The Evolution of Parenting

Do you remember the episode of Little House on the Prairie when Albert Ingalls becomes addicted to morphine? It was a doozy complete with Albert stealing from Doc Baker, hitting his teacher and then going through severe withdrawals after Pa takes him away to a makeshift rehab at Mr. Edward’s cabin.

"Don't cry Pa. Albert will get over his drug addiction."

“Don’t cry Pa. Albert will get over his drug addiction.”

This episode shows that no matter the era, parenting is a really difficult job. Kids are kids. You will always have the needy infant, toddlers who throw fits for no apparent reason and of course, the rebellious teenagers.

The differences that come in to play between parenting during the 19th century and the 21st century, or even the generation before us is all of the technology and advancements to our world.

A lot of the technology and new inventions have made parenting in the present much easier. I feel bad that my mother’s generation had to use cloth diapers. I feel bad for the pioneer woman that had to wake up before dawn and start a fire in the house and bake bread even though she had probably been up all night with a baby. I know that dishwashers, microwaves and washing machines have made my role as a parent so much easier.

Technology is a double-edged sword though. It puts today’s parents in predicaments that Charles Ingalls never would have thought possible as he sat and cleaned up the vomit from one of Albert’s major puking sprees as he withdrew from that morphine.

The other day when I was in the shower, my 6 year old son came running into the bathroom screaming that my 3 year old son puked in the recliner while they were watching television. I quickly rinsed the shampoo out of my hair in a frenzy, horrifically anticipating the mess that waited for me when I got out.

I was happily surprised when I entered the living room and saw my 3 year old sitting in the recliner, watching his episode of Dora the Explorer with a blanket on his lap covered in puke. There was not one single drop on the chair or anything else. All I would need to do is deal with the blanket. As I lifted the blanket off of him I noticed something sticking out from the pile of vomit.

It was the remote control for the television.

Pioneer women may have had to make their own candles and hand sew all of the family’s clothes but they never had to figure out how to wash a remote control covered in puke.

Thankfully I got the remote cleaned up so my son can watch television again!

Thankfully I got the remote cleaned up so my son can watch television again!

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6 Things Your Child Will Never Say

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We recently moved my youngest son out of his crib and into a regular bed. Seeing as we have no further use for a crib; I listed it on Craigslist the other day. I posted a picture of it, a very brief description and the price of $40. It’s not a fancy crib by any means and I didn’t advertise it as one. It is clean, sturdy and does the job.

A man called shortly after I posted it and asked if he and his wife could come look at it. We set up a time and they came. The man was very friendly while the woman wouldn’t even look in my direction or say hello. I showed them the crib which the man seemed very enthusiastic about. The woman on the other hand rolled her eyes, shot her husband a glare and when he asked her if she was okay with it, she shook her head in a way that indicated she was completely disgusted.

I have no idea what the lady expected for $40 but apparently she was hoping for something along these lines:

Even though I kept my mouth shut I really wanted to tell that lady just how quick your child’s time in the crib goes by. You blink a few times and they are ready to go into a regular bed. Also, there is a chance your kid won’t even sleep in it. Only 2 out of 3 of my kids spent any considerable length of time in theirs.

I also wanted to tell her that her child would never say any of these things:

1. I know I could learn my ABC’s better if I just had a proper crib.

2. I promise I’ll stay asleep until 8 am if you just buy me a better crib.

3. You are the worst parents ever for buying this junky crib.

4. Tommy has a better crib than me so I bet he will be valedictorian of his graduating class. 

5. This crib is a bigger embarrassment to me than the time I had a blow out diaper at Story Time at the library.

6. I can only picture a life of hard drugs and alcohol because I had to spend my baby years sleeping in this cheap crib.

Iris crib

 

 

My Own Little Pieces of Art History

This past Monday found me organizing all of my art supplies. I just got rid of the non-working 1940’s refrigerator that I used to store it all in and replaced it with some shelving. It was no longer functioning as storage for me because it couldn’t hold everything I had and everything was spilling out onto the floor in several cardboard boxes. I spent more time looking for the things I needed than I was actually spending creating art.

I am still not done organizing not only because it is a huge, overwhelming job but also because I started losing myself in all of the stacks and stacks of artwork I have done over the years. A lot of the pieces really tell my story so much better than a photo album can.

Take for instance this little number I doodled during some high school class on a piece of notebook paper. My mind was always wandering and I could never pay attention…

A ink drawing I did while doodling during a high school class

A ink drawing I did while doodling during a high school class

I have always been fascinated by babies and eyes. This is a picture of one of my nephews that I drew 20 years ago. I remember he was sitting on someone’s lap and I just sat and drew him. It doesn’t surprise me that I never finished it. I have so many unfinished drawings in my stack of artwork…

A drawing of one of my nephews

A drawing of one of my nephews

I was so happy when I had kids of my own so that I could draw them. I have lots of artwork I did of these little people. Here is the first one I did when Iris was 2 1/2 and Bency was just a little baby.

watercolor painting from 2007

watercolor painting from 2007

Here are a few more that I came across that I have done throughout the years. It’s amazing to sit back and remember sitting down and making these. When I look at them it brings me right back to those moments.

flowers

My husband's favorite restaurant

My husband’s favorite restaurant

Another restaurant in our town

Another restaurant in our town

A shop down the street from us

A shop down the street from us

 

 

 

 

 

New Olympic Events

My blogging friend Jane, over at Nothing By The Book, recently wrote a hilarious post about how she was capable of tuning out her three children while they all simultaneously burst out in different songs, melodies and their own made up lyrics while riding in the car as she drove. The picture she painted clearly made me visualize this situation that I could very well relate to and I could mentally feel myself shushing them. I told Jane that Coping Mechanisms should be an Olympic sport and she definitely deserved a gold medal.

I have not been able to shake this idea from my head and that is why I am compiling a few ideas to send to Olympic headquarters.

As parents many of the things we do take a lot of courage, strength and stamina. Therefore I would like to see the following considered for future Olympic events:

  • Getting A Child To Eat Lima Beans– You will be disqualified if you sneak these into the middle of an ice cream sandwich. You will get bonus points for getting them to eat a side of rutabagas with this.
  • Diapering And Clothing A Toddler– You will be disqualified if you duct tape the child down. You get bonus points if you get them to keep their socks on for more than 2 minutes.
  • Opening Up Brand New Toy Packages– This idea is thanks to my blogging friend Courtney at EmbracingtheInsanity who recently did this post about it. I don’t care how you get these open…nothing can disqualify you.
  • Showering Every Day During Your Child’s First Year– You will be disqualified if you just shake baby powder in your hair to get out the grease and spray yourself down with perfume. You get bonus points for keeping your clothes from getting messed up with puke and poop.
  • Going 4 Consecutive Days Without Sleep And Still Performing Basic Household Duties With A Sunny Disposition– This is another one that there is no way you can get disqualified, no matter how you accomplish this. If your performance-enhancing drug of choice is an obscene amount of coffee; more power to you!

Okay, there is about a million more event ideas I can send to Olympic Headquarters but I don’t want to overwhelm them. I really think they should take these seriously….I mean they did add cup stacking to the Junior Olympics after all!

I know this looks amazingly similar to my body but it is actually 2012 Olympian Lolo Jones.

I know this looks amazingly similar to my body but it is actually 2012 Olympian Lolo Jones with my head pasted on it!

I Have Omphalophobia

Hi! My name is Melissa and I have Omphalophobia.

That is the fear of belly buttons in case you weren’t familiar with this particular phobia. Yes, that’s correct. I do not like belly buttons. I do not like to look at them, touch them, have mine touched or talk about them. In fact, just writing the word makes me shudder so I will now refer to them as “bb’s” throughout the remainder of this story.

I cannot pinpoint the exact time that my phobia started but it was sometime when I was child.

This was not really a debilitating phobia for me. I could pretty much go about my daily life without this causing too much harm. The early 90’s were a little bit rough when the crop tops or “belly shirts” were in style but I could usually just avert my eyes.

Entering motherhood proved to be tougher on me though and dealing with this particular phobia.

When I became pregnant with my first child I was full of anxiety. I went to one of my check-ups and my doctor asked if I had any concerns as she took a sip from her water bottle. I hesitated for a minute and then I shyly asked, “When is my belly button going to pop out and is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?” The doc’s water bottle was up to her mouth and I could see her eyebrows raise and her eyes widen. The next thing you know she was laughing hysterically and spitting water all over the place. Okay, I admit, the “bb” question is pretty hilarious, especially when you’re anticipating questions about weight gain, mood swings and safe exercises. Anyway, when we both stopped laughing I explained to her that I was very serious. I would not be able to deal with a protruding “bb”. I would need to be put into a medically induced coma if that should happen. Thankfully, I didn’t get the popped out “bb” with any of my pregnancies.

Next, having a newborn and dealing with the umbilical cord stump. Back when my Mom was having babies they used to have to clean that area with rubbing alcohol. Thank goodness this is no longer required. Now you just keep the area clean by regular bathing and in 1-2 weeks the stump falls off on its own. Of course, with my luck, this can’t go off without a hitch. One morning I changed my daughter’s diaper. With squinty eyes, I noticed her umbilical cord was still there. A few hours later, I changed her diaper again. Lo and behold….no umbilical cord! I searched everywhere and could not find it. I frantically called my husband at work and said, “The umbilical cord is gone! It fell off and I can’t find it!” He just sat on the other end of the phone quietly and then finally in an uninterested voice said, “Isn’t it supposed to fall off? What’s the big deal?”

What’s the big deal? What’s the big deal? The big deal is we have a part of a belly button floating around this house somewhere. To this day, we still have never found that umbilical cord stump. Ugh!

Now we enter into toddlerhood. I would sit down every day and teach the kids their body parts (except for one). As I’m sure you guessed I did not teach them where their “bb” was. I gladly taught them belly but we didn’t go any further than that. Luckily for them, my husband was happy to oblige them with this knowledge. Of course he likes to tease me about this weird quirk of mine so not only did he teach the kids this, he also taught them to touch it and say, “Ding-Dong.” Then he would tell the kids to show me their “new trick”. I became accustom to the telltale signs of this and whenever I saw a 1 year old walking my way with their shirt in their hands I would quickly look away as they raised their shirt and began their “ding-donging.”

This is a book we own. My kids think the title is: Where is Baby's Belly?

This is a book we own. My kids think the title is: Where is Baby’s Belly?

I think my days of direct contact with “bbs” are almost done. I don’t have to worry about mine ever popping out with pregnancy again, losing any more umbilical cords stumps and all of the kids are pretty much over “ding-donging.”

I just have to keep my fingers crossed that those crop tops or “belly shirts” never come back into style and really, I think that is best for everyone!

 

My Son Is Going To Harvard Because He Quit Playing In the Toilet at 24 Months

Starting with my first child I kept careful track of my 3 children’s milestones and accomplishments in their baby books.

I really wasn’t sure why I was doing this with my 1st child other than the baby book asked for the answers of “when they first smiled” and “when they first crawled” and I responded because I felt something terrible would happen to me; much in the same way you are supposedly cursed with 7 years of bad luck if you don’t respond to a chain letter.

The more milestones I filled in; the more I began to ponder the necessity of it all; particularly when I would look at the baby book, realize I had overlooked a particular “grand” event and then estimate the time period of this occurrence.

Is it possible that your chances of getting into Stanford are more likely if you tell them you crawled at 6 months and provide proof with your baby book? Is it possible, that if you are up for a new job and you and another candidate are equally qualified and you cut your first tooth before him, you will automatically land the job?

I do remember, I referred back to my first child’s baby book a few times after I had my second child. I needed to know when I could expect 8 hours of straight sleep again or when I started solids with the first. Well, it didn’t matter what happened with the first because the second child didn’t follow suit and I soon gave up comparing and came to the realization that every child is different.

There is also the time my first child rolled over at the age of 2 months. In the excitement of adding “the first milestone” I quickly went and filled in her baby book minutes after it happened. Much to my surprise, she didn’t roll over again until she was 8 months old (kind of a late bloomer in the rolling department). I never corrected her baby book because I didn’t want to mar it with scribbles. I will feel awfully guilty if Congress hires her on, due to her early rolling abilities based off her baby book because frankly, it’s a big fat lie.

The main problem with baby books is that they don’t ask about the REALLY IMPORTANT milestones. This week my third child, Cesar, made a momentous breakthrough and I was dying to update his baby book with the exciting news. Much to my dismay, there was no slot to record this event.

The past year and a half, we have had to keep the bathroom door closed. When Cesar started crawling he would make a direct beeline for the bathroom if the door was left open. Due to the inability for the male species in my house to have proper aim; the bathroom was not a sanitary place for a baby to visit. As Cesar began walking, he would unravel the toilet paper roll and play in the toilet bowl. It was a constant chore on my part to ensure the bathroom door was always closed.

On Cesar’s 2nd birthday this past September, I was upstairs changing my clothes, when I heard a knock at the door. I quickly ran downstairs but before I could open the door I heard splashing. I sought out the source and found Cesar playing in the toilet. I ran his hands under the sink and went to answer the unrelenting knocking. There stood a man in a suit, who began to give me a spiel about his new firm, Edward Jones, and asking if I had money I wanted to invest. In my frantic state and mid pant, I told him my son was just playing in the toilet and I needed to go wash him properly so I had no time to talk. The man’s mouth dropped and he quickly said thank you and walked away. I was silently pleased with Cesar’s shortcoming and the fact it saved me from making up a lie.

As much as I was excited that Cesar’s lack of self-control saved me on that particular day, I was much more ecstatic this past week. Several times, the bathroom door was left, inadvertently open. Much to my surprise, Cesar didn’t enter every chance he had the opportunity and the few times he did it was merely to look in the mirror.

This is definitely a milestone worth noting because this bit of common sense on Cesar’s part is going to make my life so much easier. So, I don’t care if the baby book doesn’t deem this as a huge event; I’m going to include it under “other” because this accomplishment in my eyes is MOMENTOUS!!! If Cesar does have a relapse; I refuse to scribble it out either.

Cesar’s record of his exciting news!!

Perhaps someday, Cesar will be overlooked for a job or college entrance and you better believe I will march into that interviewer’s office and show them my son’s baby book and say, “Look here, Cesar quit playing in the toilet at 24 months; surely this outstanding accomplishment has to count for something!!”