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Friday, 24 August 2012 12:13

Let's All Yell 'KINKY!!!'

I knew it would happen.

That day when my daughter would begin to copy everything I say, in the most awkward locations possible.

It began when we picked her up from her babysitter's yesterday (a close friend of ours), and my friend began to tell me about how my daughter was awkwardly dancing to techno music - I say awkward, because it was extremely awkward, and I won't go into detail but let's just say that I have no clue where she picked up these 'moves' (she has never been exposed to MTV or anything like that), and as soon as she's old enough to understand when I tell her that something is 'not appropriate' - this sort of dancing will DEFINITELY be on the list. 

I mean, it's funny because she's not even two, and has no idea what she's doing, I'm sure it was completely innocent, and my friend said she considered video taping it because it was so hilarious, but then decided it was best if these things don't end up on film - for Clara's sake.

ANYWAY... I was very quick to tell my friend that Clara had never witnessed anything 'kinky' at our place whatsoever, because honestly - I was a little embarrassed. 

Clara overheard this statement, and for some reason decided that the word 'Kinky' was hilarous.  She started chanting 'Kinky! Kinky! Kinky!' as she ran around my friends' yard.

She continued to chant 'Kinky! Kinky! Kinky!' as we drove away.

We tried to talk to her about other things... she would be distracted momentarily, but would shortly thereafter begin chanting 'Kinky!' again, obviously thinking this was the funniest thing ever.

We had been invited to my in-laws for supper, and I was absolutely petrified of what they would say when they heard this.

I tried to tell myself - and mentioned to my husband - that it actually sounded a lot like her word for 'Kitty', and probably no one would know the difference.

Brian laughed at me and said, "Yeah, but when your face turns that shade of red I'm sure they'll figure it out".  Everyone's hilarous... 

This is my daughter laughing... at me...

And here again, laughing at me... more than a little mischeviously.

I'm beginning to feel a bit frightened, actually...

Because she is CERTAINLY plotting against me!

And I am no match for that little grin.  That charm.  And that terrifying memory... 

So it begins.  The time when I have to be SUPER careful about every word I say, because she WILL hear it, and she WILL remember it - and she WILL repeat it - probably months later at my Grandma's birthday party or something...

I'm so afraid...

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 17:18

The Hardest Part of Parenting - for me

Just keeping up with another Summer Blog Challenge topic - What is the hardest part of parenting?

I find the lack of sleep, energy and time to be a constant struggle, but I think the hardest thing for me is how overwhelmingly out of control I feel some days.

I'm the sort of person who likes to be able to research what I'm doing, get a good idea what the 'plan' and general outcome are, create a strategy for getting there - and be able to check off successes as I bring the 'project' to 'completion'.   I also like to feel like the 'expert' on whatever I am doing - which is a trait I inherited from my father who always encouraged me to become the 'expert' on everything I did in life. 

I love being a parent - mostly - but I certainly don't feel like an 'expert'.  Although I can make goals and begin the process of carrying them through, most days don't happen like I expect them to, and I mostly just feel like I'm living in a fog and my brain is constantly asking me questions, like:

"What were you supposed to do again?"

"Where are we?"

"Who is that little person running around your house?"

And I'm used to being the one with all of the answers - so feeling clueless is a pretty big hit on my ego. 

The hardest part of parenting - for me - is definitely my inability to feel completely confident in what I am doing at all times, and the feeling that I'm always floundering just a little bit.

Is this normal for first-time parents? Does it get better with the second child? Does it get better as children grow older? Or will I always feel a little bit lost?

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 21:15

Advice for First Time Parents

I'm a little late here, but the Summer Blog Challenge prompt for today, August 14th, is 'Give a good piece of advice to first time parents'. 

I don't have anything specific to say here, and I still fall into that 'first time parent' category, since I haven't completed parenting my first child, but here is my pearl of wisdom for today :)

Don't get cocky.

About anything - feeding, growth and development, discipline, teaching, etc.

Don't assume to be the 'expert' on anything, because regardless of how much you've researched, or think you know on a certain topic, there are over 6 billion people on the planet, and they're all different - which means there are over 6 billion variations to the human creature, and you really never know which ones are going to land under your parentage. 

There are some things I was stubborn about going into 'Mommyhood', and they worked out exactly as I had planned them - so I will naively remain stubborn :) - but there are some things that I was very convinced would be a certain way - with all kinds of books and data to back me up - and I was completely surprised by what I experienced and had to admit that maybe my initial thoughts or plans weren't actually the best for me or my family.

You really don't know for certain how things will go until you get there - and then you only know for certain how it goes with that child or children.

The same goes for baby 'stuff' - in hindsight, I wish I had found everything for free because I ended up repurchasing (or wanting to repurchase) almost everything we used for our daughter after we had used it for awhile and realized what features we really found valuable.  All the advertisements in the world can't tell you what YOU will find most useful in a diaper bag, stroller, baby carrier or cloth diaper. 

I'm the kind of person who likes to educate myself on what I am doing.  I think it frustrated me completely to jump into parenting 'educated' and then 'gasp!' be wrong about something!

So my piece of advice is simply that - don't get cocky, be ok with being wrong, and have a sense of humour about all of it - you'll need it!

What would your piece of advice for first-time parents be?

Published in Blog
Friday, 10 August 2012 13:12

Mother Returns Adopted Son

I ran across this article about a woman who, after adopting a boy from Russia, decides that his behaviour is unmanageable and chooses to send him back to Siberia.

I find the fact that she chose to 'return' the boy, who had become her son, awful - mostly because of the attitude it represents.  I have never adopted, and I have no doubt that adoption is a difficult transition - especially in families that already have biological children.  This woman claimed that the adopted son was violent - and I can only assume that she became worried about the safety of her biological son. 

This is another situation I have never been in - what would you do if one of your children is threatening the safety of another one of your children? Certainly not send them to Siberia, although I am aware of a number of children who have been 'sent' into foster care or boarding schools by their own parents when they felt unable to handle them anymore.  I've always found this to be sad, but the general mentality isn't as rare (I don't think) as the media portrayal on this story makes it seem.

My opinion is that - yes, it is absolutely wrong of this woman to have sent a boy who was her son back to Russia, but - the outlook and attitude of any parent planning to adopt another child should be that their adopted child will become just as much a part of their family as any biological child would be.  I personally believe that this same mentality should apply to step parents also - if you are joining together a family with children of two different parents, each parent should decide that the step children are now just as much their children as their biological children are.

When my parents got married, I was 8 and my step brother was 4.  My Mom has told me repeatedly over the years that she married my Dad - but she also chose me.  She said that if she wasn't ready to accept me as her daughter, she would have had no business marrying my Dad - and I agree. 

Like I said before, I have never adopted, and I also don't have step-children so my opinion here is maybe not overly relevant. And I do understand that it could be difficult - especially in situations like this, to not 'favour' your own child - but I think that this is much like any major life decision - if you go into it with a certain goal in mind, you can choose to see things a certain way and behave accordingly.

Would this woman have sent her own unrully child on a plan to Siberia when she felt at a loss to handle him? I doubt it, but I think that is the relevant question here.

What are your thoughts and opinions on this?

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:40

Fair vs. Equal

I came across this post on The Minimalist Mom's blog, and being opinionated - wanted to rant a bit about it!

The premise of this post is that 'Fair is not always equal', which I agree with COMPLETELY! She does, however, go on to use a few examples that I would argue are still not 'fair', but maybe that's just me...

I would love to raise kids who aren't 'counters', but considering the people I have known in my life, the statistics seem to be against me on this one - kids tend to pay attention to things their siblings get that they don't, and it bugs them.

When I was in my early teens, my parents approached me with some information - they had been setting money aside for me since I was about 7 years old, for my college fund.  Also, I needed braces and they had no insurance coverage for this and were unable to pay for it themselves.  They were telling me about this set aside money so that I could decide whether or not I wanted to spend it on braces - my other option was to leave my mouth alone, which, for a teenage girl with 'fangs' was not really a viable option.   Once the cat was out of the bag - both my brother and I were aware of this set-aside money - it seemed as though we were suddenly able to use this money how we wished.  I remember my brother purchasing a number of very fancy toys with his amount because his genetically perfect mouth required almost nothing.  Was this fair?

  • On the one hand, we both received an identical amount of money to do with what we wanted to.  The amounts were identical because my parents had started saving at the same time (which my brother got a few extra years after I did, but anyway...), and I didn't have to spend mine on braces.  I chose to. 
  • On the other hand, I 'required' a medical procedure that my brother didn't - not life-threatening, but still - and he was able to spend his money on toys instead of saving it for something 'responsible'. 

I personally don't think this was fair, but as a parent I struggle with figuring out how to handle situations like these.  Even when it comes to saving for a child's education, I struggle with the 'fairness' of different scenarios.

What if my daughters choose entirely different forms of education? What if one daughter becomes a dentist and needs $80,000 to cover her university education? What if the other daughter then enters a community college and needs only $6,000 to cover her education? Is 'fair' giving them both an equal amount even when it means one still has tens of thousands to cover, while the other has money to spare? I don't think so, but I don't really know how to reconcile this either.

At this moment, I have a few thoughts about how I will make things 'fair' - please feel free to give your opinions...

1. If any of my children require medical procedures that I can cover the cost of, the cost will work on a per-child basis and will (hopefully) have no effect on any other children. As in, Child B won't get the $5000 to spend as they wish because it was given to Child A for reasons they could not control.

2. Large gifts that are given for a particular event or accomplishment - such as a graduation gift, wedding gift, etc. are given for those accomplishments.  If I can afford to spend $X to help cover the cost of a child's wedding, only those of my kids who get married will get $X amount.  However, $X will remain constant whether my child wants a $500 wedding or a $50,000 wedding...  Same goes for graduation gifts - only those children who graduate will get said gifts.

3. I will NOT count dollars when it comes to random gifts - like birthdays and Christmas, etc. however, I will stay within a reasonable and similar range for these things that will probably have more to do with our income at the time than the age or interests of the child.  For example, Child A will not get a giant flat screen tv while Child B gets a new sweater - no obvious and glaring inequalities.

4. I will try exceedingly hard to spend a similar amount of time and energy on each child when it comes to pursuing their dreams.  I have seen families with one 'prodigy child' who is pampered above all others because they are very focused on and dedicated to their skill while other children are left behind.  Even if I have a sports prodigy, I will try to make sure that the time spent pursuing this child's dream does not happen at the detriment of another child's dream.

5. Although my methods of discipline will be standard as much as they are my own - I may discipline a child more or less who requires more or less discipline - or in different ways, depending on how each child responds - to become a well mannered and constructive person, since I believe that is the whole point anyway.

There are so many things that I have no idea how I will handle when and if they come, but I want to have some underlying 'themes' I suppose in regards to how we choose to help and support our children - all, of course, with the goal of creating self-sufficient and confident people who eventually don't need our help at all.

What are your thoughts on this? How often is what is 'fair' actually 'equal'?

 

 

 

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:26

Too Hot!!!

It wasn’t long ago I was commenting on our frigid northern temperatures, wishing for the sun to come out and heat things up a bit!

I take it back, I take it back!!! 

Summer (in our part of the world) has barely begun, and we are already experiencing an almost unbelievable amount of heat.  Also, because extreme heat is not expected for a very long period of time here, many people still don’t have air conditioners (including us), so our house is hovering around the 29 to 30 degree C mark.  It goes up to about 32 during the day, and goes ‘down’ to 27 at night – if we’re lucky!

I spoke to a friend of mine this morning who had rushed her daughter to emergency with early signs of heat stroke, and it had me worried.  How do you keep babies and children cool when you have no way of lowering the temperature in your home below ‘freaking hot’??

We have been dressing my daughter in nothing but a diaper for night, we have her ceiling fan at its highest setting as well as leaving her bedroom window open and it still stays warmer than most other rooms in the house.

How do you keep your little ones cool in the warm weather???

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:51

It's Never Too Early to Start with Chores!

I do not consider myself a 'natural' parent.  I don't trust my instincts, although when I have heard all of the angles, I do trust my own common sense.  That being said, I am always ready and willing to hear another Mom's perspective on how they do things, and I am also willing to admit that I may not be doing things very well myself.

A couple of weeks ago, we had friends over for supper and I was trying to get a few dishes done before we started dessert.  The Moms were in the kitchen chatting and I can't remember where the Dads were - we were being very 'Mennonite'* in our interaction, I guess.

While I was trying to get this done, my daughter started throwing a bit of a tantrum and I recall voicing my frustration at how sometimes I'm at a loss as to how to deal with her.  She throws tantrums when she NEEDS nothing!  My friend very kindly said 'Have you ever thought of getting her to help?'.

I said 'Do the dishes?'

My friend said 'Yes'.

I said 'She's not even 18 months old...'

At this point, my friend suggested I pull a chair up to the sink and just let her play in the rinse water. 

My daughter was ecstatic. She had the time of her life splashing in the rinse water and 'helping'.  It was great.

So it started a journey for me of discovering how to get Clara involved as much as possible.  I've discovered that she is not only fascinated by the prospect of helping out, she's also not too bad at it - for an 18 month old, anyway :)

Here's my proud little fuzz-head helping me with dishes.  The easiest thing to get her to do is to put cutlery away.  She mostly just piles it into the drawer all helter-skelter, but it thrills her to do it.

Please don't look at how gross my kitchen is...

Published in Blog
Thursday, 17 May 2012 22:49

Just Wanted to Say I Agree...

Here is a link to another Mom Bloggers site that I enjoy.

I read this post and honestly cried because these 'Mom wars' have become quite a personal issue to me lately, and it drives me crazy.  We're on the same team, guys!

Published in Blog
Thursday, 03 May 2012 11:53

Parenting While Sick...

I don't know what I had yesterday, but I was sick.  The kind of sick that makes your head pound in pain and makes you cringe with every little sound - even the joyful squeals of your happy child.  

It was also the kind of sick that made Ginger Ale taste yummy.  For me, this is a big thing, because I honestly hate Ginger Ale, but when I was a child it was always the go-to sick drink.  So typically because I associate it with being sick, the taste makes my stomach church.  Yesterday I craved it.  Bad sign.

I wonder how most parents do it. 

How do you 'be sick' while still making sure your children are properly taken care of?  Maybe I'm just a bigger baby than most people, but I found this insanely difficult.  I wanted to sleep. 

So I did everything I could to encourage my daughter to nap also.  Every little whine that came from her was a sign that she must need a nap! So into her crib she went!  The poor thing was probably horribly confused.  But I just wanted to sleep! 

A few times I even put toys in her crib so that she could play, and be safe, but maybe I could lie down for a while... This actually worked for about 45 minutes, but in a 9-hour day, it doesn't seem like much.  Then I put the baby-gate up in the hallway and closed every door except her bedroom and my bedroom doors so she could come and see me and play in her room (there's nothing dangerous for her to get into there), but that only worked for a short time also.  She saw me lying in bed and wanted to come play on the bed with me!

Yay! A toddler shreaking in my ear, climbing all over me and kicking me in the face.  Not helping.

Anyway, my wonderful husband finally came home at the end of the day and I pretty much just handed Celia to him and crawled into bed.   I can't even imagine being a single parent through that - again, maybe I'm just a big baby, but yesterday was HARD!

So, after sleeping for about 14 hours, I felt somewhat better but well enough to drag myself out of bed this morning and get dressed.  By about 9am I felt fine.  It's amazing what a bit of sleep can do.

So here's to every parent who's ever been sick while trying to take care of a little one.  One of the less-pleasant parts of this SAHM job...  no sick days!

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 April 2012 22:13

Moms Can Be So Mean...

I am so shocked - absolutely reeling...

I was just kicked out of a forum website for mothers because I voiced an opinion that 'the community' did not condone. 

I was shocked at their response to one of my posts - because it was in no way rude or attacking or judging - I promise - and I wish I had been able to log back on to copy the posts so I could prove it, but they'd already deleted my account.

Ok, I'll just out with it and I hope I don't make any enemies here either...

There was a father on the forum who was concerned about his 4 month old infant with whom they had always co-slept, but the child was now unable to sleep at all - even for naps - without a parent within reaching distance.  His question on the forum was whether he was doing the right thing, because he had been told that co-sleeping would help a child's independence, and his child seemed to have become more dependent as it grew.

His concern was that if he tried to get the baby to sleep without him - the baby would cry, and he was afraid of letting the child cry for any length of time.

All of the other responses to this post told him to wear the baby, or find ways to sleep with the baby. (I don't know if the family had any other children). This is certainly good advice, but I felt that it was not the only option for this family - and maybe constant baby-wearing wasn't something that they would be comfortable with or even able to do.

Anyway, when my daughter was a newborn, I began leaving her alone to nap regularly - even if she cried for a bit - very early.  I felt that as her mother, I was learning to be in tune with her needs and since I knew when she ate, played, etc., that I had a pretty good grasp on whether or not she was ok to cry or not.  So, sometimes - I let her cry.  I realize that in todays society this makes me an evil mother. Or at least, I have learned this now.

Without putting down the 'babywearing' advice (I plan to babywear my second baby much more than my first for my own reasons - I am definitely NOT against babywearing...), I responded with my own experience, which I thought would give this family an alternate option .

I received an email from one of the moderators of the site - quoting my post - and saying that  they did not support - ever - letting a baby cry - and that this sort of post was not welcome there.

Ok, so the real reason I was 'kicked out' probably had more to do with the email I sent afterward, but I was so shocked! This is North America!  Are we not able to have different views without feeling threatened or bullied?

The email I sent afterward was again - very careful - but probably not very nice.  I cautioned the site to be careful about judging differing methods of parenting as 'wrong' - and although I admitted I didn't 'fit in' there, I voiced my shock at having been 'bullied' out of the forum.  One response post had suggested that a parent who would 'let their child cry' is an inattentive parent - and I made a comment about how I feel as though I'm an extremely attentive and devoted mother - and just because I may have a different 'road' to get there - doesn't mean I won't raise wonderful children.  In fact, I parent very similarly to how many of 'our' parents and their parents 'parented' - were they evil parents? Are we all awful people because of their parenting?  Is that why work-ethic and independence and self-confidence have actually DECREASED over the last 20 years????

Anyway, I need to end this, but I had to get it off my chest. 

Some of that may have come out badly, but I'm feeling a bit defensive and hurt, so I apologize if this insults anyone.  Thanks for 'listening'.

Rant over.

Published in Blog
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