Monday, December 3, 2007

Blustery Monday

Well, it was back to school for all the Sombar kids today(except ol' Sethy, of course). Liam was out for three days last week due to his pervasive ear infections and stomach issues. Benjamin, Seth and I began our day early, searching for some Christmas decor at Target and dropping off stockings to be embroidered at Barefoot Stitches. I splurged last year and bought everyone in our family quilted stockings from Pottery Barn, with names on them. Since Tom's father and stepmother will be spending Christmas with us again this year, I bought them each a stocking as well. We are looking forward to their visit- the kids love to wile away the hours with their "Poppy" while Rose and I bake, clean, reorganize, and gab. Rose is good at whipping things into shape, which is generally an area where I could use all the help I can get. I value her immensely because she has been a very staunch advocate for me, especially when the rest of my husband's clan seemed to be on a witch hunt where I was concerned. While I'm certain she doesn't agree with all of the parenting decisions Tom and I have made in the last decade, she does what all good parents do- she supports us and keeps the rest to herself. I am hoping to get some baking done ahead of time so I am not overwhelmed with meal preparation once they arrive.

I enjoyed having Benjamin along for my errands today- he's become more clingy as of late- I suspect due to some developmental milestones (he will be five next month) or anxiety over his increasing independence. He is a really good kid, though this fact at times becomes muddled by his rather vivacious spirit and occasional behavioral episodes. He really longs to be with me, in any capacity, and I've been striving to become more empathetic towards him and his needs. This can be a challenge when I feel so maxed but I find that including him, even in the most mundane of activities, will head off most acting out on his part, and helps me to see him in a better light more often. I think when you have a spirited child, you can find yourself forming general opinions about them and their behavior which have a real negative impact on your relationship. By working with him and meeting him where he is, emotionally, I feel less like I want to beat the crap out of him (LOL)and more like I can understand where he is coming from and walk a mile in his shoes. At almost five years old, Benjamin struggles greatly with feeling a lack of control over his daily choices and empowerment. It is very hard for him to hear that his ideas or desires are not convenient or possible and this tends to send him into a tail spin. I read recently, online, an opinion from a more veteran mother of sorts, that being a child is actually a much harder job than being a parent, due to the lack of power you have over your own life. I pondered this for a while last week, and I must admit, I think she's right. If given the opportunity to return to my own childhood, I would never take it because, as a grown-up, I can mold my life into what I want it to be rather than what others feel is best, etc. If I'm hungry I can eat what I want, when I want. If I need something new to wear because the clothes I have don't make me feel good about my body, I can go buy it. If I want to watch a movie at midnight, I can choose to do this and take full responsibility for how I feel the next day. So, from this perspective, it would seem that, as a parent, my job is not only to guide my children safely through their "growing-up" years, but to attempt to empower them the best way I can. I have been trying to see things from this side of the coin for about a week now and it has really been enlightening- the harder I work to enable them to achieve something they are reaching toward, the better I am at understanding their quirks and the more fun I have as a parent. This will be a life-long project for me but one that I think is really amazing to watch unfold.

On a final note, the kids and I worked for about an hour at our local library this afternoon, setting out all of our nativity scenes in the display case for the month. We all took great pains to arrange each one just so and I felt so proud to behold all of them- layed out for the community to see. Its so nice to have something you feel so passionate about that you choose to start a collection. I don't know- I guess it adds a little spark to your soul. I cheated a little and bought two nativities at the last minute, on Sunday, from the Fair Trade store in Squirrel Hill: a very unique piece from Malawi- carved solely from wood, and one from Nepal made from recycled textiles, bamboo, and wood.

All in all, it was a good Monday and I'm pooped.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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