And I'm spending it thinking about the sleeping children.
This is our first full week of really, truly, all being home together. My first week home my Mom was visiting. Then we had a trip up north (where the hubs took MJ and I took Greta to different friends houses.... sort of a guys weekend, girls weekend thing, but with parenting duties still intact). Then a few days later my mother in law was in town.
But now, this week, we're doing this. Full time. And it's hard. But I'm already learning some things.
1) I'm having to lean on electronic media more than I would like. I had grand plans of having preschool time every day, working with MJ on reading and writing and all those important skills. The truth is, she has little tolerance for learning these things from me. And as soon as she stops listening, I get frustrated and start threatening. It's no good and I'm not doing very well at figuring out how to navigate it. So I've started resorting to PBS Kids games for some teaching, because she really just refuses to have me teach her unless I'm very sneaky about it. I know part of it's the age, and I'm not versed in how to deal with it. But part of it is just us clashing.
2) I'm also getting in the habit of letting her watch TV when Greta naps. If I don't, I often get no break in the day. I'll be fine for a while but by early evening I start to lose it. By having that break in the middle of the day, and time apart from each other, I do a little better keeping it together.
3) We bought a bigger house a couple years ago so that we'd have space to spread it. It helps, but I've learned that when there's a 3-year-old it doesn't matter, because she wants to be up in your grill all the time anyway. She's pretty good at entertaining herself, but she still wants to be wherever I am and often wants me to play some peripheral character. I just have to be present to play the role but still the lack of quiet gets me. The non-stop chatter drives me insane. I know I'd miss it if it was gone (as it will be in 10 years) but I thrive on a certain amount of quiet in my day.
4) We've started to do away with naps for MJ and instituting an earlier bedtime. It has been working really well and she actually seems less tired than she used to be. Previously she would nap for 2-3 hours but then have a hard time falling asleep at night and be up until 9 or later. The other advantage is that we now only have to work around one napping schedule. And Greta's napping schedule is all in flux since we instituted a hard-line on sleeping at night and stopped giving her bottles. We had a tough couple nights, but even at the worst she never cried for more than about 20 minutes and never really did more than fuss. It wasn't nearly as tough as I expected, and the not getting up 4 to 5 times a night is making me a saner person. So lots of sleeping changes around here, but when the dust settles I think we'll all be better off.
5) MJ misses her friends desperately. I somehow underestimated the validity of 3-year-old friendships and thought they'd be soon forgotten. But she loves fiercely so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. I need to do better about getting out to play with other kids every day. And I need to find her a regular play group. If this weather would ever finally turn to spring it'd be a lot easier.
6) Last, but not least, I made a boy at the playground cry yesterday. It's the same indoor playground where MJ previously got picked on by a girl who kept telling her she was a boy. The girl was clearly just trying to be mean and it really upset her. This time I looked up to see MJ cornered by 3 boys who wouldn't let her out of a little space ship. She barreled through them and they were pulling on her and she was screaming. So I handed Greta to the hubs and raced up to help her. When I got there they were pushing her down some stairs. I was furious and my blood was boiling. I grabbed one kids shirt (not my best parenting move) and growled "Where is your mother? This is not acceptable playground behavior. Pushing is not okay and your mother needs to know how you're behaving." He started crying; sobbing might be a better term. And then his brother said that MJ had started it by pushing and hitting. Right then I realized I was in deeper than I wanted to be. I took MJ down to the ground floor and told hubs "We're leaving RIGHT now." The hubs was not clear what was going on and was annoyed that I was dragging them all out. But I no longer knew who was at fault, and I could just see this boy coming down and sobbing to his mother and me losing my shit. I couldn't handle it, and I wasn't sure if MJ had indeed started it.
I explained it all to the hubs later. He clarified that 3 boys (older than her) means that even if she did start it they were in the wrong; he thought it was hilarious that I made the boy cry. I have NO idea how to deal with playground parenting. I generally try to stay out of it, figuring they need to figure it out, but in that moment I wanted her to know that she did NOT need to put up with being treated like that. At that moment I wanted her to be back at preschool, learning these social skills with teachers on watch and not an over-emotional mom. And learning these skills by interacting with the same kids over and over, instead of one-time encounters.
At any rate, I think I'll be staying away from Eagan for a while.
There you go, an unedited tirade about our first week figuring all of this out.