Well, we’re one and a half weeks in to the real-deal, home-for-good, “What do we do with this kid in the summer?” parenting. It has been…tiring. The kid’s method of naming things is to give whatever thing we’re naming and then just add a “y”.
So, Speedy the fan lizard. Jumpy the bird who bounces. Glowy the glowing fish. Softy the Soft Shelled Turtle.
If he was giving Alex and I a name, we would be Tiredy and Exhaustedy. But also, Happy-y and Content-y.
In adoption training, they tell you all about how to deal with the adoption related stuff that you might see. We learned all about trauma and compassion and discipline techniques. We wrote down all of their tricks and tips with our number 2 pencils in our little notebooks and nodded our heads and said, “Oh, we can be ready for that.” We’ve now realized that being ready in your head is much different than being ready in the moment, when you’re tired and hungry and the only part of your brain that is working is the emotional part.
So there’s been a little adoption-related stuff that has been hard, but if you want the God’s honest truth, I think that the most difficult part of this has been just learning to be parents with a 9-year-old. It’s like we skipped the training wheels and went straight to the 10-speed. A neighbor jokingly referred to us as the “dopey new parents” at an event on Monday because we were helicoptering (secretly) as the kid played.
And it’s true.
We are dopey new parents.
We take pictures of him ironing and catching his 52nd fish. We scream and wave our arms when he gets a hard math problem right. We make him do 30 minutes of math and 30 minutes of reading everyday so he can earn a chance to go to the “bookstore” we have in the garage. I don’t count his calories but I do have an uncanny knack for remembering what he’s already eaten on any given day, despite my inability to remember where I put my keys 15 minutes ago.
We are learning so many new things about parenting our specific kid. Here are a few:
– We’re learning that we can basically offer anything to extend bedtime so “family yoga” has become a new thing. We got these yoga cards and everyone draws a pose.
-We’ve learned that staying up two hours past bedtime (two nights in a row) makes for a grumpy boy all day.
-I’ve learning that we have to carry a rolling suitcase of snacks with us all day long or the kid turns into a monster (and Alex too).
-We’re learning to offer choices when we can and not feel guilty when we can’t offer choices and he pouts (because kids pout, apparently).
-We’ve learned that we won’t be perfect parents, but we know that apologizing when we make mistakes is probably more important than being perfect. We’re modeling what life looks like when you inevitably screw up. One of our family mantras is, “Nobody’s perfect”.
-We’re still learning to set good boundaries so that our marriage doesn’t suffer. We still want to be Alex and Beth, sometimes, not just mom and dad. We’re trying to find the balance between using every chance we can to bond and attach with our son and not getting so exhausted and burned out that we don’t have one ounce of energy left for each other.
-We’re learning what he likes and doesn’t like. For instance, he told me that he LOVES celery and peanut butter so I bought celery and made it for him and he acted like he was dying. So, maybe he really doesn’t like peanut butter and celery. The kid could eat bean and cheese tacos for every meal, though. I’ve had to limit his daily bean and cheese taco intake.
– I’m learning that I can actually pick my battles. He wants to run around and chase the dog and use the furniture as a trampoline? Fine. He wants to drink the leftover pickle juice? Fine. He wants to pour the leftover ice cold water on his head right before bed? Fine. He wants to destroy my kitchen making homemade pizzas? Let’s do it. I really thought that those “kid” things would get to me more, but I’m think he’s helping me loosen up a bit, since if I said no to those things, I would be saying “no” all.day.long. So, instead I choose to say “yes!” to the things that I can handle (even if I don’t want to) and I think it’s helped me to be a better mom (and a better person).
We don’t measure the good and bad in days. It’s more like we have good moments, okay moments, and bad moments. The bad moments are really not that bad and pretty far apart. The good moments are so good that they make me wish I could freeze time and just live in that moment.
When he throws his head back and does a full belly laugh.
The first time he lets me hold him, even if it’s in a pool and he is forcing chlorine water into my nostrils.
Bedtime, when I’m giving him a foot massage and he rests his head right next to Alex so he can better see the book.
When he makes up funny words to a Michael Jackson song.
Parenting is hands down the hardest thing task that I’ve ever undertaken, but it’s also the coolest, most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.