There was quite a gap between my last two posts. It’s been crazy around here! We had an early Thanksgiving dinner here in Arizona with my husband’s family, drove to Los Angeles that afternoon to see my family and throw my sister a baby shower, and returned home to the madness of the holiday season, with a few illnesses to keep things interesting.
We’ve been to the Nutcracker, had breakfast with Santa, visited Zoo Lights, baked cookies and other treats, celebrated friends, celebrated Christmas, celebrated Peanut’s second birthday, splurged for train rides in the mall. It’s been fun and exciting and … exhausting.
My kids, especially Pumpkin, do best when they are in a routine, so all of the excitement coupled with being out of school (but still attending all-day after care because I’m still working this week) has led to some behavior issues. Monday morning we had a real struggle getting Pumpkin ready to go. Monday evening, with Mr. G at work, she tested my patience, and I failed the test and yelled at her. I was at my wit’s end. I got the girls in the car and took them on a drive to see Christmas lights set to music in a nearby neighborhood. Pumpkin fought when I asked her to get ready to go, and complained when it was time to come home. With her sister having just had a birthday, and having also been sick, I thought perhaps she was jealous of the attention Peanut was getting, and what she was needing was some special attention for herself. I also knew that I had not really been reacting to her acting out in a constructive way.
After Peanut was in bed, I helped Pumpkin into her pajamas and asked her what she would do if she had a few hours of one-on-one time with just Mommy.
“Don’t answer me yet,” I said. “Think about it, and tell me after you finish brushing your teeth.”
“I already thought about it. At school,” she said. “I knew you were going to ask me.”
Then she gave me a hug and told me I was the best mom she knew. This, just as I had been feeling like a complete failure. My heart melted.
So we brushed teeth and I tucked her into bed and asked what she decided.
“Watch a movie,” she said. “And play dress-up. And then play, in the play room.”
Simple as that. With all the hustle and bustle and trying so hard to make the season magical and exciting, it’s easy to lose sight of what these kids want most: time with the people they love. As I think about my goals for the new year, making this quality time a priority is moving right to the top of the list.