what to say?

Usually when I sit down to write a blog post I have a pretty solid idea of what I’m going to say. I’ve usually crafted parts of the post in my head (this is one of the things I do when I run, write blog posts in my head), and I sometimes have a catchy title as well. And I certainly know what I’m going to write about…

I have not done that tonight. And no, this is NOT going to be a post about how little I’ve been posting, since that would be one of my blogging pet peeves. But I am going to break my mould and write about more than one topic. Because tonight I actually have time and energy to post something, but I don’t know what exactly I want to write. So I’m just going to spew.

First, the training is going well. I ran for an hour and 45 minutes on Saturday morning (we won’t talk about how far that actually was because I am still way short of 21.1 km) and rode for just under two hours on Sunday afternoon (after much procrastination, and I *will* talk about how far the ride was because it was almost 40 km, I did some hills, and I averaged 20 km/h…not bad for riding alone late on a Sunday afternoon, tired from a busy weekend). I’m so far injury free, which isn’t all that surprising because I haven’t been injury prone, but I am a good seven years older than I was the last time I ran a half marathon, so you never know what might happen.

On the not-so-bright side, there is a good chance that I will be out of the continent for the half marathon, as my next Saudi trip is planned for May 15 – May 31st. Plans change weekly on this front, so I’m still holding out some hope, however they have started my visa application process again, and this usually means things are a bit more concrete. I’ve had a lot of time to get used to this idea so I’m not as bummed as you might think. Actually, that’s not true. I’m very bummed about missing a weekend away with my hubby, no children and six good friends. But run-wise I think I will try to find another run to do. Either that or totally bail on it. Interestingly enough, that second option is not very appealing. I am quite excited about this challenge of training for a half AND the Tour de Victoria, so I think another run is what’s in store for me.

Second up. Amy. She’s turning four in nine days. FOUR. Four was a big one for me with Elliot. It seems so much older than three. I feel the same way with Amy. She’s turned into a big girl. Yesterday she started a set of swim lessons at the rec centre. She’s done lessons recently through daycare, but it’s the first time I’ve been at her lessons when I’m not going in the pool with her. She got right into it and was glowing through the whole lesson. She looked like she was having a ball…with a teacher she’d never met and four other kids she’d never met. Whose kid is this? Has she always been so brave?

She continues to have her own sense of style and it’s one of the many things I love about her. I still remember the one day, long ago when she was two, when she had just mastered dressing herself, and I cringed at what she’d chosen to wear, but decidedly kept my mouth shut. That day, I remember making it clear to her care providers that she’d dressed herself. I remember talking to friends at work about how hard it was for me to keep my mouth shut. But I did, and I’m so happy I did, because we are constantly entertained by her choice of outfits, and now it doesn’t ever cross my mind that I should explain her outfit to anyone else. This is Amy, pure and simple. Layers, stripes-with-flowers, socks-on-the-outside-of-her-pants, skirts-with-dresses, sun-hat-with-a-winter-coat, five-outfits-a-day Amy.

Third. Elliot. I said on his birthday that I would write more about Elliot at six. Since I talked about clothing and Amy, and since clothing has been an issue with Elliot, I’ll talk about Elliot’s current relationship with clothing. In short, it’s much better than it was. He now has about five pairs of pants that he’ll happily wear, and not all of them are blue. They are all still sweatpants, but he’s broadened his horizons a little bit colour-wise. As for t-shirts, he’ll pretty much wear anything now. We had a bunch of hand-me-down t-shirts that he wouldn’t touch last year, and about four months ago both Greg and I subtly tried getting him to wear them by putting them at the top of his shirt drawer. Without a word, he started wearing them. All of them. We haven’t had a clothing battle in months and it’s awesome. That said, he’d still rather live in his pj’s, but I’ll take what I can get.

He has a great sense of humour, and he’s able to use his body and facial expressions as part of his humour. He’s reading more and more every day, and he’s loving the French. He’s also an anxious kid and he complains of stomach aches at school. That’s a whole other post that might not get written. For now we are supporting him as much as we can, and if it becomes something we can’t handle, we’ll get help. I’m not nearly as at peace with it as that statement sounds, but I’m trying not to project into the future regarding what this means for him as he navigates through life. I also need to remember that I was an anxious child, am still an anxious adult, and one of the most important things to teach Elliot is coping mechanisms.

He still rages, however not as often as he used to, and he recovers more quickly. It still worries me, especially when we’re in the middle of it. He has such a tumultuous personality and he’s not always the easiest person to live with. I’ve learned that walking away is not helpful at all, although I still do it at times if his behaviour is making me angry. Because yelling at him when he’s in the middle of it is useless. I can also talk to him more about it afterwards, and he seems to listen to what I say, and often can explain how he was feeling, once he’s calmed down.

Finally, me. I have been thinking a lot lately about parenting, more than I have since Elliot was three and on a hitting rampage. As siblings the two of them often have extremely endearing moments together (like tonight when Elliot was the mum, Amy was the baby and Elliot was reading — really reading — to her). They also often have moments where they are hitting, kicking and sitting on each other. I say Elliot has a tumultuous personality, but Amy does too, she just recovers much more quickly. So together they ride a roller coaster. I have lost my patience with them too many times to count, and every time I yell at them I feel terrible afterwards. I am trying not to yell as much. I’m trying to remember the mantra I thought up a few months ago, “parent like somebody’s watching”. But I question my methods, I question whether what I say to them is getting through to them, I question whether I’m royally screwing them up (although as my good friend Hillary pointed out to me this past weekend, what kid doesn’t get screwed up by their parents…good advice, and I should lower my expectations).

I have moments where I feel I’m the queen of all mothers, and other moments where I feel like a truly suck. It’s a bit unsettling.

But all that said, I had the best day I’ve had with them for a long time this past Wednesday, and I think it renewed my faith in myself a bit, and faith in the fact that they truly are great kids, fighting, bickering and meltdowns aside. I will endeavour to not lose sight of that.