Today I had an unpleasant experience at my OB’s office that reminded me of how judgmental some people are about c-sections. That’s what I’m blogging about over at Babble.
For your discussion: If the states’ attorneys general who are suing over the new federal health care reform legislation manage to get the Supreme Court to declare that forcing people to carry health insurance is unconstitutional, would states then no longer be able to require that drivers carry auto insurance? What do you think?
I’ve been blogging for a while now – since my three oldest kids were around 10, 8 and 5 years old – since back in the days when C and newbaby on the way were as foreign an idea to me as a Martian invasion. Since that first blog post, I’ve blogged through marriage, the end of a marriage, a horrifically painful divorce, re-entry into the full time workforce, single parenting, working motherhood, falling in love, remarriage, blended family life, pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, breastfeeding, baby and toddlerhood, and I’ve blogged lots and lots and lots about H, J and E as they’ve grown from little kids into much bigger kids. They are now 18, 14 and 12 years old (!!!).
I’ve written before about the fact that as my three eldest, much blogged-about kids have grown, I’ve become more and more circumspect about what I share about them on my blog, in my published essays, and in the past two years, on Facebook and Twitter. Now I generally always ask them before I write anything that so much as mentions them, but sometimes I still screw up and they ask me to take stuff I’ve written or posted down. Last week J hated a photo I had posted of her on Facebook, and just today, H called me to ask me to remove a Facebook status update I’d written referencing him. So I did.
I’ve joked before that the reason I keep having babies is to make sure I have blog fodder because truly, as the kids get older – beyond the little kid years – I am tremendously conscious at all times of protecting their right to tell their own stories in their own ways if and when they ever feel like doing that. J in particular seems to be a budding writer, and I hope all of my children flex their writing muscles in one way or another as they become adults.
But see, here’s the bummer about the fact that I can no longer be as open on my blog about what’s up with my parenting and with my older children: the best thing about having a parenting blog is the support and information that you get from other parents going through the same thing. When your baby has colic, and you blog about it, you are reassured by hearing from blog readers who have been there, done that, and who have lived to tell the tale. When you can’t figure out how to gently wean the toddler, you can talk about it on your blog and immediately hear from all kinds of smart mamas who have great advice on the best way to handle the transition. And on the day you first walk your five year old into her kindergarten class, you can spill your maudlin musings on the end of childhood into a heartfelt blog post, and you’ll get plenty of virtual hugs from members of your blog community who know what that first day of school feels like for an attached mama.
But just about the time that parenting gets a lot trickier – age 13 or so – you find yourself completely constrained by respect for your kids’ privacy and their need for autonomy from sharing very many of the truly meaningful details and struggles of your life as a parent. Sure, you might tell an amusing anecdote here and there, or gloat about that lacrosse game he won or the play in which she starred, but you really can’t talk about the harder parts, the darker parts of parenting a teenager- the adolescent equivalent of those nights when your newborn cried so much for so long that you felt like tossing him out the window and running away.
Parenting my eldest child through teenagehood thus far has been the most confusing, unexpected, terrifying, humbling, distressing experience of my life, bar none. And really, that’s all I can say about it – here on my blog or anywhere else. Our culture nowadays allows for and even welcomes open discussion of the most minute and personal details of pregnancy, childbirth and the challenging parts of parenting babies and young children. But we rarely talk openly outside our closest families and friends about the hard parts of parenting adolescents. I think this is due in large part to the fact that frankly, it’s embarrassing when your teenager isn’t meeting your expectations in some way. You find yourself feeling ashamed of your parenting. If your three year old throws tantrums at Target, no one seriously believes you are a bad parent or that your child won’t grow out of it. We’ve all been through that and can relate. But for the significant minority of us parents whose teenagers struggle in a major way with big, important issues, you are facing your most terrifying fear – that you are actually, truly, for realz a bad parent. You look around at the bright, shiny, happy teenagers you see in other families – the National Merit Scholars and the soccer stars and the 17 year olds who volunteer at the homeless shelter every weekend and you wonder, what did I do wrong? Where have I failed him – my baby? And can I fix this somehow? Does anyone ever make it through tough times like these and emerge to find a healthy, mature, finally grown-up child on the other side of it? You wonder these things incessantly, like a nonstop thought loop running through your brain and your heart every single day. But you keep it mostly to yourself, and you certainly don’t draw attention to the situation, to your obviously complete failure as a parent by discussing it outside your closest circle. You sure as hell don’t blog about it.
But boy oh boy would I love it if it became acceptable and the norm for those of us parenting bloggers who do have teenagers to talk as openly about the challenges that come with parenting our kids through ages 13-21 as we do about diapers and breastfeeding and cosleeping. Because honestly, compared to this, that stuff was a piece of cake. But the combination of our own shame and respect for our teenagers’ privacy keeps us silent. Keeps me silent. And that’s really too bad, because I know that those of us who are going through these horrific, ass-kicking struggles with our beloved teenage offspring could use some of the same kind of wonderful support that mamas of babies and young children get when they blog about that no good, very bad, super rotten day when the preschooler melted down at Target.
Since we are having a baby girl, and we currently have a two year old girl, we already have just about everything we will need in the way of baby gear for the newest HickJu addition – with one exception – we don’t have a double stroller. I always use my sling quite a bit, but we live in an urban neighborhood and I like walking for exercise, so I know I’ll want a double stroller as well. However, the choices seem a bit overwhelming, not to mention incredibly expensive. I had a double stroller I really liked when J and E were babies/toddlers (the two of them are only 28 months apart), but that’s been more than 10 years ago, and that stroller is looooong gone. I can’t remember what kind it was anyway.
So I figured I’d put my double stroller wish list out there for you smart blog readers and see if any of you have recommendations for a brand/model we should check out. My must-haves in a double stroller:
- Has to be sturdy enough to carry C, who at age 2 1/2 already weighs 35 lbs or more. She will be three years old the same month that Georgia (who will henceforth be referred to as “G” ) is born.
- I’m open to side by side or front to back configuration
- Needs to be able to handle rough sidewalks in our neighborhood – not all of our sidewalks are even and smooth
- Needs to have shade to cover kids on hot days
- Needs to have capability to recline on one side to cozily accomodate a sleeping infant (comfortable enough for even a young infant who needs support) while toddler remains sitting up on the other side.
- Needs to have a basket underneath for carrying stuff.
- Needs to fold up pretty well and not weigh a million pounds
- I’d love to find one costing under $250 new (NOTE: am I deluding myself on getting anything in this price range?)
- I’m open to finding a good used one if any of you have a great one you would like to sell and you live in the greater Knoxville area
So there you have it; that’s what I am looking for in a double stroller. Hit me with your recommendations and reviews in the comments below!
As a cloth diapering mama myself, I’m pleased to point others of you who use cloth for your babies and toddlers over to my friend Chanda’s blog, where she’s going to be doing a big cloth diaper giveaway promotion throughout the month of April. Go check out ecocheapmom.com.
Yesterday was the first truly warm day in months, plus we now have daylight savings time. This meant that even after work on a weekday, we had several good hours of playtime in the sunshine before it got dark. NC came over to play with C and the girls LOVED getting to be out on the porch and in the yard.
They dressed in superhero capes (made from receiving blankets) and took their dollbabies out to swing.
Then they decided the babies were sick and needed to be poked with sticks repeatedly in order to get well.
Leo kept a good watch on the girls and let anyone who walked past our house while the girls were playing know that they were not welcome to come near “his” toddlers.
(Wow. These photos really highlight how worn our porch has gotten over this looooong, cold, wet winter. Time for a fresh springtime coat of paint – STAT)
The girls also determined that there was a “scary pink monster” living by our front gate, so whenever they went near the gate, they held hands because, you know, there’s safety in numbers.
(Note that NC has no shoes but C has no pants. )
Both girls were really bummed when the sun started to go down and we had to move playtime inside. We’re hoping for another glorious spring day today, with more porch and yard time.
I was pregnant for the first time at age 23 (!!!) and I am now pregnant for what will be the last time at age 42. I’m blogging about how the two pregnancy experiences are different over at Babble today.