Saturday, February 22, 2014

Flying Under the Radar

So, I walk into every week thinking it is going to be less "crazy busy" than the last. Well, I am always wrong, lol. This week was filled with picnics with teddy bears, cheer leading practice, dance, a tea party play date, church, some major party planning for 5 kids (getting it in early always), a cow farm visit with friends, a grocery haul for a family of 7, a marriage conference, a painting date with Anna from Frozen, a family brunch-nic at park, a family team cooked dinner, & the icing on the cake was some deep-deep house cleaning. Yeah....we kept this week pretty low key, lol. So, I thought before I get back to some more dishes, I thought I would try to squeeze in a post.

If you are the parent of multiple children than I am sure you can agree with me that some kids are a lil' more vocal when they need a lil' extra love & attention, but then their our other kiddos that are very quiet about it & can slip under the radar if you do not pay close attention. For example, I remember when I just had 1 child (Yes, it was only for 12 months, but I do remember). She never had to want for attention from my husband or I. Every lil' thing she did had us "Oooo-ing" & "Ahhhh-ing" & stopping dead in our tracks. We were constantly playing with her & talking to her because she was our only child & had our undivided attention. Well, then along came baby #2. Of course we "Ooo-ed" & "Ahh-ed" over everything she did as well, but now our attention had to be divided up & we definitely became more familiar with the concept of juggling/multitasking. Still, we did a pretty good job giving each kid their 1 on 1 time & making sure they still felt special & important. THEN baby #3, #4, & now #5 have come along & juggling has reached astronomical proportions. Meeting a child's basic day to day needs is one thing, but being able to also make sure each child's love cup is constantly filled is a whole new thing.

Being a mommy, I do my very best to stay "tuned in". I can usually sense when I child is running a lil' low & may require a lil' extra love & attention that day, but life moves pretty fast & sometimes I may not notice it right away. That's why my husband & I taught our children a way to politely be vocal about a need for more attention. We call it "Could you fill my love-cup?". Whenever 1 of the girls feels like they need a lil' bit "extra", they ask us this question. It definitely is a good way to stop a parent in their tracks & let them know where their attention needs to turn. After this has been brought to my husband or I's attention, we immediately seek out a way to help fill that child's cup. Sometimes we are able to take them on a full 1 on 1 date, but other times it is something very simple like taking just that child to go get the mail or play at the park by themselves for a few minutes. Maybe we can have just that child help with dinner or take them aside to read them a book or do a puzzle. At times on busy weeks, we are definitely forced to get creative or divide & conquer but we eventually get it in. Are we always able to fill their love cup that day? Although majority of the time we do, I have to admit there are days that we can't possibly get to everyone. But instead of beating ourselves over the heads (as a mommy sometimes I do battle a feeling of failure when I "fall short"), we make sure to get it in the next day.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, some kids are more vocal about needing a lil' extra attention while other kiddos may have a tendency to not directly ask for it. Maybe they are more of a laid back child or do not even realize that a lil' extra love is what they are needing. As parents, we need to make a conscious effort to look out for this. For example, Aidy & Ashy have become very good about asking for it when needed because they are older & just more proactive about getting "attention". They are involved in tons of extra curricular activities which automatically call for attention throughout the week. Addie is pretty young still, barely a toddler, & still does require more help with eating at times, potty training, & all of that & so she naturally gets a lot of mommy & daddy's focus along with the actual baby of the family, Super Z. Aussie on the other hand is pretty chill. She will easily go off & play by herself & just get really quiet when her love cup is running low. She doesn't tend to ask for much of anything & could very easily slip right under our radar with all the commotion of everything else going on in life. She is not quite old enough to do a lot of the things the older kids do, but not young enough to require major hands-on attention daily from mommy & daddy. Because of this though, I make an effort to go above & beyond to let her know how special & important she is any opportunity I get. I try to put her in situations where just she gets to shine (like Gymboree class) or where she gets the opportunity to get to be the older sister & lead (like having just her & Addie play in a room together). I try to teach her she is more than capable by having her help me cook a lot or get different things her younger siblings need (even though the older girls could definitely do it faster & more efficiently at times).

I do not want to say this all is a daily "struggle", but instead I will call it a daily "juggle". It is a tremendous challenge with having more than 1 child, but the rewards are also priceless! And in the daily adventure of trying to fill every child's love cup, do not forget to take time for yourself & make time to fill your husband's.

-M&M Momma

Enjoying some stories about teddy bears

Dancing with their bears

Eating their bear snacks

A princess tea party with friends

And a prince!

Decorating cupcakes

Someone had fun!

Doing what she loves!

As the boys slept

Friend hug!

Just about to be 4 months!?!

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