Tuesday, November 15, 2011

*Climbing onto Soapbox*

From Michael Shannon's article on insidenova.com

"For those in two-in­come households who have been wondering what the long-term effects of parking children in daycare would be, the results are in and the news is not good.

Quite a few members of the daycare generation are currently occupying Obam­avilles in New York City, Washington, Oakland and points in between. This is a natural outcome of society's reliance on strangers to raise our kids.

The daycare generation's formative years led them to become accustomed to large, mostly benevolent third-party organizations that dried their tears, filled their tummies and enforced the rules for sharing.

Inside this primary colors utopia the daycare genera­tion finger-painted signs, beat on the furniture, sang songs and it was absolutely free! At snack time Juanita never charged little Belgium or Saskatchewan for the goldfish or juice boxes.

It's only natural, now that the daycare generation no longer depends on Kinder-Care, that they turn to the largest organization of all and ask Uncle Sam to make everything all better."


As a mother who will be placing her child in day care in less than two weeks, I find this offensive for two reasons. One is the assumption that I am relying on strangers to raise my kid. I will be raising my child. I call upon others to assist me. I will be disciplining and training at home, in the car, in the store, and as we walk into day care. I will be receiving reports of my child's behavior, and when my child is old enough to remember what they did wrong they will have repercussions at home. I will be giving suggestions for how to discipline my child. And the people caring for my child will not be strangers after a short period of time, any more than the Sunday School teacher in a large church is a stranger.

Second is the assumption that the Occupy movement is a natural response to day care. No, the Occupy movement is a natural response to the parenting that occurred, or in this case, did not occur. A two year old can be expected to clean up his room whether he's in day care or not. A quality day care will assist in training children to clean up after themselves. Yes, my child will be in daycare 50 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week. That means I'm with her 2/3rds of the time. That's a majority, if my math skills are still intact. That's when I train my child, and if I can't make an impression on her in that amount of time, 50 more hours probably won't help either.

The other problem with this "natural response" idea is that it assumes the mentality for these kids was set by the time they were five years old. What about the school systems? The kids spent 13 years in school, but I see no criticism of parents handing their kids off to strangers in school. Even if they are placed in day care as infants, they are in the school system three times as long as they are in day care. And let's be honest. For an infant, things are free. I'm going to guess that things remain "free" at least until the kid becomes able to crawl. And even then, they don't "earn" their milk by putting their toys away. What parent (unless they follow the Pearl's system) is going to deprive their young child of food because they didn't put their toys away? You make it a game, so that it's fun to clean up. Especially in the first year, what they learn is that their needs are met. For free. Because someone loves them. I do not believe I am raising a child fit for Occupy camps by picking her up and changing her diaper when she cries. When she's three and I help her clean up when she has an accident, I'm not going to make her do something to pay me for my service. But I will train her to be a productive member of the family. That's what's missing in children these days. It's parents training. I'm a firm believer that those parents who don't parent when their child is in day care, wouldn't parent if their child wasn't in day care, and the result would have been the same if not worse.

I'll get off my soapbox now...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Firsts

Ladybug made her debut in church today. It doesn't seem to have done her any immediate good, since she is continuing her nightly scream-fest in the swing next to me. It did, however, give both myself and the Mechanic a picture of what we have to look forward to in years to come. Of the four families with young children occupying the back several pews, we were the only one that managed to stay put for the entire service. She fell asleep, and I earned $2 since the Mechanic thought sure we'd have to leave the sanctuary at some point. I was at an unfair advantage, though, in that I am more familiar with Ladybug's schedule and communication attempts.

Based on my observations, when your child is ~2-4 years old, the parent goes to church for one reason: to train the child to sit in church. When you get up 5+ times during a service, you can't follow the sermon enough to get anything. When you have to keep one eye open to make sure your child isn't crawling under the pew during prayers, you probably aren't praying much more than "Lord, give me patience." It appears to be more effective for one parent to take sole responsibility of the child and free the other one to actually attempt to pay attention to the service. We'll see how this goes when we get to that point. I'm not looking forward to it... I kind of like the "sleep through the service" stage.

And once again, we were horrible parents and didn't get a picture of our first trip to church... oops. I didn't even dress her up; she got put in a fleece sleeper. Apparently, the child does not own any long sleeved dresses, and doesn't own any newborn size dresses at all. Come to think of it, I did say I was going to be practical in dressing her and would probably have her baptized in a sleeper. Is this horrible?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On colic, UTI's, and pacifiers

"I'm going to breastfeed my child for 12 months." "My child will not get hooked on pacifiers." "I'm going to use cloth diapers." "My child will not get colic."

I at least had the sense to phrase that last statement "I hope my child doesn't have colic." Other than that, I'm batting 0.25. The only thing that's come true is cloth diapering. Once we grew out of/ran out of the newborn size disposables, we went to BumGenius and love them. Even the Mechanic finds them easy to use.

As for breastfeeding... I made it to six weeks. My new, more experienced opinion is this: don't push it. If it's frustrating you to the point of getting angry with your child because they don't "get it," stop. Try pumping. And if pumping exhausts you and makes you short-tempered, in addition to the guilt because you have to watch your child scream because you can't hold her and pump at the same time, quit. It's not worth it. Better to have patience with your child, to spend time holding her and talking to her and reading and playing with her, than to get frustrated because the breast milk you worked so hard to obtain is running out her mouth and down her neck. So, I'm a bad mommy; I had my child by C-section, put my child in day care, and feed her formula. Bite me.

On pacifiers, okay, so we're not hooked on them. They're hooked on us. I didn't even register for one of those pacifier clip holder doohickeys. They reminded me of some sort of dog leash... in a weird way. But after going through all 4 pacifiers in 30 minutes because she looses latch and they fall into the dog hair covered floor, pacifier holder went on the grocery list right next to bread and milk. I also purchased two more Soothie pacifers, since I can't come up with a way to use the holder with them. Can't wait till she's big enough for a Wubbanub.

And for the colic... holy cow. My ears were ringing last night. I sat her on my knees and told her "you can stop anytime now. This isn't fun anymore." It didn't stop. I have come to grips with the fact she is going to scream, and there might not be anything wrong. So I have my system. I change her diaper, put her in a Swaddle blanket, feed her, and then wrap her arms in another blanket, which I carefully position to hold the pacifier in her mouth. And then we walk, in the rain, in the leaves. When that gets old, we bounce on the exercise ball. We do a bouncy shake your hips dance move. It's too bad we don't have a hall to walk. And when mommy just can't take it anymore, Ladybug lays in her bouncy seat set to vibrate and screams, and mommy plays a couple songs on the keyboard, or eats some yogurt. And then we proceed to walk/bounce/dance again. And when mommy's too tired to move, we lay on the couch with Ladybug on mommy's chest, still screaming. Eventually, she stops. At least we haven't gotten to the point of mommy crying as hard as baby.

And oh yeah, I managed to go 9 months of pregnancy without a single UTI, and six weeks postpartum I get the worst UTI I've ever had. The doctor wearing a short leopard print skirt with hooker boots was a bit shocking, but she was nice enough. Yay for Macrobid.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Forgiveness

I was tempted to skip over the guest sermons on Grace's website. I'm so glad I didn't, because the sermon I heard this morning was a challenge at just the right time.

I've been overwhelmed by family problems; they consume my mind, haunt my dreams, and affect my interactions with everyone. I stay in a continual state of stress, which causes me to be less patient, which is the last thing I need to happen while caring for an infant. I've been doing some soul-searching to try to figure out what I can do. After all, the decision we made was to allow me to heal, and when you're so upset over the length and severity of silence, that's clearly not happening. But not healing isn't an option; I cannot live the rest of my life as I have the last 7+ years and be the wife, mother, and daughter I want to be.

I had decided to allow myself to think about the situation once a day. I haven't succeeded that well, but just trying to limit the amount it comes to mind has helped reduce the nightmares. Instead of just rehashing how things could have been handled or trying to come up with a way of fixing things, I am attempting to pray through the situation. One of the best times I've found to do this is when I'm up with Ladybug at night. Praying helps keep me from getting frustrated with my interrupted sleep, and it gives me somebody to hug while I cry. I've been very blessed in that post-partum depression hasn't been bad thus far; if you are in the situation I'm in and you don't cry, your heart must be made of stone. Ladybug doesn't wake up every night, though, so it takes a little more diligence to find time to pray during the day.

This morning's sermon was by a professor at RTS, and yet it wasn't the intellectual style that often comes from professors. It was based on Colossians 3, with references to the parable of the ungrateful servant and Ephesians 4. He reminded us of the need to forgive others because of how much God has forgiven us. When I type this, it seems simple, obvious, basic. But when I let this message sink into my heart... it makes quite an impact. I am struck by the need for grace. I can't forgive in my own strength. The only way I'll ever be able to move past this situation is by pleading with God for His grace to help me forgive. The verse in Ephesians says let there not be any bitterness, anger, or malice. I need to pray for release from anger, protection from bitterness taking residence in my heart.

This sermon did not reference this verse, but I recall the passage from 1 Corinthians, love keeps no record of wrongs. I am guilty of this, both in my maiden family (is that a proper term? How do you distinguish from your parents/siblings versus your spouse/children?) and in my marriage. It's so easy, as the preacher said, to get upset over the daily things like not taking out the trash. Or in our family, whether or not the dishwater was drained and the washcloth hung up to dry. =) But in the bigger problem, part of the reason I've had such an issue is the accumulation of irritants. In reality, what does that thing back in college have to do with the problem that led to the estrangement? Nothing. Yes, it drove me crazy, and multiple similar situations drove me crazy through the years. But it needs to be thought of separately. And if I separate the "wrongs" or rather, irritants, those small things are much easier to forgive and put behind me.

Here's a picture: A child leaves his toothbrush and toothpaste on the bathroom counter every morning instead of putting them away. The mom finds this irritating, and repeatedly asks the child to put them away. One morning, the child breaks a favorite flowerpot by roughhousing. The mom gets very upset and requires him to pay for the flowerpot, spanks him, and grounds him for a month. When the dad asks why such severe punishment for only one offence, the mom says "it's not just for the flowerpot, it's for all those mornings he hasn't put away his toothbrush." The proper response would be to deal with each offence as it occurs, and then put it behind you. And once you've disciplined for the offence, you don't punish again days or weeks later. That's like being tried twice for the same crime.

I recall a yearly breakdown/fall apart. Things would come flying out of a mouth about irritants that happened months or nearly a year ago. I remember thinking, if it bothered you, why didn't you say something about it? Why do you store it all up and bring it up now? Do the dishes every day and then they won't take you 5 hours to do. Do a load of laundry a day and it won't seem so overwhelming. Consciously forgive or deal with issues daily, and move on. If you don't bring up the problem within a VERY short period of time, don't bring it up at all. "If anyone has anything against... speak now or forever hold your peace." (Granted, we had that left out of our wedding. We weren't taking any chances. =)

Anyway... my Sunday morning thoughts. Off to deal with the daily dirty dishes and laundry. (I know, I'm not exactly following Sabbath rules... I do take it a little easier on Sundays. But the Mechanic (I still prefer the Guardian) needs clean clothes, and Ladybug's gotta have bottles.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

5 years...




















I couldn't help but reminisce a little while pacing the sidewalk in front of the house. In the rain. Under a red umbrella. With an infant who screamed every time I stopped moving. After all, you can only talk about the gas station lights and the purpose of the post office so long to a one month old. So she got to hear the story of her mommy's first date, exactly five years ago to the hour.

See, we'd originally planned for lunch after church on Sunday. Given our second date, we might have ended up with other people for all I know. Not sure what his plans were. But, my parents informed me they were coming for a visit on Sunday. So, we ended up with a classic Friday night dinner and movie date. We lucked out and saw a really good movie, The Prestige, and had some tasty Chinese. The best part was him asking me for a second date when he dropped me off at my dorm that night. =)

I must admit, I had a hunch I would be marrying him. I did not, however, think about what five years later might hold... Part of what has come about from that first date is currently screaming her head off while being bounced on my knee... which is why this post is getting cut short!