Lisa- go! You may never get this opportunity again. We call them partners because we are in a partnership- sometimes one has to fill in so the other can take care of life's speedbumps. I would go. But that's just unsolicited advice from me. Either way, you have big hugs from us this week.
Renae- When I read your long post, the thing that just jumped out at me is that Rowan is seeking boundaries. He is at that place where he's learning where he has control in this world, and he's testing the water to see how far his control lies in his relationship with his parents. Clearly, he has a lot of control over you, but he's not entirely sure where the limits are and he's learning how to gain more and more control. The lentil has been trying that same sort of screaming/protesting thing with us, telling us he hates doing things he has always enjoyed in the past. There are times when I'll let him go through the screaming process (remember his 1 hour tantrum at the supermarket a few weeks back?) but I am always going to make sure we end up doing what we set out to do. We hate to do things that aggravate the screaming, that's for sure. But at the same time, we can't do what he wants to do every day, all day long. If the lentil had his way, we'd sit and watch Little Einsteins all day, every day, with periodic breaks for Annie's Shells and White Cheese. (and only that particular type of mac n cheese.) But at three he needs to get out, play, learn how to make new friends, and explore nature. But we're learning to not fear the screaming, and force him to do what we need to do. He's also learning about having priviledges revoked for bad behavior, and although that's a hard pill to swallow, it can sometimes get us where he wants to go. So my longwinded message is to try to remember that you're the boss in this relationship because you really do know what's best for your son. Right now he needs to get out, socialize, experience life, and have a mom who's confident and in control. It's a pretty scary world out there, and he can't possibly control everything, and that's probably pretty frightening for him.
This is all coming from a parenting philosophy that advocates a certain amount of control. I'm not saying we need to beat our kids or live rigid lives, I'm just suggesting that kids want someone to guide them through their days. I had pretty flexible parents growing up, and after their divorce they gave up parenting all together. I remember craving order and rules, because living without rules meant that everything was totally arbitrary. What might get me ice cream one night would get me a spanking the next (so to speak) and it was a very confusing time. I believe rules help kids define their world, give them a sense of security, and help them feel safe and nurtured. If your parenting philosophy is less interested in rules, than this advice is totally bogus. But I couldn't help but throw that out there.
Mom is still here- actually she's at a job interview at this very moment. Nervous for her. Things have been a little tense because she's so wrapped up in her own life that she misses out on my needs. I was on the verge of tears yesterday, but sweets came back from his long weekend last night and we're starting to rally. My mom needs serious limits too, and I'm always trying new ways to negotiate things with her. At first I thought I wasn't being clear in my expectations because she wasn't helping where I needed help. So I told her how I needed her to help me the next morning, with specific examples. And what did she do? She slept in, woke up five minutes before we were to leave, and was totally, frustratingly useless. And she made us late. So I gave up yesterday, and it actually went better without me expecting her to help at all. I know she wants to help, but she doesn't hear when I'm asking for help. It's so freaking frustrating.
Our snake is doing quite well, at least. He likes worms.