Archive for February 2008
Is anyone getting enough? Not if you’re the parent of young children, it seems.
I have a friend who has a teething 10-month-old. She’s not sleeping much these days. Neither is another friend, whose 4-year-old daughter wakes up at night wanting to crawl into bed with her mom and dad.
At my house, I have become “a reluctant co-sleeper,” a term that cropped up in a New York Times article last year about the family bed. I didn’t listen to some of my friends who advised against sleeping together. It was so convenient when they were little, but now that they’re 4 and 1 ½, my husband and I are running out of room in our queen-size bed.
On most nights, all four of us are still playing this exhausting game of “musical beds” – moving from one bed to another in an effort to get some sleep. It usually begins after our 4-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night, climbs out of his bunk bed and joins the rest of us. The move creates a domino effect, forcing my husband to relocate to the guest room. When I try to escape so I can sleep alone, one or both children wake up and try to join me.
As the Times article points out, we reluctant co-sleepers are just “too tired to disrupt a practice that may irritate one or both adults, but in the end seems to promise the most amount of sleep for the most people in the house.”
Which for me, adds up to about six hours.
How about you? Are you getting enough sleep? Any advice on how to get children to sleep through the night?
Can you imagine being away from home, sitting at a computer and watching your children being treated this way? It was appalling to see these infants being tossed around like they were stuffed animals. Then you can only wonder what happened during the six weeks prior to the video camera. It’s sickening.
What do you think should be done to this woman? Charges? Negligence? How do you make certain that she doesn’t get to do this to other children?
This is obviously a case of bad parenting: “A Central Florida mother of four boys was arrested on Tuesday after telling authorities that she went ‘on strike’ more than a month ago, leaving the teens home alone for hours every day because they would constantly fight.”
The story is about a 33-year-old mom and her kids, ages 17, 16, 14 and 13. She told authorities she went on strike because no one would help her with her children.
Of course, I would never leave my children home alone, but something about this woman’s plea sounded vaguely familiar.
She said she was “fed up with being run over in her own home and having no privacy.” Hmmm… Honestly, I have days like that. Those instances don’t drive me to run away, but once in a while, I can’t help but wish for a Star Trek-like transporter to beam me away to a calmer destination.
Fortunately, I do have support – from neighbors and friends in town as well as other mothers of young kids. In our community, parents who need a break or are on the brink of losing it can turn to places such as the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. I also make time for myself by going out for a run, doing a little yoga or just asking my husband to simply take over while I catch my breath.
How about you? Whom do you turn to for support when you get overwhelmed? How do you re-charge and find the strength and patience to be a parent?
Instead of “B.C.” or “A.D.,” the dating system my husband and I use at our house is “B.K.”
B.K. – “Before Kids” – obviously refers to that period not so long ago when we could stay out late, sleep in, have leisure time to read books or just relax.
Looking back, I now wonder what I ever did with all those extra hours B.K. — those years when I didn’t have to change diapers or stay up all night to nurse or comfort a child.
While I miss having free time, I’m a lot more satisfied now. I also believe that I’ve become a better person as a result of my kids.
I’ve become more open-minded, I think, and certainly more patient. My little ones have taught me how to go with the flow and to see the world through a different lens. Giving birth, in many ways, also was an empowering experience.
How has parenthood changed you? What lessons have you learned from your own children?
My heart ached when I read the comments to Lisa P.’s Jan. 24 post, “Words Do Hurt.” It reminded me of a time in grade school when the girls in my class decided to ban together and stop talking to me. I still remember how I tried to spend the entire recess period in the bathroom just so I wouldn’t have to be out on the playground by myself.
The comments prompted me to seek guidance from experts at Spokane Public Schools — Jacquie Johansson, a counselor for 16 years who also teaches a class on “Girl Culture,” and Valerie Kjack, a counselor for 25 years and the school district’s “Love and Logic” guru. Both women provided me with some information on what the schools are trying to do to address the problem. They also gave me some insight on what I can do as a parent.
I wrote a piece about bullying and girl-on-girl cruelty based on the “Words Do Hurt” thread, some research from various studies and my conversations with Jacquie and Val. Of course it’s not the definitive story on this problem affecting our daughters, but I thought it might prompt some thought and conversations among readers of the newspaper.
Thank you for sharing your stories and insights.
Although school administrators deny being “Net Nannies,” the stuff on these pages occasionally make their way back to school, according to an article in today’s Spokesman-Review.
I know a few parents who have MySpace and Facebook accounts just to help keep track of their kids’ activities. I also know at least one teen-age girl who likes having her parents listed as “friends” in these social networking sites.
Questions for parents: Do you use MySpace or Facebook? If so, do you occasionally use your account to check out what your children post on their pages? Do you tell them when you check out their page?
What: Certified volunteers for the Spokane County Child Passenger Safety Team will check child car seats to ensure they are properly installed.
Where: Spokane Regional Health District, 1101 W. College
When: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16th.
The Spokane Parks Department is making plans for new splash pads in neighborhood parks. Now, the folks in charge want to hear from our kids.
The process certainly won’t be anything like the caucuses this weekend, but at least it’s a chance for our children to tell local government what they think and the kind of splash pads they want in our local parks.
The Spokane Parks Department website includes a link to some samples of splash pad features.
This week and next, meetings have been set up at Finch, Linwood, Stevens, Roosevelt, Franklin, and Lincoln Heights elementary schools with sessions so that kids can learn more about splash pads and vote on the features they’d most like to see included in the projects. Here’s the latest press release from the City of Spokane with the times and locations of all the meetings.
This could be a fun, educational way to get our kids involved in the process.
I hope this subject isn’t too personal, but with Valentine’s Day less than a week away I couldn’t help but wonder about everyone else’s love life.
Since our second child was born less than two yeas ago, I get so busy with the kids that I sometimes don’t have the time to think of my husband in any other light except as the guy who helps me take care of my children and fixes things around the house. Rather un-romantic, but true!
Here’s an op-ed that was published in The New York Times a few years ago that made me laugh, but it’s sometimes a reflection of my reality as well as that of other married folks: “I Love Them, I Love Him Not.”
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Any tips on how to keep the romance alive?
Two stories in the news today highlighted how our children potentially can be exposed to toxins just by the foods we eat and the products we use around the home.
“Harmful pesticides found in everyday food products” discusses a recent study that showed how kids eating conventional foods from Seattle area grocery stores ended up with “biological markers of organophosphates – the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II” in their urine and saliva. Once the children switched to organic food, the pesticides in their systems disappeared.
“Study links baby products to pthalates” explains how baby shampoos, lotions and powders may expose infants to chemicals that have been linked to reproductive birth defects.
As a parent, does this worry you? Or do you think these studies just cause moms and dads to suffer unnecessary paranoia?
If this is a concern, what do you do to limit your children’s exposure to harmful chemicals in food and other everyday products? What prompted you to make these changes and how has it affected your lifestyle and pocketbook?
(Let me preface this entry by writing that I am not attempting to diminish the acts of any person, but merely looking for the true meaning of a word.)
Last night my kids and I had dinner with my parents in their home. My dad and I were discussing the upcoming elections, debating who is the best candidate.
My dad asked, “Why do they call McCain a hero? He fought in a war and people call him a hero. I fought in a war, am I a hero?” (My father fought for the Dutch Army in the late 40’s and early 50’s.)
I was defending the term by saying that maybe McCain rescued other soldiers. He was a prisoner of war and people may consider that an act of a hero. Also, people may feel that anyone who defends our country is a hero.
On the news, a fireman was called a hero because he saved an infant when he performed CPR. He said he was not a hero, just doing what he was trained to do. The baby’s mother probably considers the man a hero.
“Oh, you’re my hero.” This may be a response of a wife to her husband when he brings her a bucket of her favorite ice cream.
What is a hero? According to the Webster Dictionary, a hero is “one that shows great courage.”
Dictionary.com defines hero as “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities” and “a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.”
Do we overuse the term hero? Or is it a matter of opinion? In other words, your hero may not be mine?