well, in real life, my iphone screen shattered just days into 2012 (breaking the bank), i popped a zipper, got my butt stuck in a chair, and slept away a migraine (and ate tons of cookies) instead of exercising, i have been stressing out majorly with church responsibilities, and have had sick kiddos again, resulting in many self-pep-talks, and breathe-in, breathe-out moments. "you can do this, Marci! choose to be happy! happiness is a decision! breeaaattthhheee."
translation = in real life, i suck. me + goals = fail.
but have no fear!
i will not give up! because in real life, goals are yours and no one else's, and you can always try again tomorrow or the next day- no one cares but you- and i know in real life it always works out. and in our real life, we've made some prett-y cool changes around here in spite of our crappy karma.
change 1) the girls are now sharing a room! M and i had toyed with the idea for a few weeks before Christmas, - both of has had shared rooms with our siblings growing up and loved it. i remember nights, my brother and i would laugh ourselves to sleep, and i remember sitting on the top bunk all together listening to my mom play the guitar/sing us to sleep. we mentioned the idea to Ellie once, and she got so excited, she wanted to move into Alice's room that very moment. what's the worst that could happen, right?
so the week after Christmas, we had an influx of kid-junk oozing out of every crevice of our house. when they'd go to bed in their separate rooms, i'd do a nightly walk-through and pick up all the little teensie toys that somehow didn't make it back in their rooms, all the stray socks and strollers- and soon enough there would be two gigantic piles of shtuff beside each of their doors. the house was never picked up = i always wanted to pull my hair out! lucky for my hair, turning Ellie's room into a playroom made a space for all the kid shtuff and saved my sanity. and having the girls share a room is just the cutest thing- especially waking up to hearing little giggles coming from their room. and while we've had our moments of losing sanity at 3 am (since they've been sick and have been waking each other up with hacking coughs and crying), it's been mostly awesome. i think all sisters should get a chance to share a room.
change 2) i decided to start being more intentional in having Ellie help me around the house- instead of her just being a sometimes helper (even when it's wayyy easier/more efficient to just do things myself). she's been helping me put away laundry, put the dishwasher away, pick up her playroom after quiet time, and even doing dishes. it's been awe-some!, and i don't know why i haven't started it sooner.
change 3) a few weeks ago, M and i had a conversation that changed my life. i had been bubbling over like a pot of spaghetti sauce 11/10ths too full, full of emotions and feelings insecurity and anxiety about being a mom. some were totally unwarranted, but some weren't. the down-to-earth truth was this: i wasn't feeling happy and fulfilled at home. and i was having a hard time keeping it cool when both girls would simultaneously melt-down...for the fifth time...that morning, and not reacting angrily. and then amidst the meltdowns, still getting all the other stuff done that needed to get done (Christmas gifts, cards out, shopping done, house clean, dinner done, etc etc etc). being mom is one big multi-tasking-juggling-balancing act, isn't it? and honestly, i felt like i was constantly dropping the ball. the girls were constantly unhappy. i was constantly short and snippy. and M was walking on egg shells...scared to ask the dreaded question: "how was your day?" (because a look of horror and scary eyes would be shot in his direction). i'm sad to admit that this home-dynamic had been going on for several weeks (hence the 11/10ths full pot).
on the day of me and M's conversation, i had had a breaking point. i was trying to get the girls out the door for an appointment, and Ellie would not cooperate. she wouldn't put her shoes on (after asking her a billion times), and refused to come in the car. there Alice was in the car, screaming her guts out as i stood in the doorway trying to reason with this unreasonable child. at the last refusal, i hit my limit and demanded forcefully (yelled loudly) for her to get in the car. i confess, it wasn't the first time i had ever done that. of course she fell to the floor (Ellie is a mini-me: hyper sensitive and emotional) and sobbed even harder. steam burst out of my head, i picked her up, buckled her in her seat, and we were off. minutes went by, and the crying finally stopped (hallelujah!, i thought to myself). and then i heard a faint little voice from the back of the car say,
"Do you like me?"
::pain and hot tears stream down my face right now remembering this::
i immediately pulled the car over. i felt so ashamed that she had to ask me that. i turned around, looked at her, and told her that i not only liked her, but that i loved her so much it hurt sometimes.
and so i told M about it all. it sucked because i was embarrassed- he never loses his cool, and yet i do. why did that happen? i wasn't the mom i always dreamed i would be- and i wanted to change. i never ever wanted my kids to ask me if i liked them again.
he then told me something that i'll remember forever. he said, "what helps me with Ellie is to imagine what it would be like to be her- a three year old little girl. i just try and put myself in her shoes and it helps me a lot."
and so i've done that- (and increased my prayers on the subject x 100, and just flipped my negative switch to the "off" position). i think it's all helped- but i sincerely believe the difference maker has been that i've sincerely tried to put myself in Ellie's shoes. i'm still not perfectly patient- but i've been trying to look through life through a three-year-old's eyes, and it has helped me understand why it's hard to leave when you're having fun, why you'd rather wear a fluffy pink dress instead of pants, why you may cry inconsollably over and over again when you're feeling sick (or not feeling sick), and why you get upset when your little sister snatches your favorite baby... and doing that has given me the extra umph to be able to reason, play, and give a little extra love and encouragement without losing my cool. sure, it's not the first time i've ever had a parenting epiphany (just look under my label "being a mom," and i'm sure you'll find dozens of somewhat similar "i don't know what i'm doing" "why am i always made" posts), and i sure as heck hope it won't be the last. but for now it's made a huge difference in our home, and the the truth is: that advice changed me. and because of that, i know 2012 is going to be a great year.
side note: i'm so grateful for my hubby who doesn't judge me, but lovingly teaches me so much. i understand more and more how important it is to be a team in marriage and parenthood- and that you really need each other. i am blessed, i tell you. blessed.
a few extra pictures of my people and what we've been up to this new year: