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Archive for June, 2011

Controversy

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the “parenting” book, Go The F**K To Sleep, has created a bit of a stir across the internet.  I believe I first heard of the book, and then the fabulous video (linked here) from a shared link on my Facebook feed.  It seemed to spread like wildfire among my mommy friends.

To be totally truthful, I was a bit hesitant to post a link to that video here initially.  I mean, my MOM has the link to this blog and could be checking up on me at any moment.  What will people THINK if I post things with obvious profanity in the title.

And then I realized I was being a bit ridiculous.  I do think there is a valid concern about posting or sharing something with obvious profanity that may not be suitable for viewing around certain audiences (notably children and co-workers), but I think that the sentiment expressed in the wonderful satire of the whole thing is worth it.

I think this blog post on Parent Dish, by Susan Stiffelman, MFT, really sums up what I would like to be able to express about this book.  Provided that people can understand that this is intended as humor, there is a wonderful message about how none of us are perfect parents all the time and that there are times when we are tired and when we are done with having our lives dictated by a toddler.  I know I’ve actually found phrases from the book coming to my mind in moments when I feel I am not responding well to my toddler’s demands and antics.  It’s reassuring to me that someone else understands the surge of conflicted feelings – guilt, frustration, desperation.  It doesn’t mean we’re horrible parents (as some anonymous internet posters would assert), it just means that we’re human.

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Cabin Fever

We have it.  Bad.

For some reason it has seemed particularly bad with my toddler’s most recent illness.  As I blogged earlier in the week, he was diagnosed with croup over the weekend. We’ve been debating and researching like mad to determine at what point we can take him back out in public without infecting children in a 100 yard radius.

I think part of the problem is that croup sounds like a really scary diagnosis to me.  For whatever reason, the first thing I thought of when I heard the word croup was the scene from Anne of Green Gables where Anne is called to Diana Barry’s house in the middle of the night to help Diana care for her younger sister with croup.  In the scene, croup seemed to be a fairly dire illness, and the girls practically poured ipecac into the poor child to break the cough.  Later, Diana’s mother is overcome with gratitude for Anne because her child’s life was saved that night.  So, now my mental association is that croup is a horrible, dangerous disease.  I don’t think I’m alone in my projections about the diagnosis.  When telling a friend about the diagnosis, she asked, “do people actually have that anymore?”  I think she must have also been a fan of Anne.

I’ve also found the information on the internet to be a bit confusing.  Possibly this is because a variety of different viruses and other respiratory issues can cause croup.  Some sites say that once the fever is gone, the contagiousness is gone.  Others say that the child is contagious until the cough is gone.

So, I think I’ve been a bit more cautious with taking my child out in public than I may be with a “simple” cold.  Which is interesting, because comparatively, he seems much less sick and seems much more lively than he has with other illnesses.  He hasn’t even had a fever.  For a toddler who is used to being on the go, visiting different places, playing in the parks, etc. on a daily basis, being stuck at home has become a bit of a drag.

In light of all the different messages and information about croup that I’ve been getting over the past 5 days, I think I’m going to default to my usual approach to life – make it up as I go along.  Since we’ve been fever-free, I think I’m going to split the difference and go out once the cough sounds less like that of a 40-year smoker.  So, I think tomorrow we may finally break out of the house.  Hopefully this will happen before he manages to break something in the house….

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It’s never a good thing to start the weekend out with noticing suspicious physical symptoms in your toddler.  At first he started with very intermittent, but very nasty-sounding coughs.  By Saturday, we had progressed to full-on coughing and wheezing fits.

So, we dutifully loaded him up and drove to the nearest urgent care facility.  Since our son had been hospitalized earlier in the year due to complications from RSV, we were understandably nervous about allowing wheezing to go on unchecked.

After a brief exam, it was determined that my son had a bit of croup.  Armed with a prescription for a mild steroid to reduce inflammation and instructions to run a cold mist humidifier, we left the office much more calm and in control, ready to fight off the relatively minor virus that had taken up residence in my baby.

I have to say that I greatly appreciated the on-call pediatrician reassuring us that we made the right call in bringing him to the doctor.  It’s always such an agonizing decision about whether or not to go to the pediatrician, particularly on a weekend when the usual doctor is unreachable. I always wonder if I should ride out the symptoms and continue trying home remedies or if I should bite the bullet, pay my co-pay, and ask the doctor directly.

On some level, I think I’m overly concerned about becoming “that” parent.  You know – the one who rushes to the pediatrician with every sniffle and calls to ask every question that crosses his/her mind?  I don’t want to waste the doctor’s time or my co-pay money, but at the same time, I don’t want to be that “other” parent.  You know – the one who never thinks anything is severe enough to warrant consulting the doctor, leading to near misses as the child develops illnesses that could have been prevented or treated earlier?

So, we may have been a little premature in rushing to the doctor after the first 2 or 3 major coughing and wheezing fits, but in the end, we came away with something to help him feel better.  And, really, his comfort is most important.

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Well, it happened sooner than I thought.  My son is now officially an exhibitionist.

After practicing his skills on our dining room table and throughout the various rooms of our home, my unashamed toddler has now crossed the line into public exhibitionism by pulling off his shorts in the middle of the park.

Of course, he would choose the middle of a MOPS playdate, surrounded by women from our church, for his first foray into exhibitionism.  I’m just glad I caught him before he figured out how to get the diaper off, too.

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According to a new Gallup poll, Americans indicated that if they were only able to have one child, they would prefer to have a boy over a girl.  Check out Gallup for the full story:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/148187/Americans-Prefer-Boys-Girls-1941.aspx

The results are interesting – among Americans, there is a general trend to desire boys over girls when having children, but much of that effect is driven by a strong preference among men for same-gendered children.  According to the website, similar surveys have been conducted periodically since 1941.  Each time, the same trend has been noted.

Reporters writing on these findings seem quick to point out that this is the same pattern seen in 1941.  I’m not sure what the point of that comparison is – perhaps trying to suggest that we have not progressed toward gender equality as much as we thought?  The one thing that bothers me about this is that many don’t mention preference trends between 1941 and 2011.  We haven’t regressed in our preferences – this is a long-standing trend.

Gallup notes that this is a concerning trend given shifting gender balances worldwide.  In recent history, the population has been skewing more male.  This is a significant issue particularly in Asian countries, where strong preferences for male children have led to increases in selective gender abortions and other procedures intended to produce a child of the desired gender.

From a psychological perspective, it’s interesting that men are the ones who show a strong gender preference while women are more egalitarian in their preferences. I wonder if men feel like they will relate to male children better than female children while women feel more capable of relating equally to either gender.  Or I wonder if there is just a strong desire across the sexes to have a male child to carry on the family name that supersedes women’s desire to have a same-sex child.  I’d love to see some studies that really address the reasons behind the gender preferences.

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My toddler will never cease to shock, amuse, and horrify me.  In fact, that’s the exact constellation of emotions that I went through just after dinner this evening.

Up until then, it had been a pretty smooth and productive day.  I had a productive shopping trip in the morning and found every last one of the deal-of-the-week items at my local drug store.  This never happens to me.  Never.

Sailing along on the high of being a highly effective bargain hunter, I arrived back at home and decided to weed large portions of my flower bed while my toddler played happily nearby.  From what I observed, he generally stayed where I wanted, played with the toys that I wanted, periodically came over to engage with me in digging in the dirt.

After all that, he ate lunch well and napped well.  It was quite a day.  I felt good about my productivity, and I was pleased with how well my child had behaved.

While my son and I were finishing up dinner, my husband decided to go outside to pick up a few toys that we had left scattered around the patio.  I saw him walking back toward the house with my son’s sand bucket, a very puzzled expression on his face.

He came inside and asked, “was there any particular reason that you were collecting a bunch of rocks and dog poop in this bucket?”

“Wait, what?” was my not-so-eloquent reply.

He repeated himself and showed me the bucket full of “treasures.”  At that point, I didn’t know what else to do besides laugh hysterically.  I vividly recalled watching my son prance around the yard with that bucket, somehow completely missing that he was steadily filling it with dog droppings.  I also mentally went through the list of possibilities – could he have eaten some?  Did he put his fingers in his mouth after touching it?  Did he put his fingers in my mouth after touching it?

I’m sure there’s a life lesson to be learned in this story somewhere.  Perhaps something about accepting that we’re never going to be able to watch our children every minute of the day to prevent 100% of incidents.  Or maybe the lesson is that when we get too wrapped up in our own affairs, it becomes easy to lose touch with what our kids are doing.

Or maybe the lesson is that I need to scoop poop more often…and invest in more hand sanitizer.

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Happy Father’s Day!

I just wanted to take a minute today to say Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there – and especially to my amazing husband and the father of our adorable son.  My baby is so incredibly blessed to have a dad who is so loving and who takes such good care of him.  I know I don’t always remember to take the time to thank my husband for all the hard work he does to support our family and to help out as much as he can around the house, but he is so very much appreciated.  I don’t know what we’d do without you!

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