A couple of days ago, Rohini gave me a present. Well, an award, actually. Not only was I flattered, when I read her write-up of me, it kinda made me want to shuffle my feet and mumble something about it not being that big of a deal while trying to hide my blushing cheeks.
"I completely and violently disagree with this concept of ‘weekend parenting’. Parenting, in my humble opinion, is not just about hanging out with the kids and having a great time – that is what they have friends for. And I am of the firm view that I am not interested in being Ayaan’s friend (at least not until he has become an adult in every sense of the word) – my job is to be his mother." -Rohini, Mama Says SoRohini, a full-time working mom, was writing in response to an article about "weekend parenting," a new trend emerging in the middle class in India. Sadly, it's a trend that has been in existence here for years, whether it has been called by that name or not.
I pity the parents who do not feel that it is important to participate in their children's daily lives. "Quality time" is what happens at the most unexpected moments of "quantity time."
Today, on the way home from our walk, Jude came out with one of his "Did you know...?" questions.
"Mom, did you know that bats eat mosquitoes? And flies?"
"Yep, you're right."
"What else do they eat?"
"You know what, I'm not exactly sure. Why don't we look it up?"
We were approaching our front yard, so we went right into the house and looked up bats in a Childcraft book on animals. It gave us a brief overview, but it wasn't enough to satisfy Jude--he wanted to look them up on the internet, too. So Wikipedia was our next resource, where we learned all kinds of things about bats, including the fact that they are viviparous, like humans. This reminded me that Jude has asked several times lately about how babies come out of people, so while we were on Wikipedia, I looked up the "pregnancy" entry and was able to show him diagrams of a baby growing in utero, and explain how when the baby got big enough, the mommy pushed it out through the vagina. He was amazed at how small babies start out, and how weird they looked at first. Then he asked me a few questions about when he was a baby. Finally, he felt like he was satisfied for the moment, and we went to make some sandwiches for lunch.
This is only one "quality" moment of many that hide in the quantity of moments in my day where only a parent will do. For instance, I teach my children the Alphabet Song or other "educational" songs by singing it to them while I brush their teeth. An alternative caregiver, or even a well-trained teacher, cannot replace having a parent involved in their children's lives day in and day out, who cares way more than anyone else about what their child learns, what attitudes they have and who wants to keep their love of learning and curiosity alive.
E.g. Jason and I believe that talking about having a baby is NOT taboo for a five-year-old, but some people may have been uncomfortable answering that question for someone else's child the way I did for my own.
Also, how can one hope to correct anything they see that they don't like about their children in two days on a weekend?
If all a parent wanted was a hobby and a tax deduction, start a home-based network marketing business. There are plenty of "daily" parents who would love to share their kids with you for a few hours on the weekend so you can get your "kid fix." But those are the parents who are NOT willing to give up their rights to train their own children 98% of the time.
Thank you, Rohini, for your thoughtful post on this subject. I hope that it will help some of your readership re-evaluate their own priorities.
A list of my favourite ways NOT to do my accounting...
Dawn is one of my dearest friends. She is always super-supportive, loving, encouraging, and is a constant portrait of someone living in submission to Christ (or at least trying to!) I can't begin to name the things I have learned from her. We have so much in common, including our parenting styles, our "weird" stand on the pagan trappings surrounding certain holidays, and our love of health and nutrition.
Dawn and her husband Michael just moved away from Sylvan Lake (where I'm from) this past summer, as he got his first teaching job in a teeny-tiny town in Saskatchewan. We haven't seen each other in person in way too long, but Dawn continues to be an amazing friend during this "long-distance relationship" time of our lives. So, that is why I am absolutely thrilled that she began her own blog--now we will have one more way to keep in touch. PLUS! Then you can get to know this amazing lady, too, if you so choose. Please pop on over there and welcome her to bloggy-land!
Happy Thursday, friends! I will hopefully have time to post more about my own adventures in a day or two. Noah's birthday is on Monday, and we are having his party Sunday, and I'm also super-busy with other stuff, so we'll see how it goes.
What are you doing this weekend?
I was so intent on posting my newsletter yesterday that I completely forgot that it was also my one-year blogaversary, too! I've been mentally planning this post since before Christmas, but I think it shows a new level in the evolution of procrastination to be planning a post that far in advance, and to still not write it until one day late. Heh. (And that does not, by any stretch, guarantee that the content will be any more worthwhile than normal, just because I've planned it for three months instead of three minutes.)
"When I was a kid I learned how the world was. I held my paper up to the light and traced out what I saw, true in every detail. I neither learn nor see as well now as I did then, and I can't keep up with all the adjustments to the lines of my tracing. Instead, I've learned to love the blurred lines. I tell myself this." A. Scott White
Thank you, Colleen, for these. Although I didn't actually use any today, they were humourous enough to help me back on the path to sanity.
It's been a heck of a week. On Sunday, I woke up with a sore throat and a runny nose. Bummer. So Jason said we should stay home ("If you go to church, you'll just sing with all the songs, and talk a lot, and then sing on the way home, and then sing while you play the piano this afternoon, and then..."), and I agreed this was probably best. However, this meant that I would not be getting out on my last chance for socialization before he needed to use the van to drive to work again for three weeks. (His car-pool buddy's wife just had a baby, and he's taking three weeks off.)
So. I've been fighting a cold all week. I took most of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to sit on my butt as much as possible, occupying myself with watching the boys and our new puppy play in the yard, or making sure Suri didn't have an accident in the house, or making sure Noah wasn't picking her up by the tail, or making sure Jude wasn't chasing her around to the point of utter exhaustion ("Jude, she's just a baby! She needs lots of naps, still!") and reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
I thought I'd finally make up my own mind on the whole Harry Potter thing, since Heather Anne loves the series so much. I have to say, I can see why J.K. Rowling is so successful from it. She weaves a good tale. As far as the controversy--I can see the points on both sides. Jason read it too. I think we're going to have to think about it. However, if I got rid of my copy of A Wrinkle in Time because of the New Age leanings in it, I'm guessing Harry Potter won't be surviving in this house. We'll see.
By Thursday, my cold didn't feel any better, but I knew I had guests coming for the weekend, so I had to make some sort of an effort to put the house in order. So I spent the day working. A lot. And still doing all the same Suri-and-kids-related activities as before.
To make things more fun, I think Jude may have been fighting the cold, too, because he took a nap almost every day this week, even though he seldom takes them anymore. And his attitude has sucked.
And oh, the LIES!! This kid has a serious lying habit that I am at my wit's end about. And he just lies about stupid stuff he doesn't even need to, sometimes. What sucks is that he's the only kid that can talk somewhat articulately, so I kind of rely on him to tell me what happened in a situation I was not an eye-witness to. But how can I trust the kid when he just LIES first thing?
Jabin seems to have been getting up unusually early this week, as well. And the naps have been all wonky--I think there was one day where all three children, and the dog, were sleeping at the same time, so I got to have a little nap--I had been asleep for maybe half an hour and the phone rang. I forgot to unplug it because I am not in the habit of taking naps anymore, either. This woke both me, and Jude, up.
So between the cold, the short nights, the napless days, preventing the kids from torturing the dog, and getting completely frustrated by the liar with the bad attitude in my house, it all built up to the screaming-through-my-keyboard that you were witness to this morning.
Only because if I screamed in real life, it would scare all my kids and the neighbours would call the police.
However, there is a sunshiny end to this dismal week: my brother and father arrived tonight to visit for the weekend. This is the first time Logan has met Jabin, as the last time I saw him was only weeks before Jabin was born at my grandfather's funeral last October.
I found out something really cool about my brother tonight. He entered a strongman competition. And he pulled a bus.
You have to realize: my brother is a self-proclaimed computer geek. He has been a computer geek for as long as I remember. And although he has always been a semi-active guy, he's not the guy I had ever visualized pulling the bus in those strongman competitions.
But apparently, this is one computer geek that refuses to be totally out of shape. (Visualize Dilbert's paunch.)
Instead, he really is buff! Check out this post for pictures of the competition. My brother is the one in the blue shirt that says "I'm made of meat" on it. (You might not have been able to read it in his photo--I only knew that because he is wearing the same shirt tonight.)
Also, he has this interesting goatee look going. Tell ya, Bro--cut your hair really short, add a gold earring or two, and I'd mistake you for a drummer, not a computer nerd. (I'm thinking most people don't guess your true profession by looking at you, do they?)
My baby brother. *sniff* All grown up.
Maybe that's why I keep getting his name mixed up with Jude's: I keep forgetting he's not a baby anymore. Dang it!