Home » Parenting

Category: Parenting

Who do you trust with your children?

I keep see­ing news sto­ries about kids dying in day­care or at the hands of oth­er peo­ple to whom their par­ents have entrust­ed them, and every time there is so much shock and rage as if peo­ple can’t believe it’s hap­pen­ing. I am so tired of it. Pay attention! 

How many of the peo­ple in these cen­ters did the par­ents actu­al­ly meet before leav­ing their chil­dren there? Did they meet any­one? Did they spend any time there?

If you leave your chil­dren with child­care providers, how did you choose them? How well did you vet them? How often do you drop by unexpectedly?

Would you trust every sin­gle per­son in that facil­i­ty with your car keys? Just hand them over and let any of them dri­ve your brand new ride away, no ques­tions asked?

How about your wal­let? Just give it over, tell them your ATM or cred­it card PINs, give them carte blanche?

If the answer to both of the ques­tions isn’t yes, why are you leav­ing your chil­dren with them?

Sam and Saturday

Yes, it was anoth­er date night. Yay! (They are the high­lights of my week, with good rea­son.) The girl went out on a date, so we had the house to ourselves.

It still feels odd, at times, not to have any kids around, and not to even be wor­ried about pick­ing them up. We like the young man she’s dat­ing, so we feel fair­ly good about her being out with him, and don’t get very ner­vous. Still, there’s a cer­tain lev­el of aware­ness that nev­er seems to go away when you can’t per­son­al­ly ver­i­fy your child’s imme­di­ate wellbeing.

In any case, it was a love­ly evening. I do love my Sam, and he nev­er does stop spoil­ing me.

News Flash: Decatur Teen Comes Home Early From Date!

What a weirdo! I mean, you’d think these kids were being, I don’t know, respon­si­ble or some­thing! Just because she has an appoint­ment ear­ly in the morn­ing, she came home early. 

Kids these days! I don’t think I ever got home an hour and a half before curfew.

Maybe she’s smarter than I was. Hmmm.

But, real­ly, she should have giv­en us a warn­ing. She caught us podcasting!

Reading

So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors — espe­cial­ly an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Neces­si­ty — is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14 – 18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restrictions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too — although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that wasn’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art — you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Packaging Boyhood

From the latest Dads & Daughters newsletter:

Our friend Dr. Mark Tappan is co-authoring a book, to be called "Packaging Boyhood" about marketing to our sons. The book aims to "scrutinize the world of boy power, and the ways media and marketers' stereotypes about how to be a man reach way down into the lives and entertainment of younger and younger boys." Mark is writing it along with Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown and Dr. Sharon Lamb, co-authors of the 2006 book Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes.

To gather data for "Packaging Boyhood," these preeminent scholars on the role of gender in the emotional, psychological and cultural development of our children put together a very interesting online survey at www.packagingboyhood.com. Participation by dads and/or their sons will be worthwhile.

Dads & Daughters is a great resource for parents, educators, or anyone else who cares about children. This is the first time I've seen them post something son-specific, but much of their material is important regardless of the gender of your child(ren). Maybe well see a Dads & Sons before long, or something similar.

Rumbles from the Recliner

Not from the grave, oh no, not yet!

It’s been too long to do a real “this is all that has hap­pened in my life.” Writ­ing it would exhaust me, and read­ing it would like­ly bore you. If you want to know about some­thing in par­tic­u­lar, please ask.

I’ll be post­ing a few things short­ly that I had “ready to go” and just didn’t post, for what­ev­er reason.

The girl is enjoy­ing life as a teen, or as much as any teen can. I wouldn’t want to go through those ups and downs again! She’s always my most pre­cious, beau­ti­ful God­dess gift baby, even if she will be 17 this week. That’s our “big thing” right now.

She con­tin­ues to amaze me with her cre­ativ­i­ty. She’s the head pho­tog­ra­ph­er (or what­ev­er they call it there) for the year­book, which has had her run­ning around to all man­ner of events for which there must be pho­tos! Now! Yes­ter­day! Couldn’t they hold Home­com­ing in July? Come ON peo­ple! And she loves it. She com­plete­ly filled her 1GB com­pact flash card with live pho­tos from Fri­day night’s foot­ball game, then had to switch to her small­er, old­er card and be very judi­cious in her shots to fin­ish the game. She obvi­ous­ly needs a much big­ger card!

Yes, she uses her own equip­ment. Her cam­era is head and shoul­ders above the qual­i­ty of those the year­book staff owns, even the few dig­i­tals. That makes sense, con­sid­er­ing the expense of them, the time it takes to real­ly learn to use a dig­i­tal SLR prop­er­ly, etc. Most of what they have are point-and-shoot 35mm film cam­eras, which aren’t such big a deal if a stu­dent los­es or dam­ages them.

Sam is still work­ing at the same place, help­ing peo­ple with com­put­ers and net­work­ing and phones and so on — even A/​V equip­ment at times. If you can plug it in, his depart­ment is the one every­body calls first for help. I’m sur­prised jan­i­tors don’t show up with vac­u­um clean­er com­plaints some­times (and I don’t know that it hasn’t hap­pened at some time at the past).

The help­ing peo­ple part is, of course, the most impor­tant thing. He loves it, he does it well, and he finds wells of patience that must come from Some­where Else.

I’m reg­is­ter­ing for fall class­es (DeVry is on an odd sched­ule, but you may have noticed that). We’re look­ing for a place to move to, but not find­ing what we can afford where we want to live. I sup­pose that’s an eter­nal lament, isn’t it?

I’m still a gimp, and now have a (man­u­al) wheel­chair of my own. I real­ly need a ramp for the front entrance of the house, but I’ve delayed try­ing to have one put in here since we want to move.

We’re still in lim­bo with Social Secu­ri­ty. In Geor­gia, the wait to have your case heard by an admin­is­tra­tive law judge is (accord­ing to the SSA office near me) about 36 months, aver­age. That’s the lev­el I’m at now.

It’s damned frus­trat­ing not to be work­ing, not to be able to work. I don’t want to be on dis­abil­i­ty or need it! I want to find a job I can do for a decent wage!

But I’ve had yet more icky health stuff, so… Sam and Katie are more of a bless­ing than I can say, cer­tain­ly far more than I deserve.

I real­ly want music. I mean, to make it. Noth­ing else seems to be able to replace hav­ing a piano (not a lit­tle key­board) in my home. That’s when I sing the most, as I accom­pa­ny myself. (I don’t play all that well, so I don’t play in front of any­one else.) I was think­ing of tak­ing a new vocal class Elise Witt is offer­ing, but it con­flicts with a fam­i­ly commitment.

I’m re-read­ing Madeleine L’Engle’s Cross­wicks Jour­nals and poet­ry as I mourn her pass­ing. Yes, there will be a sep­a­rate post about that, but for now, I’ll leave you with a tiny quote from her:

I learn my lessons slow­ly, sel­dom once for all. Con­tin­u­al­ly they have to be learned and re-learned, not with solem­ni­ty, but with awe and laugh­ter and joy.

Namaste,
Cyn

Who would you want to cuddle with or look like?

It’s a no-brain­er for me! I’d rather be or hug the gal on the left any day!
Two women, same bathing suit - which should be a model? A model what?

Some­how, though, the Make Me a Super­mod­el judges found the waif on the right more wor­thy of praise than Jen Hunter, the hot babe on the left who actu­al­ly won, thanks to input from fans.

The skin­ny gal, Mar­i­anne Berglund, looks like a kid play­ing dress-up to me. An under­fed, sick, awk­ward kid who hasn’t quite hit puber­ty. Putting her next to Ms. Hunter is just cruel. 

Which one would I rather have my daugh­ter emu­late? That’s not hard, either. If I ever see Katie look­ing like Ms. Berglund, she will be on the way to the hos­pi­tal in a trice.

Thanks for the link, Alice_Bunnie!

Midnight? Already?

Wow.

It’s been almost as fun lis­ten­ing to the kids (Katie’s gang, here for her birth­day par­ty) game as it would be to be part of a game myself. Maybe I will play Vam­pire some day. I sup­pose I’d trust Sam to run just about anything.

They’re watch­ing some­thing now — Mir­ror­mask, it sounds like. I couldn’t believe that her Wolfie hadn’t seen it, as it’s so very much her kind of movie.

The house is clean­er than it’s been in a coon’s age. I’ll mark that up to being large­ly (not quite) done with the semes­ter and to mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for the par­ty. Sam and Katie were both mar­velous about clean­ing up.

The girl has been so exhaust­ed that she missed dance yes­ter­day, so I was a bit wor­ried about her. She’s still going strong, though. She slept well past noon today! With her health con­cerns, she’s always run­ning at the edge of her ener­gy, even with catch­ing naps where she can, so I sup­pose her fatigue is to be expect­ed after she stayed out ’til (mum­ble­ty-mum­ble) Tues­day night/​Wednesday morning.

Yes, on a school night. The one thing she real­ly want­ed for her birth­day was to go to the Dres­den Dolls con­cert, and the only night they were in town was a Tues­day. She man­aged a TMBG show on a week night last year with­out a stum­ble, so we final­ly gave in.

Some­where between the time I bought tick­ets online for an “all ages” show (back in August) and the time I picked up tick­ets on Sun­day, it changed to an “Adults only” show! Well, that was a sur­prise. I asked around a bit, and we decid­ed that we were still cool with her attend­ing. For­tu­nate­ly, she and her friends had no trou­ble get­ting in. The rea­son for the rat­ing was a bur­lesque show in the open­ing act. God­dess for­bid that teens see boo­bies in pasties!

I still remem­ber when birth­day par­ties were all-girl affairs with lots of pink­ness, games and bal­loons and crafts and squeal­ing. They weren’t bet­ter than this, by any means, but time does fly.

Sam is try­ing to lure me back onto Sec­ond Life now. Dread­ful man. I sup­pose we might as well go be even nerdier at this point.

Happy Birthday Katie!

Katie at about 2 months of age
16 years ago today, I held Katie in my arms for the first time.

You’re still the most mar­velous sur­prise in the world, angel. If I could have spe­cial-ordered a child, she would have been you. Thank you for being part of my life.Katie at a photo shoot

I love the unique per­son you’ve become every bit as much as I loved that tiny baby in my arms, and I’m very proud of you. I look for­ward to many more years of see­ing what you choose!