Monday, May 28, 2012

The Birthday Party, that Nearly Wasn't...

This past weekend, I had Miss Madelyn's 7th birthday party. I just about didn't have one... I'm not going to sugar coat things... When Madelyn is at her best, she can be sweet as apple pie [with ice cream on top and perhaps even a drizzle of caramel] But when she is not at her best.... she can be downright awful.

Lately, more often than not, it seems we've been dealing with awful... I'm sure it's a combination of a number of things. We're heading into the last month of school and perhaps the long days have taken their toll. Maybe she's ready to 'be done' for the year. I know she's trying to push boundaries... [though if the truth be told, she's been doing that since she was in the womb]

She is a lovely, strong-willed, little girl, who has many qualities that are going to serve her well in her walk of life. Those very same qualities are the ones we struggle with as parents. It's good that she questions things. It's good that she has her own ideas about what she does and doesn't want to do. It's good that she can't be swayed once she's made up her mind...  It's good that she is her own person, and doesn't care what others think... Like I say, that's going to be great as she gets older. But living here, in our family, with her Mum and Dad trying to set boundaries... It's often a battle. For example, I don't want to have argue, fight, beg and plead for my child to get dressed on Saturday morning. I simply want to say, "Please go get dressed" and have the answer be "Okay, Mum". And it seems like such a simple thing... Some might think, what's the big deal, let her have a jammie day... But it's every day. Over EVERY thing... That was simply one example. It's about getting out of bed on a school morning ["No - I'm not going to school today] It's about what to have for breakfast ["Nothing... I'm not eating breakfast today"] It's about getting dressed for school ["No. I'm not getting dressed for school today"] It's after school when we have to take Mason to swim club ["No. I don't want to go"] So you can see how the battle might begin, because here's the thing... You ARE going to school. You ARE going to have something for breakfast. You are NOT wearing your jammies to school. You HAVE to come with me while I leave the house for an hour and a half... This isn't arguing about whether or not to put her hair up or leave it down... These are things that ARE going to happen... Whether she likes it or not.

I'm not going to say that I'm a terrific Mum and have all the answers... I don't. This child just turned 7 years old, and I still don't know what works, or how to get a situation from escalating once it starts.  I do however, know what some of her triggers are, so I do my best to work around them. I can often make her do things my way, without her knowing that she's doing things my way... I have gotten pretty good at making things seem like they're 'her' idea... Because if it's her idea it's great. If it's not, it's usually not so great. And even though I've learned how to do this, that isn't how things work in the real world.

Let's face it. As adults we don't always like what we have to do, but we still have to do it. We learn this in school at a very young age, that we have a teacher that we clash with, but the work still has to be done. The same thing happens at extra curricular things, where maybe we don't love the coach, but tough... That's who we're stuck with. Then we enter the work force and we've all come across someone there, that we don't get along or agree with, but your hands are tied behind your back and you do what you're told to... So I can't see that making everything seem like it's Madelyn's idea is going to work out well for her in the long run... 

Sheesh... All this, to talk about a birthday party, that nearly wasn't... I'm not an awful Mum... But I really felt that Madelyn didn't deserve a birthday party this year... Then I began to feel guilty about it...[you know who you are ;-)] So I broke down and planned a party.

We had a mermaid theme. I didn't do the 'Ariel' theme. We finally watched the Little Mermaid movie, and she was smitten with the idea of mermaids, which pleased me very much.  

I also didn't stress over this party the way I have for past parties... I didn't decorate like crazy... I didn't have a bunch of mermaid themed food to offer [though I found tons of awesome ideas on Pinterest] I didn't come up with a bunch of mermaid games... Heck, I didn't even make a cake... In the long run, it was great. Everything ran smoothly. We did a jelly fish craft, which the girls put way more time and effort in that I thought they would. We had mini pizzas for dinner, and I had fresh veggies and fruit on the table. The girls watched the movie, ate popcorn, had licorice. We had to turn the last bit of the movie off actually, in order to eat cake and open presents.

So, the party that nearly wasn't, was a big hit. And yes, after all the party guest left she came and thanked me for having her birthday party. To which I told her she was welcome and make sure she thanked Ama as well.

But if I was hoping that she'd be thankful and appreciative for a very long time, I was disappointed, it was short lived. Last night at bedtime, she told me that she wished she lived in a different family, and that we were all mean to her and never let her do anything she wanted to do.. This was because it was bedtime, we asked her to put jammies on. As you know, now at bedtime, its not dark. So why SHOULD she go to bed? It's still light outside. I'm NOT going to bed!

And, the fight ensues... After she finally stomped up the stairs to her bedroom, she muttered "I don't want to see you again." and something along the lines of  I'm going to sleep with a kitchen knife under my pillow. Yes... she said that. That was NOT apple pie Madelyn was it? No... That was the little girl I just rewarded with a birthday party for her unacceptable behavior...

I had no idea parenting would be this challenging...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Project Life Catch Up

I am still loving this project... And today marks the start of the 22nd week. Eeks! It's a bit scary actually, to see how quickly the time goes... I've nearly got six months worth of every day life documented. Despite the fact that I seem to fail miserably on keeping up to date with the weeks on my blog, I have kept up.  Here are weeks 13 - 18:

I finally finished the title page and I LOVE it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

the Girls. Get. Away.

This past week I had a great girls get away in San Diego. Last Friday, I was at the airport at 6 am, ready to head south.The anticipation mounting.

This Friday, I'm home. We got home late Wednesday night, and Thursday was spent making breakfast and lunches for the kids, unpacking my suitcase, doing laundry, sorting out school forms, catching up on email and of course reading my blogs. I downloaded pictures, picked up a book from the library, picked my kids up from the bus, got Mason to floor hockey, took Madelyn to the library, picked Mason up from floor hockey, took them home and fed them supper. I then dropped Mason off to Barry [he was still at work] and took Madelyn to gymnastics. I then dropped her off and went and ran some errands... Phew... Nothing like getting right back at it!

I was in San Diego, with 11 other women. We had a phenomenal time. The weather was great, the hotel we stayed at in a great location. We walked and walked and walked a little more. I got my beach fix... Boy did I ever. Oh how I love thee... I think I was meant to live nearer to the ocean. I can't believe how long I've gone without the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach, feeling the sand on my feet, picking up seashells... It was time indeed.

My and my Mum, plus a group shot of all 12.
i heart the beach...
Pacific Beach.
Pacific Beach.

Everything about this place agrees with me...
This is what it's like to travel with women, that's some fine snacking.
Petco Park home of the San Diego Padres. Look how close we got!
Beach at Coronado.
i left my heart in coronado...
This is what happens when you shop together too much! We both walked out of the change room with nearly the same outfit on!
These were my roommates.
Poolside our last morning.
Heading home... Gorgeous.
Don't get me wrong, I like to shop. We did some shopping too. Some great deals were had, and I'm thrilled with the new stuff I brought home. 5 days was perfect. I looked forward to coming home to my family. Mason had been really bummed out that I was going away for Mother's Day. When I told him his reaction was this "Of all the weekends you could have picked...You're gone on Mother's Day?" But he seemed no worse off because of my absence.

When I got home it was late and the kids were in bed. I snuck into their bedrooms, breathed in their smells and gave them each a kiss. I feel refreshed and renewed. I'm a better Mum because of it. I didn't bring back a lot of souvenirs. They flat out told me they didn't want clothes... But I found little boxes of sharks teeth in a little shop on Coronado Island I picked one up for each of them. You would have thought I'd brought them back diamonds... They are over the moon about their sharks teeth. I also brought back a few sea shells I picked up on the beach, so Miss Madelyn is in heaven.

I can't let years go by again, without making it to the ocean... I can't wait to take my family there, the kids would love it so much. Can't wait to plan our next trip.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

She's Seven

This little girl has turned seven...

We're going with the 'Seven is Heaven' theme... She's totally on board. Please keep your fingers crossed that it keeps up. Six was pretty good. The last few months have been a bit rocky. As we ended six,  it was the pits... She knows it, we know it, things are going to be better from here on in.

We had a little birthday party last Sunday, because it's just too much to try and plan dinner and cake during the busy week. She requested steak along with spinach & strawberry salad. She ate everything on her plate. She also requested chocolate cake, which was delish of course. Ama & Baba and Uncle Chris came over to celebrate. She got some awesome birthday presents:

A beach towel of the Beebs. [Note the grin]

Girl Lego, she's thrilled with it.

Her very own digital camera.
Her actual birthday fell on Wednesday night. Our birthday tradition is that who ever is having the birthday, gets to pick where they want to eat out for dinner. Well, she had a super hard time, trying to decide between Denny's or Boston Pizza. In the end Boston Pizza won. It was a great choice, because they have a promotion on called called wild or wacky Wednesday, and there is a magician who walked around and did magic tricks and of course balloons... So, the birthday girl got treated extra special...

Crazy balloon hat

Motorcycle balloon
I'm not going to lie, the magician/balloon maker was very funny and had Mason and I in hysterics. [Actually, I was laughing so hard because of Mason's reaction, which was hilarious] He had Madelyn stand up on a chair, made her a crazy hat, then got the attention of the restaurant and announced that she was having her 17th birthday...The kids were beside themselves, thinking that was funny. She said "how embarrassing" once she sat back down, and it took me RIGHT BACK to one of my birthdays at the Ponderosa... Where again, I won't lie... Standing on a chair... Being the centre of attention... Wishing I could be UNDER the table... It was awful... Obviously, because I still vividly remember it over 30 years later. No wonder I'm so painfully shy today...

So now I've got a 7 year old and a nearly 10 year old... Eeks...

Planning Miss Madelyn's birthday party in a few weeks. Just wasn't able to fit it in before my San Diego trip.