Monday, February 25, 2013

Sometimes Special Sucks

Sometimes "special" sucks. And, sometimes normal sucks. And, other times everything just sucks. Special is (almost always) more difficult, but non-special also entails screaming through Target (because you're DONE), abandoned shopping carts, and overall FRUSTRATION-- until it feels like you're going to burst.

Unless you're blessed enough to have a child deemed special, because then you realize that non-special-ready-to-burst was NOTHING compared to what is in store for you when you're home.

Parents of "special" kids are obviously embracing their "situation"-- I think and wish we'd all just say it like it is: parenting is difficult for most ALL people, our kids are awesome little wonders of the world --and awful little terrors-- all at once.

However: leaving a shopping cart full of carefully selected snacks, meals, and other health foods makes ANYONE a pretty darn awesome parent in my book. Mostly because if my non-special DD and I were in Target with the author of the afore-linked piece when your child decided things weren't kosher, my kid would be of the first to pick up-- and capitalize upon-- the other child's situation (i.e. ots of whining, crying, and kicking and screaming).

If anything: no matter the diagnoses, kids are kids are kids (to a certain, lengthy, extent).

Thank you to the afore-linked poster for teaching your kid(s) {special or not} to be thoughtful of those around them. Even when it frustrates you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day! Or, There's Something Seriously Wrong with Me

The Season of Love was recently upon us, and with it is my daughter's first experience in a school-type setting. Nope, she's not in preschool just yet... only a community-sponsored "parent-and-me" activity, one day a week, at the community center, and she attends with her dad. (My husband SWEARS he wants to go... I'm taking him at his word.)

Because she's in this class, I am not-so-suddenly realizing how ever-present my own parental-issues are. Fortunately for me, they are presenting themselves in the form of a craft activity my kid enjoyed. Unfortunately for me, I got to finish the craft activity as I realized the reason why I had begun it in the first place.

It all began last Monday when my husband ended up being relieved later than normal, he works at a fire station and isn't allowed to leave until the next guy clocks in. And, since my husband works about ninety minutes from our home, this meant he wasn't going to make it home until after 10am; thus, after the start of the class.

So, I dragged the kid and myself through a (not) short run/jog and then over to the community center. My time management has only sucked even worse since my daughter was born, so not only were we late, but I was still in running clothes.

Upon arriving we saw a friend (yay!) and finally settled in after figuring out what was going on. And, things were going just fine-- in fact, they were fine the entire time I was there. My husband eventually arrived in time for me to get home and change for work and even get to work a tad early. However, before the husband arrived the "teacher" let everyone know that we were/are welcome to bring Valentine's, of the paper variety, to the proceeding class.

Come Sunday, the evening before class, and the wheels in my head are turning. After dedicating plenty of nights to Pinterest, I knew exactly what we would do to make sure my kid wouldn't be the only one left out of the Valentine exchange... and that's when I got all metacognitive on myself. But, I maintained and headed upstairs to grab some card-stock.

I then fished some cardboard tubes out of the trash-- this is full-blown SAHM status in my book-- and I proceeded to make a heart shaped stamp. I also grabbed some of the finger paint I had picked up at the dollar store the other day and gave my 18mo old a lesson about how to stamp hearts on the card stock. She, being quite the little crafter herself, caught on quite quickly and I only had to write "Happy Valentine's!" sixteen times before we were all done.

It was when I found myself writing the same phrase sixteen times over that I finally came to the realization that:

a) I did this so my kid wouldn't feel left out, like I did so many times.

b) My daughter isn't going to feel left out for multiple reasons including (but not limited to): her dad will make sure she doesn't feel left out (he's the BEST at that!), she's NOT me (and doesn't have my hang-ups-- I hope), and last of all: she's not developmentally ready to feel left out by something so arbitrary (and really kind of stupid).

So, this Valentine's Day I am thankful for my two VIVs (very important valentines) because they give me the opportunity to remember that not every kid is like me, and my husband and I are not necessarily going to make the same decisions our parents did-- we get the opportunity to screw our kid up in an entirely new and exciting way!

Happy Valentine's to you and yours, sixteen times over!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Parenting and Religion Take 2

Today I came across a CNN "iReport" post about raising kids as Atheists and I read some of the comments. Which were, in my opinion, ridiculous.

I am not an Atheist, I refer to myself as a non-denominational Christian. But, even that vague and encompassing Christian term doesn't truly encapsulate my personal religious beliefs, I'll suffice it to say I do believe "God" is the best earthly but of language I can use to refer to the beyond-my-earthly-understanding concept that coheres our Universe as it is humanly understood-- at least when I speak to others. My husband is less willing to label his beliefs as Christian or God-fearing in any way. I don't believe he quite considers himself Atheist, but we haven't discussed religion for awhile so I may be incorrectly summarizing his (equally complex and well-founded) beliefs.

Nevertheless, we both (as many people in our generation) believe religion and spirituality are quite different from one another and can and should be separated in most situations. My husband is also of the thinking that church is useless, but as I previously discussed, I like it for all of the non-socialization-related aspects and I fully intend to introduce our daughter to religion (along with other cultural literacy). As parents we agree religion is not to be approached lightly or flippantly and must be tackled with a critical and fairly-open mind.

Anyway, back to my point about this CNN post. Some people freaked out and tagged it as inappropriate, a ton of people challenged a few points in the piece, and other people thanked the blogger for sharing her beliefs and parenting philosophy because so few people of that mindset feel comfortable to do so. Imagine that.

I was drawn to the piece after seeing it referenced and discussed on a mom-blog I regularly read and I am glad I read it because it illuminates a few points about religion that I have often considered, discussed, and wondered about-- but usually when driven by emotion. This post logically addresses specific points that are true and reasonable if religion is considered objectively.

TXBlue08 clearly lists her reasoning for believing there is NO God-- and it is admittedly similar to my husband's long list of problems with "God". The best part that I see is this blogger's insistence upon taking religion for what it's worth, and basically turning it on itself. In many ways, especially when considered by today's social norms and standards, God is NOT a great parent or parental role model. He is, as far as us Earth dwellers can surmise, totally illogical; nor, is he fair if we are to understand fairness by its dictionary definition.

Nor, can it be proven in any consistent way, that God protects the innocent. I am sure I need no examples to make sense of this, you need only to click on your local news website to get the latest of horrific news bytes. In fact, this protection of innocents (and their innocence) is on the mind of every parent I have probably ever spoken to. We live in a world where we often feel the need question even those closest to us because of the horror stories we hear from so many people hurt as children.

It can logically be argued that God doesn't actually teach children to be good, but rather incentivizes the idea through a healthy fear of Hell. And, the gospel as it is interpreted by many modern denominations does tend toward narcissistic and often unrealistic beliefs that no matter what one does-- they will be "saved" simply because Jesus "loves" them.

There is however, one sticking point for me. The blogger points to the "fact" that "God" (as understood by modern-day religion) is "not present". And, while I do agree there is no proof that God is literally hanging out in my living room watching Sesame Street with me and the little girl, this aspect of non-belief is as erroneous to me as the literal presence of "God" is in "true" believers.

This point in particular is why I think the vocabulary word "God" is an apt lexical offering for my own belief-- because the lack of an understood presence is no more proof than the lack of a physically understood presence, but if one considers the idea that there IS something beyond what we know and understand-- something that drives, propels, and also impedes us (and everything else)-- and we decide to describe that "thing" as God, one might argue there is indeed a God. (And yes, somebody--a much better philosopher than I-- probably made this point more eloquently. If you know of that person, please let me know. In the meantime I know I need to start reading up on the theological implications of String Theory.)

So, I'm left at-odds with believers and non-believers because I feel that my personal belief rectifies those thoughts in a logical way, but I don't know what to "call" myself.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

War Cry of the One Year Old

Today I was a tad startled by my one year old as I lugged Costco groceries from my car to the garage fridge. For a minute or two, I had been able to hear my little ninja, so I wasn't worried about her getting into anything. Then the moment of silence struck and my stomach did a mini-flip-flop-- Now what?!

Worried that my little one had found her "colo" (crayons) or --even worse, her finger paints, I stealthily peeked into the house through the laundry room door. That's when my worry turned into startle, as my one year old baby girl barreled toward me and the dog, pushing her pink Fisher Price car at literal "ramming speed" as she let out what I can only describe as a toddler war cry. I quickly shut the door and hoped the car would be met by my dryer before it banged into my poor dog (it did, and the dog was able to move out of the way anyhow).

After hearing the bang I made my way past the traffic collision and surveyed the scene of what could now be classified as a hit and run. While checking for damages I pondered the entire event and wondered where my kid actually gets these ideas. She doesn't watch a ton of TV (it's WAY more than the hour or so per week that it was a month ago, but still limited to an episode of sesame four or five times a week) and she has very few playmates that she sees on a regular basis.

My husband and I tend not to be violent at all. (Although the babe did get swatted on the bottom for the first time recently... and I don't think that will ever be happening again since it bothered me more than her!) We watch some violent movies, but none of people throwing themselves at walls (or dryers) that I can recall.

So now, I'm thoroughly confused. Unless my baby and her dad were practicing crashing into walls last night, this kid is just off the wall, and I'm wondering about all of that nature versus nurture business!