Thursday, August 20, 2009

NOT part of the Fairy Tale

See this little Cheezer?

This is the same little Cheezer that I live for. I adore. I share my heart with and pour every ounce of love into. My sweet Elaina.

Without warning, without explanation and without cause, this sweet, darling daughter of mine has warped into an absolute brat. Did I really just call my child a "brat?" This time : YES.

I'm not sure if the planets are out of alignment, maybe the air is a little too thick or maybe I'm just due for some cruel twist of fate. Whatever the case might be, Elaina has been bad. Like B-A-D bad.

It wasn't even a slow progression either. Along about 3 weeks ago, we had been running in a crazy-typical-busy-but-structured fashion and her behavior seemed to indicate that she was overly tired and needed a break. We slowed down, made earlier bedtimes and exhausted every bit of patience with her to see her through her rough patch. Every day that following seemed to amplify more misbehaving and more attitude. While I don't know every one's view on spanking kids, (and this is not the time nor place for a full justification or debate) but the only thing that seemed to slow her down, get her attention and curb her behavior was a firm swat on her bottom. She's gotten more swats in three weeks than she's had in her lifetime. She's already told me that she likes going to time-out and staring her in the eye (with a firm grasp on her arm) and sternly explaining the necessity to STOP her bout-of-crazy, eventually became ineffective.

To try to better explain what exactly it is that we've had such problems with is likely vast and ever changing. Basically, it's the fact that she has been taking deliberate actions to intentionally defy and disobey us and do things that she already knows are wrong. And that she seems to take such pleasure in knowing that she is being defiant. And then does more. All this with the added bonus of a teenage-sized attitude. If she's seemingly run out of leads to get in trouble, then she turns on Lincoln and SQUEEZES him and hugs him so hard or plays with him so rough that she thinks she ought NOT to get into trouble because she "is just loving him."

I can't even begin to explain what a toll this has taken on me. Each day I wake up believing that it will be a fresh start and then I get more of the same and sometimes even before work which is just GREAT! I have been missing my sweet daughter and it has torn me up that she has been acting so crazy. Each night I lay in bed with her and we try to talk about her day and the things that make us happy. I've talked to her, encouraged her and praised her. Sometimes I can just about my see my words slipping right out of her ears as she convinces me that the "good Elaina" will soon come back.

As of tonight, I'm happy (blessed) (overjoyed) (proud) (excited) to report that Elaina seems to be on an upswing. The past three nights have been successful without incident and without attitude. Thank you Sweet Jesus! In turn, I have done my share of praising her and reminding her of all of things she is doing right and how much I love her nice words. And how much I have missed her sweet self. I'm not sure what kind of crazy she had going on but I am more than relieved to see us all on the other side and that she seems to have literally snapped back into the little girl I know and love so much.

Is this what you would call growing pains? If so, I'd like to order the antidote right now. Monthly installments, please.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Anyone for a little June?

This is how I felt about most of the month of June. It was a fun ride with lots of smiles, but a little bit blurry and it went by fast.

The most outstanding event which occurred in June was that our daytime babysitter went on a week long vacation. And why would that be significant to us, you may wonder? It's because we filled her position with temporary, out-of-towners to watch our kids during the day. Grandparents!

My parents were willing to come to stay with us for the better part of the week to watch the kids during the day so that Eric and I didn't have to use all of our vacation to be at home with nothing planned. From what I understand, they had a pretty good time and Lincoln made it pretty clear that he is my dad's biggest fan. He began to call my mom "Eema" which suited her just fine as he finally gave the person changing his dirty diapers some well deserved recognition.
It was during this same week that we happened to have our pre-scheduled dental check up for Eric and myself and Elaina's first visit to sit in the dentists' chair. The first thought to cross my mind was how unfair it seemed to leave my parents on duty all day long strapped with a kid (kids) while we were gone until the better part of the evening. (we were scheduled after work and our dentist's office is an hour away) The more practical side of me began to think of what a great experience this could turn out to be for Elaina with her first trip to the dentist and a special date night with just both of her parents and herself. In the end, all of our appointments turned out well and we rounded out our day with a trip to Build-a-Bear, a restaurant and an ice cream cone. Lincoln managed at home just fine.
During my parents' stint as full time babysitters, my mom and dad also filled the role as part-time help with household projects. My mom was a huge help with our laundry and making dinner while my dad joined Eric with more outdoor projects than I can list.
And just in case it's worth my while, (for posterity of course) I should also like to mention that I made a full fledged effort to get the kids pictures taken at the portrait studio. On the day we arrived, they said that they had our appointment scheduled for the day before. (they were wrong) The blame fell on the shoulders of a new worker and so we rescheduled to an even better time slot for the following weekend. Come picture day (again) Elaina was still sporting a scuffed up scab above her right eyebrow and I refused to consent to her idea of letting her wear a band-aid to cover it up. Lincoln, being otherwise healthy, woke up that same day with a persistent fever. Picture appointment cancelled. Oh, and after about 4 days of Lincoln being mostly miserable with a fever and loss of appetite, Elaina came down with the same, only hers involved vomit. So there. No 2 year old and 4 year old pictures yet.

This too...

Maybe I failed to also mention that Elaina has spent a good part of her summer months growing. While I wasn't aware that a steady diet of hot dogs, salami, cheese, bread, yogurt, pudding and cookies will make you grow, Elaina somehow found a way around the rules. Her hair is also on board with the growing trend. When her hair is wet and brushed straight, it hangs to the middle of her bottom. Her body is growing sturdy and she's really taking on the shape of a school-aged kid.

I think she is going to be a little upset that they don't allow princess dresses as part of the regular school dress code.


I'm realizing that a summary of the month of May wouldn't be complete without mentioning Elaina's new bling. Girlfriend got her ears pierced! It had been something that we had discussed and even though she wasn't nagging with eagerness, she never changed her mind letting us know that she didn't want to. Much to my pleasure and surprise, it was a mere coincidence that she chose her birthstone ruby studs as her starter earrings. I hesitated to tell her too many details about the quick procedure they were about to perform, and so with two store workers and two quick snaps of the piercing guns, my baby girl now has earrings.

She cried a little out of pain and the fact that no one had ever hurt her so intentionally before. We celebrated her triumph and milestone with a $4 cookie and hugs. And the minute I turned to really look at her with her ears all blazing red and her sparkling, ruby stones gleaming, I wondered what I just let happen to my BABY! And then I began to cry.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

And May went on...

Have you ever had so many things going on in your life at the same time that you begin to see those "things" as hurdles to cross before moving onto the next one? That would pretty much sum up my feelings toward the month of May. Of course, the biggest, best and my favorite event of all was celebrating Lincoln's birthday. Oh, my little guy and how he has grown and changed in such a short period of time. I could just eat him up. But there's plenty more about Lincoln still to come. Let's talk about May for now.

The weekend following Lincoln's birthday I flew to Florida by myself to be in one of my best friend's wedding. I served as the Matron-of-Honor and I'm pleased to report that I did my reading during the ceremony without flaw, without being nervous and without passing out. (which DID fuel my stress level immensely as I truly believed that at least one of them Would actually happen to me) By the way, the ceremony took place at a gorgeous hotel, outside, in 90 degree heat. God bless them; the sun fell directly on the groomsmen in their tuxedos and not one of them passed out! It was a good day. The wedding was gorgeous, my visit was fun but I can't even begin to tell you how much I missed my babies. This was the very first time I've ever spent a night away from both of them. Minutes felt like hours until my plane landed and I drove myself home. Hugging and squeezing them in my arms is the best feeling in the world, how could that ever get old?
*Hurdle #2 : Success!
The days continued to fly by and believe it or not, Memorial Day weekend was already upon us. Along with some of our closest friends, we've begun a tradition of them traveling to our house for Memorial Day weekend. My girlfriend and I are garage sale junkies and there is an awesome annual allotment garage sale scheduled for the same weekend. The better part is that her parents live there which provides us with a free lunch and convenient potty breaks at their house. The dads have a pre-arranged "Daddy Day" which gives them charge of 5 kids under the age of 7. As for next year, Daddy Day will incorporate child number 6, once my friend delivers their new addition this winter. The dads take the kids to a great playground/amusement park which is somewhat near our house, while my friend Beth and I load my truck with great steals and treasures. Dinner always follows at our favorite local pizza place and we always end up eating mountains of S'mores that same night. I guess there's something to be said for tradition.

The following weekend was my last Bunco/Girls night since we decided to break for the summer months. I never really know how much I need a day or evening or even an hour to myself until I get one. Playing Bunco with my girlfriends has been so much fun for me. It's a true break from any thinking, planning and acting like a grown up. It's not that I don't treasure the time I spend with my husband and kids, but girls' night doesn't require for me to tell anyone to finish their food, wash their hands, stop pushing their brother in the babydoll stroller, etc.... what a welcome stress-buster to have to look forward to each month. And now, we've been on a break. At least the month was coming to a close anyhow.

And that was May.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Out of the Gate

Remember these little faces?

These are the faces of the same little munchkin grinners that have kept us so busy all summer long. Although I've not been blogging, I sure haven't missed a beat with my camera in hand just ready to flood my blog pages with pictures.

I've spent the past 30 minutes logging all of the pictures I plan to post from the past couple months. Without exaggeration, I have taken close to 300 pictures since the middle of May. So, even though my blogging hasn't been up to par, I have the filler content just waiting in the wings, ready to overtake my pages here.

Thanks to my family and friends who have commented on my last post, I think that I have actually come up with a plan of attack to begin making up for lost time. I'll get there slowly. It doesn't look like the dust and cobwebs in our house are going anywhere any time soon. Let the blogging resume!