A Change of Attitude

Summer break is here. The tiny one is out of school. We all (well not sweet Daddy) sleep in a little later and have our days completely free. We have zero plans in general, with a bit of swimming thrown in later on in the summer. It is both daunting and exhilarating. Tiny 1 is against plans. He inherited this from me. I shun planning in general. He shuns planning AND clothing. He likes to be free to work. He told me last week he had too much work to do to go to a party because his work would probably take him all day. Knowing him, I have not signed him up for any camps. I have gone back and forth on this decision, but he’s at his happiest working in his backyard.

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Knowing his tinier brother, I have ordered a gate for the yard. This adorable, little blonde meatball is a menace.
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Summer just started and I found myself yelling at everyone on Monday, rolling my eyes, threatening and basically being a rotten human, not just a rotten mother. They were naughty, but they are 4 and 21 months, not adults. I thought to myself that the summer was going to be awful and I should find something for them to do, for someone else to watch them sometimes. I went to bed that night and could not sleep. I felt so ashamed. I have 2 tiny, wonderful boys and their moods revolve around mine. If I am naughty, they will of COURSE be naughty. I spent a long time reflecting upon the challenge given to me this summer and the gift of these boys. My original plan was to savor their tiny selves and I was failing, audibly. I decided I needed to change my attitude, something I had been commanding my oldest child to do that day. I prayed that I could do it. I asked for help, and I thought of how much I loved open summer days when I was little.

Guess what? I’m on day 2 of pure bliss. There was a giant temper tantrum in Target yesterday where I ran into so many people I knew, including someone I have been trying to integrate into my friend circle. I was calm and kind. I kept focusing on my attitude change. I was punched in the eye by the tiny meatball and I was again calm and kind–and put him in bed. Attitude change is my motto on refrain.

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Today, we have been building with boxes in our courtyard. We woke up with a mission! We drove around looking for free boxes and then bought a few. Their little eyes sparkled with joy and their faces were colored orange with fake cheese from chips. They’ve eaten primarily junk food and we have been having a marvelous time. They each got to choose a paint roller at Home Depot. The meatball kept throwing both rollers out of the cart, severely upsetting his brother who chose his with such care and would never behave in such a manner, but I could see the humor in it and told him to just sit on them so the meatball could not get to them. I gave the little naughty blonde more Doritos to sidetrack him. He snuck 4 lollipops while I wasn’t watching. It’s summer. I’m cool with it with my new attitude.

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We got home and planned, arranged, rearranged, cut and taped the boxes. My tinies chose a tall wardrobe box to be a house with a tunnel connecting to an apartment. An empty plant container is a chimney. After nap, the painting began.

Daddy came home early and was somewhat caught off guard, but the excitement pulled him into the fun while I went for a quick workout. We couldn’t get Tiny 1 to come inside until his stomach forced him. He painted the outside of his work and then started the inside. Tomorrow he plans to draw and hang pictures for the inside. His pride is palpable. Tiny 2 ate a popsicle after painting for a while. It was a glorious day.

It is hard to be patient sometimes. It is REALLY hard to manage big feelings, but it is my job. I signed up for it. It was worth it today. I pray I remain the adult and keep up the attitude change. Summer is full of possibilities with an empty schedule. “It is well with my soul.”

 

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My husband has a small, close circle of friends who are dear to him. My husband is not an easy read and his fierce love of those who make it past his prickly exterior are in for life. I find male relationships fascinating; there is not talk of feelings, dissection of what conversations might mean, or endless discussions on how to ensure you do not raise serial killers, YET the relationships are rooted deep into the earth even without many words.

My husband has 2 friends from kindergarten who are his dearest friends 35 years later. They have their own language. It is loud, bawdy and complete gibberish but you cannot help but to smile when you hear the three of them together in “Nina”speak. These 3 friends are rarely in the same city together, but the bond of friendship is always there. Bits of business are intertwined. Somehow, anniversary vacations and honeymoon destinations overlap. One friend’s wife planned a romantic anniversary vacation near where we live. Her husband said to her, “Thank you for bringing me to see my best friend.” She was so tickled by the friendship, she did not bring up the fact that it was supposed to be THEIR time together. My husband tagged along the entire time of the trip, in the back seat of the rented convertible, both friends as happy as can be.

One component of the friendship has been the love of one another’s mother. All three mothers are vastly different, but each one brought something special into each boy’s heart. All three men grew up to love strong women, and to value that relationship above everything else. I am certain few who knew this band of miscreants in school would have expected or believed this to be a truth, but I believe their love of their mothers and who they were/are, led them to the family men they are today. As time marches on, losses start to become reality for these friends, and the beauty of the friendship shines brighter as the circle becomes tighter.

 

My Parenting Pearls of Wisdom

I have been a parent for just over a year.  The tiny one is 13 months today.  I am not an expert; I have roughly 5% of the answers.  I search the internet daily for answers or clues into certain things he does or does not do.  I have been in molar and illness hell since August.  (I love him madly whether he is a baby disaster or not, just to clarify.)  I do not know what to do for him in these situations other than give him Motrin, sing, make funny voices, and read “Good Night Little Sea Otter” over and over until he is soothed.

I write today because I feel proud of a piece of advice I recently gave him.  I felt it was wise and translated well throughout different phases of his life.  The tiny one discovers body parts and becomes enthralled, entranced, and engaged with each part.  He found his feet at 4 months and they are still hilarious to him.  He recently found his penis, as all little boys do.  Now, if his feet are amazing, this is clearly above amazing.   I was changing his diaper the other day and said to him, “You only get one of those.  Be gentle.  Choose wisely.”  Whether this is referring to the current manhandling, seeing if it can be shut into a door in a few years, or inappropriate choices as a 40-year-old (a girl can still dream as a mother), this is the best advice I can offer.

Namaste.