Parenting Catch-all

That is awesome Maq! (And Stellan)

sometimesdee wrote:
m0nk3yboy wrote:

With the Gruffalo, the message I took from it was that even if you are 'out numbered, or 'out gunned' you can still use your intellect and wit to 'beat the odds' or 'over come the bully'.

Dee, which Wiki page gave you the 'rape culture' vibe, because that's really not apparent in the book? It's more about empowerment through quick wittedness than deceit and deception.

I meant the summary of the plot. A common tactic to get rid of unwanted attention is to pretend you have a boyfriend who's big and tough. So in that case, the woman is the mouse, and claims her boyfriend is the gruffalo.

But yeah, if people have problems with the Gruffalo being deceptive, then you're sure as heck not going to like Brother Anansi.

I guess that would be the point of differentiation. The mouse isn't 'telling a story to avoid unwanted attention' he's using his wits to avoid being eaten.

OK, so, here's my take on the story, and why it is a 'good' story for children. YMMV, and cultural gaps are both acknowledged, and respected

The mouse is walking through the deep dark wood, when he encounters a predator (fox). He is 'given a choice' of returning to the fox's house 'for lunch'.
Knowing that 'he would be the lunch' the mouse invents the character of the Gruffalo. The mouse scares off the oppressor with their own threatening features. In the case of the fox, the Gruffalo has terrible teeth and claws.

The mouse continues walking through the deep dark wood, when he encounters another predator (this time an owl). He is 'given a choice' of returning to the owl's tree 'for lunch'.
The mouse once again relies on his own inventiveness to avoid mortal danger, scaring off the oppressor by highlighting their own threatening features. In the case of the owl, the Gruffalo has turned out toes, knobbly knees and a wart on his nose.

The mouse then encounters the final predator (this time a snake). The same choice is given, and avoided in similar fashion.
To avoid mortal danger the mouse scares off the snake by highlighting that the Gruffalo has eyes of orange, his tongue is black, and has purple prickles all over his back.

At this point, the mouse has survived certain death through wit and cunning. Scaring off his oppressors by 'turning their own threats against them'. (personal reflection)

The mouse then happens upon a Gruffalo.

The mouse, now faced once again with the threat of being 'someone's lunch' rolls the die again, and gambles on his own cunning. Bluffing the Gruffalo, he makes the bold claim that 'I am the scariest creature in this wood, follow me, and soon you'll see, everyone is afraid of me'.

As the Gruffalo and mouse walk back through the wood, they encounter all of the three previous predators. Mouse, greets them all, but seeing the Gruffalo behind him, they all run off to hide.

Shaken by the fact that 'a little mouse' is feared by so many, the Gruffalo reconsiders eating the mouse, and runs off.

The mouse, having survived all threats, finally finds a nut to eat. All is quiet in the deep dark wood. The mouse found his nut, and the nut was good.

The mouse had, in conclusion, turned the scary/oppressive/threatening behaviours of the bully/predator/oppressor on themselves, and when confronted with the collective scariness of themselves, they turn tail and run.

For me, the Gruffalo is a tale of triumph against adversity, and survival, where there was none to be had. I use the story to teach my girls that no matter the situation, no matter how grim, you always have choices. If you can keep a level head, and keep your cool in a crisis, you have a better chance of survival. Personally, this was the only way I survived my own childhood, but that's a different story, for a different thread.

I'll confess my ignorance, I did not know this story. And so far, we've been sticking to the Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Cat in the Hat and other Dr S' books.
I like your take on it, M0nk3yboy, for sure. And I'm
Guessing that they don't see the animals having genders at that age anyhow.

Baby number two just slept through the night for the first time, toddler slept in until 6:30am!! Feels good but of course, comes with a whole set of problems for me which include but aren't limited to changing clothes.

Well, "unwanted attention" is a euphemism in this case. You could replace it with "getting raped or murdered" if it pleases you. But I agree with you that the deception in this story is used as an effective defense mechanism. Of course, if you're worried about it sending the wrong message about lying, you could always follow it up with The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Eleima wrote:

To be fair, a lot of children's tale are really dark, at least in their original form. The Little Mermaid? Got legs but felt like she was walking on glass constantly. And didn't get the prince in the end, and dissolve into sea foam. Hop-o'-My-Thumb? His parents lost him in the forest. On purpose. Heck, even the more modern ones do it. Bambi's *mom* dies! And that scene in Dumbo when they lock up his mom; totally brutal. Lion King: Mufasa. Etc.

This is a bit of a 'love', but I felt it kinda belonged here. I've been trying to work all day, at home, so hubby's been (mostly) managing the boys by himself. And I've been feeling some perverse pleasure in seeing him struggle with our "toddler of terror". I know I shouldn't, and when he reprimands him, I'm on board (never show a crack for the spawn to exploit). But good grief, it's sweet payback for all those evenings when he comes home from work, and I've been juggling dinner, breastfeeding and baths for both by the time he gets there. And when I say they've been a bit of a handful, he usually laughs "no way, but they're adorable."
I'm a terrible person. :D

Eleima, you're not a terrible person. Both my wife and I at different times have been the SAHP, and certainly whoever has primary kid duty just needs a break at the end of the day. I would like to say as the dad who sometimes is getting home at 10-11 pm that I don't like having to leave childcare mainly to my wife. But I am busting butt to put food on the table. The way I try to manage things is giving my wife a much needed break during the weekend, and I'm hoping your husband is able to do the same for you.

See, that's the thing, jdzappa. I'm not the SAHP. Neither of us are. I also work full-time I also bust my butt to put food on the table, just as he does. :/
He gets bonus points for doing the cleaning (I haven't cleaned a toilet in months, yay!) and most of the cooking on other days though. And he's handling 90% of the house and kids this week while I work. So he's by no means slacking off, just not very understanding on those days when I'm handling the spawn solo and they decide to act up.

Eleima wrote:

See, that's the thing, jdzappa. I'm not the SAHP. Neither of us are. I also work full-time I also bust my butt to put food on the table, just as he does. :/
He gets bonus points for doing the cleaning (I haven't cleaned a toilet in months, yay!) and most of the cooking on other days though. And he's handling 90% of the house and kids this week while I work. So he's by no means slacking off, just not very understanding on those days when I'm handling the spawn solo and they decide to act up. :D

Wow that is rough. My wife does some editing work from home and lately the kiddo is doing half day pre-k so it's a bit easier now.

My problem with The Gruffalo is that it's basically The Tiger and the Fox. But the book that really annoys me is Guess How Much I Love You. That goddamned nutbrown hare.

Now Sandra Boynton: I think I like reading her books even more than my daughter likes hearing them!

Gravey wrote:

My problem with The Gruffalo is that it's basically The Tiger and the Fox. But the book that really annoys me is Guess How Much I Love You. That goddamned nutbrown hare.

Is that the one with The Topper in it? Damn, that book is annoying.

I don't think you're wrong, Dee. Having a child is hugely personal, incredibly difficult decision. And one I feel you're better prepared to make once you've already had one. If you think you can't handle another, at least now, then that's that. Both parents have to be on board. Honestly, I don't think your mother really has a vote, no matter how involved she'd be in baby #2's life. Maybe you can negotiate with Absurd, get a IUD instead of your tubes tied, something not as permanent, and revisit the idea in a year or two. Maybe you'll have changed your mind, maybe you won't. But you should definitely not let yourself pushed into another pregnancy if you don't want it yourself. You're not being selfish, you're also thinking of AbsurdBaby and potential, hypothetical Baby #2. Babies are happiest when their parents are doing well, and if you're not in the right mindset, then it's pretty much a no brainer for me.

But of course, that's just my two cents, FWIW, YMMV, etc. *hug*

I highly second Eleima on the general tenor of things. If you don't want any more, don't have any more, period. You've got to get into your quiet place and ask that of yourself honestly, with no input from anyone. After all, if Absurd and your mother die, you get to carry all that yourself. You gotta be prepared for that.

At the same time, I did have two, and I find two more manageable than one for a variety of reasons. The two chief reasons are conflict and play; both of which are to make my life easier. It's easier to have two kids to play off each other as natural conflicts arise. It's a lot harder to teach one kid how to resolve conflicts with peers if she has no peers (requires lots of playdates) or if all her peers are children you cannot really control (requires playdates with parents who will cooperate). Also absolves you of having to play with kids' toys and games all day for a decade. Both these reasons are for ME and not for anyone else.

I'll reiterate that these worked for me, and I am not you, Dee. Neither is Absurd. Be selfish. Decide what you want for yourself. I'm instructing you to do that. Think of doing things for your own reasons first, then square it with everyone else afterwards. Don your own oxygen mask first. It's selfish, but it's also the only thing that makes sense.

That's some great piece of advice, LarryC. I hadn't considered that two will play together and off each other as they grow, since my number two is still very small. That's why I suggested non permanent options like the IUD. When my eldest was a year old, I would've said he was going to be an only child: colic and sleepless nights, no family to help... But neither of us had envisioned not giving him a sibling, since we each have a sister. My husband isn't as close to his as I am to my baby sister, but... Yeah. Two was both a minimum (and maybe a maximum) for us.

Like I said, it's not an easy decision but I figure that if you're in this state of mind, now is not the time. Revisit the idea later, in a year perhaps. And if you still don't want another then, that's okay too.

Eleima wrote:

See, that's the thing, jdzappa. I'm not the SAHP. Neither of us are. I also work full-time I also bust my butt to put food on the table, just as he does. :/
He gets bonus points for doing the cleaning (I haven't cleaned a toilet in months, yay!) and most of the cooking on other days though. And he's handling 90% of the house and kids this week while I work. So he's by no means slacking off, just not very understanding on those days when I'm handling the spawn solo and they decide to act up. :D

This is the point at which my wife and I started dating again.


My daughter was almost 4, my son was 12 months, and one of us would come home to be greeted by the other spouse's not-so-cheerful, "YOUR TURN!" We realized that with both of us working, and trading off who's doing what with the kids and the house, we were not having the relationship we had before. Not the "oh to be carefree without kids" relationship; I mean just talking to each other in a sane way when we're not both very tired. Being together.

So almost every Friday night since then, we have had "Date Night" (no relationship to the movie). At the beginning, we took ballroom dancing lessons together, and then went out to eat. Some Fridays we so did NOT want to make the physical effort to go out, much less dance. But 10 minutes into dancing with each other...magic. We're a couple again. Without Friday date nights we are...grumpy or just out of sorts the next week.

These days we vary what we do on date night. Maybe a movie and dinner. Maybe go somewhere to walk around for a long time, and then go out to eat. Maybe renting a hotel room for 3 hours at the "love hotel" nearby...maybe getting the suite when it's on sale (jacuzzi)...and NOT going out to eat. Yeah, maybe that's TMI for some, but Friday night for us is about having a chance to sit down and talk as a couple for an hour or two, and doing something...with less talking. Honestly, it's very worth the money, and if we had less money, we'd still do it, and our date would be walking around for free, and McDonald's.

One thing to help keep this in perspective. Your kids are learning what life is all about with you as a model, which has absolutely nothing to do with what you tell them to do or allow them to do. It's what they see you doing, it's what they see *you* allow *yourself* to do. If life is all about self-abnegation, self-sacrifice, only living for others, being "perfect" for everyone else...Well, don't be surprised if your kid models this exceptionally well. Like the "life is not about any personal happiness, just suffering for others." If your goal is to make your kids happy...bad freaking plan to never let them see you happy.

Just not a good freaking role model, to be honest. And my wife and I had...some of the worst role models possible. We consciously are breaking this pattern with our own family.

If they see mommy and daddy taking time to enjoy each other. If they see mommy and daddy reading for enjoyment. Playing an instrument or singing karaoke for fun. Mom and Dad playing silly games with them...Chances are, this becomes their normal. Life has good stuff.

That said, each person in our house is also entitled to "quiet time". Something that replaced naps around age three and a half. You get time to be by yourself, doing what you enjoy doing, and nobody is allowed to bother you (even your little brother or older sister...). And since mommy and daddy take quiet time as's not something you do until you're grown up enough to stop. It's just what you do.

I don't know if Greece is worse than the U.S. for this, because I really wasn't consciously watching parenting when I lived in the U.S.. Here, you see parents filled with phobias and anxieties about...everything. Food, play, clothes, cleanliness. And wow are they passing on these anxieties and phobias to their kids. The message, "OH MY GOD, FOOD IS INVOLVED. TIME TO FREAK OUT." gets passed on really well. I still remember half of a seafood restaurant coming to watch our daughter eat octopus, squid, wild greens, actual Greek salad, etc, when she was 14 months old. Why not? She'll try anything. No worries.

You won't be your father. As for advice and support for being an autistic parent, there are blogs out there that might be helpful, such as the Autism Women's Network. The link is specifically to being a mother and being on the spectrum.

My husband and I did have a second child, because we both knew we wanted another. At that point we did not know our son was autistic (he was not yet 2 when I became pregnant again). Like LarryC says, having a second child is really good for him, because they love each other and want to interact with one another. My son's autism also seems to be mild, which does make it easier to have two. The supports available now for children on the spectrum are so much more extensive than they were even ten years ago. For my family, yes, my son's disability is a stressor, but it's also manageable.

I really hear you about staying at home. It would make me miserable. Is there any way that childcare is a possibility, to get you out of the house and possibly into a job? That's often where I get the quiet time I need.

The advice about figuring out what you really want is excellent. Many of the cons you mention have some degree of fear behind them. Examine those fears to see whether they are realistic.

There's no right or wrong answer here.

BTW, you are not a failure for leaving grad school. Looking at academia now, my reaction is, "good for you for getting out alive!" So many people don't finish for all kinds of reasons. My husband barely missed the cutoff for the qualifying exam for the Ph.D. in his physics grad program and left with an MS. He would have been miserable if he'd gone through with the Ph.D. He is a fantastic community college professor. He runs the physics program where he works and has won many teaching awards. It can be very frustrating, but it gives his life much more purpose than doing research.

Dee, I feel like I’m about to board that boat that you’re on.

My wife has some strong feelings that being an only child would suck for our daughter, and is keen to have another kid at some point in the not-too-distant future. I’ve been crystal-clear that I’m making no decisions until the first kid is a year old at least, as how the hell am I supposed to know whether I want more kids before I’d had a chance to have the one?

Thing is, I feel like there’s a good chance I’m going to come down on the “don’t really want another kid” side of the fence, and I’m pretty damn certain that she’s going to be on the other, and I’m not looking forward to the process of taking that fence down. There’s no easy out. One way, she’s eternally disappointed, the other way, I’m eternally resentful.

sometimesdee wrote:

Please help me find a way to explain to Absurd why we shouldn't have any more kids.

"Honey, I don't want any more kids."

Honestly, sometimes that's what it comes down to. It may be that, through discussion, you might become comfortable with the idea; maybe your fears and worries can be soothed or eliminated. Great! Then you can consider it again. It may be that, through discussion, you remain committed to only having one for any number of reasons. Great! You can stick to your guns.

But having kids is, as you are all too well aware, a Big Deal. f*ck, sometimes my fish feel like too big a responsibility, and I only kinda wanted them. Having a child should come as a result of the ultimate Enthusiastic Consent, not because you've been worn down into acceptance.

My wife waited quietly (for months and months) after letting me know she wanted to try again, when I initially was against the idea. I don't know if I worried more financially, or what pregnancy does to my wife's back problems, or just that they would *outnumber* us. (which still sounds a tad crazy but..).

Then one day my wife was telling me about a friend of hers who had just gotten pregnant. And I saw this shared look of joy in my wife's eyes that I remembered from when she was pregnant...and then somehow all of my objections seemed...silly. I insisted we go to her OB/GYN and have a very straight forward talk about risks and such. My wife is now 43. And her doctor cleared her in every way possible.

I'm very lucky that she knew me well enough not to push, and just to let me take my own time processing, thinking, feeling, whatever. She was pretty confident I'd come around to more kids though...

So, we've been trying for like nine months now. It's sorta funny how when you're trying *not* to get pregnant, you're hyper-vigilant about birth control. And now that we've been trying, and not succeeding so far...i don't know. It just seems funny. For now we're adopting a "joyful if it happens, love our family as if it doesn't". But i know each month when she finds out she's definitely not pregnant, she gets a bit sad. Much, much easier to be me in this equation.

It's impossible not to have a bias on this one, sometimesdee. Nobody should have to bring a child into this world unless they want to. That part's easy, but then feelings muddy up everything.

A couple of my kids inherited some of my wiring. I'm okay at compensating usually, but I'd wish autism spectrum on no one - especially not them. Then there's our middle child, who inherited Type 1 diabetes from my wife's genetics. My wife is not a Type 1 diabetic, but her father and his twin brother have it. They felt terrible pain when they learned it had been passed on. If my wife had not already been pregnant with our third at the time of that diagnosis, we likely would not have had another.

So we have challenges above and beyond just having kids. Luckily I'm extremely patient and laid back, my wife is one of those rare few who was born to be a mother, and she is a psych/soc double-major as well. She also detested growing up an only child (ZERO to do with your situation, just a factor for us) so I knew when we married that multiples were in our future.

When we agreed we were done I had a minor procedure completed which made it final. It was much better than putting her through major surgery, in my opinion. However, we were on the same page at that time (and remain there). It made the decision a non-issue.

There. I've shared. How much does that help though? How much does any of what's been said here help? I suppose with all that has been posted you can pick up what seems to fit, examine it, and integrate it into your current situation as best fits your family and life. There are no right answers between the different paths, just different journeys to travel. Whatever you choose, I wish you the ability to perceive the opportunities for happiness and contentment which are along the way. They will be there regardless.

LouZiffer wrote:

There. I've shared. How much does that help though? How much does any of what's been said here help?

Not much, but it felt good to get it out.

Dee, you're not being selfish. You're aware of yourself and what you want and are capable of. Just do your best to communicate those things. It's your life too.

I'm having a hard time phrasing this, so please have some patience with me.
Dee -- This is a huge issue for your relationship. Not being on the same page as your partner about kids is something that's really tough to get past. It's also something that's intensely personal, and supercharged with emotion.
Have you considered doing some couples counseling to help you both work through your feelings? Something like this may be a place to call in the pros.
I would reiterate the message of patience above. Lack of sleep can really f*ck with your head. Consider giving yourself and your family time to fully recover from your first (both physically and emotionally) before opening discussion on #2.
Regardless of outcome, ((hugs)) from me and the Phish clan.

How can I explain to my 6 and almost 5 year old daughters that "Mummy gets crazy every month" without sounding like a mad man?

She has gotten a lot worse since having a bad reaction to a Mirena IUD, and this is compounded through increased levels of stress at work, and I believe an early onset menopause (she's turning 40 this year).

I get that the best approach is to discuss it with her, but right now, she's not in the right place for that discussion. Whenever I mention it 'normally' she gets super defensive and lashes out, saying I'm the one with the issue, and my depression is the problem.

For the record, the depression is pretty much managed at present.

I even asked if it's possible to get blood work done, you know, to get science to 'shut me up', once and for all, but again, no dice. I'm actually considering approaching my boss, to see if I can shorten my shift, so I can get the girls to bed at night, but that just puts us under more financial pressure.

Rock and an effing hard place...

Coming at the problem from a different angle. Introduce more soy into hte diet as the phyto-estrogen in it will assist with the hormonal imbalances associated with menopause.

sometimesdee wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

There. I've shared. How much does that help though? How much does any of what's been said here help?

Not much, but it felt good to get it out.

I shared your story with my wife last night. We both agree that it's really difficult. Phishposer did a good job of typing out exactly (or at least really close to) how I perceive this situation. Perspective seems to fit better than heavy opinions here.

In meaningful relationships trust and honesty in all things is never a bad thing IMO. Your posts here, where AD can read them with us, move along that path. No relationship is without tension. Even large differences can be accepted when they're identified, discussed, and understood. You're working at it. That's a good thing! Maybe it will lead to compromise of a sort someday, or maybe that difference will continue to be part of the landscape of your lives together. Either way it deserves recognition and respect.

Prozac wrote:

Coming at the problem from a different angle. Introduce more soy into hte diet as the phyto-estrogen in it will assist with the hormonal imbalances associated with menopause.

She switched out to soy milk just recently, and we increased the number of times tofu was consumed, even snacking on 'fresh frozen' soy beans. It's either had no effect, or aggravated it.

That would be because the soy->estrogen level thing is a myth, mostly used to emasculate male vegetarians.

EDIT: apparently, I've been imagining things. Kinda proves my previous point, though.

Really? My wife is vegetarian and has been trying to minimise soy protein based intake because, based on her research into it, the phyto-estrogens can increase her levels over and above those normally produced which would cause an imbalance with the progesterone. Have you got any links that debunk this as a myth? If so I'll point her towards them.

It cropped up a few times in the searches I did when looking into vegetarian alternatives for my kids, so any info would be appreciated, either way.

Rough week this week. Leila (6 years old for reference) was very sassy, pouty, crying and fussing a lot, and just generally a little monster. I'm working on that book recommended earlier in the thread, but none of the approaches I've read in it yet were making a dent. First week that I've actually fully run out of patience with her and "angry/disgruntled dad" voice has been in heavy use since Thursday.

Its just tough figuring out how to help her grow out of unreasonable drama into more rational responses and behavior. I don't want her to grow up into an entitled whiner.

Do you think there might be something deeper agitating her to cause such behavior? Just a thought - my children are younger. Good luck. I think every parent loses patience and gets angry.

My 20 month old will be having her adenoids removed next week and double tubes put in. Any advice?