Thursday, March 18, 2010

fueled up

I've been away, which is why the blog has been quiet, in case you were wondering. Mitch and I went to Lake Placid to ski, and sit in the hot tub, and stroll the streets of the Olympic Village, and eat until we were uncomfortable. We did all those things. It was wonderful. Usually when I go away I don't feel as refreshed coming home as I'd like. I don't feel like I've refueled, and my patience with the kids isn't any greater than when I left. But this time it's different. I have SO much more patience (how long will that last, I wonder?) and I'm relaxed with them and enjoying them. My mom stayed here while we were gone and she's still here now, so I didn't walk back into full time momming, so maybe that has a little to do with it, but I think the real reason is the skiing. We noted on one of the ski lifts how when you're skiing you can't think about anything at all except the snow and the next turn you're going to take. No room for stress about what isn't done for work, about what the kids might be doing right now, about whether or not you're hungry. I was wearing boots that were too small (don't ask) and I didn't even think about the pain (which was rather tremendous) while I was moving. As soon as I stopped my feet would scream in pain again, but while actually skiing my brain didn't have room to hear them. Fascinating.

I can't wait until we can go with the kids, until they're old enough that we can do this fun thing all together.

So we're back, and the weather is spring wonderful, and I've made some new decisions. For one, I've decided to sit on the floor a larger percentage of the day. Before we left for vacation Frances and Clark were having a hard time together, getting along fine for moments at a time, and then whacking each other over the head. Most of the time one would whack the other when I wasn't looking so it was hard to intervene and help them resolve the conflict. So I'm going to play with them more, and I'm excited about that decision. Before when I've tried this, my sitting on the floor was a distraction for them, meant they just wanted to play with me, rather than my being able to witness their own playing. It's different now.

Sitting on the floor more is going to mean less cooking, which is the other major decision I've made. I think it was the first fall that we were here that I swore off cooking, and I'm thinking I might do it again. It does free up a lot of time, and much of that time is in the cranky afternoon, which is just when they need my help. They get along so well when they get along, and now I'm thankful they are close in age, just as everyone said I would be thankful. Often when they're not getting along it's only because they don't have the skills to solve their problem, and I could help them with that.

For instance: yesterday they were wrestling (which means Clark lies on the floor and asks Frances to lie on top of him, on his belly, and then they roll around together) and then Frances asked Clark for a hug several times. He hugged her maybe the first three times she asked, then he got bored with that and went to flip himself over the swing. Frances kept asking, "Will you give me a hug, Clark? Will you give me a hug, Clark? Will you give me a hug, Clark?" and Clark kept plainly saying, "No." Finally Frances burst into tears and came to me. "Clarkie won't give me a hug," she wailed. I explained that sometimes she also doesn't feel like giving hugs and that's okay, and that we need to respect when he says no. She cried. I said, "He still loves you, Honey." "No he doesn't!" she hollered. "When someone won't hug you they don't love you."And I realized in her mind love is a thing that comes and goes, something that you might feel one moment and not the next. I suggested she ask him instead if he'd like to play with her and she did, and he paused and then joyfully said, "yes!" and she smiled, big and relieved, knowing again that he loves her.

They do love each other, so much. Their affection could be the thing I like most about being a mom these days.

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