Wednesday, 31 October 2007

NaBloPoMo: It Begins

I'm too much of a wuss to commit to NaNoWriMo, but I figured I could kick myself into action and write here for you lovely people every day next month. Tomorrow. It's only a small start, but maybe next year my life won't be so hectic and I'll be able to start on a novel of my very own.

Baby steps, as they say. Let the blogging begin!

Monday, 22 October 2007

I don't understand.

Let me preface this by saying that pedestrians are allowed to cross the street at any point on the road; safe crossings are made available but people don't legally have to use them. Cars have to stop for pedestrians at all times, and they always have the right of way, regardless of their location in the road. That is my understanding of the law, anyway.

I live on a side road connecting to a very busy street. It is a main thoroughfare through the town, and it is three lanes, including the bus lane. There are safe crossing points scattered all down this main road, so you never have far to walk to reach one. And as far as I'm concerned, you really don't have an excuse to cross the road without using one. Pedestrians crossing the road unsafely is a real bugbear of mine.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving along, I noticed a woman and a little boy crossing the road about a 20 second walk away from a safe crossing point. Her son (I assume) was riding a bike with training wheels, no helmet, and rode faster than she was walking. He looks to be about four or five. He got quite a bit ahead of her, in the middle of the road, made it across to the bus lane, and then crashed into the curb, falling off of his bike. I was horrified to witness this, grumbled to myself and forgot about it.

Last week, I saw this same woman with her son (on the bike, no helmet) crossing the road unsafely, this time I was on foot and walked right next to her until she crossed the road. There were many more cars on the road, and she had to flag them to stop in order to cross. The crosswalk was literally 50 meters away or less.

I probably would never say anything to her, because I think it's pretty obvious that she's making a conscious decision to disregard safety guidelines for both pedestrians and child bikers. But it still makes me cringe, and rant privately in the confines of my car.

Lots of people do this on my street, but this incident of mother and child-on-bike in particular really upsets me. Why wouldn't you take an extra minute to walk to a crosswalk, press the button, wait for the light to change, and cross in safety? I don't understand.

Are there any circumstances where you would say something to a stranger regarding her parenting choices? I couldn't imagine any comment I would make that she would react kindly to, but I hate to see this kid crossing the road so recklessly.

Monday, 8 October 2007

I hate the Mommy Olympics.

Raise your hand if you can point out the five year old who was breastfed/coslept/"worn" as opposed to the five year old who was born by c-section/bottlefed/slept alone from birth.

Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, I thought not.

So many people think that these early months and years have a bearing on the REST OF THE CHILD'S LIFE!!11!!! Sure, the early years are important, but your style of parenting needs to be taken in the long view.

One of the cool things about having three kids is that I can conduct at-home experiments. I am a different sort of parent now than I was four and a half years ago, and all three of my kids have experienced different parenting choices: co-sleeping and not, cloth diapering and not, solids at four months and not, etc. They are all happy and healthy kids, and I don't think anyone would be able to figure out who got what sort of treatment during infancy.

I hate seeing anyone doubt themselves over valid parenting choices that result in happy children. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to have the long view when raising our children, and even though the early years are intense, they are short lived.

So any of you out there who are experiencing pressure from friends, frenemies, families or in-laws who may view your parenting choices as weird or just plain "wrong," take note: YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB. We all make mistakes, but on the whole, I have great faith that our efforts are going to pay off. Just take one day at a time.

And, if you've succeeded in avoiding the Mommy Olympics, beware the trap that awaits you in 20 years' time: The Grandma Wars. Are you more grandmotherly than your daughter's/son's inlaws? Let the games begin!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Prepare to Die.

You know what makes life extra fun? It's not nine months straight of broken nights, nor is it the wonky heating that makes my bedroom hot and then you have to open a window so it gets too cold, neither is it the too-small blankets currently in use because our big one needs to be dry cleaned. These are all a bit niggly, a bit annoying, but nothing too major.

What makes all of that worse by a factor of 10 is your 4 year old child asleep in bed with you. The child that wiggles as if her life depended on it. But not just any wiggling, oh no. This is the Very Special kind of wiggling, that can only be done properly when touching Mama. The "family bed" isn't complete without tormenting your mother while you sleep.

I wasn't on my best behaviour last night, and managed to shout several times while half asleep. I can blame my tiredness, but that wouldn't be very fair. Poor kid. All she wanted was a little bit of torturing to dream by. I can't cope with torture.

So. No more funny business. The parental bed will remain childless. This way I get my much needed sleep, and I don't reduce my children to tears accidentally. Because if I'm going to be a Mean Mommy, I'd like to be awake and rational at the time!

Disclaimer: This post has been written in a haze of sleep deprivation, so please take care when reading. "Dramatic licence" and all that.