Sebastian and Liesl had a grand time at Matthiessen Park over the weekend. We played on the swings and slides for awhile, and then moved down to the Hudson River beach for the real action: throwing sticks in the river.
Seb showed Liesl what to do:
And she gamely started finding sticks.
How do I do this again?
Seb cheering Liesl on after she's thrown in her first stick.
And she's back for more.
And for a finale, Seb moves on to using the stick to splash and poke at the the water, which quickly devolved into getting your feet wet and cold.
We've been having a bit of a rough time with Sebastian lately. He has been very whiny and complaining, and then when reprimanded he turns defiant and destructive. He takes toys from Liesl and freaks out when she touches his things (grabbing them back, screaming, throwing/hitting). When we ask him to do something, or to refrain from doing something, he just yells that he won't comply. Time-outs don't work, and explaining things reasonably with a focus on options doesn't work, and bribes don't work, and taking favorite toys or stories away doesn't work. (Yelling at him also doesn't work, but I guess that one at least doesn't surprise me.) Thursday was a particularly bad morning, ending in tears and recriminations all around. He promptly went off to daycare and reported his own bad behavior and all of my reactions in detail to his preschool teacher, which makes me feel pretty bad too.
But then Friday morning we went to the dentist together, for checkups and cleaning. He was super good all morning, really sweet, and cuddly - as in these pictures, taken while on the couch at the dentist waiting for our appointments. I have to try and remember him like this when I'm in the midst of my frustration and rage, and try to summon more patience and understanding.
Sitting in the lobby of the Dows Lane elementary school, registering Seb for kindergarten. Eek! How did that happen? I'm the mother of a school-aged child?!
Compared to many of our friends and colleagues, we are incredibly fortunate to be able to rely on excellent local public schools. There's only one elementary, and it's great, and we just have to show up and give them Sebs name and information.
A good, happy Saturday here. I played frisbee for an hour this morning, we played outside with the kids for an hour or more, good naps for the children and me, and in the evening we managed a Chinese dinner at Aberdeen in White Plains. Peking duck, tofu and shrimp, pork and veggies. Yum. Gong xi fa cai!
It's been a number of years since I regularly made New Year's resolutions. I remember thinking quite clearly and seriously about it when I was a teenager, and making lists of virtuous resolutions that I was completely unable to live up to (be nicer to my parents; eat less chocolate). In my adult life, although there are obviously still personal faults and daily shortcomings I'd like to address, I have been less likely to imagine myself embarking on a grand plan of self-improvement on January 1st of each year.
But I had a wonderful conversation with one of my advisees a couple of weeks ago - we were talking about winter break and the new term, and his awesome plans for the summer ahead (Bike & Build, a charity organization), and he asked me what my New Year's resolutions were. I laughed and said I hadn't made any. But then I had a flash, and just like that, without conscious prior thought, I had a resolution that I really felt strongly about.
If I were to make a resolution for 2012, it would be to find the time to reclaim one more thing for myself, just for myself. In my experience, you give up a lot when you have young children - your free time, your sleep, your hobbies, regular exercise, nights out with your spouse or friends. I've managed to take back an hour on Saturday mornings for my regular frisbee game, and it is truly my favorite hour of the week. I get to be child-like again, to run around, to laugh with friends, to focus on myself and doing something I love. I always return home rejuvenated, happy, and ready to see and rejoice in my family.
So what are some other things I would like to reclaim? Here's a list of the ideas that I was able to come up with immediately, while in conversation with my advisee: cooking from recipes and baking; photography - of places and things and not just children; running and biking; rock climbing; learning how to create and throw pottery; attending NYCB and ABT ballet performances. Obviously not all of these things can happen, but I'd like to find time for one or more of them in 2012. I think it's time.