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    Entries in sharing (2)


    quick hit: placentas, floor beds and sharing

    A few things from around the internet:

    My doula and friend, David Goldman, was featured on Peaceful Parenting! He's a great resource for information on the benefits of placenta consumption, and I'm so proud to see him getting some recognition, especially on such a well-respected site. 

    Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings wrote a pretty great post on sharing from the Montessori perspective. We like and encorporate into our lives lots of the Montessori approach to child-rearing, but are by no means scholars on the subject. Since Zelda's birth, George has caught a(n age appropriate) case of The Mines, and at playdates it was becoming unclear whether I should force him to share or just let the struggles over toys shake out between the kids. This was just the read I needed, and sparked some great discussion amongst my friends when I shared it on Facebook. Thanks (again), Melissa!

    Speaking of Montessori, we finally made the transition from George's crib to a floor bed. He loved his crib after moving into it from our bed, when he was about 15 months old, and it became apparent by his all-night starfishing and tossing/turning that he needed his own space. I was inspired by this (very old) post at Bloesem Kids and this (also old) post at Sew Liberated and, after a little whining about the change, George is nothing short of thrilled about his new bed. Some of his more recent frustrations seemed to be centered around being "unable" to do things on his own when I'm occupied with Zelda, so I'm hoping that this will foster his independence a little and show him that it can feel just as good (or better) to do things on his own. It seems to be working, so, awesome. 

    Lastly, we've been doing things like this:

    G & Z, same outfit, same age (give or take a few weeks). 


    other people's children

    Until pretty recently, kid-wise we've existed in a pleasant little social bubble, surrounded by friends whose children are nice to be around. Friends who know they can correct my son if they need to, whose children seem comfortable taking gentle direction from me. We have similar, though definitely not identical, parenting styles and expectations and when someone has the occasional bad day it's easy to shrug it off for exactly what it is: an off day, not a behavioral problem. After all, kids are kids just as people are people and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to shove one of my friends every now and again, or steal an especially delicious-looking apple from someone's grasp. 

    I can see the end of those glory days, though. George is old enough to enjoy playing at the local totally awesome play place/coffee shop which we'll no doubt be frequenting this rainy season, while I am gigantic with baby and the toddler energy exceeds the confines of our house. While there the other day, a little boy of about three took it upon himself to police the train table, snatching toys from George's hands, pushing him away and -- what turned out to be my last straw -- gloating as he wrested from George's grip a plastic friend-of-Thomas, "That's right; you're not smart enough." Um, say what?

    I am all for children working out their own conflicts. In fact, in our little group there's rarely intervention unless the fight for a toy escalates to fit-throwing, or someone's being especially hoard-y. But in those cases the grabbing is never mean-spirited, it's just... wanty. They have no concept of denying others to get what they want. Empathy isn't generally counted among the virtues of the under-two set. But insults have never come into play. To chalk that up to age or verbal skill is wrong, I think; we've all heard of or have our own story of a very young child calling someone stupid or using other hurtful language. This was a first, though: I had to stand up to someone, albeit on my knees, who was saying shitty things to my kid. I moseyed over to the train table and said, "I think everyone would have a lot more fun if you shared with the littler ones." 

    It didn't work. 

    Last night, we went out for some pizza with my mom. A family with two little girls sat down about a yard away from our table. One girl looked to be about George's age, and one was three or four. The younger one immediately began screaming the kind of shrill, blood-curdling scream that would signify something being very, very wrong. But no! Life and limb intact, she happily dumped the majority of a shaker of parmesan cheese on the table while the screaming continued, unaddressed. Uncorrected. The other diners' shoulders tensed with every scream. George looked at me, alarmed. The woman next to us plugged her ears. And it went on. And on. Nobody took the kid out of her high chair, nobody advised her of an appropriate volume for the situation. Nobody talked to her. She just. Kept. Screaming. Finally, the shrieker's mother stood up to use the restroom and noticed the woman behind her, fingers in ears. "Ha!" she said, "This lady's plugging her ears!" SCREAM. George began to whimper, and I said, "You know, actually, it's really upsetting our son, too." 

    She wheeled around. "OH! Then we'll just leave!" Sassily. Like, I was supposed to feel bad? 

    Funnily, I did feel bad. I felt bad for the little girl. I felt bad over the fact that her parents were setting her up to be "that kid." The screamer. The one who ruins dinners, who perpetuates the unfortunate reputation of toddlers everywhere from dining rooms to airplanes. Did she want to have a restaurant full of eyes boring holes into the back of her head with every scream? Of course not; she didn't know any better. But, nevertheless, it seemed like my job to protect my worried, whimpering son, much like I intervened with the train table dictator. Neither situation won me friends, and both left me wondering a little if I should've just let it go. I want my son to be able to fight his own battles, but I also want him to know I'm on his side. That I'm paying attention, and I'll be his back-up when his own assertions go unheeded. There are, of course, biggies and littles. I'll continue to let him try to hold tight to the ball until someone stronger takes it away; he'll learn to adjust his expectations, to broaden his horizons... or to follow stronger kids around and seize on a weak moment to recapture his ball. But there's little to be learned from enduring a meal set to screaming. There's no need to harden yourself to insults. At least not at nearly-two.  

    I've been the mother of the shover. I've been the parent scuttling out of a quiet room with a hollering baby, grimacing and mouthing sorry! At my behest, George has given countless "gentle touches" to wronged bonk-ees, kids who found themselves at the end of his kick, and I am well aware that he is no perfect specimen of manners and propriety. I neither want nor expect him to be. But I still hold him to some standards. I want him to succeed. I want him to make friends easily and feel comfortable in all environments. That, to me, means equipping him with some tools: knowing what's appropriate, when, for example. I wish I could ensure for him that these bits of unpleasantness wouldn't arise. In fact, I wish for all of us a life wherein nobody screams during dinner or tells us we're not smart enough. Am I wrong to try to ward off the inevitable? Maybe. But if, given my example, my son turns out like me: an unapologetic shush-er of mid-movie talkers, expert in polite assertions,with the bonus of knowing his mom will stick up for him? Well, that's probably fine by me.