A couple of nights ago, I attended a lecture series given by the Department of Education of the town university. The evening consisted of twelve five minute speeches given by the university professors. Each professor gave an obviously brief summary of their research. The topics discussed included workplace incivility, the importance of nutrition in aging, girls in sports, and whether being a couch potato is genetic (turns out it is!).
The twelve talks were all quite different from each other, but I couldn’t help from chuckling at one similarity that I noticed. Each professor had his or her own way to say basically the same thing, “…so, what does all this research mean? Well, we’re not sure yet.” I found this simultaneously humorous and thought provoking.
Researchers can work decades on a project and still be years away from an end result. The thought of this was a little daunting to me. ” Who wants to spend the majority of their career on the same project,” I thought. Who wants to work years without know how you’re doing?
And then it hit me that I, in fact, had chosen to spend the majority of my ‘career’ on the same project. I became a parent. I don’t normally think of my children as projects, but I could. They are these tiny humans that need to be raised into big humans. It is my job to nurture them and keep them safe. It’s my job to raise them to be contributing members of society. And it is a job that takes years!
I work everyday to make sure that my little projects will grow up and one day become successful adults. I’m trying to teach them the skills they will need later in life. There are times that it would most certainly be easier (and faster) for me to do something I have tasked my toddler with. For example, I may have asked Kora to pick up her toys in her room. It would take me less than five minutes to go in there and do it myself. But what is that teaching her? That someone else will take care of her mess? So instead, we spend half an hour (or more) working on her room together. I like to think that I am teaching her organizational skills as well as being responsible for her belongings. I hope that I am teaching her to take pride in her personal space.
There are many times that Kora wants to “help” me do something. Let’s say she wants to help me make breakfast – she likes to crack the eggs and stir the pancake batter. I can crack an egg much faster and I can stir pancake batter without it flying out of the bowl and onto the counter, but I choose to utilize this teaching opportunity. I don’t expect my daughters to grow up to be chefs, but I would like them to feel comfortable cooking food. I think that kids that help cook their food are also more adventurous eaters. They take pride in their accomplishment and are more willing to eat food they might not try otherwise. Aside from learning how to crack an egg or flip a pancake, she’s also learning that it’s okay to make a mess (or mistake) and how to clean it up (of fix it).
I feel like parenting is a constant struggle between the “right now” solution and the “long term” solution. Perhaps my child is screaming that she wants a piece of candy for breakfast. The “right now” solution is to give that screaming kid as many pieces of candy as she wants so she will stop all the racket. She of course will be happy now, but what about in the future? I don’t want my child to have dentures before she graduates college. I don’t want her to learn that she can scream and throw a fit and get whatever she wants.
I try super hard to use the “long term” solution. I may have a headache from all the screaming and crying, but I stay strong and don’t give in to her. I want her to learn that no means no. I want her to learn healthful eating habits. I want her to learn that sometimes you don’t get what you want and to learn how to handle those upsetting situations.
The “long term” solution method is definitely not easy. It can be frustrating and loud and time consuming. It can make you want to pull your hair out. But it’s worth it. Or at least I hope it’s worth it…..I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know in a few decades when my research is done….I mean, when my daughters are grown.
I’m trying to write today’s blog post, but I have zero ideas on what to write. As I sit here and think, my daughter sitting next to me is watching Wild Kratts, or as she likes to call it, The Kratt Brothers. She asks me what I’m doing and I tell her that I’m trying to write but my brain is blocked. I ask her what I should write and she rattled off a list of things to write about:
- Kratt Brothers
- more ice
She then proceeded to take my computer and start typing:
Not bad for her first blog post.
Kora is very familiar with listing items and expecting me to incorporate them all into one story. This is one of our naptime/bedtime rituals. After we read a story, she will give me a list of items and I will make up a story. Sometimes she expects me to draw the story on her back as I’m telling it. Spoiled, I know!
I love this ritual of ours for several reasons:
- Sometimes the items on Kora’s list can be difficult to string together, but it’s a fun challenge. It’s a mental exercise for me – puts my brain to work.
- Kora gets to be a participant in this creative process – she gets to decide what the story is about.
- I get to spend some quality time with my child – She’s all snuggled up in bed and wanting her story. This is as much a part of her bedtime routine as brushing her teeth. It’s important to her so it’s important to me.
So now without further ado I give you a little snippet of tonight’s bedtime story:
Once upon a time the Kratt Brothers were crawling on the forest floor searching for bugs. They found a baby ladybug and activated their creature powers. In their ladybug creature suits, the brothers flew around and around until their little wings were tired and they needed to stop to rest. They stopped on a leaf and quickly fell asleep. When they woke up the brothers discovered that it had started to snow. It was too cold on the leaf for the ladybugs so they flew to a nearby house to get warm. The house was very dark so the Kratt Brothers started looking for a lamp. Chris couldn’t find a lamp, but he found a tv. Martin couldn’t find a lamp, but he found a refrigerator. The brothers decided they wanted to watch a show and eat some yummy food. But when they opened the fridge, all they found was ice….and more ice. The Kratt Brothers didn’t want to eat ice, so they deactivated their ladybug suits, walked home to the Tortuga and ate some pizza.
As I’m sure you are aware (if you’re not, you must have been hiding under a rock), this past Friday we got a new president – Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States of America. I’m not telling you if I voted for him or for Hillary. I’m not telling you if I am excited or terrified for what’s in store for our country. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about the need for respect in our country.
My two year old daughter and I watched the inauguration together. We didn’t watch it because I voted for Trump. We didn’t refuse to watch it because I voted for Hillary. We watched it because our President was being sworn in to office. Not to rip off lyrics from the Lee Greenwood song, but I am proud to be an American and as an American, I will respect my elected official. And I want to make sure that I am teaching my children to be respectful as well.
Until Friday, Kora had only had 1 president her whole life and she only knew him by name (she called him Broccoli Mama!). Because she’s only two, I didn’t talk to her about any of the candidates during the campaign, and I’m pretty sure she had never seen Trump on television until inauguration day. On Friday, as we were watching the day’s coverage, I explained to Kora that we were getting a new president today. She doesn’t understand what a president is, but when I pointed out Donald Trump on TV and told her that he was our new president, she got very excited. She was jumping around shouting, “My president, Donald Trump! With the red tie.”
As I watched the protesters and listened to the news coverage discuss the number of politicians and entertainers who are boycotting the inauguration, I started thinking a lot about the example I want to set for my children. There’s that old quote from Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” I think its perfectly acceptable to have different beliefs and views than other people, I just think there are acceptable ways to express your views.
The protesters during the parade were causing damage to buildings and were throwing rocks and bricks at police officers. What good does that do? What did the police officers do to the protesters? Do the protesters think that Trump is going to resign as President because some people are unhappy? The damage the protesters caused doesn’t hurt the president – it hurts the people who own those businesses and those that have to clean it up. It hurts the police officers who risk their lives everyday to keep everyone else safe.
You don’t have to agree or like everything (or anything) that Donald Trump says, but I do think it is important for our country that we respect the office of the President. I see people post “He’s not my president” on social media and I laugh because I think, “Yes he is.” The people of the United States elected him and he will be our president for the next four years. Like or not, its true.
I worry about the example that adults are setting for their children. Is it okay for students to say nasty things to their teachers because they don’t like them? “Not my teacher.”
There are too many people in this country for me to expect you to get along with every one of them. I know there are people out there that I am not going to like, but I hope that I can still be respectful. I want my children to witness me being kind to others. I want them to grow up with a heart full of love instead of hate.
Growing up, anytime my brothers and I weren’t getting along my mother would say, “Can’t we all just get along?”. That’s how I feel now. Can’t we all just get along. We don’t necessarily have to like each other, but I think we need to get along. Agree to disagree; work together to find a compromise; Be respectful.
Let’s all get along. I’m afraid of what will happen if we don’t.