Parenting is a ride where everything changes all the time. No sooner have you figured out something, possibly even mastered it when WHAM! In your face: it changes. That’s happened to me a lot this year as Ameli has gone from baby to toddler to two. I have made a stand against the whole concept of ‘terrible two’s’ and doing so has made a difference in my relationship with my child, but trust me, at every corner, and in every ‘free’ moment, I’m reading a book, or a blog or something aimed at teaching me how to be better at motherhood. I consider it my PDP (professional development plan) in this, my ‘career’ as mother. (At work I used to get study leave though now I have to work it in ‘after hours’, normally the wee ones.)
The Hippie Housewife (HH) has incredibly valuable insights on Gentle Discipline – an element of Attachment Parenting that I am still trying really hard to get my head around. Yes, it means not hitting my child, but there are more ways to hurt than raising your hand: like raising your voice, and I stumble and fall on a daily basis. Her post Gentle Discipline For Toddlers I want to copy onto the walls in my living room, like a crib-sheet (exam notes), so I can remember them when I’m being tested, also on a daily basis. Ten Alternatives to Time-Outs just sits so much better with me than naughty steps or circles or chairs or whatever. We’re still working on it, but I love the principles, but it’s harder parenting without being punitive. HH has just finished a series on the Biblical interpretation on the Rod Verses, as she calls them, examining the Scriptures meanings about ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’. This is a topic very, very near to my heart as I firmly doubt the modern day church’s interpretation of Biblical Discipline.
And then, as if in stark contrast to the research, the study and the intensity, HH participates in a ‘Just Write’ theme each week that is beautiful, and moving and like a glimpse into someone else’s soul. My favourite of these glimpses, to date, is in Bedtime Bonding as we’re about to embark on life with a new baby, and there’s a dull longing ache already knocking on the door of my heart for the time I currently have, and will miss, with my first born, my Ameli.
Fine And Fair is a much newer addition to my reading list, but no less beneficial. I’ve had a major debate in my mind over the last few months about how we will ‘handle’ Santa with our children. I am torn between the school of thought that says if I can lie to you about this, what else can I lie to you about, and the one that says there’s nothing wrong with a little make believe.
Santa Baby: The Great Santa Debate was a brilliant post for helping me make my mind up. FNF speaks my heart when she says to her daughter:
I worry that the discovery that your parents lied to you about Santa for all those years might somehow damage your faith in us. I worry that it’s hypocritical to instill the importance of honesty in you, while maintaining that reindeer really know how to fly.
She also says:
In theory, Santa teaches us to value those concepts previously mentioned. Giving. Generosity. Hope. Love. Good tidings to all. In practice, and if you watch the flood of commercials on TV this time of year, Santa is teaching us to value materialism. Consumerism. Plastic. Disposability. Big Box Retailers. Greed.
And then there’s using Santa as a threat: we all know Santa only brings gifts for the good people of the world.
It was actually one of the comments on the post that clinched the decision for me: Jessica said:
I don’t really see it as lying. I see it as make believe. Like pretending there are fairies in the yard and dinosaurs in the house 🙂 It’s fun!
But when you pretend, you both know you’re pretending, just as when my two year old makes me tea and toast in her play kitchen. We both know we’re pretending and as long as we can pretend together about Father Christmas, I’m happy to play along but no, I will never say the man in the red suit with flying deer is real.
The beauty of Fine and Fair is that the majority of it is written to Delilah, which is beautiful, and makes it more beautiful, in its honesty about the journey of parenting. Some of the entries deal with world occurrences, others with proud moments in motherhood, but all of them speak of a mother’s love and commitment to her child, and they are all beautiful, and poetic, and moving.