Monthly Archives: July 2011

Judgey Wudgey Was A Mom

I like to think as a parent I’m more tolerant of kids screaming in the aisles and having meltdowns. After all, I haven’t been immune to them myself and often think “Oh, I’m sure they understand what I’m going through” when they look at me out of the side of their eyes.

Today, however I found myself being a little judge-like. I was in Costco shopping with my 3 1/2 year old. It was morning, so she was still in a good mood and snacking her way through Costco due to the samples. Which put her in a really great mood. My kid is a happy eater, and for those few minutes a silent kid (bonus for me!).

Anyhoo…we were checking out. In the lane next to us was a mom and dad and their 3 kids. Guessing around 7, 5 and 3 from the looks of things. The youngest, a boy, was sitting in the cart screaming. Who knows why. I didn’t pay much attention to it. But the screaming kept going and going. And it didn’t seem like either parent was caring much to stop it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand sometimes you can’t stop it and the only recourse you have is to muddle through and get hell out of dodge as quickly as possible. But they didn’t. Get the hell out of dodge that is.

Photo from HERE.

Since it was lunchtime, we stayed for lunch. For some reason, a Costco lunch excites my kid like few things and is considered a big treat. Since it costs me all of $3.50 to feed us both, how could I say “no”? So, we placed our order and sat down. The family appeared to be sitting 2 tables in front of us, but then moved to a bigger table next to us. The first thought that popped into my head “ugh, why do they have to sit next to us?” And yes, sonny boy was still carrying on. He continued to carry on and scream through most of our meal, except for the few moments when food was actually in his mouth. I didn’t give the parents any sort of nasty look, but did glance at the kid from time to time trying to figure out what his problem was. Which was odd, because if his parents couldn’t figure it out what made me think I could?

That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t as non judgemental as I thought I was. I’m not naive enough to think I don’t judge how others raise their kids and vice versa. But I did think I was above this.

The realization did hit home with me, and I guess as an adult that’s a positive sign. We can’t work on ourselves if we don’t realize what we are doing wrong. So, I spent the rest of the meal not glancing over at them and focusing on my own child. I gave her kisses and told her how proud of was of her good behavior. After all, who doesn’t like to hear good things about themselves? I’m sure I also said a quick silent prayer for not letting the screaming kid be mine.

Next time, I hope to be quicker with a smile whether it be to the child or the parent and to realize we all have bad days.

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Mother. Or Mother F*cker?

Recently, I went with a group of friends to a kid’s amusement/water park to the tune of over $50 to get in. We’ve never been and a good friend was in from out of town, so the cost wasn’t really an issue. The cloudy day that turned into a light rain on the way up? Not an issue either.

What was an issue? The fact that the moment we set foot through the gates my daughter (3 ½) started in with the whining and “I’m afraid” business. Go on the spinning dragons? No! How about the little racecars? Tears. How about the airplane? No followed by tears followed by screaming (okay, the screaming was me!). Nothing pisses me off faster than wasting money and time. I’d just driven 30 minutes and spent double that to get in the door and you are going on a ride missy! So, I did what any parent running for Mother of the Year would do. I picked her up and slapped her down and belted her in a ride and watched her go round and round. No, she wasn’t sitting alone. Yes, it was evil on my part.

I believe this photo sums up my parenting skills that day.

I tried to regroup and let her select what she wanted to do. Carousel? No problem, let’s go! Helicopter? No. Hot air balloon? No. Roller coaster? Hell no! Once again, I attempted to force her onto a ride. She cried. She screamed. She begged the man going around checking seat belts to let her out. He did. Nothing made me feel worse as a mom than this moment. (In my poor attempt at defense, I would like to point out that forcing my daughter to do things usually results in her liking what she thought she was afraid of and watching her do it over and over again.)

For the rest of the time in the amusement park, we sat on a bench and watched her friends.

Okay…water park up next. This will be fine. She loves water. The pool area is, at its deepest, not even quite calf high. They had little water slides for the kids. 3 to 4 feet in length. She did one. Her face got wet. End of story.

Change of tactic. They had a wonderful lazy river and the sun had come out. What could be scary about sitting on my lap floating in an inner tube enjoying the cool water? Oh, the fountains and water falls and whatever else they had going to get you wet. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to paddle our tube to the left, to the right, to the middle to avoid all these “fun things” they added. And she thought she wanted her own tube.  Ha!

After all this, I had to step back and take myself out of the experience. Was she having fun on her own or by having her mother force her to do things she didn’t want to do? Obviously, the answer was clear. So, I sat down on the edge of the pool and let her splash around and do things on her own terms. Her enjoying the experience was more important than my perception of what I felt we should get out of the day.  Once I let it all go, I was more peaceful and she was more peaceful.

In the end, was I proud of my behavior that day? No. I’m sure my friends made a mental note not to take parenting advice from me. But, I like to think I grew as a mom from this experience and also realized I have to say “no” to trips or events that I know my daughter can’t handle. She has a high sensitivity to loud noises and is very timid/cautious when it comes to new things. I’m learning to embrace that about her even though I don’t quite understand it.

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Water, Water Everywhere

I live in a lake community. It’s a pretty big lake with three beaches. We also have 2 pools. In the summer, that’s where you’ll find us. Either at the beach or the pool (some days, that’s the biggest decision I have to make…and that ain’t bad!). Basically, that’s a lot of water around us and that makes me happy. I wish we lived on the water or even on one of the streams that feeds out of the lake. But I don’t, so I’m happy just to have day-to-day access to it.

As a child, I started life (ironically) in a lake community and then always had a pool in my backyard. To say I was part fish is an understatement. By 3 I knew the basic mechanics of how to swim. By 6 I knew how to swim and swim well. I had the ear infections from never being above water to prove it. So, my history and love of the water makes it a little hard, and perplexing, to watch my 3 year old daughter have the opposite view. It’s not that she doesn’t like playing in it. She does. But that’s about it. She doesn’t want to be splashed or have any part of her head or face get wet. She won’t go out further than she knows she can stand (yes, I know that’s not a bad thing). She doesn’t like me to carry her out past a spot she knows she can’t stand. It’s puzzling to me. Especially when I watch my friends 3 or 4 year olds run in and gleefully go under and get their heads wet.

And yes, there have been accidents. She’s tripped or gotten splashed, or holy hell…had a bucket of water dumped on her head by a friend (who would love to have the same done to them). Tears followed. Screaming and tears followed. I do my best to console and point out that she’s not physically hurt or harmed and that water is expected to touch body parts above the neck when you are in water. She calms down and heads back…leaving future therapy sessions to a minimum.

To encourage, I signed her up for swim lessons. (I’m really not a throw your kid in the lake and she’ll learn to swim kind of parent. I save that mentality for things like going down the slide.) If we are going to live in a lake community where you are in water almost every day during June, July and August you are gosh darn well going to learn to swim. We had our first lesson. Not as bad as I thought. She did attempt to “float” on her tummy and back. But that head was lifted up and not touching on drop of water (I’ll spare you what hair washing night is like around here.) The poor swim instruction probably has permanent nail marks in her skin from the death grip my child had on her. God bless her. Tomorrow is lesson #2. Here’s hoping!

Yes, I do know my daughter is probably the norm given her age. Yes, I do have friends whose kids prefer playing along the shore line and think getting in to their knees is a big big deal and I see that and I’m happy that she’s not afraid of the water overall. But I want to help her not be scared and, truly my bottom line, is to learn how to swim and be safe when she’s in water of any type.

I found this article (click HERE) about helping kids overcome the fear of water. If you’re going through the same thing, this might help you. I know when she’s older my view of peer pressure will change, but sometimes it’s a downright miracle mover when it comes to the little ones.  Good luck with your little Ariel or Nemo to be!

 

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Happy Fourth of July

Enjoy your long weekend and celebrate the U.S.!

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Weekly Wishes

I was tooling around the Internet as I normally do, looking for creative ideas and inspiration. I found many interesting things, one of them being this idea: posting each week what you wish for. I’m not sure I’m going to be diligent enough to keep up a weekly wish list, but I liked the idea and was feeling in a kind of mood/place where a few wishes being fulfilled could almost be life changing.

So, here are my wishes:

  1. To find a way to get paid doing what I truly love: party planning, crafting, blogging. I know there are ways, but I haven’t truly found what I want or I’m not looking hard enough. Could be a combination of both.
  2. To get serious about losing weight. My weight is truly something that keeps me up at night. There is a history of heart attacks in the family, and I worry that I’m going to have one. My greatest fear in life would be not seeing my daughter grow up. It frightens me. Obviously not enough to do something about it the next morning (which frightens me even more…but that’s a subject for another day)
  3. To win the lottery. Seriously. And not $50 either. But a good couple thousand. Hundreds of thousands. I don’t even want to win millions. I don’t want to be that greedy. Enough to pay off the bills and pay off the house and put a little in the bank. That would be nice. Half a mil would do it. Now, if I only played the lottery!
  4. Travel. Again, not being a recent lottery winner kind of precludes me from taking a trip to one of my many dream locations. But a nice day trip. Maybe to somewhere I haven’t been. Strolling around, window shopping and enjoying family time. We’ll see. This isn’t out of reach.
  5. My greatest and biggest wish always is for my daughter to grow up and be the amazing person she is. The enjoy and embrace life. To be a catalyst for change in this world. I don’t know what or where her talents lay (she’s only 3) but I hope they are immense and can bring forth something positive. And, to be happy. With who she is, with how she looks, with her life.  To smile. Nothing looks prettier on a girl than a smile.

If you could wish for 5 things this week/month…what would they be?

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