A weekend for me

This was exactly the kind of weekend I need from time to time. The kids had a 3 day weekend, which meant I let them do some sleepovers.Plus Danny and Kim were gone Saturday pretty much all day and night. And last I had my Denver game on Sunday so I was off doing that on Sunday. It all added up to my getting a lot of time to myself, or doing stuff for me. And that was just what the doctor ordered. Really refreshed my mental batteries.

Danny also had a good weekend. He got his desired sleepover Thursday night, which meant lots of time with friends. Then he got some time with Mom, and by all accounts had a good time camping out with the Scouts. And then he got some quiet time on Sunday.

I intentionally let Jimmy really go this weekend. I told him Thursday night that I really only needed him around the house Friday while Mom was at work, and then Sunday when I left (which it turned out was not necessary.) So he had a friend over Friday and Saturday nights, got to have his late nights and sleeping in that he didn’t get over Spring Break. And I think that really helped him in the long run.

Emily was a bit of a challenge on Saturday once Kim & Danny left. Because she had no one to play with until late afternoon, so she got a little bored. Kept wanting me to do stuff, which I wasn’t really in the mood for. It is a real challenge to be an introvert with an extrovert child, let me tell you.

And it is a good thing I enjoyed that time this weekend because Kim was listing projects around the house that need to be done soon. So for the next couple of weekends that is on my plate. Which I don’t mind really, so long as I know about it in advance and can mentally prepare.

For now, this weekend was about things I wanted to do to pass the time. I caught up on some recorded shows. Watched Daredevil. Painted some miniatures. I did some work with Danny’s science fair project. And I did my part to get the house picked or at least keep it that way. And of course had fun with my Denver game.

Yep, it was a good weekend for all. Now we have 5 weeks left in the school year. This week we finish science fair and Pinewood derby, 2 big projects. And then the light at the end of the tunnel will really begin to shine bright.

There comes a time…

There comes a time in a young person’s life, usually in their early teens, sometimes earlier when they begin to get curious. As a parent it is important to see and recognize that curiosity. And more importantly to respond to it in a careful, well thought out manner. I had begun to sense that Jimmy was ready, so this week I took it upon myself to address things.

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Who is counting the days more at this point?

A funny thing has begun to develop in recent weeks. Kid’s vacation days have begun to feel almost like vacation days for me, even if I have to work. They have Friday off from school and I think I am more excited than they are. And it is just a scant few weeks until summer vacation begins.

In past years I actually dreaded the chaos of summer vacation. It meant the end of my regular morning rituals. But as of last summer, with Jimmy being able to assume the role of baby sitter a couple of days a week there is not as much of a mad rush in the mornings. In addition, I have got the kids pretty well trained at this point, the little ones are up and dressed and eating more or less on their own. So when school ends I will be able to pretty much dictate my own schedule most days of the week. And that should be nice for me.

This might also indicate that I am just in a better head space now. Last spring and summer I was not in a very good space, everything was a chore. Now life is much better. So my excitement for summer could just as easily be a matter of that, of enjoying my life more. And of course happy kids equals happy life.

And I am slowly getting more active. It hasn’t been easy, and I am no where close to where I was or want to be. But I am slowly getting there. Alternately walking and running, at least walking at a fast pace. That is always a big deal.

There you have it: I have some good hobbies that keep me mentally fit. I am slowly getting back into physical activity. The kids are beginning to get more and more independent, which frees up time for me. And I am getting better about letting the little things slide, just sigh and move on when I encounter dishes that were put away incorrectly etc..

Funny, I didn’t intend for this to be a recap of how great things are going right now, but it turned out that way. And I really cannot object to that. Because it is never a bad thing to be in a place where you can sit back and count all of your blessings.

Productive, but at a relaxed pace

We actually got a lot done this weekend. Almost finished the kids cars for Pinewood. Began the process for a science fair project. The usual cleaning and picking up, doing laundry. Filed taxes, prepared taxes. But we did it all at a relaxed pace, not obsessively rushing to get it all done, and made plenty of time for recreation time for everyone. It is funny how just the gradually improving weather can make such a difference mentally (along with the return to health for the family.)

This is the time of year that can very easily overwhelm everyone. As we try to get the year end projects done. Kim even made up a list of all the things we needed to get done. But while that looked overwhelming it really wasn’t once we broke it down and got started. I tackled the always annoying process of finishing the Pinewood Derby cars. I think I did what I needed to make Danny’s car more competitive this year, but cannot be sure. We took the time to get the supplies and decided on what Danny will do for the end of year Science Fair project.

The kids were actually pretty helpful when it was time to get the house picked up. I think I have come up with a trick for getting the little ones to do their part but not feel overwhelmed. Instead of just pointing to a general area and saying ‘clean the living room’ I instead will just give them very specific jobs, ‘pick up items X and take them where the belong then come back to me.’ It also helped to have Jimmy back to full health and therefore able and willing to do his part to get things done. That was especially nice.

But in spite of doing all that, including the added chore of dealing with taxes, we were able to move at a relaxed pace. Since nothing really had a time deadline over the weekend we were able to just get it done without the usual frantic rush to get things done.

And we were able to get in some fun time. I was able to paint some. I had my game with the boys on Sunday. I got through about half of Daredevil. And then enjoyed Game of Thrones and Mad Men. And I got myself up and out of bed for some walks (mixed with running) both days.

We packed a lot of things into the weekend, but it never felt like we were tackling some huge project or were in a rush. And that is when life is good, when you can have fun, but also get things done. And in a perfect world even have some fun while getting those things done!

Sometimes you just can’t win

When you have kids there will be times when you make a decision and it won’t be popular. And when you have a kid who is so much like yourself it is even harder. Because you know exactly how that feels, when you have your mind set on something, and in your head you have made plans and the anticipation is there, and then it falls through. But as a parent you have to accept that sometimes you just can’t win. That no matter how logical you are, how many arguments you have in your favor, when your child has that bit in their teeth you just have to sigh, and deal with it.

Last weekend after the sleepover and then swimming Danny and Emily were especially tired and grumpy. We told them then that it was time for a break from sleepovers, that they would have to skip at least 1 week. About midweek Danny got it in his head that we had forgotten that or didn’t mean it. And since then every day has been a continual ask, get told no, then pout cycle. And that is no fun, for any of us. But I have to deal with it, let him go through that, and accept that I won’t win, he will not be happy with our decision. It’s a parenting thing.

On other news, we have a free weekend! I have the boys D&D game Sunday, but no massive family gatherings. No events to deal with. So I will probably spend a fair amount of time painting, and binge watching Daredevil. I’m pretty excited. I am sure that something else will happen, some cleaning, laundry etc. The usual weekend stuff, but not the frenzy of the last few weeks, for which I am thankful.

An odd thing happened last night, I got home and Kim said that Jimmy was down at the Magic store. Turns out that some of his other buddies from school had taken the game up so he has been caught back up. Since this is a different group of buddies this time around he is kind of excited about it. And I am glad for him, it is good to extend the circle of friends when you can, and it is a fun game to play, so long as you avoid the cycle of trying to acquire the best deck money can buy.

I finally got a hold of my buddy yesterday. It was a good chat, lots of catching up. The improved my mood a lot, just good to know that it was just a matter of timing, not some odd hidden grudge or something.

That’s all I have today, not a lot of earth shaking thoughts or changes to report on.

Explaining Comfort #Mentalhealth

  1. 1.
    a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
    “room for four people to travel in comfort”
  2. 2.
    the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.
    “a few words of comfort”

This is a very important word for us introverts, especially those of us prone to Depression. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the context of dealing with my own life and also Danny. And it goes a long way to explain many of the seeming contradictions in my life and history.

If you’ve known me long enough, and especially if you knew me during a couple of specific time frames you might be surprised that I so strongly identify as introvert. For example, when I was in Middle and High School I was involved in drama, and music, even played team sports. And I was in a ‘band’ for a time in college. Those do not seem like the kind of things an introvert would enjoy, they are very out there, in the public eye so to speak. That is where comfort comes in.

When you are in a play, or performing in a musical, or a musical performance, you have a script, a set of rehearsed speeches and songs. And you are following that script, you know what you have to say or sing, and when and how to say it. There is nothing impromptu about it (in most cases.) And that takes the element of chaos out of it that bothers many introverts. And that is comforting, it removes the constraints of having to speak off the cuff or engage with other people, you know what they will say back to you.

In a lot of ways the same applies to role playing games (at least the table top ones I play.) I know my character, and what he would do and say in a given situation, so I don’t have to think on my feet so much. There is a sense of comfort in assuming a role, be it in a game, or a play, or giving a speech.

Comfort is also important to us in what we do every day. If we are in the same place long enough (work, home, classroom) we can achieve that level of comfort. That is one of the reasons the Montessori model has been so beneficial for Danny, because he did not have to keep adjusting to a new teacher, new classroom every year (which does worry me some as he gets older.) But that is also why I don’t mind having our house be the central family gathering spot for many gatherings. Because it is my house, my comfort zone, and when I have that surrounding me I feel better about what I am doing.

And last, this extends to people. Here I will talk about Danny. He has his circle of friends that he is comfortable with: the girls, his cousin, one or 2 others. When you take him outside that circle he loses that cushion and gets uncomfortable. He just isn’t (and likely won’t be) real comfortable being thrust into a social situation without that cushion. And I know how that feels, that is the story of my life, and is one of the reasons I try so hard to keep up with my circle of friends.

I am sure there are other words for this, and undoubtedly long treatises devoted to the deep reasons and ideas behind it all. But for now I will leave this with this simple idea. Being out and around people is not what makes introverts uncomfortable, it is when there is a lack of structure involved for being there, the free flow of your average party, social gathering, that is what throws us off. We can do seemingly extroverted stuff, like acting, or performing, or hosting parties, provided it comes from or is in a comfortable place.

A great sigh of relief and ready for the stretch run

All 3 kids will be at school today, and that should be the case the rest of the year. Another holiday down, and my choices remain the correct one. Now we can regain our breath a little, and maybe resume a little more regular life and schedule. The kids had a good couple of days with the various events and gatherings, and were even more or less cooperative with all the cleaning we requested.

We got the call Friday afternoon from the Doctor office that Jimmy had Mono, but it was gone and he was in recovery stage. And he was acting that way over the weekend, we had to restrain him from too much physical activity, even though he was feeling better. So that was a great sigh of relief, that he was sick, but is back to normal and gradually returning to full strength. That was a huge mental weight lifted on all of us. And it explained a lot of what was going on with him the week leading up to Spring Break and since.

Danny got the last of his Birthday activities done. It was funny, I wrote that piece about him being a ‘mini me’ on Friday. So on Saturday when I was at Dads I went and looked for an older picture of me, and found one (of poor blurry quality.) And when I showed it to Emily she said that was Daniel. Aside from the weight stuff (I was heavier than him) we really do bear quite a resemblance to each other. And today we have the annual ILP meeting with the school for him. I am beginning to mentally scratch together some plans for working with him a little more on some things.

My cold completed it’s regular 7 day stretch, with Sunday being the terrible day of free flowing nose. But after a sinus rinse Sunday morning it was basically okay the rest of the day and today I am feeling pretty much back to normal. So I should resume physical activities this week myself, which will be nice, as the weather promises to cooperate with that plan.

In short, everything is looking good, family health returning, mental health improving. And we have 7 weeks left in the school year, just a decent stretch run left. It is kind of amazing how the improvement in weather can facilitate a mental improvement.

Easter activities

I did take some pictures over the weekend of Easter activities. We did the one egg hunt on Sunday morning for the kids, and went to Dad’s for a special one on Saturday. And otherwise I was able to treat the day like just another family gathering.