Okay, so Monkey Day is actually December 15th.
But that was the title of one of the mixed tapes (made from free downloads off Amazon - did you know they have free sampler albums? Some decent international stuff on there). Anyway, we gave some of that to the kids in the family, titled 'Happy Monkey Day 2009'. Given how much the kids have been bouncing off the walls (furniture, stairs, each other), it suited.
We made it through Christmas, mostly (parts one, two, and three, and still part four to go). Though we did have another minor injury on Christmas, this time it was kids roughhousing and someone getting clocked in the chin - but at least it wasn't Miss R (who had the puking-plus-concussion Thanksgiving).
Things we're still working on:
Getting Miss R to wear underwear. Or clothing at all, some days. Yesterday she was wearing ep's Alaska teeshirt and nothing else. But we were at home, so that's okay. Ish. Because she and I were at home while everyone else went out and bought books with their gift cards. Because she would not wear proper clothing, she did not get to go out in public. That is not going to be fun next year, when she has to wear a uniform to school.
Work/life balance. My work, our life. At least I know that's what we're working on, now. Much grumping in between as we figured out that it wasn't X and it wasn't Y. It is really just that I have a job I love, and I've never had to develop skills for that before - never had to find a way to keep work from turning up in my home hours, or to stop thinking about it when I'm with family. Zero need to remember to leave work on time, or to watch the clock if I have to work from home so that I actually stop ON TIME instead of late. Previously, it was more the other way around. Woo, outta here!
So, some skills building there. And reassessing, and figuring out what it is I want out of this job. It probably won't be a forever job. But I like that it is a feed-my-psyche job. And while sometimes the people I work with turn into nits unexpectedly (or weenies), mainly, I really like the folks I work with.
And at the same time, trying to build skills for handling the kids at their new ages/stages, too.
- Miss R needs more direct one-on-one, and true to our experience, is making sure she gets it, by any means necessary. Which means mostly she's causing trouble that needs our intervention. Red light, green light, it's all light. Attention is attention. So, we're turning that one around a bit.
- Miss M needs more negotiating skills - Miss R spent the last six months developing those, and now she clobbers Miss M with them. So we're working on raising Miss M's skill set so she can keep up.
- Mr G is working on establishing and maintaining his boundaries, especially with Mr B. There has been a lot of poking and getting in too close or leaning on or otherwise being inside the space, pushing buttons. Roughhousing ensues, and then someone gets hurt and... ah, testosterone. But he will develop the skills, too.
- Mr B is working on developing some social finesse with his brother, instead of just escalating to screaming at him if he wants something he's not getting. Or escalating the poking/pushing-on/crowding, either.
So, add in: working on the right problems/issues/developments. I hate it when they grow out from under my parenting skills. But they do it again and again, so... I should expect it by now. I kind of do expect it by now, really. It's just depressing some days how long it sometimes takes me to realize that I'm parenting a child who hasn't existed for a couple of months. No wonder it isn't working, that solution is for a problem that isn't the problem. The symptoms of the problem (sibling squabble, power struggle, whatever) may look similar, but with new cognitive skills and new needs and new feelings all underneath the situation, the old solution is about as useful as... well, I can't think of anything absurd enough. Just not useful.
Most of what we need to work on is related to mindfulness. I need to find a way to meditate or do tai chi again. Dancing was helping while I was doing it more, but then my schedule changed again and it fell back down the list - I need to have the time in order to do it, if I get home late I can't.
Mindfulness will help with that, too, though. And with the work/life balance, and with paying attention to being quiet with the kids (more on that later). And probably with being married, and being a friend, and being a sibling, and everything else.
So, mindfulness is a big priority. New Years is often used for resolutions, but Monkey Day is just as good - especially as it is before the usual holiday craziness.
Just one more Christmas to go... and less than a year to Monkey Day, 2010.