Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Random Real Life: The Children

Boy #1: This kid is wildly intense and emotional. Everything is directed outward. There is no black and white. There are no absolutes (except that he is absolutely ‘the most abused child on the planet’). If Myers-Briggs types mean anything to you, he is an ENFP. He is extremely social, but doesn’t get social conventions. He comes at things sideways (and intensely). He is extremely imaginative and non-sequential. He is adverse to anything that resembles work. Everything is negotiable, and every rule has an exception. He never stops talking (and arguing), and he doesn’t process things until after he says them. His impulsiveness is stronger than most consequences. There is a reason I call him Mr. Effervescent. Nothing concrete about this kid.

Boy #2: This kid is also wildly intense and emotional. Everything is directed outward. In many other ways he is his older brother’s complete opposite, however. Everything is black and white. Everything is measured in the context of (his idea of) fairness or his preconceived expectations. Woe to the person who messes with the way he thinks things should be. He is very stubborn, impulsive, and physical. His Myers-Briggs type is ESFJ. He is curious and must try everything for himself. He is a dare-devil.

Boy #3: This kid is extroverted and very interactive. Luckily he isn’t as emotional as his brothers. But he is stubborn, physical, and doesn’t have the imagination to play on his own. He also doesn’t have any volume control. He is so. loud. There is a reason I call him Mr. Exuberant/Emphatic. His happy is loud. His sad is loud. His sweet is loud. His excited is loud. His funny is loud. His mad is loud. He is also gets weirdly shy, stubborn, and/or embarrassed when he is faced with something new or that he isn’t sure about. He needs things to be predictable and consistent. His Myers-Briggs type is ESTJ.

Baby Girl: Lola is my doll-baby. I am so thankful for her and the joy she has brought to our lives. While she may not be the easiest baby ever, she has been my easiest baby. But there is no denying the fact that a baby takes a huge amount of time and energy. Her needs are often the priority. Going anywhere is logistically so much more challenging with naps, diapers, feeding, and my arms full.

Then I am…. The emotional introvert with a very low energy level. I need a huge amount of personal space, time to space off in my own little imaginary world, lots of sleep, down time, and silence (I don’t even listen to music). Yet in order to parent well, I have to be ON, engaged without fail 20 hours a day. Focused, consistent, efficient, and able to multi-task, compartmentalize, and delegate. I need to be 5 places at once. I need to be perpetually encouraging, inspiring, loving, strong. I need to fake be cheerful. But I’m not. I get weary and frustrated. My patience is non-existent. I find myself tearing down rather that building them up. Again, and again, and again. I let things slide and the snowballs become an avalanche.

Can I be the mom they need me to be?!

This is a perfect time to share a link to this article: A father's day wish: Dads, wake the hell up! @ Because I am BLESSED to have THAT dad for my children. Thank you, Russ, for constantly making it all about us. Here is a taste of the article:

5. Do things you don't want to do: It's easy to take the kids to the driving range -- because you want to be there. Now try spending the day having a tea party at American Girl. Or crawling through one of those wormholes at the nearby kiddie gym. Fun? Often, no. But this isn't about you.

(Are you sick of Lola love, yet?)

Lola Faces


Sheryll said...

I have three kids, 6, 3, and 1. One thing that is helped me is to have a daily rest time. I time it with my toddler's afternoon nap. The older two (boys) must be on their bed, silent for at least an hour. My 3yo generally falls asleep, but not always. I give my oldest a timer and he can come out after a specified time. He takes books to bed, a clipboard and coloured pencils, etc. Sometimes he sleeps too. I lay down with my toddler until she is asleep and then I have a break. Quiet throughout the house. It takes time to get them used to the routine. Also patience, some days it doesn't work so well and I have to go into the boys' room multiple times to quiet them down. Sometimes my toddler doesn't stay asleep for more than ten minutes. But it is bliss while it lasts. I too crave alone time and this is one way I get it.

Anonymous said...

Never tired of seeing baby Lola. What a doll.
THANKS for sharing real life. Life is tough and we need each other.
~Mary Anne

AppleGreen said...

Just wanted to say I can so relate! I have 4 littles and my #1 sounds a lot like your #1...he is exhausting! I have a #3 girl that is a lot like him, but not so argumentative and willing and wanting to help. My #2 and #4 are much more introverted and that has its challenges! It is hard to connect with my #2 DD sometimes b/c she is so quiet in a loud, full house and not demanding of attention, so it is sometimes easy to overlook her. And well, #4 is the baby (2.5) and he is still very needy of mom in so many ways, as I would expect. My DH and I feel so mentally and physically exhausted much of the time and it is hard to catch our breath. Like you, I am thankful for an awesome, supportive, connected husband and dad. The days are LONG, but it is true, the years are short. Hoping you find a spot of peace today for YOU!

LWinger said...

I am so nodding my head in agreement with your description of son #3! I have three sons and we call our third son, who is 4, 'the loudest person in the world'. Maybe they were twins in another life:-)

Ariana Sullivan said...

Wow Heidi, I am just like you.

Four children, all different and all for you to be the one to raise up. It is a huge job, a trying and seemingly endless one... but as much as you must feel you struggle I look at your pictures and hear what you're doing and can tell that you're trying very hard and that's all you can do!

Spend more time celebrating your good moments. I need to do that, focus on the positive. If you feel really good about the things you're accomplishing (and even on your worse day you're doing a lot!) then maybe (I'm saying this for myself as much as you!) it will be easier to continue on with the work.

I've never felt like I don't blog honestly... I think I actually can put too much negative out there, but you have totally inspired me to continue sharing it all. And in a non-complaining way. I think the posts of all you do combined with all you struggle with are an incredible thing you're sharing. It's true life and everyone can relate to it and feel so much more connected and understood.

I love it!

Molly Anne said...

No, not sick of Lola - she is a darling. :)

This was a really interesting post to me because I am like you and quite introverted and needful of downtime (likewise shunning music) so while it's not something in the works I doubt my ability to mother without going crazy.
One of my college profs had us read this article and I think it explains me quite well:

Also, that article you linked to was wonderful. I'm glad someone - especially a dad - wrote about that very thing.

Misha said...

Heidi - I've been totally quiet during this week's series but today I had to say something - your words made me cry. I am an INFP (now more of a J since I married an off-the-charts P : ) ) and I reckon for every hour I spend with the kids I need at least another 8 to refuel (alone, in silence) - so I so get your quandry. My values vs my energy vs my passion for my kids make me tired all the time. I love how you use your blog to assimilate, inspire and record. These recent posts however? I am just so relating. And I only have two (three home businesses but only two kids. : )

My main point that I need to get to though is how pretty you are! You are so tiny and I cannot figure out why you keep talking about needing to loose weight - you are darling!

the end of my long comment. : )

Misha said...

please pardon the typos - I was afraid if I didn't type fast it wouldn't get done! : )

Hannah said...

Your child #1 sounds a whole lot like my child #1! Truly. They would be friends, I am quite sure of it.

The fact that you were able to make Classical Conversations, which is so structured, work for him and his brothers is something I find reassuring, since I just signed us up with some anxiety about how my guy will fare there.

And what are the chances that someone like you (and I relate!) ended up with three extroverts so far???

Lucy said...

I never get tired of Lola pictures either - she is so beautiful! As are your boys, too. I don't get tired of pictures of them either. :)

I never comment, but your blurb about yourself could have been written by me. I only have three kids (10, 7, 5) and most days I look at the sky and ask, "Who thought this was a good idea?" And I don't even homeschool. I did have the oldest and the youngest at home this year, but they're all going to a classical education charter school next year. I hope to homeschool in the future and you are totally my idol for the homeschooling. Your kids are so blessed to have a mama who is willing to sacrifice so much for them. Even just the summer schedule of play dates and friends and so many social gatherings is taking its toll.

I have to admit, when you say you're a low energy introvert, compared to you I'm a "moving backwards I'm so slow" introvert! Makes me laugh!

Kim said...

How do you know what personality types your sons are at this age? Is there a Myers Briggs for little people?

I enjoy your blog. I only have one boy, but I love the book links and schooling ideas for all things boy!

Your little one reminds me of my seven year old girl at that age. I'm sure Lola will hold her own with her brothers and probably have them all under her wing pretty quick!

Heidi said...

Kim~ There is a test at this link but they don't have the full 4 letters. I *really* like the book Nurture by Nature which describes the different types and what kids of each type are like at various ages. I think often it is hard to tell with young people (and I may be off a little), but my boys are... well, they are strong personalities. ;-P It sure will be interesting to see what Lola is like as she gets a little older!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, "I am you", and thank God I'm not alone! Too many supermoms nowadays, maybe we are just human and doing our best. I am always trying and thinking that I should do more, and then my husband says, "Relax, they are doing great, being kids, and driving you crazy! :) Maybe he is right??