Saturday, May 30, 2015

Guess I didn't knock hard enough?

So, the monster is back to refusing solids.  He's not gagging on them, but he's not keen on eating them either.

The good news is, I saw Dr. Illegible yesterday for something unrelated and asked him about it, and he says it's totally fine.  We should, it seems, take the lead from him and let him eat what he wants and not worry about it.  So yay.

Also, we did finally get a pool for the monster, which he LOVES.  It's just one of the little inflatable ones, but he loves to splash around in it.  It's a whole event for him.  It has a little sunshade, and we put water that's a bit warm in it, so it's not like icy hose water, but not warm like bathwater either.  Of course, after one swim, the weather turned gross, but I think it's going to be a long summer.  In the winter, we might deflate it, or I might buy a bunch of ball pit balls and bring it into the living room.  I guess we'll see.

I'm in a pretty decent mood, so the post about how my mom decided to Skype me and then invite my cut-off cousin, who'd never seen my LO, to come upstairs and say hi to me - will have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Genius Baby Part Eek: Pointing

The monster recently figured out how to point.  Mainly, he just points at everything, not as an indication of wanting it or showing it off, more just like, hey look, I can point at stuff.

Or so I thought.

My MIL sent the monster a bunch of books recently, most of which are in Mr. Wolfman's native language (we have an agreement that I don't speak to the monster in said language, so I don't eff up his accent, grammar, etc.) and one of which has no words, just pictures.  The monster loves this book.  Mr. Wolfman "reads" it to him in his native language, showing him all the pictures and talking about them, and I "read" it to him in English.

Yesterday, Mr. Wolfman starts asking the monster, Where is the whale? Where is the duck? and so on and the monster actually STARTED POINTING.  Maybe this is totally normal, but I reserve the right to be amazed.  So I started going through the book with him in English, asking him to point to different pictures, and HE BLOODY DID.  So, even still only saying 3 words, my little monster understands two languages and recognizes all the pictures in his little book.  I am thoroughly amazed.

Also, knocking some serious wood, but the monster is eating solids again!  I got it into my head to give him pears a couple days ago and he loved them, so yesterday I tried pears and carrots and he was a huge fan.  Since he's either refused or gagged on everything I've given him since Easter (cucumber even made him vomit :( ), I'm pretty excited about this.  Hopefully today we'll get him a little pool for the summer and all will be right as rain :D

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wooden Spoon

So I came across this ridiculous blog post this morning.  It seems to be a spin off from another ridiculous blog post, in which I can only gather that the author talked positively about being disciplined with a wooden spoon.

^ This particular little gem starts with the author laughing at someone for stating the obvious:

“If your parents had to use a wooden spoon on you, then they clearly didn’t know how to parent you.” 

I've posted the link, but you don't really need to read the article.  It's essentially the same as all such articles: Mlah, mlah, my parents taught me respect, mlah, mlah, no talking back, mlah, mlah, slaps-to-the-face and soap in the mouth, mlah, mlah, wooden spoon, mlah, mlah, well rounded, mlah, mlah, still get along great with my parents. It even includes the bonus, optionals: I raise my kids the same way. and this is why kids these days are so entitled.

Great.  Way to keep the cycle of violence going.  It, of course, blames a lack of discipline for society's entitled youth, lumping together irresponsible parenting, like not hitting your kids with things like participation trophies and never giving failing grades.  Time outs fall in there somewhere as well.  Hit your kids, damn it.  Because, you know, you do a disservice to your kids by not hitting them.

Here is my take (I know, first time mum of a baby, I can't possibly have opinions):  Kids and young adults these days are horribly entitled and annoying.  I think this does stem from parents being too permissive and society awarding mediocrity.  I also think this issue is wholly separate from physical discipline.

I also think that the type of people who spout this hit your kids nonsense (It's not abuse, it's discipline! Waaah) probably got hit themselves and to admit that there was something fucked up in that, is to admit that their parents are fucked up, and to realize that your parents and childhood weren't what they seemed can really shake someone up.  It's easier to keep up the fantasy that your parents were the best parents and that your childhood was great, with the minor caveat "My parents weren't perfect, but..."

The comments section of the article is especially telling.  From the writing style, a bunch of 50+ people, talking about how great their lives are because of their parents' discipline. Most of the comments have glaring grammar errors and none provide any evidence that physical discipline did anything positive for them - apart from their own declaration of being well-rounded.

My favourite:

I loved your comment that your neighbor was part of your “disciplining group”. In my home we knew to “mind” our neighbors too. I knew if Mr and Mrs Faulkner said, “mary,put that rock down and do not throw another one”, thatI had better not touch another one. The Faulkners were our neighbors and their daughter. Margie, was my good friend. The Faulkners were black and we were white. But I knew i knew my parents would skin me alive had i not done as the FAulkners told me. Their children would have minded my parents as well. To have sassed them would never have crossed my mind. Oh, that we could be like that today in our neighborhoods. 
Reasons why this person is old: Her friend's name is Margie.  She feels like we need to know her neighbours' name.  She uses "mind" instead of "listen to".  She uses the word "sassed".

Reasons why this person is ridiculous in her dotage: She feels like we need to know the ethnicity of her neighbours, followed by the word but.  They were black, but she still had to listen to them, even though she's white.  Yeeeeeah....

These are the type of people who always come out of the woodwork when an corporal punishment debate gets going.

So here's the thing.  I don't plan on giving my son participation trophies or yelling at his teachers if he does poorly in school.  I do plan on telling him no. I plan on teaching him that actions have consequences. I also plan on teaching him respect by being respectful - to him, to myself, to my husband.

I plan on teaching him that hitting is almost never appropriate, and having the ability to physically intimidate someone doesn't give you the right to - and that if anyone ever lays a hand on him, he has the right to defend himself, and if he needs me to, I'll step in and defend him too.  I plan on teaching him that reasonable adults don't hit - and that his Dad and I are reasonable adults.

And since these arguments always come down to anecdotal evidence (why would we want to listen to actual professionals, after all?), here's mine:

I was never hit as a child.  I was never physically disciplined in any way.  I never smoked, used drugs, got pregnant before I was ready, got in fights or got into any major trouble of any kind.  I only occasionally cut class, and I to this day am polite and respectful to everyone, unless they give me cause not to be.

I know a girl who had loving parents, but was spanked as a child.  She got heavily into booze and pot for a bit, got pregnant as a teen from a one night stand and ended up losing her 4 kids. And just as her story doesn't prove the negative effects of physical discipline, claiming that you're well rounded doesn't prove that it's harmless, either.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Soother Fairy

What the actual fuck?

For those of you who don't know, The Soother Fairy is like the Tooth Fairy, except instead of teeth, she collects all the soothers from kids too big for them, and gives them to little babies who need them.  Kind of unsanitary, when you think of it.

But really.  How many lies do we really have to tell our kids, to make their childhoods special? Shouldn't they be special because they have families who love them, fun traditions, the chance to use their imaginations and do the things they love?  I mean, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy? That's bad enough. But now, things like the creeptastic Elf on a Shelf, and the Soother Fairy?  Give me a fucking break.

Are people really so incompetent at parenting that they have to employ fictional characters to guilt and scare their children into good behaviour?  Or are their family lives really that mundane that there's no magic in them and it has to be invented?

I know, I know, I don't have to tell my son any of that crap.  And I won't.  But, despite the ridiculous, but commonly held misconception that you're not allowed to have any opinions at all about how other parents raise their kids, I actually do feel bad for the children who will one day learn that their parents were full of shit and lied to them for years. I won't interfere, but I have a right to my emotions, and I will exercise my right to pity.

But, more than that, from my own selfish perspective, I can already imagine the shit storm that will rain down when the monster goes to school at Christmas time and says that his presents come from Mum and Dad.  I will be expected to encourage my child to lie, so that people can continue to lie to their own children unchallenged.  And when he (as I think most children who don't believe in this stuff inevitably do) he exposes the secrets of Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, he will be made to feel guilt for telling the truth.  That's just fucked up.

My First Mother's Day

Well, fuck a duck.  I went to bed at 10 because I just wanted it over, if that's any indication.  The highlight of my day was a little girl in line for the bathroom telling me she liked my hair.

Mr. Wolfman had to work, which is fine. I'm glad he didn't do breakfast in bed or anything, because he would have had to wake me up ass early, which I wouldn't have liked.  I'd been on the couch with the little monster since about 2am anyway, so I'd been sleeping pretty poorly for most of the night.

He didn't say anything to me, which is less fine, but I figured, whatever.  I think mother's day is a different day in his country (although, come to think of it, his mother messaged me to wish me a happy mother's day, so maybe not).

I didn't have much planned.  It was a beautiful day, and I thought about taking the monster to the park, but I figured it would be crazy busy. I sent my mom a happy mother's day message and she responded a little while later, so I asked her to Skype, but she was still out with her mother (I can picture her just sitting at the table playing on facebook, instead of talking to my grandmother) and would be home in an hour.  I told her to enjoy the rest of lunch.  I did not tell her I'd be home in an hour, but she assumed I would be.

I decided to go to the store and get myself lunch. I spent forever getting the monster ready, because he's somehow hitting the terrible twos at 7.5 months, and was having a meltdown every 10 seconds, most notably because I made him wear socks. I didn't put sunscreen on him, so by the time I realized that just because my mother was expecting me to be online when she got back from lunch, it didn't mean I had to be, we were already half-way to the grocery store.  I didn't want to keep him out in the sun too long, so I ended up going straight home after shopping anyway.

I Skyped my mom, said hello to her and my gran, then heard my cousin's* voice from another room.  My mom informs me that said cousin has come to take her to tea, and my computer promptly dies.  I get my computer booted up less than five minutes later, and my mom has left.

Ok, whatever.  So I feed the monster and putter around the house, generally having an unproductive, stupid day, trying to figure out what I want to do when Mr. Wolfman gets home. Because I'm ridiculous and a glutton for punishment, I actually call my mom back and talk to her (she says hi to the monster before me, and ignores me in favour of him for most of the call) and I don't tell her that she's just blown me off, mid-call for the 3rd time in a week.  There was also a lot of her going on about how they couldn't afford to visit this month like they'd hoped and a lot of what I can only assume were hints that they should stay with us.  They were horrible house guests last time, so I just agreed that it sucked they can't come now, but maybe in the fall and blah, blah, blah.

Mr. Wolfman came home during the end of this convo. and told me that his boss had invited us for a BBQ.  I asked if he'd forgotten what day it was, and was surprised that he hadn't. I told him I didn't think we'd be spending mother's day with his boss.

Said goodbye to my mom, finally got to use the bathroom (the monster had been crazy most of the day, and didn't want to sit in his playpen for any length of time, unless I stayed in the room and stared at him) and by the time I came out, it had been decided that we were going to this BBQ.

I didn't want to let it ruin the day, so I said fine, the only thing I wanted for mother's day was a family picture, so we were going to do that first.

Again with getting ready taking 100 years. The food I'd gotten for lunch made me feel sick, so I wasn't hungry, but Mr. Wolfman was, so he got food and then we got dressed, got the monster dressed, etc.  So the beautiful day had turned into an overcast day by now.  Or partially cloudy, I guess.  The sun was getting lower, but we apparently needed to go to the grocery store for snacks.

We get to a beautiful spot for taking pictures, then sit in the car and watch the light disappear as Mr. Wolfman eats the icecream he'd bought.  So, of course, by the time we actually go to take the pics, I'm in a shitty mood and the sun is behind the clouds and it's cold.  When it was still sunny, I'd dressed the monster in a cute outfit with short sleeves and I was wearing a dress that I bought 2 years ago and had been waiting for a chance to wear.

So we're standing around, in buggy air, horrible light, and cold.  It was too late when the sun did come out from behind the clouds, so the light was really harsh, and Mr. Wolfman seemed to think I should be shooting sunshine out my ass because we were getting to do what I wanted, so I said let's just forget it.

Mr. Wolfman was pissy because he said the pics we got were good and why wasn't I happy? I told him it didn't matter at this point whether the pics were good or not, because I'm just going to look at them in the future and be reminded how shitty my day was.  Wrong answer, I guess.  I told him let's just go to this stupid BBQ and then he didn't want to go with me like this.  But I told him we're going, and I'll pretend to smile and be nice to his work people.  As I see it, my day was already ruined, I wasn't going to let it be ruined for literally nothing. He said we would just go and say hi.  We were there for 2 hours.

The BBQ wasn't horrible.  It wasn't even remotely enjoyable, but I could have easily and happily withstood it on any other day.  The worst part was that the sun came back out, it got warm again and it turned into an absolutely perfect evening, weather-wise.  And I spent it listening to my husband's blowhard boss and his friends blather about nothing, try to give me food after I'd told them no thank you repeatedly and come up to me one-by-one to ask the same questions about the monster, over and over again.  Including what solids he's on, which is a major sore spot for me because, if you remember my Easter post, these are the same assholes who likely gave him the stomach bug which, a month ago, caused him to stop eating solids when he'd been eating really well. He still won't touch them.

We went for a short walk and went back to the car, whereupon Mr. Wolfman suddenly realized that I was upset (I told him I'd pretend to be happy for his work people and I had) and spent the rest of the night trying to cheer me up, and then being sad because I was sad.

That pisses me off. Like, I didn't give a shit about what you wanted to do today until the last minute.  Why are you so saaaaaad?  The worst thing is that he's genuinely upset that I'm upset, so now I feel guilty for being sad.  But fuck.

I don't even care about mother's day.  Not on the whole.  I think it's a dumb, made-up holiday.  I'm fairly certain that this was the only mother's day that will ever have mattered for me, because it was my first.  Because it was supposed to be some kind of... I don't know.  I don't even know. It wasn't supposed to be this.

*I don't talk to her at all.  She's never seen or met my son and never will.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Genius Baby - Part 4: The Plan

Now that he can pull himself up using furniture, the little monster only wants to stand.  Or look at the wires that hang from a ceiling socket.  Nothing else.  He just (and I do mean just) did his first furniture transfer by himself, going from using the coffee table to the couch for support.

Right now, he's in his playpen, which he actually likes and wanted to go in.  Which brings me to the plan.

Yesterday, he was standing against the coffee table, letting go with one hand and reaching for the couch.  He couldn't quite reach, so eventually he started growling and shouting "Mum, mum!" until I helped him to the couch.  Then he jumped up and down and looked meaningfully at me, then tried to climb the couch like stairs.  He's tall, but he's not that tall, so I helped him again.  He crawled along the couch to the arm (the playpen is against the couch), put his hands on the playpen and then screamed at me ("Mum!  Mum!  Mama!  Mum!"*) until I put him in the playpen.  Then he was super happy.

I just can't get over the fact that he decided he wanted to go in the playpen, came up with a 3 part plan and executed it.  

I'm always so torn at moments like this.  On the one hand, I'm so happy that he's smart and happy and developing so well, and on the other hand, I'm kind of thinking, stay a baby, damn it.  People warn you about how fast it all goes, but I don't think most of us really get it until we're there.