Thursday, October 11, 2012

autumn beauty trees leaves picture and wallpaper
          Summer is my favorite season, but lately, fall has been making a pretty strong case. 
          In fall, the humidity disappears. (Need I say more?)  You can be outside without the worry you will sweat by merely standing there or be attacked by a swarm of hungry mosquitoes.  When you style your hair and go outside, it stays styled.  It doesn't morph into a cotton candy-like mound on top of your head.
          Exercising outdoors is more pleasant as well.  You welcome to opportunity to warm up against the chill of the air.  Sweat is something you earn, not something that happens while you just stand there.
          Living behind an orchard makes easy access to all things apple.  We can easily spend an hour combing the rows in search of just ripe fruit.  Add the bonus of a hayride to get to the furthest point of the orchard and it’s a winning activity for the boys.     
          And of course there is the scenery.  In the beginning of the season you can tell where the sun first hits a treat by the bright spots of yellow or red against the field of green.  Every fall I choose a tree and follow its progression of color change.  Walking along trails as leaves cascade to the ground is beyond relaxing.
True, summer brings a long vacation and trips to the beach, but I think I am becoming a fall fan.  Goodbye ice cream truck and frozen margaritas.  Hello apple crisp and Octoberfest beers!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No One Said it Would be Easy

          …but no one said it would be so hard either.  I am talking about parenting.  I've written before of my attempts to find magic answers in books but the written word and the living, breathing – or should I say whining and crying – child that stands before you can be night and day.
          I've been an elementary teacher for fifteen years.  Surely, that experience should account for something?  Right?!  Unfortunately, my preschool stint was a mere six months and once I’ve never “taught” any younger ages.  I should be all set when the boys hit eight, though!  J
          Many times I have said to Jim, “What little chip in their brain tells them to say _____  or act _____?  It’s not like they see us do it.”  Sure, I could blame it on the kids at daycare but they have been together for three years and are a really nice bunch. 
          The biggest issue in our house is control.  Who wants it and who gets it.  Mix this with a couple quick tempers and easily frustrated individuals, and it makes for some major meltdowns. 
          Andrew doesn't understand why things can’t be his way.  I vacillate between reasoning with him and telling him, “Because I gave you a direction.”   (I thought I was so clever with this twist on ‘because I said so.’)  Yeah, right.  He’s in the midst of a bossy stage; that I really hope is a stage.  He’s like a miniature Archie Bunker.  I would like to know who passed him the memo declaring him the boss!
          Alex thinks he’s three and a half and is on a mission to mimic everything his bog brother does.  Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out so well for him and he reacts with throwing, hitting, screaming and head banging.  Good times!  He laughs when you put him in time out.  So we are trying to give him the words to express his frustration.  For example, “I know you are made the train came off the track, but we don’t throw the train when we are mad.”  Sounds very academic, doesn’t it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.
          I have become a broken record of parenting mantras:  It’s just a phase…This, too shall pass…Things will get better…Enjoy this while it lasts, because they grow up so fast.  Some days it helps, some days it seems just ridiculous.  But, this is the life I have chosen and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, really.  And, when I stop and think about it, over the course of a day, 90% is really fantastic.  Manners are flowing, brotherly love is in the air, and  smiles are on all our faces.  But, when we are in the middle of that 10%, it can feel completely overwhelming and you watch all your parenting skills fly out the window. 
          But, we persevere!  I bought a new book:  Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids by Dr. David Walsh.  I’m always open to new ideas and methods.  I think any wise parent would be.  Parenting is an adventure!  Our days would be so dull and boring without Andrew and Alex.