Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Grand Optimist

I've noticed a shift in our parenting dynamic lately and it's not one that I expected.  It's the busiest time of year at work for Chris right now which means lots of work to take home, travel and in turn stress of monumental proportions.  He's trying to ride the tightrope of work/family balance and when we try to cram family fun time into one hour shifts and no down time paired with the fickle temperament of two toddlers it can be quite volatile.  Normally Chris is the cup half full half person in our dynamic duo, but lately I've found him on the other end of the spectrum while I try to overcompensate, poorly, left holding the empty glass so to speak.

With limited family time for Chris patience is lesser, expectations are higher and disappointment levels are brutal.  If I had the puppet mastery skills to make the minions behave on command I'd use it but sadly I don't.*  Play time with dad goes south when Molly gets jealous when she feels Jack is getting more attention than she is, then there are tears when Jack bites dad** and gets a time out and then dad feels bad because his quality time has become disciplinarian time.  I get burnt out and annoyed from the extra solo parenting/household running time I have with the kids when Chris is out of town and he's envious of all of the "fun" I'm having with the kids when he's not there.***

The stress of it all really hit home this weekend when we went out with a friend and the minions this weekend to the batting cages (bad pun intended).  The plan was simple 1-2 people would take a turn in the cages while the other person(s) played with the minions behind closed fences (at a safe distance) and then switch until we used up all of our batting cage tokens.  Molly was a dream and absolutely enamoured with the batting cages and was thrilled yelling "Baseball!" whenever mom or dad was up to bat.  Jack on the other hand wanted to explore the gravel roadways behind us, jump under passing cars and golf carts and generally cause mischief as two year olds are prone to do.  Almost an hour later all three adults had managed 16 combined rounds at the plate without a major meltdown from either child.
Trying on the helmet

As we packed up to head home Chris commented, "Well I wouldn't call that a success.  That was a lot of work."  Our friend and I assured Chris that it was in fact a win and well worth our efforts.  With lesser "play time" Chris is building up events in his head and then getting disappointed when they fail to meet expectations.  Meanwhile I'm trying to remain the positive cheerleader, a role that I'm fairly sure no one is buying into me playing. Batting cages with two year olds, no one is concussed, crying and everyone got a turn at bat? Win.  In fact I'm already planning our next trip out for later this summer.

Miss Molly watching "BASEBALL"
Any tips on toddler whispering, including how to handle the extra acting up for dad when I know we'll have added boundary pushing with his return from his next stint away? 

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*But if you know a toddler whisperer for hire, please let me know.
**For the fourth time that hour.
***As exhausting as it can get when I'm solo parenting I wouldn't want to change places here for a second.

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