Archive | kids RSS feed for this section

Little chicken farmer

25 Jul

Leon is pretty much the hardest thing in my life right now. If you haven’t had a toddler in your life recently, you have no idea. If you used to have toddlers in your life, you have forgotten how terrible it is. Now I understand the “terrible twos”. I used to think it was about tantrums, but in Leon’s case, it’s all about GETTING INTO EVERYTHING QUICKLY.

I need a little person (one with lots of energy and agility) to just follow him around, making sure he doesn’t drink gasoline, spill acid on his feet, or climb 8 foot ladders (yes all of these things happened).

On the flip side, our busy little boy is proving to be very industrious. Yesterday morning, I let all the little chicks out of their coop, so I could move it to fresh ground. Then I had to catch them all and put them back in. Leon was watching all this from the bedroom window. His dad opened the bedroom door, and Leon RAN out, straight for the chickens, and began catching them and putting them in the coop.

It was amazing to see him understand the two-step process: not only catch them, but also put them where they belong. It was also amazing that his attention never waned. He saw the task through to the end. Yay, go Leon!

20130725-075444.jpg

20130725-075456.jpg

20130725-075503.jpg

20130725-075548.jpg

20130725-075557.jpg

So then later that day, we went over to the farm. I wanted to feed the hens tomatoes because we had a lot of extras and I showed Leon how to pick tomatoes and put them in a bucket.

He got serious about his task right away, filled his bucket, and then laboriously and with focus, brought the bucket over to the hens. I didn’t show him to feed them to the hens; I was busy doing something else, but Leon just knew. Seriously humans are amazing.

He’s a year and seven months and already earning his keep. This might work out after all.

Advertisements

On trying to do it all

19 Jul

I came across a really lovely blog, A Cup of Jo, and particularly loved her series on work/baby/life balance where she interviews different working moms. Most of them live in the city and their work is writing. No one like me. So I decided to use her interview questions for my own life.

1. What’s your work schedule?

I teach first and second grade ESL and that goes from 8 to 10:30 everyday. So I usually will run one quick errand and be home just before 11. I then make lunch for me and Carlos and Leon and go and breastfeed. Then I have about 2 hours to do anything. I used to use this time for domestic chores, but I’ve started using it for the garden. Then I breastfeed again, and go back to work on the farm.

Working more on the farm, instead of using that middle work period for home stuff, has been great. Carlos feels less abandoned with all the work, I feel less cooped up, and of course our farm gets way more attention. It’s funny how two people working together is more than twice as effective. I was also missing Carlos because working together is how we connect emotionally.

20130719-064656.jpg
2. How do you handle childcare?

While I’m at school, Carlos stays with all three babies. If he gets construction work, we will have to hire a babysitter. Then when we work on the farm we can take them with us. The twins just lay on their blanket for now. Leon never stops moving. Sometimes he can get into trouble. Our farm is at Carlos’s mom’s place, so he also wanders into her kitchen a lot.

3. Where do you work during the day?

Happily, our farm is just down the street, so we can stroller over there. School is downtown, a ten minute drive.

4. What do you like best about your current set-up?

I love that both my husband and I are stay-at-home parents! We get to eat lunch and dinner together! I love that when I need a hand with the kids, Carlos is right there. And I love that we are really close to Carlos’s family, including nieces and nephews that like to come over and help clean the house or change diapers!

5. What do you find tricky about your current set-up? What would you change if you had a magic wand?

Definitely making time for it all. Like I said, I used to reserve the middle of the day for house work, but we found that the farm needed more time. So now housework is an afterthought. And that’s ok! I try to do it as I go.

6. How does your husband contribute to manage the juggle/house/childcare?

We are definitely partners. He often takes Leon with him while I’m breastfeeding because it really bothers me when he’s climbing on top of me and the twins. He is also responsible for helping Leon is he wakes up in the middle of the night, because I have to feed the twins at night.

20130719-064802.jpg

7. Do you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time?

I just finally discovered how to have time for myself! I get up at 5 am while everyone is sleeping!! I go into the kitchen with my ipad, and drink coffee, and answer emails, and read blogs. It is heaven! I find that I am way more patient throughout the day, because I made time for myself, and because I can look forward to my time the next day. No more trying to type with one hand while breastfeeding, or with Leon grabbing the computer. Ahh.

8. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?

Ha ha ha! I think this is a trick question. I don’t think it’s about balance as much as go go go! Get used to it. Forget your old life, and definitely don’t compare your life now to the way it was. I also try to remember that in 20 years everything will settle back down and I’ll have time to do whatever I want. Plus I will have the experience to appreciate it.

9. Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?

Yes, for me I often feel like a slob. I mean, I’m not the only person with kids and a job, and yet my house is too messy. My floors are dirty. There is clutter everywhere. So I often wonder how “they” do it all. But who is they, really? As long as I just stay busy, I don’t have time to compare myself with these fictional moms.

Playing with my 17 month old: cloud dough

18 May

Leon’s amazing fun Aunt Kim has left for the United States. His musical, entertaining Uncle Rob and sweet patient Aunt Bel have also left. That means my maternity leave is over, so I’m back teaching English to first and second graders three hours a day. It also means I’m babysitting three babies when I’m not at school (is it still called babysitting when they’re your own?)

It is so difficult! If you’ve ever been a mother, I’m sure you remember the laundry, the feeding times, the endless dirty diapers, and the infinite “no! Don’t touch that put that down right now don’t you dare go in the street come back here sit down stand up give me that put that away icky don’t eat that eat this!!!! And stop putting things in your brothers’ mouths!”

Obviously we’re still figuring this whole parenting thing out. Hopefully by the time the twins are his age I will have developed great new stores of patience, age-appropriate activities I can pull out of plastic containers like the moms on Pinterest, and most importantly, a big fenced-in area that is escape-proof. Maybe sound-proof as well. 🙂

20130518-182730.jpg

Thankfully Carlos has been rocking it out in the garden, because if it were up to me everything would be dead, even the chickens and the goats! But it’s ok, I’m just trying to find my mothering rhythm, which at this point pretty much means entertaining Leon/picking up after him. I’m also drinking lots of chamomile tea. I find that when I can’t bear to get up after a meal and go do something, making myself a cup of tea is all I need to transition smoothly.

Today Leon and I played with cloud dough, something I’ve seen on several mommy blogs. It’s way more fun to play with then I imagined, so if you have a toddler in your life, try it out!

Ingredients
Corn starch
Baby oil

Procedure
Put about a cup’s worth of corn starch in a bowl. Make a well in the middle, like you’re making bread dough. Fill the well with oil and stir it up. That’s it! Store covered in the fridge.

Leon and I were entertained for at least fifteen minutes, which is a lot of time in Leon’s world, and just enough for Mommy to be able to sit down for a moment.

20130518-182704.jpg