Post Traumatic Growth 101

From traumatic beginings to "normal life", choosing to grow and wanting to empower others. This is my story.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who Said This Was Hard?

I don't think Motherhood is hard - not one bit. Challenging? Yes, most definately. I love the challenge - I love trying to figure out how each child responds to different situations.

Samantha is my cautious child, no doubt. She's been talking-talking since 18 months old and really seemed to understand/grasp consequences. I never had to worry about Sam touching a stove or running into the street - she KNEW. She's the same way now, she listens to our instructions and I think it helps that we always outline the consquences of the possible actions.

Sam is also my sensitive child. Tell her she can't have something and she immediately wells up with tears. Sometimes she'll try and hold them in, and I see her using breathing techniques to calm herself down. When we have these moments I try and encourage her to use her big girl words to express her emotion, explaining that she has the power of language now and that crying is not the solution to her problem. When I do get her to explain why she's upset, I make sure and listen to her reasoning. Often times she will have a very logical reason for wanting what she wanted and to reward her for holding back on the "freak out" and communicating, I will give her what she wants. I love seeing her face recognize that hey, I got something I wanted after all! You can see her really process this as well. When she doesn't get what she wanted in the first place of COURSE it's still most often a battle - she IS only four after all - but I try my best (not perfect - I can admit it!) to remain calm and reiterate that she needs to use her big girl words and that even sometimes with these words, the answer is still NO.

Sam is seriously smart. Her memory is wicked good. The stuff she remembers from when she was 2 even blows us away. It's a bit scary for me to think about sometimes because there have been some bad things along the way - me and Corey having an arguement for example - and I worry about how that's being processed in her brain. I have some pretty vivid memories of my mom and her "men" that are not so favourable and I feel bad that I'm doing the same. Of course when I really think about it, Sam is seeing us argue but she's also seeing us make up. We TRY not to argue in front of the kids, but when it happens, we really try to also make up in front of them. This is progress in my life and I have to accept it and celebrate it - chase away those negative thoughts :)

The way Sam has picked up on the French has also been "blowing us away". Yesterday, our 11 year old neighbour said "Bonjour!" to Sam - he's in his second year of learning French. Sam, in a very deliberate slow manner replied (in French) "You speak French Now! Way to go!" You could just tell that she was trying to be helpful and encouraging. I've been telling her that she's very lucky to be learning a different language and that she can really help her friends/sister/dad and voila, she is. Everyone is very thankful for it too and excited - we're spreading a language! :D

My Mackenna. Thinking about her fresh/alive/happy spirit is bringing me to tears! I have never in my life met a person like Mackenna. I feel a great responsibility to keep her spirit intact through this childhood period because if I do, she's going to continue to be an amazing person. I can kinda see what happens to a person who doesn't get that parenting - I think her Dad was the same when he was young. The challenge - her passion isn't always limited to fresh/alive/'s also applied to her stubborness. Mack is an independent spirit and it backfires in our faces when she doesn't get what she wants. Full blown meltdown. SCREAMING at the top of her lungs, pushing, punching....whatever that kid "needs to do" to get what she wants, she's full of will. It's hard to remember that she's still only 2 because she talks like her sister now and understands concepts/consequences but we try to, because she has to still LEARN. It's an extra twist with the second have to really be cognisant of their age and abilities and not expect more because you have another who is already there. I often have to check myself out and stand back for a second with Mack before responding to ensure I'm doing this.

I don't know what it is about her though....when I think about her I smile and feel like I'm craving her in my arms. She LOVES to cuddle! She loves to make people laugh too. We taught her a Christmas joke and she STILL tells people the joke on a regular basis just to get a laugh. She wiggles and moves with a big smile on her face, just to get a laugh.

Both my girls are already showing compassion and empathy for those around them - myself included. When I'm feeling down or sad, both girls will put their little chub hands onto my shoulder and look at me with such strong concerned looks. "You OK Mamma?" "You need a hug Mamma?" "I love you Mamma!"

I love my kids and some might say I got "lucky" because they're so "easy". I'd have to dissagree....I think they're lucky because we're really great parents :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

A spring....I missed you so much. Winter was such a Witch-with-a-B this year. Cold cold cold. I did good though and walked outside to and from Union Station about 95% of the time. It was hard, but man oh man worth it. Not only am I more physically fit because of it, but I so appreciate the spring that much more. I have a "spring" in my step when I walk now!

I want to highlight two tools that have contributed to my success with my physical transformation, (my username is LongMom if you want to add me) and

MyFitnessPal is the tool I use to log my foods to ensure I'm getting a calorie deficit every day. It has also become a source of motivation and support - it's like Facebook for healthy people!

Fuzion workout is a dance aerobics class that evolved from Zumba. I have become great friends with the instructor and attend both Tuesday and Thursday classes. This workout in my mind has fullfilled my need to dance. This need was previously filled by High School dances and clubbing. As those options are no longer feasible to me I'm so incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon this alternative. I love Skye and her energy!

What else. I think I have found a new job! Talk was starting to happen around this department, they were wanting to promote me within my position to a new level and I think I've known for a while that this job is NOT for me. I mean don't get me wrong, I can do it, but I don't think I've hidden the fact that I don't LIKE it. I was inspired by various networking events to get out there and network and guess it was good advice because it seems to have worked! I approached someone who I had worked with once on a problem we had and asked her if we could do lunch to talk about her job and she readily said yes and even brought her co-workers! I really liked them and the job they do so I'm applying - fingers crossed!

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