Monday, September 29, 2008

Mean Moms Poem

My sister in law sent me this today, so thanks to L. for this:

Mean Moms

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean ole Mom told me:

I loved you enough . . . to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.

And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tough Love Update

This past Monday, I saw my little 3 year old that I posted about in Tough Love. Apparently, the same night that they saw me, his parents started having him dress himself and feed himself, and are working toward having him sleep in his own bed. When he came in with his little brother (who was there for his 9 month old checkup), he was more interactive, answered most of my questions, and smiled a few times. His marked improvement earned him a Lightning McQueen sticker and a "yummy stick" (I use flavored tongue depressors, that are impregnated with a nondescript fruity taste but are non-sugared-- kids LOVE them, but I happen to think they taste way overly sweet-- blech). I am all for positive reinforcement.

Thought you would like to know. It sure made my day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It Takes a Village

Riding the NY Subway over the weekend, I was not surprised to see a 2 yr old having a meltdown. Mid-afternoon, probably missed her nap, tired and crabby. She was hitting her Mom and screaming, didn't want to get into her stroller, and Mom was threatening her with a time out on a crowded subway. God bless her. I heard Mom say, "Do you want a time out? I'll put you in the time out chair!" At that point I stood up and gestured to my open spot and said, "Look, a time out chair!" Mom looked at me gratefully and sat her child down. She thanked me, and I told her, "That's okay, I'm a pediatrician. Thank you for letting me help you." She said, "That's allright, it takes a village to raise a child these days...." The girl of course was having none of the discipline, squirming out of the chair, but Mom was dutifully putting her right back in. I walked her through it, and then we actually put her back in her stroller for the remainder of her time out since she kept squirming out of my seat. I told Mom to turn the stroller away from her so she wasn't getting any attention, and the toddler slowly calmed herself down. I kept giving Mom verbal support during the tantrum, and she seemed grateful (actually mentioned that "The time out thing is sort of new to her.") When the toddler was quiet, Mom took her out and gave her a hug and some juice, and she was fine for the remainder of the subway ride.

I wish for more moments like this, where we can help one another raise well disciplined, secure, happy children. God bless that Mom and her daughter, and a special blessing for her having the courage to take some help.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday....?

The Cheeseguy and I went to our very good friends' daughter's birthday party yesterday. E. is the first grandchild on one side, and the only grandchild on the other. Lovely food, lovely conversation, cute games (who doesn't like the Hokey-Pokey?) but then the gifts started coming. Wow. It was as if FAO Schwarz, Target, and The Children's Place all had a colossal collision in mid-air over this house and vomited all their contents into their living room. Okay, that's a bit of hyperbole, but when E. opened a box and started to play happily with the tissue paper, I wished we could have stopped there and given her the rest of the presents later (as in months later, for Chanukah, and she STILL would have had plenty to open). My friend told me she tried to veto the party but was overruled. She really tries hard to keep her daughter grounded, but in the face of overwhelming opposition, I can see how her resolve failed. Now they have to figure out what to do with an entire dollhouse with the entire contents for every room. How many pieces? I don't know if I can count that high-- I know E. can't (although she is very smart, in my completely unbiased opinion). I feel badly that we contributed to the madness with three Crayola coloring pads, ponytail holders and a placemat with a fill-in-the-blank map of the United States (that came from Cheeseguy, who insisted that despite E.'s inability to fill-in-the-blank, it was still okay since it was for ages 3+. He loves maps so much that I thought it was adorable that he wanted to share that with her).

So what do you readers think? How have you handled birthdays for your children? There's got to be a balance between Mommy-Dearest giving away all but one present and the toy-explosions that are all too common today. Share, and let others learn from you!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Just plain lucky

Cheese Guy and I are in San Francisco, partially on business, but a little time for vacation. We were lucky enough to spend the day in Berkeley with our friend Class-Factotum. We had lunch at a vegetarian Indian restaurant, and as we were perusing the menu, a family of three walked in. Mother, grandmother, and daughter, about 5 years old in my estimation (although the child was in a flowered top and polka dotted pants, she had quite the boy's hair cut so I wasn't completely sure it was a girl, but that is for another post).

To begin with, the child was not wearing shoes, and continued to walk around the filthy restaurant floor barefoot. Then, as the mother and grandmother ate their lunch, the child wandered around the restaurant, towards the OPEN DOOR, and the adults did NOTHING! They didn't EVEN NOTICE!! The server was standing in the doorway, and the child walked towards her and began to ask, "What are you doing?" When the server shooed her away from the door, she began to do pseudo-somersaults on the entry carpet. I was glad I was almost done with my meal, because I couldn't have stood it for much longer. This mother was just incredibly lucky that no one came along and enticed that child out the door, because as I saw her interactions with complete strangers, she had minimal boundaries, so it would have been a shockingly easy task.

Parents, when you take your children out in public, you are ALWAYS responsible for them! Don't ever assume that a server or staff will watch them. Besides the fact that it is not their job, it is YOURS, that is just an unbelievably stupid thing to do. Don't even assume they can take care of themselves, unless they are teenagers (and even then, only to a certain degree). Don't ever, ever, EVER let your children wander off in public. Every parent of a missing or abducted child can tell you, they never thought anything would ever happen to them. In the space of an eyeblink, the worst thing you can ever imagine can happen.