Tuesday, January 31, 2012

discipline...it's a four letter word

So this whole mom thing... sometimes I just don't feel very good at it. It's been a rough couple of weeks. Our plumbing went out (has been in the process of going out since September) and we had to have the whole sewer line replaced. Additionally, for no apparent reason, Cate's just been grumpier than usual. It seems like we go through seasons, really tough stressful ones and really beautiful soul-nursing ones. And honestly, I don't know if they're caused by her or me. I tend to blame it on her, but something inside nudges me to think it's me. Hmph.

During the tougher seasons, it's so hard to figure the discipline thing out. I never know which route to take. Each situation necessitates a different response, and people who deal with disciplining children (parents, teachers, daycare employees, etc.) have to be very intuitive, responsive, and perceptive, I think. Let me give you a run-down of my morning and all the different techniques I floundered with.

Cate asked for more milk, so I opened her cup and began pouring. She did the ol' flail and wail right there in the kitchen chair. Wait, what? What just happened here?
"Stop. Stoooooop. What's wrong?" I ask.
"I wanna drink the milk!" (more wailing and flailing)
I'm already a little exasperated, but I'm trying to be patient (technique 1). "That's what I was doing. I was getting you milk."
"No, the old milk!"
So, she wanted to drink that last bit in the bottom of the sippy cup before I added the fresh milk. But it was too late. I had already tainted the "old milk" with approximately 2 mL of fresh milk. Meltdown ensued.
I tried to ignore (technique 2) the fit, but her screaming was starting to scare E, and she was moving M's chair with her foot as she flailed about, making it hard for him to eat. After listening and ignoring, and supressing my boiling blood, I removed her from the situation (technique 3) by telling her she could go to her room and come back when she's calm.
She obviously thought that if she did what I said, she would have lost, so she went to the bathroom and shut herself inside. After about 15 more minutes of screaming, I went to check on her. She's laying on the bath mat, pants around her ankles, crying. (She had used the potty, but apparently found the task of pulling her pants up to be too daunting considering her emotional state. Plus, she probably knew it would bother me.) I just feel weird about her being all bare-bottomed with the boys there, so I tell her she must pull them up this instant. (Talking firmly, technique 4). I don't know why I picked this battle to fight. It seemed important at the time. When she refused (and continued to wail) I pulled them up myself. To which she graciously responded by kicking me repeatedly.
Sigh. Here's where it gets ugly.
I pulled her up into my arms, and she tried to wiggle free. I spanked her bottom (technique 5) and said, "We don't kick each other." (I know... the irony wasn't lost on me). I plopped her in bed and told her not to get up until she was ready to stop crying and be nice. So she continued to cry.
To keep myself from dissolving into tears, I had to call Dani, just so she can say, "I know, I've been there, I'm sorry, eat some chocolate." She always makes me feel better. Finally, Cate came back into the living room. She wasn't exactly crying, but she wasn't a ball of sunshine either. If I tried to talk with her or even look at her, she'd make a loud EHNT! noise just because she knows I don't like it. I decided it was best to not make matters worse, so I didn't tell her to stop. I just gave her my mom look (technique 6) and kept playing with the other two kids.
Finally, she came over and started pushing my arm. She was being kind of rough, but I think she was just trying to get back close to me and wasn't sure how to do it. I ignored (technique 2) her jeering looks and less than gentle love-taps, and let her sit in my lap. I know that feeling. Sometimes you want to hit someone and make them hug you at the same time. Just ask my husband.
Finally, we were getting somewhere, I distracted her (technique 7) by asking for help with the shape-sorter. When she finally calmed down, I gave her some love. (technique 8) That's my favorite technique.
So I don't know. I don't know if I did it right; I don't know how to do it right. Kids are so adaptive that as soon as you think you've got it figured out, they change on you. You try so hard to avoid things that will cause a meltdown, make sure they're fed and napped, get the appropriate exercise, not too much tv, and the right amount of play dates and then here you are, trying to figure out how the hell you were supposed to know that they wanted to drink old milk before you put the new milk in.
And you know, as I go back and reread this post, I guess maybe it is about me after all. Because the meltdown didn't hurt anyone. She's ok now (and asleep, praise the Lord!) and the other two kids barely even seemed to notice it was happening. So I guess maybe the question is whether or not I'll let it ruin my peace today. Will that hour of stress ruin the remaining twenty-three? Maybe I'll choose not.
Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

There's a demon in my bathroom scale.

There has to be. That's the only logical explanation.
I have been working out like I have never worked out before. Dani and I are training for a half-marathon, the Rock and Roll Dallas. I am really excited about it because "Run a Marathon" is on the bucket list, and this is a step in the right direction. There have been times in my life where I was a runner, where I could run on a consistent basis. But there has never been a time when I felt like an athlete. But now I'm going to weight lifting classes and riding the stationary bike on my cross training days. I'm doing long runs on the weekends and working on my pace during the week. I'm starting to feel like... that a-word above. It's crazy.
But the scale refuses to budge.
I am a good seven pounds over what I like to think of as my "normal" weight, and twelve over where I want to be. I have been working out at least 5 times a week for the past three weeks and counting calories. And that [choose your own expletive] scale even dared to edge up on me today.
It's infuriating.
However....I am not going to give up. I am so glad that I have a goal other than the weight loss, because if that had been my only goal, I would have thrown my hands up and drowned my lack of progress in pizza and wine. But there has been progress. It just hasn't shown up on the bathroom scale.
-I feel better, stronger. My muscles feel more defined, and my butt doesn't jiggle quite as much. My pace is getting better, and I'm adding a mile to my long run every week.
-My daughter sees a woman who excercises. When we see someone running at the park, she asks, "Is that you, Mama?" She likes to pretend she's doing squats with a tupperware lid.
-My marriage is better. Even though spending time at the gym means we don't spend quite as much time together, it has made that time together even better. Cory has always been the one who inspires me to exercise, and now I get to do that for him. We're both happier when we're together because we feel like we've accomplished something outside of our normal routine.
-I have a lovely running partner, who makes those long runs fly by and keeps me motivated during the week.
-I'm finally getting it, that little addiction to the runner's high. Today is supposed to be a rest day, but the weather is glorious, and I keep thinking maybe I'll just slip outside for a little jog. It's crazy how working out went from being a burden to a pleasure. (Plus, the whole gym membership thing is fabulous.[Thanks, Mom!] They watch Cate, she gets some playtime, and I get some precious alone time.)
So hopefully the weight loss will come in time. In the meantime, I'll relish the other victories.
(But if you know of a good exorcist, send em my way.)