preschoolers

Hands-Off Mom or Helicopter Mom?

This month’s topic for PAIL is the following:

How do you decide how much independent play is best for your child, and how long of a leash do you give them to do that?

There’s a lot wrapped up in my answers to that question. First of all, what you must know about me, is my guilt complex is over-developed. When it comes to other people, most of what I worry and think about it is “what would a good ____ (mother, wife, daughter) do?” and I measure myself by that yardstick. If I deviate at all, I feel guilty and horrible. I’m a horrible wife, a horrible daughter and a horrible mother.

Two weeks ago when we had a weekend with few plans (usually a yay!) after unexpected days home due to illness, I was crabby and frustrated. Probably a little anxious too. I stormed outside with Daniel that Saturday and Jimmy looked at me, inquiring, “what is wrong?” I answered, “I’m bored.” I practically stomped my feet like a 6-year-old. And the guilt set in immediately. After all, how can you possibly be bored with your children? Isn’t that an impossibility? A good mother wouldn’t ever feel bored. She would identify a suitable craft and get to work. Or plan a nature walk to identify various types of flora and fauna through the local paths.

The guilt set in immediately. How could I feel bored with this small boy, my treasure? My miracle? I should spend every damn moment he’s awake playing with him on the floor. He should have whatever he wants, and I should try to make his environment as stimulating and wonderful as possible. Isn’t that what a good mother, a mother who appreciated the incredible blessing she had been given would do?

The truth is, Daniel plays well by himself and always has.  He asks us to play with him from time to time, and we do, but he is happy playing by himself.  This frees us up to do laundry, dishes, cook, clean, get ready for the next day while keeping an attentive ear out for his play. I love it and of course, I feel guilty about it. Shouldn’t I be playing with him all the time? Shouldn’t we be his companions and work to develop his imagination and skills all the time? How can dishes and laundry compare with such a responsibility?

While I do feel guilty naturally, a lot of the guilt I feel is compounded by how much effort we went through to have him. If we worked so hard to have him, how could we prioritize chores over him? Surely, he should come first and take precedence over everything. The problem is that I’ve also learned my limits and what I do and do not enjoy about parenting. I am not a great person to play with preschoolers right now. They are set in their ways and want to play on their terms. Such absolutism frustrates me. Right now, Daniel would rather watch a couple of videos than read books during our bedtime routine, which I get, but is still a shock to the system.

I guess the real question is how you let your children develop their own interests and become their own people, yet still feel like you have influenced them and made sure they know how much you love them? Right now, Daniel is enrolled in no extracurricular activities. I’ve thought about swimming lessons or tae kwon do, but it hasn’t progressed beyond that. Daniel’s school day is 8-2:45 followed by after school care from 2:45-5ish or whenever I pick him up.  We think that’s enough activities for now, but I wonder if we are denying him from having important experiences. And then I remind myself that he’s 4 and it’s OK. He can just be a little boy for now. Right?

I suppose that to move on from what is rapidly becoming an encomium to the guilt that rules my existence, I should look at some of the other PAIL questions:

Are you more “hands off” as a parent than you thought you’d be? More of a “helicopter parent?” Are you happy with the type of parent you’ve turned out to be?

I do feel like I am more hands-off than I anticipated, and unsurprisingly, I have mixed feelings. I love that Daniel can play by himself in our home, but I wonder if I should do more to encourage play with us. When we go to a public park or museum, we hover quite a bit because we went through a hitting phase when Daniel was 2 that still haunts us. He’s almost 4.5, yet we still feel the need to hover in public. JHC, it’s almost like PTSD.

I struggle a lot with trying to figure out the parenting style that genuinely works with us and what the “experts” say we should do. Daniel is happy. Daniel likes his toys. We have great conversations in the car, at dinner and at bedtime. Are we ignoring him or fostering his independent play skills?

Ultimately, I think it boils down to what your definition of a good mother is. In 2013, it still comes back to that.

 

Cat’s Got My Tongue or Something Like That

It’s been nice to see a few stories about Gen X in the media recently.  After all, hi! We still exist! The media is obsessed with the Boomers (for what…4 or 5 decades now?) and Millennials, and it can be easy to forget that there is a generation in between the Boomers and Millennials, a generation doing quite well, thank you very much.

I’ve written before about my feelings about being a Gen Xer. They’re mixed because depending on where you get your data, I’m either part of the very end of Gen X or possibly one of the oldest Millennials.  Most of the milestones for Gen X happened when I was still a small child, so while I remember them, they aren’t really my milestones like they are for someone 5-10 years older. And the events and habits that define Millennials are things that are at least 5-10 years younger than I am.  It’s like being part of a lost generation, a generation that exists in some Never-Never Land.

This article about Gen X got it right. Again, some of the examples they use are for older members of the generation, but the overall feeling and characterization is spot on: Meh. I picture that utterance accompanied with a shrug. It’s not negative. It’s not positive. It just is, and it’s freeing.  Because the spotlight has so seldom been on Gen X, we’ve been allowed to chart our own course and to develop ourselves without the sheer numbers that change society like the Boomers and the online opportunities to which Millennials are accustomed.

We’re here, plodding along, doing our thing, and we’re OK with that.

I could go on and on about the article, but I’m curious about your impression. If you are Gen X, do you agree? If you are not Gen X, what do you think, and if you work with Gen Xers, what’s it like?

***

We’ve had a wonderful week with Daniel.  After weeks of tantrums and whining and crying at the drop of a hat that was capped off by me bursting into tears last Sunday after a particularly trying afternoon, this week has been calm and pleasant. And you better believe I’m knocking on every piece of wood I can find.

That has been the definition of age  so far: wonderful moments and teary lows. We’re hopeful that maybe this week wasn’t a fluke and that the Pre-K transition is over. Maybe our talks and warnings and consequences and tears have finally gotten through, and we’re able to reason and talk through hairy moments. Fingers and toes are crossed.

***

We went to our local Farmer’s Market to buy pumpkins and flowers today.  I’m pleased to say that Daniel is just as infatuated with Fall as we are.  I got out our Halloween decorations when I was home on Monday, and he has been demanding one of my decorative pumpkins every day.  We happily picked out pumpkins to decorate our porch and mums to plant in our garden.

It was weird doing all this when it is almost 90 degrees, but that’s North Carolina. Next weekend, it could be 65 (and I’d LOVE it!).

Daniel among the pumpkins

Pumpkin Man!

***

I’m having a bit of writer’s block lately. I’m not even sure if that’s what it is, but when I sit down to blog, I can’t get my thoughts together.  I have so many posts in draft status because I write and write and write and then just taper off, unable to finish.  I’ve thought posts through in the shower and while I’m getting ready, but they fade away. The words don’t flow. I reread the drafts, and the sentences are awkward and clumsy, and the metaphors and analogies are silly, and I’m embarrassed and frustrated. I’ve never considered myself to be an elegant writer, but I expect a basic competence from myself that has been lacking.

Maybe I need to do more of Mel’s Pump and Dump type of writing.  Maybe it’s a good thing that NaBloPoMo is next month.  Hopefully the challenge of blogging every day will clear this blockage.

What I haven’t thought much about is whether my inability to write is symbolic of some other stress in my life (work, I’m looking at you).

What I do know is that Fall is my little family’s favorite time of year. While I’m stunned it’s October, I’m thrilled. Holidays, good food, family, fun events…all are on tap and being scheduled. And as the leaves turn golden and orange and red, I feel myself waking up and feeling alive. The beauty of this time of  year hits me like a hammer, and I’m determined we will enjoy it.

Daniel and mums

Daniel among the mums

Father’s Day

Children are extremely funny – both intentionally and unintentionally – at this age.  Daniel’s daycare teachers interviewed each child about his or her father and sent it home as a Father’s Day gift. Daniel’s answers to the questions are hysterical. Behold:

daycare questionnaire for Father's Day

First of all, his father’s name is Jim, NOT Stephen! Daniel does know Jimmy’s name, but the little stinker didn’t make up Stephen from nowhere. We’re a very naming family – everything has a name, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that Stephen is the name of Jimmy’s iPhone (mine is named Millie). So, yes, it is a little humiliating that Daniel used the name of his father’s iPhone for his father’s name.  Ouch.

Secondly, note the age he gave Jimmy: 26. Twenty-frigging-six!!  I’m envious because when I asked the little imp how old I was a few weeks ago, he said 62. 62! Jimmy gets 26. Jimmy says he’ll change his name to Stephen if he can be 26 😉

Thirdly, Jimmy is not a garbage man to Daniel’s chagrin.  He works in IT for our local utility monopoly. He’d probably enjoy being a garbage man more.

The rest of the answers are sweet and made us laugh. We did have a moment of worry about the “favorite food” answer because Daniel has been fond of saying that everything Jimmy drinks is beer after Jimmy had 1 beer with dinner. It’s probably the only beer Jimmy has had in the 4 years Daniel has been alive LOL.

The drawing is fairly representative 🙂 It is so enlightening and humbling to see what behaviors and lessons stay with our little ones.

***

When we moved into this house 8 years ago, we were beginning to think seriously about starting a family. Like within a few months. We scrutinized every house we looked at for its suitability for children and settled on our current house because we liked that all the bedrooms were on one level. We especially loved the huge yard and the wooded lot. We stood on our back porch and pointed to a shady spot right before the trees started and declared it would be perfect for a swing set. We could envision our children playing in the back yard, swinging high and and sliding down the slide.

It didn’t quite work out the way we thought it would. It would be 4 years before the baby we had imagined became a reality.

It would be four more years before the play set graced the back yard.  Jimmy and I decided that Daniel’s big birthday present this year would be a play set. Jimmy had a few requests: monkey bars and a club house. I wanted good swings and a slide because Daniel loves to slide.

On Saturday, we sent Daniel to grandma’s for the day and had the play set built.  When I brought Daniel home, the work was finished, and we took him to see it. He grinned and ran to it at full speed. As he explored every part of it, he would turn to us and say, “I love you, Mommy” and “I love you, Daddy.” Melt.

Playset!

Today, Father’s Day, we spent 2 hours outside playing on it.  I know that the play set (or “clubhouse” as Daniel calls it) is technically Daniel’s birthday gift, but it feels like a gift for us too.  A perfect Father’s Day and Mother’s Day gift.

After years of struggle to get Daniel here, seeing him happy is the best gift we could ask for.

Happy Father’s Day, Jimmy. Your little boy adores you.

Jimmy and Daniel

The World According to Daniel

Mini Elton John

Daniel or baby Elton John?

The (Unintentionally) Inappropriate

Daniel, to himself, as he puts on his pants: That’s not the right hole.

Me: That’s a life lesson.

***

Daniel, at story time: Mommy, I want to get in you

(He means he wants my arms around him, but my eyebrows raise & I snicker like a 13-year-old boy every time he says it)

The Sassy

Daniel, after dropping a starfish in the car: Mommy, get that for me.

Me: I can’t; I’m driving.

Daniel: Oh, I think you can.

Me: !!!!

***

Me: Can you share your water with Elly (the starfish)?

Daniel: No. I will not share with Elly.

Me: Would you share your water with me?

Daniel: No. I will share with myself. I’m not sharing with anyone.

***

Me, during tuck time: Can I have one more hug and kiss?

Daniel, rolling over: I’ve already given you one.

The Sweet

Daniel:  Elly and Henry (two of his starfish) are best friends.

Me: Who is your best friend, Daniel?

Daniel: You are, mommy.  You’re my best friend.

Me: unable to respond because I’m a puddle on the floor.

cuddling with starfish

A quick cuddle with his starfish

The Only Problem with Low Expectations…

Oh, Christmas.  The one part of Christmas Jimmy and I were looking forward to was being Santa Claus and seeing the look on Daniel’s face Christmas morning.  That assumed bright spot kept us going through ennui, a scorched dinner, disappointment, passive-aggression, depression, narcissism and omni-present illness that characterized the holiday this year.   Christmas Eve we made cookies for Santa, had a great dinner, drove around the neighborhood to see the lights, and threw out the food we made for the reindeer.  We read The Night Before Christmas before tucking in Daniel as is our tradition; once we were sure he was asleep, we set about being Santa. Jimmy and I had high hopes for the next day.

Cookies for Santa

Cookies for Santa

Santa on Christmas Eve

Santa has been here!

When we heard him stir on Christmas morning, we got up, turned on the tree and went to get him out of his room. The first thing that greeted me was an overturned potty and a naked little boy.  Cleaning up pee is always my favorite thing to do first thing in the morning!  Once the room was clean and he was dressed, we urged him to go see what Santa brought him.  And urged him.  And urged him.

Daniel wouldn’t go into the living room.  He informed us that he couldn’t and instead ran into the guest room to hide. No amount of coaxing could get him out.  We implored him.  We begged him.  We cajoled him, incredulous that our 3-year-old didn’t want to see his presents.  The more we asked, the more defensive he became, informing us that his name wasn’t Daniel.  It was Diesel.  His “I can’t”  became higher and whinier.

We were flabbergasted.  What the hell?  We had bought wonderful gifts that we thought he’d like.  We had cherished making Santa magical for him, but he wouldn’t even take a look.  We looked at each other, speechless, and feeling bad that we felt so irritated with our child on Christmas morning.

We should have expected something to go awry Christmas morning.  In retrospect, Daniel had been shy and avoiding all surprises lately; what is Santa but one huge surprise?  It was still a kick in the gut, and maybe if we felt better, we would have laughed it off.  It’s just that this part of Christmas – being Santa for Daniel – was the one thing we had thought would go well, would be a no-brainer.  It was the only part of Christmas that mattered for us.  And so Jimmy was speechless and I wanted to cry at 9 AM on Christmas Day.

We finally managed to coax Daniel into the living room, and once there, he was as excited as we hoped he would be.  The bittersweet feelings remained, though.  I felt like we were the worst parents in the world having to guilt our child into enjoying Christmas, and his initial reluctance was just one more reminder that this holiday has been less than ideal.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Here are a few more ways in which the holidays have continued to be less than ideal:

  • Jimmy contracted my pink eye
  • Jimmy finally was struck down by whatever Frankenvirus I have
  • I made my third trip to the doctor on 12/26 because I still felt like crap.  I was given a second dose of antibiotics and Claritin D (I’m happy to say that only 2.5 weeks after I got sick, I began to feel better.)
  • My pink eye is better, but my new supply of left contact lenses haven’t arrived, so I’m alternating between glasses that occasionally hurt my face or one right contact
  • I’ve cried twice
  • We have no energy
  • Daniel is being very 3, very contrary.  We’ve taken away toys every day and instituted a reward chart.  We have good days and bad days.  I know it’s normal, but it’s frustrating and depressing to feel like you are constantly disciplining your child and then the more you have to discipline, the more you worry you are crushing his spirit.
  • We are not enjoying this time off. Daniel probably isn’t either because he thinks we’re yelling at him all the time.

In short, what I’ve learned over the last 2 weeks is that you can accept and prepare for low expectations, but sometimes, those expectations aren’t low enough.

***

We’re two-thirds of the way through December 31 in my neck of the woods, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It has been a shitty year for my family, and Jimmy and I cannot wait to see the year depart.  2012, it’s not your fault explicitly, but I have no problems blaming you.

Tonight, I will raise my glass of champagne high in celebration and joy as the last few seconds of 2012 tick by.

Goodbye, 2012.  I won’t be sorry to see you go.

May 2013 be kinder to us all.

Phoning It In

This post, my friends, is phoned in because I am wiped from Thanksgiving. Plus, in our cleaning frenzy, we moved our laptops upstairs, so I’m typing on my iPad, which is OK but not great for posting.

We had a great Thanksgiving. I think it was one of the best meals we’ve made, and I am THRILLED we have days of leftovers.

Mr. Twenty-Pound Turkey came out beautifully, and I was so proud of us for cooking a whole turkey. And, as all of you told me, it wasn’t a big deal at all cooking a whole turkey vs a breast.
20121123-222908.jpg

I did get a shower, but my hair was still wet when the in-laws arrived. We hadn’t had a chance to change Daniel out of his flannel Thomas pajamas and no one saw the point of doing so, so he ate dinner in his PJs. Smart boy. I wish I had done the same!

It’s always funny that you spend so long cleaning and cooking for a meal that lasts around an hour. Three hours after arriving, our guests were gone. Jimmy and I cleaned up while Daniel watched a movie in the living room in reward for his awesome behavior. The best part? Collapsing into bed with a completely clean kitchen. Ahhhhh!!!

We spent today quietly. After standing all day yesterday, my knees ached. Oh, I forgot to mention that Daniel developed the tell-tale barking cough of croup last night. Only days after he finished the antibiotic for bronchitis! Since it was warm today, we played outside for a bit, but he had a nice, warm bath and quality time in his PJs.

We put up our tree today. It’s a new one because our previous one died. It’s 9ft tall and massive, but it looks great. I can’t wait to decorate it. Daniel loves it and keeps running into the living room to stare at it. I used to despise decorating for Christmas before December, but in the last few years, I’ve grudgingly come around to doing it after Thanksgiving because life gets so busy that it seems like it’s right after Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve. Hey, at least I’m not like some of my neighbors who decorated right after Halloween! Seriously.

I downloaded a new book. We have lots of good food to eat. Jimmy and I have started watching The Tudors from the beginning (I know it’s historically inaccurate, but the spirit of the show is right).

I’ll leave you with Daniel’s favorite video from YouTube. He asks for it like this: “I want to watch kitty cats that look-kind of sound like a Bitty Boo again.” Translated: there is a video of cats who look and sound like our three cats, and it cracks him up to watch them.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you go shopping today?

Friday Fun, Frustration, Frivolity and Food

Preschooler kitchen destruction

Kitchen destruction at the hands of a sick 3-year-old

You’d think that since I had nothing to do today but chase around a 3-year-old who behaved like I had given him mass quantities of speed, I could have completed this post earlier today.  Funny that.  It turns out that 3-year-olds have a finite limit for how long they are willing to have you out of their sight and attention.

Marty, my fellow Listen to Your Mother: Raleigh-Durham co-producer, and I optimistically scheduled a conference call for late this morning so we could discuss the manual, potential venues and our charity.  She had her almost 3-year-old at home with her, and I of course had Daniel.  It was a very amusing video chat as about every 5 minutes, one of us had to look away to shout, “No!  Don’t do that!” or “Hi sweet pea.  Yes, say hello.  Can you return to your movie? Mommy won’t be much longer.”  Somehow we managed to conduct a lot of business over the course of an hour before we both accepted that the natives were restless and signed off.  I’m happy to report, though, that we hope to be able to announce our venue and performance date very soon!

We were supposed to travel to my hometown to have Thanksgiving with my mother and stepfather this weekend, but we cancelled due to Daniel’s illness.  I feel bad about it (because I always feel guilty), but I think we made the right decision.  The last thing we want to do is to have to subject a sick 3-year-old to a different routine and a location other than home.  Or maybe that’s just us.

Hopefully my mother and stepfather will be able to join us for Thanksgiving on Thursday instead, and I have to admit that it is not unwelcome that we have another quiet weekend at home to clean and get ready.  Or just relax before the onslaught of cooking and cleaning begins next week.  Oh, we are hosting by the way.  Perhaps I neglected to mention that?

Daniel is having a lot of fun with family relationships and gender right now.  He occasionally refers to himself as a girl, me as a boy, Jimmy as a girl and the cats, oddly, as girl-boy (for our cat Bit, that’s actually more accurate than he knows because s/he may identify as a girl while being a boy.  Or we might have confused her by referring to her as a “she” early on due to not realizing she was a boy).  He also called his grandmother his sister and his father his sister.  It’s been fun. Imagine if we were Egyptian royalty or polygamous and had explain sister-wives!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, while Daniel was “napping” (read: destroying his room and throwing his stuffed animals everywhere.  Remember that scene from Poltergeist when the researchers from the parapsychology department opened the children’s room and found the items spinning around?  Yeah, that), I succumbed to the allure of searching for Thanksgiving recipes.  If you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize because I think I pinned 20 recipes in a 2-hour period.

We are huge fans of Thanksgiving in this house now that we are adults (and this rumination is partially in response to JJiraffe’s post on Thanksgiving today).  Jimmy and I both liked Thanksgiving as children, but I admit that it was more like, “yeah, yeah, Thanksgiving.  Let’s get on to Christmas!”  Now, though, we have new appreciation for the holiday.  First of all, other than the 4th of July, I can’t think of a more seminal, meaningful holiday to celebrate as a nation.  Also, now that I have much more to do for Christmas than decorate a tree and show up at someone else’s house for dinner, I appreciate a holiday that is about food and fellowship only.  It’s like a chance to exhale before the end of the year.  Finally, we adore Autumn, and Thanksgiving is sort of the culmination of Autumn with its emphasis on the harvest.

Anyway, my massive Pinterest pinning was more wishful thinking than reality because my husband is a creature of habit, and no holiday brings that out more than Thanksgiving.  Over the years, we have fine tuned our menu and recipes, and I, to my chagrin, don’t have many opportunities to experiment because Jimmy really likes what we’ve come up with.  And I’m OK with that.  I have free rein at Christmas, so I can let him have the menu he wants at Thanksgiving.  In truth, we both want to make traditions for our family, and our Thanksgiving menu is one tradition that we have created so far.

So here is a rough outline of our menu:

  • Herbed turkey breasts
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows!)
  • Green beans (leaning towards a bacon-balsamic-shallot sauce)
  • Corn pudding
  • Collard greens (Southern girl FTW!)
  • Cornbread dressing
  • Rolls (frozen; I haven’t mastered yeast yet)

I’m thinking about adding a glazed carrot or butternut squash dish as well.  I don’t make dessert.  I LOVE making desserts, but I find I run out of time and energy, so my mother-in-law usually makes or brings one.

I’ll post next week what exact recipes I use for the potatoes, green beans and corn pudding.

I’m getting really excited.  I’m even thinking about making a decorative arrangement for the table (vs buying some carnations and arranging mini-pumpkins around it and calling it a day).  I’m even pondering a few crafts with Daniel.

So, yay, Thanksgiving!  It took me many years, but I finally appreciate you and want to give you your due.

Notes from a Sick Bed

The sick bed is of course metaphorical because the only chance I have of getting Daniel to stay in one place if I tied him down (Not that I’d do that but I may have fantasized about it once or twice).  That is to say that his spirits remain high and his energy levels impressive despite being sick.

Daniel and I had a nice, low-key day, and the weather must have felt in need of the same because it was rainy and chilly all day.  Perfect November weather!

We watched a few movies (and yes, note the mis-matched pajamas.  Yay!  Something other than Thomas exclusively!  Boo for succumbing to another highly-merchandised character.  You win some; you lose some).

Sick preschooler

He keeps picking at this dry spot on his lip.

Daniel took a leisurely bubble bath and paid it forward by lathering up his bath trains as well as the bathroom floor, walls and me before having lunch.

This turkey dog is most excellent after my bath.

Daniel pretended to nap in his little chair, unfortunately the closest he came to a nap all day. Although I must say that the entertainment that comes over the monitor is comedy gold.

The Great Pretender

The budding architect built a block masterpiece and posed behind his work.

Looks like it will work in the real world, right?

Daniel is feeling better, but he still has some symptoms that prevent him from returning to daycare tomorrow, so on Friday we’ll do it over again.

I bought Daniel a few books on Thanksgiving and giving thanks, and we’ve been reading them nightly for 2 weeks (I’m a tad tired of them).  We’ve been talking to him about the concept of thankfulness and giving thanks, and I think it is starting to sink in a bit.

Last night, I asked him what he was thankful for.  He replied, “My people.”  I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.   Tonight I asked him, and he said, “I’m thankful for Mommys and Daddys” and went on to list the rest of his family, even the ones in heaven although everyone was plural.

Sweet, sweet boy.  Sleep tight, little bear, and we’ll start our weekend early tomorrow.

 

 

Things That Glow in the Dark

This morning I was awakened at 2:30 AM by a shrieking 3-year-old.  OK, to be honest, it didn’t start off as shrieking.  It started off as a few whimpers and calls for “mommy.”  I was up immediately –mommy spidey sense?–but within a few  minutes the whimpers escalated into crying and shouts of “I want my mommy.”  Who could resist that?  When I had settled Daniel down and was cuddling him, I asked him what upset him and he said it was his special star (the camera for the video monitor).

After some sweet cuddle time, Daniel was asleep and we had no more issues.  However, it was impossible to miss his anxiety at the smoke detector in his room during tuck time tonight.  Daniel has had a love-hate relationship with smoke detectors since the unit on firemen at daycare a few weeks ago.  On the one hand, he loves to point them out and talk about what they do (keep us safe).  On the other hand, he is wary of the flashing light our smoke detectors occasionally have.

We tell him they are useful.  We tell they are good.  We tell him they help keep him safe.  He hears us and understands what we are saying, but deep down, he is still afraid of the blinking smoke detector.

I know that developing fears of the dark and what’s under the bed are normal for this age, but it cuts us to the quick to see him so vulnerable.  Everything in his life right now is a teachable moment, but I feel the sweet weight of parenting in those moments during bedtime when we need to explain smoke detectors and their usefulness.

Daniel is 3 years old and while that seems SO old to us because we easily remember the 6 pound 8 ounce newborn we brought home, he is still in so many ways a baby.  Tonight I cuddled him and tried to explain why he didn’t need to be afraid of the smoke detector, struggling to adjust my vocabulary to something he could understand.

There is a delicacy in these moments.  How you respond to these fears will shape so much or at least that’s my opinion.  Will he feel supported?  Will he feel comforted.  Most importantly, will he feel protected and secure?

That’s our goal for him.  To build a life in which he feels secure both physically and psychologically.  To know that mommy and daddy will be there for hugs and kisses when he needs them and above all that he can depend on us.

It breaks my heart a little to know that he is scared of the smoke detector, that he is scared of anything, but I know it is necessary.  I hope that we can provide the security blanket he needs while granting him permission to explore his world.

What’s a Wazoo Anyway?

Y’all, it’s been a week.  I have had meetings and conferences out the wazoo.  What part of the anatomy is the wazoo exactly?  Do I need to worry about its rights being legislated away? No? Anyway, the point of all that is to let you know that while I have a cajillion slightly more interesting “genuine” post ideas rattling around in the pumpkin shell I call I head, it is not this day that you will get them (5 pts if you name the movie from which I paraphrased).  I am wiped.  So, more blather to fulfill the NaBloPoMo monster.

  • It turns out that at a conference attended by 2000 people, you will find people you know from unexpected places.  I discovered – quite by accident – that a high school classmate was in attendance.  10 minutes of frantic Googling, and I confirmed it was he.  By the way, our high school was two hours west of here, so it’s not like we both live in the county.  Small world!
  • I hope to post some of the stuff I learned at the Internet Summit.  I’m still mulling it over.  It was interesting to hear how “professional” tech blogs are now grappling with some of the issues we’ve faced in the mom blogosphere in regards to monetization, but it looks like the tech blogs are a few years behind because they are only starting to move to sponsored posts.
  • Today my husband received information from the American Legion thanking him for his military service and telling him what benefits he was entitled to.  The only problem is that my husband wasn’t in the military.  There must be some other person with the same name. The benefits are really awesome, though!
  • I LOVE this article from the NY Times: “In Praise of the Hashtag“.  I’m a very active Twitter user and find myself using hashtags snarkily, and I like the linguistic analysis of the phenomenon in the article.  Also?  “Octothorpe” may be the best word ever.
  • This post about writing from The Rumpus is amazing: Not Writing Is Your Alligator
  • I never fail to giggle from something on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Back from yet another globetrotting adventure, Indiana Jones checks his mail and discovers that his bid for tenure has been denied
  • Another oldie but goodie: Generation X is Sick of Your Bullshit
  • This post, Mompaganda, at PhD in Parenting is amazing and I agree with so much of it.  This paragraph uncannily sums up something I thought about yesterday and my fear of what happens to the blogosphere as we seek relationships with brands:

Instead of judging ourselves and each other so fiercely it’s time we turn our attention beyond the “mom wars” to the true battles of our era: battles over natural resources, economic disparities and the construction of truth in our media environment.

I apologize because I’ve got nothing else.  My brain is empty.  Better posts to come, I promise! I leave you with these pics:

Someone is happy b/c he gets ice cream because he took a nap at daycare!

Bit, our big cat, looks ready to flee at the first opportunity

How was your week?