Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thinking about becoming a parent?

Dear Pre-parent/s:

First, if you are thinking of becoming a parent, congratulations--for thinking first. Many get it wrong and become parents before thinking. If they ever do...

First, take it from someone nearing the middle of her 5th decade and whose child is now 20. Write this down. Memorize it. Make it your manta...Parenting changes everything. Got that? I thought not. So I'll breake it down for you.

1. Do you like your sleep? Do you wake at the crack of noon on weekends? You need a lot of sleep? Then please do not breed. Children are notorious for being awake most when you want to sleep. Babies can't wait til you've decided to wake up and tend to their needs, often before you've even had coffee. You may have to change a shitty diaper before you pee. That's reality.

I can't count the times female relatives and moms at large say "God, why can't he sleep past 5 am? I neeeeed my sleep." Then don't breed. Parenting is a long term project. Think before you breed if you can conform to a baby's schedule. It will be some time, if ever, that they conform to yours.

2. If you need "stimulation" and feel that your children will hamper your "stimulation," then please do not breed until you get it out of your system. "I wanted to study photography but now that I have kids I can't. I need the stimulation!" Get a camera and learn by doing. Babies make great subjects for photos. Share kid watching duties with another mom and take some classes. that you've decided to have children realize that for the most part your wants are not gonna come first. Especially when children are small, they have to come first.

3. Do you need to be on the go all of the times? Then you may want to delay breeding. Kids thrive on schedules and can become downright cranky when deprived of food, diaper changes, and naps in their own crib/bed and dragged from store to store to store. You may have to be on schedule...what worked for us was we got up with the son. He was washed, changed, fed. Then it was my turn. Then we ran well-thought-out errands...the grocery store, Target, drug store. Trip was planned so that it didn't take long. We would return home for some play time, lunch, then his nap. His naptime was my rest time. The afternoon was spent playing with him, and taking care of things at home instead of running the roads.

4. Babysitters...they definitely have a place but please screen prospective sitters well, and pay them well. I see parents buy themselves new toys...iPads, GPSs, smartphones. But they pay their babysitters shit. And that's usually what they get. Or, rather, the kid gets. If you can't pay a babysitter, stay home. Or buy fewer toys. One young man we know had his daughter in attendance at his high school graduation. The first year of his daughter's life, they were given cribs, clothes toys. Now she's almost 2 and he's selling his toys and everything he can get his hands on in order to pay the rent and put food on the table.

With babysitter horror stories in the news so frequently, it is obvious that parents are not properly screening sitters and trusting them with the lives of their children. Unfortuantely too many children pay the ultimate price.

Take the time to write out explicit instructions for those who will care for your child/ren. Explain to them that shaking a baby/child can result in shaken baby syndrome and the child can die or sustain life-long brain injury. Explain to them that they should never leave your child unattended, and to never leave them near water such as a pool, bathtub, or even bucket of water. Children can drown in just a few inches of water.

Many things seem like common sense but common sense ain't so common anymore. Recently, a Florida woman was riding in the back of a pickup truck and with her was the baby she was babysitting, strapped into his stroller. She reportedly commented in court "It's not like they give you a hand book or anything on how, what's neglect and what's not neglect." Story here: Woman put baby and stroller in back on pick-up truck

Write out for the sitter what is and is not neglect. What you do and do not want them to do. If you can, hell yes have a camera in your home. Kids are more important and if someone takes a job watching your child you have every right to know that your child is being cared for. If the sitter doesn't like that, feels that her privacy is being invaded, then find another sitter. I'd welcome a camera if I were watching someone's child...because I would be doing my job and had nothing to worry about. We are filmed all the time...street corners, convenience stores, malls. Children are worth more than convenience store goods.

Make things easy for your sitter. Give her a schedule. Show her where things are located. Give phone numbers where you can be reached. Provide her with phone numbers of neighbors she can call if needed. If food needs to be cut up for the child, or skins removed from grapes--tell her. No one will care for your child the way you do but you can make it easier on all if you explain what should be done.

There are nanny schools but chances are not many can afford a nanny. Most parents have to rely that the person whom they choose to care for their child has basic common sense. Who understands that her job is to care for the child, not watch the child. Care for. Hands on, doing the work. Being vigilant, attending to the child and his/her needs. Almost anyone can watch a child but not everyone can, or will, care for your child.

There will be more but this should give you some food for thought for now. Just keep thinking before you create a child...they aren't returnable.

Dear Parent is back!!!

Hopefully those who read this blog a few years ago will find it again and pass the link on...

Anonymous Parent took a few years off to concentrate on raising her son through the teen years. He is now 20 and well on his way to adulthood. I now have the time for this once again...

Monday, February 11, 2008

I think I've become a vegetarian...

I don't eat a lot of meat as it is. After my last trip to the grocery store, I think that I'll be eating even less. A woman and her two kids (okay, I'll correct that, because someone will surely write to me and ask "How do you know that they were her two kids?)...A woman and two kids, who appeared to be about 3 and 6 years, were in the meat aisle of the store. I was thinking how unsanitary it was for the kids to be placing their hands in the meat cooler and then touching their faces...e.coli and salmonella thoughts were running through my head.

That's when I noticed the older boy had a very snotty nose and wiped it with his hand frequently. That's when I noticed that many packages of meat, especially the hamburger, had small holes. The older boy was using his snotty fingers to innoculate the meat in the case with his germs. I am fairly certain that the mother knows he did this. Her peripheral vision can't be that bad. I spoke up with "Um, I don't think you want to poke your fingers into the raw meat. You could get sick!"

His mother tells me "Oh, he's already sick. He's staying home from school because he has a cold and infected throat." I put the pot roast back into the meat case.

I said, well raw meat could have some dangerous germs that could make him even sicker, but she just laughed. I added "Wow, a lot of holes are in these packages of meat," but mommy says nothing. The kid grins and says that poking holes in the hamburger is the most fun because it "squishes." I don't think I like hamburger anymore.

I couldn't just walk off and say/do nothing. I let the meat manager know what had happened, and that the mom reported that the kid had a cold and infected throat. "His ass will be infected if I catch him doing that!" Then he sighed and took a cart out to collect the poked meat. I counted 20 packages.

Later I wondered, what happened to that meat? Was it thrown out? Was it repackaged and put back into the case? Ick.

From time to time, I pick up hotdogs from the case with teeth marks. I don't think that's a clever marketing gimmick. I've picked up apples and banannas with teeth marks as well. I have seen kids old enough to know better using their fingernails to leave nail marks in fruit. I've seen parents allowing their children to play with the candy that they have no intentions of buying. If me or one of my siblings had done such a thing, back in draconian days, we would have regretted it, and we'd still be remembering the lesson.

I remember the good old days when candy was behind a glass counter to keep kids from stealing or damaging it. Too bad that that there isn't a way to do that now with foods that can be damaged by children. But what is really too bad is parents who don't control their children. Who allow them to express themselves any way they want. They'll have a rather rude awakening one day and will probablly wonder why their parents never taught them better.

Friday, February 8, 2008

"My kid is so cute!!!!"

That's what parents must be thinking. I say parents, but I mean mothers. I've never seen a father do school, that is.

From time to time, a friend or neighbor will ask me, for various reasons, if I can drop their kids off at school. I have to take my son to school in the same direction, so I don't mind. Today was one of those days, and I yet again experienced the "My kid is so cute!!!" mommy.

In every carpool line I've ever had to be in, beginning when my son was in preschool, there are mommies who have to adoringly watch their offspring from the moment they get out of the car until they are inside. Usually they're waving bye bye to their child and the child doesn't even know it, as they are walking up the sidewalk and cannot see mommy's beaming face and waves.

I'm not talking about watching a child walk into school because there is no other adult around. There are usually 2-4 adults on duty to help kids out of the car, carry projects, and so on. But these mommies sit there, while the carpool line is backed into highway, waiting to enter the school driveway. They sit there waving and beaming like they're never going to see the child again. They don't care that other parents need to get to work, or that they are holding up the line.

Today, this happened again, at a middle school at that. I had one more child to drop off at the high school, and 3 minutes to spare. There I encountered yet another Beaming Mommy. Middle school! Mommy sits there waving at her daughter's back, the entire time the girl walked to the door. I gently nudged my horn, to let her know that someone else was waitiing. Her beam turned to a scowl and she waved at me, but only with one finger. Then proceeded to drive away as slowly as she could, just to be a pain. Thank God I don't have to live with such a painful person.

Dear parent, why do you do this? I should say Dear Mom, because I have never observed a male adult do something so odd. Now, if he was dropping off his daughter at a library, mall, movies, etc., I could see sitting there to make sure she got safely inside. But at school, with other adults around whose job it is to make sure the students are safely seen into the building?

Dear Mom: Get a life!

Anonymous Parent

I'm baaaack!

Thanks for the comments and the emails, asking when I would post again. I only post when I have something to say about my experiences. In the past month or so, I haven't had many experiences to write about. I work from home and am on deadline to finish my book manuscript by June. So, in addition to working, writing, and tending to the home fires, there has not been a lot of time for blogging.

But, I do have an experience to relate. So I will now get to that. New post coming shortly...

Anonymous Parent

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New blog

I started a new blog today, it is self explanatory. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!

Dear Teen

Anonymous Parent

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This blog is not abandoned!

I've had some comments and emails asking when I will post again. My day job comes first and once I've caught up with work and obligations, I will resume posting...within the week. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous Parent