in the mirror, and honestly, how often does that happen?

So, I held on tight to those pants and buoyed by the fact the shopping wasn't painful yet, continued to shop. I came across Levi's that were on sale for cheaper than the RLs, so I gave them a shot. They fit! I came across another brand, Bandolinoblu, and they fit! Not only did they fit, they fit better than the RLs. I'm talking not too tight in the thighs, able to breathe sitting down, sticking the ole muffin top where it's supposed to go, good colors fit! And I'd only been in the store for about 35 minutes! I bought 5 pair and left as fast as I could.

Now, I'm not overly concerned about the size of my pants or the fact I have stretch marks on my stomach or that my stomach isn't so flat. But to walk into that store, dreading trying on pants and having to spend too much money, it was such a pleasant surprise to fit into pants that actually made me feel good. I walked out of that store with a spring in my step, a gleam in my eye and for the first time in a long time, I felt really good about myself. I worked hard with my running this summer and now I have my pants to show for it. My body is nowhere near perfection, or a size 00 (or whatever it is all those supermodels wear), but I am at a point where I'm much more pleased with it. And that is a fine place to be.

Goal (Halfway) Achieved

As I've mentioned before, when I decided to stay home with the girls, I also decided I needed a goal. A really hard goal, one that would make me work. After some consideration, I decided the Twin Cities Marathon would be my goal. So, a couple weekends ago, on a chilly and overcast Sunday morning, I made the grand attempt. My husband's friend was nice enough to run with me. I was a little nervous about running with someone, since I'd never really done it before, but he was a gem. Chatted with me, didn't make me run too fast, took off when he needed to and kept an eye out for me. A lovely running partner.

About a half hour into the run, it started to rain. And the rain just kept coming. At the start of the race, I mentioned to my running pal I wouldn't mind if it rained, as long as it didn't pour. Well, it poured...and poured...let up a little...and just kept raining. As I hit hour 2 or so, the rain finally let up. By this time, I was soaked to the bone and cold. I didn't mind my clothes being wet, but my shoes were soaked and I knew they wouldn't dry until I removed them. It was not a pretty picture.

At mile 11, my husband, his cousin and the girls were standing on the roadside waiting to cheer me on to completion. When I saw them, I thought, "Excellent. Here's my ride!" I kept going though, after a little break for kisses and hugs.

I made it to mile 13 and was still at least 3 hours from the finish line. At this point, my foot was hurting and I had gone longer than I'd ever run before. I debated, walking back and forth a few times, and finally decided to call it a day. A girl running by me said she was running the unofficial Half Marathon today, and that sounded like an excellent idea to me. So, I hopped on the bus and headed toward the finish line.

Now, my goal was to finish the marathon and I did not accomplish that goal. Having made it 13 miles, however, was tremendously satisfying to me. I think it's ok to not always accomplish our goals as long as we actually strive for them. Sometimes we pick goals that are too hard, sometimes outside sources keep us from our goals, sometimes we lose interest in our goals and move on to something else. As long as we keep striving for something, however imperfect the outcome, we continue to move foward in our lives.

And you, dear reader, what do you strive to accomplish? Any new goals these days? Any old goals completed?