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Archive for the ‘Note to Self’ Category

Let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those moms who trawls the Internets in search of information about anti-vaccination, unlearning and rationalizations to never brush your children’s teeth. I’m sure there are plenty who see me as fairly fringe in my views, but where I live, I’m actually extremely…moderate!

One of my big rants, however, is about food — its production, particularly the predominance of corn byproducts in our food system. That’s all a diatribe for a different time, however. The simple point is that, from a food perspective, I try to feed my children as healthfully as possible. I wrestle with the idea of giving them sugar, yet also recognize that it’s important to expose them to all types of food, including (*gasp!*) junk food. I grew up in a mostly sugar and tv-free household, which was great… until I could get my grubby little paws on candy with my allowance money, or whenever I went to a friend’s house with more liberal tv standards… I had no idea how to moderate my “consumption” of sugar or tv whatsoever. I’m now in my mid-thirties, and I still don’t, for that matter, which is why we only watch tv online and I moderate how much sugary food I bring into the house. If I don’t have it in the house, I’m not going to eat it, and I’m also not going to give it to my children.

As a parent, I wish I could guard my kids from the pernicious effects of television and junk food completely. Unfortunately, unless I plan on locking them down in a commune-setting for the rest of their lives, this tactic doesn’t prepare them for the real world. Even the some Amish communities are smart enough to let their children, upon entering young adulthood, experience the world beyond their realm and choose for themselves (Rumspringa). At a certain point, you have to trust that your children will be able to navigate the world and all its pitfalls… but you can only do that if you’ve taught them how to read a map.

So, food is, along with the topics of gendering (princessing, for girls), raising an unbranded citizen, facing religious crossroads and cultivating character in my children, a complex issue for me. We belong to a sustainable CSA, where we get most of our meat and a fair amount of our vegetables. We have a small backyard garden, mostly so my children can be have an intimate understanding of where food comes from and an excuse to get their hands dirty. I try to involve my children in cooking as often as possible,  and have them help me select produce at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Yet, I get caught in the same food traps as anybody else — the picky eater who will only have quesadillas every day for lunch, leveraging food “treats” as a means to get decent behaviour from my three year old, passing limitless little baggies full of peanut butter pretzels and goldfish to the shorties in the backseat, etc. For someone who bothers so much with thinking about good food, you’d be amazed at the the low quality of many of our daily nutritional devourings.

On second thought… after reading that last paragraph… maybe I am one of those moms and just don’t know itdamn that’s scary! Let me qualify so you can see the “moderate”: my daughter has had McDonald’s french fries (c’est horrible!!), loves fish sticks slathered in *non-organic* (gasp!) ketchup, prays to God every night that she’ll have a popsicle the next day (sacre bleu!!!) and has had almost all the recommended vaccinations (mon dieu!), though I regret having given her some. My son, at 19 months, races to the couch whenever we put the tv on to put on an episode of “Sid the Science Kid” or “Mr. Rogers” (c’est la vie.)

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You can leave the house for months of three-hour-stints and never need to use a diaper, provided your diaper bag is stocked with enough provisions to supply a small daycare for a week.

The one time you leave the house for a 20 minute dash to the grocery store, forgetting your diaper bag, your baby is guaranteed to have a blow-out of epic proportions in the middle of aisle 3.

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If you spend more than $7 on a cheap, plastic toy for a small child, they are guaranteed to be more fascinated by the packaging the toy came in than the actual toy itself. If you spend less than $7 on a cheap, plastic for a child, the more likely they are to play with it, rather than the packaging, but it’s also more likely they’ll break it and choke on it.

Exception: If the toy cost more than $7, but has something that crinkles in it, or some quality that would generally attract a kitten to it, the child might prefer it over the packaging it came in.

Exception to the Exception: If the toy came in a box that has a top, the child won’t even notice the actual toy.

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You can learn more about the subject of leaving the house with small children and fathers here.

If you have nowhere to go and no particular time to be there, you will successfully have everyone out of the house in fresh diapers with snacks, spit-up free shirts, sunhats, water bottles and sunscreen in eleven minutes.

If you have somewhere to be, even if it’s somewhere that the children would like to be, such as gym class, accomplishing the aforementioned feat will take one hour and eleven minutes. Add forty minutes if you are feeling particularly stressed for time.

Exception: If you have somewhere to be at a particular time, but are being very, very, very zen about it, wearing life like a loose garment and accepting the scattering of time that herding toddlers and babies requires, you can make it out of house in thirty minutes.

Exception to the Exception: Don’t bother trying to fake yourself into being in a state of super-zen to get out of the house on time. Children can sense disingenuous lackadaisicality the same way they’ll refuse to eat even a cupcake if they think you really want them to eat it. If you opt for faux-zen, you are guaranteed to experience one (or all) of the following:

  • Getting out of the house one hour and thirty seven minutes later.
  • Having a complete conniption fit that puts your toddler’s worst tantrums to shame
  • Giving up on leaving the house altogether because —- whoops! —- so much time has been wasted tying shoes back on that were just put on four minutes ago, second and third potty runs have had to be taken, one blow-out poopie diaper (and outfit) have had to be changed, and spit-up has had to be hosed off of mommy’s one last “clean” shirt, that we’ve rounded the clock right back to another nap or meal time. It’s a veritable “Do Not Pass Go.”

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Further proof that I am the best mother EVER!!!

Took Shorty to her Dr’s appt yesterday. Normally, she’s an extremely outgoing little urchin who exudes confidence. She has a special little security lovey, a little rag-like yellow 6-inch cloth doll who, most days, stays in the crib. It should be noted that all of our daughter’s toys are named, thusfar, by us and she just appropriates the name.

The lovey is named “Doll Doll.” Yes, I am that creative. This is “Doll Doll,” as opposed to “Baby Doll” (her little girl doll with a cloth body and plastic head and appendages), “Paul” doll, the anatomically correct doll that came with his own potty and a shirt that said “Paul” on it (again, creative), “Monster Doll” (the ugly doll given on her two-year birthday) and “Other Doll,” the new boy doll that was also a birthday present.

So, we’re at the two year check-up yesterday. My normally strident and outspoken toddler is suddenly very intimidated – practically hiding behind my knees as we’re waiting to go into the exam room. Once in the room, I need to strip her down. As I laid her out on the exam table to whisk off her diapers, I saw actual fear in her eyes. I don’t know if it was the height of the table, the new surroundings or just that she smelled the fear of other children in the place (I swear, it’s a really great practice!!!), but she was definitely off her game.

For the first time that I can recall in my child’s life*** she was genuinely afraid. It was only then, when I saw her little eyes widen with fear, that it occurred to me that it might have been, oh, I don’t know…. GOOD PARENTING if I’d thought to bring Doll Doll for added security.

Shorty survived the ordeal, even started hamming it up for the doctor and was quickly back to her normal self after some reassurance. She even took her flu shot remarkably well. A quick wince and cry, then off to rearrange the books and toys in the room. All the same, I feel we narrowly avoided disaster and I would have been better prepared if we had Doll Doll with us.

Note to self: when bringing #2 for his 2 year check-up, pack lovey.

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