Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thanks to Mexico, Thanks to Michael

Last semester kind of did something to all of us. It didn't help that we got sick for a month (and then sick again...and again). I kept telling people--and myself--that things were great, the semester was fine. That must have been coming from the incessantly optimistic switch of my brain (the switch that I seem incapable of shutting off), because looking back, it was pretty nasty.
And up until recently, I had been slowly revolving into a very cranky mommy. My patience was tissue-thin, and my frustrations with the kids just seemed to build from day to day. I'd hit a happy point ("yay, Michael's home!"), but my cranky Hyde became extremely trigger happy. I mean, well that doesn't make sense, but basically, I could go from 0 to 60 in a second flat.

So. We went to Mexico for our 5th anniversary with Thomas and Megan (longtime friends).

Even though my mommy-woes weren't completely wiped out in one go, that was the beginning of some deep inner cleansing. I needed that. Oh, plus, Mexico was flawlessly beautiful, and we had the beach all to ourselves. Mmmm. Just thinking about it makes me breathe deeply, makes my body and mind relax. I love the ocean. Cold or warm, to play in or to walk in or to run by. The ocean is the most healing thing nature has out there (for me).

Since Mexico (don't worry I'll post some pictures eventually), things have been settling into place nicely.

My attitude, for one. I've been considerably calmer with Ender. With Scarlett too, my frustrations with her were not because she was cranky. Mostly she's just extremely mischievous and needs eyes on her constantly cause otherwise she'll fall into the LEGO bin (on purpose, she wants those LEGOS!), climb out of her high chair (in like 2 seconds. She's fast.), "prune" my plants, "fold" the laundry, "clean" the kitchen floor, "take out" the trash, close herself into rooms, etc. etc. etc. She needs to just learn to walk so she can be a little more safe with all the climbing and adventuring she does!

Ender became magically potty trained at Mom and Dad's while we were gone. (I think his case of diarrhea had a lot to do with clearing out his system after all the months he's avoided pooping) (look how casually I talk about poop, wow! :] I'm such a mom).

Scarlett is done nursing. Mixed feelings on this, but I'm mostly okay. I still miss nursing her, but I was drying out anyway, and she's got her own agenda. She won't have anything to do with even the taste of breastmilk. And she has gained two pounds. So I'm not fighting.

I began training for my marathon. Today's run was easier for the first half and harder for the second half; I loved it! That time in the morning, out in the air and all by myself with music and thoughts...ahhhh. What a way to begin the day. Yesterday I felt so cheerful all day, and I'm sure my run got my going that way. Today? Same thing!

And last but SO far from least: here's what I "got" for Mother's Day...Michael has worked it into his schedule to take the kids for several hours once a week. WOW! I have scheduled no-kids time! It's amazing! I can depend on it every week! My husband is The Best. I'm so glad he's not one of those clueless men who have no idea what women go through (emotionally or as moms or whatever--he's incredibly sympathetic).
There was more to Mother's Day than that...Michael helped the kids so I could sleep in two hours, he fed us, he got the kids dressed for Church (we all matched each other, it was cute!), and he helped the kids stay happy and get ready for bed. They were off my back. The day was also normal in some ways...I made cookies (but I like cookies), I washed dishes (but I like washing dishes), and sometimes the kids needed Mommy-hugs or whatever (and I like that, too). Scarlett got into the toilet, Ender had a meltdown about something, and several other kid-related things happened that just have to happen. Kids don't take vacation on being kids.
I think what I love most with Mother's Day is not so much being "permitted" not to do anything, but to have a peaceful day. My kids will still need me, my husband will still need my help with the kids, and the house will probably still take a beating. But that's really okay.

My stress levels are plummeting. It's a lovely feeling. I have time for myself in the morning with my running, I have time with Michael after that when we exercise at the gym, I have time with Ender while Scarlett naps, and then some time with both kids before Michael joins us in the evening. Then we're all together for dinner, bedtime happens at a very healthy hour, and I get to have time with Michael again before our own bedtime comes up. And then once a week, like today, I have some time without the kids where I can simply DO things! By myself!

Ready for a cheesy analogy? :D Where my stress had sky-rocketed earlier this year and apparently got stuck in orbit, it has finally re-entered the atmosphere and made a gentle landing. Yay! I feel so much more in control of my attitude.

There was a specific evening in Mexico that I will always remember. It's become something of a memory-mantra the way it readily soothes me. Michael and I had the beach all to ourselves, the waves were low and soft. The sand was silky, and the sky darkened very slowly. That evening was perhaps the most romantic I've had with Michael, in our own little world in the ocean. When stress begins to steepen, remembering that evening pulls it right back down.

It feels really good, too, to sit comfortably at home blogging and laughing while Michael texts me about his Adventures in Babysitting. He put Ender into the double stroller but forgot to put the wheel breaks on. Ender strolled down the parking lot quite a distance before Michael could stop him. Michael said to Ender "Whoa that was crazy! And sorta funny." Ender said to him "No it wasn't! I was freaking out!" (since when did he learn that phrase?), but later he said it was a funny adventure.

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