17 March, 2013

Rediscovering that "No" actually means "Yes"

Yesterday was surprising. I decided to say no to something and that turned into a big yes for something else.

But first let's start with breakfast. My 13 y.o. is doing "track" this season. He's doing it more to stay in shape and to combat boredom and difficulty going to sleep, than because he's passionate about track and field; his heart is pining for wrestling. (Truly, I'm practically quoting him). Yesterday was their first meet. He left at 6.30. I got up and gave him some company while he ate the breakfast he made for himself. Then I went back to bed and slept another couple of hours.

At 8.45 my youngest (nearly 8 y.o.) came in to my room and announced it was breakfast time. He'd spent the last 45 minutes preparing a special breakfast. He set the table, heated up waffles and English muffins, and cut up fruit. He cut his finger too and got his own band aid without help. It was an impressive achievement.

The night before he'd announced he wanted to make breakfast so I showed him the frozen items and waited to see what would happen. He'd copied the sort of breakfast my husband usually makes, his dad's given him a great example to follow.

Without much persuasion my 10 y.o. volunteered to wash up, so all that was left to me was tidying up the table (not too hard when everyone always takes their own plates to the sink).

What a lovely start to the day!

The waffle was made from scratch by my husband
another Saturday morning. My son retrieved it from
the freezer and warmed it up.
At lunchtime I took the two younger ones to McDonalds. It was fun, we sat around and had "real" conversation. We tried asking each other "big questions", like "Tell me three things you really like about your school." After that we rode our bikes to a slightly further away grocery store for some supplies. The spring warmth and sight of newly blossoming flowers along the way heightened our enjoyment.

When we got home the boys took turns at their allotted 1/2 hr of Saturday computer games, and our youngest did his piano practise. Then they settled into a couple of hours of Star Wars enjoyment: movie number 6. (I had to give video tape rewinding instruction, our 10 y.o. didn't know you could rewind a video quickly by turning off the play-function!)

While they did that I tried baking a new recipe: Cinnamon Apple Muffins. Mmmm, yum.

Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Apple Muffins/Cake

Sorry, bad phone photo.
Yummy muffins, though.

2 small apples (small pieces)
2 tablespoon sugar
0.5 teaspoon cinnamon

280g flour
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt
50g sugar

100g butter (melted)
1 egg
250g plain yogurt
100g sugar

2 table spoon sugar
0.5 teaspoon cinnamon

Prepare A, B, and C separately and then mix well.
Put D on top of the muffins/cake (be generous).

Bake at 200 degrees for 18 minutes (or until firm, which was about 25 minutes in my slow oven).

I posted another Apple Muffin Recipe a few months ago, it is simpler than the above recipe, but this one is moister. This new one tastes like an Apple Pie in a muffin form! It's been given a 5 out of 5 rating from the family, which makes it an instant lunch-box filler for this week (I tripled the above recipe and got 4 1/2 dozen small muffins). And indeed it is very filling, with yoghurt and large chunks of home cooked apple, it can't be that bad for you!

After all that, all that remained was to get boys through the shower and to feed them. The shower part was harder than it sounds, for they quibbled about what order they were going to go in (any other families have this fixation on shower-order?), and then needed reminders to get out. Our shower is half-way between our top and bottom floors, that doesn't make it easy to supervise when I'm here on my own, because they're usually showering when I'm preparing dinner. Last night, though, I used the rice and slow cookers, so I didn't have to be chained to the kitchen, while pretending to be a yoyo up and down the stairs.

Our 10 y.o. son's also just been diagnosed with mild atopic dermatitis and is having to do that thing loathed by boys: apply cream to his body! That increases his already ponderous progress through the shower routine. He's also required to do it when he dresses in the morning, so morning dressing has become a longer chore also. This is the child who got the class award for "thinking" in 2nd grade. Sometimes I think he would rather think than do anything else, include the practical things in life, and especially looking after himself!

It was just the three of us again at dinner, because our 13 y.o. hadn't made it back from his "track" meet yet. In fact he didn't arrive until after 7.30.

Which brings me back to my "no" that turned into a "yes". I decided not to go to support my son in person at his track meet. I had several reasons for that, especially that my husband was away. Knowing that I've got not parenting back-up makes me even more cautious with my energy reserves.

A couple of friends didn't really understand my decision, but I stuck with it anyway. I'm so glad that I did, because it turned out, not only that I was able to have a restful day, but I was able to "love on" my younger two sons. They've been "dragged" to cross-country and wrestling this year as we've supported their brother, but this time in staying home, I could focus on them for a change. Their time will come, when we'll be going to their sporting events, it just isn't here yet and I sometimes wonder if us going all the time to their big brother's events makes them feel loved less. But then maybe I'm overanalysing my parenting. I know they did love going to watch wrestling, in fact both of them want to join the team as soon as they can...but still.

In any case, spending all day with them was a good investment of time.

Juggling multiple children's needs is so challenging at times. I can't imagine how crazy it gets with four or more!

And today, seeing how tired our 13 y.o. is, makes me even more glad that I stayed home yesterday. One tired mum dealing with three tired boys on her own, just sounds like something I'd like to avoid if possible.


Joan Justiniano said...

You're so right that some times you just need to say no, especially to those very long track days when you have little kids and your hubby is in another country! I wouldn't worry about the younger ones getting dragged to older brother's sports, though. I had two older brothers and always got dragged to their baseball games, and track and cross-country meets, and never felt less loved because of it. Bored plenty of times but not less loved! I think it helps show kids that family is important, and they're a family who roots for each other and rejoices together and encourages each other.

Wendy said...

Thanks for your encouragement Joan.

OliveTree said...

Good for you.

It's so true that "no" to one thing is "yes" to something else. I forget that and find it hard to say no. Recently I also said no to going to one of my son's sports events! I felt totally guilty inside, but he understood, and since I usually support him at all his events, he understood.