Thursday, December 20, 2012

Self Talk (another exercise)

Stupid Brain!!! Why, oh why, must you keep me up all night with your excessive thought?

Ok, so perhaps the caffeine didn't help either. But why can't Caffeine wake my body up along with my brain? Am I broken or something? It seems that my body is not affected by caffeine at all, while my brain takes to it like a cow to grass.

So there I am laying in bed, my body protesting, "Get some sleep, I'm exhausted!" Meanwhile, my brain remains blissfully ignorant. Or perhaps it's more willfull disobedience.

I was lying there for hours, waiting, willing, wishing for you to go to sleep. To stop your ramblings. I just wanted to be fresh for the new day. Closing my eyes and willing my body to rest even if my mind wasn't listening, didn't really work out very well.

What is it about that state between tired and awake that keeps me in bed? I mean, I suppose if my brain was that alert I could have gotten up and done some work. But because my body was so exhausted, I couldn't muster up the energy to rise from bed. And so I laid there.

Then, my mom's voice starts playing in my head... or maybe it's God... sometimes I mix them up. (I mean, I know my mom isn't God, people! It's just that God's advice and my mom's advice tend to overlap.) "Why don't you try praying."

Well, for once, that didn't work as well as I hoped. I started down my mental list. And still you persisted. For a scatterbrain, you sure seem to stay on track when you want to. I started with my family as usual, going down the list one couple at a time. After each one you tried to drag me off track.

Finally, you were subdued. Not conquered, but at least subdued. It was a struggle, but I finally won. Of course, it didn't help that Hubby climbed into bed a few minutes later, jolting me awake again.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Activities for Older Boys

Here's how I came to write this blog... I did a google search and here were a few of my results:

 1) Christmas Crafts for kids
2) What to get a teenage boy for Christmas
3) Christmas gifts for teenagers
4) Christmas Printables
5) Christmas Party Games

What I really wanted was for some other, really smart moms out there in cyberspace to tell me how to keep my teenage son interested in spending time with his family at Christmas rather than becoming detached and bored with the festivities, or self-centered and focused on materialism.  Since I guess no one out there figured it out, I'm going to have to get creative and come up with something.

Now, keep in mind, my son is 15.  He's never liked crafts.  Although I did find an ornament idea a couple years ago that involved drilling a hole in a piece of wood.  That part seemed to interest him, but scissors and glue and glitter and crayons... forget it.

My best friends sons seem to have a bit more fun getting creative, but at 13 years old, they too, are getting a bit past the hand print turkeys and peanut butter pine cones.  So I'm brainstorming ideas for things they can do this Christmas that will be truly memorable and enjoyable for them.   

Here's what I've come up with so far

1) Hanging lights - I know some more protective parents might cringe at the thought of 13-15 year olds wielding staple guns while climbing on the roof.  I think they're quite capable, and ours are certainly tall enough.  I think letting them put up the lights and design the yard decor will give them a sense of accomplishment while encouraging their independence in a positive way.  My husband certainly doesn't like doing it, and I'm not overly fond of heights... so I think while the younger kids are applying pom-poms to Popsicle sticks these young men can be wiring the front yard with electricity.

2) Setting up the Christmas tree - Last year my son grew tired of hanging ornaments pretty quickly.  If we end up getting a live one this year, he can have the fun of sawing off portions of trunk to fit our ceiling height and then going over it with clippers to shape it up right.  Even if we end up setting up our pre-lit artificial tree, he'll probably still find it a lot more invigorating than deciding which hand-made crocheted snowflake looks best next to the sequined musical note ornament.

3) Preparing the New-Years Bonfire - This one may not be applicable to everyone, but here in South Florida we like to ring in the new year with a nice marshmallow roast around our fire pit.  Since they don't have to chop wood all year like boys did 100 years ago, they might relish the opportunity to wield an axe.  Not to mention, they'll probably be pretty proud of their biceps afterward.

4) Making tin can luminaries - I remember doing this as a teenager.  I also remember my brothers really enjoying it.  I'll have to save some good sized cans.  I think it will be worth the hassle of washing chili residue out if he gets to bang a nail through a piece of tin.  He also might get a tiny kick out of lighting the candles, as it deals with more fire.

Well, that's the best I can do.  If any of you, smarter, moms out there already have a list, send it my way.  I'm all for conglomeration on these things.

There is Hope

Well, the day has finally arrived.  Or I suppose I should say "season."  I have been a parent for 15 years, and I am finally baking with my children (without losing my mind, or ending up with boogers in the frosting).

So let me encourage you, mothers of little ones.  They do grow up.  They don't stay little and incompetent forever.  Some day, you will be able to recreate the Norman Rockwell moments with your children.

My children are now 15, 10, 8, and (as of tomorrow) 4.  I finally am in a place where I get a full nights sleep about 80% of the year.  Exceptions include bouts of sickness and the occasional nightmare.  I don't have to change diapers or worry about where the closest bathroom is at any given intersection on my errand runs.  My youngest still has the occasional accident, but overall she is unbelievably good at going potty in a toilet without needing my help the whole time.  I can even send her with a sibling at times if it's necessary.

My 15 year old is now old enough to babysit his sisters.  I can't even begin to describe the bliss of being able to run to the store for a bit while he holds down the fort.  I have to say that right now I am really reaping the rewards of being consistent and down-right hard nosed when he was younger.  Be encouraged, young mommies.  If you stick to your guns, grit your teeth when it starts getting hairy, and stay consistent with them, someday you'll be able to walk out the door without them in tow and be assured that the house will still be standing when you get back (and you won't be getting a call from the ER).

I know that it's exhausting.  I know that they don't know when to shut-up.  I know that if you hear one more complaint about dinner you're going to smack some... thing.  I know how difficult it can be to punish them AGAIN for the same thing.  I know that its nauseating when your friends without children brag about all the sleep they got when daylight savings ended, while you were up at the crack of dawn because your little one's alarm clock doesn't run on analog or digital.

So let me ease your weary mind.  Someday they will be older.  I know you're getting lots of advice to cherish them while their young.  If you're like me, you're probably starting to feel guilty about not appreciating their starry-eyed wonder while simultaneously visualizing how to make a strait jacket look cute.  The great thing is, when they're old enough to start doing fun things you'll still have a good ten years left with them.

Sure, they may not say "pasghetti," or do silly dances to the music playing over the loudspeakers at the mall.  They may be too tall for the play-place at McDonalds, or two gangly to keep on your lap while you read them a book.  But you'll still have plenty of moments to cherish with them, and those moments will start to get closer and closer together.

I hope this encourages you.  I hope that you can take a deep breath as you listen to the silence of your little ones getting into mischief (because if you've read this far, they're either sleeping, or getting into something), and realize that "this too shall pass."

P.S. The Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting were delicious.  :)