Another holiday season is come and gone. Now we’re left with the mess and the memories, but also a few interesting new developments with our families.
During the holidays my husband had some extra time off, which was great, but we all got a little too used to having him around. While he was home, I got to sleep in (ah-mazing!) and he would get the kids fed and dressed. This meant that I got to get up when I was good and ready and actually shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, and then join the world. I also got to enjoy such luxuries as trips to the grocery store alone. This of course meant that the car radio was cranked up and the windows down, and I took my time instead of playing the usual game of beat the clock.
Claire and Joey both got extra trips to the park, and more importantly extra Papa snuggles. He read to them, played with them, and napped with them on the couch. It was so great to see them all enjoying extra time together. I just love having all of us together like that.
Of course, all this extra “Papa time” meant that the rules and schedule were bent a bit. There are some things that I don’t allow but he thinks are ok and vise versa. We had a few discussions over things like bedtime, potty training, clean-up, and the noise level.
My husband is a drummer, so this means that he is totally numb to noise in the house and it tends to drive me crazy. He loves to play drums with Claire, and now Joey. Together they pull out every musical toy we own (which is quite a few!). I can tolerate a certain noise level and amount of mess, but at some point I reach my limit.
One good thing that came from having my husband and other relatives around more was that Joey (my little “Mama’s boy”) finally let other people hold him without immediately crying. His grandparents, auntie, and cousins all enjoyed playing pass the baby during our family get-togethers. I even got to enjoy a few nights out! He still cries, but not immediately, so I take it as real progress.
With having her adoring fans all around, Claire became quite a little chatterbox. She has had a few key words and phrases for a while now, but has been holding out on us as far as conversation goes. Now she has a lot to say and wants to make sure you listen up. She not only says more now, but likes to have your undivided attention while she’s saying it. Her fan club (aka: “Antie Woahwie”, Jenna, and “Yacy”) made sure she was the center of attention, so now she grown accustomed to that feeling.
The holidays are my favorite time of year, and it has only gotten better since my little family started. My husband had almost two weeks off and it was so great having him home. I always love having him around, and I know the kids adore the extra time with him as well because during the week he isn’t home much. I felt relieved to have some help around the house for longer than a couple days and honestly there is nothing better to me than having my whole family unit together. He went back to work this morning and it felt really weird and sad to have to say goodbye to him. If it was up to me, I’d love to have him around all the time!
I can’t say I’m totally alone yet though because my in-laws came to stay with us on New Years Eve and will be here until next Tuesday. They are such a huge help for me. They take over for me with the kids in every way, soaking in every second they can with their grandchildren (they live in New York), which left me able to take a shower this morning! I never get to take showers in the morning and it felt great!
Next week will sink me right back into my routine. I’ll have no hands to help besides my own two! And we’re going to be starting potty training next Thursday! It’s gonna be a big jolt back to reality for me and the kids. But I’m a big believer in routines and although I expect the kids will take Cappy and Gram going back to New York pretty hard, I think both my kids will do just fine getting back to normal!
My experience with the holidays was a bit different than my fellow Mom-Squad mavens; I didn’t get to sleep in like Bethany, and I didn’t have any relatives helping me out like Nicole, but, having my husband home for two weeks was great - save for the ginormous disruption of my daily schedule! :)
While having my husband home was a bit challenging because it meant that my normal routine changed, it was actually quite educational on a few fronts.
First, I learned that we both have decidedly different ways of parenting. He is very relaxed and lenient and I... well, I’m what my husband lovingly refers to as, a “hard _ss”. He thinks I’m too tough and I expect too much from my daughter. I prefer to look at it more like this: I am aware of the behavior that she’s capable of, and I know the behavior that she tries to get away with (especially around Daddy). So, because my expectations are higher, I suppose it seems to him that I’m “mean.” The fact is though, that she behaves differently around me than she does him because she knows what I’ll put up with and what I won’t. And, it’s commonly known around these parts that Daddy is the softie.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot from my husband about the magic of redirection and being nice. I was made aware that I could really stand to work on my patience and approach when it comes to my daughter. I tend to end up in a “power struggle” with my daughter trying to force her to do what I want, when it might actually benefit me to be more relaxed and understanding... instead of arguing with her about why she can’t do, eat, or play with something, I should work more on distracting her to something she can. My husband is GREAT at that! I also don’t need to yell to get my point across. A quick, upbeat explanation accompanied with a distraction works wonders.
Second, I learned that my daughter ADORES my husband (and vice versa). It was extremely sad to already be witnessing the changes in their relationship since he went back to work three days ago. At the beginning of his vacation, Sabine didn’t really want anything to do with him aside from making him play whatever game she wanted at any given time. When it came time for dinner or bed time or any other major occurrence in her life, it was all about Mommy. Fast forward to the last week of vacation - Mommy is being told to “get out” of her room, to “go away and go to the store” and suddenly, in an unprecedented turn of events, Daddy is a must-have fixture for bedtime and naptimes.
Sabine generally loves being active; we have pre-school two days a week (which she adores) and MyGym class once a week, which she is always eager to go to. Not so when Daddy is home! We could barely get her to leave the house (save a few cases of extreme bribery) for pretty much the entire holiday break! While it made for some major cabin fever for the adults, it was actually really neat to see, because that was her way of showing how much she really loves to spend time with her Daddy.
Since Christmas break has ended, Sabine’s interaction with her Dad has already changed; he’s not generally asked to participate in bed time anymore, and their play time has decreased drastically because he’s back at work. However, the bond they established still remains strong; she still doesn’t want to go anywhere when Daddy is home, and he’s still her favorite playmate. So, although my schedule got shot to hell for a few weeks, it was worth it to see the affection between my daughter and my husband grow.
With the holidays come disruption in routine and extra attention from relatives, as well as a potentially harsh return to reality. And though we’ll be back in the groove of our everyday lives soon, hopefully we’ll be able to take the lessons and experiences we had over the holidays with us, and build on them to create an even stronger bond with our family that will last all year long.
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