Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So here I am. I'm exhausted. Sore. Grumpy. I should probably just throw the towel in and go to bed. So why aren't I? Well, I am angry. I need to vent. And I need to blog. I have to walk a line here and I don't know quite how to walk it. On the one hand, this blog is for me. I make no apologies for what is here and I don't intend to begin. I want to try to be honest. But I struggle with the whole privacy thing too. Just because I open myself up to the blogging world, it doesn't mean that those who I love have agreed to this. I want to talk about I can cope more appropriately in my daily life. But I don't want to air my dirty laundry in public. Those that I love do sometimes irk me. And one thing I have begun to recognize is that sometimes the reasons they irk me have nothing really to do with them. It has more to do with the fact that I am a bit of a jerk. I want things the way I want them and I don't want to have to TELL you that I want them that way. You should just know. After all, you read my mind, right? Again, I told you that I am a narcissist.

I say this in half-jest. But the other half is saying it in complete truth. Sometimes I think I am developmentally delayed. I think "arrested development" fits sometimes. I never truly left that phase of childhood where I believed that others were the same as me. They had to know what I was thinking because they are me. If I want ice-cream they should too. My reality is the reality don't you know.

I went Christmas shopping tonight. With my kids. It sounds like it should be fun. The lights at the mall. The Christmas music in the air. The noticeably empty stores on a Wednesday night. We took care of shopping for three relatives. The kids behaved admirably. But I didn't have fun. I found myself sore, tired and aggravated, which is how I feel most of the time lately. Aggravated I mean. My kids didn't do anything wrong. Really. They were well behaved, save for a few "Please Mommy, can we get..." and those were very few. Why am I so aggravated? I have no real idea. I feel selfish and juvenile, but I want someone to be shopping for me.

So, yeah, here I am whining again. Get over it you say? Okay I say, I will try. Let me start by telling you about my kids. They are great. My daughter Allison,
is beautiful. She's a smart girl, and I can prove it too. She has straight A's this semester. Three of them are A+'s. I know, I'm bragging, but I think the world should know what an awesome person she is. She's creative, funny, talented and kind. Allison is a free spirit. She likes to make her own way in the world. I think that will mean a lot of mistakes as she grows, and truly, I am hoping that I will let her make those mistakes. I hope that I can balance my desire to protect her from the world with my understanding that she needs to experience it in order to learn to make good choices. She is learning. She does learn. She makes me proud. I don't really think she knows it though. Sure, I tell her, but I also let her know when I think she is doing wrong. In no uncertain terms. You know how it is. You tend to remember the negative more than the positive. I think she feels criticized. Which makes me sad because that was never what I wanted to convey. She makes me feel as though I made a good choice to become a parent. As she grows up I am finding that we spend less time together. She is making friends, getting homework and finding ways to entertain herself. Often when we go to relatives' homes she find herself in her little brothers' shadows. It's hard being older sometimes. Everyone ooohing and aahhhing over the little guys and no one really making space for you.

Don't get me wrong. The relatives don't ignore her. They say hello and ask her about how she's doing. My mother-in-law and father-in-law probably do the most to make sure she is valued for herself. They work on little projects with her, they pick out books from the town library book sale for her. They're great. It's just that her brothers are just at ages that require more maintenance. She is more self-sufficient. She's not the squeaky wheel, so she doesn't get the grease. Hopefully she will see soon that it's only temporary. As her brothers get older and aren't quite the handful that they are now, she will get more attention.

Here's my middle guy, Christopher. He's the sweetest five year old you would ever want to know. I'm saying that because I think he really is. Not just because he's mine. He's thoughtful, oh my gosh he makes me want to hold him close and cry because he's more thoughtful than I EVER remember being at his age. He offered to give up his karate classes because he heard that we were having to tighten our belts financially. He loves his karate classes, so for him to offer this is huge.

Let me give you another example of his sweetness. We have toy jail. I will explain this so you will appreciate what Christopher did. In my home, we are clutter freaks. I am a terrible housekeeper. There I said it. Well, I am hoping that my kids will learn better habits than me, so I try to keep the clutter to a dull wave as much as possible. Toy jail was instituted to try to stem the tide of stuff that accumulates in our home. There are so many papers from school, McDonald's toys, gifts from Christmas and birthdays, and clothes...things were EVERYWHERE for a bit. My children are free to leave stuff around their rooms, and even in the playroom downstairs if they so choose. The first floor, however, is off limits. By the end of the day, they are required to go around and pick up anything that they have left on this floor. This is the floor with the kitchen, the dining and living rooms. It also has my husband and I's bedroom, but that is off limits for their stuff anyway. If their stuff is not put away by the end of the day it goes to toy jail. Toy jail is a box on the porch. A big, rubbermaid box. Where it stays until they do a chore to get the desired item out of jail. If they don't do the chores to get the items out then I donate the items to charity. I figure if it sits in there a month it can't be that important to them anyway, right?

So where does Christopher's sweetness play a role in toy jail you ask? Well, about two weeks ago he asked if he could do some chores to get stuff out of toy jail. I said, "Sure." I gave him some Clorox wipes and told him to wipe off all the smudges that were on the cabinets. He spent about two hours wiping the smudges off. When all was said and done he got down and got his sister's stuff out of toy jail. Tell me that isn't sweet. No one had said or even suggested that he do this. He's such a good boy.

He's also very coordinated. He was walking at nine months old. He can climb anything. I never had to worry about him falling down off equipment on the playground. He just didn't do that. He runs, he climbs, he jumps. He's already riding his bike without training wheels. I think he's going to be my all-star boy. He's good at sports and people seem to like him. He's a great kid.

Another great kid? My son Daniel. This is him: isn't he cute? I know, I'm bragging again. Sorry, but this blog is for me remember. I can brag if I want to. And if you can't brag about your kids, who can you brag about? Daniel is three. He is more like my side of the family than either of the other two. How you ask? He will bite off his nose to spite his face. He will challenge you in ways that the other two would never dream of. He cannot be swayed from his opinion. He wants what he wants and oh my gosh...his temper. Definitely a Lallas thing (my maiden name). He is very independent. He is content to play by himself and not worried about what anyone thinks. Not a conformist in any way. You can get him to cooperate, but only with reverse psychology. Otherwise it comes to fisticuffs, verbal threats of bedtime or time out...or spankings.

He makes my heart melt though. He tells me that I am beautiful and that he is going to grow flowers for me. He tries to ice my boo boos (I was hospitalized over the summer for a problem in my leg). He loves to cuddle. He loves to talk and walk. It broke my heart to take him out of preschool. We just couldn't afford it. He's a year early anyway, but he was getting so much out of it.

Who knew that when he made his entrance he would make such an impression? He fell out. Literally. Oh yeah. Broke the umbilical cord in two places and banged his head on the floor. That was his introduction to life outside the womb. They actually put in a new rule at the hospital after he was born to prevent it from happening again. A trail blazer from the start. Had to do things his own way.

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