Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Parenting Baby G: Dos and Don'ts (Originally written 8/9/2011)

Because my husband and I talk EVERYTHING out ahead of time, we already knew how we planned to raise our Baby G before we even knew about Baby G's existence. I decided I wanted to jot it down as sort of a "promise note" to Baby G because it's harder to break your promises once they're out there for everyone to see. I wrote this list when Baby G was about 6 months old.

I got to thinking recently about all of the things I want to do and not do as a parent. I'm sure my list will grow as time goes by, but I had to jot down a few things that popped into my head before they fell out and rolled under the furniture I don't have time to clean under anymore.

Baby G, here are things I WILL DO my best at as a parent:

*First and foremost, I will love you fully and wholly no matter what you do, don't do, say, or don't say. There may be times that I am frustrated with you or times that I am disappointed in the choices you make, but I will never EVER fail to love you with every fiber of my being.

*I will absolutely discipline you. I will warn you the first time you do something uncitizen-like, and if it happens again I will chose a discipline that is appropriate for the transgression which warranted the discipline. I will do this with consistency and regularity and you will learn to respect your surroundings and the people who reside in your surroundings. I want you to be the kind of child people enjoy being around and I want to model proper behaviors for you so you can take those skills with you as you move through life. I want you to learn early and often that I will tell you NO when it serves to protect you from something and when it protects something from you. I will never raise a hand to you because I won't need to if I do my job correctly. I will not hit you or spank you to prove my point, but you WILL respect me.

*I will bring praises down upon you freely and openly for good decisions you make. I will do my best to let you know often the things you are doing that make me proud. I will encourage your curiosity and your creativity and help you focus those desires into things that will make you proud of yourself and boost your self-esteem. I will do whatever I can to help you foster your talents and interests and be open to helping you pursue things that interest you even if it isn't something I necessarily wanted you to do. (That being said, learning to play piano/guitar and doing a martial art is still non-negotiable!)

*I will involve myself in your education. I will know when things are assigned and when those things are due because I will ask you. I will do what I can to assist you with school work, but I will not do the work for you. I will help guide you to the tools to discover the answers on your own. I will also let you fail an assignment if you are unwilling to put the effort into your work. You need to learn the consequences of your actions. I will celebrate successes and help you re-assess the things that do not turn out as well as you want. While I am willing to let you fail on an assignment here and there to teach you a lesson, I will watch you closely to determine if something else is going on other than laziness and get you the help you need to resolve those problems before it is too late. I will always encourage you to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone if you feel strongly in doing so. I want you to tackle controversial topics in school and take harder classes. I want you to learn the curriculum, but apply your own critical thinking to what you've learned. I will answer your questions to the best of my abilities and if that isn't good enough, I will get you to someone who CAN answer those questions. I will always answer your questions honestly so you trust me enough to come to me at a later date.

Baby G, here are things I WILL NOT DO as a parent:

*As I stated previously, I will not raise my hand to you. I don’t want to teach you that resorting to acting out physically in response to frustration is an acceptable way to deal with your emotions. Having not been spanked more than a handful of times, I still feel (some 20+ years later) that some of the things I was spanked for were not warranted. I was spanked out of anger when words or other forms of discipline would have been much more effective. I will not use words that are hurtful when I discipline you. I will explain how your actions have consequences in a way that you are able to understand at your current age. I will take things away from you as a means of punishment if you are unable to respect those items or listen to me when I tell you something. I will come up with creative ways of getting my point across that NEVER result in laying my hands upon you in anger.

*I will not laugh at your frustration or pain. This may sound obvious, but I remember many times as a child being frustrated with something and having the adults around me laugh. Yes, children do have a funny way of dealing with things at the time, but I remember how it felt to have the people who were supposed to help me, who I was supposed to trust, laughing while I struggled. It’s a very sad feeling and I do not ever want to betray your trust in me. If you are struggling, I will help you in seriousness.

*This goes along with discipline, but I feel that it needs to be said separately. I will NOT allow you to act up in public. We will absolutely leave if you are unable to control yourself or if you do not allow us to help you control yourself. Tantrums will not be tolerated. Conversely, if you get so wound up and overly-excited that you attempt to run hog wild you will also be reined in and expected to calm down. If you do not do so, you will be punished.

To be continued….

Some thoughts on "Other Moms" (Originally written 11/4/2011)

This post isn't really about Baby G, but it was something I wrote after reading a friend's post (over at www.letterstomo.com) and wanted to put it in my own blog someday. I have a couple of these "thoughts" to post along with my other memories of Baby G's first year. Bear with me as I spew them out for all to see!

A mother's natural predator: Other Moms

After reading a friend’s blog this morning I feel compelled to post some unsolicited advice for my expecting friends. I’m sure you have a lot of feelings right now (including excitement, fear, anxiety, impatience, etc) and you’re probably thinking that your biggest fears surrounding the arrival of your baby revolve around the actual birth and how you’re going to possibly care for your little bundle of joy once he/she arrives. The truth is, your instincts kick in LIGHTNING-FAST once your kiddo gets here. As it turns out, we humans are pretty amazing at raising our progeny right out of the gate. Yes, there is a learning curve, but you’d be surprised how you (someone who may not have ever actually been around kids prior to having one) suddenly jump into it head first and stick the landing. Wow, you’re pretty awesome! Go you, for real! Just when you think there’s really not much to be scared of you meet… “other moms.”

Before I go much further, I need to differentiate between “many moms” and “other moms.” Many moms are completely amazing. You will get a lot of help, awesome advice, and camaraderie from many moms after the birth of your child. They will help you figure out all sorts of puzzles that come your way and many moms will help you feel better when you’re feeling totally overwhelmed and confused. Other moms are pure evil. Other moms feel like their way is the only way to raise a child. If you are doing something differently from how they would do it, they have no problems letting you know how wrong you are. It is usually done in the most saccharine tone of voice possible. Who knew passive aggression could be so sweetly veiled?

Once you decide to emerge from your home with your new bundle of joy (OMG do we really need to pack up half of our house to go to Dillons???? Yep. Turns out you do), other moms will see your stroller and, as if a homing beacon discreetly installed in child’s binky suddenly went off, they will flock to you from miles around. They will spend the first few moments Ooooh-ing and Ahhh-ing your precious little baby. You will beam with pride because, hell yeah… you made one beautiful baby! Then, all of a sudden the questions from the other mom get sort of… personal. You’ll feel compelled to answer these questions because the other mom heaped so much praise on your little one, but it’s more sinister than that. As it turns out, the other mom released a cloud of honesty-toxin into the air piggy-backed on the praises you were enjoying just moments earlier. You are now frozen in place and unable to stop telling this perfect stranger the most intimate details of your new life as a mom. Some other moms may even reach right in to your baby’s personal space and TOUCH THEM without asking you. Seriously! They will touch your baby (the same baby who just spent the last 2 hours raging because they were overtired and refused to submit to sleep until FINALLY they did go to sleep and now some total bitch just TOUCHED him/her!!! WTF??)

So, how do you know if you’re dealing with an “other mom?” Some examples of personal questions/responses posed by the other mom may include:

Are you breastfeeding your baby?
You aren’t? Did you even try? Your supply was low? Your baby didn’t latch? That isn’t true. You just didn’t try hard enough. Did you consult with La Leche League? Have you tried fenugreek or pumping for 10 hours straight or meditating or *insert really strange thing here*?? Well, don’t you know formula is poison? Breast is best! Ok, so you’re using formula… are you at least using the really expensive organically-certified stuff? YOU’RE USING THE WALMART BRAND??? Do you even love your baby?

Are you going back to work?
You were only off for *insert reasonable amount of time here* for maternity leave? Gosh, that’s such a short period of time! Don’t you miss your baby horribly when you’re at work? I totally quit my job the instant I found out we were expecting and I haven’t regretted the decision AT ALL! Granted, my husband is a neurosurgeon so we have AMAZING health insurance and we’re totally loaded, but wow… you actually went back to work, huh? You must be miserable without your baby all day long. You know kids get sick/ignored/picked on/etc. at day care, right? How do you know if your day care provider isn’t harming your child? I’d be SO worried if a stranger watched my kid! They have so many other kids to watch, how do you know your child won’t just cry for you all day long? What does YOUR husband do for a living? *Raised eyebrow of judgment* Do you hate your baby?

Are you using cloth diapers?
You’re not? But they’re so much better for baby’s skin, and the environment, and your pocket book, and they’re SOOO cute! You’re using disposable diapers because they’re convenient? Do you hate the planet? Also, do you hate your baby? I’m beginning to think you really hate your baby, you dirty baby-hater. Ok, baby-hater, I’ll give you a pass as long as you use the most expensive disposable diapers known to man. Seriously, Walmart again? What the hell is wrong with you? You’re dumb and all of your decisions are poorly thought out and dumb.

You’re using a binky?
Why on earth would you give your child a binky? What about all of the dental problems?? You’re the worst mom in the history of moms. Is your name Joan Crawford? You make me sick.

Other moms will make you feel one inch tall. Other moms are the bullies we all thought we left behind in high school. Other moms have to do this to feel better about their own decisions. The truth is you are totally capable of producing a viable citizen with the decisions you make. You know your baby better than anyone else and you know what situation you are in (financially and otherwise) and you are going to make the best decisions based off of innumerable variables, which will pop up one right after another. Your instincts will guide you if you let them.

This is not to say that advice is totally unnecessary. One of the best things I did was cultivate some mom-friendships with other moms who totally “get it.” Those moms help validate me when I’m feeling crazy and are great sounding-boards for when my baby “does something weird.” They help reassure me that I’m totally awesome and doing an amazing job and they fawn over my baby without any underlying passive aggression. We’re there for each other.

In summary, don’t let other moms get to you. They’re everywhere and they will flock to you like moths to the flame. Do what you feel is right for you and your family and you’ll be just fine. Congrats! You’re starting one hell of a journey and it’s completely awesome!

Welcome to The Giggly Girl Diaries!

Hello and welcome to The Giggly Girl Diaries (hereby known as GGD because my fingers are lazy)!

Our Baby G was born February 11th of 2011 and I'm just now starting a legit blog to capture my thoughts and feelings. Why so late? Raising a child is CRAAAAAYZEEEEE busy work! In reality, I've spent most of this last year (OMG, really? Has it REALLY almost been a whole year?) coming up with life-long traditions to thrust up on my child as she grows up into the amazing woman she will become. I had a great plan to blog about my experiences raising her, but regular life just sort of got in the way. Well, I'm not going to let her entire childhood fly by without committing to a narrative of our life experiences so my new motto is: Better Late Than Never, Right?


I called this blog Giggly Girl Diaries because Baby G is a broken record of giggles, which usually send her daddy and I into giggle fits of our own. She has the most awesome, contagious, hilarious laugh I've ever heard! I'll do my best to get a recording of it to post on the blog sometime.

This blog will spend part of the time focusing on the things that are happening "in the now" and part of the time will be spent retrospectively as I remember back on the first year of Baby G's life. If things look like they are bouncing out of order, check the title of each entry. I will try to make it as clear as possible.

Thank you for checking out our blog! I can't wait to start this process and meet fun and exciting families in the process!

Oh... and I suppose I should put up a picture of Baby G, right? Behold! The cuteness!