Spectrum Parenting: What I Do Differently

GE DIGITAL CAMERASpectrum Parenting is the term I use for the spread of child-rearing I have going on: Kids from one end to the other.

Consistency in parenting is key, but change is consistent so here are some things I do differently with Little Sir:

Sweet Dreams of Hot Rides: With one of my kids, he would bring toys in to bed all the time and it really bugged me. He was supposed to be sleeping in there! I could probably think up enough reasons why, but none that make a lot of sense to me now. Little Sir’s bed doubles as a used car lot with all the hot wheels he stores there. If we’re looking for cars, look between the covers.

The King’s Speech: With Gorgeous Gal, I was convinced baby words or allowing her to mispronounce words for the cute factor would warp her development and cause long lasting impediments. But, with Little Sir, I admit I don’t say anything when he says “froggy” for foggy or “wiggly coke” for regular coke.

This Too Shall Pass: In general, I think I was much more uptight with the other kids. I don’t know if they wore me down or I am wiser (probably both), but I approach things differently with Little Sir. I have always liked the phrase “choose your battles” and used it for all my parenting choices. But I find the ones I choose with Little Sir are different.  I am not so much lenient but just find there are different battles to choose and more ways to avoid the actual battling and still “win”. I know the day to say “no” to a bribe at the grocery store and the day to say “yes” so we can just get through the line with minimum fuss. There are still strong boundaries, but like the maps of Europe, they can be fluid too.

Regrets are for…Parents: I really try to avoid regrets. It is oftent eh single reason I will choose something risky, I don’t want to have regrets. But I do find myself at the end of the spectrum with Little Sir looking back at the beginning with Gorgeous Gal. When Gorgeous Gal was younger, I had this idea that I could protect her from the ills and pain of the world (or more of it) by preparing her for the realities. There were times I was tough so she would be tough. I was big into “natural consequences”. I now find myself wanting to model the way the world should be. The world will knock them down, I want to be a soft place to land. I want to be a refuge from what can be a harsh reality. I made a lot of mistakes in parenting and was just plain wrong, but mostly I really did the best I could with the what I had in knowledge and general wherewithal. But I do wish I had been…more gentle earlier in this journey.

One of the best things about Spectrum Parenting is with the span of the spectrum, I have PERSPECTIVE. I have seen what worked out and what needs some tweaking. I can hear about a new parenting fad/tool/theory and embrace it.

Or dismiss it.

And I know, if all else fails, save for the therapy fund.


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Spectrum Parenting: What I Do the Same

June 1 2012 042One interesting thing with this Spectrum Parenting (having kids from one end to the other) is how much things changed from when I was expecting-raising Gorgeous Gal to when Little Sir came along (17 years later).

The pregnancy was pretty much the same. Which is to say, Awful.

I am not a cheerful glowing pregnant lady. If you didn’t get a precious baby at the end, I would reject the whole thing. There could be no incentive- other than a baby- to make me think nine months of nausea, pain, alien occupation is worth it.

However, there were a lot of new ideas and products for the baby. And new ideas about raising kids to make them turn out exactly like you planned (see this post on what I think of that). Here is what I do the same:

Words Will Never Hurt Me: I do not believe it warps a child to hear the words “no”, “stop”, or “bad”. “You are driving me crazy” is simply demonstrating good communication. Euphemisms are confusing. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Including “yes”, “no problem”, and “good”. And the best: “I love you.”

And I Use Novocaine at the Dentist Too: I do not believe using pain relief during childbirth is wrong. My Grandmothers were put to sleep and woke up holding their babies. I’m not sure why this had to change. Seems wonderful to me. I actually had a better birth experience with Gorgeous Gal and the protocol than I did with Little Sir. And I didn’t use all that was available, but I do not feel less noble for accepting some relief from what- no matter what they give you- is going to be intensely painful.

You Helped Make the Mess: I am not a neat freak, but I don’t like chaos either. My kids help clean. And from young ages they help. Little Sir helped with the pets beginning at 2. Gorgeous Gal was helping fold laundry at 4. It’s not a labor camp, but I see no reason we can’t all pitch in as much as we are able to keep things from getting out of hand.

God Bless Your Heart: When I had Gorgeous Gal, a lot of my motherly wisdom came from my Grandmothers. That is to say, it was not the most modern. And it worked. Gorgeous Gal lived and the scars barely show. She is thriving. So when I started to get all this advice about Little Sir- when to start solids, how long to breast feed, potty training, etc. I was able to nod and say thank you and move on. In the South, a polite way to deflect unwelcome intrusive advice is to just smile and say, “God bless your heart.”

There are some things I am doing differently. If there is one relationship that proves change is constant- it is parenting.  But that is next week’s post. ;)


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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle- REFUSE

I live in a community where recycling is mandatory. I also live in a community where if you didn’t recycle (rules or no), you’d be horesewhipped out of town. I mean, there’s peace, love and tolerance, but not for filling the dump with recycables.

And I am all for it.

When I go somewhere that doesn’t mandate it or, worse, even have recycling, I am shocked. Not to the point of horsewhipping, but yes, shocked.

I am also thrifty. So I like the reuse part because it just makes sense. Or if I was trying to be cute, cents. I save jars for things and coffee cans and just like to find purposes for junk others might throw away. I’m also saving wine corks and should be able to build a yacht in my retirement.

But this has been known to backfire on me so badly, I question the whole validity of my efforts.

One time, I tried to refurbish a thrift store mirror. The mirror was 10.00. Then the paint I needed was about 15.00 and then I spilled some on the shirt I was wearing and the rug. So by the time I finished the mirror (which looked amazing until it fell off the wall and broke), I did not save one single thing and wasted so much more.

I drug an old stove home and was so excited to save it from the dump. Except that is where it went because I neglected to measure the house and it would not fit through the door. DH drew the line at removing the walls to accommodate the stove.

Pets_2014 001

The adorable Standard Poodle (aka Paris).

I even got a “used” pet- a 10 year old dog. What a good thing. Well, turns out he has a major health problem and what I did was sign us up for some early heartbreak. Don’t get me wrong, he’s wonderful, but even the vet shook his head. “Next time, get a puppy.”

So I am trying again with a swimsuit. I wanted something vintage-looking. But “vintage inspired” was over a 100.00! So I found a real vintage one on ebay. I am excited because with free shipping I feel very “green” and so thrifty.

But given my history…this could go very wrong.


UPDATE: The suit arrived and I love it! Whew!

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