Thursday, January 7, 2010

different

I don't know why, but I haven't felt like writing much lately. I haven't been drawn to my blog the way I used to be. Maybe it's because my lifestyle is changing, I'm not sure. Parks is changing. He's becoming a lot more active and by active, I mean reallllly active. Like, in constant motion, as in never stopping. My suspicions have been confirmed by seasoned parents, family and friends alike, Parks is a "live one". Not your average active toddler, a REALLY active toddler. As in I've got my hands full. I'll stop now, I think you get the picture.
We went to a "Music, Mommy & Me" class today and about 13 kids and parents were in the room. All the children sat happily in their parents laps....except, guess who? Parks! He was not pleased with being constrained he wanted to be on the move. I told my mom, "I felt like I had the special needs child". He was different than the other kids in the class.

Although I am confident that he is a healthy child (our pediatrician confirms this) he is different. His energy level and his need for interaction and stimulation is just different. I say this...almost as a confession. The last few months have been very difficult for me. I've been struggling to find joy in a day that seems filled with non-stop demands and a young toddler who is not easy to please. Nothing is easy anymore. Parks is already throwing tantrums (and I mean arched back, screaming, crying tantrums) when the simplest thing doesn't go his way. Can we say "Strong-Willed Child"?!!! He eats great one day and the next, he refuses everything and cries in his highchair. I can't eat out anymore, sometimes I can barely eat in peace at all. I've actually adopted the motto "A Baby Einstein a day keeps the crazy mommy away" What has happened to me??? The list goes on....

Don't worry, I'm not about to jump off a cliff or anything. Things have gotten better. I have an adoring, amazing, supportive husband who is a phenomenal dad who will do whatever it takes to support me in my new role as mom. I also have an awesome family in town who helps with Parks a lot. I'm not alone, and I've got lots of people around me to help me troubleshoot and give me breaks.

I'm just realizing, parenting is A LOT harder than I thought it was going to be. It's really hard not to look around and see other mom's LOVING staying home with their kids and having an absolute blast and having way more good days than bad. I'm humbled to say, that has not really been my reality. Of course, I love Parks. Of course, I want to stay home with him. Of course, we DO have lots of fun some days. That should go without saying. But, there are still really hard days that leave me wanting to pull my hair out and scream!

He's kind of at an in-between stage I think. Old enough and active enough to NEED stimulation and activity, but too young to really, truly enjoy the park, or the zoo, or other typical outings. I think we'll be a lot better off in the next six months or so.

But I'll tell you what helps, is just having people acknowledge that he's NOT an easy baby. It's funny how someone just acknowledging your reality makes you feel better. If people acknowledge he's more challenging, then I feel like the expectations on me are different and people understand that I'm dealing with a more challenging child.

Until then, I remain humbled and in need of God's grace and mercy on me. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and tempted to sink into a pit of "poor me, look what I can't do anymore, look how boring my day is" instead of focusing on what an amazing blessing Parks is and trying to be the best mom I can be for him.

So, maybe that is why things have been a little different on the blog lately. Hopefully there will be more to come soon! Thanks for listening to my mommy ramblings!


10 comments:

Cecil Family said...

Hi Mallory... I am a friend of Lindsey Strickland's, and I have enjoyed reading your blog.

I can absolutely sympathize with how you are feeling... I have felt much the same way recently. I have had a "live wire" since she was born, she is always on, and never stops going. It is easy to feel that they are "high needs" children, because, well, they are!

I wanted to share with you an AMAZING resource that I just found that has changed my parenting completely! It's a book called "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It is by far the best parenting book I EVER have read.

The best part about this book is that it is so positive-- it's easy for us (and others) to label with negative terms like 'challenging', 'difficult', 'distracted', etc, there are so many other positive ways to frame it so that we can meet our child's needs. (For example, they are not 'over active' children, but "spirited" like the title suggests, which is a phrase I love!)

Anyways, I just wanted to share, because I know it's very hard, and this book pretty much rocked my world. :)

mallory said...

Thank you SO much for that book recommendation and your encouragement! It sounds awesome and I can't wait to check it out. It's so nice to hear from other parents of "spirited" children. :)

Cecil Family said...

Yes, finding other parents of spirited children as a support is key.

Here's a recent example: I had to go to the cathedral yesterday for a panel discussion, and had to bring my daughter. I had no childcare, and they said it would be fine. I was pretty nervous because she likes to be active, moving, and talking. Not in a bad way, but just a very curious way. Not everyone is a fan of that, and I try to be mindful of that.

During the presentation, we were sitting next to the woman who was chairing the committee, so she spoke through a microphone. Alice thought the lady was talking to her, so naturally, she chimed on in as loudly as the microphone during the presentation.

After the presentation ended, the woman chairing said to me "Wow, my kids were NEVER that vocal or active" with a fairly negative tone. I said "Hmm, that's nice" and tried not to absorb the bad labels.

I left to go into the lobby, and another woman came up to me. She said "My first daughter was just that energetic, lively, self-confident, and good with people. It's so wonderful to have that, especially with girls! My daughter is now 10, and this past Sunday, she stood up in front of the entire congregation all by herself and gave a speech about Outreach! That's what you have to look forward to-- it's wonderful."

I just about burst into tears when she told me this. :)What a difference! :)

So yes, I hope this is a good resource to any parent out there with a spirited kid!

--Nikki

Jaime said...

Been there. Lived that. :) I totally relate, siesta! Do the next thing. It WILL get easier. Yes, this is a really challenging time. Spring is coming and you will be able to GET OUT and let that boy be a boy and romp all over the place. The winter months are tough. You are doing a GREAT JOB. Parks is SO blessed to have you!!

Stirling said...

Hey Mallory! While I can't say I relate, I just wanted to tell you how refreshing it is to read such an honest confession of your life. One of my New Years' resolutions is to be better about "confessing" and not pretend to come across as if I have it all together. Because in reality, you are so right, it feels so good when other people recognize your challenge and you can share in the experience with others. I admire you and you are a huge blessing to Parks. Happy New Year!

LindseyStrickland said...

I'm right there with you. A mother grabbed her "sensitive" child and ran (yes, ran) out of Cville Coffee the other day because Addie was "too much" for him. Addie is so outgoing and active. We have the same experience as you do at her music class, it's tiring for me, but she LOVES it. She started tantrums very early as well. Preschool is a MUST for my sanity this coming year! I just hope she doesn't get kicked out (kidding... sort of). I try to remind myself that she is living life to the fullest - it just sucks the life out of me :)

Megan said...

Hey Mal!

You are doing a great job and your honesty is refreshing and encouraging. Noah is pretty spirited too. He definitely throws the arched back temper tantrums-particulary at the grocery or anywhere else that he is confined to a cart. I think part of it is having boys as well. I am reading "Bringing Up Boys" by James Dobson and I really like it so far.
Oh and don't feel bad about Baby Einstein, my motto is "2 Baby Einsteins a day keeps crazy mommy away!!"

Jennifer Lily said...

Hey Mallory,

So glad we can keep updated with each other! Your honesty and perspective is so refreshing, I really appreciate your writing. As always, I will keep you, Parks and Jackson in my prayers. Take care and I hope to meet you all soon!
-Jenna

nrsimone said...

Mallory -
Keep taking Parks out in public and to these classes. This is how you will locate another "spirited child" and his mom. She is out there. Befriend her. Hang out with her. Let your children be spirited together all over the house while you and your new friend sit on the couch sipping wine, without feeling guilty about one child being the disruptive one. I'm serious.

Hillery said...

although i dont have children, i am both honored and humbled by your honesty. Parks is wonderful and will continue to amaze each and everyone of us. that being said, its tough right now. but that is just it- you have admitted it. you have brought it to life, and you have an amazing husband, family and network of mommy friends (and crazy new yorkers like myself) to be there to support, laugh and cry with you. again, i do not have children, but i do babysit a lot. one of the munchkins i babysit is very active to the point of utter exhaustion. it reminds me of you and your daily strength!

i have taken her to percussion classes.... imagine Parks swatting at drums and such... could tire the little dude out???

love you!