Perhaps ignore is a strong word. It has a negative, slimy feeling to it that doesn’t quite express what I’m talking about. Maybe I should use a euphemism here. How does encouraging independent play sound?
Okay then I’ll carry on.
Last week as I tossed and turned waiting for Cameron’s next hourly wakeup (night weaning, more on that later for sure) I reflected on my day with the kids. Did I leave the TV on too long? Do I always make eye contact with my kids when they speak to me? Am I spending enough time engaging with them in age appropriate but mentally stimulating ways? Should they be reading by now or something?
I started to question whether I was doing enough as a mother. We visit the museum, library, toy store, parks, restaurants, and more. We get around but was I doing the right things? What are the right things?
Am I doing them?
I stopped beating myself up. In the midst of one of the most difficult periods of my life I wasn’t going to allow myself to make things worse by obsessing over the minutiae of my mothering. I adore my kids and live to make them smile.
My mom was a good mother and SHE used to take naps on the couch. Know what I did while she napped? I ate raw hot dogs out of the refrigerator and spaghettios straight out of the can. Why? Because mom was asleep! My mom was a single mother who worked long hours and then worked a second shift at home and carting us around to extracurricular activities. She deserved a nap. SHE didn’t stress out about her daily 3:00 p.m. nap.
Why am I killing myself at 3:00 a.m. because I forgot to change the channel before Spongebob started? SHE wasn’t beating herself up over my raw hot dog consumption. Then again she is the woman who chased me with a plastic lobster when I misbehaved.
Then it happened.
Yesterday the kids and I were hanging out on the porch working on some cute little craft kits I bought from Michael’s. We had a rocket and a boat. Preston was working on painting his rocket while Cameron rifled through my camera bag. Preston was really eager to glue the rocket together but I kept telling him that we needed to wait for the paint to try.
Also, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to follow the instructions since I am a total failure at anything requiring engineering or construction – even a toy rocket. I figured waiting for the paint to dry would buy me a few hours until my husband’s return from work.
I left Preston alone while I took Cameron to her room for a nap. I can’t lie. I was nervous. Was he eating paint? Destroying the white couches? There wasn’t much I could do. Preston was really excited about his rocket and I would have felt awful pulling him away from it. I left him alone.
A little while later after Cameron decided that she didn’t want to nap after all but dump Cheerios on the floor I checked on Preston.
He glued all the rocket pieces together himself. Correctly. I was stupefied.
I was so proud but I was surprised. Preston is a lot like me. He gets frustrated when he is faced with something he thinks he can’t do. I hate to watch it. I know he can do it and it kills me when he won’t try. I hate it. I hate that he inherited that trait from me. He is smart and capable but he’ll sometimes say “You do it. You can help! I CAN’T DO IT!”. I gently encourage him to try but I don’t force the issue. He’s still a little guy.
I left him alone and he accomplished a difficult task by himself and without asking for help.
ignoring encouraging independent play isn’t so bad after all? I’m going to try it again. Maybe I’ll take a bubble bath tomorrow. Who knows? Might even go nuts and attempt a nap. Kidding! Cameron would probably take up insider trading or something.
This was supposed to be my Wordless Wednesday post but clearly I am feeling a bit chatty. Enjoy : )
My son thinks my friend Amanda’s son is the coolest guy on earth. He says they’re best buddies. I knew he wanted to play trains with his best buddy before we left for Indiana so I hit up Amanda. She kindly drove ninety minutes to Ithaca so our little guys could have a play date. You already know what photographer playdates look like.
Amanda and I hauled three toddlers, an Uppababy stuffed with trains, a shopping cart, my Polaroid, a vintage quilt, picnic basket, beautiful chair, and a handful of gorgeous props to an open grassy field next to Cornell’s campus. When we arrived there was a group of deer eating peacefully a few feet away. The weather was nice and the sun was warm.
The kids were…somewhat cooperative. Amanda got some incredible shots of Preston (I’ll share those next week) but when it came time to shoot Cameron things went awry. She was crabby. Shocking, I know. She is the happiest baby ever until I *really* want her to do something (anything!) and then a tooth decides to poke through. Oh well. Amanda snapped some great photos of Cameron. I didn’t since I was trying to keep an eye on the boys but I got a few cute snapshots.
Hmm, why am I sitting on this chair wearing these crazy leg ruffles while the boys look for snakes in the grass?
Oh. I see what this is. You didn’t bring me out here to play, did you? DID YOU!?!
See Mom, this is why I scribbled on your white couch. I’ll do it again too.
Oh, thank Elmo my big brother is here to save me!
How adorable is this vintage dress Amanda brought? I wanted to run away with it. SO CUTE.
Oh, and Cameron if you’re reading this (it’s a stretch but she already counts to 20 soo) take note: if you don’t want pictures taken of yourself, stop being so cuddly and gorgeous. There. I said it.
The Iheartfaces photo challenge theme is so cute this month. It’s “Hey Girl” and I love it. Too much. I had a gazillion images to choose from. My sweet little girl loves posing for the camera which is fantastic but made choosing a photo difficult.
I kept returning to the photo below. I am drawn to the color, her smile, her little skinny jeans, and her gut poking through the gritty swing. I know I’m biased but could she possible be any cuter? I swear those cheeks are constantly begging to be pinched.
A few weeks ago my husband and I stepped into Best Buy to kill time while waiting for Target to open (we live on the edge). While we strolled around Preston picked up a camera* and tossed it into Cameron’s stroller. Alrighty then. We decided to buy it as an Easter gift. He is totally into photography now. I caught him setting up Byron
and taking shots from different angles and it was the cutest thing ever.
We go on lots of photography walks. He loves taking pictures of me taking pictures of him (like the photography matrix), of his sister whom he calls his “baby”, and his sneakers. So many pictures of his sneakers.
It’s fascinating to scroll through his pictures and look at what he deems photo worthy. One of the best things about being a mother is seeing the world through my children’s eyes. I love that I can share his little world and memories with friends and family online.
This is what is important to Preston, what he loves, and what he treasures.
It’s more beautiful to me than any shot I will ever take.