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Archive for June 2012

Dads and daughters

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Loving this HuffPost piece on the evolving cultural dynamic of the father-daughter bond.

“By changing up some long-held assumptions about parental roles and responsibilities, fathers and daughters are moving quickly to a whole new kind of connection. It’s a connection that is increasingly, and very healthily, gender-neutral.”

Great stuff. My own relationship with my father deteriorated pretty dramatically after I hit puberty, and I’ve struggled over the years to find a new way to relate to my father as we moved beyond the “time of shoulder rides and tickle attacks” mentioned in the article. I watch my husband and daughter interact now and can’t help but smile. It is fantastic to be able to literally step back and watch the world change, and for the better for once.

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Written by GRSeim

June 15, 2012 at 2:47 am

Posted in Creative Reading

We did it

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It took five years and nearly cost us our marriage, but my husband has finished his B.A. degree. He starts his new job as an internal auditor next month. And in the meantime…we’re doing a lot of day drinking and lazing around in our pj’s all day.

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The kids and I attended the graduation ceremony together, just the three of us, and I couldn’t get over it…it was exactly the way I’d hoped it would be. They were both so excited to see their daddy dressed up in his cap and gown and loved all the streamers and music. It was such a proud moment for all of us. I can’t believe we really made this happen.

Written by GRSeim

June 13, 2012 at 6:13 am

The great lies of parenting

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1. Timing contractions is total bullshit. You make these neat little charts well in advance and it all sounds so sane and manageable going into it. Just time how long your contraction lasts and figure out how far apart they are. You’re probably in active labor when your contractions are five minutes apart and 60-90 seconds long. That really didn’t sound too bad to me when I was reading about it on paper. That’s, what, a minute to a minute and a half of pain, followed by five minutes or so to recuperate? What I didn’t know was that you measure from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction, not end-to-beginning like you might think. I found myself flying through labor at this out of control, break-neck pace, and I barely had time to catch my breath in the tiny space of time left over where I was not actively coping with a contraction. There was no time for me to scream at my support person for tickling my arm hair with all their extraneous breathing or anything! I have never felt so cheated in all my life as when I realized that I wasn’t going to have those 4-5 minute quiet calm spells in the middle of double-peaking contraction hell. Welcome to parenting.

2. Babies come with their own unique sleep patterns. You can switch their days and nights around a bit when they’re very new and don’t know any better, but after a few weeks they realize that they rule the roost, and from there on out its total pandemonium….forever. For example, my son sleeps in twelve hour stretches, and likes to stay up late and sleep in. My daughter wants to get up at 4 am, takes two three-hour naps during the day and retires again around 7. Their sleep schedules are wildly incompatible and there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to live through it.

3. Babies are born knowing how to commit murder. I mean that literally. There is nothing quite like seeing your barely-talking baby pretend to slice a doll’s throat for the first time. You want to know why the old fairy tales are so brutal? Because kids are super gory! It is highly disturbing!

4. Kids also come out knowing how to masturbate, and have zero qualms about doing it in front of others. (Or in the middle of a wedding, for that matter.) And if a kid sees another kid masturbating, they’ll think it’s a great idea and start right up themselves. It is unbelievable.

5. Baby girls can poop into their own vaginas. I don’t mean smear a little ON there, I mean IN there. This is how the sink bath became a daily ritual in our home, because what else are you going to do?! I’m dreading the day this happens while we’re out in a public place.

6. All kids eat the same shit. Lemonade, graham crackers, grapes, string cheese, carrot sticks…you can kill yourself cooking up sumptuous feasts for them, you can spend three times as much money providing them with the organic alternatives, but you aren’t going to change their taste buds. Grown-up food just tastes icky to them, and you have to respect that.

7. Kids can tell when the thing they are about to say may offend someone…and they handle that knowledge by raising their voices. The reasoning seems to go, “It may be the wrong thing to *say*, but no one said that anything bad would happen if I *yelled* it.”

8. Kids are very suspicious of variety. The last big change they can remember involved being ejected onto the world and getting their heels poked with needles, so it makes good sense that they’d be wary. My love of logic is not enough to get me through ten million readings of “Fox In Socks,” though. And after two years of sandwich making, the smell of peanut butter makes me gag a little. Oh! The monotony!

9. The word “no” is pure comedic gold in kid world. There is just nothing funnier to a two year old than an exasperated parent trying to stop you from doing what you both know you WILL be doing, no matter what they do, say or threaten. This is why loving parents find themselves doing really bizarre stuff, like pressuring their toddler to run with scissors. “Come on,” you’ll find yourself coaxing them in beseeching tones, “just run to the end of the hallway! Puh-leeze!” Your child and any strangers in earshot will stare at you, aghast, and say something along the lines of, “WHAT?! What a horrible idea! Running with scissors is a highly dangerous activity that should not be attempted at home! Didn’t your mother teach you that?” But we can just smirk after them. We, after all, know the truth; of course Mother told us not to run with scissors. How else did they think we got these nifty scissor scars?

10. It’s a slow process, but an inexorable one. One day you’ll call your husband “daddy” instead of calling him by his real name, and you’ll realize that there are no kids around that were actually fathered by this man. You’ve just grown used to hearing him called daddy and telling other people to go ask daddy and he has now become the man known as “daddy” in your mind. And you will never, ever be able to have sex again.

Written by GRSeim

June 13, 2012 at 6:06 am

M, age 11 months

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1. D: “Melia! You can’t play with phone chargers, baby! Those are dangerous!”
M: “GOP! GOP!!!” *lunges for D’s face with razor-sharp nails extended*
D: “YOU stop! Gentle touches, Baby Boop! MOOOOOM!!!!” <—- this kind of stuff is definitely topping my list of least favorites right now.

2. The whining! Who taught you that? It's like nails on chalkboard times twelve and it never stops!

3. I'm worried sick about all of your itty bitty developmental quirks and I'm bending myself over backwards to make sure you get the support you need to stay on track and have a full, happy childhood. All I ask from you is that you let me do my thing. Would it kill you, for example, to just not scream continuously through your entire physical therapy appointment each week? Just little things like that would make such a difference. This isn't exactly like dancing on rainbows for me either, you know.

4. You are almost a year old now; surely you don't really need to eat all through the night anymore.

5. I know you know what I mean when I say "no." I can tell because you speed up doing whatever it is I told you to stop doing, and you give me the most mischievous look. It would be cute except that you're usually doing something like popping a marble in your mouth that I REALLY CAN'T ALLOW. Be cute about something a little less deadly!

6. The way you dance and kiss the pictures when we read "Baby Beluga" together is so, so adorable.

7. You don't always watch tv…but when you do, you pick Wonder Pets, the most sickeningly cute kids show ever. This could also be put under the "least favorite" category, but it is seriously adorable. Of COURSE you like the show with the chubby singing hamster. That's just so you!

8. You are a little bit obsessed with the Calico Critters the Easter Bunny brought for D this year. Again, not really my thing, but you are so precious playing with them that I can't help but love it.

9. You bark at random dogs, freak out every time a bird visits one of my feeders and you screamed for joy when I showed you the ferrets at the pet store. You are my kind of kid.

10. You aren't quite a year old yet, but you have opinions. You are fascinated by long hair, you love the cute and the cuddly, and if it were up to you our home would be constantly filled with friends and playmates for you. Even when I don't agree with your opinions, I am thrilled to see how easily and confidently you assert yourself and make your voice heard. I can't always let you have your way…but know that I am always cheering for you.

Written by GRSeim

June 13, 2012 at 6:03 am

Posted in Future Feminist