Wednesday, December 9, 2009

At Least This Wasn't Me ...

Let's get one thing straight. I've done some pretty shitty parenting in my day.

I've given my kid a jar of peanut butter, a spoon, and a sippy cup of chocolate milk and called it lunch.

I've begged my two youngest to watch "just one more video ... please???" (in my defense, I was nine months pregnant).

I've hidden in the back of the closet when I was so overwhelmed that I wanted to rip my toenails out.

But something I heard today made my skin crawl.

No, it isn't some horrid physical abuse or heartbreaking neglect. This is something that a loving, well-educated, mainstream mom did. And from what I understand, she does this sort of thing on a fairly regular basis. At least regular enough to cause the three-year-old to develop the nervous habit of twisting her hair out by the roots.

Background: Grandmother (GM) keeps 3yo frequently after school while parents work. Grandmother and grandchild (GC) have fabulous relationship, and GM and GC have spent lots of time together over GC's short life.

GC is at GM's house during a wedding party, and GC's mom wants to go home and put the new baby to bed. (Did you get that? There's a new baby in the house.) GC doesn't want to leave, since she's having fun, and GM is happy to keep GC for the night.

Mother says to GC something to the effect of, "If you don't come home with me right now, I'm going to pack up all your things in your bedroom and give them away. Then I'm going to turn your room into a guest room for Aunt Sally." GC sobs and ends up going home, twisting her hair until it breaks off. This is the same mom who forced same child to cut her hair short so that she wouldn't twist it.

Can you believe it? What is with parents? And remember that, not only does the child worry that Mom is ready to boot her out the door, she has to contend with the knowledge that younger sister is there to fill her place.

What the heck is wrong with people?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nourishing Our Children through the Grandeur of the Outdoors

I've been reading a lot lately about how kids need to get outdoors more, how this generation is starved for time with nature. So, along those lines, and because I'm always on the lookout for ways to get my kids out of my hair - um, I mean, provide the best education and environment for healthy brains and bodies - I recently made it a point to have my youngest two spend some quality time together in the clear, clean out-of-doors.

Ah, to be surrounded by nature, to smell the fresh breeze and soak up the healing rays of the sun.

To revel in the glory of the day. To bask in the warmth of the afternoon and feel the fresh breeze against your face.

What could be better for the soul and more nourishing for the mind than to spend long, tranquil moments sharing the splendor with your sibling. For, after all, the two of you share so much of your lives, and even your genetic make-up.

I delight in the knowledge that my children have been enriched by the beauty and magnificence of the breathing, living woods around us, that they have valued the luxury of having the time to spend drinking in the radiance of the day, that they have rested at night knowing that the world that surrounds them is rich with majesty and grandeur.



Well, at least they enjoy their drama classes.

No vampires were harmed in the making of this movie.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like My Understated 100th Celebration.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Regretting My Regrets

Today's post is a guest post by Martha, who blogs at ...

Before Annika was born I had regrets. I regretted staying with my ex-husband as long as I did. Hell, I regretted ever marrying him. I regretted not finishing school sooner. I regretted financial decisions. I regretted not working out more. I regretted haircuts.

Then when I got pregnant I philosophized about how all those bad choices had led me to the place I was in the world and if I hadn't done things just exactly the way I had, maybe, maybe just maybe, Annika would never have been.

Instead of regrets, those bad choices were now stepping stones that led me to give birth to this beautiful and perfect child of mine. She is something I will never regret, not even if she turns out to be a drug addict or a serial killer. She will always be my beautiful perfect child.

But now I have something new to regret. And I wonder if I even should. Ever since I started blogging regularly, I have wished many times that I had started sooner.

When Annika was growing inside my body I had such powerful emotions and as a writer, I wanted desperately to capture it all and share it with the world. I was feeling emotions that I didn't even know existed.

Yeah, I'm one of
those women. I loved loved loved being pregnant. Even with the weight gain, hemorrhoids (gross I know), heartburn, achy legs, nausea, tiredness, brain fog, and swollen feet (my god they were like grapefruits), I loved it.

A powerful life force inside of me burned with a fury and I couldn't get enough of the feeling. Carrying my child was spiritual and divine. I had found the meaning of life.

I would sit down and try to write but I could never really figure out how to express what I was feeling. It always sounded so cheesy. I would expound wildly about how my emotions were like the universe and the sun and moon and stars.

Then I would read it and go, "who is this person?"

Then I realized they were just hormones. Yeah, the same ones that give me bloating and crankiness once a month. Yep, those hormones. And no one tells you that they take a few months to dissipate after the baby is born.

I thought I would continue feeling that way forever. I thought that pregnancy had made me into a new woman.

And while that woman was a softer person who seemed to understand children better, was friendlier and happier, I had lost my edge. I worried that I would never be able to write the way I used to.

So the first few months after Annika was born I continued trying to write about those things that I wanted to share with the world, but they always ended up being too personal and really only things that I wanted to share with Annika.

Plus, I could never concentrate long enough to write coherently and do it consistently. I can barely manage it now.

As I analyze the past two and a half years I realize that what was most important was and is concentrating on Annika and just being a mom.

And maybe the reason I couldn't form coherent thoughts often enough to write consistently is because that my emotions being transformed onto paper were less momentous than Annika learning how to crawl or making baby noises like her first "words," 'Ab' and 'Way."

Maybe the reason that we moms become less physically desirable and lose some of previous desires, and become foggy and tired is because the universe is telling us that concentrating on our little one is the only thing that should matter right now.

Hmmm, maybe it's not just hormones after all.

Momsoap is written by Martha Wood, an attached, stay-at-home mama to Annika, who is 18 ½ months. Martha co-parents with Annika's dad, Toyin. Martha never planned to become a mom and shock of all shockers, she loves it. Momsoap opines about single-ish parenthood, childhood and just life in general.

Black Friday Giveaway Winner

And the winner is ...

Kari, who wrote:
I have two stories to share!

One was when my son (who's now 18) had an ant farm he was only allowed to use at his grandparents home (their rule, NOT mine) and how he always wished he could have one of his own and you'd be fulfilling a very old dream for him if you pick our family.

The other is how I now have a 2nd family of sorts and my two daughters would love to have an ant farm and we could use it in our homeschooling.

Hope you enjoy your ant farm! Guess your kids will have to duke it out, huh?

BTW, be careful when you lift the lid to remove dead bodies. Those ants are fast! (You don't want to know how I know.)