Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Already Complex

Yesterday, my sister asked me how the Pumpkin is doing. I answered, "You know, she's the Pumpkin. She's fun, amazing, fussy and not sleeping great. That's the Pumpkin." My sister laughed and said that described her daughter, too. She said, "Yeah, she's fun, amazing and fussy." (I noticed she left off the not sleeping great. Fortunately, she didn't get a bad sleeper.)

Her daughter is a year older than the Pumpkin, but it occurred to me that this is probably a pattern for life. The complexities of being a human begin early. My guess is that a lot of children are fun, amazing and fussy. And I know I don't have the only not great sleeper.

There are definitely other traits that the Pumpkin has which are more specific to her which make up the ways she is fun, amazing and fussy. And the combination of her traits, personality, likes and dislikes are even more unique. My girl is very active, loves to climb, loves to snuggle, is a good eater, prefers to sleep with us, loves to be outside, adjusts to new situations well, needs to be held a lot, fusses and whines when she wants something, and so much more.

What's the most fascinating about my child and all her complexities is that I really see how most of them were with her from birth, and even some in the womb! I was never sure how much of a child's personality was from nature or nurture. With the Pumpkin, I have really seen so much of her basic personality come from the nature side. What I have seen in the almost 2 years of her life is that the nurture side seems to help develop the ways in which her basic traits manifest themselves. She likes to snuggle and be held, and we not only meet that need but encourage it. When she fusses and whines for things (her favorite phrase lately seems to be "I waaaaann it!"), we discourage that and ask her to at least say please*.

I think that the toddler phase is so fun, and I'm really enjoying this time with her. We are really seeing her personality develop more and more, and a lot of times she is definitely more girl than baby. I hope we nurture the right aspects of her personality, but no one is perfect--neither Londo or I as parents or her as she develops into a little person. But that's okay. No matter what, we'll love her for who she is.

And I can't wait to see what this next one will be like!

*One time, I literally said, "Say please at least!" And she said, "Pweeese ad leass." It was so cute.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Question of the Week - Recharging and Centering

I've been MIA for almost a week for a very good reason... I was in Florida with two of my oldest and dearest friends. Just us three in a hotel on the beach. No kids, no husbands, no computers. It. Was. Awesome!

We got connections that hooked us up with an unbelievable rate at a super nice resort. We had a fantastic room with a sliding glass door that lead out to a little patio. It overlooked the pool, palm trees, sand and ocean. We would wake up, open the curtains and door, watch the waves and listen to the surf. It was amazing.

Unfortunately, it was a bit cold (even in the 50s one day) and very windy while we were there. But just because we didn't lay out on the beach did not mean we didn't have a great time and enjoyed every second of it.

For me, going to Florida in the winter is good for my mental health because there is stronger sunlight down there in the winter than in the DC area. Also, the warmth helps me feel like spring is not too far away.

But even more than those things, there is something about the beach and ocean that center me, any time of year. When I get to an ocean, I just look out at the horizon, take deep breaths, listen to the surf and feel at peace. I've realized that I need to make a trip to the ocean at least once a year or I feel off all year long.

In addition to the centering I felt from being at the ocean, I also was able to recharge my batteries (as one of my friends put it) and reconnect with my two friends at a deeper level than we have for years. Since we weren't chasing after kids, making sure our husbands were having a good time, worrying about our house being messy, and all that other stuff, we were able to relax and enjoy each others company. And I don't think we stopped for more than 5 minutes while we were together! We caught up on everything.

So today's question of the week is:

What helps you to recharge or center yourself?

Do you have a place or a hobby or an activity that does this for you? Does being with friends and without the normal, every day hassles recharge you? Do you need breaks or do anything to center yourself?