A pox on your house!

I use to wonder, when I heard old English sayings like “A pox on you and your house”, what it meant. Then I had kids…..

Photo cred. mricon

So, I’ve never had the chicken pox. At least not that me or my mom knows about. Maybe I had a mild case or maybe we all have some natural antibody. My brother hasn’t had it and my mom says she’s not had it either. She exposed us as much as she could but still, our bodies refused to get it. Whenever I’ve told anyone I hadn’t had the pox I always, to this day even, got that horrified look of wide-eyed concern, followed by the comment, “It’s really bad when you get it as an adult”.  I guess I thought I’d just wait till I was around 80 or so and let it turn into the shingles. Sounds like a party to me!

I moved to Hawaii for the second time in 1997 and two days before I left I went to someone’s house who had triplets (yep, some people have those) and after I sat and ate my nice dinner she tells me, “Oh man. It’s been rough here. The triplets have had chicken pox.” Then I got that wide-eyed, horrified and concerned look ‘cuz, you know, it’s bad when you get it as an adult and just before you board a plane to move to Hawaii. Needless to say the pox eluded me that day too.

Now I have three kids and none of them have had the pox…well, until recently. I think Sylvie has them. There are bumps on her tummy, she threw up last night (it had whole blueberries in it and stunk really bad), and she had a fever today. So, I’m crossing my fingers, praying to the good Lord above and hoping that we don’t have a pox on our entire house. If I get it as an adult and in the summer no less, you may find me hiding under a bridge, rocking back and forth and rubbing calamine lotion on exposed skin.

Here’s to raising kids that carry lots and lots of germs.

So, what IS your opinion on raising kids?

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This seems to be the age where EVERYONE has an opinion and they all want to blog about it. Wait! What am I doing? Well, everyone but me is highly opinionated and wants to blog about it. Now that I’ve outed myself, here is my opinion:

I have “liked” this group on FB called Free Range Learning and it’s dedicated to homeschooling and unschooling and, for the most part, she posts some good ideas or tips on things to do with your kids. But more often than not she posts these articles about the latest research that links, well, everything she doesn’t believe in to how awful children will turn out if a family uses these practices.

Today the article is how spanking is linked to obesity. Then there is a smattering of comments from women who apparently don’t spank. So here’s my issue: I find sites, groups or movements like crunchy ‘mamas’ (why are they always called mamas?) that are devoted to raising kids in a specific way to be very judgmental and graceless. The main comments on spanking and obesity were, “low income and uneducated families usually spank and will usually have obese kids anyway” (I’m reducing all of the comments into this one sentence, of course). And this is the kind of BS that drives me crazy!!!

Moms already feel like they are failing  and they wonder if they are totally screwing up their kids due to all of the research out there, so why do other moms feel like they need to create sites to make them feel better about how they are raising their kids and shame others for doing it poorly?

Also, this research gives people more proof that “If your kid is fat, it’s likely that you spanked. You really should have nursed more, slept with your kid, wore them on you all the time, never had taken them to McDonald’s, never used a stroller and never circumcised.”

The reason I even read these sites is to find moments where they are celebrating their children and finding ways to encourage other moms rather than post stupid research off THE INTERNET (It’s the internet, people!) Research that has no grounding other than it presents a good argument and articulates a well written debate. Also, posting this “research” presupposes that all of the rage in kids and poor behavior is always linked to parents doing something wrong. Damn! Has your child never acted out in public, done something aggressive or thrown a fit? I thought those moments were sort of normal and even healthy.

I really have nothing against attachment parenting, crunchy parenting or the like. That’s basically how we’ve raised our kids anyway. But I have an issue with parents banning together and forming groups that judge and alienate other parents for doing it wrong. Most moms feel isolated already; feel like we’re doing it on our own and still wonder, almost daily, if our kids are going to grow up to be the next Unabomber.

So, my advice? Well, thank you for asking…..Stay away from those articles. They are ubiquitous on FB and besides, that research is more likely founded by a college undergrad who doesn’t have children anyway so they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. I’m sure that 90% of parenting is intuitive. Find a book or see a counselor or take a class to get some tools to get you over a hump. But if you’re paying attention, and most of us are, the answers will come.

It’s not even the articles that bother me so much. It’s all of the self-righteous comments that people leave after the article that really irritate me. I read a crunchy mamas site that started the circumcision debate and one women’s chime-in was, “I saw a boy flipping out at the store the other day and I knew that all the rage was because his mom likely circumcised him”. Oh barf! Get over your totally awesome and perfect parenting-self, mama! Embrace your fellow moms, even those who spank and sit at the park together, under the trees, and watch your kids play. They need a break from you too.

Here’s to raising kids and embracing all of our imperfections while doing it….sometimes doing it poorly!

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Art on the Ave

 

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Today was Tacoma’s annual Art On The Ave festival and, once again, it didn’t disappoint. I took the kids by myself (Matt was working) and they actually did really well. Oliver only wandered off twice and the second time I told him I’d take us all home if he did it again. That seemed to do the trick. Man, what must it be like to be a highly driven and highly curious kid in a rich, overly stimulated setting?

Art on the Ave 2013

Art on the Ave 2013

 

They were able to pound out some leather key chains, and chisel their names on metal, eat some handmade, gourmet popsicles from Hilltop Pops and ask me every five minutes if I could get them something from every single vendor booth we passed. Speaking of the vendors….I love to see artsy t-shirts but Oliver kept stopping by the tables where the shirts said things like “Pitch my tent” or “Are you staring at my boobs?”. He wanted to get the tent pitching one and I had to just buckle down and explain why it wasn’t appropriate for a kid to wear.

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I love our little art community in Tacoma and it’s great to see so many people come out for this  community event. We even had sunny skies and 80 degrees F. Last year Chloe watched the Tacoma Derby Girls have a go on the square and Oliver made buttons and crafts at tons of booths. The first year we came was, meh. But the last two years have been fantastic. Well done, Tacoma. Now it’s time for the Fall Free For All to rock it out a bit better.

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