Embracing the unique emotionality of boys

I am smart enough to realize that celebrity parents are not “experts,” and I know blindly following their advice (or any lay person, for that matter) without first consulting an expert can be dangerous. I don’t believe that just because I enjoy watching someone on television or at the movies, I will want to emulate that person in real life. That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t certain famous parents I find intriguing and worth listening to, if only to hear an interesting perspective. 

Mayim Bialik is one such famous parent. Although she herself would never admit to be an “expert” on child-rearing, she is intelligent and interested in the well-being of children enough to have written a book and to be an outspoken advocate of attachment parenting. When you think of that infamous Time magazine cover, she’s the person that comes to mind.

I had the opportunity to hear Bialik speak back in August at the 2016 BlogHer conference in Los Angeles. She was adorably nerdy and refreshingly candid. She shared her struggles with balancing her own views as a feminist and raising boys.

Bialik noted that she wanted to raise her sons without burden of gender distinction and to nurture their sensitive sides. A stout feminist she dreamed of smashing the patriarchy and eschewing the idea of the repressed male. What she discovered is you can’t push children, especially boys, to talk about their feelings. Continue reading

11 things parents are actually thankful for

Thanksgiving is nigh, and that means lots of articles, essays, poems and prose on all of our blessings. I am, of course, grateful for my two beautiful children. I could write a whole post about how wonderful they are, and most parents would nod in agreement. We can like and share the precious moments and everyday gifts, gushing about our little angels.

But, what about the things us parents are really thankful for. You know, the stuff that probably won’t make the greeting card aisle. I thought those things are worth celebrating. 

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I still nurse him

My youngest is 19 months old and still breastfeeds. I know writing the word “still” might seem both absurd and shocking depending on who you ask. This is what is working right now, so for me, this is normal. Like with most things related to my second child, I have much firmer, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude regarding the parenting of my children.

My oldest was weaned very gradually, starting from the time he was about a year old until he was off my breast by 20 months. It was a gentle process that utilized the support of those closest to me. And, while, my son was/is a high needs child, having no other children to care for at the time meant I could focus my energy on assuring his needs were met beyond our nursing relationship.

My youngest son has different needs. In many ways, he is less demanding than my oldest. He was never the type of round-the-clock feeder. He also easily adapted to his role as the second child and the divided attention that is part of the deal. 

And yet, I still nurse him.

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Two kids, two parenting styles

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I wanted to start this post with a clip from “Sex And The City.” Unfortunately, my countless searches on YouTube never yielded the needed results. Instead, bear with my summation of a particular scene, which until recently, I had know idea how on point it was on parenting.

In this scene, baby-obsessed Charlotte is visiting an unintentionally pregnant, and not-exactly-enthused-by-impending-motherhood Miranda at her apartment. Well-meaning Charlotte begins to lecture her friend on parenting, even suggesting a good spot for the crib. She proceeds to ask Miranda what type of mom she plans to be. To which Miranda has the perfect response?

“Um, a good one?”
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6 bad habits only parents can get away with

Once you reach a certain age, you need to adhere to an accepted level of adulting. Sure, it would be totally fun to sit home in a robe all day drinking White Russians, but we can’t all be “The Dude.”

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Credit: YouTube/Giphy

Society expects something of us grownups, and we can’t get away with the stuff we did in college and our 20s.

There is however, one exception. Parenting. Yes, having children entitles you to a hall pass for screwing your responsibilities. While most folks would not get away with these bad habits, somehow, those of us with spawn are not judged (or at least not as much).

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Smart tech use leads to world of exploration

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The first time I embraced the benefits of letting kids use a mobile device was when my family flew to St. Thomas with our toddler and infant sons. I knew my nearly three-month-old wouldn’t be much of a challenge, rock him or give him the boob, and he would be good to go. My two-and-a-half-year-old, however, was probably going to have a hard time staying calm on a three-plus-hour flight. Fortunately, because of the awesome luck of my husband, we were the owners of a free iPad. I am not sure if we would have bought a tablet, otherwise, but I am glad we had one at the time.

I doubted how long the tablet would hold the interest of my toddler. Although we did allow him to watch television at home, he never stayed focused on any show for too long, often stopping to go play with his toys. Not so with the iPad. My son found certain apps, like puzzles or drawing games captivating, and easily maneuvered from one to the next. For someone with little prior experience with devices, his mastery of the tablet was impressive. Of course, that is no surprise to most parents today. We are raising digital natives. Continue reading

Forgiving myself for my son’s birth 

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“Wow, you are so lucky!”

That’s usually the response I get when I talk about how fast my second child took to come out of my body. Thirty minutes. It took thirty minutes. Second labors areally generally faster, but there’s fast and then there’s, “wait did that just happen?” fast. My oldest son’s three-hour-entry now seems so slow in comparison.

So, other moms think I am lucky, because I never labored in the way most women do. I didn’t have the marathon of contractions and hours waiting for my baby to be born. The pain and discomfort childbirth I felt, while very real, was shortlived. I admit, it is hard to talk about the way I give birth, because I know it’s so much faster than everyone else.

But, I don’t feel lucky. At least not about the birth itself. I feel extremely lucky to have my son, which I will say more about later. As for the birth, mostly I feel guilty. Not as guilty as I did the day he was born. Not as guilty as I felt when we got to take him home. Not as guilty as I felt on his first birthday. But, I feel guilty. Continue reading