My Spirited Child

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Okay, so since I started this blog early last year, I have spoken quite a bit about myself and D, my first born. Over the course of the past year, as DD has continued to grow and change, it has become more and more obvious to me, leaving no doubts in my mind…

I have another spirited child on my hands.

What are the chances that someone could produce two highly unique, but also highly spirited children? The whole nature vs. nurture debate comes into play here, but in my opinion, it’s a little bit of both.

While DD picks up behavioural traits from my husband and I, as well as her brother, she is her own beautiful soul and has a personality I have yet to come across in another person before.

She has many attributes that inspire (and sometimes even frustrate me):

  • bravery
  • fearlessness
  • stubbornness
  • persistence
  • determination
  • curiosity
  • passion
  • and I think most importantly, her delight in absolutely everything (except maybe sitting still!)

I never in my wildest dreams thought I could handle having two spirited kids, especially with my own tendencies, but honestly they are so different and their personalities compliment each other’s so well that not only am I excited at this realization, but proud of who they are and who I know they will become. No matter what makes these two little hearts happy, I know they will have great success in life.

Oh, and ps: I had a lovely chat with Dallas’ preschool teacher yesterday and she informed me that he gets rather upset when things don’t go his way or people don’t listen to his ideas, but that he is incredibly bright and eager to learn. Sounds all too familiar!

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Balancing Act

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PoiseHappy New Year!

2014 was my very first full year as a mother of two, and it taught me many things. Like how to cook dinner with one kid on your back and the other one clinging to your leg and that every time your newly potty trained child will have to poop is the exact second after you have sat down to nurse the baby.

All jokes aside, the number one thing I learned, and am still working on daily, is balance.

To start off the new year, I have taken the Hands Free Mama pledge, from the talented and inspiring blogger turned author, Rachel Macy Stafford. The stories she tells of life before her epiphany were all too familiar and I did not want to go any further down that path.

I have always been a bit of an over-scheduler, and to be honest I believe that everything I take on is a part of me and denying that would be stifling my true self. But I don’t want anything to come at the expense of my family. That’s where balance comes into play.

For the past week, I have been rising a full hour before the kids in order to get a few pressing matters out of the way, allowing me to be fully present during breakfast and our entire morning routine. Of course for this to be successful, I have to start going to bed an hour earlier, which I haven’t quite mastered yet.

Some days I could use a nap by lunch time, especially since going back to work a few weeks ago (I’ll blog about that exciting news later in the week), but it’s a small price to pay for the feeling of accomplishment that I get without having to compromise time with my loved ones.

I’ve found that I’ve had to become more organized and more conscious and protective of my spare time (i.e. no getting lost in news feeds or spending 45 minutes trying to find something to watch on Netflix). I realize I need to maximize my free time to include the things I truly value. Some days that might be writing, some days that might just be doing something nice for myself like taking a bath uninterrupted. That and lowering my expectations. This is the year I will let go of mommy guilt for good, slow down and allow myself to fully experience the things that bring me the most joy. It is only then that I can be the wife, mother and woman who I strive to be.

I want to be a hands free mama, but I also want to be fulfilled as a separate entity and I wholeheartedly believe that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it work.

It’s all about balance.

2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Back to Zero

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Inspired by Nurshable‘s posts about not yelling, I am proud to say I made it to Day 9. NINE. For me that is quite a feat. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but I have what my husband calls a bit of a tone problem. Even when I am completely calm (albeit passionate about something) it can appear to others as if I am yelling. Like at them.

Over the past nine days, I have been yelled at, I have been stressed, I have been worn out, I have been completely frustrated. But I did not yell.

Until today.

I’m not even exactly sure what set me off, or what made today different, but I felt it coming and I was powerless to stop myself. Of course it only lasted for a short time, as feelings of anger often do, and then the usual rush of guilt set in and I wanted to curl up in a tiny little ball until I disappeared from sight.

But that wouldn’t do anyone any good.

If I have learned anything it’s that all I can do is try again. All I can do is admit I was wrong, apologize and move on.

So here I am. Back to zero. Ready to try again tomorrow.

5 Things I Love About My Spirited Child

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1. He never holds back his emotions… like it or not, he is always himself.

2. He is persistent… not always such an easy trait to deal with, but one of the ones I am the most proud of.

3. He loves me the same NO MATTER WHAT… even if I’m not feeling very loveable.

4. He forgives me… much faster than I deserve and much faster than I am capable of forgiving.

5. He teaches me patience… even if it’s the hard way. Every. Single. Time.

These past few weeks have been rough. And I thought things were actually getting better, but three is a tough age. It’s tough to have a three year old, and even more tough, I imagine, to BE a three year old (okay, maybe not). This is a reminder for myself and every parent out there, no matter what your child’s age and whether they (or you) are spirited or not, that there will always be days you will feel frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. But there’s more reasons to love them than there are reasons to bang your head against a wall, so hang in there.

Unplugged

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I meant to post this on Monday, after wrapping up my very first Screen Free Week, but alas life got in the way, as it has so much over the past couple months.

What is Screen Free Week, you may ask. It is a pledge I took to stay as disconnected from technology as much as possible for one full week (excluding work and school use).

If you know me, you know this is something I struggle with. Technology is all-consuming and it’s hard not to allow yourself to get sucked in.

I knew it would be challenging, but you don’t realize how much you rely on technology for literally everything until it’s gone. I had to use, get this… a PHONE BOOK to look up the number of a restaurant when booking reservations to take my in-laws out for dinner. You can imagine how much dust was on that thing!

Everything from my grocery list to my banking and to-do lists use a screen in some way. Even as a photographer, I rely on my cell phone to snap pictures of my kids’ day to day lives (my DSLR has a screen though too, so not much better).

I decided right away that it wouldn’t be possible to be 100% screen free. TV and social media were out, but I would allow myself to use my phone for its camera, fitness apps, text messaging and calling, as they are my sole method of communication with family and close friends.

As I said, it was a challenge in the beginning, but not as much as I had anticipated. I only got one or two complaints from the hubby and D asked me maybe three times if he could watch a movie, to which I replied, “We are on screen free week. Let’s go find something else to do.” Not one tear was shed in the process.

I find the concept to be quite refreshing and inspiring, however (for us anyway) it is slightly flawed. To be completely and totally screen free for an entire week would be next to impossible. A week is a long time. Instead of feeling free, I ended up feeling disconnected and even lonely.

I did learn something from my week of screen time reduction, which is a more accurate description. Technology does not replace real life interaction with others and it’s not the only way to accomplish many of the necessities of a modern life. I can write out an old fashioned grocery list or *gasp* open up a phone book once in awhile.

So instead of one week every year, what about one day every week? One day a week to be screen free and allow myself to really commit to the notion, in order to fully reap the benefits.

So my new thing is Screen Free Sundays.

Okay, except when The Walking Dead is on.