Saturday, March 7, 2015

Improve Your Self-Esteem Today

 I'm trying to divest myself from comparisons to other mothers and what they do or don't do unless it's to assuage my own guilt or inspire me to try something different.

So I offer this little itty bit post to all the moms out there, momming away and trying to do it right. I'm about to make you feel so much better about yourself.

Would you like to know when I last bathed my children? Of course you do. You're feeling bad because you skipped their daily-mandated bath last night. Get this: I can't remember. I am fairly certain I supervised Gianna while she showered within the last two weeks, I'm fairly certain that during a snow day within the same time period the younger two took a little bath/swim in the tub and got passably clean. Additionally, I have a hard to time finding combs and brushes with which to brush their hair, so rarely does this occur.

I like to use articles like this one to justify the long stretches my kids will go without a bath but in reality, I'm just lazy and they seem to be okay, so....I let it go. In some bizarre twist of fate (maybe even more bizarre than marrying a man who had a DIFFERENT MUTATION OF THE SAME MUTATED GENE AS ME) I married a man who hates giving children baths. This is unfortunate because I hate it, too. All the pregnancy books suggested bath time as dad time, because I would have the job of nursing the baby and dads bond by bathing their progeny. Lies. Anyways. I'm relying on the honesty of my friends to tell me if my kids begin to smell and I need to up my efforts in this area.

Bathing them is a lot of work. I am slowly teaching Gianna how to shower on her own but my efforts are complicated by neuroticism on my part (vestibular impairment+standing up in slippery bath tub=dangerous) and inability to hear instructions on her part when her devices are off. Of the other two, Dominic shuns the shower and Pia is very splashy and there's water everywhere and I'm sweating and it's awful.

So there. If you're laboring under the assumption that you were a bad mom for bathing your kids less than once a day, you've been liberated. You are excellent at keeping your children clean.

You're feeling good now but I'm about to step it up. I begin by saying that I cloth diapered my three kids and that sounds a bit pretentious but just wait. Oh, just wait.

By the time Pia was 20 months old I was so done with the diapers that all my kids had worn. So. done. Most of them smelled and no amount of stripping and sunning and soap nuts and whatever else was changing the fact that when they were wet, they smelled. At that point, we were out at therapy appointments multiple times a week and I no longer wanted every load of diaper laundry to be a science experiment. I switched to disposables (what up Target brand?) and then, a couple months later, began potty training with Pia because I very much dislike changing toddler diapers.

Anyways, the point is not that I dropped the cloth diapers like a bad habit, but that I left them in the diaper pail. I intended to wash them and put them away one last time but somehow I didn't get around to it. Guess what?

They're still there. In the pail. For a year. Actually, a bit more at this point. My car keys got lost a couple weeks ago (not pointing fingers but it WASN'T ME) and while I was ransacking my bedroom during the search I thought, "It's crazy but I'll just peek in the diaper pail, just in case somehow the keys fell in there." I really thought that I'd left a handful of unwashed diapers in there for a year, but actually the pail is full to the top. Not that the amount of dirty diapers left makes it any less insane but in my mind, a smaller amount would be less offensive. It doesn't even smell in there anymore, it's been so long.

Don't you feel better about that load of pee pee laundry you left in front of your washer last week? It's not so bad! You could be like me, and leave it there for a year or more. You're doing just fine at this mom thing. Juuuuust fine.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Negotiations

Every parent faces this moment at some point in their parenting career. We all dread it, fear it, and maybe, if we're really honest with ourselves: we look forward to it. Your young child looks at you with great longing, sighs, and says tearfully from the depths of their soul, "I wish I had a pet."

You can't breathe for a second. You fight with your own childhood baggage; how quickly you can go back to that time in the 2nd grade when a bunch of your friends had hamsters in their rooms, their very own rooms! and your dad proclaimed, "No rodents! Ever!"

You want to rush immediately to the pet store and purchase whatever little critter your child desires. You can imagine the delight on their small, upturned face. The joy! The responsibility beginning to bloom in their life! The lessons they'll learn! The-

And then you return to the actual present moment. You look around your five-year-old's room and notice things. Toys strewn all over the floor, pieces of half-eaten bagel squirreled away and stale as a rock. The fact that the child in question has been wearing the same pair of shorts in zero degree weather for the last 3 days; bedtime included. It dawns on you that YOU will likely end up doing most of the work, and even if you manage with all your parenting skill to groom your child into one who cares for their own little pet; even this tutelage will pull from your essentially non-existent energy stores.

Your next thought is, "Hell, no. No pets." Then you remember that you are getting a dog in about a year. You offer this dog as a consolation prize, but your typically developing five year old knows the dog is not a pet; the dog is slated for work for his older sister and he counters with this knowledge.

You feel stuck; most of this child's life has been spent taking his siblings to appointments, therapy, activities, things that are all orchestrated for them, and he has never actually complained in any way. You feel like, maybe a little pet would allow him to have a corner of something that is his alone. So you ask.

"What sort of pet would you like?" And the volley begins.
"A cat!" he returns.
"Well...a cat is not a good choice for our family because daddy would never breathe again."
"A dog!" he suggests.
"We're already getting one, and besides...they are a lot of work," I demure.
"Maybe...something small?" he ventures.
"No rodents. Ever," The voice of my father enters the conversation through my mouth. Incredible how that happens.

"What about..how would you feel about a reptile? A nice turtle that lives in a small, glass cage and eats lettuce? I could handle helping you with that."
The child furrows his brow. "Mmm. No. Too slow."
"A frog?"
"Too bouncy."
"A lizard! That...doesn't eat live bugs. Maybe we could find one that doesn't eat bugs."
"A venomous one! I would like a venomous lizard!" He is triumphant.
"I really....no...that is not...the best choice...."
"A Gila monster! I would like a Gila monster!"
"What do they eat?" I feel much trepidation.
"Just road runners," he replies simply.

he's probably really gentle. and legal to own.