Small celebrations that are worth so much more

Today was a big day for the sleepless Knights. Today, my babies learned how to ride their bicycles without training wheels. Sure, this is a fairly common right of passage that virtually every child will experience at some time in their development. And sure, this is way more their accomplishment than mine. But it feels like a huge accomplishment to me too.

As of late, I  haven’t had much reason to celebrate. I haven’t found a lot of reasons to smile, to relax, to sit back and enjoy this wild ride we call life. No, for me lately, life has been a bit of a struggle. Stress, work, exhaustion, worry, stress, arguing with children, bad behavior, did I mention stress? Yeah, it’s been a rough last couple of months for me. To the point where I woke up one day and realized that I had lost my joy in life. Completely lost it. And that’s a sad realization, when you have the blessings that I have, and you have lost sight of a way to appreciate and enjoy them.

I think it can happen to any of us, especially moms who are constantly running in a million different directions during these crazy and chaotic early years. It was definitely happening to me. And since realizing this, I have been working to take better care of myself and focus more on the positive. Let go of the negatives and the worry, and just do the best I can. It’s still a struggle, but I am trying.

So fast forward to today. We dropped Connor off at school and set off to the skate park to give “sans training wheels” another try. It’s something the boys and I have been working on for a couple of weeks now, here and there. And to be honest, they were both very resistant and I was very frustrated. (Read: just another area where Mama is failing at her job).

The logical side of my brain said to let it go, stop pushing so hard and let them learn when they are ready to learn. But the side of my brain that has been struggling with everything else lately… well, that side really just needed a win. Any win. You know? And I knew the boys were on the verge of having it figured out, that they just needed a little more practice and a little more confidence to make things happen.

I stayed up last night, researching different teaching methods. Because, yes, I am that mother. The one who runs to the Internet and pours over article after article after article, on whatever current issue might be affecting my children. I armed myself with a number of tips and tricks, and a whole lot of positive attitude (because at the end of the day, that’s what the boys really needed from me the most), and it worked!

Ben was the first to master it. And when he did, well, I whooped, I hollered, I jumped up and down, I made the random guy skateboarding on the other side laugh out loud at me… but dang it, I was thrilled!!!! I felt joy, real joy, for the first time in a long while. I felt Ben’s excitement. I felt his pride. I felt his relief at finally figuring it all out. His celebration was my celebration, and it felt incredible.

Alex almost had it figured out this morning too, he did ride a very short distance successfully on his own, but he was tired and cranky, and we were quickly deteriorating into a battle of wills. So I let it go, and we tried again after dinner, with Daddy and big brother now there to cheer him on. And he got it!!! And again, the pride, the excitement, the relief, it all came rushing through me. I just felt so….. happy. Happy for my babies. Happy for myself to have been able to help them. Happy that for once I could let everything else go, and just focus on the good happening right in front of me.

I am so proud of my babies, and their big milestone today, and I don’t want to take any of the credit away from them. They are the ones who had to figure it out and keep trying, no matter how many times they fell down. I’m just thankful that I was able to truly enjoy this exciting accomplishment with them, and feel a happiness that has been absent for far too long now. I want this happiness. I want this excitement. I want this joy. Not only for myself, but because my boys deserve to have a happy mama too.

So we are going to keep celebrating the milestones, each and every one of them, no matter how big or how small. And we are going to keep jumping for joy. Now that I remember how to.

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One proud mommy

You will have to forgive me, I am going to use this post to shamelessly brag about how amazing my boys are and how proud of them I am. I can’t help it. It has to be done.

Let’s start with Connor. His parent-teacher conference for preschool was yesterday. I had the opportunity to sit down with his teacher and closely examine his progress this year, something I knew was there, but hadn’t really put much thought into. But now that I have, I am so unbelievably proud of my little man, who by the way still has a few more months before he turns 5.

From his preschool teacher: Connor can read, write, and identify the phonics sounds for every letter in the alphabet. He can count from 1 to 79 out loud, and can recognize written numbers up to 25. He can also write the numbers 1 to 10 in order, though a few digits might be backwards. He knows all of his shapes and colors (except tan, darn, I keep forgetting about that one!), uses positional words correctly, holds his pencil properly, and can cut a straight line with scissors. He does a wonderful job participating in class, and is always polite. His teacher called him a “star pupil.”

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I also know that he can count to 100 by 10s, can count to 50 by 5s, has about 20 sight words down already (maybe more), can name every planet in the solar system in order, can identify the number of syllables in a word… and so much more. Connor is quite literally a sponge for knowledge, he learns so quickly and retains it. I could not be more proud of him, both for everything he has learned, and the fact that he loves and enjoys learning.

Not to be outdone, his brothers are doing fantastic with their learning as well! Just shy of 3 years old, both Alexander and Benjamin speak in full sentences, with an extensive vocabulary. They know almost all of their colors (black and brown are still a little tricky, not to mention that darn tan!). They are in the process of learning shapes, and doing very well with them. They can both count to 10 and count the number of objects on a page correctly. They both know how to sing their ABC’s, can recognize the letters A, B, and C by sight, and Alex will even make the F sound when he sees an F or the M sound when he sees an M. So phonics are coming along well too! Oh, and they can name a few planets too!

I am sure there are other key milestones I am forgetting to mention, but the point is, all three boys are doing fantastic with their learning! I am very proud of each and every one of them, and I only hope that this love of learning stays with them always. It is serving them well.