Saturday, April 24, 2010

What am I doing???

Ever have one of those days??? As a parent I mean? Maybe more so as a mother?? Where literally all you can do is wipe the tears off of your face, lift your chin up even though you are filled with doubt, and count the minutes till bedtime because you know at least then-all will be quiet and still just for a few moments, where you will not be failing? Taking deeps breaths, all I can seem to get out is-WOW. Along with a number of questions...what is going on with Elem? Why is he acting this way? Why is he whining so much? Why is he being so mean to all his friends at school? Why is he being so mean to me? Why cant I do anything right for him? What is he being so defiant? And so on and so on. These are the feelings I have been consumed with the past few days as a mother, and they are weighing heavy on my heart.

As an early childhood educated person-per say- I like to think that I have a lot of good answers when children are acting strangely, parents are confused, and temper tantrums are at full swing-but lately, even I am having doubts of this thing we call parenting! Or more so and more importantly to me-this thing we call parent / child relationships. I am tiptoeing a fine line of love, respect, and friendship with Elem, and this is quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. Way harder than carrying him for 9 months, way harder than going through 18 hours of labor and a HORRIBLE C-section, and even harder than the past 2 and 1/2 years of his life combined.

I want more than anything to have a close relationship with Elem, and for us to be able to tell each other anything, for him to be a momma's boy, and for him to just be a loving soul and person! But things are not looking so bright at the current moment. Am I asking to much or expecting too much at an early age. At this very moment, I honestly do not feel like I can do this! I do not know how much more whining and stomping of the feet I can take. How much more slapping and hitting and kicking at me I can take. How much more hour long screaming sessions I can take when I am sending him to time out. Or how much more peeing on my feet I can take when I am asked to sit on the floor while he poops, when all I can think about is taking a shower because I have to be at work in 30 minutes! The list goes on! Seriously it goes on and on and on and on. These are the questions I ask myself, and get me all worked up, just about every day. And I feel at a loss. I feel inferior and almost incompetent. Like Elem has "beat" me or like he is in charge, and I have no idea when I let it get that way.

Okay-now that I have vented my feelings, I must add that these feelings come from a week of extreme hard times. Seth has been gone for 7 days, I have been swamped at work, and Elem's birthday is quickly approaching, leaving me with the need to "make sure" he is a perfect 3 year old and met all the milestones etc. by Saturday-and for what? I have no idea! These are the standards and goals I have set for him myself-wanting him to be learning every single second of the day, be clean every single second of the day, and be dressed to the "t" every single second of the day. And the truth is, he could care less. All he wants to do is play basketball outside, and dig in the dirt. Literally dig in the dirt outside, and he would be totally content. Not that he wants to get his socks or shoes wet while he is digging, but still-digging none the less.

Ahhh-deep sigh. I can do this! Get myself together and just move forward. This is the terrible 2s right? And they are on their way out the door? Lets hope so. I want my kind hearted little sweet baby boy back that makes me feel like he needs me in the most special way with just the glance of his eyes. One that I can look at in a group of 7 toddlers and know he is not the one instigating the argument or fight! And one that will actual listen to me and respond to the words I have to say with respect. Ahhh-deep sigh again. I can do this! I can do this. I can do this. A million mothers a day can do this in way worse circumstances than I have, so I can freakin do this!

Off my soapbox- :) This morning Elem and I snuggled in the bed for about an hour-since Seth was out of town, we have been bed bunking for the duration of the night. I woke up to him saying, " hey momma, I loooove you." "tickle me". "Tickle me with both hands". Hahaha. Bless him. Even in a week of torture and absolute feelings of failure, he still makes me feel special if even only for a moment. But how sweet that moment was, I think I almost started crying when he said it. I am such a cry baby! Everything sweet he does just melts my heart-everything else he does just gives me anxiety. :)

Love you Elem Zane-get your act together-your birthday party is coming up in just a few days!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Yes, Elem and I celebrated Earth Day in our own little way. It seemed that NO ONE was celebrating Earth Day this year, that I interacted with any ways. But that didn't stop me talking to Elem about what Earth Day was all about and also dressing him appropriately for the event. Not only was he honoring the Earth herself with his attire, but he was pretty proud of it, and was happy to tell people that "today-we need to turn the lights off" to try and save a little bit of energy of course. At school we talked about recycling, plants, energy, and of course took a nice look at the globe to see where in the "world" we lived and why we need to take good care of her! It was a good day. A good Earth Day. And I was happy to share it with Elem Zane, and happy that he is so open to every single piece of educational information I seem to be pumping into him these days.

If Elem can do it, we all need to do it! LOVE HER!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our new deck

Seth and I have been slowly trying to make some additions to our house-or just some modifications if you will, to make it more "homey" for us but also to add to the value of it as we go! About 2 weeks ago, we did another big upgrade (or Seth and Dustin and Poppa did-not so much me) and added a brand new deck to the backyard! And it is sooo amazing. I am so thankful that we did it, it has already made such a huge impact on our little family and the time we can spend together outside.

The Before: We didnt have much option in regards to hanging out -in the backyard-which we LOVE to do! We love to grill out, relax, sit around and just chat, and of course watch Elem playing with his toys and having fun just like a little boy should! As you can see from the pic below, our backyard didnt have much of anything for us to sit or stand on other than grass. And we barley even had enough room to put the grill when you first walked outside the back door.

With the help of Uncle Dustin, Poppa and of course Seth-they were able to build the frame, do all the decking, and everything in 2 days! I am shocked at how fast they move, but when you ask them to get something done and you actually get the materials purchased for them to do it, they do not dissapoint!

The After:

And of course little Elem Zane too-he was out there with the best of them trying to help in every single way that he possibly could. I have never seen a little boy want to help out and do some "hard work" as he likes to call it, more than he does. He wants to be grown up so bad, it just melts my heart. He worked and worked and worked, literally from the second he woke up till the second we made him go to bed, he would be out there digging, and digging, and digging, and working with his "tools" on that deck! It was just adorable, and I love that he got a chance to help out as much as he could.

On the flip side, Elem is still "working" on the deck. Haha. He is still digging up the dirt from the corners of the deck where the main pieces are that hold the posts in the ground. So we had to make a quick trip to Lowes this morning to grab some top soil to fill the wholes in the ground that Elem kind of dug up a little too much, and to give him some dirt of his own to just go crazy with! I never thought I would see the day where I would actually have to go and buy some dirt from the store, but apparently that is what you have to do when you have such an outside kind of little boy, and not enough dirt outside for him to do his thing! The deck has turned out so great, and we have been using it every single day. We just couldn't not be prouder, and hope to use it in a couple of weeks when we celebrate Elem's 3rd birthday! Thanks so much to Seth, Uncle Dustin, and Poppa for working so hard to make this new addition for our family! It is perfect.

Sleep baby sleep

Looks so peaceful doesn't he? I mean amazingly sweet. Like beyond sweet. Eyes closed, hair all a fuss, Care Bear pillow, Mickey Mouse sheet, school quilt, green blanky, and cup. Mostly mid dream.

DO NOT BE FOOLED! The picture above is at school. At nap time. And although he is as peaceful as you can imagine and most likely went to sleep with the best of ease, that is so not how it goes down at out house. Elem is currently on THE worst schedule in the world! And I feel as if I only have myself to blame. :( For about the last year and 1/2 Seth and I have struggled with figuring out a way to get Elem to bed calmly and without a fuss! Here and there we have found things that work, but overall nothing seems to stick. I am a firm believer in routines, but I have tried them and they just are not working with Elem. Except for when the routine is in his favor. And currently, the routine in his favor involves the following type of night time routine:
6:00: Play outside, ride bikes around the block, dig in the back yard, etc.
7:00: Eat something for dinner, and usually take a nice visit from the ice cream man :)
7:30: Bath time, brush teeth
8:15: Pajamas, books, play on the couch with Sage, etc. (calm down time)
8:45: Lay down for bed.....with mommy on the couch
10:30: Fall asleep
4-7: Wake up and get in the bed with mommy and daddy some point during that time
8:00: Wake up for the day

As you can see this is just not working for us! Elem is literally not falling asleep until about 10:00 or 10:30 pm, and it is not due to the fact that he takes a crazy long nap during the day, or something weird like that, but he is just in this horrible night time rut. I hate to admit it but this horrible routine and difficult night time pattern really seemed to originate with the bad habits I created when I was nursing Elem. Since I was working from the time he was 2 or 3 months old, I really wanted to make sure that I had the chance to nurse him any time we were together, so night time was the majority of that time outside of school. He never had formula or anything like that, so I ended up letting him lay in our bed or on the couch or anywhere that I just happened to end up for the night that was comfortable with him on top of me! haha. And I was sooo tired from working that I didnt actually get up to stay up with him and nurse him, that I just did it on and off while I fell asleep and he did to. Anyways, even once we stopped the nursing, he still wanted to sleeping our bed. And although we have had months at a time where he would lay down in his bed or I would rock him to sleep, lay down with him, etc. and then move him to the bed, nothing is as crazy as this! My toddler is about to be 3 years old in just 2 short weeks, and he is still getting up about 3 or 4 nights out of the week to come and get into the bed with Seth and I in the middle of the night. And he is 35 pounds and so tall it is ridiculous. Lets just say he takes up my entire side of the bed. I keep telling myself that he will get out of this habit, or that he will finally want to sleep in his own bed, but time is ticking and he aint moving!

Keep your fingers crossed as Seth and I try to transition Elem to staying in his room through the whole night! We are also in a catch 22 because in the midst of the tail end of potty training for the night time hours, we also want him to get up and go to the bathroom, but not actually get into the bed with us after he goes. So that is making a HUGE jam in our night of full time sleep. I am not really sure how to make that all happen without him coming into our bed once he has gotten up to go to the bathroom. I know a lot of it is because I am so tired that I just do not want to stay up to get him off to sleep and then move him, but I just can not seem to get up for any length of time at night, or else I will be up for good. And then that is just horrible for me! I am so not a morning person, the one thing Elem actually did get from me, so we both need our sleep or nobody is going to have a pleasant day. hehe.

Tonight Elem is sleeping, and lets hope it is for the entire night. At least till 7am :) Then the question is just whether or not I can actually get up at 7 without putting him in the bed with us so I can get another hour of sleep.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's all about the shoes

Case and point.

At least he enjoys a nice pair of Target $12.99 shoes just like his mama! But then again, he didn't really have much more to choose from. Thats pretty much what my wardrobe consists of.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt "Egg"stravaganzaaaaaa

We spent plenty of time coloring Easter Eggs and hunting for Easter Eggs with our very hyper and excited toddler this year, although coloring was a little overrated for toddlers. Note to self-toddlers do not really get to do too much with the eggs, and it is almost too much prep time and excitement when all they get to do is drop the egg into the colored water and just look at it for way to long. I will not be doing that again, until he is a little bit older. Or at the very least with my next child at about age 4! Nothing exciting about watching the eggs boil, or much less watching them sit in the colored water while mommy tells you not to touch it! hehe :)

After coloring the eggs though, and after seeing all the goodies that the Easter Bunny left for Elem Zane, we headed to church for a great Sunday morning service. I was so excited about the service because the preacher for our church was back from a month and a half long leave, but knew that Elem was not going to make it through the whole thing. However, by the grace of God he fell asleep within the first 3 songs, and remained asleep the ENTIRE service, so that Seth and I could enjoy the message. After church we headed over to Grammy and Poppas, ate some good food, and had a mini Easter Egg Hunt of our own! The Shelby families (Seth's extended families) are all very close, but they are all getting a little bit too big to accommodate everyone and their individual families for every single holiday! So we decided to keep it small since my family is kind of spread around. At Grammy and Poppas we met Cecilia, Ali, and Dustin, and that was just about it! After a nice lunch we headed out for the great Easter Egg Hunt-which we forgot to count the Easter Eggs-but other than that it was a success! Elem was not messing around this year people-he was serious about finding those eggs and whatever prizes they might have in store for him! There were some serious Elbows gong and words exchanged if Cecilia dare to get in his line of fire when heading to a specific egg. Hey-don't mess with a toddler on an Easter Egg Hunt. It could get ugly! This was his second official egg hunt of the year, since he had one a couple of days before at school, and so he had pretty much "gotten" the idea and figured out that he LOVED having a lot of eggs. And he LOVED sitting down afterwards to see what was inside.

And they're off!

When I say, Elem broke out into an all out sprint, I wasn't joking! Look at him go. There was no playing around here.

Ahhhhhhh-happy with his prize from all the hard work. Looks like it paid off! hehe.

I am pretty much outnumbered these days by people who really do not care about pictures anymore. I seem to be THE only one who wants to get a picture of the family, gets pics of Elem doing stuff on holidays, etc. I am not sure what is up with that. I guess it could be because I never put the camera down, but hey, its a hobby-nothing wrong with that! Even Elem has started to give me the snub when I grab him for a photo opp. Humph! Seriously, this is the best he could give me?

Thank you my sweet sweet niece who will sit in my lap and give me a smile. :) You know how to make Aunt Mindy have a happy easter, even if everyone else left me sitting there amongst all the eggs. What a good girl! With a massive basket of Easter Eggs I might add.

Yes Easter was fun, and Elem really loved that the Easter Bunny came for a visit. In regards to the ole eggs, I noticed when he was sprinting across the lawn that he totally skipped right over the eggs that we colored and wouldnt even pick them up to put them in his basket! Seriously! He was only stopping for the ones that had something in them. So, we will not be hiding the "real" eggs next year! They were kind of a pain anyways, and I believe a few people/kids stepped on them when they were out for the hunt of the eggs with the good stuff hidden inside. Overall-Easter Eggs=lost of Easter fun!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thank you Easter Bunny!

This Easter was only the "2nd" holiday (next to Christmas) where Elem was really aware what exactly what was going on, and where he really understood the whole concept of the Easter Bunny. We took the time to tell him that it was of course about Jesus and a day to celebrate his "rebirth" if you will, but we of course made sure to give the Easter Bunny his credit and made the day a great day of fun and imagination! I was really proud of Elem and his understanding when I talked to him for the month of March about the Easter Holiday coming up. He really seemed to understand that it was about Jesus and us being thankful that Jesus rose from the dead. Although I did not make it ever so blunt for him. It was more of a celebration of Jesus, and a celebration of events that make the Easter Holiday special for us. It was soo much fun, from school events all the way to Easter Sunday, and everything seemed to work out smooth and perfect. Easter Sunday was amazing, Elem woke up about regular-around 7:30pm :) and was more than excited and ready to get himself and his wild bed head out to see if the Easter Bunny had left him a special surprise basket full of goodies! Here is the morning as it played out. This is the sweetest Thank You I have heard in a long time! Thank YOU Easter Bunny!

Friday, April 2, 2010

I found the GOLD!

Sitting at the computer I hear from around the corner, Elem yelling in a very excited voice, " I found the gold! I found the gold!" As I peer around the corner I see Elem pointing his finger to Seth with a grin stretched wide across his face. This is what I get for choosing to get out of the house for ONE night to go to a concert with the girls, and I come back to find my child digging in his nose in search for gold. Hmm wonder where he got that from?? Could it be form his father who constantly says, what are you doing there buddy? You digging for gold? Hahaha. And the boyish "silliness" and "groseness" continues. I must put a stop to it while I still can. I might not have many more days where my say so will even matter! For now, we DO NOT "dig for gold" in this house! We ever so nicely get a kleenex and get on with our day.