Saturday, January 17, 2015

On Bedtime

A year or 2 ago the boys stopped sleeping.

Maybe it was a move (or 2 or 3) or the summertime sun refusing to sleep and making them refuse too. Maybe it was because I decided that more than they needed structure they needed to know that I love them and I stopped saying things like "get your butt in your bed and DON'T come out again! ever!" and like and idiot said things like "you come and talk to me anytime you need anything and I will always be happy to answer your questions. Or maybe it's because they're little boys and (according to them) sleeping is the boringest ever in the universe and their beds only have 10 million blankets when they clearly need 10 million and 2 blankets. And a lovey bear. Each.

So since we finally moved into a house a started feeling stable and I was ready to stop being in the middle of a big fat breakdown, bedtime was the first thing we tackled.

It's better now, only taking 30-45 minutes and typically ending before 8:30.

But still, when John fell off the top bunk for the 2nd time today, getting him out of bed for the 12th time tonight, I had had it. And (after appropriately comforting him) I told him so. I used all of my most reasonable lines.

If you stay in your bed, you won't fall trying to get out of it.
If you were asleep already you wouldn't try to get out of bed.
If you stay up all night counting your money, you'll be too tired when it's time to wake up for church.
If you cleared your dishes from the dinner table you would have already had your stories instead of going straight to bed. 
If you get out of your bed again your mother will lose her mind and you'll have to eat nuggets and spaghettios every day forever.  (which turned out not be a threat at all.)

After my intense tirade they finally went to sleep.

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to admit that shame and yelling seem to be effective parenting techniques.

Also, while I hate the fight to make them sleep, I love love love that they want to stay up all night doing stuff together. Counting all their money, reading all their books, making forts, and pirate ships, and changing their jammies over and over. I really love that they're friends.

Until one of them pushes the other off the top bunk. Then I hate they're enemies.

The One With the New (Old) Calling

This Sunday I had a mystery meeting with the Bishop.

He called me to be RS Secretary.

Miraculously I kept a straight face while I accepted.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

John and the Toilet

We've been letting John use the potty for a few months now. He likes it. We like it. We give him stickers when he does it. It's a win win win.

A couple of weeks ago he remembered that diapers are uncomfortable and that he prefers cool dude unders. So he started wearing them at home, and we'd diaper him anytime we left the house (which was often.) 

I laughed the first time he peed his pants. Because he was sitting at the kitchen table shouting "mom! mom! It's peein' or poopin'!" He was totally panicked. I told him to "hold it hold it hold it!" and he did. With his hand. I grabbed him and ran him to the bathroom, stripped him down and tried to get him to finish in the toilet. He let go of himself (making a big mess) and we laughed together. Me laughing at the phrase "hold it" and him laughing at me laughing at the pee. (Because, potty humor.) 

He seems to have caught on relatively easily from there and yesterday he went to Aunt Kate's house rockin' the unders. Then to the library for the Read 1,000 books before Kindergarten launch party. AND in the car ride home. 

He's still in diapers at night, and I still remind him often to go, but he's doing it! I feel both wildly successful and weirdly sad to have zero babies in diapers. Tommy and John overlapped their diaper periods for a year, and it seems odd to have so many big kids around here with no babies to protect. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Regaining Control

I learned when we lived in Foxboro that I had a condition known as "being tightly wound" and now that I look back I can see that I really liked to control the stuff in my life. I also like schedules and I like routines and I like familiarity. So when I went from the routine and schedule and familiarity of work to being a stay at home mom, I just transferred those things.

Every Wednesday we went to the library, on Monday we had playgroup, Tuesday was for swimming, Thursday was the zoo or another big adventure, and Friday was for being a bum.

Most mornings we'd go for a walk around 10 (I say "around" to make sure you know I was flexible) and the event was after lunch. Then there was time to come home and play a little, clean up and do dinner before bedtime.

I had a cleaning schedule, a children's outing schedule, a reading schedule, charts and graphs about how we spent our time and I ROCKED motherhood. I made stuff happen!

And then life got hard and I clung to my schedule and resented all of the people who were throwing it off.

And then life got harder and I held on tighter and tighter.

And then life got harder and my hands were too tired of holding on tight and I had no choice but to fall flat on my face and let go of everything and just cry. I felt so broken letting it all go. I felt like I had failed. I stopped doing stuff.

The last few years have been about that. Letting it all go and being broken and not doing stuff. Not any of it. Months between cleaning bathrooms. Days without doing the dishes. Weeks without cook a meal or taking the kids anywhere outside of our neighborhood.

Lately, I can feel myself regaining control. Stepping back into a few of these schedules I find helpful. Trying to clean on any kind of regular basis. Doing more than acknowledging that it's OK to be a big useless pile of broken. It happened around the same time that we bought our house, I want to take really good care of it, I want to be a really good person because I think we'll live here for a really long time and I want to contribute to the neighborhood. I'm invested.

It's kindof scary to return to some of these routines because the last time I did stuff I got a little out of control. But it's also scary to stay in the non-doing-stuff place. So I'm trying again. To do stuff in moderation. Knowing that I'll likely mess it up, but hoping that any damage isn't permanent.

Last week I did all of the chores every day. This week I think I'll do the dishes every night.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tommy Gave A Talk

Last week Tommy came home from Primary with a note that he was assigned to give a talk on Sunday. He has said the prayer, the scripture, the article of faith, all of the other things, but he's never done a talk before, probably because they asked him what he wanted to do and he would never in a million years chose to speak. 

I casually mentioned it a couple of times during the week, and silently prayed that I'd have the patience with him to deal when he had a meltdown about it. 

On Saturday after doing a few chores I told him that now would be a great time to prepare his talk for primary. He freaked. I prayed again, took a deep breath and asked him how he felt about giving a talk. He told me it freaked out his brains because he doesn't know the words. I told him we get to make up the words. He didn't know how. I told him I'd help him to prepare today and that I'd go up with him on Sunday. He calmed a little and asked how he'd know what to say. I told him we would just talk about it today, then he could practice and that I'd whisper the words in his ear. He decided he was willing to look at some pictures if I wanted. I did. 

The topic was that Jesus is the Son of Heavenly Father. Which pretty much seems to me like the whole talk in that sentence. I mean, really what else is there to say? So we looked through our pictures and he picked some that made him think of Jesus (because they are pictures of Jesus). And he told me about them. 

He picked 2 nativity pictures. 1 of Jesus calming the sea. 1 of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. 1 of the Resurrected Christ. 1 of Joseph Smith's first vision. And That One Of Christ That Everybody Knows. 

I asked him to tell me about those pictures and he did. 

"This is a picture of when Jesus was born in a stable. And see all those guys? They came too."
"This is a picture of Jesus and Mary and Dad." 
"This is a picture of that BIG BIG SCARY STORM. Here I'll act it out for you."
"This is when Jesus was praying by a tree."
"This is Jesus and some angels going 'dooo toooo doooooo!'"
"This is Joseph and some guys."
"This is Jesus again."

I helped him flesh out a few of those ideas. "This is Jesus again." became "This is Jesus, his father was Heavenly Father, and Heavenly Father is my father and your father. That means we are all brothers and sisters." and I reminded him of the word "resurrected" for the 'doo tooo doooooo' picture. But beyond that, this was pretty much his talk. 

We practiced a couple of times in front of Dad & Little John (who paid attention almost as well as the sunbeams in primary.) And Tommy even let Josh comb his hair "like a missionary" instead of insisting on his usual favorite style of "this side like a missionary and that side like a rock star!" 

I was probably a little unreasonably proud of him when he stood up and shared his ideas in primary. He even remembered a few of his own descriptions, but mostly listened to me and repeated the talk we wrote in sticky notes on the backs of all of those pictures. He did so with a smile and while looking at the people he was talking to. And when he was done, he hopped off the stool, and gave me a high five and went to join his class.

Meanwhile, Little John sat there on the front row of Sunbeams listening, and smiling and gave me a big thumbs up when we were done and loudly asked. "Now is MY turn mom?" I told him maybe another week. (Heaven help us.) 

Sometimes I really like that church asks us to do things that make us nervous or uncomfortable and I really REALLY like that proud feeling when it's done.
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