26 May 2008

"Maddie dressed all by self."

I let Maddie pick out her own clothes a lot. She really enjoys it and has a lot of opinions about what she wears, and it cuts down somewhat on the getting-dressed-related tantrums for her to have control over that element of the dressing process.

I in no means intend for the following photo to be construed as criticism of Maddie's fashion sense, because people who live in glass houses blah blah blah. I just love this picture because the outfit is, to most adult eyes including my own, a bit, shall we say, unusual, but she looks adorable in it and she's clearly so proud of it:

We had a great weekend. There was some freaking out on both the Mama side and the baby side, but there was also a lot more calm and joy than there has been in a while. I just felt different, more aware. That rage post was really cathartic for me, and I think just the act of expressing some of that stuff was helpful in regaining my cool. The couple of times I did lose it—most notably at bathtime tonight when I was actually just really thirsty and vaguely dehydrated and in need of a glass of water and I snapped rather than getting it—I talked about it with the twins and we all moved on.

I also gained some good perspective from other moms this weekend. We met another twin mom at the park this weekend, and she was kind enough to bring bagels and cream cheese for all and coffee for her and me. She brought a tub of cream cheese, and when I got there, I slathered up a bagel for Maddie and Riley to share. Predictably, Maddie just wanted to eat the cream cheese, which was fine when she confined that to eating it off her bagel. But she wanted to eat it out of the tub. With a plastic knife. Eating out of the tub just seemed rude, and the knife seemed borderline dangerous, but our friend was not grossed out by the shared tub and she let her twins use the knives, so . . . I just let Maddie go for it. And she had a great time. And no one got hurt and everything was fine and sometimes I just need to chill out.

Similarly, Maddie wanted to take all of her clothes off at our backyard BBQ today. I was fine down to the diaper, but she wanted that off, too. The daughter of one of my friends was taking her clothes off, too, and let her daughter take off her diaper. So I let Maddie have hers off, too. Guess what? Once again, nothing bad happened and Maddie had a great time. So there. I will now proceed to put that relaxed attitude in my pipe and smoke it.

We tried a really fun thing last night: Stroller Jammies. I put the kids in their PJs on the early side, then loaded them into the jog stroller with their milk. They drank, I power walked. They loved it. They thought it was hilarious to be in the stroller in their pajamas (they insisted on being covered with a blankie, too), and I loved being out on a nice, warm evening. I'm going to try to do this a couple of times a week for either a walk or a jog. Maddie and Riley slept better than they have in a long time, and they just thought it was so much fun. Score!

This is one of those posts that feels like it must only be interesting to me. We had a fun weekend! I didn't freak out too much! I feel calmer and more in control! Maddie and Riley are cute! That pretty much sums it up. It's just a revelation to me to have had a weekend—and a long one at that—that I don't really want to see come to an end. I'm usually so, so ready for a break from being Mama nonstop all weekend, but this weekend, I'd be happy for more of it.

38 comments:

Driving With the Brakes On said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend, and good for you for relaxing . . . I have found that by asking myself, "Is this fight really worth it?" and then thinking carefully about the answer has helped me let go of a lot of things that would normally wind me tighter than a tick.

We do Stroller Jammies in the morning - quiet time for Momma, and the kids get such a kick out of being in their jammies, sucking down a cup of milk, and seeing all the morning traffic and kids walking to school . . . makes for a better day for all of us!

Driving With the Brakes On said...

P.S. And Maddie looks ADORABLE! And quite proud of herself - what a big girl!

Watercolor said...

Excellent! :)

The Dukes said...

That's awesome. Good for all three of you!

It IS interesting to other people, and as a bonus some of the feelgoodness rubs off during the reading!

mommo4.5 said...

My daughter picked out her own clothes from an early age. She didn't have much fashion sense for quite a long time and we'd often hold our tongues as she went off to school in some strange combinations. We'd just tell ourselves, "As long as it's not morally or physically dangerous, don't sweat it." (Paraphrased from one of our favorite authors on child rearing, Barbara Coloroso) Her fashion sense has improved greatly, however, and these days (she is 23 now) I often ask her for fashion advise.

Now my sons (also in their 20's), who weren't nearly as concerned about choosing what they wore except for the occasional favorite Spiderman shirt or the like, have not gained the fashion sense I might have hoped for. I'd like to see them dress a little smarter, but hey, they're great guys, they're thinking independantly, and it's not morally or physically dangerous...

So glad you had a good weekend.

mek said...

I love the outfit - Cora has a similar aesthetic, and it seems like if you are a toddler you can pretty much get away with wearing anything (or nothing!) and still look just as cute as ever.

Glad you had a good and relaxing weekend!

Becca said...

What a great weekend! I LOVE stroller jammies! Too cute!

Julia said...

I am smiling from reading this-- it's so nice to see all of you having fun. Ergo, this post is definitely interesting to more than just you. :)
Love stroller jammies. And I noticed that too, when Monkey was a baby-- spending time outside before bedtime was really good for improving soundness and length of sleep.

Have a great short work week.

Anonymous said...

How fun!

Glad you had such a great weekend!

What you call not sweating the small stuff is what I always thought of as picking my battles. Either way, it sure does take a load off mama's shoulders to give up a little control. Enjoy!

leslie

B.E.C.K. said...

I love the idea of Stroller Jammies! :-) And I always find your posts interesting, so there. ;^)

Rachel said...

I'm happy to hear things went better this weekend. Love Maddie's ensemble!

Deb said...

Sweetie, your post today sounds so relaxed and "happy" and that is good to hear/see. I believe I speak for all Internets when I say vent that rage anytime you want to. It is, if I'm not mistaken, what we are here for.

Diggin on "Mads" outfit. She surely will be dressin the runway chicks at Fashion Weeks to come.

Enjoy many, many more days like this and vent to us when you need to.

Deb

Madness said...

Aces on the good weekend.. Heres to many more for you, you deserve em

Anonymous said...

Maddie looks perfect. You've just been away from Africa too long! The stripes even go the same direction, so she's *really* coordinated. My favorite parenting book (The Portable Pediatrician, by Laura Nathanson) has a cartoon of a 4-year-old walking with her mom. There's a note pinned on the kid's back that says, "Don't blame me. She dressed herself." Always a propos in this house! Today Katie had a flowered shirt and different flowered leggings under a dragonfly-patterned sundress. Works for her! Then again, this is Zambia. Glad you had a fun weekend. -KG

buddha_girl said...

Reading this post made me so happy for all of you! I loathe feeling the rage monster especially when I'm around Buddha. I end up berating myself for hours after I melt down.

The Stroller Jammies? Score one for you, Mom! VERY good times!

Tell Maddie that Buddha completely digs her fashion sense! Yes, indeed!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

love the post! love maddies dressing skills. I have pics of martha with unders on top of her clothes and mismatched but she is so happy and proud... both of my kids LOVED running nakie when they started potty training I would let them wear just an over sized t shirt and nothing under it so when they had to go all the had to do was run and aim their little tushies at the toilet and they usually made it thanks to not having to stop and remove diapers ect. plus I just think airing out parts that can be broke out in diapers if they get wet or messy is just a good thing.
Hugs

django's mommy said...

Yay!!

Maddie's outfit reminds me of the book 'Ella Sarah Gets Dressed'... a cute read if you see if in the library or B&N.

Bean said...

Adorable photo! I'm glad to read that I'm not the only mom who lets her daughter pick out her own outfits. My theory is that I'll save my battles for when she's older and tries to leave the house in a micromini, or worse! Glad you had such a nice weekend.

Sylvie said...

Glad you had a fun weekend, and Maddie looks fab in her outfit.

Colleen said...

Re: your rage post. I just wanted to thank you SO MUCH for all of your thoughtful and honest posts about your parenting challenges. I struggle a lot with how to deal my anger as a parent, and oftentimes it feels like I'm in such a lonely place, so full of shame. How do I casually mention to a friend on a playdate, 'I yell at my son a lot and I'm trying to work on it'? (I also grew up in a family where everything was 'fine,' so admitting to something as commonplace as yelling is too hard). I see so much of my own experience as a parent in the stories you share (bathtime struggles, clothing battles, etc.) and that alone is comforting. But your deep probing into why you respond the way you do, and what you can do better, prompts me to do the same. I always walk away from those posts with a renewed sense that I can do better, as well as a few tips on what to try. Thanks!

BethGo said...

I think this is a wonderful post.
And I love the pic of Maddie.
She looks fabulous darling!

Caustic Cupcake said...

Awww, that sounds like a lot of fun! I'm glad the rage post was cathartic. And Maddie's smile is like sunshine.

Sandi said...

I am stealing the stroller jammies idea from you.

Amelie said...

Maddie looks so cute in her self-chosen outfit! I'm glad you all had a good weekend.

Little Read Hen said...

Yay! And I love the clothes too. You only get to pull that off for so long in your life.

Cheryl Lage said...

Interesting to MANY more than just you! The outfit's very snappy, and so glad to hear of your celebratory "let the good times roll" (in pajamas even) kind of weekend.

Long time lurker, first time commenter. Enjoy those little dress-up darlings.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I do the pj/stroller combo too! I love it after a nice long day of work. Clean kids, fresh in their jammies, doing a 30-40 minute powerwalk with Mom. Good for the soul.

Betty M said...

A lovely post - it made me feel all warm and content. So yes I say feel good posts are as worthwhile as rage posts. Love the dress sense - my daughter (she is 4) felt that a pink fairy dress, grey leggings, orange sandals and red stripy tights were just what was needed for a trip to the supermarket today.

r.a.w. said...

That picture is so funny. I love it!

liz said...

I love that you had a lovely weekend!

Nancy said...

Some of my favorite pictures are the ones with the crazy "I dressed myself" clothes. Pick your battles. (love, love, love, barbara coloroso...) I don't have enough time or energy to fight over things that don't matter (much).

the bathtub is sometimes the easiest place to eat messy things....so, if the kids want to, I dont really care. saves me from cleaning the kitchen floor,they have a great time, and the remnants can usually be washed down the drain. It's not THE place to eat, but it works sometimes....goes along with pick your battles. We also use the bathtub to play messy things as well...shaving cream....whipped cream.....writable soaps...etc. kids LOVE it.

and guess what???? HOrror, we sometimes have jammy DAY! On the cold MN winters, and we aren't going anywhere, we ALl stay in our jammies. Those are special days for us.

You are doing a great job. don't sweat the small stuff.

Kristin.... said...

Your weekend sounds great! Toddlers are an enigma. It's a bit like have a Sybil in the house. Having that doubled is daunting even with help. We also practice the "pick your battles" theory here (and with 4 kids of varying ages, there are LOTS of battles to be waged and fought). Sometimes I yell (I yell often, actually) and it's something I'm also working on. I am not a perfect parent, nor do I want to be. I just want to do my best and hope my kids grow up happy. And I can tell that's how you feel too.

Sandy said...

Such a fun post! Glad you had a nice long-weekend. Maddie is adorable. Pretty soon she's going to be advising us all on the latest fashions!

Ex-Girlfriends Revenge said...

I love that post and look forward to that day myself as I am new mom to boy/girl twins (5 mos). Just wanted you to know that I saw the CNN article and read your blog from the first post to current... every post. It is so touching, beautifully written and I appreciate your candor. When I began reading, I thought, "wow, this is so brave... letting it all hang out with something so deeply profound"... and as I continue to read, I think now, "thank YOU for sharing all this". All my very best thoughts. And congrats on the twins and getting so far so successfully... I feel like I am drowning most of the time. :)

laura said...

What a great idea for stroller jammies. I am so doing that soon!

Tiffany said...

I think Maddie looks very cute and the fact that she dressed herself is great!! The best moms I think are the moms that learn to relax - are they hurting anyone by running around naked - nope. I actaully potty trained my daughter by having her run around naked or with no pants. Now at 3 there are times she wants to be the naked baby.

Anonymous said...

I love her outfit. Good for you for letting her take some control over her stylings....

I'm slowly working on reading all your blog posts.

Your writing is real and often thought provoking - making me realize how lucky in life I am.

Jacinda

winecat said...

What can I say Maddie is clearly a fashion diva!