With apologies to Anne Bradstreet.
TO MY DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND
Should you ever again find yourself gracing our temporary apartment with your presence, you will find a particular item of furniture has gone missing in the 80 hours you have worked this week. You may also find that I have availed myself of Google’s services to determine the symptoms of a concussion, which, thankfully, the elder child does not have. Finally, you may find that I have finally figured out a use for the miserable excuse for a balcony that overlooks scenic Colorado Avenue.
We can move the coffee table back inside before we move out, should that ever occur.
Those of you who have been here for awhile know I rarely do memes because my answers always suck. However, there was one over at Tales from the Reading Room that I had to do because it is to help her with research on a writing project that will be excellent. Please head over there and answer some of her questions, whether you have a blog on which to do the meme or are just leaving comments. It would really help her out. Thanks!
How do you view your role as a parent? What are you there to do?
I try to set boundaries for my children. It is my job to raise adults, not children. I also try to make a safe space for them to be who they are, rather than living up to generic societal expectations. For example, Zachary needs to approach things at his own pace, and I try to honor that.
In your social circle, are mothers expected to work or are they encouraged to stay home with the child?
We are expected to spend our lives struggling with the balance. No one is happy with where she is. The ones home miss work, the ones working want more time home. Everyone ideally wants part-time work with a short commute and excellent childcare, not to mention good pay, excellent vacation, and an understanding boss. Someone let me know when you get that set-up.
How do you feel about your child’s education? What’s good about it, and what do you wish could be done differently?
We are still early in this. The most important part of his education at this age is making him love learning. In London, he had an excellent teacher who stretched the expectations most parents had of preschool. There was a mother who removed her not-yet-four-year-old from the preschool because it wasn’t academically focused enough. I almost wet my pants when I heard that she was leaving a fantastic teacher who understood each child’s developmental pace because she wanted him better prepared to get into a big school. Here in the US (at least where I have lived), people seem to believe that the best way to prepare young children for big school is to encourage exploration and keep the academic expectations loose.
How do you share the childcare with your partner (if it is shared)? Do you tend towards different activities or different approaches to parenting?
He plays more. I keep things moving forwards. He is more conservative on certain gender stereotypes, but otherwise we really agree on things like providing structure, discipline, and affection.
What are the most important virtues to instill in a child?
What’s the relationship like between mothers at the park and the school gate? Would someone you didn’t know help you out in a stressful moment?
SO MUCH BETTER HERE! The mothers at our London school were WAY cliquey. And they saw every overture as my attempt o crash their club. Here, mothers chat all the time at drop-off and pick-up. We offer to watch each other’s kids. We try to find ways to help each other. Now, it may only be surface niceness, but it is a welcome change.
What do you fear most for your child?
Abduction. That and of course Benjamin running into traffic.
How do you discipline your child and what are the errors you would put most effort into correcting?
Safety comes first. Then violence (such as hitting, shoving, and biting). Then things like whining, tantrums, and rudeness.
Zachary responds well to simply being told to behave, although we also use time-outs. Benjamin responds to nothing, but we still use time-outs. Today I strapped him into his car seat in the beach parking lot while I got his brother dressed because he refused to stay in one spot.
Do you think the life of a child has changed much since you were young?
Yes. But then I sure hope my kids have a different childhood than I did.
What’s the best compliment your child could pay you for your parenting skills?
That despite the yelling (TOO MUCH), they feel safe and loved.