Archive for March 2009

The fun, the terror of a birthday party

March 29, 2009

Last week, my seven year old “innie” insisted I stay at the bowling party with her.   She felt nervous all day.   “Mom, I don’t want to bowl.  Do I have to?”

“No, honey.  You can watch.”

“Will they make me bowl?  I don’t want to, I just want to watch.”

“I said that’s fine.  I even emailed ahead to tell her you wanted to watch.”

Wanting to watch didn’t surprise me.  The ice skating party for another friend consisted of two hours of watching.  Not even close to the rink or a skate.  Just watching from a near by table.

Back to the bowling party.  She watched.  I watched.  I really didn’t want to stay.  Finally, after about 45 minutes, I asked if I could leave for a quick errand and come back.  “Yes, that’s okay,” she replied with decision.  Feeling confident she would be fine, I power walked out of there to the grocery store.

When I returned, the birthday girls mom ran up to me.  “Guess what!  She bowled!  She asked me if she could have a turn.  And she was dancing around.  And she’s really good!  I even got video!  I’ll send it to you next week.”

What?  I could be surprised, and I was a bit.  However, with my introvert, I know that she will do things when she’s ready.  The skating party, she needed more observation time.  The bowling party, she only needed one hour of observing and then she felt comfortable participating.

She smiled, her feet hopping up and down, crazy dancing.  She loved, loved, loved bowling!  On her own terms of course . . . “Can we go again tomorrow?”

Bowling

Bowling

Daddy

March 26, 2009

“I want to play with daddy,” my seven year old says every night after dinner.

Playing with daddy involves tackling, wrestling, screaming and running.  She makes up a game like dog – pretending to be dogs, the owner, or the next door neighbor, blanket world – getting a blanket thrown over your head if you don’t run by fast enough, dodge ball – trying to avoid the fast ball daddy throws at you.

(What a calm, peaceful time before bed, right!?  Okay, I’m mostly over it.  I still wish it could be a bit calmer . . . )

But here’s what I don’t get . . . Bedtime comes around and she wants nothing to do with dad.   Her dad, with whom she just played.  Her dad, who is the silliest, the funniest, the greatest.

“I want to read with mom. . . mom, can you rub my back?”

“What are you thankful for today, honey?” I ask at prayer time.

“Mom,” she says.  Every night.

Sorry dad.  Maybe tomorrow.

2009-02-21_0353

and now for something completely different . . .

March 21, 2009

busy babyCuddling.  It’s a totally new phenomena for my (now) 7 year old.

When she was a baby, she refused to be carried – HATED the baby carrier, HATED being held.  And forget about rocking the kid to sleep – it wasn’t happening.  The one time she fell asleep in Jeff’s arms we knew she must be deathly ill – and she was.

But, just recently, her personal space has expanded to include bedtime cuddling!

The first night she said, “Mom, can you sleep with me?” I assumed it was a fluke – a one time random event.  But, no.  She’s wanting this every night.

Now I’m not a big fan of enabling sleep – particularly when I have things I’m looking forward to doing sans children.  But when she said last night, “Mom, I just love to cuddle with you at night,” how could I refuse?

I climbed up to her top bunk, over all the stuffed animals and snuggled next to her.  She told me all about the movie she’d watched at school – some crazy guy who liked holding poisonous snakes and frogs.  Then, she fell asleep.  And I laid there for awhile just smiling in the dark.

Even with a million things to do – I’m going lie down with her and cuddle whenever she wants.  I’ve got some years to make up for!

After School CRASH!

March 13, 2009

“I don’t like this snack.  There’s nothing to do,” my introverted daughter whined when she came home from school.

“Why don’t you clean the house?”I joked.

“Okay.”

“Really?  Great, how about you do the floors?”(Wow, this was working out great!)Recharging with Reading

So, we looked for the hardwood floor mop but couldn’t find it.  (My husband had taken it to our rental property.)

She stomped upstairs, crying loudly. “I want to clean, and now there is nothing I can clean that I want to clean.”

I could hear her sobbing from downstairs in the kitchen.  Soon, I followed her upstairs to her room.   She was in bed, covers pulled up, crying and crying and crying.

I climbed up to her bed, the top bunk. My arm snuck around her back and I let her cry without saying anything.  My four year old, climbed up too. We were all sitting on the various mounds of stuffed animals and dolls that covered her bed.  The four year old grabbed  a bear and started singing, “happy, happy, happy.”

“Mom, I’m trying to make her happy , see?”

I smile.  Her sister just grunts.

It must have been five minutes before her crying stopped.  Her eyes were ringed red.  We laid in bed playing with her collection of stuffed animals.   After a few minutes, she suggested we all get books and read together.

“Great idea,” I agreed and we headed down the ladder to pick out our books.

But the meltdowns are happening more frequently.  Obviously, it has nothing to do with cleaning, and everything to do with exhaustion and frustration.

For an introvert, I can’t imagine how overstimulated she is during school – especially in her classroom of total chaos.   She can be social and interactive at school but when it’s too much, her system crashes and needs rebooting.

After we all read for awhile, she seemed peaceful and calm.  System back online.  She just needed some quiet time to recharge.

Camping . . . inside

March 9, 2009
indoor roasting - it works!

indoor roasting - it works!

Who says you can’t winter camp with kids?  My husband needed a camping fix last week.   So, he and the girls planned a night of camping right in our basement.   The tent got nixed early on because it didn’t fit in the room.  Apparently, someone named Melissa didn’t read the dimensions carefully when she bought a new “family tent” – and it should say “for a  family of ten with two dogs, a cat and a small hippo.”

Sorry, I digress.

The girls made a river (blue tablecloth), boulders (pillows and balloons), bushes (rolled up stuff) and leaves (actual leaves and paper ones).  They spread out our sleeping bags, headlamps, backpacks and books.  They were ready at about mid afternoon.  “Can’t we start now?”

No.

Camping Out

Camping In

So with our extra time, I turned snack time into “make your own granola” extravaganza.  Bowls of granola, raisins, nuts, pretzels, and dark chocolate m&ms became the “granola bar.”   Yummy.  Yes, I did have to limit the scoops of m&ms to ONE — with exceptions made for adults when the kids weren’t looking.

Finally,  we ate hot dogs by our campfire (an old candle I found.)  For the grand food finale, we found the perfect sticks outside (-a benefit of not raking regularly!) and roasted marshmallows for s’mores.

Remembering our good old camp days, we tried to sing Kum By Ya but the girls just wanted to snuggle in.  Lights out and headlamps on.  Time to giggle, wriggle and listen to the loud, crunchy sounds of sleeping bags.   Good-night.

Family fun in the great indoors . . .

. . .  until my four year old started throwing up.   But that’s another post for another day . . .

Cranky Girl

March 6, 2009

The whining this week has been a doozy.  I’m talking, slow, drawn out words, ending and starting with mmmmoooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm.

blaaaaaaah

blaaaaaaah

I say, “Please go to your room to be whiny.  The downstairs is for fun, polite people.  Off you go!  Come down when you want to use your friendly voice.”

She comes down a little later.  Her “friendly” voice lasts about five minutes.  “I’m tired, I’m hungry, there’s nothing good to eat, I’m bored, I don’t want to go, I don’t have anything to do, I want something to drink, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.”

I use my best Love and Logic parenting and sing in a happy voice, “If you want to tell me something, I hope you use your nice voice because I don’t even hear whining!” (I wish.)

“Mom, we don’t have anything good to eat,” she says in a half-way whiny, annoyed, valley-girl voice.

She’s wearing me down.  I think I’m going to have a tantrum.

I need an instruction manual for this kid!

March 1, 2009

Last week, we had a bunch of friends over for lunch.  My “innie” daughter who is old enough to know better (almost 7) hid behind my leg.  And refused to speak to anyone.  And ran up to her room and shut the door.

With a house full of company, it seemed out of the question to throttle the child.  People tend to frown on the throttling.

Even though I was mortified, I tried to remember that it is not about me.  So, if it’s about her, she’s acting rudely.

“You need to go down stairs, make eye contact, and say hello . . . in a voice loud enough for someone to actually hear.”

“NO.”

Okay.  Plan B.  I’m trying to remember how uncomfortable it is for introverts to do all of the above listed things.  However, her behavior is rude and she just needs to try a little harder.   No excuses.

“Go do it now,” I say firmly.

“NO.”

Plan C. . . Dang, I don’t have a plan C!

I try this.  “People feel that you don’t like them if you do not speak to them or make eye contact.”

No answer.

And so, I give up for the moment because I have 18 people in my house and I have no idea what to do.

Some days I feel like such a failure as a parent.  Why can’t there be an instruction manual for each kid?

Don't take my picture, either.

DON'T take my picture. NO, I am NOT being rude.