Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dominic turns 10

We had Dominci's birthday party this year at Six Flags in early just a few days before Dominic left for the summer to Alaska. We had already purchased season passes and were able to use a bunch of free passes that come along with it and only had to buy a few tickets. It was so much fun to bring so many of his great friends along (and adults to help corral them around). In all there were 9 boys and 3 adult men helping. I wasn't going to go but ended up going last minute because Naomi was able to come along as well. We helped each other get our littler kids on rides while the men went around the park with all the birthday group.

Here were a few highlights:

 
They stood and watched the log ride from the bridge not knowing that it was going to spray them and get them wet. Sean (with the camera) knew full well what was going to happen and just happily watched on.



Going on some rides.
 
 They met up with us at the kiddie part and went on some of the little LITTLE kid rides with the small kids. So cute!

Michael was extremely tired come late afternoon/early evening and though you can't tell here, I pulled out my sling and put him inside it. I haven't carried him this way in a long time but he was very comfortable and fell asleep within 10 minutes or so. I was able to then lay him down in Naomi's stroller (ours wouldn't recline to the laying position with Dennis' carseat in it). He slept in the stroller for over 2 hours until we got in the care.

Sleepy boy.

Dennis was as snug as a bug in his carseat inside the stroller for most of the day. He fussed a teeny bit and got out to eat, but then went right back to sleep and into the carseat. At one point I had to take him out and put him into the Moby wrap and walked around with him. He was a great baby to bring to the park!
 

 
 
 
 
I can't believe I have a kid in double digits! He's been off to Alaska now for just over 2 weeks and we miss him terribly. He'll be gone for just over 8 weeks this year. He's an amazing boy and I'm so glad we decided to home school him last year. Its really made a difference in our family as we just don't otherwise get enough time with Dominic. I know some mom's who are "so ready for school to start again," because they want that time back to themselves again or whatever the reason. I've NEVER had that feeling, ever. The start of school has always been exciting (because its a new year of learning) but never an anticipated countdown as I'd much rather have my kids home with me. Summer is just too short! So, I was excited when Dominic told me that he wanted to home school again this year. Its nice to not only know that we like having him home, but that he likes being home with us too. Sometimes school drama clouded what was stressful and why. If we were having a hard time at home we couldn't tell if it was because of what we were doing, or something that happened at school. This last year, we could usually pinpoint exactly where stress was coming from and that was very helpful (btw 9 times out of 10 it was from Dominic not getting enough sleep and staying up too late reading). In years past when Dominic got in trouble over something and was sent to his room and upset, the floodgates would open and we would hear about everything that went wrong in the last month. In that state of mind he could only focus on every negative thing that had happened to him lately. It was so cute to guide him through because everything, I mean EVERYTHING negative would come up (down to someone stepped on his foot during recess or Penny looked at him funny to losing his favorite lego) and we would have to help him calm down and think positive again. Having him home has lessened these episodes dramatically. He probably had 2 or 3 of these meltdowns this whole last year where it was probably a monthly (or more) occurance the previous year.  The stress of the playground and being tired and having grueling homework are gone and with that went the tantrums that were not atypical behavior. I didn't think the year before last was a particularly stressful year (or any previous one for that matter) until I compare it to this last year. He was so much more mellow and HIMSELF and I liked that.

Dominic and we (Sean and I) gained a lot of trust with each other this last year both in parenting and being parented. Dom worked for the business with some of his friends and earned quite a bit of money this year in doing so. It is interesting watching the line of parent/employer cross paths. Dominic and Sean really had to learn to be honest with each other in their feelings and abilities and had way more opportunity to do so than in years past because of the business. Dominic will often allow himself to be easily frustrated with simple tasks when Sean asks him to do them and it has required an increased level of patience on Sean to help guide him through it. These are often tasks that if I asked him to do them he would be able to do without any issue. The tasks are not usually hard, just tedious and so Dominic will find excuses as to why he can't perform them. Sometimes its just a matter of approach, but other times its just a matter of being able to keep our calm long enough, while he goes through the emotions that he wants to throw out at you, expecting that he'll be excused from the work (because he's being a pain to work with). It has taken a lot this year to get him to be able to express himself honestly, and for Sean to allow Dominic to express himself without thinking he's being defiant, with the goal to try to work THROUGH the tasks instead of everyone giving up out of frustration (which only delays the learning and solves nothing). It has also been a task in helping Sean guide him through them without me having to step in and solve things for them. I love that we have the business to help solve these kinds of "problems" now as it is a foreshadowing to me of what the teenage years could be like. But, with continued love and direction at home from both of us over seemingly menial tasks, we can hopefully correct some of our "bad parenting" so that by the teenage years (just around the corner really) our communication and honesty about feelings and how to deal with conflict can be made easier. In the past I've always settled conflicts and solved things for the two of them. At first because Sean was a new parent and didn't know what to do and how to deal with Dominic's quirks and more recently because its just what had always been done. It became a viscous cycle really.......me stepping in and DOING what I should have allowed/empowered Sean to do long ago but also Sean getting easily frustrated because he knew I would step in and give a solution. I blame mostly me but no matter where the blame lies, its been a great learning curve this year to nip it in the butt. Its empowering really, to hear Dominic make strides with Sean and I and move past these molehills. I hope that in doing so, the mountains that may someday come our way will seem like molehills.

Its the first time we'd parented a 9 year old (and the first time he's been parented being 9) but we made it through this last year, now on to the double digits! I'm sad that one of our children has to be the guinea pig but am happy to report that I feel like we are doing pretty good and we've been given a pretty good guinea pig to practice on. As far as kids go, we think Dominic is pretty darn great and not just because we've tried to teach him to be great, but because he mostly came to us that way. On to another year!

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Finally getting caught up. I LOVE this post Katie! It speaks so loudly to me. I know my first is only 5.5 but there are so many similarities here in my struggles as a parent and Eli's struggles with emotions and I'm just so glad you wrote about all that you've learned as a parent and how you went about working through problems. What an awesome experience you guys had this year with homeschooling and I'm so grateful for your wisdom. Thanks for this post!!