My lovely, wonderful, sweet sister came over Saturday at noon so that Mr. Fox and I could leave for 24 whole hours!!
First he dropped me off at a friend’s house so I could mingle with some other moms and pick up my share of the preschool craft coop we did. He picked me up and we headed to the movies. Inception was one of the most original movies we’ve seen in a while. I was thoroughly hacked off at the ambiguous ending (I like happy endings, what can I say?) but other than that I really enjoyed it.
Then we headed to dinner at Taziki’s for the first time ever and were delighted by yummy food and super-fast service. We enjoyed our dinner and sat talking for about 30 minutes after we finished because, well, there was NO ONE to interrupt us.
A friend of my sister got us a sweet deal on an amazing hotel room at the Marriott so we headed there next and promptly went to bed.
The next morning we slept in (if you can call it that, neither of us slept very well in a bed that wasn’t our own) and then went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We headed home, loved on the kids who’d missed us SOOOOOO much, LOL, napped the baby (yeah, I napped with her), and then we went to Costco.
It was a great night for us. The first time we’ve left the kids overnight. Ever. Anytime one of us has gone somewhere over night the other has stayed home. So this was… wonderful. Mr. Fox is an amazing man and I am so blessed to have him.
And I’m not ashamed of it.
As defined by Wiki (the all-knowing, *snort*): Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not… It is also called “overparenting”.
When R1 was a baby I read The Continuum Concept and it shaped the way I have parented ever since. It is NOT a parenting book – but it’s the best book about parenting that I have ever read.
It taught me that my kids are not dumb, that they are born with survival instincts and that if I hover over them and constantly tell them to “be careful” or limit what they attempt then I am interfering with those instincts. And I have seen first-hand how different my kids (and the kids of others who parent as I do) are from those who are hovered over.
I have gotten used to being the freak at the playground who everyone thinks is negligent because I know better. I’m not negligent, I believe in my children’s inherent intelligence and instincts. Because of this my children rarely get hurt doing something dangerous – they’ve learned to listen to that inner voice that tells them whether or not they are capable.
Example: When R1 was 18mo he climbed to the top of the big kids slide at Red Bug Lake Park and the other moms around me jumped to their feet freaking out, wanting to know where his mom was. He knew he could do it. If he didn’t he wouldn’t have climbed up there – and I knew this because I had watched him do this before. I also watched him climb up a very tall ladder for bigger kids, get 3/4 the way up and decide he wasn’t ready to go all the way. He asked for help and I gave it to him.
Just because I sit on the sidelines and let my kids use their brains doesn’t mean I’m negligent. Children who learn to trust their instincts will grow to be adults who trust their instincts. You can’t spend an entire childhood listening to someone else’s instincts (that aren’t right for you because they’re not yours) and then grow up to trust your own.
And not trusting our God-given instincts has gotten us into so much trouble as a culture (breastfeeding, birth, health, nutrition, the list goes on). I’m not even going there.
Yesterday we were going to go pick organic blueberries. I was going to drop the little off with my sister and take her biggest with me and we were going to have fun. But it rained. So we sat home and did laundry instead.
So, we decided we’d go today instead.
And then R3 puked at 11pm.
And again 3-4 more times this morning.
So, we sat in front of the TV and she puked and nursed and slept.
And the bigs won’t go outside because it’s “hot” even though it’s cloudy. And I have a headache and just want to go back to bed.
Ok, so after all that I realize this sounds very whiny so I have to clarify that I’m really not whining. I’m disappointed we didn’t get to pick blueberries, as are the kids, and I’m sad that my baby was sick. But I’m also happy that I have a baby to hold when she’s sick. I’m happy that we have a roof over our heads and a TV to watch when I need to do nothing but hold a sick child all day. I’m grateful for wonderful kids that understand that Mommy has to hold the baby – for kids that walk by and rub her head, ask her how she’s doing and sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to her while she nurses.
All in all, it’s not a bad life, even when I’m puked on.
I read my friend Jodie’s blog post this morning and she inspired me. She’s so right when she says:
Mopping the floor or cleaning the toilet or wiping a 3 year olds butt is not work. Its life. Its not optional(though some can pay others to clean house and that’s cool too, if you can swing it.). I chose this life, this life of being with children, this life of keeping our home clean and comfortable. This life of leisure. So all this to say its all how you look at it. Since realizing I had it good, I am much more appreciative of my situation in life and much more appreciative of Pirate who makes it all possible.
And of course you’re thinking, “DUH, Christi!” rofl But I’m shocked at how often I find myself resisting this life that I CHOSE. This life that God gifted me with. This life that is so amazing and wonderful.
I really have it good. I mean, on my worst days I’m stuck sitting holding three cranky/sick/whatever kids and really, how bad is that? How selfish of me to think it sucks when there are people out there who can’t hold their sick children or have no children at all? Wow. Epiphany, much?
And that leads me to my next thought – if these children are a gift from God, why don’t we treat them that way? They are little PEOPLE. WHY would anyone think that God wants us to hit/shame/punish them? He loves them. I can’t imagine how His heart must break when he sees us yell at His gifts.
Another blog that touched me this morning:
No one walks away from punishment feeling encouraged, unconditionally loved, or emotionally prepared to face the next stressful moment.
And isn’t that what God wants for us? To feel encouraged, unconditionally loved and emotionally prepared?
Just because “our parents spanked us and we turned out ok” does not mean it’s OK or right or effective. Our children will treat others the way we treat them. Spanking a child just teaches them that the person with the most power can hit. Not what I want my children to learn.
So as I start this week I’m working to change my heart and my attitude towards my blessings, my life. I am a wife and a mother and I am proud to be both. I have a good life, a wonderful life, actually.
Maybe it would help if we could focus more on being role models instead of being instruments of correction or punishment.
Today I start living like it.
The kids and I went to church, came home and we took a family nap. (I LOVE family naps! ) We got up around 3 and my sister and her crew came over around 4. We all swam for a bit, then we ate yummy hamburgers and hot dogs grilled my wonderful husband. We hung out, the kids playing, until dark and then did fireworks. It wasn’t much ($50 doesn’t get you much these days) but the kids loved it.
It was a good day.