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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Being an Authentic Parent

I want to be an authentic parent.  I am, admittedly, the most lenient parent of most of my friends.  It isn’t that I need Ellie to like me AND love me.  It isn’t about wanting to be her friend and her mom. 

I’m her mom.  We can be friends when she’s twenty and just bought a new pair of black boots I want to borrow.

No, it’s about letting her be free to use her voice, to express how she feels.  I try not to discipline based on some principle I feel like I should be sticking to even though I don’t really understand why.

If I say no, it’s because there is a health and safety issue.  Or a cost issue.  (No, I will not buy you the $20 squishee at Michaels.)  That’s ridiculous.  

Ok ok, I am totally buying her the $20 squishee she really wants but I’m thinking I’ll get it from Walmart for cheaper and she doesn’t KNOW about it yet.  It’s a surprise for the trip home.  How did I get side-tracked?  Oh.  Saying no to Ellie.

I say no to Ellie all the time.  Problem is, she says ‘no’ back.  A lot.  At first I was like…holy crap can she DO that?  But apparently yes, she can.  And she does.  A lot.  Or, the other fun one, “ I caaaaan’t.”  As in, Ellie, pick up your markers please.  “I caaaaan’t.  You have to heeeelp me.”

Anyway, I pick my battles.  And a lot of markers from the floor.

There are two reasons for this.  

1) Working up enough indignant irritation to stick to my guns and battle it out with her thirty times before noon is really hard for me.  You don’t want to pick up your toys now?  Cool, cool.  I wouldn’t want to either.  Maybe later, eh?  And later daddy does it so, no issue.  (Thanks Bill!)

2) There are two of them.  And one of me.  And while I’m hovering over her making sure she’s picking up every last crayon Benji is teetering at the top of the stairs about to fall down.  Again. 

Anyway.  Maybe she’ll grow up and be a jerk, hopefully not.  I do know that when I cracked my toe on the couch earlier today the first thing she did was ask me if I was ok.  And then she gave me a hug.  And later when dad was wrapping my toe (it’s all big and purple and…gross.  It’s gross).

Anyhoo, when Dad was wrapping the icky crooked one to the nice straight one she sat next to me even though she was nervous and held my hand the whole time.  And looked into my eyes and told me everything was going to be ok.

Folks, that’s the kind of thing you can’t ‘discipline’ into a child.  Sure she pushes the boundaries and yes she’s stubborn and strong-willed.  She’s also compassionate and empathetic and loving.

She is a beautiful soul.  

My job isn’t to hammer her into a socially acceptable mold.  It’s to show her how to listen to her own voice and believe in her own intelligence and capabilities.  Her own innate goodness.

Parenting Ellie is like guiding a canoe.  Too harsh a course correction sends us veering off center.  Relaxed, keeping the goal in sight, we’ll winnow the water to the shore of adulthood just fine.

Anyway, as a wise woman once told me, “Everything is just a stage.”  Just hold onto the boat people, after the rapids comes the calm.  Or the waterfall.  But then, for sure, after the waterfall is the calm.

“Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.”  Mikhail Lermontov

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Things We're Obsessed With Right Now

I thought since some of us were making New Year’s Resolution lists I’d share a few lists of my own that have nothing to do with the New Year, or resolutions.

Things Benji is obsessed with:  

Taking the dryer balls into and out of the dryer

Putting Nana’s oatmeal packets into and out of the box then hiding them all in a Ritz box

Putting his food down the little hole in his chair-highchair

Throwing his food to the floor

Throwing his food at me

Crawling up the stairs
Crawling down the stairs
Stopping midway on the stairs and having a break
Not sleeping

Things I am obsessed with:

Sleep.  When will I sleep again?  For how long?  When is my next chance to try to sleep again?

Inventing a wet/dry hand-held vacuum

Inventing a robot that will climb the stairs for hours with a toddler to keep them from falling
A New Book!  101 Ways to Keep your Toddler Entertained Away from Home.  (This doesn’t actually exist and I’d write it but while I did he’d probably be taking a header from the top of the stairs, or eating the dryer balls, or shoving that pen up his nose.)

Benji’s mouth.  As in, did that tooth come through yet?  Is it here?  Is it HERE YET!?  Argggggggg.

A NEW HEALTH BOOK!  ‘Fasting’ by Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.  I know.  Why fasting?  Am I crazy?  Probably.

I’ve been reading some studies that have shown it to be good for your immune system, helps reset your sugar levels, and may have cancer and heart disease prevention benefits.  I’m all about prevention people.  Add to that it doesn’t cost anything, I can start and stop anytime, and it falls into my ‘can’t hurt’ category of my optimal health endeavors.  

Well ok I’m still nursing so I’m not doing ‘actual’ fasting.  All of 12 hours a day, from about 7:30pm to 7:30am the next day.  Pretty much everyone does this, it’s called sleeping.  Ah, sleep.  Please RSVP me soon.

I was worried about not getting enough nutrients (nursing) but I decided baby could do without vitamin I.  (Ice cream.)  Or Vitamin CH.  (Cheezies).  Which is all I eat after supper anyway.

Which leads me to…the word Autophagy - a form of cellular cleansing.  Basically it’s what happens when our bodies don’t have sugar nearby to use for energy - it ‘culls the herd’ in our bodies by destroying old or diseased cells that aren’t working optimally to leave room for the new, stronger cells.  Sounds like important work right?  It is.  And it doesn’t happen well until we aren’t spending so much time eating and digesting, so it can spend energy repairing and restoring.  Hmmm.  Food for thought!  Or, not-food for thought, in this case.

Things Ellie is obsessed with:

That $2,000 necklace the lady at La Mine D’or let her try on
Taking away anything Benji is calmly, quietly playing with
Running around in circles, screaming, as Benji totters after her, also screaming.

Mommies day out anyone?  Anyone?  Beuller….bueller…?