Thursday, October 10, 2013

Staying present

Dare I try to post something?

The days are full.  The older boys are outside with the neighbor boys right now, playing.  The younger ones are sleeping.  Mt. Saint Laundry Pile sits in a giant heap behind me, a remnant of September madness.  You should see the kitchen floor.  It is, literally, quite disgusting.  Toy piles in the living room.  Book and magazine piles in the sunroom.  The never-ending mess.

As for me, I'm doing fairly well.  I'm focusing on being a calmer, more "present" mother.  I need to revisit this every so often, to remind myself that "the days are long, but the years are short".  All I need to do is scroll through our screensaver slideshow to get a handle on that.  Yeesh.

I want my fellas to remember a mom that helped them work through their troubles (whether "just" getting along with each other or "just" the frustration of getting a shirt stuck on their head while trying to put it on).

"Just" because it isn't an issue for me doesn't mean that it isn't a big problem (and thus a big learning opportunity) for them.  I can help them work through it, especially if I am not distracted or irritated.  And most importantly, when I recognize it for what it is worth: the opportunity to learn.


Question: "What do we say instead of hitting/biting/kicking/screaming....?"
Answer: "Please stop.  I don't like that."

Question: "If he is hurting/bugging/irritating you, what is the best choice?"
First answer: "Say, 'please stop'!"
Second answer: "Walk away."

Question: "When I ask you to do something, what do you do?"
Answer: "Say, 'Yes, Mama', and do it."

Question: "If you want something and another brother has it, what do you say?"
Answer: "Can it be my turn next?"

These are the question-and-answer games that I spiral through all day long on a daily basis.  It is amazing.  They know the answers and how to do it, but in the heat of the moment it is hard to remember.  The best times are when I hear them doing and saying exactly what they need to, without my supervision.  That is when I know there is hope, that they are slowly gaining the skills to make it happen without a director (me) standing over them.  And it does happen.

More often than not, they need my guidance to work through these issues.  I can do that, very well indeed, but not when I am not "present".  When my mind is not here.  When I am struggling to remember why I am doing this.  When I give credence to the idea that my life is a swirling eddy of child-induced irritation and pay more attention to the burn than the bright-eyed boys all around me (and it does burn).  All the typical "grass is greener" crap.  And what it worse, their troubles tend to downhill fast when I am not fully present.  It's like putting another log on the fire.

Can I do it?  Yes I can!  (I'm my very own "Bob the Builder" cheerleader.)  How will I do it?  Through habit and attention.  And I am doing it.  Sometimes it is hard, sometimes isn't.  All that matters is that I keep on track and remember.

Remember.  The days are long, but the years are short.

And I don't want to miss any of it.

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