I wonder if I’m failing at all of this momming stuff. I am definitely a good mom when it comes to teaching my kids through play. I come up with really fun activities and always have the energy to teach them in ways they enjoy, whether it’s obstacle courses in our yard or science experiments on rainy days. I remind myself of my mom in that she was a young, fun mom. She always had a desire for adventure and she always treated me as a person with my own thoughts and ideas. She indulged them, like the time she spent an afternoon with me making profiteroles from scratch or the time she took my brother and I blueberry picking right after school. I learned a lot about the world from her and am so thankful for that. I’m happy I’m like that too.
But there’s this whole other part of being a mom that I am just… not good at. I never know the right way to discipline my kids. I’m inconsistent – I will discipline consistently when I’m alone with them, but the minute my husband is home or we’re in public or with friends I let a lot more slide. I know I shouldn’t, but I do because it’s HARD to leave a fun activity when my kids have misbehaved. And it’s hard to discipline one child without punishing them all at once. And sometimes I’m just tired from a full day of discipline and parenting.
I yell too much. I swore I never would but I find myself yelling at them about random things like getting their shoes on after the third time I’ve politely asked. Or I send them to play alone in the basement so I can cook dinner without listening to them argue. Sometimes I have expectations that are too high of them, and other times I don’t expect enough.
Sometimes I feel this panic rising in my heart like I just have no idea what I’m doing and I’m failing them. I don’t think I give them enough attention, but with three of them and a house and part time jobs and endless to do lists I just can’t always find the time.
I find myself worrying that while my kids are very academically advanced, they are missing manners and skills they should have by now.
But then my oldest will surprise me as he looks at the director of the school straight in the eye and wishes her a good morning. Or when he tells me he is happy I am going to hot yoga so I can be strong and feel good and healthy. Or when he helps his baby sister by bringing her favorite blanket to her.
And sometimes my middle child will surprise me as she navigates a playground with a million older kids without a problem, making friends left and right. Or when she tries a brand new food, and instead of spitting it out will swallow it with a polite “no, thanks.”
And sometimes the baby will surprise me with how much she loves her brother and sister. The adoration can be seen in every moment, from her kisses and hugs to her grabbing their hands to pull them to help her with some activity.
All of those moments are so sweet and make me proud as a mother. What do I do to make them happen more and more frequently? I want to raise good mannered children who are not spoiled, who will try new activities and who will have a thirst for knowledge and life that never ends. I want them to be kind to one another always, and kind to me. I want them to learn to make their beds every day and to take care of their things.
I am just babbling here, but it’s something I think about often. And if I’m thinking about it maybe you are too.
There are so many precious things about this very moment in time that I don’t want to forget about my children. I love the way they curl up on my lap and fit so perfectly in my arms. I love the way they sleepily smile in the morning with their bedhead, teddy bear in hand. I haven’t shared much about our third child because she’s our third which inevitably means I’m very busy every day. But there are a few things I never want to forget about Valentina and her brother and sister at this age.
Here goes nothing!
10 random facts and thoughts on Valentina at 22 months old:
1. She is speaking up a storm. She speaks in full sentences and picks up language a lot faster than the other two did. For example, this morning over the course of twenty minutes she said the following things:
“I did it!”
“Where’s baba? At work.”
“I want to eat”
“I love you too.”
“I need help.”
“Alessandra did it.”
“I dance my music.”
2. She pronounces her brother and sister’s names the cutest way. Raffi is RA-RA and Alessandra is SA-SA or A-SA-SA. Her baby blankets and babies are ALL called BLAY-BIES. I will be sad when she stops with the cute names.
3. Valentina is the biggest troublemaker out of all my kids. She is a very curious child and has dumped out entire drawers, climbs into baskets, throws food off her tray, and tries to run into the street daily. Just this morning she opened her changing table drawer from her crib and carefully pulled out every. single. wipe.
4. Much like me as a child, Valentina likes her sleeves pushed up constantly. She just isn’t comfy when her sleeves are down!
5. One day Ali was trying to help me by pulling Valentina into the mud room to put her shoes on. Valentina yanked herself away, looked at Ali disapprovingly and yelled “BAD GIRL!” while wagging her finger at her. We all started cracking up.
6. Valentina is obsessed with big shoes. She cries to get them on and then walks around like a clown while giggling. It is adorable (when she isn’t frustrated).
7. I’ve kept up with taking plenty of photos of the kids, as you can see by my Instagram feed. Valentina loves the camera and will smile big while yelling “cheeeeeseeee!” the minute you try to take a photo of her.
8. Unlike my other kids, Valentina doesn’t really like fruit or vegetables. She goes crazy for sweets and it’s a struggle to get her to eat any fruit besides apples, pears, cantaloupe and watermelon. She dislikes all the berries and won’t touch a vegetable besides green peas and cucumbers. I hope she outgrows it soon!
9. Valentina wants to be potty trained so badly but I’m waiting for her to turn 2. She also loves brushing her teeth and spending a lot of time in the bathtub. However, she will also make every effort to dump all the bathwater onto our tile floor.
10. Valentina loves her big brother and sister so much. She lets them dress her up, throw her into the foam pit at the trampoline place, snuggle with her and read books to her. She demands their attention and they love to give it to her.
BONUS STORY: If I try to carry one of the other kids, Valentina physically pulls them off of me and yells “mine!” She thinks that I belong to her and her only. Luckily the kids get a kick out of it.
And before I forget… here are a few things I don’t want to forget about Raffi and Ali at this age:
1. Ali, almost 4, says “blanklet” and I will be so sad the day she stops.
2. Raffi, 5.5, is reading chapter books now (he just finished James and the Giant Peach) and makes every effort to teach Ali to read. They sit together for a long time every week to “practice” her reading. It’s so sweet.
3. Alessandra decided to tag everything in our house and then claim it isn’t her. She very clearly spells “AIL” instead of “ALI” and has tagged their kids’ chairs, our bathroom door multiple times, our countertop, Valentina’s hand, and more. She’s a sneaky one!
4. Raffi is taking gymnastics now and takes it very seriously, but if I ask him about it he denies practicing. I catch him practicing his stretches and wall handstands when he thinks no one is looking.
5. Moving has been the absolute greatest thing for our family. I love our new home and yard and neighborhood and neighbors and we couldn’t be happier here. More on that soon!