The Supers

The Supers
Our growing superfamily

Thursday, August 19, 2010

“SuperMommy” Strikes Again

Well, the only way to grow is to err. As I tell my kids OVER and OVER we make mistakes so we can learn from them. And then I make a mistake and beat myself up about it for days. So here we go, let’s have some blogtherapy. Internet, you won’t judge me, will you?

We had some friends over for a playdate and it was going swimmingly. Two boys, one a bit older than Marcus whom we’ll call Chuck, one a bit younger whom we’ll call Sam, and the guys were having a great time playing. Chuck and Marcus were instant buds and were running around together outside while Sam was very interested in checking out baby Talia. A couple of hours into the playdate, the boys all went downstairs into the basement to play.

Now, our basement is a multi-functional space, and there are a lot of things going on down there. There is a spare bed, a bunch of toys, a sitting area with a tv, and an open bit of space where I do my exercise videos, with mats and a few handweights. Sometimes when I exercise during nap one or both of the kids will get up a bit early and wander downstairs where they entertain themselves with arts and crafts while I finish my workout. I have a bunch of my scrapbooking supplies out on the coffee table (i.e., paper, glue, stickers, etc.) and they are welcome to help themselves and do a nice craft. They usually create some multi-layered masterpiece and proudly present it to me when I am sweating and grinning after my activity. But I digress.

So the other Mommy and I were upstairs having a coffee when we hear Chuck on the stairs. “Mommmmm...” he calls, “Sam is putting glue EVERYWHERE.” Oh. My. Goodness. Inside my eyelids a series of images flash by. FLASH: The white glue! FLASH: Scraps of paper! FLASH: My beautiful couch! I don’t remember actually thinking so much as flying down the stairs into the rec room. “SAM!” I call. I don’t see him anywhere, but what I DO see is a whole lot of glue on a whole lot of surfaces. “SAM!!!” Still no answer. I’m flying around the basement searching for the presumed culprit and I CAN NOT FIND HIM. Boy with glue. Lost. In my house. So anyway, the part that really shames me is I actually had this thought, as I was searching the house for this kid. Now, don’t get all judgy on me here, you are WAY too deep in this to deny you’ve ever had this thought. If you have kids and haven’t had this thought yet, you will one day. I thought to myself, “Self, those art supplies have been out there for over a month. (wait for it, here it comes...) MY kid would NEVER have done something like that.” BOOM! And with that, a bolt of lightning came from the sky, through the first story, into my basement, and struck me dead, just like that. I am a TEACHER! I have HEARD that line from parents and thought, “YA RIGHT! Have you not MET your kid?!” Shame on me. But just wait, it gets better. That in itself is not nearly shameful enough to blog about. I had to take it one step further.

“I found him!” called Marcus from the rec room. Sam was hiding under a table clutching the bottle of glue. I can’t remember if he came out willingly or if his mom pulled him out by the ankle. He tried to run past me with the glue and I yoinked it out of his hand. I then got down to his level, looked him in his eye, and proceeded to PARENT him with his MOTHER right there!!! Because I am obviously SUCH an amazing parent that parenting my own three kids isn’t enough, I have to go around parenting other people’s kids too. I said, in the best teacher voice I could muster, “SAM! I am VERY frustrated right now! You need to help clean this up immediately!” Okay, that’s not the best part. It’s pretty impressive, but still not the best part. The best part came later, after the glue was cleaned up, after the toys were put away, after the friends had gone home. The best part was when I talked to Marcus and asked him what had happened downstairs.

And he said to me...

“Well, I was putting glue everywhere and...”

That’s when the other bolt of lightning struck.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh Ya, The Funny Stuff

1. We’ve taken to calling my husband “Random Dave” because of the random stuff he sometimes does. If you knew him, you’d understand. So he has his own theme song where we say “Ran-dom Daaaaave” in a DUH DUH DUHHHHHH kind of tune. Kind of hard to describe, but I’m sure you get the picture. So Marcus and Skyler are enjoying calling everybody random. “Ran-dom Marcuuuuusss. Strikes A-gaaaaain.”

2. Tonight at dinner:

Marcus: MM this is good chicken!

Me: It’s pork

Marcus: This is so good, what kind of chicken is this?


I don’t know why I found this so hilarious, but I really did.

3. Skyler at dinner (also tonight, but Marcus had already left the table)

Skyler: I’m s’gusting.

David: Are you a disgusting girl?

Skyler: Ya, Marcus says I’m s’gusting girl. I’m s’gusting. Marcus says I’m s’gusting girl because he’s my friend. I said thank you Marcus.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let’s Leave the Parenting to the Parents

Well, the men in white coats have struck again. I’m certain my husband is just trying to get me all riled up and angry before I go to bed so he can have the bed to himself while I blog in the middle of the night. At about ten o’clock tonight he had me read this article from the Globe and Mail about what those righteous parenting experts are up to now, in their infinite wisdom and knowledge.

This article was basically saying that parents that let their children cry it out at night are emotionally unavailable to their children (aka ROTTEN PARENTS, aka Sucky Mommies). Don’t EVEN get me started. Okay, I’ve already started, so I better finish.

As you already know, I have a huge problem with the harbingers of guilt when it comes to parenting. So my problem with this article, and more specifically with the research behind this article, is that its sole effect will be to guilt parents into avoiding sleep training. They say the sleep training will damage the parent/child relationship. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if I were getting up three or four times a night and NEVER having a full night’s sleep EVER, my relationship with my kids would not be spectacular. Because I’d be TIRED. I’m not saying that all parents should sleep train their children, but I am saying if your child is up all night partying like a rock star and you’re pretty sure that if he keeps you up one more night you’re going to SHAKE that BABY like a RATTLE, you should probably consider sleep training. And I’m not fussy about the method. There are so many to choose from.

What it comes down to is this: babies call us in the middle of the night to nurse and that is fine, they’re hungry, so feed them. But after a while, babies get pretty happy going to sleep on the breast. And then they forget how to go to sleep without the breast. Not a big deal at 8pm, but at 1am (and 3am and 5am) when they’re waking up as part of the natural sleep cycle and need Mommy’s breast again to get back to sleep, not so great. Babies need to learn (or re-learn) their natural self-soothing techniques so that they can be good sleepers at night. Kids need their sleep! It’s not selfish of parents to help their kids be good sleepers, it’s good parenting. That being said, I also think it’s fine to get up with your kids in the night if that’s what you want to do and you can handle the night-time wake-ups and still be a good mommy during the day. At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for your family and your parenting ideals. The men in white coats work in a world of theory, not reality, and I think often this research can be really damaging and actually counter-productive to the work that many health professionals are dedicating to reducing the amount of Shaken Baby Syndrome cases.

Also, the article mentioned the detrimental effects of cortisol (stress hormone) to a baby’s developing brain. Right, so if our goal is to avoid infant stress, and if it stresses baby out to be away from Mommy, Mommy should just NEVER GO OUT. Are they just trying to drum up business for post-partum psychologists? Because Mommy is going to be off-the-wall looney tunes if she doesn’t get away from her baby every once in a while. I can’t even say that in a perfect world all babies would be raised without stress because I don’t believe that is what is best for babies. The best thing we can do for our children is to expose them to difficult situations and teach them coping strategies. If baby is crying in the crib at 4am on a full tummy, help her find her fingers and say SH SH SH and hopefully she’ll learn how to help herself get back to sleep. But, if you really want to pick her up and cuddle her, then do it. Because you’re the Mommy, and YOU know how to raise your baby. Nobody else. That’s why you got the one you got. You were meant for this job.

The Rottenest Kids in the Neighbourhood

Oh lordie.

I have an amazing neighbourhood. One of those neighbourhoods of long ago, where people sit on their front porches and wave as people pass by, and check in if your son happens to be standing by the road unsupervised at 8:30 in the morning. (Yes, that happened, but I can explain. I just choose not to.) One of the best parts of our neighbourhood is the neighbourhood block party. There was one yesterday, a lovely barbecue up at the end of our street. Tons of people turned up, everyone brought a plate of food for sharing, and there were burgers and dogs supplied by the neighbourhood patriarch Bill. He’s been here the longest, and the houses next to his and across the street from his belong to his offspring. It’s pretty much their neighbourhood, and they invite the rest of us in.

So anyways, we were really looking forward to getting the chance to chat with a lot of the people that we just wave at usually. We didn’t take into account the fact that we were bringing our children, who happen to be the Rottenest. Kids. In. The. Neighbourhood. I had envisioned a fun little barbecue with kids running around playing with each other, maybe running up to the snack table and grabbing some food, etc. What I got was a couple of sullen and unhappy whiners that would not eat.

The first problem was Skyler’s somewhat new paralyzing fear of dogs. So of course when I gave her a hotdog and sat her in a lawn chair, a friendly border collie ambled over to sniff at her toes. And Skyler started SCREAMING BLUE MURDER. “NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOO AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Hey, that’s not embarrassing at all, Sky-Pie! Way to set the mood!

Yesterday morning we had taken off Marcus’s training wheels so he could learn how to ride a two-wheeler. He had some good runs but needed a ton of assistance starting off. Let’s call him a pre-novice. When we got up to the barbecue we saw five-year-old Eva was proudly riding around on HER two-wheeler, which she had just learned to ride. Of course Marcus wanted to go get his bike, and seemed to have forgotten that he could barely ride it. He was so eager to show off his two-wheeler he didn’t stop to think that he could not actually RIDE it. We finally agreed that he could run down to the house to get his bike, but that we would NOT be helping him ride as we were visiting. Ya, that’ll go well.

Flash forward twenty minutes: BOTH kids are crying and screaming and being MISERABLE and NOT eating their dinners even though they’re starving. We scooped them up, brought them home and put them in their bedrooms for the longest. Timeout. EVER. Then, when they came out, I said, “Are you guys hungry now?” and they nodded and said, “Yes, we’re real hungry.” And I said, “Well, that was DINNER that we had up at the barbecue, and you chose not to eat it. “ So that at least evened up the score a little, even though right now we’re sitting at Kids: 1 048 083, Parents: 2. Actually, we’re at 1.5, because I caved a little before bed and gave them a snack. But not a big snack. So there.

Oh yeah, the dog thing. We’ve decided we’re going to start borrowing our neighbour’s dog to walk every once in a while to get them used to dogs, because this is ridiculous. Nothing like starting life with a crippling fear of something that is EVERYWHERE.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Problem with Parenting Experts

And I’m not talking about the ones in white coats that have gone to school to become experts. Well, I somewhat am, but not completely. In this day and age there are many people just itching to tell you how you’re doing it wrong, and they have so many opportunities to do it. I had a great conversation with my auntie yesterday who is a nurse practitioner on the mainland, and she was telling me about a great conversation she had with Ronald Barr, a doctor that produced the Purple Period of Crying video. He studied a tribal culture and their babies to examine what caused prolonged periods of inconsolable crying. His research revealed that all babies cry, and that there are “high criers” and “low criers” even in a culture that does “all the right things” when it comes to parenting. The babies he studied were nursed on demand, worn in slings, in the company of others for the majority of time, etc., and there were still high criers in the group. What he deduced was that some babies cry more than others, and it has nothing to do with environment. It got me thinking about the guilt we inadvertently put on new mothers without even realizing we are doing so. So mommies of new babies, tell me if you’ve ever held your wailing baby in a public place and heard any of these:

1. Maybe he’s hungry? The guilt factor: You are obviously ignoring your baby’s cues and starving him. You are a sucky mommy. This is probably the most unhelpful but most contributed comment when your baby cries. New mommies tend to not starve their babies, so chances are that feeding is one of the things that is rarely neglected. However, when somebody makes this seemingly innocuous comment, here is the New Mommy Thought Process: I just fed him! Hmm. Well, maybe he didn’t get enough? Was he really done nursing? Maybe I took him off too soon. I guess I could feed him again, it couldn’t hurt. Then all of a sudden, new mommy is unnecessarily nursing their baby again on the advice of somebody that hasn’t got a clue if the baby is hungry or not. Plus, the extra food in the tummy may just be too much, which can possibly cause a nice little case of acid reflux, making baby even crankier.

2. Maybe you’re overfeeding him? The guilt factor: You can’t find any other way to soothe your baby besides sticking your boob in his mouth. You are a sucky mommy. This one is not vocalized as much as it is talked about on the web. There are quite a few websites that claim that colic is caused by overfeeding. The baby’s tummy gets over-full then of course the overflow spills into the esophagus, causing acid reflux. This does make some sense and could happen if you overfeed, but unfortunately these websites also advocate a feeding schedule: nursing only every 3 to 4 hours. Dr Barr conducted research on the same tribe that I mentioned before but this time studied how well the infants learned. The research showed that the babies that were nursed on demand learned at a steady rate, but the babies that were fed on a feeding schedule had periods of time when they were not learning (probably due to low blood sugar). Like the hungry question, this question makes new mommies question their own maternal instinct which is wrong, wrong, wrong! My son would sometimes nurse again twenty minutes after finishing his last feed, and he gained weight like gangbusters. My first daughter was a once-every-three-hours kind of gal, and she’s wee. Talia is somewhere in the middle. All babies have different needs, and mommies have to trust that their babes will let them know when they want to nurse.

I’m going to continue this later, but for now, here is a link to Dr Barr’s PURPLE site. I liked it.