Transitioning Into New Seasons

Our summer went by pretty quickly - but the end was a bit slow and gruesome. Things were hot, people were grumpy, vacations were all behind us, Jason was busy... bleh. 

We did take it slow this summer. We enjoyed each others' company (mostly). With Henry's developing ability to make conversation, he and Will have really bonded. I realized how much when I was chatting with Will about his friends and asked "Is Liam your best friend?" and Will said, "No, Henry is my best friend!"
He took these pics of himself and his best friend on a long walk sometime in August... 

Speaking of long walks, I've kind of been lost without them. Just a short while ago, I had an easy go-to when the Witching Hour hit us and the kids were driving me crazy in the house. I just popped 'em in the double stroller and walked in the fresh air for a solid hour and a half while dinner finished cooking or just kept warm. It cleared my head, required zero pep-talks (unlike running some days ;) ), and kept my rascals confined. 

But lately they haven't been working for me. Will has reached an age where he simply hates sitting still and doing nothing for that long. Bringing books doesn't help cause the two just fight over them. And bringing the LeapPad not only seems to defeat the purpose of the walk outside for him, but for me as well cause its annoying to listen to. 

We are in kind of a transition period in general right now. I think I have come very far in my experience of motherhood and would mostly laugh at/disagree with my intense opinions in the first 2 years of it... but when I hit on this in a sudden burst of inspiration, I actually was on to something. (For once). 
Transition periods have indeed marked my roughest patches as a mom. It was true then, and it is true now. When I'm in the middle of a hard time, and finally admit it to myself (which takes a lot cause I'm a relentless optimist), I usually put the pieces together and wake up to realize yep, sure enough, we are transitioning into a new stage. The in-betweens are what kill you. Your kids have outgrown the old boundaries/routines and you are at a loss until they grow into new ones. 

Right now... I am still technically entrenched in The Early Years of motherhood. The years of playdates and quiet mornings; the years of little commitment outside of half-day preschool a few days a week and maybe a bible study here and there. The years of sleep-training, potty-training, night-waking, public tantrums, experimenting with meal after meal only to have to plead and yell and whine and cajole to get the little people to take 5 bites before giving up. The years of cleaning your house all day and then watching the tidiness unravel in minutes. The years of insecurity because not only are you still trying to figure out what and how to enjoy these years, but so are all the other moms at your stage in life... so hiiii, comparison and side-eying and feeling like a failure and accidentally offending someone else's intensely-opinionated parenting choices. 

[not that I am so optimistic/naive as to think that kind of temptation for women magically disappears, ever - but from looking at my older mom friends it does seem as if a lot of it dissipates].

- the favorite rainy day hangout -

I sometimes think this particular season is especially hard when it comes to maintaining perspective. I still have so much growing up to do. So much learning from other people. So far to go in accepting my own limitations (and those of other people). My friends, my family, my kids.

Maybe its just me, not this season at all. But it does seem like that whole "the days are long, the years are short" thing confirms that perspective is just hard in the Early Years of parenthood. It is hard to imagine how different everything will feel in 5 years (even if I'm still having babies!). Shoot, it's hard to imagine how different everything will be in one year. The days feel sooooo longggggg.

- impromptu dinners at EarthFare when Daddy works late -

I told Jason after one tired day that I can't wait to be in the Soccer Mom stage. It is so close I can almost taste it. Will will (literally) start soccer in the spring, but more importantly, we will be applying to Catholic school kindergarten then too. I know (I know) I will blink and I'll be in a new season. One of uniforms and daily lunch boxes and pickup lines and carpools and everyone around me bustling around with activity. I feel like a terrible mom for admitting this when I love my toddlers and babies and staying home and the slow life, I do!, but... I crave that new season. Part of me cannot wait for the excitement and stress of it all. A big part of me.

This is where the transition thing comes in. I know the way I feel right now is preparing me to not be an emotional mess when I have to let go of my oldest a bit more. Just a few hours more in a given day than his preschool, and just two more days a week... but it will be a big transition, and I know this. I think nature [and God :)] is preparing my heart for this new season, and it is beautiful to behold. But part of me hates that I feel this way, cause I have to stick it out in the current season for 10 months more.

He's preparing Will for it, too. It is cool to see that, but again, makes my job harder. This is why the things that kept my sweet boy happy for so long just aren't cutting it anymore. Walking, for one. He was always the sweetest buddy on long, long walks and runs. Never needed any entertainment, never whined, simply hummed to himself and pointed out things he liked on the trail or in the neighborhood. Now, he gets bored more easily. He gets restless. He hates the Childcare at the Y (he lovedddd it when he was Henry's age) - and I hate taking him cause I totally get it; he's old enough to be bothered by the fact that there are always a bunch of strange kids, and the helpers aren't even usually consistent.

- he makes an awesome date -

He is thriving at school and part of me wishes I had signed him up for four or five days, but not really cause he would have different teachers then, and his are bomb-awesome.

And ahhhh I have to find a way to enjoy this season right here right now. I have to find better ways to enjoy being at home with them, which means letting go of my despair at ever conquering the disaster of said-house.

I am blessed with children who are sweet to each other and sweet to me and their Daddy. I am so blessed in being able to spend all this time with them. I am blessed with a few really good mom friends who live nearby and whose refreshing company in playdates help me get over the moms who make you feel judged or judgey. I am blessed with good friends who don't live nearby, and who aren't all moms, but who never fail to help me with that needed-perspective. 

The only successful way I've found so far to deal with transition is to lean into it. Just go all the way, baby. It helps snap more change into the air, which is key. Transition is the same in life as it is in the weather, when the rain brings a cold-front through and all you have for a week is miserable humidity... transition just needs some snappy, brisk winds of change to make it exciting instead of obnoxious. 

We therefore transitioned the boys into a fancy new big boy room upstairs.... and Henry got to leave the crib for his very own big boy bed. 

- the new digs -

And Jason had the genius idea of turning a work weekend trip to Atlanta into a kid-free getaway for both of us. It was totally refreshing. One of my girlfriends got a good laugh at me when I blew up her phone with happy, excited, Lorelei-speed texts during my morning alone at the hotel Starbucks while Jason worked. Amazing how much thinking you can do when the toddlers are away ;). 

- the view from our room! -

I realized just how much I needed it when I flew out of bed Sunday morning at 6:30, ready and excited to get back to the boys. 

That's all I have to deal for right now. Though I also sat down to plot ahead of a month of weekend adventures which will hopefully make a big difference ;). And I cannot even describe how this post by the hands down Coolest Mom Blogger Colleen, helped encourage me. It made me feel like I'm not immaturely thinking the grass is greener in the next season - it could actually be that I am made for it.  I love how she calls them "The Golden Years". I hope I can grow up to have a sliver of her joyfulness as a mom. 

Andddd I know that has to start right here, right now. To conquering transitions!

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