One July day, two years ago, it was brutally hot and my son had just learned how to walk.I was taking him around the neighborhood in his red wagon while we waited for Papi to come home. He started throwing a fit halfway into our walk.
I was tired and hot and he was tired and hot but he was adamant he wanted to get out of the wagon. I knew my husband was already home and I just wanted the day to come to an end (you know THOSE kind of days!?!).
I just wanted to hurry home! However, I decided to take him out and see what he wanted. He wanted to pull his own wagon! He was so proud of himself as he tugged and navigated it over the tough sidewalks of our neighborhood and the smile that beamed off of his face when Papi saw him pulling the wagon was priceless. I could have rushed home with a crabby toddler but instead I explored what it was that he wanted to do and in the process we both learned the power of determination.
Summer is coming to an end and everyone is starting some sort of school; Mother’s Day Out, organized sports, music class or something else. And what this means is getting to places on TIME.
Do you feel like you are rushing around? Do you feel like your life is about shuttling children to and from places, urging everyone to “move quickly”, “don’t be distracted” and most of all “DON’T BE LATE!!”
Realize that there are SO many new things going on in the world to your child that they cannot process everything they see and do. We, as parents, are there to help guide them through understanding all that is going on around them and sometimes we take for granted that we’ve had years and years to appreciate/live with these experiences but to them, they are fresh and different and time worthy. So give your child that extra time to explain why there is a line of ants on the sidewalk or let them take an extra moment to choose which toy they take to bed or in the car because that is important to them.
Do you feel like you have bullied your child to hurry up? What can you do to stop that? How can your family slow down and what do you think you will learn from the experience?
It’s been 2+ years since I’ve taken a nice, long, hot, bath where I could just soak and relax.
Today, I attempted such. Although, I knew my husband would be bringing me one twin at a time to bathe, as we had just come home from a waterbabies class, still time soaking in the tub with a baby can be nice. That is until my toddler burst in, stripped down, and jumped in. Relaxing bathtime finshed! And, you should see the mess I have to go clean up in the bathroom, ahhhh!
Last month, my husband gifted me with time for a hot bath. With the toddler in bed, I handed off the infant twins to my husband. As I started to soak, and eye the girl scout cookies and red wine on the side, I couldn’t ignore the twins which had both started crying, were soon screaming, and in the distance the frustration of my husband. Bathtime finished before it even began!
To begin with, let me briefly explain our current situation. Originally from Germany, our son was born and lived abroad in 2 other countries while having to move around for my husband's PhD work. Not having family around or knowing anyone, little alone going through culture shock endlessly, we kept our son close. By that, I mean, basically I was a 24/7 stay at home mom who had my son literally by our side all the time. That being said, I pictured my son crying, clinging to my leg, and breaking down when it would come time to start preschool. However, I couldn't have been more wrong!
The weekend leading up to his first day of school, our son couldn't have been more excited. When, I had to wake him up on Monday because he was sleeping in, :) I told him that it was time to wake up and get ready for kindergarten. He was immediately up and smiling, so cute:)) I was very happy that he wasn't crying or not wanting to go!
The day before going to the school, I decided to go via bike since the weather was so nice and warm. You have to take advantage of such days in Germany! My husband had installed a bike-seat on the back of my bike and I really thought, what a great idea and easy way for us to get to kindergarten. I was soooo wrong!!!! Such a bad idea!!!!!
So in the morning we got ready and went to the garage to get the bike. As I lifted my son up to put him in the seat, the bike started swaying. I had to sort of hold it with my hip, finally got him into the seat, and as I turned around, the whole bike started to flip backwards. NO.... what do I do now!!!!
I quickly realized he was too heavy for my bike. Great, the train, that we could have taken, had already gone!!!! Well, I had to make the bike work, or stay home. So I tried to sit on the bike, thinking that would help it to not flip over. That did work, sort of, it didn't feel stable and safe, but it worked, and it had to do for today.
As I started to step on the pedal, I thought, I am going to die, gosh, it felt like having a truck in the back!!! I had to push and push to get that "freaking" bike moving.
It took me nearly 40 minutes to bike a distance that usually would have taken me 15 minutes at the most! When we finally arrived, my son was so happy. I showed him his designated hook with a little trumpet symbol for his gym clothes and jacket. He was a little-bit shy to go in the class room, but when he did he immediately started to play and look around.
While he played, I stood in the corner, observing. You see, in Germany, a parent usually stays with their child for the first few days, even up to a week or month depending on how content the child is in the classroom aka do without mom and dad and sometimes aka how mom and dad can do without…. On the FIRST DAY of school, my son was doing so well, that the teacher asked me if I wanted to go home or go shopping for an hour to see how the separation would go.
I was nervous: how will he do without me, how will they take care of him, he is going to fall apart as soon as I leave…..Obviously the whole deal was harder for me than for him. In the end, I knew this independent step was best for the both of us, and I know that I have done something right, as a mom, for him to feel secure enough with me that I would come back for him.
I decided to go grocery shopping, to the store next to kindergarten, just for an hour. I went to my son, to tell him that I would run to the store and then be back to pick him up, he was not only fine, but I barely got an "okay, bye bye" from him as I grabbed a kiss and love you before he was off to play again.
Nevertheless, it was a strange feeling, I wasn't crying, as I thought I would be, but I felt a mixture of sadness with happiness for being proud of my son already showing such big boy independence. After shopping, I went back and saw my son still hard at play. He was having so much fun running around and playing that he didn't even notice mom. Finally, when he did spot my hawk eyes, he turned around and said, "oh hello mama." Really, oh hello mama, that's all I got?? This whole situation was definitely harder for me than for my son.
At the end of the day, he was nearly in tears with having to leave. I already predicted that he would cry, hadn't I? I just thought it would be for going to kindergarden, not for "having to" go home.
Oh and by the way, these days we don't go via bike, but train:)