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Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

Starting Anew (Part II of Finding My Voice)

In general, Motherhood, Musings on February 22, 2015 at 2:31 am

What do I want to be when I grow up? It’s a question that many have asked of us over the years as well as a question many of us have asked ourselves over the years. The answer can be simple (a doctor, lawyer, mechanic, etc.) or as complex as one wants to make it. The thing is, sometimes I still feel like a kid just pretending to be a grown up. I still wonder what I will be when I grow up. Sounds silly, I know. But… I am pretty sure I am not the only one out there in his/her 40’s thinking IMG_1141or feeling this way.
The answer to the question in my mind is this: I want to be a good person. Sounds simple, right? But it’s not. Sounds, vague. I know. After all, what does it mean to be a good person? And I may be a single person, but I wear many hats (wife, mother, student, dog owner, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, etc.). What exactly does it mean to be a “good” any of these? Have I succeeded in growing up into a good person in any of these areas? I am 41 after all. I should be a good person by now, shouldn’t I? Could I do better? Will I do worse?
Yes, to both questions. The truth is I could drive myself (and anyone reading this) crazy with all the ways in which I have grown up, or not, to be a good person. But I promise I won’t.
If you are still hanging in there with me know these things: I do believe I have grown up to be a good person (yet there is always room for improvement), but I also know that I am ever evolving. This blog is a place for me to chronicle this evolution and have a way to look back and see where I started (at 41 years old) and to see just how far I’ve come. Right now my life is full of days shuttling small children to and from, school, activities and play dates. My days are filled with trying to keep up a house and feed our children well. I steel away to study nutrition and have a sitter to help give me the time to do so. None of this is easy and there are definitely days when I am not the best version of myself. I’m getting there. Attempting to do my best each day. And looking forward to the day when I can proudly say, “Yes, I have grown up to be a good person. No, scratch that, a great person!”
As this blog fills up with entries, I promise there will be moments of pride, moments of dissatisfaction, moments of joy, moments of self-doubt, self-discovery, and above all moments of growing up. Hopefully you will join me on this journey and know that you are not alone, if you, too, are not sure what you are going to be when you grow up.

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Firsts!

In Motherhood on September 2, 2012 at 4:13 am

Today was the first time that my son overcame his trepidation of being in a new situation all on his own.  It was the first time he decided to try something he wasn’t sure about.  And it was the first time that he was encourage, dare I say inspired, to do something new after watching his big cousins have fun.  So what was it that he accomplished?  We took him to Northstar in Tahoe to ride around on the little road course they build for 18 month 4 year olds to ride their balance bikes on.  Despite how competent he is on his balance bike, I knew that he would be hesitant to try it out.  And he was, but then he got up the nerve and had a blast swerving between cones, tires, etc. and going up and down the ramps.  Then we went over to the bungee area and his sister, who is a little dare devil at heart (and only 21 months old) was dying to try it out.  Nathan was cautious, but decided to do it anyway.  And he had a lot of fun.  Holding onto Daddy’s hands at first and then letting go to do it on his own.  Norah, had a blast and threw a tantrum when her time was up.  But that was to be expected.  The icing on the cake was when he decided after a few laps around the driveway on his bike with the cousins that he wanted to try the little two wheeler we have for him.  On previous attempts he has given up before he even got started.  But not today.  Today he went around and around and around pedaling away.  An enormous smile on his face and so much love  and pride swelling in the hearts of his mommy and his daddy.  I think I say this a lot, but I truly cannot begin to describe how proud of him I am.  He simply persevered today and triumphed.  He went to sleep one tired boy and one proud boy.  Hurray for firsts!

Time Alone: II

In Motherhood, Sewing on August 31, 2012 at 2:45 am

This week I had the fortune of having my son all time myself for a day while his sister spent the day with “Mimi” (their grandmother).  After a weekend of stolen moments with him, attempting to relieve him of his little “soul fever,” I was definitely looking forward to this day to solidify his return to my sweet boy.  And, it was a magical day.  We started out by going to one of our favorite toy stores (Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo, CA).  It’s a favorite for many reasons.  The first reason being that it is where my mom used to take me when I was little.  Secondly, it is a real, old fashioned toy store.  It has wonderful bike, hobby (trains, remote control cars, etc.), doll, book and toy departments with their own specialists.  We started our visit to the store by racing cars around the track in the hobby department.  We then moved on to checking out a little 12″ two wheeler bike (since he is a crazy man on his balance bike), then back through the hobby section to look at more cars and to run the train on its track.  Next we went to play with the Thomas trains set up in the younger kid play area.  All in all I think we were there for over an hour and no, I did not buy him anything.  And, yes, he was ok with that!  He knew ahead of time that we were just going to go look and play and get an idea of what he wants for his birthday.  Snack was next and we did this while sitting on a bench outside the store which is super close to the train tracks.  So every time a train came by he had to go run around the corner and check it out.  Thankfully, the next part of the day, which was checking out new sewing machines for Mommy, went much more smoothly than I anticipated.  I think Nathan was just as excited about all the new fancy functions and embroidery stitches that the new machines have as I was.  Ok, maybe not just as excited as me, but he had fun: especially since we sewed his name and his age.  Oh how I wish a new machine was in our budget.  I had no idea how nice a sewing machine could be…..  But I digress….  the truth is that Nathan was such a perfectly sweet, inquisitive, devilish little boy through out the entire morning.  I adored watching his eyes light up as he saw a toy or gizmo that was new to him.  I loved being a part of his play and his story telling about all the new things he was seeing and why he had to have them.  We finished our outing by going back through the toy store and reading a few books.  If he is not playing with his trains or breaking his cars he is reading.  Finding books he hasn’t read is a challenge.  So it is always fun to sit and rad new books together and discuss why or why not he would want to have that book at home. Then we went home where we sat and had lunch together before settling in to prep dinner.  He has gotten very good at chopping vegetables, washing vegetables and helping me stir.  My husband had told me that he had done dishes a few days prior to this.  So when he asked to do the dishes I certainly did not say no.  He is 3 1/2 years old, mind you… and yet, he did an amazing job.  Yes, I had puddles of water to clean up on the floor and counter.  But the dishes were thoroughly cleaned.  I dried as he washed and we were done with dinner in no time.  Well, just in time for a little fun throwing a frisbee around and building a sand castle before heading out to pick up his sister.  It is in these moments alone with him, that I have the rare opportunity to see how much he has grown, mentally, physically and emotionally.  It is in these moments that I can breathe and enjoy his goofiness and curiosity for what they simply are.  It is in these moments that I am able to spoil him with love.  And it is in these moments that he and I know that we are connected in a way that no two other people are connected.  I am both amazed and inspired by my little man and I am ever so thankful for our time together.

Soul Fever

In Motherhood on August 29, 2012 at 1:48 am

I’ve been reading a parenting book called, “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne.  In it the author considers a child who is out of sorts (i.e., struggling to make heads or tails of things, making poor decisions, impulsive, short attention spanned) as having a “soul fever.” At first I kind of laughed at this.  But then I realized that this euphemism is actually very accurate.  And, in fact just this past week, I felt my son was having a “soul fever.”  We had had a hectic week, with much less structure than usual and Nathan was having trouble dealing with simple things such as being asked to put this own shoes on, or to open the back door for his sister.  I mean all out tantrums.  Not just typical disgruntlement over being asked to do something.  To remedy this, I made sure to spend more one on one time with him this weekend.  I had him come with me to run some errands and along the way we found a fun activity to do together when we got home.  Clothes pin cars.  We bought a little kit that had instructions and all the pieces we needed to build the cars plus some extra stickers and little city buildings we could cut out, fold and tape together.  We took the activity one step further by taping some paper together and drawing roads, trees, a lake, mountains, etc. for the cars to drive around on.  It seemed to work like a charm.  Suddenly he was engrossed in an activity.  He was compliant and you could just feel the “fever” washing away.  The next day I took him to a birthday party on his own, without his sister.  Again, he maintained composure of himself and did not, luckily for me, freak out that I had not had time to stop and get him a gluten free/dairy free treat to take place of the cake I knew would be served.  So, after the party we stopped at a local gluten free bakery (Zest Bakery) and I got him a treat.  And, voila, my son was back. The “soul fever” was gone.  Yay!  Now, what caused the fever in the first place…. a hectic schedule and a certain set of toys that a very special person bought him that proved to be way too over stimulating.  Can I prevent this from happening again?  Most likely not, but at least now I know how enjoyable it is to cure the fever!

Time Alone

In Motherhood on August 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm

My son is off having an adventure with “Mimi”, his grandmother.  And my daughter is here at home with me, all snug as a bug in her crib right now; enjoying her nap.  It is refreshing to have time alone with my daughter.  It has been close to 10 or 12 weeks since I have enjoyed this luxury.  And while I know how different my children are, this time alone with her is a good reminder that yes, indeed, they are different.  Just a few minutes ago, Norah climbed up onto the couch, curled up in a little ball, put her thumb in her mouth and closed her eyes.  She did not go to sleep.  But the mere fact that she is aware enough of the fact that she is tired enough to sleep at the mere age of 21 months startles me.  Nathan never would have admitted fatigue had gotten the better of him.  Still, today he won’t unless he has a fever.  And he is 3 1/2 now.  She also played nicely on her own today mushing around playdough for about 20 minutes while I did some chores.  Nathan would have wanted me sitting there with him at this age.  And while putting her down to sleep just now, she told me to sing and when she didn’t like the song she said, “no.”  I sang another song.  When that song ended she wanted, “more.”  Then she simply drifted off to sleep.  You guessed it…  my son would never be put down for a nap that easily.  I adore them both like crazy.  Together they can be the sweetest little play mates and then suddenly the worst of enemies.  This time alone with each of them is precious.  It helps restore a connection that is unique to each pair of us.  And I am eagerly awaiting the day next week when I have the opportunity to spend a day alone with my Little Man.

Breakfast for Dinner

In Cooking, Motherhood, What's for dinner? on August 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm

  There are simply some days that do not go as planned.  My husband and I plan out our meals on Sundays and then hit the grocery stores.  With all the best intentions, we plan on having beautiful and scrumptious dinners 7 days a week.  And then, life happens.  The kids are crazy, a play date went longer than planned, we’re missing one ingredient.  You name it, it can happen and the result is breakfast for dinner.  The kids love it.  And it is such a relief sometimes to simply know that dinner won’t be a big deal and that they will eat it all up with no prodding.  We refuse to be short order cooks, so the kids to eat what we eat for dinner.  Some nights are more difficult than others.  But breakfast for dinner… that is a piece of cake.

5 weeks to establish, 5 days to destroy….

In Motherhood on August 17, 2012 at 2:33 am

This summer has been an experiment of sorts.  For the first time in a long time I have had little to no breaks from my kids.  This past year my mother would watch the kids twice a week in the afternoons while I rushed off to run an errand or two and then to my very part time job teaching Hebrew at a local synagogue.  So my time “off” was busy and never really about me.  I was ok with that, to a degree.  Then summer came and my mother retreated up to the family home in lake Tahoe.  Lots of projects for her to take care of up there, understandably.  And, well, I was on my own.  I could have been really upset (selfishly so), but instead I embraced having my children to myself.  Each day has had its own struggles, but for the most part I have truly enjoyed having my kids all to myself.  It took me some time to adjust to not having a break, at all.  And the kids and I were, at times, a bit fed up with one another.  But…  in the end we managed to formulate a great little routine together.  They seem to “get” that Mommy has some work to do in the mornings now.  After their breakfast I do dishes and tidy up the house (sweep, start laundry, put things away, etc.).  Sometimes they even try to help.  Nathan does an ok job holding the dust pan for me.  Norah, not so much.  It definitely takes longer to get things done when they help.  But it is good for all of us.  I try to remember to breathe.  It helps, too that we have attempted to minimize the clutter this summer (the toys included).  I do my best to get us out of the house by 9 a.m.  That seems to be a witching hour, when all the chaos seems to happen.  Being out of the house helps minimize that.  We’ve gone to parks, libraries, play dates, etc.  We come home, they have snack/lunch.  Norah then naps and I have time to get dinner prepped and then play with Nathan.  The afternoons are usually pretty mellow.  And unless we need to run an errand, we typically stay home and play outside.  It took us approximately 5 weeks (give or take) to make this new routine feel strongly ingrained in ourselves.  It then took just five days to undo it when we went up to Tahoe for a family vacation.  I could go on and on about how long it is now taking us to get back on track.  But I would be lying.  The truth is that the first day home was disastrous.  The second day home was less disastrous and the third day (today) was almost back to our new “normal.”  It is incredible to me how quickly all that hard work could be seemingly torn asunder.  It is even more amazing to me how quickly we recovered.  Consistency, consistency, consistency.  I have never been very good at being consistent, but that is what parenthood is all about.  Consistency is my new best friend.  Thank goodness for it and for sticking to my guns.

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