Transitions

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I am officially at 1 month home with the girls and living the apartment life.  Overall, it’s been a good transition. I have been enjoying the more confined, comfy space. I feel like it’s really bringing us together not to mention clearing our lives of so much unneeded junk! I can kick my kids out of the kitchen but still easily talk to them (or just keep an eye on their shenanigans) while they play games at the table or in their room. Our table has become a central hub of the apartment with the girls playing endless games of Sequence or Old Maid and coloring and drawing. Things that didn’t really happen in our larger home.

We are slowly building a routine thanks in part to my super anal type-A personality piece that loves making lists, spreadsheets and Word documents. Breaking house work down into do-able chunks really seemed to make all the difference.

As for the girls, well, they seem to be enjoying it, however, I feel as if the novelty is slowly wearing off and they are starting to really test their boundaries.  They have been really sassy, eye rolls, “NO!!”s and all. Defiant is more like it.  Though what I think I’m seeing are my flaws, or rather my sarcastic jokes and attitude, being reflected back at me.  For those who don’t know me intimately, I can be a bit sarcastic (*wink*) and swear like a sailor.

Well, I’ve given up swearing (for the most part) but it is hard to let go of the sarcastic, dry, deprecating sense of humor that I’ve grown up with.  I’ve always tried to be honest with my children (other than the usual Santa Claus-like stuff) and talk to them in my regular vernacular, explaining words as I go.  I don’t believe in baby talk or talking down to kids and I’m not a supper bubbly, upbeat, spews rainbows sort of girl.  This has probably made it harder (though kept me sane- I am NOT Calliou’s mom after all (you PBS parents will know where I’m coming from!))

Given all of that, it seems that children do not have a built in sarcasm sensor or understanding of how to use this.  Apparently it’s something taught rather than born.  I hope that my children have a great sense of humor, however, it’s hard to justify giving them mine.  After all, how do you teach kids not to call people names when you teasingly do just that to them or your spouse in front of them? Or expect them to only use eye rolls in fun rather than in response to commands when they see you jokingly do just that?  Or to want to spend time with their father when you spend your time together picking on him and “ganging up on him” in a only meant for fun sort of way?  But then again, how do you “be you”?  I want my kids to know me as a person as well as their mother (well, some of it anyway *wink*) and that seems to be my overall current.  If I have to go completely Mary Poppins I will go insane! I already sing weird songs all day (mostly when I lose something or during meals) and quite swearing, but if I have to go all puppy dogs and ice cream I’m going to vomit.

We started up some positive incentives such as the Warm Fuzzy Jar and it’s going better now, but initially the idea started an all out sobbing episode for 30 minutes because Kid A had more fuzzies than Kid B, waaa, waaa, waaa! I haven’t found any good punishments, though.  No one seems phased by going to their room and just drives me crazy with “Can I come out yet?” yells every 30 seconds. I’m trying to be more aware of what I say, but frankly, it’s HARD to change who you are…

I would love to hear anyone’s advice, experience or general all around feed back.  Somewhat stuck on this one…

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Great post! Any full-time At-Home Mom struggles with the “how do I be the best Mom I can be when I am 100% Mom –and also MYSELF at the same time?!”

    Kids just don’t understand sarcasm until they are about 9 years old, they are simply literal until then. It’s a development thing, and it’s awesome that you speak your own vernacular and explain as needed.

    My son mirrors back to me my odd sense of humor, or lack thereof some days, and he uses my funny expressions all the time. I also swear occasionally then follow it up with “oh, that was rude, I need to find a better word” and then use a child-appropriate synonym or attempt to increase/improve all of our vocabularies! Hoping he’ll develop his own sense of humor is important to me too…and he will. He definitely takes after his father too, which is a good thing – as my husband is uber patient, never swears, and is an all-around good guy.

    You can’t help but rub off on your kids when you spend so much time together! So try to make sure that the values you hold dear are also taught and practiced. (We try to teach understanding and tolerance of others who are different from us) and find “teachable moments” all the time.

    I found going to Community-based ECFE was good, so the kids get “kid time” and the parents get adult time at least once a week. Once your girls start full-time school you’ll notice how school effects their behavior, speech patterns, etc (they might start sounding more like their teacher than you within a month of starting kindergarten!)

    Magic 1-2-3, Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 book by Dr. Phelan was a life saver at our house. My son is too smart for time-outs, they had no effect on him. You have to find your kids’ “currency” to help modify their behavior.

    “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Kurcinka was also my savior, not only teaching me how to provide a “Yes” environment for my kid, but also about introversion/extroversion, and personality traits of kids AND parents…and how to turn negative labels into positive ones…this book helped me through many long days alone with my spirited child!

    “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” is also a great book about how to be “bucket fillers” every day and take care of each other’s feelings.

    Good luck, and kudos to you for making the choice to be an At-home Mom…it’s the most challenging job you’ll ever have…and one that you will never regret!!

    ~Abby

  2. Kelly

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Abby.

    I’ve read 1-2-3 Magic and suffer from a lack of self-discipline! I do great for about a week and then suddenly it gets dropped along the way. I have yet to find my kids “currency” which seems to be most of the problem.

    I will have to take a look at the others. I am also finding that I need to learn that they each have their own unique needs and that what works for one does not necessarily work for the other.

    The warm fuzzys are working well, however, I am scared about the sobfest that will ensue when one jar gets filled faster than the other…