The Great Parental Debate

Before we had kids my husband and I didn’t really give flying whatsit about how people were as parents. We would see all sorts of things and judge in a way we had no basis to do so. Living in a city I see a lot of kids being brought up by nannies because Mum and Dad are working. For many this isn’t a choice if bills are to be paid and for others a career is too important. The weekends are clearly a massive nightmare for the biological parents and some simply don’t know how to handle their kids; we once over-heard a father says to his small boy, “Behave yourself! Stop acting like a child!” His son could not have been older than 6 years old. Perhaps this father works hard to provide for his family and was tired that particular day, I don’t know, but to tell a kid to not act like a kid…?

Anyways, my husband and I are parents to two fantastic children who are rambunctious, fun, artsy and loud. They are also two of the most loving and caring kids I have ever known. My youngest son adores his older sister and follows her around like a puppy while my daughter pretends not to enjoy the constant attention and bosses him around like a diva! As parents we haven’t really attempted to mold our young breed too much as we want them to learn for themselves, we just like to guide them and try to stop them from nearing danger so it stuns us when we see other parents going against the grain and doing things that we feel is potentially dangerous and incredibly selfish.

Everyone is entitled to parent in their own way but I ask you this: is putting your child’s health at risk because of your beliefs really worth it? For example, not getting your child vaccinated because of all the hype around autism. I recently listened to a parent on CBC news radio claiming vaccinations weren’t safe and posed more of a risk than the disease itself. ‘ARE YOU CRAZY!’ I screamed at the radio. If you decided not to vaccinate your child, are you really keeping them safe or are you potentially putting them at even greater risk? Do these parents stop to consider just how  lucky they are to have access to these potentially life saving drugs? Do they stop to consider how many children and adults have died throughout history before vaccinations were found? How many parents would have begged for a way to save their dying child? Some of the diseases and illness are still around today and children do die so flip that coin and ask the question: Do I want to protect my child or do I want to put them at risk?

I feel the same way about parents who try to mess about with feeding young infants. I read an article on the web about a mother who kept her 6 month old daughter on breast milk alone. No other foods. She went on to say she knew her daughter was hungry all the time and woke up every 1-2 hours through the night yet she continued to say nothing was better for her child than what she was giving her. Well, correct on the breast milk but NO to consciously letting your child be hungry. Again, there are children in countries that don’t have the access to foods and here is a mother actively denying her daughter nutritional foods. Iron, Vitamins, essential nutrients are all babies need for healthy development and it can be found in egg yolks, bananas, vegetables. Why, why, WHY do people do this? Why doesn’t she try living purely on breast milk and see how far that gets her before she keels over?

I understand there are some children who, for heath reasons, really can’t have the vaccinations and I know of children who have such severe allergies that their diets are a minefield of trial and error so I understand that some parents and children just don’t have a choice but for all the others, there is no excuse. Do the research, learn about Andrew Wakefield and his little ‘conflict of interest’ while putting out his so-called research on the MMR vaccine and it’s ‘link’ to Crohn Disease and Autism. Look for those magical words that say, ‘no real evidence has been found,’ because it pops up quite a lot.

I am no doctor, healthcare provider or medical guru; I am a mum who knows that I will let my kids be as healthy as they can be by putting their needs first before my own. I will vaccinate them so they can go to school  and travel easily, I did eat peanuts and sushi while pregnant and I even had a beer – all in moderation. My kids adore couscous and quinoa and snack on bananas, not because I force them to but because they like it and want it. I let my kids try anything once so they learn what they like or don’t like and of course I stop them from trying to eat a whole tub of Nutella! Parents are bamboolzed by ‘expert advice’ and some of it is complete rubbish. Global news reported last week that ‘experts’ are now saying pregnant women shouldn’t be driving because they are more at risk of having an accident. Again, no real evidence to support this and pregnant women are at risk no matter what they are doing and sometimes they can have something go horribly wrong while sitting at home, reading a paper.

Right, that’s my 2 cents – if you have a view, if you think I’m wrong then I’d love to hear why. As I said previously there are two sides to the coin. If you are expecting your first child, what horror stories have you been told? If you have kids have you had people try to sway you into a different mindset? Which side are you on?

Why crap on anyone’s parade?

I’m not a huge follower of many things but I have a few select YouTube videos I like and a select few bloggers I find fun to read, I have Instagram and Twitter and the book of face. While reading a blog the other day I noticed there are quite a few people voicing concerns about publicly posted negative comments and the effect it has on them.

Social media, as we all know, is a double edged samurai sword. It can be brilliant, it can be positive, it can be productive but it can also be deadly, vicious and extremely negative. Prime examples of late have been the heart-breaking stories of teenagers committing suicide due to ‘cyber-bullying’. The scary part is the the Trolls who take the time and effort to be down right vile can be anyone in the world; one teenager in the US who committed suicide was hounded by classmates along with someone in Europe, a total stranger. It’s disgusting. What makes a random stranger feel the need to act out like that?

I follow quite a few tattoo artists on Instagram and I really enjoy looking at posted pictures of various forms of tattoo artistry. Some I look at and think ,’Eeeew!’ and others I will stare at for ages, marveling at the detail/color/image depicted on a persons body. My opinions are mine and I recognize that one persons’ likes won’t mirror mine but I wouldn’t dream of slamming a person publicly through social media, which is exactly what I saw happen to a very talented artist who goes by the name Paul Acker. He did a stunning Harry Potter leg piece which would have taken a lot of time and patience to complete. Looking at it, anyone worth their salt would say, ‘Wow! That’s quite something.’ Apparently some people did not think so and posted on his Facebook page their negative thoughts – some individuals didn’t like it, slammed his talent and said he had done a bad job all because the characters didn’t look exactly like the actors portrayed in the movies.

Why?

As a free thinking world we are entitled to opinions but to slam someone because they didn’t draw Harry Potter ‘properly’? Did J.K. Rowling feel the same when Daniel Radcliff was cast as her protagonist? He was probably as close as you could get to the character but it he would never be the Harry Potter we each, individually dreamed up as we read the books. To declare an individual persons’ expertise incompetent because it doesn’t match your personal opinion is so wrong! Do the haters take into account the actual level of capability artists possess when it come to tattoos? Sure, there are definitely people who should never be allowed near a tattoo needle, but in this case Paul Acker has serious talent. Just look at his work – it’ gruesome and not my kinda style but even so, I was amazed by some of the pieces he’s done.

 

Flip the coin; if you are going to put yourself out onto the world wide web then you have to expect an audience to have many views. You won’t please every singe person. I learnt that when I took a children’s book writing class through the University of Toronto. We all had to learn to accept that people will read/see/hear/think things totally different to what we originally wrote and sometimes it was really frustrating. With Social media there are a lot of voices, each with their own opinions and thoughts, but why get nasty? What’s the point? If you don’t like something, move on, don’t take time and effort to crap on someones parade!

One more person I am going to highlight, it’s to do with make up. This girls talent is MIND-BLOWING! Her name is Alexys Fleming, her YouTube Channel is here and she has, in my humble opinion, a stunningly good talent as an make-up artist and body painter. I will freely admit her accompanying music can be a bit harsh and personally I find her thick Chicago accent funny to listen to, but all that aside she can do brilliant work! With that said, she also receives hateful messages through her Instagram/youtube account and it gets nasty. Individuals will leave comments saying her voice is horrible, her music choices are terrible, her art is worthless…why the hell did the hater watch the video in the first place?! Positive feedback far outnumber the negative and her loyal followers will tell the haters where to go but still, why go to the trouble of writing it in the first place?

Anyhoo, that’s my two-cents on the matter. I know one day I will probably get someone voicing their disapproval of my thoughts but hey, their entitlement and if it gets nasty I will tell them to bugger off! I wonder though how many people, normal, regular individuals, deal with this sort of behavior on a regular basis? What’s the worst thing someone has written about your blog and how did it get handled?

 

Wife of the Year Award goes to…

An interesting conundrum:

Over the weekend I was sitting having a coffee with a friend when we happened to over-hear a conversation being had by a group of women. It wasn’t difficult not to over-hear them as they were being rather loud and, in my opinion, extremely obnoxious. My friend and I were about to move tables when this little charm of a sentence was uttered:

“I said he couldn’t be his best man because the wedding day is on my birthday and I want a party!”

With raised eyebrows we decided to stay in our seats and pretend not to listen to this enlightening conversation. There were three women in question and they had an air of ‘we-trump-everyone-else-because-we-are-wives’ about them – the scathing look anytime a pretty woman or another man walked past, the loud conversations about how crap their husbands were and how difficult is was to be wives. It was quite something to experience and this subject topped it all off.

One woman in particular was the loudest and she was also responsible for the above statement. The woman next to her was small and twitchy and she didn’t seem to say much but nodded vigorously when either of her friends said something agreeable. The last woman in the group looked almost bored with life in general, her eyes at permanent half mast, legs crossed while leaning as far back into her chair as possible and her voice…dear God! She spoke from the back of her throat making her voice sound gravelly and as if she couldn’t quite muster the air to fully bring out her words. I call it ‘Creaking Door Voice Syndrome’ and it drives me <expletive> nuts!

This is the story, or some of it, from what we heard. Loud Mouth was upset because her husband had been asked to be the best man at his best friends wedding. Let’s just let that sink in: Best Man at his Best Friends wedding. This up and coming wedding just so happened to coincide with Loud Mouth’s birthday and she was upset as she apparently considered her birthday more important than some other persons wedding so had informed her husband he was not allowed to be best man.

“Besides,” she continued, “I want a party and he needs to plan it for me.” She then went on to complain about the bride-to-be and how could she be so selfish by setting her wedding date on Loud Mouth’s birthday. Vigorous Nod went into overdrive and CDV agreeeed.

My friend and I were stunned! How on earth could anyone justify not allowing their other half to be such a big part of such a big occasion? If the shoe was on the other foot you can imagine the storm that would erupt! I couldn’t wrap my head around putting your birthday ahead of someone else’s wedding unless there was a reasonable explanation (e.g. you equally dislike both sides of the couple). Oh, before you ask, no it wasn’t a milestone birthday either.

Not long after the women departed in a flurry of twitching, hand-waving and “BYE DAAAAARLING!” and my friend and I were left to theorize this to death! We decided Loud Mouth was out of line in her demands and might suffer a touch of amour propre. We also wondered if the husband was *cat* whipped as it seemed as though the decision had been made for him that her birthday trumped the wedding and he was agreed to this (unless he had kicked up stink and she was misguided in thinking she could change his mind). Imagine his friends reaction, ‘sorry mate, I can’t be your best man. Prunella wants me to do a birthday party for her on that day.’  Who exactly would he invite? You’d think their circles of friends would over-lap so wouldn’t that cause problems? Was she trying to totally destroy his circle of friends and replace them with hers? Loud Mouth may have potentially damaged a possibly long lived friendship between her husband and his best friend. Or perhaps her husband didn’t really care about being best man and this whole scenario was just convenient for him. Beer time with the guys would be interesting…

“Hey d’ya hear about Duder not being best man?”

“Yeah, his wife is making him stay home and plan her birthday party!” Thanks for making us wives look bad, Lady!

The possibilities were endless and we were at the coffee shop far longer than we should have been! Seriously though, am I out of line thinking Loud Mouth was being a a bit of a cow? If your boyfriend/husband/partner was asked to play a major role in someone else’s wedding which also happened to be your birthday, would you tell them they couldn’t be there and expect it to be accepted? If the birthday was really significant then case closed – a parents 60th birthday for example – but otherwise, unless you booked first there is no reasonable way to accept such behavior, right?

“Mummy, are you happy?”

Those are the words that are recently leaving my soon-to-be-three years old son’s mouth. I’m not sure what has sparked this off but it happened just after my parents left to fly back to the UK in April. They came to visit us for a week and reconnect with their grand-kids and it was wonderful! So much fun and laughter. Obviously when they left we are all a little sad and that night my son turned to me with his big brown eyes and said, “Mummy, are you happy?”

I was quite taken aback by the question and hastily replied, “Of course I am!” before adding, “I’m sad because Grandma and Grandpa left though.”

“Don’t worry,” my son replied, rubbing my arm affectionately, “It’s Ok. They on an airplane. They has seat belts!”

I had to laugh! He was so re-assuring and confident that his answer would fix my sadness which, I have to say, it did.

A few weeks later and he’s asking me The Question a lot and I don’t have to be upset in order for it to happen. In fact as I write he is sitting next to me playing with my iPad; I just yawned. He asked The Question. He also added, “Are you OK?”  Now I’m paranoid – am I constantly and unconsciously oozing unhappiness or some sort of negative energy?! I don’t think I am but I’m now aware that my son is asking about my happiness quite often and its all quite genuine, but it’s funny when The Question is coming from someone who cries when he has finished his ice cream and his sister won’t let him finish hers! I’m fairly certain it’s all part of growing up because the wonderful site Reasons My Son is Crying helps to reassure us in dark times.

I once, back in my server days, had a lovely family come for dinner to celebrate their sons’ graduation. The mum and I got chatting and the usual subject of kids came up. My son was quite small at that time and I commented on how emotional he was and that he cried a lot.

“Oh, mine did that too when he was younger and he just came out to us a few weeks ago!” she laughed. “We’re meeting his boyfriend tonight for the first time.”

I guess I might have looked a little taken aback because she quickly reassured me my son probably wouldn’t turn out gay just because he cried a lot now and that I shouldn’t be worried about it. I wasn’t, and I won’t, but the answer caught me off guard! Most of the people I spoke to would say, ‘oh that’s normal’ or ‘mine still cries and he’s 14!’

I have no idea how to handle this; I don’t want to tell him to stop asking as I’m sure his concern is real but it feels almost weird being asked such a big question from someone so small! Usually I just reply ,”Yes!” and move on but maybe I should say “No” and see what happens. It’s funny because of all the people to get emotional I would have picked my daughter but I have a sinking suspicion she’s saving that for her teens…