Fall is in there air -- what little of it there is in southern california-- and pumpkins have begun to sprinkle the landscape.
the Mr. and I just returned from a glorious, nine day, kid-free vacation.
let's just let that sink in a bit.
our first in more than 8 years... it was desperately needed.
we returned home and these snaps are a sprinkling of our days now...
Satine is growing up so fast, and dangling in the border of childhood and the beginnings of pre-tween-hood, shapeshifting between worlds of increased independence and ownership of herself, yet clinging to childlike ways. And unlike other changes that prompt a twinge of melancholy in me for the relentless advance of time, seeing this dance in her makes me happy and totally in love.
satine, my girl. surprisingly, it was satine that had the hardest time with us being gone. she has been through so much these past two months: two last minute school changes, lots of adjustments, and then right after switching to the second school, we left for vacation. not great timing, but what're you going to do? lots of Viber-ing from Jamaica. the man and i needed a vacay more than she needed us, and I knew she was in great hands with mom and auntie.
but she's doing great now. planning out halloween costumes (she: Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie; Navia: unicorn or Elsa; Keats: "punkin. a nice one.") and upcoming birthdays for her and her sis.
i was super excited to see the kids, but what i wasn't expecting was how difficult my re-entry back to reality would be for me.
you'd think all that R&R would've energized me to face the days back home with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. instead, i was a grumpy monster. bitter, angry, and full of resentment. not at first, of course -- i was as thrilled and excited to see the kids as any mom would be. but after the third or fourth inexplicable tantrum -- even in the midst of doling out special treats and privileges -- my frustration got the better of me and i felt like having a few tantrums of my own. in fact i think i did. :)
The contrast of my stress & responsibility-free week of vacation, juxtaposed with these bewildering moodswings and tantrums of a 2, 3, and 7 year old, combined with the messiness, the chores, the constant cleaning (because mess drives me even crazier) made me realize maybe i had a bit of parental fatigue. Perhaps I'd waited too long (8 years) to take any real vacation and I needed to do a better job of taking care of myself. But whatever the case, upon being back home, I discovered i must have left my patience swimming in the Caribbean.
my little lovebug navia was testing me the most. if you follow me on instagram, you may've seen me post about it. i know for a fact that had i been in a better state of mind, i could have alleviated or at least mitigated these situations. instead, my monster-grump attitude escalated things. i may or may not have turned into a green scary monster. i may or may not have negotiated with my three year old as if she were a teenager (#parentfail101). there were lots of hugs to offset the many tears and frustration, but still. there were lots of tears and frustration. on both our parts. i was surprised at myself. embarrased, ashamed, feeling like i was living on the edge; amped up and emotionally triggered (mad) beyond what matched the situation. disconnected. knowing i was screwing it up but unable to stop myself from doing so.
until i could.
until i took a deep breath.
stopped, prayed about it. remembered, finally, out of frustration, Oh, yea. let me turn this one over. Here you go, God. I'm surrendering (again) my parenting to You. i cant do it. i'm not getting through to her. i myself need a perspective change. i don't know what to do. i'm spent. i'm exhausted, tired. crazy irritated (what's up with that? what's goin on with my hormones?!!? please help me with that, too.) heal our hearts. heal my resentment, her anger, hurt. forgive me for yelling... and so on.
on the roughest, most emotionally-triggering melt-down kind of day, she awoke from her nap and i centered myself in love and patience, expecting the worst because navia holds onto anger and takes a long time to process and let go of it. before naptime, she was definitely angry with me and i braced for her to wake in a rage like she's done in the past. i wanted to respond only with love, patience and empathy. and yet... she wasn't angry. she awoke cheerful and carefree. happy go lucky. she woke and quickly was laughing and playing with her sister on the swings outside, and sweet as she could be to me.
i sat and watched her, befuddled, beat-feeling, but happy and relieved that we both seemed to have turned a corner.
And ever since, we've been back in our little lovebubble. we've downshifted back to normal and harmony is back. mostly. :)
this girl.... my little sugar and spice. passionate, fiery, opinionated, loving when she wants to be... On the surface, her impassioned fieriness seems to mask her sensitivity. but in fact, she is deeply sensitive and tender, she gets hurt easily, and in turn, lashes out instead of internalizing it into sorrow. very different than satine....
Keats is talking up a storm now. His latest: I want touch it. It soft! I want touch it. It bumpy!
school. changes. travel. readjustments. the subtle feeling of Fall. swings. digging. balloons. tears, hugs and more hugs.
hope you all are well.