Monday, June 1, 2009

Happiness

I've gotta say, I am very proud of myself. This time last week I was thinking of how miserable the summer was going to be - the boys and myself at home - all day- all summer... not a pretty idea. That is mostly because without my school and Grant's school, there is nothing else to keep my sanity in tact; nothing to keep me busy non-stop. But hip-hip-hooray for me, I am doing quite well at the moment as I have found plenty to do. (Gee whilickers, I hope it will last and that this is not some random natural high I am on.) I suppose that I am feeling the weight of schoolwork being lifted off my shoulders. I miss my friends there and teaching and the kiddos, but it feels good to not have to write lesson plans and make detailed assignment sheets for all four of my classes and make sure all of my supplies are ready and my papers are copied and blah, blah, blah. I think this really explains WHY I am in a "happy place", "all is right with the world" right now: I can focus my attention on playing and keeping the house clean and cooking since there is nothing else to focus on right now. No, you are not going through the early stages of dementia. I have often before stated on my blog how much I hate to do housework (yet I hate a dirty house - go figure), how much I hate laundry and how much I absolutely HATE cooking (isn't eating out much more fun?). But, I have been able to do something DIFFERENT with these household chores these past two weeks that I can't seem to do when my school is in session: Keep up with it all. I am actually keeping up with all of this stuff. I don't walk by Grant's closet anymore and say to myself, "WHEN am I going to fix this mess?" I don't go by the laundry baskets in my bathroom and think, "Oh, man! It's that time again!" because I actually have the time and the energy to fix the problem right then. Wow! That feels good. I don't have to dread putting laundry away in messy closets because the closets aren't messy anymore (except for mine). I don't have to feel annoyed or cramped every time I walk from one side of the house to the other to complete a task while I make a mental note of EVERYTHING I'd like to do with each problem I run across (clean G's bathroom, change R's diaper pale, dust, organize the magnetic car toys from the magnetic balls and sticks, take a Magic Eraser to the hall wall and erase the pen marks Grant thought I wouldn't notice, etc). I don't have to dread cooking dinner in the evenings because my house is picked up and clean and perfect, and I can actually relax and enjoy cooking (remember how I hate to do anything if my house is not in "order"?). And the biggest perk of all: The boys tend to leave me alone when I cook. Rhett seems to go off in his own happy little world of cars or dinosaurs, and Grant ends up doing or making something creative or helps me in the kitchen. It's actually a very quiet, controlled time of day that breaks up the "Witching Hours" after nap time but before bed time and I would be a fool to not appreciate that. And, oh - WHO was whistling in the kitchen during meal prep tonight? It was ME! I know. I was shocked, too. Bottom line: I like being busy, and if I can't be busy with school now that it's out, I shall have to be busy with something else. I have actually 101% enjoyed being a housewife these last two weeks. That's a big deal, folks. I am somehow finding a way to fit in all that needs to be done and all that I want to do (pretty much), and I have to share with the world how great that all feels. I wake up each morning knowing that the day will be successful, and that I most likely will check everything off of my To-Do List for the day. Better yet, if something that has been checked off from the To-Do List needs to be done again (like how I cleaned G's bathroom and was basking in the glow and fresh scent a clean bathroom brings only to discover an hour later that Grant had caused the toilet to overflow), it's no prob because I have time to deal with it. I'm not having to RUSH off to something else. And for icing on what already is a perfect cake, I find that I have more energy to play with the boys.

But Grant can make up for the trouble he causes throughout the day. Grant loves to help in the kitchen. I think he's going to be a chef someday (he does not get that from me, ha ha). If it weren't for him, we would not have been able to enjoy our dessert tonight. We wouldn't have had a dessert tonight, for that matter.


However, Rhett, being the total opposite of Grant in all that he does, does not like to help in the kitchen. This is what he did whilst Grant and I slaved over the hot stove:
He played under a blanket (see his little foot sticking out?).


He pigged out (nothing new here). **Please ignore the horribly messy fabric pile behind him. I suppose that's one thing I haven't taken care of yet. But, I have a plan for it. Does that count?

And he played.
video

But at least he kept out of the way, right? :) And what more could I ask for? Okay, so maybe I could ask that he could change his own diaper, but oh well.

Another thing I'm happy about is that two days after Grant's school was out I began the ginormous task of getting Grant to leave me alone at night. It's been challenging, as I knew it would be. It's been loud, as I knew it would be. It's been extreme, as I knew it would be, but I am surviving. The bedtime routine's length has changed. I read him a story in his bed as usual, but then I set a timer for 8 minutes. Once the timer goes off, I leave no matter if he's awake or not. This had proven to be a bear to overcome because he truly thinks he can't sleep unless I'm next to him. He comes out of his room every night (unless the Sand Man grants my wish and sends Wynkyn, Blynkyn and Nod quickly to Grant) which means the consequence occurs: The locking of his door from the outside so he can't continue the habit. This immediately brings on a huge fit that is sometimes loud enough to wake Rhett. This fit will last FOREVER until he finally falls asleep usually on the floor next to the bedroom door to be as close to me as he possibly can with a locked door between us. At last, Phase 1 is complete. Moving on to Phase 2. This phase occurs at least twice in the middle of the night. This is the dreaded time he comes to get me because he is scared. In the past, I have been putting him back in bed and staying with him until he fell back asleep. I gotta tell ya, that is tiring! It's like having a newborn again. I was being woken up so much in the night, I was exhausted every day! So I decided that enough was enough and that he was going to remain in his room all night and NOT bother me. Now that it's been a few nights now, I can tell I should have had a lighter goal in mind as we worked towards the one huge goal of him leaving me alone at night. At first I thought I would refuse to get out of my bed if he came to get me, and this would force him to have to go back to bed or something like that. Nope. This is Grant we're talking about, and that means that whatever you've planned will go in the EXTREME opposite direction. This was no exception. When I refused to get out of bed, the child actually had the nerve to try to crawl into bed with me. Oh, HECK no! Then I told him that if he got scared in the night, he could sleep in my room on the floor. The only rule was that he could not wake me up. He was to just get his blanket and pillow, lie on my floor, and leave me alone. This worked ONCE. The next night he came in, turned on a lamp because he was so scared and refused to sleep on the floor. And really, this is not a problem. All I need to do is meet his strong demand with my own strong response: I need to drag him to his room and lock his door. That would totally end the fiasco, right? Not really. He would throw such a fit (this would include yelling and screaming and throwing things against the wall) that I am sure that he will not only wake Rhett, but I'm pretty sure he'd wake the neighbors as well. Seriously. Last night when he came to get me, I laid on the floor as far away from his bed as possible as I am trying to get him used to me NOT being in his bed, and that worked pretty well. I am going to continue to move further out of his room and into the hall (I got the idea from the best book in the world, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). The idea is that some kids need to be eased into these changes. Silly me - I thought we would be an exception to the rule. Guess not. And that's okay with me, really. I am just sooooooooooooooooooo glad school is finally out for both of us and we can use this time to readjust Grant's sleep habits with minimal next-day consequences. It's okay that Grant is not 100% better with this problem yet. It's okay that he's fighting the new rules. I know all too well that Grant will fight back in a major way when a rule is first introduced (the same way I assume that when something goes up, it must come down). I know far too well, thanks to Grant and Super Nanny, that it must get worse before it gets better. And the fact that it is worse right now is actually a good sign. It means that we are working on it, and that is a GREAT feeling. And some day, some happy, perfect day, the day when pigs fly and Cadillacs are the fast cars on the road, Grant will go to bed w/o putting up an hour+ long fight, and he will leave me alone all night. There will be no Musical Beds or Ring-Around-the-Bed games occurring in my house. Nope. We will all be peacefully sleeping in our own beds and we will be waking to our own circadian rhythms. And best of all, I will have received a full night's sleep making me ready to effortlessly conquer whatever battles may lie ahead of me that day: overflowed toilets, full laundry baskets, sibling fights; bring it!

And lastly, I'm happy that Kerry still has his job. His company let the first round of people go about three weeks ago. Kerry told me that the next round will effect managers. Kerry is a manager... But I feel complete relief as I have placed 100% of this in God's hands. At first I did not do this. I freaked out and felt every beat of my heart pound against my chest with anxiety as my hands would drip with sweat. What if he does get laid off? What if I have to go back to teaching public school? What if...? What if...? What if...? But, worrying will not do us any good. Panicking (what I would've done in the past) would only cripple me. Sleepless nights would only make me miserable, but handing it to God has made me feel light and free. And that, my friends, makes me VERY happy. God has always been faithful to us, and I don't believe He will stop now. His eye is on the sparrow. His eye is certainly on us. He wants us to come to Him and lay our burdens down. He promises to take them from us. And, He has.

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