Please welcome today Kim from Co-Pilot mom. She’s from Canada, making her my first official guest poster from another country (unless you count New Jersey, right Ilene?).
Kim, a self-proclaimed geek (they have those in Canada, apparently), writes eloquently of life as a co-pilot to her two captains. You’re going to love her stuff, just like I do.
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Before we had children, I always assumed – and maybe my husband, David, did, as well – that I would take the lead in the whole parenting thing. I was an early childhood educator, after all – I knew a thing or two about young children. My husband worked with grown-ups in a professional environment. What did he know about parenting?
When our oldest son, Captain Alpha, was born, I tried to guide my husband’s parenting with gentle reminders:
Support his head, he likes it when you pat his back, sing to him
David would always go along with my suggestions – he never questioned my wisdom or techniques.
Early on, though, I realized that I didn’t really know anything more about being a parent than he did. A classroom full of preschoolers did not help prepare me for feeding and diapering a newborn, or dealing with sleep-deprivation. This was uncharted territory for both of us – we were just making our way the best we could.
We found a new routine and got to know our son. I gradually found my stride and gained a little confidence. I was all about the nurturing. I loved to cuddle Alpha and read to him and when he slept, I just wanted to stare at him.
Eventually, David fell into his own parenting rhythm, too. His style emerged – a little rougher, a little more humour-infused – and yes, maybe a little more relaxed with some things.
After a while, he didn’t go along with my suggestions unquestioningly. He started to have his own opinions.
“It’s fine. He’s fine,” he would protest when I suggested that Alpha’s hat wasn’t tied or his pants were riding up too high on his chubby little legs on a chilly day.
One day I saw David bring Alpha to the change table and pretend to lay him down dramatically – in the style of a WWE-wrestling-type body slam – before placing him gently on the change pad.
When I worried aloud that he was too loud and too rough-house-y, his scoffs – and Alpha’s laughter – silenced my concerns.
“This is what I do,” he would tell me. “You do nurture. I’ll do nurture slams.”
So we did. We did the diapers and the dressing and the feedings. We did the waking and the putting to sleep and the reading.
But we each bring our own pieces of parenting to our family puzzle; our individual styles make our family unique.
We found balance – when one of us was worried, the other reassured; when one of us got bogged down, the other was comic relief. Add in some cuddles and kisses – and even a few nurture slams – and we found our way as parents and deepened our connection as partners. He taught me that while expectation and worries about proper clothing are important – having fun is, too.
These days, I like to sit back and watch the wrestling and the teasing and the laughter that my boys share with their dad – for it has become one of the brightest lights in our home.
Do you and your partner have similar parenting styles?
Kim is an early childhood educator turned stay-at-home mom in Nova Scotia, Canada. She writes about co-piloting two small Captains until they are flying on their own at her blog, Co-Pilot Mom. A fan of Jane Austen, science fiction, and cooking shows, Kim often entertains fellow motorists (and embarrasses her family) by singing in the car. She is a beginning runner who is partial to coffee, chocolate and fresh bread.
I’m usually one to love. Write about love. Loving things.
But like vegetables, shin splints, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, love can’t exist without a dose or three of hate.
“Leave hate for Hitler,” I like to say. (OK, I don’t say it, yet, but I heard it in a movie, and it sounded cool.)
Inspired by the hateful words on tidbitsofchaos.com (the author isn’t hateful – she’s honest, insightful and funny), here’s my list of 5 things I hate (I’d considered making it 10, but it didn’t make sense to double the dose on my Five For Friday theme that I got from another blogger, Krafty Kat).
1. Every country that goes against the U.S. in the Olympics.
The kids have picked up on this one, and it’ll mean talk about the difference between American pride and, um, being openly racist. It’s actually a fine line. We can stew over a Russian gymnast celebrating an American mistake, and rightly so, but the following exchange happened between my oldest two and me, in the presence of my sister, who was appalled:
Me: Dangit, the American didn’t win.
Elise: Who won?
Me: The French dude.
Elise: I hate the French.
Marie: I hate anyone who isn’t American.
They’re just learning about this great big world. Of course we don’t hate the French; of course, we don’t hate anyone who isn’t American. But the seeds for a healthy disdain for your rivals and the seeds for hating your rival sometimes get mixed in the same pack.
We’re working on that.
As American women’s soccer star Alex Morgan pointed out, “I wanted to beat Canada SO BAD.” This isn’t a bad thing to feel or say. As I said, we’re working on it … because it’s OK to really, really dislike your rivals.
2. The rivals: the Dodgers, Raiders, red wings, and lakers.
It’s OK to have rivals. That team you can’t stand. That school you have nightmares about your daughter choosing. I’ve always felt if the Broncos went 2-14, and beat the Raiders twice, it’s a great season.
I wonder how many of you noticed I won’t even capitalize the teams’ names. Rivals, though, are what gives sports such depth. They make winning sweeter, losing more bitter, and the desire to get back in and play again overwhelming.
Been part of a rivalry? You know how it feels. For every kid who wears a Duke jersey for a trip to Chapel Hill, or helps carry a rival-inspired trophy out of a stadium, or who has celebrated a title on a rival’s playing grounds, it’s a rich and delicious fabric in sports.
The Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry has been explained as “just plain hate.”
I can associate.
3. Buying tortillas in the store.
I’d rather buy maxi pads or Preparation H. There’s just something fundamentally wrong. I’m no longer Catholic, but I’m fairly sure there must be a saint in the Latino Catholic church that watches over the coconut – you know, the one who is brown on the outside and white on the inside.
Saint Masa Trigo, forgive me my sins. I know I should be home making them myself.
My penance? Three Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, and 50 homemade tortillas.
During a shameful trip to Wal-mart, I felt self-conscious taking the white, er, easy way out with tortillas prepackaged in Trenton, N.J. When I decided on the even-cheaper Wal-mart brand and put down the Old El Paso, I did so in the presence of a young Latina.
She shook her head slowly and shopped on. My Latino card had been revoked.
What would abuela do?
Like I was no longer permitted to yell “aye! aye! aye!” during a Spanish polka song (OK, so this isn’t something I have the opportunity to do every day, but still … ), or to bark out “primera a la pelota!” during a soccer game (translated: “first to the ball!”), or to order enchiladas in the Mexican restaurant and use a Spanish accent.
4. Jacking up a favorite shirt by slopping on it.
It’s one thing when a little butter seeped through the end of my tortilla, or pizza sauce dribbled. It’s somehow all the more tragic when the offending spot-creator is something as deplorable as Italian dressing.
I mean, I’ve just relegated a shirt – probably a favorite – to the charity/yard sale pile, all because I thought I’d go all Dr. Oz and douse my salad (what am I doing eating salad in the first place? I’m a carnivore. It better have had bacon bits) with Italian dressing and pass on the Thousand Island, Buttercorn Ranch or Super Creamy Oh So Dreamy Caesar dressing?
Man, I’m getting all steamed up just thinking about it.
Damn salads. Trouble. Leave them for the rabbits.
5. Losing a golf disc to a sneaky kid. Or forest snake. Or wilderness nymph who doesn’t even grant me wishes.
More likely, it’s just someone who happens by and decides not to call the cellphone number I’ve scrawled in Sharpie underneath. (Who am I kidding? Half of the discs in my bag have someone else’s name and number on them, and I never call them. It’s the one Old Testament part of me. You know, eye for an eye. We’ll get into this later).
Not to be insensitive to those who’ve lost pets, but when you have to walk away from a thicket or creek without one of your discs, and it’s because you made a lousy throw, it kind of feels like coming home from the vet without your pet.
You feel empty. You’re mad at the world and mad at yourself.
You stew over your emotions. Place blame. On Dodgers fans or Latvians. Or whoever invented the machine that can make tortillas in mass quantities and the companies that are big enough to sell them for 99 cents a bag.
Makes me want to add extra bacon bits, and maybe creamy French dressing, to my salad.