Monthly Archives: November 2012

Once upon a time

Today I joined a friend & we took our kids to a playground neither of us had been to in the city.

Just to reference you – we live in the Bay Area, so going into San Francisco is not far & something we love doing… but traffic & parking means it’s not something we do with a short period of free time.

Especially with an impatient Mylo in the car.

“How much longer?”

“When will we be there?”

“How much longer?”

“When will we be there?”

I’m sure you get the idea….

I love going into the city as it reminds me of a past life – many areas in SF are edgy, have some grit to them, have some spunk. There’s a sense of creativity & artistry…

People are sitting around in cafes, looking like they should be in a magazine shoot (ie far too good looking to be real), talking, I’m sure, about how to create alternative societies & such like; a world without money; freedom & equality for all (Marxism may or may not be part of their vocabulary); how to marry up post-modernism with contemporary minimalism. As you do.

(I on the other hand, can’t even remember what those terms mean).

Our own area of residence is stunning – we’re surrounded by breath-taking scenery & we feel very, very privileged. Daily, I am astounded by where I get to live.

But edge & grit? A taste of difference? Alternative creativity? Not so much. It’s pretty uniform in every single aspect I don’t dare get into.

For the stage of life we’re in however, it’s not a bad thing. Life is easy. It’s accessible; kids are happy when I don’t have to search for a carpark & I don’t find daily missions a challenge like I might have, had we remained in Cambodia or even in Valencia for example.

However, every time we hit the city I have this inner restless spirit shouting to be let out – screaming at me –

“You were fun & spontaneous once!! You used to sit in cafes surrounded by good-looking people [I would try to pretend I was one simply by association] & feel as though you too were changing the world simply through theoretical discussions on liberal arts topics…Remember that? You’ve totally dropped the ball!! Who are you???.”

It’s a very loud & irritating voice at times.

It reminds me I used to live life without so much routine & rigidity; without such predictability – can you imagine it…?

I once upon a time did not even use a grocery list or plan meals; did not in fact necessarily even do a lot of grocery shopping… I did not always have fruit squeezy’s on hand. Believe it or not, I do not lie.

I had a huge variety of eclectic influences in my life; partook in discussions about lofty notions such as my life’s purpose… Once upon a time I used to ride to work on the back of a motorbike or a friends dirt bike; I rarely went to bed before sunrise on the weekends; I would leave for a weekend away with an hour’s notice; I would dance for hours.

Ahhh there she is – that elusive “….once upon a time….”

I say all this & just quietly, just between us – I’d not swap a single ounce of my life at this point (despite my frequent threats that I will adopt my boys out if they don’t get in line at the supermarket & stop trying to open the M & M’s), but I will say that I think I really need to re-discover my sense of fun; my spirit…

I want to function more like I’ve had a glass or two of wine even when I haven’t.

I want to giggle more.

And I really want to go into the city more & watch those far too good-looking people.

Categories: Family Life, Mummyhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intellectual gift-giving conversation of the day

A recent conversation with my 2 (3 in 10 days) year old:

Mylo: “I want to read this” (“Iron Man” picture book).

Me: “Ok, here we go, let’s sit down

Read, read, read…..

Iron Man & Iron Monger fight it out in an epic battle involving Pepper, a flipped car & many words such as “villain, shock, boom, zoomed & slammed”.

Mylo upon surveying the battle scene: “Nah-Nah-Frou-Frou you can’t  have that [pointing to Iron Man], only I can have that for my birthday“.

A minute  laterNah-Nah- -Frou-Frou actually Mummy you can have that guy [Iron Monger] for my birthday & I’ll have that guy [still Iron Man] for my birthday.

Me internally: Awesome. Just what I always wanted for your birthday.

Me externally: “Thanks Mylo, that’s so generous of you”.

Some time passes as we ponder the pictures & recent statements.

Mylo a minute laterAnd you can come to my party

Me internally: Just when I thought Dad was on birthday patrol this year.

 

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The “glare”

On Friday’s, my 5-year-old (Ethan) has a 30 minute swimming lesson & it’s later in the afternoon so my 3-year-old (Mylo) comes along after pre-school.

Mylo’s treat for sitting still & not leaping in the pool or trying to strip down for his own lesson (which is actually on a Sunday), is to watch/play the iPad or to read books with me which is sometimes what he ends up choosing over the iPad.

Sometimes. Naturally the iPad wins on occasion too.

We’re fairly new in the iPad world… we’ve had one a few months but the kids have literally only just gained access recently & on occasion. Mostly I let Ethan play some educational games but in truth we don’t have many instances where it’s employed.

Hence why it’s such a “Friday Fun Day” treat for Mylo.

Anyhow – picture the scene: Mylo engrossed in his iPad; Mummy engrossed in an email reply which had taken all day to get on to; a small gathering of children edging their way toward Mylo, naturally seduced by the sounds & flashing lights that is “Bolt” the movie.

And then come the glares.

Mothers employing the old eye-drilling glare of disapproval. I could feel their wrath reaching deep within my bones.

Comments pouring out – like “Mary! Let’s COUNT the number of flags you can see – isn’t that a good Mommy-Mary game?”… And “Mary, what colour are the flags?”

And of course there I am struggling to remain “oblivious” & vacillating between heart-racing guilt & a desperate need to apologize for my poor, poor parenting (I am a total people pleaser BTW). Completely resenting the fact that I could no longer just enjoy the peace & serenity of a half hour swim lesson.

Without the iPad, I can’t (guilt-free) actually watch Ethan & cheer him on without chasing Mylo around & literally wrangling him – physically manoeuvering him into some semblance of a restrained position, without having CPS (Child Protective Services) called on me.

(That image you may be concocting is, by the way, our usual scenario sans iPad.)

Thus I either take the hit for using the iPad or take the hit for possible child abuse-like behaviour.

When the laser-sharp glare of “the perfect mother” hits, my gut reaction is to launch into an explanation about Mylo having CP & SPD & that TV is his “go-to” in times of anxiety/need of self-regulation; to explain that this is his weekly treat – something I use to entice him (half an hour is a long time in little peoples’ world); that if he let me, I could teach him “stuff” on the games.

I want to explain that our daily reality is also thus: Mylo has SPD which can at times, present like ADD/ADHD. He can get extremely “high” at any time & it doesn’t take a lot of stimulation to do so. Usually it is his reaction to a task that is beyond his physical capabilities. But in addition it comes because Mylo cannot regulate his body like other little people can; he has motor planning difficulties & fine motor delay which simply means that engaging him in things that are challenging is not a wise move in certain environments.

Ethan’s swimming lesson being one such example.

I want to add that in fact I am extremely happy with the progress we’ve made – we can now actually attend swimming for Ethan. Six months ago that would not have been possible without Kevin.

I’ve posted about SPD before – we were in a really tough phase & I wrote partly as I needed to share my struggles; I needed the outlet.

This time I do it in part to make my own lack of directed parenting seem less neglectful (I feel I need permission perhaps?) but also to say if there’s one thing I’m learning from our experiences, it is to be careful when judging children & their behavior  It’s not always what it seems at face value. And, it can be incredibly hard to sit surrounded by judgments when you yourself would like to be experiencing this situation in a very different way also.

We make such progress & mostly Mylo is like any other over-energetic 3-year-old & he is so damn cute & personable, I am actually in love with him head-over-heels, just as he is.

However those subtle, imperceptible delays & challenges for him, make for some moments that are not in the “Perfect Parenting Handbook”; moments I don’t keep have immediate solutions for or the right preventative steps either.

So today I offer up my story for anyone struggling with guilt & judgement & just trying to do the best we can – whether it be because we have tired kids, hungry kids, frustrated kids or kids with more.

Categories: Bigger Issues, Family Life, Mummyhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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