Thursday, October 30, 2014

Late night thoughts of an exhausted parent

I have 3 children. Sometimes, it seems... unbelievable. A cognitive dissonance: I know I'm a mom and I know these three are mine, and yet, this parenting thing feels so surreal. Sometimes, I feel like it's not really my life.  I have no clue about what to do with the kids.  I feel disconnected.

No, I am not depressed. Actually, I feel quite happy (most of the time).

It's just that parenting is hard. And the older the kids get, the more difficult it is to be a good parent (whatever that may be).

My youngest is nearly 9 months. I love this stage and have done my best to treasure every moment of her baby-hood. In fact, I find it the easiest to be a mom to a baby. A baby is so small, incredibly cute, oh-so-easy to make happy: cuddling and nursing does the trick.

Babies don't throw temper tantrums.
Babies don't refuse to wear outfit A..and B... and C.
Babies don't whine or demand STUFF
Babies don't make faces or use annoying voices
Babies never, ever test your authority

Babies are cute and cuddly.
They are quick to laugh
Mommy (aka, food supply) is all they need to be happy
Things are simple: babies eat, sleep, poop, play... and repeat.
When they fuss - there is a reason; it is not some attempt at control and manipulation

I admit, I've been very, very lucky: all three kids were/are mellow babies. I've been spared from dealing with the grumpy/colicky/inconsolable types.

No, there is no sleeping through the night - I am not THAT lucky - at least one, and usually two kids do wake up at random times, but I can live with that. However, there is a chance that the sleep deprivation may have something to do with the feelings of surrealism... maybe.

What is your favorite age group to parent?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Amazing things to do - Fall

Apple picking.

I find it to be incredibly therapeutic. Just being outside on a beautiful fall day - that's amazing enough. Plus, the kids are busy and having fun. Plus, you get a full box of apples. And not just any old apples: you get to choose your favorite variety (we love Stayman Winesap, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Honeycrisp) and you get to pick the best of the best.

There is something magical about apple picking. Some trees are laden with apples, their branches weighed down, so you feel it a relief to pick at least a few apples. With other trees, it is like a game. At first, you can't see a single fruit and it takes some squinting and some side to side movement to spy a perfect apple. Then, all of a sudden, you see another...and another. It is so hard to stop. There is always another tree, another apple, one that looks even better, redder, rounder. And the kids, gently pulling apples, crunching on apples, putting apples in the box, pulling the old-fashioned wagon, "Mom, I found the biggest one... Look at me, I'm pulling the wagon with all the apples... We are going to make applesauce, and apple cake, and apple crisp, and..."

And then, there is the challenge of getting the apples to the car. With the three kids. One strapped to me, the other two, while somewhat obedient, are still young enough to require constant supervision. There is that box of apples - heavy and awkward - but "no wagon beyond this point". Almost always, there is a kind soul that helps me. Just receiving help from total strangers without asking - that's worth a lot, and makes me happy and hopeful about the world around me.

Do you go to "pick your own" orchards? What do you like picking the best?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happiness of a memory

It is fall. Leaves are turning and falling. We have the heat on. The other day, the kids were wild, jumping into a pile of leaves. They raked some, their hands tiny on the grown-up rakes. Then jumped, smashing the dry leaves, screaming, laughing. I joined them, bringing C along - just for a bit. Fixed up a nice big pile. Then ran and jumped. There was a satisfying "whoosh" and "crunch". We showered leaves on each other. C was fascinated by the dry leaves. She kept grabbing them, opening and closing her fingers, her face - sometimes in a frown- showing the concentration, the intensity... She laughed when we tickled her with the leaves or sprinkled them over her. The TV was forgotten. The dinner was forgotten.

Raking leaves is a thankless job-in half an hour, more leaves are on the ground, completely obliterating your work. And yet, here are the piles, showing I was here today, working hard, fighting entropy and winning, at least for a few hours.

Being in the leaves with the kids reminded me - this is what I want. Little things, little moments. Forget about the mess, the particles stuck in everyone's hair. This is what the kids wanted, their mom being wild with them. This is what I want to remember. And yet... it does not make me happy ... but it is something that I will remember and think fondly about. Strange, isn't it. Some things that make me happy right now, I will not remember or think much about beyond tomorrow (a mystery novel... a piece of chocolate). Other things, I have to make an effort to enjoy, and that will be the stuff that I will be happy to remember.

What do you want to do this fall?