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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Do You Need Stress Relief?

This past October I found this on my wall:

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This piece of graffiti was doodled by my sweet 2 year old Cesar.

This actually occurred when I was sitting 2 feet away reading a book with my 5 year old son Bency. I did hear a tapping noise and do remember slightly glancing in that direction, but just thought he was tapping on the wall….and the lamp…and the windowsill of our large bay window with his fingers.

But alas, that wasn’t the case and each of these things was covered in blue crayon.

Now, you may be surprised to hear that having two older children this was actually my first go around with the crayon on the wall trick.

I had heard about the brilliance of Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser for such cases as this but had never purchased one before. I finally got around to buying one in November to erase the evidence of his mischief.

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Oh my heavens, I was beyond delighted with this little product. A foam sponge that you just wet a little bit and off comes the crayon in one swipe. Not only was there a hint of blue left behind on the sponge but also black….meaning it had picked up dirt that was not visible to the naked eye.

I began going around the house cleaning up scuff marks and all kinds of things that I had tried numerous times to wash off with a rag and soapy water. It was all coming off!

By no means am I a clean freak and all of these marks and blemishes had not bothered me before but watching them come off so easily was like watching a magic show!

I’ve heard other people say before that cleaning is a stress relief for them. This has never been the case for me. I view cleaning as an obligatory duty. It has to be done every day with three small children in the house. Every time I clean, I am slightly disgusted with the grime I come across and am totally disheartened when all my hard work is messed up 5 minutes after I get it done.

But the Magic Eraser was different. With every scuff and blemish I erased, I felt a little lighter, a little brighter and a lot less stressed.

Throughout the holiday season, I took out my Magic Eraser quite a bit. There’s no end to dirt and scratches in our house. When I got overwhelmed with how much was on my to-do-list, I took out my little foam sponge of wonder and performed my magic tricks around the house. It gave me the extra oomph I needed to tackle the wrapping, baking and projects that needed to get done.

As for the rest of my house…well there’s always cleaning to do, so much in fact that I could relieve the stress of about 10 people who are into that sort of thing!

Me and my little mischief maker Cesar

Me and my little mischief maker Cesar

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!!”