Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Double Digits

My baby turned 120 months last week.  Can you believe she is that old already?  I mean 120 months is so big.  Fine she is 10.  Ten years old.  I was trying to still feel like she was little but 120 months just sounds so ridiculous.  Just about as ridiculous as people who refer to toddlers as being 39 months.  Come on!  They are three!  Don't make me do math in my head to figure out how old your kid is in years.  Once a kid gets past a year and a half the months should end.  Just saying.  But I digress.  Ten.  My oldest daughter is ten.

I'm not quite sure how ten years past so fast.  There was a time I thought ten days was taking a lifetime, but now time just seems to sprout wings and take off whenever I try to hold on to it.  It's amazing how much you learn in ten years of raising a human being.  I realized my capacity for how much I can love someone else.  Someone, who for a very long time, gave me nothing in return, but smiles and giggles.  Who would ever put up with someone in their life who took everything, and did nothing but smile at us and be okay with it?  A parent.  Although, I will say that once they leave the toddler stage the just smiling thing doesn't work all the time.  They do have to up their game with a hug or two.  

I discovered I had more patience than I imagined and how hard it is to keep that patience a good 99% of the time.  I love my girls so much though, that I have no choice but to try and harness that patience as much as possible.  It doesn't always work, as you all may have read.  From time to time I lose that patience and then I pay for it later with the other emotion that has taken over as a mom...guilt.   Mom guilt is a serious affliction and it effects 100% of the moms I know in one way or another.  It doesn't matter if you stay at home, work full time, part time or are Martha Stewart.  At some point in time, and in a lot of cases all the time, mom guilt will get you.  It is my least favorite part about being a mom and it's impossible to get rid of because of the love for your kids.  Ah! Vicious cycle!  

I've learned how to be more empathetic, trying to see things from another perspective.  Not only from my daughters' side of things, but through the eyes of my own mother who experienced many of the same things raising three girls herself.  There have been a number of "Oooohhhhh...." moments over the years, when I've thought about my own childhood and realized where she may have been coming from.  I have a feeling those moments may start to come more fast and furious now that the teen years loom ahead.  I've also developed more empathy for both of my younger sisters.  Because I'm raising three girls, I see the dynamic of their relationship from this side.  I see where I might have been somewhat of a pain in the ass big sister from time to time.  I see it in Sonya.  She is constantly saying the very cliched "You don't understand!" when it comes to matters of her sisters, to which I tell her, "Nobody understand better than I do."  I see it from all sides now and it has helped me to be a better older sister and try to teach Sonya to be better to her sisters.

Then there is the selfless part of all of this.  The putting your kids' needs above every one of your own.  That might be the hardest lesson to learn, because let's face it, we are all selfish by nature.  We all want what is best for ourselves, until we have a kid.  Then we only want what is best for them.  I suppose they are an extension of ourselves, so in a way it's still a bit selfish, but it doesn't feel like it when you give up the last piece of chocolate cake to your little one.  Dammit, you love chocolate!  Then again you don't need the calories anyway, and she looks so cute with chocolate all over her face.    Although, we know it's not just giving  up cake, but your entire life.  Sleep means something entirely different after kids.  Free time is basically sleep.  You give everything of yourself, because you want them to be as happy as possible.  Plus this helps alleviate the mom guilt.  There is that fine line of being selfless and spoiling, so you have to be careful.  Still you will do what it takes to make sure they are happy-without being to spoiled.  

My entire life I wanted to have kids.  It was never a question of if for me, but always of when, when when?  I was excited to have kids.  I thought I was going to be the best mother there ever was.  God was I deluded.  Don't get me wrong, I love my girls more than anything and would not change a thing about having them, but this job is harder than I ever expected.  Learning this much patience (even as I write this and the girls are in the other room doing exactly what they are NOT supposed to be doing), having this much empathy, trying to be's not easy.  The easy part is loving them, because you just do.  Although that can also be hard, because anytime something doesn't work out for them or hurts them, it kills you.  Plus there are the times they act like jerks and you don't like them very much, but I know I will always love them no matter what.  

So as I look back over these last ten years and see what Andy and I have accomplished as parents, I am proud of what we have done so far.  Our girls are not perfect, far from it, but most of the time they try so hard to be good kids.  They are friendly, kind, courteous, caring, loving, silly little girls. When we were in Hawaii, every place we went people told us how well behaved our girls were.  How amazed they were at their politeness.  Sonya is leading that pack.  The constantly screaming infant from a decade ago has turned into such a sweet, smart, empathetic, fun loving, kind hearted, independent, curious girl.  Yes, she has her moments where she has too much attitude or thinks she knows all about the world, but I remember being there.  All it will take is for her to have her own daughter one day to knock her down a peg or two and become an even better person.  (But not for a long long time.) 

Happy tenth birthday beautiful girl.   Who knew raising a human being would help make me a better one?  Thank you for doing that for me. 

10 days

10 years

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tell Me Lies-Or Maybe Not

A while back I told you all how Georgia was starting to lie a bit.  Well, I'd love to tell you that is all better now.  Nothing but honesty here!  But that would be a lie.  In fact she's gotten so much worse.  She lies about things that I can find out about right away.

Me- "Did you make your bed?"
Georgia- "Yup!"
Me- "Let me just go check."
Georgia- "Oh wait!  I'm going to make it  now!"

Sometimes she will recant the lie right away:

Me-"Did you make your bed?"
Georgia- "Yup! No! I'll be right back."

Then there are the lies she thinks I won't ever find out about.  The stories she tells her friends at school.  About a month ago I was at the school for one of the 40 reasons I'm there every week.  It happened to be during her recess time and I found her on the playground among her friends playing.  I waved to her and she and all of her friends ran over to hug me.  I know a lot of them from helping out every week last year in Kindergarten, so you  know, I'm kinda popular with the first graders now.  Don't be jealous.  Anyway, as I'm standing there giving everyone hugs her friend Katie says to me,

"Can I come over to your house and see the turtles sometime?"

Not now, nor have we ever had turtles in our house.  I immediately looked at Georgia whose eyes had gotten as big as saucers.  She looked at Katie white faced and said,

"Ummm..Yeah...I was just joking about that.  We don't have any turtles."

I let it go in the moment, not wanting to embarrass her in front of her friends further, but later that evening Andy and I had to sit her down and talk to her about not lying to her friends.  Especially about things they can come over to your house and find out about.  I mean really Georgia! Tell them your grandparents in Florida have turtles.  How will they ever know?  

Then there are the lies she tells because from what I can tell she is trying to feel important like her sisters.  From time to time, Sonya will come home with a problem at school.  Sometimes it's with another kid in her class.  She will tell Andy and me what is going on and then we give her advice that she usually follows and she tells us how it works out.  Georgia has been around for these stories, so I suppose she wanted a piece of the action.  

One night we were sitting at dinner and she tells me about the little boy who sits next to her in class.  Apparently, he bothers her from time to time and says things about Lana to her.  Why Lana? I don't know, but according to Lana that part is true because she has heard it.  I told her to talk to her teacher about it, because if he's really bothering her during class and affecting her learning then that's a problem.  She told me okay.  The next night we are sitting at the dinner table and she says to me,

"So! I talked to Mrs. Shah about Sebastian today."

"Oh good!" I said. "What did she tell you?"

"She said I should just put my hand up like this when he says stuff to ignore him." She shows me how she has her hand covering the left side of her face to shield her eyes from the boy sitting next to her.

"Oookkkaaayyy," I said.  "Did she say she was going to talk to him?" I asked.

"Ummm, I think so," she decided.  

I thought it sounded kind of odd, but she seemed satisfied with her results, so I congratulated her on taking control of her problems like Sonya does and she was happy.  

The next day I was in the school (I swear I should be getting paid for some of this) and Georgia's teacher walked into the room I was working in.  I said hello to her and then said,

"Georgia told me she talked to you about Sebastian yesterday."

Mrs. Shah gave me a quizzical look and then said, "Huh, I'm not remembering this."

"Oh it wasn't a big deal, she just said he was bothering her sometimes and you told her to put her hand up and ignore him." I said trying to jog her memory.  Then I realized she didn't have this memory because it NEVER HAPPENED.

"Well, I don't remember that, but that doesn't mean anything.  Let me talk to her and find out," she said.

At this point I knew I had caught Georgia in another lie.

"No, actually, don't worry about it. I'm pretty sure she didn't say anything to you.  She has been having a bit of a lying problem lately.  I will find out what's going on.  Thanks though." I told her a tad embarrassed.

That night I confronted Georgia, and at first she refused to talk to me about it.  Then when she realized she was caught, she cried and cried.  I comforted her and assured her that I still loved her, but that she can't lie like that and then I gave her a punishment.  I had to.  I mean that was a big lie where I ended up looking like an asshole because I talked to the teacher about something that never even happened. She ended up having to do extra chores that night.  In all honesty on my part, I'm not sure that even worked.  I have caught her in other little lies and now when she tells us things that are going on at school I'm skeptical.  The problem is she is GOOD at it.  She completely makes you believe her, because I think she convinces herself.  I know she only wanted to feel important when she told the lie about the kid at school.  Like she had some kind of problem she needed help with like her sister.  I mean I'm not fine with her lying but it makes sense.  What scares me more than anything though is the thought that, if she is that good at lying at six, how skilled will she be at sixteen?  Why?  Why does the Universe hate me?