A little update on our Miller family. Loving life right now. Life really can feel like a roller coaster sometimes. When people see me with three babies I usually say something honest like, “Yes, there is three! It’s a lot of fun – we have our good and bad days, most are good though.” It’s very true. (Quick aside – Hb years later when you look back on this. Oh I wish I could help you remember just how much your little Royal James loved his feetsies. Oh my goodness he loves to play with his feet! Mr Finn always shrieks, ‘Mom! He’s eating his feetsies!’)
Ryan: has really hit his stride studying for the bar. Re-entry into hard studying just a mere two days after your last final was not easy. His days look pretty much like this seven days a week, studying hard in the morning coupled with a quick swim every other day on his lunch break. Then going hard again through the afternoon/evening, refueling, catching up for a few minutes with me and the boys. If we are really lucky sometimes an evening walk to our park next door if he got out really early. I LOVE that it stays light outside until 8 o’clock. We can do 45 minutes out walking together at seven at night, it’s great. Before bed he looks over notes/review. I am constantly amazed how much exercise helps Ryan, well everyone really. I have really been proud watching throw his whole self into this. It took a little time getting accelerated but he’s cranking now.
Finn and Jude: The boys have been spending lots of time with their favorite girl, Bailey bug. I almost feel like it’s our Dubai summer all over again. Emotionally I just feel very geared up, leaning on my friends, getting out of the house a lot. We are developing a new routine. I just have to crank down into a lower gear since we don’t have weekends now. Finn had his last day at preschool today, they had a party, our best days are our days when he’s been at preschool. He is always happy. He has loved his little class so we are going to put him into something again for summer. Love all the diversity that Finn has been exposed to already, he is one of two white boys in his class. Love Irvine!
Royal James: Is quite the spirited young man, parenting really does require thick skin sometimes. Crying it out is never easy. If you sacrifice for a few days though it makes for a world of difference putting your kids down for naps, and bed time. You hit a point where they just have to learn to soothe themselves to sleep. It was hard with Finn, Jude was never as attached to being held and somehow really got the knack of soothing himself young so we didn’t have to really do it with him. Maybe once, but it wasn’t that rough. We are just breaking through this stage with Royal. The last four days have pushed me with very little sleep. We went to the doctor yesterday, (his ears look good) he also got some vaccines. (Flu shots as Finn calls them)! I have gotten so lucky with my babies not getting ear infections – knock on wood – we don’t get any! He laughs so much now. I am already encouraged by how much Finn and Jude play with Royal. There was a period of a few weeks that I was a little nervous whether them being so close was really going to be the magical thing that I hoped it would be. My hope is rekindled – seeing how gentle Jude is with Royal amazes me. If anyone has seen Jude with dogs, you would be too. The term ‘softly’ really had a hard time registering for a while! Finn loves playing peek-a-boo and making him laugh. I took a cute video of them playing together tonight.
My sweet friend Jamie (Bailey’s mom) lives down in Laguna Niguel, she blew up this kiddie pool on her back patio and the kids just had a hay day with it. She’s great, anyone that can handle the high energy that is the boys and I is quite impressive.
I had a real ah-ha moment today. As real of an ah-ha moment that you can get. I had speech with Jude this morning, EARLY. Wow this early morning appointment nearly kills me every week. Which is why prior to bar study Ryan was always taking him! Heaven knows I am extremely long winded so I am going to cut RIGHT to the chase. Today I realized, I realized like a ton of bricks falling on my shoulders just how badly my giving into Jude’s whiny/tantrum/2 year old behavior is hurting him – not me, him. Pinned up for me to read as much as possible is this excerpt:
“Give willingly, refuse unwillingly.” -Rousseau (in Emile) “But let your refusal be irrevocable. Let no entreaties move you, let your ‘no’ once uttered, be a wall of brass, against which the child may exhaust his strength. Thus you will make him patient, equable, calm, resigned, even when he does not get all he wants.” [Rousseau says the absolute worst thing you can do is to give your child everything he wants. Absolute misery will be the result.]
Jude had what I would deem pretty much monstrous behvaior in his speech appointment this morning. Usually he is amazing, I am always just being told how well he is doing. But with me there with him, he just whined and cried and tried to get out of doing ‘work’. When Jude has his visitors or appointments it’s ‘work’. I finally had to just leave because he wouldn’t snap out of this whiny stuff. Our therapist remarked on how interesting it was to see Jude with me versus how Jude is with Ryan. Now, Ryan and I work well with each other, because we complement each other. But bottom line: Jude can’t get away with nearly the stuff he does with Ryan, and he knows it so he cooperates. My therapist asked me if I had read ‘The Dog Whisperer’? We talked about how dogs can sense your energy, they can feel if there is any weakness there. I’ve worked hard at my tone, my ‘No’ and Jude listens to me now. But when it comes to ‘working’ trying to talk, trying to do those difficult tasks he tries to manipulate me.
So point being – I am going to work at my energy. I don’t want my children to think they can just walk all over me or expect me to be a hostage. But even more than that, Jude won’t really improve until I set the standard that whining and crying isn’t acceptable, that I won’t tolerate it. I am not the ‘strong woman’ type. It’s just not in my DNA. Sure I am a strong woman, but man there are some women that boy they don’t need any coaching on ‘the tone.’ I can’t change who I am completely but I need to look for opportunities to push Jude and show him that I mean business, that I’m not just always a source of comfort or escape. Wish me luck! If there is any journey I feel like I’m on through motherhood – it’s this. Finding my voice with kids. I thought I had found it, and it’s there. But today I realized that journey isn’t over.