This blog post resonated with me this week, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since reading it. It popped into my head again tonight as I listened to the chatter around me in Starbucks as I did some work.
Honestly, truly, I don’t miss the stages I’ve passed with my kids. Infancy tested me in every way, and I’m lucky to have survived it with most relationships unscathed. I try to savor each day, and I certainly do savor each stage. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not wishing away any of it or even hoping we speed through parts.
I love each stage we’re in, and I’m thankful for each stage we pass. I teared up over my Starbucks tea tonight, listening to the teens who ambled in and out because I just can’t picture my own chubby babies as young adults, maxed out with drama and trolling the local mall for l-u-v. God willing, it will happen, and I will see it, but I’m so far from ready for that business that thinking about it hurts.
I may not wish for a repeat, and I won’t wish for things to speed up, but you had better believe I regularly wish for time to be slow.
Whew! Where has February gone?!
I’m a good, attentive parent, but I have no problem admitting that I use my TV to help me parent. It zeroes my kids’ attention in like nothing else, and when I need them to switch off their inner Energizer Bunny, nothing can glue them to the couch quicker than the warm glow of our TV.
It’s maybe sad, but it’s true.
We love playing, but it’s free time, and anyone can wander in or out, change the game or abandon the effort at any given time. Playing is rarely a focused, quiet activity when you have three 3-year-old brains with three constant ideas of fun.
Books are great, but they’re short, and it’s easy to lose interest when one ends, and your pick isn’t what is next. I can’t hold the attention of all three for long.
But Netflix. Oh, Netflix. Not only does the calm last for at least 20 minutes (gold!), but we can easily switch between shows if the majority is displeased. There is no ejecting, loading, required trailers, or any of the other seemingly short hurdles that cause our Blu-ray player to eat time and make my audience drop like flies. I can cook a fast meal in safety and peace. It can distract from too much splashing and jumping around (it’s slippery!) during bathtime. Sitting still is a rare gem at this age, and I’m not about to say I don’t take advantage of those opportunities.
Lately, we’ve been watching a lot of Disney, as we just got back from a quick visit to Disney World. For all things Mickey, we love Mickey and the Beanstalk, The Three Musketeers, The Prince and the Pauper, and, of course, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally.
We are really excited that Netflix added Clifford – both big and puppy versions! I absolutely loved Clifford as a kid, and I’m really excited to share him with my trio.
Two random finds ETC and I were excited about recently were the Aquarium For Your Home episodes. Just like the Fireplace For Your Home, these aren’t shows, per se, but they’re just interesting to put on the TV for background ambiance. We have a lot of fun searching for different fish and colors and anticipating pretend sharks.
Oh, and did you see that Netflix added RENT? I own the DVD and have the Broadway show memorized, but I definitely squeed when I saw I can stream one of my favorite shows anytime without hunting down the DVD. Plus, ETC love the opening scene with the full cast singing Seasons of Love, but not much else is suitable for sharing with my trio … yet.
“To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing!” (La Vie Boheme, of course!)
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I’ve found myself stuck a lot of overwhelmed
moments hours days lately. I yell more. I enjoy less. I feel out of control and desperate. I start trying to figure out an escape, a chance to get away and solely focus on choosing to breathe in and out.
They’re watching me and copying my behaviors. I’ve been slapped across the face by bearing witness to a mirror of my own worst actions, a reality that brings me down to their level for hugs and a chat about how we both need to try harder next time.
These days that have been condensed with more difficult moments in a short burst of time have done wonders, though. I’ve become quicker to tire of the yelling, and I find myself taking huge, gulping breaths of air because I don’t want to yell anymore. It’s exhausting. I take deep breaths and look around, six eyes watching my next move, forming in their own stress-reaction skills. It’s never as bad as my red-eyed monster thinks. I pause and look for a better solution, and if I find it, I fix things and move on. If I can’t find it – if I just can’t focus or I simply don’t know what to do, I move on to something entirely different, even if that means we load into the car and go wherever the wind takes us.
A huge pile of ETC’s library books were due back, so I had no choice but to replace their library haul.
I’m most excited about reading Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak. We do a calendar each day, so they’re finally understanding the concept of months. We have our own copy of Chicken Soup, but it’s been passed down from my mom, and it’s olllld. I’m afraid of it falling apart! I’ll eventually replace it, but until then, the library to the rescue!
Two books I’m also excited about are two I’m revisiting – The Quiet Book and The Loud Book, both by Deborah Underwood. We borrowed them a while ago, but I think ETC were still a bit too young. The illustrations are really fun, so I hope they enjoy reading them this time around
Gideon is adding to our growing pile of Gossie books (how am I just now finding these books?), and The Gruffalo DVD is for a growing obsession with Julia Donaldson’s new classic.
I only picked up one book extra book for myself – Legend by Marie Lu – because my current pile is big enough, and I grabbed a spontaneous audiobook for Rob – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I’m not sure if he’ll like it, but anything is worth trying, right?
The rest of the picture books are new to ETC, though some of the authors are old favorites – Eric Carle, Mem Fox, Mo Willems and, of course, Dr. Seuss.
What favorites from your childhood have you shared with your kids or are looking forward to sharing when they’re at the right age? Chicken Soup With Rice is great, but nothing compares to my anticipation for Harry Potter. Until then …
Want more book love? You can find more of my book recommendations, reviews and piles of reading material on We Still Read, a collaborative blog I write for with three awesome moms who, like me, are never too busy to keep reading. We cover all genres, from presidential biographies or health to romance to crime novels. Of course, we hit all age levels, with the occasional review of what our kids are reading and loving. We’re always looking for recommendations and raves. Come read with us!
For a first draft and first attempts at a reward chart, it isn’t half bad. I even broke out the trusty ruler I’ve had since grade school.
I’ve struggled a lot lately with how to calmly parent/lead my trio through our day. It seems like they’re ganging up on me (which is entirely likely) because I don’t finish redirecting/disciplining/comforting one child for more than two minutes before the next is in frantic need of my attention. Around and around we go, where we stop, nobody knows.
I’m tired of yelling. I’m tired of issuing endless time outs. I’m tired of being tired of parenting.
The only thing that keeps me from declaring myself unfit is the fact that each of my babies reflect that they had a good day on the vast majority of days.
Clearly, my perception is different from theirs because there is one of me leading the three of them. Or maybe it’s because they recover from stress more quickly than I do.
Whatever it is, I want things to change. We recently started a sticker chart to promote a good relationship between one unnamed child and the toilet, and the other two have been begging for their own sticker charts. I quickly made up a simple chart rewarding stickers for No Time Out days, but the first time out hit the books before my Sharpie ink dried on the paper.
I gave up on that idea.
Then a friend suggested a positive reward chart, something to encourage all the good in them and push their focus toward happiness rather than rotten 3-year-old behavior.
I’m kidding. Sort of.
I quickly thought up some things we regularly praise largely for – being a “big helper,” cleaning up when asked, listening well to directions, random acts of kindness toward their siblings – and some things they need to work on. Rather than just making a big, verbal to-do over these positives, we’ll add a sticker with each praise as we go through the day. Once they fill a row, they’ll get … something. I haven’t decided yet, whether it’s a special date with me and/or Daddy, an inexpensive toy, a special dessert – you get the picture.
The time out sticker will be rewarded at the end of each day if they’ve gone all day without a trip to the corner. I know one who will regularly score stickers, and I’m hoping those stickers are motivation for two others who frequent the hot spot more than I’d like.
What charts/rewards/bribes/whatnot have worked with your tiny minions?
H2O & vitamin D. Health food, yo.
Part deux of my warm-weather celebration.
Backyard @fitnessblender workout while ETC play. Spring, please stay till June! #triplets
The "balance beams" were the highlight of our hike. Rob said, "I guess we need a balance beam in the backyard, huh?"
Whew! So I'm NOT a shitty mother because I fantasize about joining the YMCA for $80/month & a potential 2 hours a day of included childcare. Reading this was suck a relief!
I'm going to try to get in a few pages while co-piloting our mini road trip to Crowder's Mountain State Park today. Thanks for the rec, @lauracase! #amreading #westillread #wsrbooksof2014
Elsa in watercolor. Callista said she painted Elsa's hands blue because she's wearing her gloves still. ☺️
I need to get out of the dollar spot.
New Dollar Spot find!
until I tried to take a cuddling photo.
I got some quality post-nap cuddles today ...
One of my favorite ETC apps of all time - Letter School. Toby has gotten to Level 2, so the completed (shaded) letters now show what he actually drew. Proud mama!
Checkup day! ETC have been similarly sized & consistently staggered since their start, so I'm not sure why numbers like these are a surprise each time. Eleanor leapfrogged past Toby (she's not the peanut anymore!), though T did make a move up the WHO char
Kids & cats - what is it about cramming into tiny boxes? Meow!
Vomit. One victim, two occurrences, & ETC’s well check is in the morning. Ha!
I've done it! I've spent an obscene amount of money at Starbucks this year! ✨☕️
Callista, Toby, Eleanor! I'm impressed with those who were right! #tbt #triplets
Three years & a lifetime ago. I know who's who - do you? #tbt #triplets
Seasoned ground beef + shredded cheese + crescent rolls = homemade hot pockets. I sometimes come up with good ideas.
Quick blanket/yogurt break. It's sunny, but it isn't exactly warm! Don't tell ETC that. They're in denial - shivers & all! "Mom, this is FUN!!!!"