Valentine’s Day as a Family

Sean gets a ValentineCelebrating Valentine’s Day as a family is way more fun that celebrating as a couple.

Watching Flora colour a Valentine for Sean is so much nicer than agonizing in the card store over the right funny/loving card that is going to be looked at for five minutes at most.

Flora doesn’t really get that once she gives the Valentine away, it’s not hers anymore. She was quite annoyed when we suggested that Sean take it to work to put in his office. Then she held it over her head and called it an umbrella.

My girl has  plenty of imagination.

Sunday morning, I cut the Valentine out, wrote inscriptions on the front and inside and had Flora colour it. Once she was done I asked her if she wanted to give it to Daddy “today, or tomorrow?”.

“Tomorrow”, she replied, as if I was crazy to even consider giving him his Valentine early.

We hid the Valentine in her toys and I told her we had to try not to forget to give it to Daddy tomorrow.

Five minutes later, she found it again and ran it over to Sean.

Then she took it back.

She’ll probably give it to him ten times by the time she goes to bed tonight.

Five minutes with the scissors, a piece of pink paper and some crayons provided way more entertainment value than any Valentine-themed gift could bring over the last two days.

They are both my Valentines, but I didn’t need a made-up holiday to remind me how much I love them.

(Click the picture for a larger version of it. Taken with my iPhone and processed with the Diptic app.)

#reverb10 – Day 19: Healing

December 19 – Healing.

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

(Author: Leonie Allan)

Time alone heals me.

I desperately need time alone with my thoughts and to do my own thing to be able to give back to those I care about.

Parenting a toddler makes getting this restoration difficult sometimes. Any parent will tell you the same thing. I steal moments when I can, which sometimes makes Sean crazy. He’s either looking to steal a moment himself or he thinks I’m just hiding away to goof off, to let him do the heavy lifting of parenting a young child.

I know in my heart that I’m a better parent when I get those few moments to myself during “awake time” (mostly because “asleep time” is devoted to things I couldn’t get done during  awake time). I know those moments help me keep my patience up during the intense one-on-one times. They also help me keep my perspective during the fun times. That I willingly signed up for this, and that while I love sitting by myself and doing nothing, hanging out with my little family is pretty awesome.

I don’t think I get enough alone time all the time. I probably won’t for the next several years. I hope to prioritize and blend everyone’s needs so that we’re all at least having some of our needs met if not all of them. That sounds more selfish than it’s intended to be. But it’s like what we’re told during the airplane safety lecture: “put your oxygen mask on first, then help someone else”. You can’t help someone else if you have nothing to give yourself. Time alone is just how I replenish my strength.

#reverb10 – Day 4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

December 4 Prompt

Author: Jeff Davis
The Journey from the Center to the Page
@JeffreyDavis108

Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I’m behind on this already! Blame a weekend visit from my folks and my husband’s broken laptop. No matter though, onwards and upwards!

I read this quote from Robin Quivers (Howard Stern’s longtime cohost) in a magazine years ago, and it sticks with me:

It’s essential that a part of you not grow up. Childhood wonder gives us our spark and beauty.

Robin Quivers

Ever since I saw this quote (and probably before), I’ve always tried to live with a sense of wonder. I like to pay attention to details. The weirdest things come up when you pay attention to the details. You find out more about someone, or something.

I believe God is in the details. Or, if you don’t believe in God, Mother Nature, evolution or beauty. I can’t look at a perfect flower without thinking “Wow, someone was thinking here. Look at that!”

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Here is a picture I took a few years ago of a passion flower to prove my point. Isn’t that a beautiful flower, even though it is not in pristine condition? (The less-than-pristine condition can be attributed to the fact that it comes from my garden.)

Now that I am a parent, my sense of wonder is heightened by the antics of my daughter. I laugh with her every day. I laugh at her every day. Not in a mean way, but because she is really funny, whether accidentally, or on purpose. (As she gets older, the on-purpose laughs are coming more and more.)

Flora’s imagination is growing in leaps and bounds every day. Just tonight, I watched the following:

Tea PartyThis kid pulled out all the pots to have a tea party. She had me lay out her blanket just right for her party. Then once the pots and pans were out, she moved them around to make her tea party successful. Her dolly – and tea party guest – was in and out of the pots and pans as well. When I told Flora dinner was ready, she gently tucked her dolly into one of the pans with a blank, and then decided the other pan was now a drum.

Watching my daughter’s imagination grow keeps my sense of wonder sharp. I hope she – and I – can keep our sense of wonder sharp together.

#reverb10 – Day 1: One Word

December 1 Prompt
Author: Gwen Bell
gwenbell.com
@gwenbell

Prompt: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Reverb10.com

So it’s Day One of #reverb10. I thought the first one would be easy. And it is, sort of. Come up with two words, one to describe 2010, and one to describe 2011.

I’m not a one-word thinker. I think in paragraphs, not bullet points. I’m a bit of a talker, and it sometimes takes time for me to get to the point. This one word thing seems to be following me. I came up with my one word from the conversation about it at Blissdom Canada earlier this year. It only took me nearly two weeks to come up with it. And I’m supposed to come up with two “one words” tonight?

Can I use the same word? I don’t think so, they don’t seem to match.

2010 was an interesting year. We saw lots of milestones in the Mitchell household. Flora moved further away from babyhood and into toddlerhood by learning to walk and talk, having her one-year anniversary at daycare and having her second birthday. Of course lots of other things happened to her this year, but these are the big ones.

But this isn’t about my daughter’s year, it’s about my year.

I’m having trouble separating them though. I’ve written and erased several sentences of clichés about my life as a working mum of a toddler. It pisses me off that I’ve become that clichéd image of a working mum. I’m not high in the office pecking order, so it’s not like balancing these two parts is any more difficult than it is for most parents.

But it is really hard sometimes.

So I guess my one word to describe 2010 is “blended”. I’m certainly not balanced. The scale tips this way and that depending on who needs me more when. Sometimes it’s Flora. Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes it’s Sean. Sometimes it’s family.

Sometimes – and not nearly often enough – it’s me.

No one is balanced. I’ve learned that no matter what I’m doing, I’ll always feel guilty I’m not doing something else, everything else, all at the same time and to as close to perfection as I can get. So, everything gets blended into one big thing. I’m lucky that my job doesn’t require lot of take-home work. I don’t travel anywhere and I like the people I work with.

Still, it takes a lot of energy to keep the machine running sometimes.

I don’t expect 2011 to be much different. I’ll still have a toddler (an older toddler, but she won’t be three until September) and I’ll still be trying to manage everything all at the same time.

To be clear, I don’t manage everything on my own. Sean is a great dad and a hard worker and I know he feels as pulled in as many different directions as I do. I’m grateful that we’re in this together.

I try to remember that you can’t make everyone happy at the same time, so you need to make yourself happy first. I don’t always succeed in living by that motto, but remembering it is a good start.

So my ideal 2011 could be summed up as “prioritized”. I’ll do better with picking my battles – I can’t pick all of them at the same time. I’ll try and make the right choices that best take care of my family, and of myself. I will make Sean and my marriage a priority. I will make myself a priority. We can’t all be Priority One all the time, but we can’t all be left off the list either.

Chores with a toddler

When they want to be, two year-olds are pretty hilarious.

Last week, I went in to get Flora up for the day. I was just out of the shower so I went in while doing up my brassiere.

Flora looks at me and says the following:

“Oh mummy, you’re wearing your pretty brassiere.” (yes, she says brassiere – just like mummy)

I wasn’t expecting that phrase to come out of her mouth, but I rolled with the punches.

“Yup, I’m wearing my pretty brassiere.”

“Mummy, I like your pretty brassiere.”

“Oh, I do too.”

Try having that conversation with a straight face. I couldn’t do it. I laughed a lot about it.

That evening, I decided it was time to wash my brassieres. I was running the sink and pouring the soap in when Flora came in and asked “Mummy, what are you doing?”

“I’m washing my brassieres.” Then an idea hit me. “Would you like to help?”

“Yes mummy!” and she went to grab her stool so she could reach the sink.

I put the brassieres in the sink one at a time and Flora splashed them around the sink. She was a little upset when I would switch one for the next – “Mummy, I want to wash your pretty brassiere!”

“But they’re *all* beautiful. Look at the lace and flowers on this one.”

“Yeah” And washing continued.

Once my brassieres were thoroughly soaked and washed (thank heaven for no-rinse lingerie soap!), I dried them off and hung them on the railing like I always do.

And I was glad that I found a chore that Flora liked to help with. At least for as long as splashing in the sink is great fun.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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