Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Essentials

For the past 6 months I've been volunteering for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run For The Cure. In that time I've heard a lot of positive, uplifting stories and I've also  heard a few sad ones. It really made me start to think about my kids and what things I'd like to instill in them, what things I'd really want to carry over if something should ever happen to me. I know some of you might think that's a bit negative or morbid but it's just a reality that it does happen to some people and we just all hope and pray it's not us.

Anyway, here's some of the things that came to the top of my mind as the 'essentials' I hope my kids learn from me:

1. Kindness, empathy, and understanding. To me these things are more important than being the smartest kid in the class. I hope they will be able to look at all situations in life, all types of people, all types of religion and politics and view them with respect and compassion.

2. Manners - to me it's basic human decency to say 'thank you', to give a wave, to hold a door open, to give a smile to someone who does the same for you. My goodness what a different world this would be if everyone could do such basic things. I'm really hoping my kids will understand the value of being polite!

3.  Giving - this goes along with #1. I hope that my children see that by having empathy and understanding of others, you also really see the needs in our community. I want them to not just see the need but to feel a drive to help alleviate that need. It doesn't matter to me what projects they choose as important to them, but that they find organizations that speak to them and they feel driven to help them. 

4. Family and Friends. Nothing is as important as a strong family connection, they are the ones there with you for life. I hear of so many fighting families and I think it's heartbreaking, especially when some of the issues are relatively small in comparison to the years of work put into the relationship. Friends are along the same basis, some friendships grow more or less important over time but you never know when they could turn the other way and you might be in need of that friendship, or they might be in need of yours.

5. Love of everything non-academic! I know, it's probably the opposite thing that you'll hear from most parents. I figure they'll get enough pressure from David to perform in school but what I want to instill in my children is balance. Yes, doing well in school is important but so is reading novels, writing, sports, music, art, etc, etc.  You never know when you might have the next Mia Hamm, Hemingway, or John Williams on your hands, and you will never know unless you encourage them to explore the other things that they enjoy or just get them to try new things.

All in all I want my children to be well rounded and I hope this is something that they can learn from me. What things do you wish your children will pick up from you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When Hubby is Away - The Kids Will...Go Crazy?

So, once again I'm alone taking care of two toddlers. I know there's many women who do this as their husbands work in the oil field (living in Alberta this is very common) but my hubby doesn't and this isn't what I banked on when we married and decided to have children. What I did marry though is a husband who is ambitious, hardworking, and yes - a little OCD when it comes to letting work lie at 5pm and picking it back up at 8am.

Sadly, when certain months roll around I just know that I'll be a temporary single mom and September is usually the worst. Well, it used to be the worst but it's hard to pick the worst month now as with his new role he has to do budgeting, and staff reviews, and all sorts of other things that he didn't used to have to do. Last month I looked back at a calendar and we went over 2 weeks without having 1 meal together as a family, and that was in August which should be a slow month. This month Hubby is going 26 days without spending more than 1 hour at a time with the kids - yikes!

We do our best to make it through but the kids sure react to his absence. Lately they've taken to pushing their chairs over beside his empty one and say 'Sitting beside Daddy!' over and over again even though he's not there. It's sad! (I've attached a picture of what the table looks like when they do this)When they get upset they've also started yelling for Daddy and if they wake up in the middle of the night they yell for him. I've also notice that they act CRAZY when they finally realize that he's not just working late or left for work early but that he's actually on a trip and hasn't been sleeping at home. They act up more, they get more emotional, they fight more. It's hard to explain it unless you have witnessed the change yourself.

It's hard enough to be left home alone a lot but it's a heck of a lot harder to be home alone with two toddlers. Without the support of my family I would of had a mental break down LONG ago!

Here's a few of my practical tips on surviving with kids while the hubby is away:

1. Make sure he calls them every day - they live for a chance to reconnect with him, even if it's just for a moment. Also, if they start to miss him and get upset you can remind them about the conversation they had with him earlier.

2. Get the kids to make him a craft. He might come home to 20 sticker pictures, or paintings but it makes them feel sooo good to think of him and make something for him (I think Dads also really like knowing the kids were thinking of them the whole time)

3. Break the routine. Do something different with the kids that helps take their mind off the normal bedtime routine (usually when they realize the most that Daddy isn't there). I go to a book store and buy them each 1-2 new books. Then during the bedtime routine if they start to get upset I show them the new book and we read those. Or if they notice Daddy isn't there around dinner time I get them to switch chairs, or we have a picnic on the floor.

4. Have people over for a visit, anyone really! I find the more people in the house the more the kids don't realize it's missing the 1 person they want there the most. If we've gone a day or two without Daddy and they're starting to get upset I find it helpful to be able to tell them who they DO get to visit next. They remember this and usually talk about it all day :)

Let me know if you have any tips to help kids from missing their dad or mom when they're away. I could always use a few new tricks up my sleeve!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Landscaping - The Play

J - me
DH- Darling Husband
LC - Landscaping Chick

Spotlight comes up to signal a new day. Stage is set with a kitchen table, chairs & window looking into a backyard.

Enter J & DH:

DH: It's time to hire the landscaper, let's go with LC.
J: Sounds good, she's coming over this morning to discuss it.

Doorbell rings & J answers the door.

J: Hi LC, we're so happy you can start work on our yard. We desperately need a safe place for the kids to play. What are your time lines?

LC: We will be starting in June and should be finished within 3 weeks providing the city approves the final grade within 10 days.

J: That's SO exciting. We can't wait!!

LC: Great, I'll get started right away.

Lights go down. 10 seconds later lights go back up to signify a new day. J is sitting on a kitchen chair looking out the window. Rain is pouring down the window.

Lights go down. 10 seconds later lights go back up to signify a new day. J is sitting on a kitchen chair looking out the window, head in hands. Rain is pouring down the window.

Announcer says:  One Month Later...

Lights go up. J is sitting on a kitchen chair, nose pressed up against the window and is on the phone.

J: Honestly, there's someone here!!! They're starting work on the fence.  Oh this is so exciting! Our yard is finally getting done! The kids will be able to play in it the rest of the summer! Isn't this fantastic!

Lights go down. 10 seconds later lights go back up to signify a new day. J is sitting on a kitchen chair looking out the window, running hands through hair and looking agitated. Rain is pouring down the window.

Announcer says: One Month Later...

Lights go up. J is standing in the kitchen looking out the window and is on the phone.

J: Yep, someone is here again today and they have TREES with them. Yes, I swear to God, they have trees, equipment and they're digging holes. This is so exciting, we're finally getting our yard done!! The kids will have a few weeks to play in the yard!

Lights go down. 10 seconds later lights go back up to signify a new day. J is closing the drapes to the window & snarling.  Rain is pouring down the window.

Announcer says: Several Weeks Later...

Lights go up. J is pacing at the window and is on the phone.

J: Ok, they're here. The clouds look like it might give them a window of a couple hours, let's see what they can get done. They couldn't get close to our house because of the Caritas lottery people and the builders from across the street who INSIST on parking across our driveway but I think the huge pile of mulch they dropped in front of that car should deter them from parking there for at least a day or so. That should allow them to start putting in the shrubs and plants. The kids should be able to play out there just before the first snowfall...oh. Never mind. It just started raining again.

Lights go down and do not go back up...yet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's Show Time!

Wow, it's finally here. Tomorrow my little Turkey will be attending her first preschool class and I'm so excited for her...and for me! For the first time in 2 1/2 years I will have one-on-one time with my little Ham. Turkey already gets this time when he is napping and she had it before he was born. This is finally a chance to spend some quality time with my little man :) Plus, I'll admit that it is just so much easier to do things with 1 kid instead of 2 kids in tow!

Not sure how I'll react tomorrow,  I might surprise myself and shed a tear or two - not at the fact that I'm leaving her to attend class on her own but just that she's growing up and it makes me proud. On the other hand I also know I might skip to my car as until next May I have 2 1/2 extra hours, 3 times a week with only 1 child. That's how I spell 'managable'! I won't dread grocery shopping, running errands, shopping, or going to a playground. I might even brave Galaxyland, only 1 kid to watch and hold hands with - this might actually work!!

Anyway, as I put little Mable Labels on all of Turkey's stuff it makes me think of how much she has grown up. Just the other day she was able to write her name by herself and used the phrases 'give her a hand' and 'that's cool'. Wow. This is the little girl that started life out one month early and at a whopping 4lbs 6oz. Time really does fly, it doesn't seem like that when you're in the moment but it sure does when you're looking back.

I'll be sure to post her '1st day of school' picture here tomorrow :)

UPDATE: She LOVED preschool! She asked me when she can go back and I said Friday, explained that was the day after next and she said 'But my friends will MISS me tomorrow!' She's much happier now that I've explained they won't be there either ;)