The upcoming birthday festivities

Spencer’s first birthday is coming up in a few short weeks.  He shares a birthday with my best friends daughter, in addition to having a birthday near Thanksgiving (and once in a blue moon–on) most years.  So, planning his birthdays will be tough for a few years.

For Elliott, we have always chosen to have his birthday’s in our home town.  He has a summer birthday and occasionally his conflicts with the 4th of July holiday, but all in all it is simpler (for planning purposes) than contending with a major holiday like Thanksgiving.  
All of our respective family live in the same county.  Plus, Grandma was always more than willing to allow us to have the parties at her house.  They have a huge kid friendly yard and a pool with a water slide.  Elliott being our oldest (and at the time–only) child–parties were a pretty big affair.  Now that we have a second child–they seem less of a priority.  I now understand why subsequent children get the shaft.
The killer part for me is always the guest list.  Having the party in San Diego this year makes it a bit easier.  And in the same breathe infinitely more difficult  There is always the question of who to invite.  I don’t want to leave anyone off the list lest I insult someone, but I also don’t want to burden anyone with an invite if it’s going to be drag.  Do I invite all my home town friends?  Do I invite Elliott’s friends (who subsequently are my friends as well)?  Do I invite my friends who have kids?  How are we going to fit and feed all those folks into our house?  Since his birthday is in the winter–there is no telling if the skies will be cooperative or not.  
Then, there is the family factor.  If I have the party in our home town I can be assured that my family will attend.  It will be uncomfortable for everyone to be in the same room with one another–but they will do it in the name of my adorable son.  But, the fact that this year I have taken a stand and chose to have the event in San Diego sets my heart up for disappointment.  The last time I remember my Mom coming to San Diego was when Elliott was 2 weeks old.  My sister hasn’t been to visit me in more years than that.  And my Aunt’s last visit was my wedding–5 years ago.  In their defense, they are busy and traveling costs money.  I understand all of that.  But, it is still disappointing for me–it is only a 3 hour drive. One that I make 6-7 times every year with my kids in tow.  
Irrationally, I admit, I always position their love for me and my kids up against the excuse of not enough money and/or time–and my kids and I always lose.  Or so, it feels.  Now, I know that nothing is that simple or black and white.  But, it doesn’t change the fact that I still feel let down and disappointed.  Keeping in mind the whole time, of course, that the party is for my son and not for me.
The invitation was sent.  The only thing left to do is wait, and hope that I don’t feel disappointed when all is said and done.  
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Coming around the bend

I had a post sitting in my drafts for the last 2 months.  I wrote it whilst feeling very emotional and vulnerable.  I didn’t feel, at the time, that I should post it.  However, after reading it again I decided to go ahead.  My feelings at the time were real and therefore valid.  If you are a follower–you will see a new post with an old date.

Some days are still as frustrating as I earlier described.  However, many of the days are actually becoming enjoyable.  I attribute the change to a handful of things.

The first is that Elliott seems to be growing out of his defiant stage (I should say temporarily shelving as I expect it to show up again sooner rather than later).  He is becoming more aware of the daily expectations–get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast (sitting down), go to preschool or some other activity, etc. 

He is also working very hard at adjusting to life as a sibling.  He clearly likes Spencer, but still has a hard time sharing time and/or toys with him.  He also can scarcely contain his enthusiasm and sheer joy that comes from pushing him over, or angrily ripping a toy from him hands.  I suspect that Elliott is asserting himself over Spencer because Spenc is low man on the totem pole (so to speak).  As such, I have been working on navigating the two of them more carefully.  I have also been working on the language I use when correcting the other, making sure to say things to both Elliott AND Spencer.  That has helped facilitate their relationship with one another, and if I handle it correctly it should make them closer over the long haul. 

In addition to the normal growth that occurs when a sibling is added–I too, have been growing and adjusting.  I have always felt proud of the fact that I was very patient and took the time to explain things to my child.  And then there were two…and all patience went out the window.  I am slowly, day by day, regaining some of that patience.

As I slowly take back more of my body (less nursing on a daily basis) and I start to get more solid chunks of sleep I find that I am more patient and less irritable.  Both of these things attribute to a more patient and nurturing parent.

Lastly, I am learning more about redirecting my anger as well as my children’s.  I am also working on easing up on them–they ares still so little!  Elliott is 3 and 1/2 years old–but that is still small.  He needs reminders and more reminders.  He still needs me to swoop him up and kiss his owie.  He still lets me hold his hand when we cross the stress. 

And, these days I relish each opportunity.  I try and remind myself daily how lucky I am to be able to spend my days with my adorable boys.  Very lucky indeed.