A child stole it during the middle of the night

Dear Parents of Young Children,

Your will sleep again.
You will bathe alone again.
You will never own your heart again.
They always will.

– Mama

Developmental Milestones and When It’s Time To Call The Doctor

Dear Brenda,

I have a three and a half year old boy. Since I can remember he bangs his head when he is awake or asleep. He doesn’t feel any pain, or so it seems. He doesn’t get angry when he does it. He is a very sweet child, but he has his way of doing things. He is very, very neat and precise for his age. He started mingling with other children in his class about 6 months ago. Both of my children are in half day in school.

Most of the times it doesn’t seem as if he understands me. If he hurts his sister, sometimes for no reason, and I talk to him firmly he just nods and continues to hurt her.

I’ve tried everything, talking, shouting, naughty corner, but nothing works. He’s going to ‘big’ school in a year and a half and I’m concerned that the teachers won’t understand him.

At the parent meeting his teacher told me that he is very advanced for his age, but he has strange ways, e.g.; when he’s playing with blocks, (and he wants to play alone) he first sorts all the colors together, then all the shapes. If anyone interferes he gets very upset.

If things go his way, he is very sociable.

Do I need to worry?

Dear Worrying Mom,

Watching our babies grow is what parents do. We want to know that their language, thinking, social and emotional skills are where they should be. What if they’re not? What if we notice something about our precious one that’s atypical? Well, what if. As a parent you need to follow through on your concerns. Here are some of the things that caught my attention.

Head banging. Our babies are used to a rocking motion while in the womb and will rock their bodies or bang their heads to soothe themselves. This behavior can occur when they are over or under stimulated, and it usually stops by four years old.

“Most of the times it doesn’t seem as if he understands me.” This caught my attention too. As did this, “If he hurts his sister, sometimes for no reason, and I talk to him firmly he just nods and continues to hurt her.” It makes me wonder if he is able to read the social and non verbal cues, for example, that crying might indicate that his sister is in pain, or if he can tell from Mommy’s face whether she is happy or sad. These are developmental milestones.

It would probably be best to bring the concerns you’ve written about here to the attention of your pediatrician. Your pediatrician will be able to rule out medical reasons for his behavior and then might be able to get to the bottom of some of these concerns. If there are any problems, it is better to start therapies earlier, as they would be more effective.

You’re a great mom. Be well.

– Brenda

Do Children Ruin Relationships?

All around me, my married friends are splitting as if their significant others have been exposed to an incurable virus.

“Oh my! Is that a rash or is that long term commitment?”

Though, what I hear most is, “we were okay, before the kids.” Say what?

While the actual making of the blessed event is pretty fun, once that little bugger takes center stage things tend to change. No longer is your honey the apple of your eye, it’s the little bean that steals your self-maintenance time, deprives you of sleep and keeps you working overtime in the decision making, laundry and housework departments. And then there is the other half of the parenting team that just might be feeling a little more pressure to support the family, wants a little leg and a night out with friends. I mean hey, what happened to Dick and Jane?

I wonder.

What people say is that things change after kids. See Dick and Jane. See self-centered Dick. See self-sacrificing Jane. My ex and I fell into these roles easily. It’s what our parents did (before they divorced) and all that I knew. The child came first, I was reluctant to get a sitter, and I was uncomfortable with my after-baby-body. My ex threw himself into work and made little or no effort in the romance department. That baby was driving bus and we were heading toward a cliff. I saw it coming and tried to phone in “I love yous” and send flowers to his job. I asked for a date night. He asked me not to touch him unless we were going to have sex. I began to exercise, but instead of muscles, the only thing that seemed to build was resentment. He planned outings. I didn’t appreciate his efforts because I still had to arrange for a sitter and afterwards tend to the baby. I refused to meet his physical needs and he refused to meet my emotional needs. See self-sacrificing Jane. See self-centered Dick.

I love my child. Don’t get me wrong here.

We both got lazy about meeting each other’s needs and resentment is a hard mother*cker to get rid of. Resentment keeps score and loves a good game of tit-for-tat and we were two competitive fools.

I love my child, but I would do it differently now.

Now, I understand how important it is for her to see affection between two adults, how good it would be for her to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around her. I wish she could’ve seen us treating each other like we did in the beginning, the thoughtfulness, and the niceties. She would actually have a model to follow had either of us been a bit more mature, or our parents had modeld that for us.

Do children ruin relationships? What say you?

– Aunt B

Parenting Under the Influence – Mommy’s Time Out

I did it every night with my former partner. We did it with our friends and their kids too. We did it at every wine bar in a 10-mile radius. Every life moment was an occasion to turn our wineglasses up while we noshed on cheese or chocolate and talked about our divorces, our jobs, how freakin’ hard parenting was, the body count in Iraq, politics and AYSO soccer. It was a ritual. It was how we bonded and how we remembered who we were, before we were moms. Though we loved the joys that came with parenting, balancing was difficult and sometimes being a bit tipsy helped us walk the straight line of being a mom post Clair Huxtable.

So when I would come across the occasional book about Moms who sip wine and play dates that included martinis, I would chuckle and think no more of it than that, yes we were Moms, and yes we drank. Didn’t we deserve a moment?

Until this exchange:

“Hey babe, ready for your story? Wanna hear Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo?

“Mom?”

“Yes love?

“Your breath smells like wine.” We were snuggled in her twin bed, sharing her pillow, her head propped against my shoulder. Her feet were warm against mine and she smelled of Ivory soap.

“It does?”

“Yes, all the time.”

Then it became like a scene from “The Sixth Sense.” And there were these moments, it was as if I was sifting through her memory, and in each scene there was a bottle and a glass. Those are not the memories I want her to have.

‘Parenting Under the Influence’ has become this mommy jokey thing that’s actually kind of sad. It makes me wonder why we drink to cope? Shouldn’t we put down the bottle long enough to see what we can let go of? Shouldn’t we demand those moments we deserve from our significant others and not from a bottle of pinot grigio?

Do you parent under the influence?

– Aunt B