Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I parent like my mom

We went to a parenting workshop this evening, and I realized one very eye-opening thing.

I approach parenting in a very, very similar way to my mother.

I should qualify that by saying I'm similar to how she used to be when I was little. Her parenting philosophies may have changed over the years. That happens, especially when parents become grandparents and they have a whole lifetime's experience to apply to a new generation of little ones. Even my mother's flavor of sarcasm has changed. I definitely emulate her old sarcasm more.

(I'm not Sarcasm Woman every moment. But I can't claim to be sarcasm-free, either. It might be a reaction to stress. You know, some people laugh nervously, some people scoff nervously? I'm working toward a kinder, gentler sarcasm, and my mother wasn't unbearably cruel either.)

Some suggestions were made that I just can't see myself doing, but parenting is not an exact science. A phrase that breaks one child's heart will inspire another child to go on a gleefully destructive rampage.

AwesomeCloud had his first parentless hour of daycare, and he did remarkably well. At the very end he decided he'd had quite enough and dissolved into tears. He needed us! "He has separation anxiety!" I crowed to the poor frazzled teenager who handed him over to us. "That's a very good thing!"


On an unrelated note, I just want to mention that as the mother of a child with developmental delays, I do not find it at all charming when people tell me I should be glad he's not functioning at age level. This comes up frequently about his walking skills. Many, many people, family and strangers alike, warn me in tones of doom that when he starts to walk on his own, ohhhh, then things will be different!

Yeah, they'll be different. He'll be walking as well as kids half his age. I don't want my kid to have developmental delays. He's overcoming them at double speed, which is really neat, but the delays themselves are not a part of his inherent being and he's quite capable of overcoming them all.

Yes, sometimes I express a hint of exasperation that he won't walk by himself. He can, he wants to, and he gets exasperated too, but he just won't take that step. He's taken every step leading up to it, but he still won't quite do it. He's strong enough, experienced enough, and way past old enough. He knows he should do it. I do too.

He's unbearably cute, but his failure to walk by himself, and his other delays, are not the source of that cuteness. He should be encouraged, pushed, and shoved into age-level development. He needs that. He doesn't need to remain a baby.

Conversely, when I tell people that my cat with cerebellar hypoplasia is the best pet I've ever had, and the easiest, people mutter and frown.

So loving a crippled kitten as she is is unacceptable, but I should be hoping my son takes his time learning to walk?

Um.... is.... isn't that backwards? I mean, the cat doesn't jump on the furniture, and I'm happy with that, but that's wrong somehow... my son doesn't walk across the room, and I want him to, and I should be content instead.... backwards.

(I'm telling ya. Backwards.)

(By the way, the crippled cat is a very easy pet. Just sayin'.)


  1. I used to feel so annoyed when people said those types of things to me when the Tongginator was so delayed. They just have no idea...

  2. I have some weird moments when I realize I'm saying those exact same phrases my Mom used to say!! We get some odd looks and an occasional comment because our Maia still has some delays in her social skills and physical development. She bumps into things a lot and is still really doppy at times. I think, because she's 4 and 1/2, that people assume that she's been with us a long time (since most children from China used to come home around age 1), and they assume that something is terribly wrong. We look at her and see how far she's come and forget that she still has a little ways to go.

  3. I had a wonderful adoption social worker tell me, before Willow came home, that gymnastics would be very helpful to her brain, body, and brain-body circuitry (I've found the classes to be wonderful for her in so many ways--and we have a lot of fun there together).

    Meryl in Minnesota