Friday, September 30, 2011

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

I am! And the boogie man. The "guy" in the woods. The man under the stairs. The monsters under the bed, and countless others that could come and "get me" in the middle of the night. This has been a problem since I was a child.  Both my sister and my parents could attest to this. I say problem because it has followed me in to adulthood.  I am just afraid of the boogie man today as I was as a child.  Maybe more.
Let me try to explain the depth of this "fear"....
I can't sleep in the house alone. When I walk up the stairs from the basement I walk sideways so nothing/no one can grab me. I won't go downstairs after my husband has turned all the lights off and locked the doors. I leave all the lights on when I am alone in the house (at night). The way my bed is positioned is directly correlated to the sight-line of the boogie man. Most people have their"side" to the bed - I have a "where the boogie man can't see me side - so it's never the same one.  In a hotel room it is the side farthest from the door and closest to the corner.  In our bedroom I am protected by my husband.  When my daughter has a nightmare and he has to go console her I find myself a little jealous that she gets to sleep with the big brave monster slayer and I have to sleep alone.  When my husband is away - which is rare, and I think mostly because of his fraidy cat wife - I have to call in babysitters - not for the kids but for me.  Luckily I have such good friends and family that when they get the call to come they don't ask questions they just appear. They appear at bedtime and disappear early in the morning. That's all I need.  As soon as that sun rises the fear is gone.
I am not sure what it is about having that extra adult in the house but it allows me to sleep.  Soundly.  With the light off!  
Will I ever overcome this fear?  Probably not as my mother, at age 60, was still calling in babysitters for herself when she was left alone.  So until  that day comes, and I really hope it does, I am comforted by the fact that my wonderful aunt will be sleeping down the hall protecting me from all that lies waiting in the dark.

PS - please do not tell my children about this.  They think that I am the one protecting THEM from the boogie man!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pick your Battles

Today was apple picking day with my daughters school.  As is common when one has an "event" to attend, we all woke up late. Rushed and feeling the pressure of the clock, we all went to our stations.  My husband grabbed our youngest daughter, I attended to myself and our eldest, the one scheduled to go apple picking, announced that she would be wearing her ballet tutu to the farm.
For a split second time stopped.  My husband and I went in to defensive mode - and in unison said "You are NOT wearing your tutu to go apple picking!" Tears. Screaming. Complete meltdown. All while hearing the tick tock of valuable time going by.  We tried to explain that farmers don't wear tutus to pick apples - that perhaps jeans were a better option. NO WAY - farmers DO wear tutus.
Time running out - determined toddler - parents back down. Perhaps farmers do wear tutus to pick apples.
A battle not worth winning. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Will they Remember?

Today I came across my mothers wedding dress.  As I pulled it out of the bag I was overwhelmed by sadness.  I was sad because my mother is not here to hold the dress. Sad because she was once so beautiful and full of life. So graceful as she walked down that aisle holding on tight to my father. Such strength and determination as she said her I do's.  I can only imagine the look on my fathers face when she walked through the doors of the church.  How his heart must have stopped for that brief second.  How lucky he must have felt knowing that this beautiful woman was to be his wife.  This dress is more than just a dress.  It is a reminder of a once in a lifetime love.  A love that inspired others to love. The kind of love poets write of and people dream of.  This is what my parents had.  Yesterday would have been my parents fourty fifth wedding anniversary. And it makes me sad that my mother is not here to celebrate with us.
It makes me wonder if my daughters will remember their grandmother.  Will they remember her beauty and be inspired by her strength. Will she continue to be a part of their lives even though she is no longer with us? 
As I sat on the couch holding my mothers beautiful dress and crying,  my daughter Lola asked me why I was so sad. I told her that I missed grama. She brought me over a kleenex and told me not to be sad because she loves grama very much. 
I guess this is my answer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

On the Mat

What will it take to get me back? Will there be a sign?  Will I wake up one morning and feel the urge to roll out my mat? Will I find myself practicing yoga again? Why did I ever stop?
I was late to yoga but thanks to three wonderful ladies , Christy, Lynn and Kim, I fell in love with it. From my first downward dog I was hooked.  I had a daily practice and it transformed me inside and out.   
That was then….
Four years ago I packed up my life and moved East (as in Ontario & Quebec). And it is as if my yoga practice did not follow me.  When I arrived I unpacked my mat but I never really got back on it.  I enrolled in a yoga teacher training course in hopes of being inspired.  I wasn’t.  When I got pregnant I took a pre natal yoga class in hopes of inspiration. It did not come.  I bought a new mat thinking maybe I needed a fresh start. Didn't work. I brought my mat everywhere I went in hopes that something would lead me to it.  It came to the beach, the lake, and to the most beautiful gardens.  Nothing seemed to draw me back. 
You would think that having my three year old daughter bring out the mats every day and ask me to do yoga with her would bring me back but it hasn't. She gets so much joy from it. Why can't I?
It feels as though I have lost the part of me that was so inspired by yoga.  The part of me that could find that calm within and carry it through my life. It is like something is blocking my path to my mat. I long for that feeling of tranquility and inner peace.  I miss breathing deep inside my belly and feeling the calm.  I miss the limber body that could once bend itself in to so many beautiful asanas. I miss the me that would be open to the discipline of the practice.
Did I leave her behind? Did she not follow me? Am I hiding her? Will she show herself?
I will keep searching and rolling out my mat in hopes of finding that peaceful, mindful, soulful person that is me - on the mat.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Like to Break the Rules

This is what my three year old told her babysitter last night.  She showed her the part of the fridge that she had coloured with her markers and explained to the her that she had broken the rules by colouring where she was not supposed to. Sarah, the sitter, asked her why she had done that, and she said because I LIKE TO BREAK THE RULES. And laughed as only a three year old can.
This has caught me off guard. Where does this come from?  What has made her like to break the rules?  Can it be genetic?  
An aside - I may not have been the perfect child. More on that later.
Of course I am taking this personally.  I am questioning my parenting skills yet again.  Am I setting the right example? Am I strict enough? Am I not paying enough attention to her? I ask this last question because when I caught her, or rather when she pointed out to me, that she had coloured the fridge and the cabinets I asked her why she had done it. At first she said “because“. I then asked her if it was because she wanted my attention to which she said "yes".  Now I may have prompted this answer but this is how I am interpreting this new behaviour.  
I often wonder if I give enough of myself to my children.  If I pay enough attention to them in a day.  Should I give them a hundred percent of me and let everything else slide?  Does it matter if the house is clean and the laundry is done? That there are no groceries in the house, and that no one has the right shoes on? If I just didn’t care so much about making everything so perfect - would there be more time in the day  for the children?  
I watch my mother in law with my girls and it is so wonderful.  She gives them a hundred percent of herself.  They are her only focus.  They laugh, play and enjoy the day together without a thought of anything else.  I realize that that is what grandmothers are for but it does make me think that I could do the same.
She is a great example of how all the other things don’t really matter - although she amazingly is able to do this while cooking, cleaning and even ironing my husbands shirts!  More on her later…
After a late night discussion with my husband, thinking and over thinking ,  I have come to the conclusion that I am going to focus more on the children and less on the minutiae of everyday life.  Sure the house may not look as perfect and yes there may be a little chaos involved but I think the end result of children who feel loved and put first will be worth it.
Wish me luck.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tell me Why

The Big Book of Tell Me Why: Answers to Hundred of Questions Children Asks

Where is that truck going? What is in that truck? Why is that digger not working? Where is the dump truck? Why is that man holding a sign? What is that girl doing? Why do I have to wear underwear? Why do I have to wash my hair? What is shampoo? Why was I in your tummy? Where is that train going? Why is it stopped? Who is in it? Where does daddy work? Where is the city? Why does he take the train? Why is Taya crying? Why is she tired? Why do we need to wear seatbelts? What does safe mean? Who built this car? Why is it silver? Who built our house? Why did Bob the Builder build our house? Where does Bob the Builder live? Why can’t I have ice cream? What does too much sugar mean? Why are you laughing??????? And this is just in the fifteen minute car ride to school, AND I had to come up with answers to every single question!
It amazes me the amount of questions that one three year old can ask. How can someone so little and so young have so many questions? What must she be thinking? Does her mind ever slow down? Will she always be this curious? Will she always need to know the who, what, where and why of every little thing?  I really do hope so.  I enjoy watching her mind work. My only concern is that I am going to run out of answers. That she is going to catch on and realize that I do not know everything. Until then  - does anyone know where I can get a copy of  “The Big Book of Tell me Why - Answers to hundreds of questions that children ask” ?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Helping Hand

  Today as I dropped my daughter off at school there was another girl in the lobby who was crying because she did not want to leave her mother.  Lola went over to her, reached out her hand and asked her to come with her. She said it would be fun. Yes I cried when I got back in to the car ,but I also gave myself a little pat on the back because although this parenting thing is the hardest  job I have ever had- it is all worth it in the end.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” 
- Robert Fulghum

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why I Love my Husband

Because.....Upon reading my latest post he has set in motion a plan for just the two of us to go see a play in NYC!  This may not seem like a big deal to many of you, however to me, and I think to my husband, this is so much more than just a trip.  Here's why.
1) I will be getting on a plane (hopefully on the road to overcoming my fear of flying)
2) I will get to NYC
3) I will get to go to the theatre
4) WE will be going together JUST THE TWO OF US
And this is why I fell in love with my husband and love him more today than I ever have.

Now to add some more things to my list......

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Makes You Happy?

As a mother you can easily lose yourself in the lives of your children - they come first and you and your life take the back seat. My more seasoned mother friends keep telling me "it gets easier" - you WILL find yourself again - you WILL get your life back - it may not be the life you had before the kids and chaos but you are no longer that person. Do I even want to be that old pre - kid me? Have I grown in to someone different or have I simply morphed in to Lola and Taya's mom, Marcus's wife?
My husband, a wonderful, supportive and extremely patient man always asks me "what do I want out of life?" My answer is and always has been "to be happy" which of course brings on his next question "what makes you happy?" and this is where I get stumped.... I used to be able to answer that question without even thinking, and now I just draw a blank. The answer used to be my dog Trudy , my yoga practice, my work, my friends and the beautiful place I lived in. Now Instead of Trudy I have two wonderful daughters, instead of the beautiful place I lived in I have an amazing husband, my friends are still what warm my heart, but work has been put on hold since the girls were born - there are things missing..... This is where my husband repeatedly tells me to look at what I have not at what I don't have. He is the eternal optimist - the glass ALWAYS half full guy, which is why I love him.
So I have decided to take the question "what makes me happy" and turn it in to a list of the things that I would like to do sooner than later - I don't want to set a timeline because that just sets me up for disappointment. I don't want to look back at this and say why didn't I do this in time or I guess I'll never get around to that... The exercise for me here is to write a list of things that I have always wanted to do,see, experience and some things that I used to do and would like to get back to. These are the things that I feel will add joy to my life, give me purpose and hopefully on the way bring back the Paula that I once knew and loved. Don't get me wrong. I have a wonderful life, filled with beautiful, loving people. My family - immediate and extended are amazing, and I feel blessed to have the life I do. I just want to make sure that I am making the most of it by being the best person I can be. And maybe along the way I can inspire some others to do the same. So here is my list (in no particular order)

  • Practice Yoga 
  • Learn to play the guitar 
  • Run a marathon 
  • Overcome my fear of flying 
  • Play tennis  
  • Get back to work 
  • Paint 
  • Go to the theatre 
  • Act 
  • Go away for a weekend with my husband 
  • Get in to really good shape - be strong 
  • Go to NYC 

 A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour. ~Author Unknown

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Mother's Guilt

My dear husband has taken the week off so that we can organize our house and get ready for a much needed garage sale. We had such big plans of getting everything in the house that we did not need OUT! It was going to be so great! I say it was "going to be" so great because the big cleanse never happened. I got sick. Really sick. The kind of sick that you have to stay in bed sick. The kind where you can't even move your head sick. The kind of sick your husband tells (orders) you to get in to bed and stay there until you are better sick. You get the picture. If any of you know me, being told to stay in bed until I get better is not really an easy order for me to follow. It is my idea of pure hell.
Off to bed I go.......and all of a sudden I am stricken with guilt. Guilt that I can not help my husband with the kids. Guilt that the house is a mess. Guilt that I should be the one downstairs feeding, bathing and playing with the girls. And as the piles of laundry sit staring at me, and quite possibly judging me for being such a lazy ass mother, wife, person, I find myself unable to relax and enjoy this Dr ordered exile.
Will there ever be a time where I will not feel guilty for just lying in bed doing nothing? A time where I will be able to just lounge on the beautiful chaise my aunt gave me and read without guilt? I am not confident that this day will ever come. My only hope is that I do not pass this trait on to my daughters. My hope for them is that they will be able to take a guilt free nap. Have a day on the couch eating potato chips in their sweatpants - sans guilt, and most importantly be able to just be still without feeling badly or hearing someone's voice saying "why don't you go out and do something". Please help this end at me.
So as I lie here I ask myself - isn't this what I have been waiting for? Some time to myself. A break from the children. A couple of days to do nothing. A day free of cooking, cleaning and going to the park.
Be careful what you ask for.