Cormac sleeps with his bow.
Archive for the ‘co-sleeping’ Category
If you cannot afford separate master bedrooms in your house may I suggest co-sleeping and bed-hopping with your children as a suitable substitute for retaining this kind of ‘novelty’ feeling with your partner?
Posted in 10 things, 10 things about lauca, ableism, bill, co-sleeping, fatherhood, goddamn craft, lauca, montessori, motherhood, motherhood bliss, raising daughters, school kids on March 13, 2012 | 7 Comments »
- That you make your own lunch for school every day and that sometimes you even make my lunch for work. (Montessori winning!).
- Lately you’ve been interested in disability. You like to feel what it might be like to be blind and you ask about the lives of people with various disabilities.. and for a while you gave your dolls physical disabilities and converted their strollers into wheel chairs. I loved how effortlessly you explored all that – I loved that it was matter of fact for you, that it wasn’t playing with pity, just difference and variation in the world.
- I love that you can sleep in your own bed the whole night.. quite a bit now. I love that this meant you had your first successful sleep-over on the Xmas holidays.
- You really rise to a challenge these days. If work is set for you then you pretty much give it your best shot even when it is really hard work, like once you mistook an entire term’s worth of homework for one week’s homework and you just methodically worked away at it, morning and evening, until finally at the end of the week you burst into tears while we were getting ready for work and confessed that you didn’t have it all finished and that’s when I realised what you’d been trying to do, you poor darling little thing.
- You brush your hair and wipe your face this year, after years of me complaining about it. I really appreciate the effort.
- I like your hair. A lot. I just think your ponytail is the bees knees. You’re beautiful, little one. Your face is changing and sometimes you remind me of my best friend in high school. You have her pointy chin and her eyebrows and her dimple and her sparkly eyes. You mostly look like your father, but maybe there is a bit of this friend of mine in you, too. I don’t know how that works.
- You’re very resilient, you’re very adaptable. I feel like we’re doing well with you right now, like we haven’t totally broken you through our incompetence.
- You’re incredibly responsible and compassionate about animals. You always remember to feed and water your guinea pigs, and you get quite hysterical if your father is being lazy about closing the front gate in case our hens get out or dogs get in.
- I’m having this lovely peaceful moment with you as a parent right now. A lot of parenting feels like you have some balls in the air but not all of them at the same time, but right now, you’ve got it all going on and I am just enjoying this feeling so much. You’re really well-rounded all of a sudden – really enjoying your academic work and taking the challenges of being accelerated a grade in your stride, you’re developing all these new physical skills from your circus class (and envy-inducing flexibility), and you’re reading novels by yourself now, and you’ve got this happy little circle of friends you hang out with… and then you come home and make beautiful art and craft things.
- You’ve got amazing comic timing and you’re very perceptive. Like the time we were both crying – you, because you were upset for me and me, because I was feeling hurt and stressed out by something (completely separate to our little family) – and then we were talking about stress and worry and you said “well, you would know” with just this deadpan, perfect timing of yours and we both just laughed and laughed.
- We’ve talked about sex and drugs and rock n roll, when you’ve asked or we’ve come across something you need to know about (like used syringes in the park ) – but you’re still the kind of kid who refuses to watch PG rated movies in case they upset/scare you. It is people feeling sad or lost that you’re scared of seeing and I like that about you. You have such a combination of social justice worldliness and sweet, little kid innocence. You point out sexism and racism to me all the time when you see it. But you wouldn’t want to see a cartoon fox get its tail shot off.
- You are finally reading. And you prefer it to being read to.
- Seeing how much stronger and physically able you are becoming after starting circus class.
- It has taken nearly seven years but we finally have you a (nearly) regular bedtime.
- You sometimes now give us a little bit of credit, as your parents, for not being completely ignorant. There was a period there where you seemed to disbelieve anything we said.
- I love all the magical little craft things that you make and your ability to whip up these amazing gift cards overcomes my ability to remember to buy any.
- I love how witty you are and how we can make and share jokes together.
- I love how unaffected you still are by appearance and I am dreading that passing one day in you.
- I love that you are such a lovely big sister to your brother and that you are so patient with him.
- I am really enjoying how much you are my little mate while your little brother is still so close to your mother. I suspect I will lose this shortly when your brother grows out of his toddlerhood and your mother is more available to you.
- That you remind me to pay our two speeding fines and that even remember how much they are going to cost.
There’s this thing we do, it is supposed to be four times a year but it generally isn’t, and it is really a little time capsule for the kids and us to read in years to come and it is likely horribly boring for everyone else… so, feel free to ignore these particular posts.
(See also, here for what we enjoyed most this time).
- I feel so terribly sad for you about your night terrors. They happen more nights than not. They often have you quite frightened and distraught. Apparently there is next to nothing we can do to stop them happening to you so they pretty much have me a little frightened and distraught at times, too.
- How messy you make your bedroom. The guinea pig cage is actually the cleanest thing in your room. I think I have another fifteen years or so where I will need to just grin and bear this before you likely grow out of this one.
- Two times in the last six months you have been in situations where I thought oh my god you could have died and that isn’t something one recovers from easily as a parent.
- You talk at volume as soon as you wake up in the morning, regardless of what time it is and regardless of who else is still asleep. You do this even on the nights when you sleep with Cormac and I and Bill escapes to the solitude of the spare queen bed.
- You still have the loudest cry of anybody I know and you’re not afraid to use it.
- We’re very disorganised about your homework because of the whole ‘working back late and not picking you and getting home until it is your bedtime’ problem. You’re quite conscientious about your homework, in bursts. This homework thing is a lot of pressure, that and getting to school late because the morning multiple drop-offs routine is so tight are where I most feel the work and family thing is in conflict for you.
- When you and your little brother are tired and cranky and you just fight continuously in the back of the car while I am trying to drive. And I am tired and cranky, too. It feels like I am about to be shattered.
- I wish we had more time together, just the two of us. I still miss our old closeness. You’re still a little introvert and while you’re getting better at talking about problems with me you still won’t share worries and concerns easily.
- You were spending very little time on the computer for a while there but now you’re absorbed in some new computer game again and we’re letting you spend too much time on the computer on the weekends and I hate it when we suck like that as parents.
- There is always a long list in my head of things I should be doing more of with you – one of them at the moment is designing and constructing things with you, which apparently you need to do more of for school – and I wish I felt like I was ticking off more of these things.
- Late last year I had this big worry about you and how maybe you weren’t doing enough to take care of your personal appearance and how I wondered about how this looked, like people would think I didn’t care about you as a mother if you got about in the stained, torn, too-small-for-you clothes while your brother and I looked more or less presentable. I also worried about whether you were going to start getting teased or left out by other little girls you play with who I can see are just starting to really embrace girly culture. Then I decided that your lack of self-awareness was really a blessing and that I should just relax. And about the same time you decided to start letting me brush your hair and you even wiped food off your face before you went out for the day and you would sometimes spoil me by asking if a certain outfit went together before wearing it. Anyway, I worried a lot more than I needed to about all that.
- You still are capable of making an enormous mess. You leave everything out because all of it is special and unfinished and can’t be parted with. I think you are a bit like me in that respect.
- Your craft is so messy.
- You can be quite needy. I can be ironing clothes and making breakfast for you and your brother and trying to get to work on time and you want me to stop everything to come and see something in your room and you’re unwilling to believe it isn’t possible for me to do that.
- I wish you would unpack your school bag or at least not threaten to vomit when you have to unpack your own lunchbox.
- I wish you could talk more quietly.
- I wish you would stop using Windows on your computer, which you only do to annoy me and it causes lots of networking problems.
- You try and get me to play these ‘six year old girl’ hand slapping games with you and I do not like these games. Go find another 6 year old girl to play those with, please.
- You always pretend to be hungry when it’s bedtime, it is your delaying tactic and you really work hard to believe it yourself.
- Sometimes when you are sent to find something, like your school uniform, you put zero effort into it and instead you lie on your bed and cry about not finding it when it will be right there next to you on the bed. You have brought disgrace to the term “having a girl look”.
- I wish you would widen your food choices. I find it difficult coming up with recipes that don’t use any cheese or tomato ever. We’re already vegetarians, we’ve ruled out meat, we can’t rule out much more.
(Image: Good lord, am I really posting pictures of my breast on the Internet again? And oh how he has grown since this photo was taken, which by the way was me breastfeeding on the beach. How sandy. I first posted this piece almost two years ago but a lot of these same issues are still being thrashed out in the media today.)
In responding to French author, Elisabeth Badinter’s new book, which argues that believing women must breastfeed is reducing women to the status of an animal species, I was tempted to write nothing more than You know, we actually are animals, right? But then I thought, that would be typical of you blue milk, you lazy sloth-like animal.
(I find the insinuation (which is not altogether uncommon) that the act of lactation is somehow degrading a curious thought. You mothers, you lactating mammals, how humiliating for you. Why exactly?)
She talks of an “underground ideological war”, of the “strong resurgence of naturalism”, of “guilting mothers”.
Badinter is right about the tyranny of motherhood. Beware of any new parenting trend that relies heavily on an already-over-stretched you for its achievement and which imposes almost no additional burden on anyone else (including the other parent). And be especially cautious of it if it also comes with a side-helping of guilt. Here is how Badinter sees it:
What is a “good mother” today?
She’s one who goes back to the fundamentals. She breast-feeds for six months; she doesn’t put her baby in a day-care center because a baby needs to be with her mother and not in a nest of germs; she doesn’t trust anything artificial and worries about the environment. For her, jarred baby food is a sign of selfishness: we’re back to Mommy’s mashed purée. A good mother is always there to listen, must watch over the child’s physical and psychological well-being; it’s a full-time job. I forgot to add, since she breast-feeds on demand, she’s supposed to let the baby sleep in the conjugal bed, which quashes intimacy for the parents and freezes out the father.
But equally, beware of the expert who tries to have you imagine that your baby is a tyrant.
Small as they are, babies hold their mothers prisoners: a mother is at the beck and call of her child, she has to accommodate herself to the child’s schedule, who sometimes gets to be prince/ss in the conjugal bed.
This is not only unhelpful but frankly, while we’re talking as feminists, it’s patriarchy-enabling. Babies are helpless little beings designed to fall in love and elicit love and just to, generally, survive. Really, however infuriating it gets caring for them, that is all a baby is trying to do – survive and love. (Sometimes it helps to look them in the face and acknowledge that to yourself). Whenever the tussle for fairness, for support, for scarce resources, for needs being met is waged between a mother and a baby somebody is being let off the hook, and I would argue that it is a whole society of somebodies. Take or leave ‘attachment parenting’ as you wish but raising human infants is not supposed to be done in isolation by a single caregiver, and yet overwhelming levels of individualism combined with conservative gender roles have positioned us in exactly that place. In our suburbs there is no-one else in the room when a mother reaches the end of her tether – there is no-one left to negotiate with – it is just an adult and a baby, crying in each other’s faces, desperate. No good or equitable negotiation is going to come out of that situation. It is this dynamic that makes “equality between the sexes and freedom for women impossible”, not a tyrannical infant nor a doormat of a mother.
But then you can’t entirely blame feminists like Badinter for being nervous about any ambitions to elevate motherhood either. They haven’t seen much good come out of the institution of motherhood for women – servitude, guilt, martyrdom, rampant biological determinism and invisibility. Still, given that most women end up being mothers, and given that a good deal of us even strongly desire motherhood, there is no point throwing that particular baby out with the bath water. We won’t elevate women anytime soon by denigrating motherhood. And for feminism, we are still trying to resolve that split: whether the path to true liberation is via refusing ‘caring work’ and fully incorporating ourselves into the market economy by emulating ‘male labour’, or whether liberation will only come when we instead put our energies towards agitating for full recognition of traditional ‘female work’ (ie. domestic and caring work) in the economy.
Bill: I was unpacking some boxes and I brought this old photo of me up because look. Look how relaxed and smiling I am in a photo?
Me: Yeah, that’s the smile of someone who just got laid. I remember that day at the beach.
Me: I remember that day.
(Two year old Cormac pushing in between us, desperate to be included and/or copy us).
Bill: You want to see the photo, do you Cormac? Does that look like the face of someone who just got laid?
Bill: He doesn’t think so. You wouldn’t know Cormac, you’ve interrupted so much of it you’ve never actually seen the face of someone who got laid.
Six year old kid visiting us for a play-date: I’ll come home but only if I first get to run up and down their drive-way.
Kid’s Dad coming to collect him: ……?
Kid: Can I? I have to run up and down their drive-way. Really fast.
Kid’s Dad: We’re kind of in a hurry. Got to pick your mother up and get dinner going. Ah… ok.
Kid’s Dad (to me): It’s the completely random and arbitrary demands that get me. I barely know how to respond to the regular demands, but these other ones.
Circus-obsessed Lauca, aged six years: How many tricks do you know?
Punk uncle: Oh, I know a few, not all of them fit for a circus.