Sunday, October 24, 2010

Circumcision: arguments for(e) and against

As far as parenting debates go, circumcision is as delicate as they come and as emotionally charged as breast versus bottle.

The first rule about parenthood is that there is no rule

Nothing is strictly black and white, right or wrong, when it comes to being a parent. Every day it seems there is some new, monumental decision you must make about your child's future; knowing what to do is rarely straightforward. Though it provides a wealth of information, the internet is a minefield of (often conflicting) advice...

Click here to read the full article, as featured on Parenting Squad.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Careful what you wish for...

I am blessed/cursed with a very articulate two-year-old.  Linguistically, he was a late bloomer. And I remember not that many moons ago worrying over his lack of vernacular.  My visiting mother-in-law just smirked knowingly.  Mother-in-laws tend to do that a lot, I've noticed.  They have this inner wisdom akin to an impish grin. 'You wait,' she said.  That was it. Now, of course, I know exactly what she meant. 

Silence that once was golden is no more
My little motormouth revs all day long, spluttering and repeating virtually everything that comes out of my mouth, leading me to believe there's an echo in our home.  He'll say things like 'cacophony', and 'omigod'. Just the other day, I was having a pop at Mr Green for getting yet another tattoo.  'How'd it go, masochist?' I asked when he came back.  Incredibly, my LGO said, 'masochist'.  So much for name calling.  Having this little recorder in my vicinity just might make an angel of me yet.  I really must train myself to keep the expletives and gossip where it belongs: in my head, lest I get myself into hot water. 

Two is also the dawning, not of 'why' but of 'want'
'I want ______ [insert any random food you can think up and my toddler has uttered it.  His favourites being 'mango' and 'avocado' -- foods, I hasten to add, which he has seldom even tasted but which he nonetheless remembers enough to 'want' them.]  Now it's 'I want music' or 'I want TV' or 'I want puzzle' or 'I want trucks'.  While it helpful and miraculous after 24 months of total guesswork to finally know what my child wants (and to be able to give him what he's after), it's also a bit of a pill.  Not a minute goes by before he's had the TV/puzzle/trucks and he's onto the next 'I want'.  Really, it's taxing.  It's like a never ending game of musical chairs in my brain.  My boy has the attention span of a bluebottle fly at the town dump. 

Two nights ago, at the wee hour of one...
We had a novelty: 'I want mommy's bed'.  Oh dear.  Oh, oh, oh dear.  Touched as I was, and bleary to the point of confusion, I heeded against all better judgement and humoured him.  Into the middle my little monkey landed, kicking and prodding and pinching Mr Green and I to such an extent that the former finally trundled off to the guest room.  'Where daddy gone?' asked monkey, feigning all innocence.  Even at 2 or 3 of whatever ungodly hour it was, I had to laugh.  'I want sleep' sadly isn't yet in his repertoire, at least it wasn't that night.

He's not a pervert, but...
At least he is over his summertime penchant for grabbing the crotches of random passersby.  But when adult genitals are the only thing at eye level, it's not surprising perhaps that a little guy occasionally reaches out for a handle.  The other day was only marginally better: there was a hunched man in the park, and my son ran over and tried to snatch the old codger's walking stick. Imagine my horror!  Thinking on my toes, as any clinging-to-the-last-shreds-of-her-sanity-mom must, I quickly told LGO to shake the man's hand instead.  Fortunately LGO complied and it was a cute, inter-generational moment that amply made up for my son's first attempt at petty theft.   All in a day's work.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Little green one isn't so little anymore...

So here I am, doing what I said I wouldn't, for a while at least.  The truth is, I've missed this blog just as much as some of you have.  I forgot how freeing it was to have this space in which to openly express my current thoughts and experiences on motherhood.  What a loopy ride it all is!  But I've been charged with writing so much these days, in various formats, that frankly I get a little sick of feeling 'obligated' to do it.  Unfortunately the first thing to get axed is the blog...

But LGO's second anniversary is a week from today. (As I type this, I'm breaking out into a pre-birthday bash sweat -- just as well there is no webcam!)   To mark the major milestone, we are throwing not one but TWO parties in the little prince's favour.  One here at home, the other at my parents' house.  Imagine, this wee guy's only been around for 24 months and already has so many friends in so many places.  We couldn't rightly snub one group in favour of another.  So yes, I'm dumbing down the festivities as much as possible. But no matter how you dice it: a party with the under-two set is bound to be stressful by virtue of its guest list.

So it was fitting that in the wake of his anniversary LGO thew me a bone.  The other night as he was climbing the stairs to bed, he blew me a kiss goodnight.  It didn't matter that he was copying me; it melted my heart all the same.  (And must be something to do with age, but my heart is more margarine than butter these days.) And tonight as we're walking around the block as part of our evening family ritual, as he tries to grasp my leg like a tree hugger, he says: 'I want mommy!'  It didn't matter that what he wanted was for mommy to carry him the rest of the way.  It was the fact that he said the words aloud.  My heart promptly turned into a puddle at his size-7 feet. 

The more vocal and articulate he becomes --and we witness his evolution with each and every passing day-- the more our connection grows stronger.  He doesn't understand everything I tell him, but at least I make a point to try to explain. And most of the time he staggers me by sitting on the step to put his shoes on, or walking back and putting the crayon back into the container.  Even when he clearly disobeys, the fact that he understands enough to rebel kind of thrills me.   It took two years, yet I've finally come to the conclusion that babies aren't my forte.  They may be helpless and tiny and vulnerable, but in their charge I wind up feeling just as helpless and vulnerable. 

Of course there are always issues, and I'm fairly sure the terrible twos aren't called terrible for nothing.  The main issue I have right now is this resolution not to 'give him' a brother or a sister.  Even the phraseology suggests that I am cruelly withholding something that is rightly his to have.  I don't consider that I'm doing him a hardship by making him an only child; quite the opposite in fact.  I consider it a favour, a service to LGO and to all of humankind, for that matter.  Having said that, I want to do my best to socialize him so that he isn't painfully shy or selfish like I was for many years (and still have a tendency to be.  As the saying goes, it takes one to know one!) 

Having my son has brought me to the highest --and lowest-- points in my life.  One child almost broke me.  I don't want to see what two can do to my psyche, not to mention my happy-enough family.  Call me crazy (ok, so maybe not to my face) but I don't like to tempt fate that way.  I've learned hard lessons so far.  The main one being Buddhist in nature:  change, especially where children are concerned, is the only constant.  Just when you figure out one stage, they've moved on to something else.  You can never clap your hands and think, Yes, by jove I've got it! because some new challenge is bound to crop up, regardless of your child and your particular circumstance in life.  And this will go on for as long as I (and my son) are still on this earth breathing.  Another forty or even sixty years if we are that lucky... 

One thing is for sure, there truly is nothing comparable to being a parent. Like time, the relationship is never static, but keeps on growing and evolving.  My son surprises and challenges me every day.  And just when I think I can't love him any more than I do right now, somehow I manage to.

Friday, October 1, 2010

5 reasons why your teen should read Twilight

If you haven't heard of the vampire saga, Twilight, then you must have been living on another planet for the last few years. The supernatural equivalent of Romeo and Juliet by Stephenie Meyer may not be the most obvious choice when considering reading material for your teenager, but here are five good reasons why you should go out and treat your tween/teen to the full set today...

Click here to read the full article as featured at Parenting Squad.