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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Countdown is On...



It's coming, and coming soon!  Nope, I'm not talking about the Superbowl folks.  I could not be less interested in that, or to put it another way: I would rather poke myself in the eye with an ice pick than watch sports, pretty much any sport, on television.

But on Sunday, Adam goes to London, England for 17 days!  This will be longest I will be a lone parent to date and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified.  Yes, it is getting easier as the girls get older, but Little A is still prone to (daily) bouts of what can only be called completely irrational hysterical fits.  Take yesterday morning for example.  She woke up seemingly in a fine mood.  Then as I got her dressed she randomly said, "Big A never shares her gum with me." This is actually not true at all.  A few minutes later when Big A woke up, she was greeted with Little A screaming at her, "You never share your gum with me!"  Given this ridiculous accusation, I really couldn't justify forcing Big A to give her a piece of her gum.  Particularly since I told Little A she could have a piece from her own pack of Trident.   Within seconds Little A was lying on my bedroom floor shrieking.  And as I have mentioned before, she really does shriek very very LOUD!  I finally calmed her down with the promise of cocoa-loco pancakes for breakfast, and I told her I would bake her some banana muffins.  Unfortunately, she decided (in her head without telling me) that she wanted the not-yet-made muffins, not pancakes for breakfast so when I put the girls plates on the table another round of hysteria ensued.  Even after I explained there wasn't time for me to bake the muffins before we had to leave the house, she screamed and carried on.  Thank goodness I found some of my black forest muffins in the freezer and she deemed them an acceptable alternative.  This is the kind of stuff that happens with her that really makes me feel as if my sanity is at risk.

But unlike past trips, when I simply just hope to survive until Adam returns, this time I've got a few strategies up my sleeve.  Usually the literacy rate in the house declines (because I don't have the time or energy to read with Big A the way Adam does every night), as does the dental hygiene (I hate flossing the girls' teeth at the best of times, so if I'm struggling to get them into bed, it doesn't happen).  I am hoping not to let this happen, however, if it does, I am not going to beat myself up.  I am used to being alone with the girls in the morning, so its really the evenings that are always the biggest challenge.  To maximize my chances of success (and ability to maintain my sanity), this time I am going to:

1.  Sit down with the girls and make up an evening routine we can stick with each night (when we are all tired and I am on my shortest fuse) so all our expectations are in sync;
2.  I am going to try and get Big A's reading done at least 3x week in the mornings instead of at night;
3. Every Monday he's gone, I'm treating myself to a massage (hey, they're covered by insurance anyways!);
4. I have scheduled a million playdates for the girls to ensure they get time with their friends (who's parents happen to be my friends), but more importantly, that I get time with other adults so I don't go cuckoo! 
5. I am going to be diligent about my own self-care and stress management: getting enough sleep, doing yoga at least 2x week, and giving myself time-outs when the girls fight or have fits, which works far more effectively than giving them time-outs. 
6. Listen to classical music as much as possible.  I used to do this all the time, as I love it and it relaxes me.  Unfortunately, Adam hates it and it's basically forbidden when he's around.
7. Take it day-by-day.  It is much less intimidating to break it down into manageable chunks and just focus on one day at a time.
8. Not just try to survive, but actually have fun.  Ha! 

So, um, wish me luck!

Random Acts of Kindness

My random acts of kindness for the week are admittedly rather pathetic.  On Monday when I awoke to a thick layer of snow on the ground, I decided to shovel for as many neighbours as I could before passing out.  But then, our neighbours to our left, shoveled their walk and ours before I could even set foot outside.  To make up for this, I shoveled for our neighbours on the right, who are not very friendly and NEVER shovel a single snowflake for us.  But then the weather got warmer and all the snow melted anyways. 

Wednesday I went to renew my Canadian Passport.  I pulled into the parking lot and a woman knocked on my window.  I rolled it down and she told me she still had an hour of parking left and she gave me her ticket!  How nice is that?

Interesting, isn't it?  See a pattern here?  Just when I commit to doing more Random Acts of Kindness, all of a sudden it's being paid forward back to me!

Yesterday there was still snow on the sidewalk when I returned from dropping off the girls.  I quickly got out the shovel and shoveled for our nice neighbours, as well as our not-as-nice neighbours.  Then I used up all of our de-icing stuff to melt the ice quickly forming. 

Sadly, I know shoveling snow for neighbours isn't much more than being neighbourly.  Honestly, I was having trouble coming up with ideas for what I could do, which is absurd since there are so many people out there who can use help. 

Fortunately, I just discovered this Random Acts of Kindness website, which conveniently provides you with ideas.  Hopefully, I can do better next week.

Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.

William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962)
Religious Leader, Influential Public Speaker