Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Sweet Dreams

Perhaps last night's dream was prophetic. Or perhaps my subconscious was just focused on what I would be doing with myself tonight.

Scott has gone with some friends to see Tom Waits at the Tabernacle. I'm on my own for the night and while I'm sure there are a million things I could and should be doing, I'm just vegging out. I've watched reruns of House and Bones and am debating whether to watch Rescue Me while it's on, or just record it and watch it with Scott when he gets home. Actually, it 's more likely to be tomorrow night before we watch it.

All in all, it's been a good, quiet evening, which I needed.

The last several days Brendan has really been pushing the limits. Yesterday he had the worst tantrum in recorded history in the grocery store. In hind sight, I realized he was tired when we went to the store. But I didn't know that going in. He had slept until 10 a.m. and we had a relatively low-key morning. We went to Chick-fil-A for lunch then to grocery shop. He lost it because I wouldn't buy him a Spider-Man comic book. In all fairness, before the tantrum, I offered to buy a kid's Spider-Man book, but he freaked out insisting it had to be the comic book. So, we left amidst much screaming, giant tears, staring, and rude comments from other patrons.

He screamed for the first seven minutes of the ten minute drive home. The last three minutes, he simply whispered sadly, "I want it! Please mommy, I want it!".

I really don't know how I did it since I'm the least patient mommy in the world, but I somehow managed to keep my cool. The only time I raised my voice was once during the car ride home when I asked him to quiet down. Thankfully, I did not use my "angry voice," but stayed calm. A first for me.

Today was a pretty good day. Brendan behaved really well and I used a new technique I read about this morning. The idea is that instead of simply praising the child for good behavior, you give them very specific praise. So, I tried that. I also made sure that we played and had ample time together. I made sure I gave him lots of choices where I could, so that there were fewer opportunities to say no or have him feel like he had no control over anything.

All in all it seemed to make a difference. His playdate went well and he was in bed, sound asleep by 8:15. That's a rarity these days. Somehow we got through the day with only one meltdown and that, I know, was a direct result of his being tired. Thankfully, he bounced back from it rather quickly and I never lost my cool. Major accomplishments for mother and son!

A Taste of Two Sons

Brendan has a friend over for a playdate right now. He's a boy we know from our playgroup and the two of them have always had an interesting relationship. They really like each other until one of them has something the other one wants to play with, then all hell breaks loose.

On more than one occasion, they have ended up on the floor, wrestling over a toy, with one sitting on top of the other.

We're about an hour and a half into this playdate (at our house) and I've realized an hour seems to be their limit together. For the last 30 minutes, I've been getting up every 5 minutes or so to go resolve some dispute.

Right now, however, they are being very cute. The friend is playing Brendan's toy guitar, Brendan is playing his toy piano, and they're taking turns on the drum, pretending they are a band. Very funny. And noisy. But so much better than screaming.

All I Have to Do Is Dream

Last night I dreamed I made several posts to my blog in one day. They were all witty, timely, and deeply profound comments on life. I was oh-so-pleased with myself.

If only life were the stuff of dreams.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Sounds of loneliness

I'm not sure what it is, what has led to this, but over the course of the last two weeks, I have encountered more anti-child and anti-parent propaganda than I've ever seen before in my life.

From the column linked above wherein the author, Helen Kirwan-Taylor, readily admits that she has no interest in her children, to this Atlanta-Journal Constitution blog, where the author gets attacked for stating that most parents are really trying to do their best, the anti-kid lobby really seems to be pushing its point.

I understand that having kids isn't for everyone, but I think that just because you choose not to have kids doesn't give you the right to belittle anyone who does choose to have kids or anyone who views child-rearing as important to our society.

Helen Kirwan-Taylor's piece is especially obnoxious. As Scott said upon reading the article, "This woman has no soul." Amen, Brother.

She talks about her children as if they were accessories that she can pull out to match a mood or specific outfit. She says she has no interest in them or their activities, doesn't help them with their homework or attend school functions. She speaks with great condescension about mothers who do actually care about their children and take an active role in their children's lives and seems to think she sprang fully-formed from the head of Zeus, as it were.

Sadly, she actually has a few good points to make. However, it's hard to even get to those arguments through her vile and self-absorbed tirade against people who actually love their children.

I agree with her that women who place their children first in life run the risk of losing their own identities and ending up with spoiled, selfish children. But is a mother who is so selfish she begs the nanny to stay to read bedtime stories really healthier or more apt to create children who aren't needy and selfish? I think not.

I do think modern day mommies need to think about what they're doing when they give into every whim of a child's. I do think we need to put our marriages first above our children. Statistics bear out that kids in happy marriages are happier and better adjusted than kids from households where mom and dad lead separate lives with mom attached to the kids. And of course, we need to continue to pursue our own interests so that one day, when the nest is empty, we don't find our souls are too.

Unfortunately, I fear Kirwan-Taylor's soul, if it does exist, is already sadly lacking in fulfillment and will grow even emptier once her children leave and never return.

I wonder how she will feel, all alone in some dark, sad retirement home, when her sons say, "I'm sorry mom. I can't come to see you because you're just too boring."