Okay... Kids are in bed, and I have a moment before night time cleaning. :)
My boy is zany, zesty, vivacious, precocious, very sensitive, smart, funny, imaginative and WILD! Everything about him is BIG and LOUD and BOUNCY and FUNFUNFUN. He loves to play with anything that he can send flying through the air- cars and truck off ramps, parachute toys, balls, everything. He wants to practice lassoing and breakdancing and being a rockstar with his big, heavy real guitar. He is just so very big and strong and all over the place. But he HATES to be alone in a room, so I cannot convince him to do these things outside (we have a great fenced yard with plenty of windows and a sliding glass door that WOULD be ideal if he would just go do that stuff outside while I finish up with cooking or dishes or give the little sister some quiet safe time.
DD loves to be right up next to DS as much as possible, and they both love playing together so much. It's just incredibly challenging to keep her safe and right next to him. I think that mostly sums up the quandary. I can't get anything done when he's in wild man mode, because little sis is right there in the line of fire. So my frustrations really lie in the difficulty of completing basic chores- even though I do try to put off as much as I can in order to be present with the kids. But those dishes REALL pile up quickly, and they are very messy eaters.
I used to be able to pop on a video while they eat, or give them a table based activity with DD safely in her high chair. However, DD is now shunning the high chair and insisting on the regular chairs, which makes safety more of an issue, since I really have to be next to her until she is big enough to reach the table better. They both love play-dough and drawing, but some weeks are just sheer energy with no focus for DS. Other times, it's blissful quiet with creative play and safe, calm fun for them both. :)
Sigh... It really just comes down to my own frustration being projected onto him, and that's what I really need help with. I need to find a way to reframe my view of him from being the dangerous, self-absorbed, spatially unaware kid to seeing his bright, exuberant nature as a good thing. In retrospect (every day), I see him in that wonderful glow, but in the moment, it's all just "STOP! SLOW DOWN! CALM DOWN! GIVE ME A MOMENT! GET OFF OF YOUR SISTER! STOP CRASHING AND LAUNCHING EVERYTHING FOR A MINUTE! DON'T SWING YOUR GUITAR LIKE THAT AROUND PEOPLE!" etc... It's so hard to remember that he is still ONLY 4, when he has the build and intellect of an average 7 year old.
Being aware of other people and their space is not quite age appropriate just yet, and I am mentally aware of that, but I find so much of my emotion and anxiety wrapped up into that need for him to get there. I know it'll come with age, but I don't want to get him there my making him feel ashamed or wrong for being a normal, if not above average, little man? If he were an only child, I would not be this wound up over all this. We would be wrestling, kicking balls, playing with baseballs and bats, and all the other stuff that is normal and fun for a little boy (but is terrifying for a mama with a little girl who's always underfoot). I am just constantly holding DD or redirecting her and it ends up putting DS on the bench, so to speak. I am so tired of feeling like I have to put one of them aside so the other can have wishes fulfilled and needs met. It is HARD! DS is not at all interested in taking classes or playing sports or any other activity that doesn't allow parents to be fully engaged in the activity. We attempted Kung Fu and talked about tee-ball and soccer. But when he realized we couldn't be on his team, he decided it was not for him. He's very attached to us and does not want us to drop him off or watch from the bleachers. He needs us doing it with him.
DH and I try to take turns giving DS individual, undivided attention and opportunity to be his wilder self on the weekends, but more often than not, it still ends up being all of us or just DH and DS. DS still naps with DD in the afternoons. If he wakes before her, we get a little bit of special time, but it has to be quiet time so we don't wake DD. I don't have any family in town, so having someone watch DD while I give DS my all is almost never an opportunity. We do what we can, and hopefully I can more than make up for this time once DD is bigger and more able to understand how to stay a safe distance from swinging bats and flying trucks. I know we'll be doing all kids of fun, adventurous, athletic, daring things in a few more years... all together as a team. There's my bright side. I really do see it. I just need a little help with keeping that sweetness in our lives at present. How do you other mamas keep a calm, loving, encouraging presence during this time- filling all those little love tanks and keeping your cool?
Now... I'm off to tackle those dishes, put away the food, and all the other post-dinner necessities before DD wakes for her night nursing (my cue to go to sleep). Thanks for the space to vent and the support. I love this site and all of you parents who chime in with support and advice. :)