Archives for April 2007

Beautiful Flowers

One of the best things about 2-year-olds is that, in their eyes, there is no difference between a wilted dandelion and the sweetest rose.  They are both just beautiful flowers.

Although, you have to watch it when you’re smelling dandelions, or you end up with an oddly yellow nose.  Or so I hear. 😉

You Should Go

 I decided to take a trip to Winners today.  I needed new shoes for spring and summer, and I had some vague idea that Winners has shoes.  I didn’t know for sure because, you see, I had never actually been before.

I have to say, Winners was great.  There were lots of shoes and clothes, all fairly affordably priced.  Hannah and I did very well:

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The Money Pit

Last night Jon and I were discussing home improvement. Again. We have a couple of projects that we’re contemplating taking on this year. We’re finding ourselves re-hashing arguments for and against the expenditures that we’ve had since we first walked around this house more than 4 years ago.

Owning a house can be a major financial drain. Especially a slightly older fixer-upper like ours. It’s around 27 years old now, so of course it’s not quite the showhome that it was back in the early ’80s. Fixing it is expensive, especially for people like us who are not exactly into the whole do-it-yourself ethic. We’re not particularly handy, we have a small child who gets in the way, and we seem to lack the time to run a vaccuum over the carpet. We are not going to take the initiative to jack hammer our own back yard.

As we face these expenses, and try to make good decisions, we struggle with two opposing ideas. The first says that investing in our home, turning it into a lovely retreat for our family, is a sound financial decision. Moving is expensive, and some work on the house improves property value, so we’re saving money by re-doing our back yard. The other idea says that there are better places to put the money, like paying down our mortgage or investing in our businesses (made more pertinent because we are generally taking money out of the business to do the renovation). Plus, doing renovations is inconvenient, messy, and an all around pain in the butt.

So, what to do? There is no answer. It all comes down to who can live with what, and who can’t, and who can make their case more forcefully. We’ll be sure to let you all know about our next project, if and when we decide to go ahead with it.

Ain’t Misbehavin’

I have this principle about how young children learn. Where it came from, I don’t know, but what it says is this: Young children learn most of the things that they need to know on their own. A corollary is: Child development comprises a variety of stages, some of which are irritating, that are passed through at roughly the same rate regardless of external influence.

This principle has freed me as a parent. It means that I don’t have to impose external penalties, offer rewards, or take toddler behaviour personally. Temper tantrums, throwing things, failure to follow instructions, all normal 2-year-old behaviours. Soon enough 2-year-olds turn into 3-year-olds, or 6-year-olds, or 14-year-olds. They stop acting like 2-year-olds (for the most part) and move on to exciting new development stages. I don’t believe that using a naughty stool, or spanking, or having a sticker chart will really speed up that process. And I don’t believe that normal behaviour is wrong or bad or anything to worry about.

This doesn’t mean that I do whatever Hannah wants. I have carried a kicking and screaming toddler across a parking lot, held her down, and strapped her into a car seat more times than I care to remember. I have denied requests to have chocolate chips for breakfast, and I have moved out of hitting range and said, “Hitting hurts!” I have brushed Hannah’s teeth and applied various ointments and potions over her objections. I know much more about the world than she does, after all, and that’s why I’m the parent. Sometimes all that a parent can do is offer explanations, and get the job done as quickly and gently as possible.

We all make mistakes, no matter how old we are. It’s taken me 30 years to realize that this is not the end of the world, that it’s OK. Making mistakes, doing the wrong thing sometimes doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact there are no bad people, or good people, there are only people. We all have strengths and weaknesses, flaws and secrets and transcendent moments. It’s more important to make whatever contribution you can than to always do the absolute right thing, in absolutely the right way. So I trust in my kid, offer her whatever help I can, and enjoy the ride.

Of course, sometimes, I do sort of want to run away to a spa. Because learning is awfully noisy, and terribly messy, when a toddler is involved. 😉

Canucks Fan

Hannah has always watched hockey. When Jon’s around he often has the game on. When he’s not around he’s usually out covering hockey. So, Hannah and I will watch a little bit and she’ll cheer. She yells, “Go Daddy!” and “Go Hockey!” When the players take their helmets off for the anthem, she worries and says, “Where’e hockey’s top?”

So, it should come as no surprise that when we were watching the game the other night Hannah needed a white towel of her own.

Every Canucks fan needs a white towel

Hannah cheers on the hockey players

Go Canucks go!

Parenting Philosophies

Since Hannah was born I’ve learned that moms form social networks largely based on parenting philosophy. In many ways it’s easier to overcome vast differences in background, socio-economic status, or ethnicity than it is to overcome how you approach sleep or discipline. We all love our kids so much, and we take the choices that we make very seriously. When someone who I otherwise like takes a totally different path in raising their kids, it’s hard not to feel defensive and critical. After all, I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and I probably feel more strongly about parenting than anything else that I have ever done.

There are categories, or labels, that we use to classify ourselves and others. Often these groups form around books or magazines, with certain authors becoming revered figures, or objects of scorn. Whether you prefer Dr. Sears or Gary Ezzo becomes a sorting method, a way to identify your mama tribe. By the way, I prefer Sears, although I’ve never read Ezzo. In my circles it’s understood that he’s Bad News, although I don’t know anyone else who’s read his books either. 😉

This is something that I struggle with, because on the one hand I don’t like passing judgment. On the other hand, congregating with like-minded parents is so helpful. We can provide each other with a sounding board and much-needed parenting support. I don’t feel like I have to explain or defend my choices, since we’re already on the same page. I don’t hear advice that makes me cringe – instead I hear ideas that are genuinely helpful. So, I keep on, and do my best to be inclusive and open-minded. I think this is the best that anyone can do.

Photos Are Back

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Jon and I have a new computer. The upshot is that it’s taking us a while to get all of our software set up. This week, we finally got our photo editing software back up and running. So, lest you think our daughter has vanished from the face of the earth, here she is at Maplewood Farm:

Hannah at the farm

Chasing the ducks at Maplewood Farm

Making friends with a goat

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