I am so happy I finally got spend time with my best friends Anna & Grace! Even if that means I am over tired and grumpy tonight at bedtime!
So, last week we definitely hit some impasses as a family, most of them directly related to Emelia’s growing challenge between trying to be fiercely independent while at the same time needing Mummy’s undivided attention during the daycare hours. As you may have seen, it resulted in Mummy and Emelia reaching a place where they both needed a break. What we didn’t take into consideration was that Emelia didn’t necesarily understand all that. As much as Danielle explained to Emelia that her time at Poppa & Grandma’s was not a punishment but a time for her to get a break from the house, the daycare kids and her frustrations, she still didn’t quite understand it all. But that is the inherent challenge with an 8 year old who sometimes can talk and behave 4 years in either direction from her actual age.
By Monday we had a girl completely out of sorts at Poppa & Grandma’s thinking her parents didn’t want her at the house. As this was absolutely not the case, I turned my dinner break on my closing shift into a chance to pick up Emelia and have a conversation with her on the way back to the house and Danielle to recalibrate her on what the intent of the visit to Mom & Dad’s was all about.
And then… as though the purpose of last week’s exercise was all for naught, in the time that I am composing this week’s post, we end up with another meltdown of epic proportions at the mere thought of suggesting it is bedtime for Emelia. Even after letting her stay up thirty minutes later working on the craft she was, she has completely come undone at the suggestion that she needs to go to bed.
The irony of it all is that through her shouting and completely made-up-on–her-own rationale, there are yawns and incoherency that are rank of someone who has had two nights of way too little sleep. And through it all while we try to make the hard line—setting boundaries, as parents with our inherent nature of feeling guilty about every decision we make, she’s there to blow through that, and pay little mind to anything other than what she wants, as we lapse on that very rigid stance. I’d be lying if I said these last few months have been anything but completely frustrating and utterly defeating. The only solace in it all is that Danielle and I are on the same page and that we know that this too shall pass… We hope.
Tuesday I was out of town for work to support our store in Kitchener for a closing shift. Part of the reason that we asked if Emelia could stay one more day at Mom & Dad’s was that Danielle would be without a car to get her on Tuesday and I was already working a close on Monday night which made it difficult to find time to pick her up either night. In the end we resolved it with me picking her up on Monday on my dinner break because she clearly didn’t understand what was going on and presumed that we didn’t want to be with her. Not the case, and after having some at length conversations with her over the next couple of days, she seemed to have a better concept of the idea behind having a break meant. And ultimately her behaviour was also on the much better side.
Wednesday and Thursday I was off work and able to spend time with her and even take her to gymnastics. Wednesday, the irony was that even when I have entire day off to be there for her, she resists activities with just me that take her away from the daycare—the same thing that seems to frustrate her having to share her Mummy. Thankfully I was able to convince her to come with me to explore the London Archeology Museum and then another trip to Yardigans in the afternoon before it was off to the ice cream shop and then gymnastics. We had a pretty great day and there were only minimal requests to head back to the house to see what she was missing out on.
And Thursday I had lined up a carpentry project that I had been meaning to start for some time and that I knew Emelia might want to help with. We started planning and collecting the parts for wood cabinet surround for our Marantz stereo. It would be a fun project for the both of us that involved Emelia getting dressed for the day in her carpentry overalls and us heading to Philmore’s to pick up some exotic walnut plywood for the project. By the afternoon we were over at Poppa & Grandma’s to make use of my larger woodworking tools – most namely my table saw – to make the more complex cuts that needed to happen to get the two foot by four foot sheet of plywood into the pieces we needed for the cabinet. Overall, we had a fantastic day.
And Friday… well Friday was the day Emelia had been waiting for like ever. We were headed off, the moment I was done work, with Wolfie, to Ipperwash Beach and the summer, cottage home of her beloved besties, Anna & Grace to spend Friday night and Saturday there visiting her long lost friends. Admittedly I got away from work later than I wanted, but by seven in the evening we had the trailer set up and the girls were off reconnecting while the grownups were settling in to a roaring campfire. Emelia was definitely happy and so were we. We spent the next twenty-four hours enjoying the break from our house and routine and not necessarily having to plan out every single moment of Emelia’s life. Danielle and I even got to sleep alone in the trailer! We had beach time and plenty of campfire time and really just got to spend time being witness to Emelia being Emelia rather than having to map out every detail for her. We even ended up staying the night last night when I decided it would make as much sense for me to head back to work this morning at 6am than have to leave last night and miss one last campfire after Emelia & Danielle worked out rides back to London in the middle of the day today.
I was impressed at my ability to get up early, with the trailer, and to get it back to London, get it unhitched and then to have time to enjoy a quiet coffee at home with breakfast before heading in to work for 9am. The weekend as far as I am concerned was a rousing success. Tonight’s over tired tantrum aside we had a much better end to this week than we did last. And we know in a week’s time Emelia returns back to school and to the place of structure and challenge that she needs and can’t quite yet rationalize. And then, hopefully order returns to this household where there is more hugs to end the day than shouting and frustration. She’s fiercely able to voice her opinion with us and one day I will truly appreciate her ability to take a stand, but right now I hope she understands that all this battle and boundary is borne of a deep seeded love and desire to help her be who she wants to be…
All in all this week was a much better week than the week prior. As John has mentioned it was a bit of a rough go of the beginning with Emelia being at Poppa and Grandma’s. The battle that ended the week that resulted in a break from mummy translated to her that mummy and daddy didn’t want her home. After a long talk with her about the need for time away from each other and that her words having a strong impact on those she loves we finally talked it all through and hopefully she understands it all. She certainly seemed to for much of the rest of the week. She tried her best to be a bigger helper with the kids although the frustrations with the kids did happen time to time but she at least took the time to do something creative in her room rather than be a total grump to everyone around her.
So it was a better week which worked out well because we had a great weekend planned that we didn’t want to miss out on. As we have mentioned a few times in the blog, Emelia’s best friends have been gone for most of the summer. Last fall Anna and Grace’s family bought a family cottage about 45 minutes from here and have spent much of the summer there enjoying the cottage. But what this has meant is that the girls have missed each other terribly. Knowing how much everyone missed each other, Susan (the twin’s mom) and I have been working back and forth looking at her weekend work schedules (she is an ER nurse) and John’s weekend schedule trying to find a common weekend we could make the trip up there. After a lot of back and forth we finally found time that worked for this past weekend. The girls have been messaging back and forth constantly counting down until they saw each other so needless to say this was up there as one of Emelia’s most anticipated weekends of the year.
Friday while the daycare kids slept I got as much organized for our weekend as possible, once John was able to sneak away from work we headed out. By 7 we were at the cottage and the girls were off playing and catching up. This weekend was extra special because Susan’s sister was down for a visit so there were even more girls to play with. The weekend was filled with lots of laughter, really late nights for the kids and a bundle of amazing memories.
The original plan was that we would stay up only for the Friday night and head back in the evening Saturday night but within 10 minutes of our arrival all the kids were working the parents to figure out how we could extend our trip one more night. In the end we figured it out, I was able to get a ride back with Susan’s sister and her girls to London and John got up at the crack of stupid to leave to bring the trailer home and get to work before 9:00. We are all tired and ready to sleep at home but it was well worth it.
That about does it for me this week, we still have to get life back in order around here before I return to work next week and I try to find lots of fun things for Emelia to do this week so I can make the most of her last week home before she is back to school in just over a week.