Thursday, 17 December 2009
In the parent-child relationship, who is *actually* in charge? Because, if we really, really, think about it, the kid is usually running the show. Sure, we like to convince ourselves that we are the one calling all of the shots, but nope, we aren't.
Is not every major decision and most of the minute actions in our daily lives directly related to pleasing or providing for the beloved and highly adored child? Do we not plan our lives around their sleep schedules, or alter ours and theirs, so that they'll sleep longer and therefor, better? Have you never lost sleep because your child wasn't sleeping? And also meal times; do we not plan our activities according to ensuring the little darlings wont have to wait an extra 15-30 minutes (when they're older, of course- there's no delaying a newborn) to be fed? Despite the fact that we often go 8 hours before sitting down to a meal.
And how about showering, or God forbid, going to the bathroom uninterrupted? Have you seriously never 'held it' or waited until noon to shower just so the little one wouldn't be alone, or angry for five minutes?
Then there are the matters of living arrangements, gifts, vacations, household decorations- you have to baby proof EVERYTHING, visiting your friends, etc... All of which directly depend on your infant/toddler/child's cooperation. Sure you're bigger than them, and can get your way if you really want, but who wants to make that little one miserable? It's not fun for either party.
Ok, granted these concessions are necessary to ensure that the baby is well taken care of. I don't begrudge my son these vital necessities; I am happy to take care of him. After all, I am Mom- it is my job.
But I've come to the conclusion, after many discussions with friends and family members, that my son is "the boss". The best I can hope to do is trick him into sleeping all night, eating when I want him to, and not screaming his sweet little head off (which he doesn't do- I'm just sayin') when Mommy changes things up a bit. We call this trickery 'parenting', or in some circles, 'discipline', and there are many forms of it.
Some go with the, "My baby, My god" approach. This entails planning one's entire schedule around the baby so that their cute little deity is never inconvenienced. Mom wakes when the baby wakes. Mom feeds little Brutus or Glenda whenever beckoned to do so. People come see Mom; she doesn't go to them- that'd be taking the baby out of an environment she can control.
Should the "My baby, My god" method fail, and said infant has a meltdown, they resort to the "GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS" method. This particular style draws parallels to the Chernobyl catastrophe. There was a lone helicopter pilot, who while everybody else was fleeing the radiation, sacrificed his own life to lift tons and tons of concrete high into the air and drop it on the plant. Those moms are like him (ok, so that's a drastic example- but stick with me...). They will sacrifice sleep, health, food, peeing, sanity, and rush around like little bees trying to stop little Alice or Ben from wailing or even whimpering. These are the moms that usually wind up very ill after a short while because they don't sleep, don't provide their bodies the nourishment they need, and they over stress. Nobody takes care of sick mommies, people. It doesn't happen unless you have one of like three living males on the planet for a partner.
There is also the "Major Mother" method. Baby adheres to your plan. Willingly or not. If said baby steps out of line, beatings are not issued, but protocol is not breached. There are no 3 am snuggles for these babies. If baby does not want to eat at 7 in the morning, baby has missed her chance- she'll get another opportunity at 10:30 to eat; right before her scheduled nap. If she doesn't want to sleep- she stays in her crib for the allotted sleeping period. That's that.
Though "Major Mothers" seem harsh, they're much better than the "Ignore it and it'll Stop Shrieking" mothers, or the disgusting "Shake it or Hurt it to Make it Shut Up" mothers. These wastes of carbon are horrible- we usually read about them and the damage they have done to their babies. They are not parents; they are scum.
Me? I work a bit from the first three mentioned styles. I do my damnedest to get him on MY schedule so that HIS life goes smoothly (that'd be "Major Mother" and "My baby, my God"- for anybody who wasn't paying attention). I also take a bit, on rare occasion, from "GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS" (that one does have to be all caps; sorry- I don't write the rules). I find that 'reactive parenting' sometimes works- especially if it is 3 in the morning and you're too damn tired to do anything else.
Take last night for example: I was sound asleep in my bed at 2:20. Then I hear this terrible wailing over the monitor. That usually indicates Spencer has had a bad dream or has hurt himself. I go in to check on him and find him at the foot of his crib, uncovered, curled in a ball and crying his little heart out (nightmare). I swoop down like Super Man and scoop him up to comfort him. After settling him down, I tried to put him back in his bed but he wanted none of that. He wanted to be with me- whether that meant I was in his room, or he was in mine. I'd barely make it to the door and he'd start up yowling again. I was so torn. Do I grab my sweet baby, who wants me, and take him to my bed for snugglies? No, though I want to, because I love him, and it's the easiest way to ensure we both get sleep. Do I leave him here and let him scream his head off and wake everybody in a 1 block radius up? No- that's not fair to everybody else in the house, and it's too much change too fast- that would totally traumatize him.
I stayed there. I soothed him from a few feet away. He was in his crib, not happy about it, but he was in there. After about an hour (at 3:48 to be exact) he finished a bottle that I brought up to him (it was the ONLY WAY, people!) and finally, finally, went back to sleep. I feel like I conquered a giant. I didn't ignore him- he knew I was there, but I didn't cave and take him to bed with me. And even though if he had been sleeping to begin with, he wouldn't have been hungry, I gave him a bottle anyways. It may set the stage for a 3:30 feeding tonight, but I doubt it. Once isn't going to ruin him- and he needed to soothe himself back to sleep. I gave him the power to do that by giving him a bottle to hold and eat from. At least, that's how I look at it.
He's a baby- he's not some smelly, unwashed, terrorist from the mountains of Afghanistan. He doesn't need shock treatment, water boarding, or beatings. He needs love and care, and yes, discipline.
He's teaching me a ton every day. He's opening my eyes to stuff about myself and the world that I had no clue about. This kid is a little genius and at the root of it, has a heart of gold. Yes, he's getting a better grasp on the concept of manipulation and getting his way, but at this stage in the game, "his way" means that he feels connected to Mom and has all of his basic wants and needs met.
I'm learning a lot about compromise, and a lot about standing my ground. He's no longer a helpless little infant. He's almost a year old. He has needs that he's not aware of- the need to not have his way whenever he wants it. And as much as it hurts, that's a part of growing up, and a part of parenting that we must teach each other.
I left for work today feeling exhausted- more so than usual, but with a smile on my face. He slept in his own bed, and didn't wake up hating me for it. I can definitely live with that.
Tuesday, 01 December 2009
I've been inspired, by a dear friend of mine (*cough, cough, MELANIE, cough*), to write about things I'm not happy about. Her's had a Thanksgiving twist to it- mine... well, mine's just bitchy.
And now: Things That Piss Me Off
1) Fat people who use the handicapped spaces or, worse, those who hog the shopping scooters at the grocery store.
You're not handicapped- you're fat. The exercise you could get from parking further away or by pushing a cart full of food would help with your problem. Those who are injured or elderly need those spaces and scooters more than you do. If they walk, their condition deteriorates. Get it? You walk, your condition improves. They walk, they suffer pain and damage. Stop being selfish and lazy. If my 90 year old grandmother can walk to the bus stop, walk to the store, then WALK through the store to shop, carry her own groceries back to the bus stop, and walk from the other stop home, with groceries, you can park your stupid car 45 feet further down the lot and not hog one of the few carts. And she does it all with arthritis of the knees, feet, and hands; you jerks.
2) People who will think I'm 'judgmental' for picking on fat people. Screw you. You piss me off too.
3) And while we're on the topic of fat people (keeping in mind, I'm quite chubby myself): You, Mr. Homeless Guy Who Weighs 300lbs. YOU piss me off.
Every damn day I see you out there, you ask me for my money. I'm not rich. I have a baby to feed, bills to pay, and groceries to buy. And I resent you pestering me for my 'spare change' every time you happen to make eye contact with me. I give to charities. I donate to local organizations. I give whatever I can to friends or associates who need something. I put money in the collection plate at church that goes towards the soup kitchens, keeping kids off of the street, feeding the homeless, and helping families that are down on their luck. That's where you can find anything 'spare' I have.
But you. You weigh at least 300 pounds. You have a new outfit on every day I see you. Your shoes are not worn down like the other homeless out there that I bump into. You sit in the same spot, day after day, begging for handouts. If you put half as much effort into cleaning yourself up and going down to the shelter to find job placement as you did harassing passers by, you'd be employed and in your own place by now. You're 300 lbs. Have I said that already? And yet you have the nerve to beg for the money I have that could go to starving children instead. No thank you. I'll hang onto my change 'till Sunday.
4) Being woken up at night by someone other than Spencer.
Why is it, Mom, that you feel the need to put dishes away at 11:00 at night? You are the loudest dish-stacker, utensil-putter-away in all of history. We've talked about this. If I run into this issue again with you, I'm going to strike you. Leather glove in hand. Bugs Bunny style. Watch it, lady.
Ryan- it is absolutely not necessary for you to bounce up and down on your bedroom floor at 2 am like a goddamn jackrabbit. Nor is it normal. It's not even ok. And if I hear you galloping up (or down) the stairs in the middle of the night again, I'm going to set up a trip wire. You do not need to yell at the X box. The guy does not play any better if you call him a "Stupid Motherfu**er". Need I remind you that you are the one holding the controller and pushing the buttons? Stew over that.
Dixie- You stupid poodle. If you burst into my room and jump on my bed, spin around like a lunatic, and then cavort off into the night again, I'll shackle you to your dog bed. Capisce? Good.
The only thing that pisses me off more than being woken up at night, is when you psychos wake my son up at night. That's cruel and incredibly selfish. He already has to wake up far earlier in the mornings because of the ludicrous custody arrangement that the crack-pot judge decided upon. It's not that hard to keep a reasonable noise level. I'm not asking for silence; just keep it quieter.
5) Fair-Weather Friends.
I'm not part of a couple anymore. I get that you are. I understand you view me as the 3rd, 5th, or even 7th or 9th wheel. I get that that's why you've stopped inviting along with you guys. I don't mind not having a date; but if my attendance throws off your perfect little evening simply because we can't all pair off, then screw you guys. I have other friends who aren't so shallow.
And if it's perhaps because 7 months ago I was still quite depressed and sullen, and yes, I'll admit it, needy, then screw you anyways. I was a new mom, recently discarded, world upended, who never saw her friends (except for Heather, Amy, and a select other few- and not counting my online friends), who never left the house other than to go buy diapers or treck across town, infant in tow, to my schmuck of an ex husband's place so that he could see the baby. I needed human contact. I needed conversation. You guys couldn't be bothered, and that's really sad. I'm not really sad to lose you though, please don't make that mistake. No it's sad because I was, am, and always will be a good friend. I know that. I'm not perfect, but neither are you. At least I cared about you in spite of and because of your flaws. Oh well. That's a few less stamps I'll have to spend on unappreciated and unreciprocated Christmas cards.
6) Teenagers on funadvice.com who whine about how bad they've got it. "My parents wont let me have an iphone", "My boyfriend wants to sleep with me but I don't want to", "My parents are so controlling"
a.- Good. You don't need one. They're too expensive and you cost them too much already. Settle for the cell phone that you already have but don't deserve.
b.- Don't sleep with him. Have some semblance of self respect. Use that thing in your head that God put there to get you through situations like this. And keep your legs crossed- if you're not smart enough to know how to say no, then you're not smart enough to raise a child.
c.- You're too out of control. They have to parent and discipline you. That's their job. When you're an adult, you'll thank them.
7) Teenagers in general. Uck. I hated them when I was one. Not all of them; but the whiney, bratty, selfish, skanky, and stupid majority.
8) People who are deliberately two-faced. I don't know if it's because you're feeling guilty, you're trying to genuinely be nice, you hate me, or if you're trying to just pull one over on me. Whatever it is; I can see right through it. You're fake. That's not the way you used to be. It saddens me that you can't be honest, but I'm too busy to put much more thought into figuring out your childish games. So I'll extend the same treatment to you. I'll be courteous, but whatever 'friendship' or 'relationship' we had is done and I accept that. I tried to keep contact and maintain our friendship but it's clear what side of the line you've chosen to stand. Funny, because I wasn't sure there was a line; I know it's certainly not necessary. But you've chosen your army, and it's not mine; so you can join ranks with the 'Fair-Weather Friends' in category 5.
9) People who don't smile back when you smile at them. A smile is a little way to say "Hello. How are you?" If you can't be bothered to return something as simple and free as a grin, toothy or not, then I'm so very sorry for the quality of your life.
10) The mainstream media. Can you guys get any more biased or WRONG? I doubt it. One good thing about you guys is that you're all the same. You all speak, think, and act the same. So perhaps that means you're like lemmings. Maybe one of you will chose to leap off of a cliff and the mindless drones behind you will all follow.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is just a small sample of the many things that piss me off. Stay tuned for next week, when we'll cover 'People who leave 3 seconds left on the microwave', and 'Pomeranians'.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Things may be changing for my son and me soon. I'm not in a position to discuss at this point in time, but say a quick prayer that things work out. I could be on the path to creating a better life for the two of us if this window of opportunity stays open and leads somewhere. If not, no harm, we'll continue onward in the way we have been.
Fingers crossed- I'll talk more about it when I know more about it.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Oh, Spencer. You slay me sometimes.
I thought I'd share with you, dear devout readers, a little tidbit from my daily life:
At ten months old, my son is a three meal per day baby (with bottles at meals and between meals). Since he was eight months old, he's had a bottle AND a jar of baby food for breakfast. Yesterday and today he has decided he'd rather not eat the baby food, and has opted for finishing his bottle (something he doesn't usually do). After tasting the stuff hundreds upon hundreds of times, I cannot fathom why he'd prefer sickly sweet and wheaty tasting formula to something as awesome as a blueberry/ raspberry baby smoothie- but that's just Spencer. This week, anyways.
Ok, Spencer waves bye-bye. Spencer does not yet know the word "no". There is a reason for this- I rarely ever use it around him because I don't want him to pick it up. If he's doing something I don't want him to do, I say, "Don't do that", "please stop", or "I think we've had enough of that". If he keeps it up, I usually say, "All done" and use the ASL sign for it, and take whatever it is away from him. Seems to be working.
At breakfast, yesterday and today, Spencer takes one bite of his food, looks at me, and makes a face that makes ME think I've just fed him something that is either a) poisoned, or b) rotten. I taste it again to make sure I haven't given him something lethal. Delicious; as usual.
Upon trying to insert second spoonful into aforementioned baby's mouth, Spencer looks me dead in the eyes, says, "all done" and then proceeds to wave bye-bye. As in: "she usually leaves when I do this... maybe she'll get the hint and shove off".
Personally, I take this as a sign of his brilliance and his mad awesome communication skills.
My mother just says he has an attitude. Psh.
Those of you out there with kiddos, I'd love to hear a funny story about yours- however little or big they may be.
Wednesday, 04 November 2009
My doggy girl Scout passed away Monday morning. She went in her sleep after a rough night struggling to breathe, after several seizures, and possibly a stroke. I didn't make it down in time to say goodbye to her, and was only minutes away from coming down when she passed. My dad slept on the floor next to her bed all night long and she did not die alone, but instead went in her own home, with her "Master" who she loved (and who loved her) very much. She was almost 15 years old, and quite literally the sweetest being I've ever known.
I know some people don't get animals or maybe you don't understand how some people love their pets so much... but she was my baby. She was my mom's baby. She was my dad's baby. Just a good dog and a good companion. A member of our family for 15 years. Our "fearless protector" and our furry vacuum... If I could have cloned her, I would. I miss her terribly and can't wait to see her again.
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