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First solo trip and other things

Posted Dec 24 2010 12:14am

I think I have everything I need for my weekend away with my kids. Almost everything is crossed off my "to-pack" list. The above is: kids' bag (clothes, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, pajamas), my bag (clothes, toiletries), diaper bag, some of the presents, and portable highchair. Not pictured are the Pack N Play, bassinet, Angel Care monitor, bouncer, camera, videocamera, portable dvd player and baby gate.

I'm very much a simplist. I hate overpacking. I try to keep it as minimal as possible. I think the only toy Franky is bringing with him is his Woody and Woody's hat. Seriously. Before I had two kids, I would way overpack for Franky. Sippy cups and juice boxes, Goldfish and pretzels, 15 diapers and too many wipes, four outfits and about 5 different know, just in case he gets bored. Yeah right. He's two. As if boredom would ever occur on an outing. Especially an outing to grandma's house, where little fingers can explore lots and lots of things they're not used to. Now, I keep it simple. Only as many pull-ups as I know he'll need and maybe a few extra in the car. Stuff like that.

With two, I'm especially a minimalist. Only one toy, only one outfit for each day we're gone plus one extra just in case, only as many diapers/pull-ups/wipes as we use in a day plus a spare per child in the car. You know, as little as possible with just a teeny extra just in case.

I am very excited about our weekend away. Franky *adores* my brother, Johnny. Or, his "buddy" Johnny. There aren't many people in Franky's life who have passed the "buddy" test. As in, he only calls people he really likes "buddy." To date, his "buddies" are his daddy, his baby sister, me, his cousin Eddie, my brother, my dad and his uncle Jason. That's it.

I feel like I should be more stressed out or nervous about being away for three days with a toddler and an infant. I think it being the holidays and there being presents involved takes the edge off. Friday will consist of driving the hour and a half out to my mom's and setting up shop (baby gate, pack n play, bassinet, etc). There will be dinner and present-opening and lots and lots of love from his grandma, aunts and uncle. Lots of excitement. Saturday will consist of waking up, my mom's infamous breakfast (which I haven't had and have been craving since I was just a few months pregnant with Franky), Franky playing with toys and more hanging out with my siblings and mom. Sunday we'll wake up, load up the wagon and drive a half hour north of my mom's place to visit my aunt and cousins. My cousin, Monica, who I've literally been best friends with since birth, has yet to meet Princess Marija, so it's about time =) I'm not even dreading the two hour drive home on Sunday evening.  I have the Ipod loaded up with some great music, so I'll be good to go. Wow, I just referred to my baby girl as Princess Marija. Are you gagging yet? I never thought I'd be one of those moms, haha!

I'm very lucky in that my kids are adaptable and that they can sleep anywhere. And their weird mommy-sleep-tag-teaming only lasted a few days, thank God. They are back to their normal routine. Franky sleeping the whole night in his own bed and Marija only waking every three or four hours. Although after her second feeding she refuses to sleep in her bed. She wakes up and fusses as soon as I lay her down. But if I bring her back into my bed, she's out for another few hours (she's so much like her brother as an infant). I didn't think we'd be co-sleeping since she does so good in her bed, but I'm not fighting it. She likes to snuggle in against me and I love every sweet minute of it. Plus, when she wakes to nurse, all she has to do is turn her head. Very easy for a sleepy momma.

 He's a little snow bunny like his momma. 

 His first real guitar. This thing is an acoustic and sounds amazing. I can't wait for him to learn to play it. 

 He exchanged gifts with his cousins last night. 
I've also decided to make some changes. I know it's like beating a dead horse already, but I gotta talk it out. My number one goal in life is to be a good mom. I strive to be the best mother to my kids that I can be. But I haven't always felt like I was doing my job the way I should be. I haven't always protected the way a mother should. I've compromised, gave a blind eye, laughed things off. I can't do it any more. I've decided to keep my son away from kids who are mean to him, regardless of whether they're friends or family. I've rushed to my son too many times to wipe his tears away and tell him "you're okay, they're just playing, they love you, they didn't mean it..." I've cradled my son while his entire body has shaken in sobs because he's hurt or scared. It's affecting who he is and I hate that. My son is gentle with ALL kids. But I can tell when he doesn't like someone by the way he looks at them. He loves kids and loves to play, but once he's been bullied, he's done. And I've forced him to continue to interact with those kids for way too long. By forcing him to be around kids who are mean to him, what kind of an example am I setting? What is he learning when I tell him he's okay instead of asking him if he is? A new bit of information has come to my attention that further solidifies my feelings. The day my son is called a "cry baby, pansy, sissy" is the day I put a stop to his interaction with kids who can't play nice. My son is a cry baby because he's being bullied?

I had a conversation with someone very close to me recently who put things into perspective for me. She told me that my son shouldn't have to learn to defend himself this young. He's only two and it's way too early for him to be getting bullied. As his mother, I'm his protector. But what good am I if I'm not shielding him from harm? So, I'm putting a stop to it. Some interactions are unavoidable, so in those cases, I'll continue to watch him like a hawk and step in when I need to and just keep the visits very short. Other than that, he'll have zero interaction period.

As adults, we don't continually surround ourselves with people who are mean to us. To the contrary. So why should I force my son, you know? I've worried about hurting other people's feelings too much and kinda taught my son to "suck it up" in the process. But that's bullshit. I've taught him wrong. He shouldn't have to suck it up. And I'm for shit as a mother and a protector for asking him to. It's fucked up and I punish myself for it all the time. I kick myself in the ass and feel like a horrible mom every time something bad happens and I act like it's no big deal. It is a big fucking deal. It's not my son's job to be a punching bag or a learning tool His job is to be a kid and have the best childhood I know how to give him. But I'm giving him the opposite by teaching him it's okay to be bullied. And if something has gone on for this long, it is not likely to stop any time soon.

It has gotten to the point that when we're out, if another kid shouts, even if it has nothing to do with him, he's on high alert. He's terrified. I've witnessed my son literally tremble at the sight of another kid because they are always mean to him. It pisses me off that other kids can't be as nice to him as he is to them, but more than anything, it pisses me off that I've continued to put him in situations where he had no choice but to interact because I've put him there. Well, now I'm done being pissed off...and I'm just getting started with being the kind of mother I should have been from the beginning. If another kid can't play nice with mine, then he doesn't have to be around them at all. I've asked all of my mommy friends what they'd do if their kid(s) were being bullied. And they all said the same thing...they wouldn't allow their kid to play with the offender anymore...So I'm following suit.

It kills me to hear my son cry or see him in fear because he's being picked on. When he's being called a "sissy" and I'm being called "overprotective" and being told how I should act in those situations, well, obviously, my son's best interests aren't at heart. Well, they are in mine. They are now more than ever.

I'm looking forward to watching my son blossom the more he's surrounded by friendly kids. I want him to flourish, not flounder, as he has been for way too long.

Well, I'm out for now! I'll be back after the holidays =)

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