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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tantrums. So...my 2 year old and the current presidential nominees


            I’ve got three and a half weeks left until this squirmy, kicky, bladder head-butting little guy makes his appearance. 

            I’m not sleeping much at night but I am starting to feel better about it, I’m in the home stretch!  I’m really trying to enjoy the time with Ellie, how easy it is now for us to get around town and run errands, how our routine allows me to read, and write, and nap if I need to.  I’m savoring every cuddle, every snooze, every big-girl independence she so stubbornly holds out for. 

She still has random tantrums from time to time.  She cried because she wanted me to play the Frozen CD and when I put it on she cried because she didn’t want to listen to it.  So I took it out, then she cried because she wanted to listen to it…etc into completely irrational melt-down city. 

What’s a mom to do?  I sympathized, I empathized, I distracted.  The tears stopped when I gave up on figuring out what she wanted and put my ‘Spa’ music on.  I calmed down and, weirdly, she calmed down.  I guess I’ll have to adjust to the fact that as a mom, I’m not always going to know what to do.  You'd think I would have adjusted to that already...

I always thought being a parent was just about loving them but I suspect you also need to be able to stay emotionally centered to be a good parent.  I find if I constantly ‘mom’ myself, being aware of when I’M feeling tantrumy or tired or stressed and take steps to alleviate it then Ellie and I have easier days.  It’s not that her behavior changes so much that when I’ve got patience and a calm center, I’m able to keep from overreacting or over-personalizing.

            For example she didn’t ON PURPOSE spill yogurt all over her shirt when I am rushing to get us out the door for an appointment.  She didn’t begin to walk more slowly and stop to pick up a leaf from the floor because she KNEW we were already late and she wanted to make me PULL MY HAIR OUT.

            No, she’s just being a kid.  And it’s my job to stop, take a deep breath, and keep things in perspective already.

            Speaking of keeping things in perspective – I have to, HAVE to talk about the elections and the third and last presidential debate.

            First, I have to say I’m disappointed they didn’t shake hands again at the beginning.  Second, Trump seemed to do better there for awhile; he was subdued for the first 30 minutes or so. 

            Third, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but no matter who wins, this election has done more for the current democratic system than probably any other election before it.  I think this election has more people talking about real issues (like abortion, women’s rights, access to healthcare and higher education not to mention immigration, gun laws) than any other election before it. 

            These issues are hot button issues – people often feel passionately one way or the other.
 
            I think debate is very good for us as people, and for us as a country no matter which side of the issues you fall on.  If you’re sitting in a room and everyone there agrees with you…you’re not learning anything new. 

In fact the discussions tend to devolve into conspiracy theories and crazy ‘facts’.  You stop thinking critically when you’re in a room with like-minded people and untruths get accepted without the proper research.  Worst of all, you come away thinking you’ve got a fully developed and researched opinion when…well…when you don’t.

If we can disagree with one another, debate the issues and feel out exactly WHY we believe the way we do, well, we may walk away with our convictions all the stronger because of it.  We’ll certainly walk away with a better understanding of ‘the other side’ and maybe realize there IS no divisive US vs THEM, there’s just US. 

People. 

Regular people who work hard and cherish their children, who only want the best for the people they love.  Friends who, no matter how unbelievable their opinions seem to me, would be there for me in an instant if I needed them.

That’s the kind of friendships I want to have.  I want to be friends with people who make me think, who push me, who stand up for what they believe, even if I think they’re wrong.  (And vice versa)

That’s the only way to the truth as I see it.  It’s certainly the only way to a robust, educated opinion.  If I may be so bold, it’s the only way to a robust, educated society.  We teach each other or we separate into different camps and grow slowly more and more entrenched and invested in half-opinions and fearful stories.  Nothing good can come of that.

Well, as usual that’s just my two cents.  At least the presidential tantrums will be over soon...and maybe the first female president.  Whether or not you like her or agree with her, that's AMAZING.  She may be doing it for the first time for all of us women.  For our little girls.

“An educated, enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of a democracy.”  Nelson Mendela.