Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Loving Hard, Not Hardly Loving

This post was meant to be part of the Taboo Carnival, where the topic this fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON'T ALWAYS LIKE YOU!, but since I didn't even get my submission in on time, I have no idea if it would have been approved.  Regardless, check out some of the blog entries for the Carnival--there are bound to be some really great reads.

The things I find hardest to like (or, frankly, the things I don't like) in my children are the things I've retrospectively found to encompass or incorporate my most embarrassing or distasteful traits and characteristics.

My Rainbow is four and a half years old, and not for one moment has she ever refused to be heard.  She is persistent in her attempts at communication, and even polite, for the most part.  This sounds good on paper, but what it sounds like to the ear is, "Excuse me!  Excuse me!  Excuse me, So-and-So, Excuse me!"  When she's not feeling civil, she just says whatever message it is she's trying to convey over and over until it's repeated back to her.  Her repetitiveness can be so irritating, especially when I'm answering her.  I do, however, find myself to be very repetitive, and even though I'm an adult and I can make my unforgiving attempts at communication much more subtle...it's still there.

My Cloud is just over three and he loves hard.  He inspired the title for this blog.  He inspires in me so many things, so much empathy, so much slowing down and listening.  He loves me, he loves his dad, he loves his sister and his little five month old brother.  That's never a question.  Whether or not little Dragon will survive the love sometimes seems to be in question, especially when that love manifests itself as Dragon being the horse and Cloud riding him with the most joyful grin, bouncing up and down as care-free and happy as you'd like any child who's not riding another child to be.  I have to physically remove myself from Cloud's presence when he starts hurting his siblings. I don't just let him hurt them.  That sounded bad.  After telling him in every gentle way I can that we need to be gentler and play in a way that's respectful and blah blah blah, I get to where I want to sit on him.  But what am I known for?  I'm known for rib-crushing bear hugs, for wrestling and rough-housing, for loving hard--and never for hardly loving.

Both of my children are loud.  It hurts my ears.  I'm loud.  I hurt my ears.  Enough said?

The thing that annoys me most about myself is my interrupting.  I try to justify it sometimes and say I'm so excited about a topic that I'm having a hard time keeping my comments, even if it's just a boisterous "uh-HUH!!" to myself.  But even knowing all that, I still have no desire to be with my kids when they're interrupting.  Typically they're trying to interrupt a conversation I'm having with an adult.  It's not that I think the adult is more important; I've taught my kids to come put their hands on my leg to get my attention, and then I cover their hand with my hand to let them know that I know they want my attention, and then I ideally finish my thought.  I don't finish my conversation, just my thought.  Or do I...  Nope, I don't.  I get interrupted.  I really don't kow what to do about it, and it's not something I think about until it happens.  And then I start thinking about my own interrupting...

What helps remind me of the underlying LOVE for them, regardless of any ephemeral issue of disLIKE, is their unceasing resistance to my attempts at molding them or hampering their unfoldment or tying them down so their petals don't bloom into the beautiful flowers they are.  They are stronger than I am, they are innocent but all-knowing, and that always ends up shining through, as does my love for them.  So even when I don't like them, I can still see that glimmer, and admire the persistence or the ferocity.  I hope to always be able to detach myself in such a way that I can see something positive in what they're doing, but if I can't...I'll still always love them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Control Freak

I can joke all I want about my friends being control freaks, but really it takes one to know one, right?

I need to chill out.  Let go.

Why (to me) are Rainbow's art projects beautiful and Cloud's wasteful?  He uses more paper, more glue, more tape, more everything, so WHAT?  I shouldn't let him?  I should micromanage and ask a three year old to understand the greater workings of production and waste?  Should I sacrifice art in the meantime?

NO.  No no no.

I knew in my head what I was thinking, but I didn't feel it until today, when I saw my son creating on the floor his masterpiece.  I'd been with Dragon for a while and had stopped really paying attention to what Cloud and Rainbow had been doing.  Rainbow was sitting at the table making a sparkly hat.  And there was Cloud, on the floor, deep in concentration, pulling long piece after long piece of tape off of the dispenser, twisting them and curling them just right, so focused on taping the brown and purple pieces of paper to each other and to the floor.  After the tape was gone, he started cutting, then he needed glue, and, of course, buttons.  Sometime during the tape I just...softened.  I looked at my little guy, so intent like I rarely see him these days, and I fell in love with him and his uniqueness and I decided to just keep my mouth shut, keep my heart open, and remember he only gets one chance at this.  His understanding the concept of waste will come, but it's not going to come now and that's ok.

I didn't really realize until today that while I give them lots of opportunities for free art, there are hard boundaries.  Since Dragon's been with us, I've not had the time to pay as much attention, and both Rainbow and Cloud have become more self-sufficient and exploratory in their creativity.  Rainbow has blossomed, while Cloud has sort of sputtered.  He wants to cut toothpicks with toddler scissors, he wants to pour the glue out and then not stick anything to anything.  He doesn't really get into the groove like his sister does.  Until today (and really a few times recently, but more so today because Rainbow was completely focused on her own and in a different space.)  Today I saw him all over the floor, getting his own supplies, creating a big project, focused, oh, so focused.  I got sucked in to his focus and just watched him.  I eventually got my camera and took a couple of pictures without disturbing him.

I really need to let go.  Cloud is my greatest teacher for this.

Here are a few pictures.  Please excuse the pull-up.  Ick.

I hope you're able to enjoy your babies for the own unique personalities.  Our version, our creation of the flowers they were meant to be can't touch the exquisite beauty of the flowers they will unfold to be on their own.  I hope you have a lovely day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Too long...

Well, it's been a long dang time since I've posted.  A friend is putting together a blog carnival, and I respect her a lot.  Her topic, which I'll keep under wraps until she puts the word out about it, made my mind start turning again in a blogging sort of way.

It's not that I don't like to blog.  I love to write, I love to share my opinion and advice, which I always hope people will find helpful.  I also hope people will share their views of my advice with me to make it even more helpful.  So why don't I blog very much?  Well...it's not that I don't have time.  I do.  I don't like it when people say they don't have the time.  Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but it's such a general excuse.  I just don't make it a priority.  I'm in charge of all of my priorities.  I make my decisions as best I can to fall in line with my priorities.  And there just happen to be other things that I put ahead of blogging.

One of these things sucks my brain right out of my body.  It's called "watching TV", and you may have heard of it.  Now, if I were left to my own devices completely, I probably wouldn't even own a TV.  But my partner watches TV and enjoys it, I choose to spend time with him in a way that he enjoys, and that means I watch TV with him.  Only we react to TV in completely different ways.  First, he can do something I have never been able to do--fall asleep while watching it.  I get sucked in.  I have to know how something ends.  I bite my nails, I sit on the edge of my seat, I have my unfinished project sitting in my lap and my laptop close by for those intense moments when my heart is beating so hard I'm SURE my partner could not possibly fall asleep because it'd be disturbing him so much.  But no, there he is, snoring.  Which leads me to the other way in which we react differently--commercials.  I get so fired up over, and I hate to use this word, STUPID commercials, that I become an irate, nonsensical, stuttering fool, picking apart the commercials (which I call, in the moment, advertisements), speaking loudly and intensely about how asinine they are.  Luckily we have a DVR and I can fast-forward through many commercials in the grand scheme of our TV watching, but sheesh!!!!  Ugh!  And there is he is, snoring, not giving a lick about the crazy ways we are trying to be persuaded to buy...a car.  Or toilet paper.  Or toilet scrubber.  Those are even better, because apparently you can get toilets to basically scrub themselves.  AGH!!  I shouldn't start...

So why have I made this a priority?  I tell myself it's so I can spend quality time with my partner.  This is not quality time.  It's stressful.  My sleep suffers for it because I replay all of the intense stuff, the suspenseful stuff, the moronic commercials in my head over and over and over... and over.  And over.  I try not to.  I meditate, but end up re-focusing on TV.  I tap (EFT), but go off on tangents.  I drink water.  I count.  I do the dead man's yoga pose.  I say my intentions for the night over and over in my head, but the TV stuff creeps in and disturbs my...intentions.  Ha ha!!  Not funny.

So I need to re-think things, but that would require...time.  And what's my lame excuse for not just sitting down and thinking about this?  Well, I just don't have enough time.  :)  So here's my plan.  I want to convince him that TV is not getting us anywhere, that it's a waste of money, that we're losing valuable sleep over it, that we could be doing other things that are more productive or bonding or fun or whatever.   He thinks I'm silly for getting so worked up about TV.  Am I?  I can't even tell anymore.

Since my son Dragon was born (he was born first day of summer and I credit him with bringing to the Pacific Northwest the gorgeous summer we had starting pretty much on that date), I've had so much time I'm not even used to it.  All at once (after that initial healing time, of course) it seems, my kids have been sleeping through the night, my life got bigger in love, but more simple and sweet at the same time.  I do less, I've slowed down.  Dragon actually sleeps.  He knows how, he sleeps for good chunks of time, and the evening (from about 7pm until at least 10pm) is one of those times.  I have finished projects, I have started more projects to finish, I have re-arranged, sold stuff on craigslist, cleaned stuff out, picked stuff up...pretty much, I've gotten into a good routine.  Not a rut, but a routine--except for the TV thing.  It's become a sort of horrible comfort zone, and I've GOT to get out of it, because I really feel like my brain is being sucked right out of my head.

And with that, I'm going to finish crocheting the strap for this bag I'm making for a holiday present, and start the next bag.  I'm not turning on the TV.  :)