Monday, April 22, 2013

What Would You Do?: Playgroup Edition

At a large playgroup your three year old comes and tells you that another child is hitting her. Do you tell her:

A) "Maybe he just wants to play with you. Go back and see if he wants to join you and your friends."
B) "You don't have to spend time with people who are being mean. Find someone else to play with."
C) "If he hits you again, hit him back."
D) Screw this--just go hit the kid yourself. He's already smacked your one year old in the face with a car and hits or pushes her every time he walks by.

Okay, so options C and D aren't really options. And much as it would be nice, the mom of said child was not doing anything. I didn't know her well, so I tried not to judge. Maybe she's really tired. Maybe she fights this fight with her kid all the time.

When my friend's daughter said that the kid was hitting her, she told her option A. Anyone who knows me will know right away that I told my daughter option B.

What would you do? I see the wisdom of option A. But maybe my own life experience has taught me, the hard way, to not spend time with people who aren't being kind and uplifting. A lesson I'm still learning as an adult. But I also don't want my daughter to learn that she should never play with someone who did hit her once--they are just kids after all and she does her share of pushing when cornered in a playgroup disagreement. The kid in question this time was hurting other kids as he walked by them for no apparent reason, so I definitely didn't see a need for her to interact with him. But I will remember option A in a potential future scenario where a child who is usually nice is having a bad day.

What would you do?

Friday, April 19, 2013


Being a single parent for weeks at a time has highlighted something about having two children for me. While my love multiplied with having another child, everything else remained finite. I do not have any more time, only two hands, just enough room on my lap for both children (if they’re not pushing each other off), and I’m pretty sure I have a lot less patience. Actually one more thing has increased: my exhaustion.

 The only thing I’ve learned is to try to be conscious of giving time and attention to both. Especially to the less vocal of my children. It will never be equal, but I will always be trying.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Where You're Planted

Image from here.
I know there are plenty of people who can beat our record, but in under 8 years of marriage my husband and I have lived in seven different places--and we're headed to our eighth at the end of the month. (I'm not going to count living in a hotel for a week or two while we look for home #8.) This has included living in four, going on five different states. My oldest daughter will have lived in four states before she turns four. My baby will have lived in three states before she's 18 months.

I haven't loved every place we've lived. Our last place was in the middle of nowhere and I really struggled living there. The above quote often haunted me--as I never felt like I bloomed there and worried that the problem was with me and not with the place. Well, both were partially true. But I disliked it there so much that anywhere else sounded good (and that may be the best thing I learned there--gratitude for everywhere else I will ever live)--even Idaho.

I grew up in Utah and many people, usually people who had moved to Utah from California and other places, made fun of Utah. So we Utahns made fun of Idahoans. Maybe if you grow up in Idaho you are glad you don't live in Montana, and if you live in Montana you're relieved to not live in the Dakotas. And if you live in the Dakotas...maybe you're just happy to not be in Canada? Anyway, I never thought I'd want to live in Idaho.

But as I face another move--our biggest yet--I know I'm going to miss Idaho with its friendly people, its wide open spaces, its lack of traffic, and its big blue sky. And I've worried about moving to Orlando, Florida--a place I've never been. I worry about Jurassic-sized bugs, alligators, heat and humidity, the lack of mountains. But mostly I worry about my children's safety and the kind of environment I will be raising them in.

I found comfort this week in a quote from my church's General Conference:

"How we raise our children is more important than where we raise our children." - Elder Stanley G. Ellis

So I'm taking a deep breath as we take this giant leap of faith into the unknown. I'll keep my children close, my prayers for them frequent. And keep my eyes open for new things to love. A year ago I never would have guessed that I would be so sad to move away from Idaho of all places. Let's see what Florida has to offer.

Article found here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Choices in Childbirth

First Child: Hospital Birth
Second Child: Home Birth

“Those among us who deliver ‘naturally’ strut around like war horses.”

This is the line from Bringing Up Bebe that upset me. For one thing, the author was not living in the U.S. and  viewed American women who chose natural (drug-free) childbirth from across the ocean through magazines or other media. There was no indication that she knew anyone personally who had delivered naturally--let alone who strutted around the fact. Women like that might exist somewhere, but they are not the norm. It does not even come close to my own experience or what I've seen with other women who chose natural childbirth.

I rarely volunteer that I delivered naturally. I'm not ashamed, but it rarely is met with kindness or even neutrality. Sometimes people are merely curious, which I'm fine with. But most often people think you're crazy at best and a bad mother at worst.

Just a few days ago I walked into a conversation about another mom who had delivered naturally because she "likes pain." The person speaking then saw me and said, "Well, you know. You did it." I didn't really respond, but the idea that women who deliver naturally enjoy pain, or even have higher pain tolerance, is not true in most if not all cases. I normally have very low pain tolerance. And I complain a lot. If my toe hurts or I have a headache, you're going to hear about it. I didn't choose natural childbirth because I wanted pain. I chose it because the pain (and there was a lot of it, and I screamed bloody murder during the pushing phase) was worth the easier recovery to me.

My sister delivered both of her children drug free and she says that people don't trust her experience as much as they do mine. I delivered one with an epidural in a hospital and one completely naturally in my home. Experience number two was infinitely better, pain and all. For me. Doesn't mean it would be better for you. And I'm very careful that I don't tell anyone what they should choose with such a personal decision. (I have met someone who tells everyone that they need to deliver at home--funny enough it was a man telling a woman.)

Part of why I'm so careful about judging other people for their childbirth choices is because I've faced so much judgment with mine. Why would you endanger your child like that? Well, obviously I didn't feel I was endangering my child or I wouldn't have made that decision. A friend who chose natural childbirth with her first child after years of infertility was urged to not take a chance on her first child. As if those who get pregnant more easily are willing to risk a baby's life. Or as if she would love a second child less than her first.

So bring your curiosity, but try to keep your judgments to yourself. Because choosing a path different than the norm is difficult. And a choice of a different childbirth path is extremely personal and is often met with hostility even years after the choice was made.