Tag Archives: parenting

Last Minute Parent Duties

13 Feb

In case you were dying to know, the selections of Valentines available at the Iggle at 9:30pm on February 13 are: The Hobbit, Tinkerbell, and Scooby Doo.  I would have rather picked up the fruit snacks valentines, but those were long gone, and Sweet Tarts Valentines just aren’t age appropriate for 2 year olds.  I went for the Scooby Doo cards.  Even though I’m pretty sure Baby Beez doesn’t know who Scooby Doo is, she is even more clueless about The Hobbit, and I could not bring myself to buy Tinkerbell cards.  The Tinkerbell cards were rampant with all the usual sexism, but to top it off, included a card about being “Best Frienemies.”  No. Just No.

So in my role as Worlds-Best-Last-Minute mom, I did manage to involve a tasty treat in Baby Beez’ Valentines.  I picked up plenty of Cars, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. fruit snacks and taped them to the Valentines cards.  Baby Beez loves all of those movies, so her Valentines at least won’t be completely foreign to her.

They’re having a Valentine’s party at daycare tomorrow.  It will likely be the usual chaos of songs, snacks and small people dashing around.  When Baby Beez was 1, me staying for the party was so disorienting to her that she was always very moody and grouchy.  I was tempted to give up on attending these parties because they just seemed to make her moody.  We had a breakthrough with the most recent Christmas party, though, and she was happy to have me stay.

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Hopefully this happy attitude will reappear tomorrow morning.

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Soccer Mom in Training

7 Feb

Baby Beez is only 2 but already I’m struggling to figure out how many and which activities to involve her in.  I’m trying to balance between:

1. Giving her the opportunity to participate in things she enjoys.

2. Not overburdening my (or her) schedule.

3. Not missing the boat on her having the opportunity to develop talent in something she discovers to love and have talent for.

4.  Exposing her to certain activities and skills Mr. Beez and I think are important.

Again, she’s only 2. But the parenting trend seems to veer toward going on activities overload earlier and earlier.

We had her in swim lessons when she was an infant.  The purpose of this was primarily safety.  Although it’s obvious that children must always be watched around water, I also want her to be a strong swimmer.  We took some swim lessons, but they were boring (the teacher wasn’t very involved, it was parents just swimming with their kids and a teacher watched), so we quit for the time being. I need to either re-enroll her in swim lessons, or make a point to take her to the pool regularly once the weather is warm.

She’s now in gymnastics, which for a 2 year old really means “running around and jumping on things.”  It’s hardly structured, and she gets stubborn and difficult when I suggest she try something new, but she has a lot of fun burning off that energy.  I’m honestly not too big on chasing her around the room, so I’ll be glad when she graduates from “mommy and me” to just “me” classes.

Then there are things like dance.  I’m kind of anti-dance because I was and am terrible at dancing.  Now she loves to run around the house and twirl and say “I’m a ba-yeenah!” (ballerina).  So foolish overbearing mother me went online and found out that they start pre-ballet as early as 2.  Maybe dance classes would be something she’d enjoy?

Her gymnastics class is also right next to the Three Rivers Fencing Center, and she loves watching the fencing.  As we walk by the big window and watch the kids inside, she exclaims “Fencing! My turn!”  Clearly we’ve got several years before fencing is any kind of option, but it makes me wonder whether I should let her try any activity that catches her fancy, or whether I should restrict her to one or two activities at a time.

Personally, I don’t care what activity she is involved in.  I’m not living any unfulfilled dreams through her.  I just want her to have the opportunity to discover her talents, be happy, and both start an activity early enough and stay with it long enough that she can develop those talents.  I only have the time, energy and resources to let her try out so many things.  Should I promote music or dance or art or technology or sports? Should I let her quit an activity once she’s tired of it? Or should I insist she stick with it and develop skill? How do we figure out even what she’ll be good at and what she will like?

A better 2013 for our kids

21 Dec

I had a nightmare last night that Rachel died.(Yes, that is Baby Beez’ real name. I haven’t used it on here before, but referring to her with a cutesy pseudonym didn’t feel right, in the context of something so upsetting).
I woke up with that sad hollowness that I can only imagine is a shadow of the tremendous grief a parent suffers at the loss of a child.  I roused her from her crib, and snuggled her in my bed for all the minutes I could afford.  I ached dropping her off at daycare today.  I spent the whole day anxious for that moment where I could pick her up and just be with her.  I knew she was safe and fine and happy, but I was shaken enough by my dream that all I wanted was to be with her.

2012 has not been kind to children.  The tragedy at Newtown has shaken the whole country.  I can’t listen to news stories about it any more, I have to change the channel whenever it comes up.  It’s too upsetting.  I have two friends who have lost young children this year. There is nothing more heartwrenching than the misery twisting the face of a parent mourning a child.  I have had several other friends have struggled with their children through complicated and scary health conditions.

We’ve made it to the winter solstice.  The days will get brighter from here on out. January will bring us a new beginning, and new hope.  Hold your little ones close, and lets make 2013 a happier, healthier and more loving world for them.

NaBloPoMo Day 7: Chillin out Maxin’ Relaxin all Cool

7 Dec

What is the best way to relax after a hard day?

lolcatbaddayI’m easy to please.  All I ask for relaxing is to just do something (or nothing) that is not work.  Usually this takes the form of ordering a pizza for dinner and hanging out on the couch with my family and the TV on.  Or maybe it means coffee and magazines.  But it usually is just some form of me sitting around.  On really bad days, I’m sitting around with a glass of wine.

In an ideal world, I’d say that after a hard day, I relax by going for a run or some other athletic activity, but in all honesty after most days I’m too beat to do much else than just sit there.  Since getting a Kindle, I have been reading every single night before bed.  This means both that I have read nearly 40 “fun” books this year alone, but also that I manage to slow my mind down enough that I can sleep through the night.

Hanging out with my family does make me feel a million percent better when I’ve had a bad day.  I spend my days doing work that is hard.  Law is complex and uncertain and confusing.  Sometimes (often) the practice of law feels like I’m picking my way through landmines.  And the stress is even more exacerbated because you are responsible for solving someone else’s problems.  So if you set off one of those landmines, you’ve blown it for both you and them.  (If it’s not already painfully obvious, this hasn’t been a great week.)

You know what’s not hard? Parenting.  People say parenting is hard, but it’s not.  It is very frustrating and very exhausting and full of unwinnable battles, but it is not hard.  And hanging out with my kid after a hard day makes me feel a little better, because it’s pretty darn hard to truly screw up this parenting thing.

Also, ice cream.

Mom Confession: I’m Terrified of Potty Training

19 May

Baby Beez is 20 months old, so either potty training is coming up soon, or I should have started it already. I have no idea.

I am terrified because I have no idea what I’m doing.  When I was pregnant, I spent hours poring over websites and messageboards about childbirth and parenting.  After plenty of stressed-out sleepless nights and a few gray hairs, I realized that everyone on the internet is crazy. I quit reading about parenting on the internet, and stuck to calling my parents, my in-real-life friends, or Baby Beez’ pediatrician when I had questions.

Now potty training is coming up, and I have no idea what to do. I am terrified.  I remember when it was time to transition Baby Beez from a bottle to a sippy. She just didn’t GET how to use a sippy.  I was convinced she’d never learned, and she’d demand a bottle forever, and I’d be branded a failure of a mother.  Somehow they did something magic* at daycare, and one day, she totally got it, and it’s been sippy success ever since.  Potty training’s not going to be easy like that.

*(I think “something magic” was that they just kept giving her the sippy till she figured it out.)

Ok, so potty training. I suppose the first step is getting her a kid potty.  Then the second step is encouraging her to use it.  Any suggestions from non-crazy people on the internet would be appreciated.

Thoughts? “A Sometimes Murky Line Between Reasonable Parenting and Neglect”

5 Feb

Yesterday, the New York Times posted an article called “Parents Test the Boundaries of Neglect.”  The two anecdotes in the articles are extreme ones– one parent ditched her children at an intersection with a stack of diapers and a note, the other had multiple outstanding warrants and left her son in a hotel room so she could go gamble.

I struggle with defining the proper boundaries for monitoring my child.  I follow my comfort level, which usually results in me hovering over my kid 24-7.  For example, when we went to the library yesterday, there were plenty of parents sitting back and keeping an eyeball out to make sure their kid didn’t get hurt or disappear.  I seemed to be the only one who was actively following my kid 3 steps behind everywhere she went.  This is not a judgment on the other parents at all– all the kids at the library were playing nicely, reading, and behaving well.  And with the exception of Baby Beez making a dash for the door a couple times, she was behaving perfectly appropriately as well.  Admittedly, I follow her like a hawk, because I get so wound up and worried that if I don’t other people and parents will label me inattentive or irresponsible.

There are no hard and fast rules on how close a parent needs to monitor his/her children.  These rules are largely culturally driven.  When I visited Denmark and Germany, those countries seemed to be a free-range free for all…even though I was maybe 20 years old at the time, I was actually nervous about the amount of freedom parents gave young children (probably 5+ years and up) to run around unsupervised.  Not infrequently, I also stumbled across an unattended stroller parked right outside the gate surrounding a restaurant patio, with a baby sleeping contentedly inside.  I wanted to assume the parents were dining within eyeshot, but there was no way to tell, and even if that were so, it made me nervous to see an infant in a stroller all alone.  In those situations, I was the outsider. This was not taboo parental behavior for Germany or Denmark.  The cultures in those countries approved of giving young children significant freedom, and accordingly the children learned the appropriate level of responsibility.

I want my child to be responsible and perceptive, but I’m afraid to let her off a short tether.  American society also frowns on giving children unsupervised/independent time (pick your term based on the side of the debate you’re on).

Where do you draw your boundaries of supervision? What principles do you use to make those decisions?