Recently, I told you the story of how I was completely NOT into co-sleeping before my child was born, and how this opinion changed radically once confronted with the reality of things. Yeah, one big lesson in humbleness and flexibility right there.
So when it comes to co-sleeping, we know already how it ended. But there are quite a few other parenting matters that I feel strongly about, mistakes that I do NOT want to stain myself with as a mother and I think it could be interesting to see how these work out in the future, when confronted with the reality of things.
* NO SUGAR! * Call me a maniac, but I do silently believe that refined sugar is poison. And by that I mean a downright toxic substance, an addictive drug with no nutritional values whatsoever. Does this mean that I don’t do sugar? Yeah, this means that Papa Blues and I use honey, brown sugar, agave nectar and other forms of natural, non-refined sugars in 95% of cases. We do not drink sodas, we eat minimal amounts of processed food, not too many cookies, bake our own cakes and there is virtually no chance to find a piece of candy anywhere in our house just like there is no chance to find an armadillo, or someone’s kidney in a jar of formalin: it simply does not belong in our reality. I have all the best intentions to keep this up when it comes to the culinary upbringing of our son.
* NO TV! * This should not be too difficult, because we simply don’t own one. It wasn’t really a political choice or anything like that, it just so happens that we always prefered to spend our evenings talking. Or going out. Or cooking. Or reading. Or watching movies. Or meeting friends. Or having sex. Does this mean that now, three years and one child down the line, we still do not ever watch TV? Well, in a way, we do. We watch it on our laptop, online, we choose the programs that are interesting to us and watch them when we are exhausted enough to just stare at the screen and zone out. Still, we try to do it as little as possible and never when the Little Man is with us. And I am firm in my intent to never use TV as a way of getting my child out of my hair for a half hour or such, just like I would never pour him a tumbler of bourbon so that he would fall asleep and leave me alone for a while.
* NO FAST FOOD! * Again, call me a raving lunatic, but I would rather run 20 kilometers uphill wearing a pair of flip-flops than buying my child a Happy Meal. And even if we were in the middle of the desert, hungry, exhausted, and the only thing in sight would be a McSomething, I would try to figure out how to eat a cactus rather than feeding my child (or myself) a piece of toxic-waste “meat” which has been bleached, soaked in chemicals, colored, taste-enhanced and then fried in toxic waste fat. Sorry, to me eating fast food is like eating random shit out of a dumpster with your eyes closed. We don’t do it, our child won’t either.
* NO TABLETS, NO APPS! * Perhaps I’m wrong, but something tells me that there *could* be a connection between excessive screen-time exposure and the ADHD epidemic among children. Or the fact that kids are growingly unable to empathize and relate to each other, entertain themselves, use their imagination. Personally, I don’t believe that a tablet is a good birthday present for a two-year-old or that it’s OK to keep your kid busy with “educational” apps so that you can have a conversation with your friends at the cafe’. Does this mean that in our perfect household we do not have internet or smartphones? Of course, we do. But I made it a rule to myself to never be online in front of my child, never sort of play with him while at the same time checking my Twitter account or keep an eye on my Facebook feed while I wait for him to be done with his lunch. No, I do it in my private time, when he is asleep or when it’s Papa’s turn to take him out or give him a bath. Because I believe that the only proper way to educate is to lead by example.
II – PAUSE FOR A MOMENT, WILL YA?
Are you a parent who indulges in any of the above mentioned behaviors? Then it’s very likely you are about to tell me: “Don’t judge or Parent Karma is gonna bite yo’ass”. Well, I hear this “don’t judge” nonsense so often that I want to address it right away: I AM NOT JUDGING YOU, relax. Actually, I don’t care what you do with / to your child, as long as it’s legal and as long as you don’t offend me for expressing my opinion. I’ll tell you more, in this equation it’s *you* who judges me and not the other way around. Because by telling me “don’t judge” you are in fact implying that I am an arrogant, self-righteous, stuck-up snob. And that I should shut up, instead of speaking up about what I find important. Well, I won’t.
* NO TALKING HIM DOWN! * I will illustrate this with a story. When I got admitted to the Film Academy where I studied I was only 19 years of age. To get there I had to pierce through a wall of candidates the number of which was in the hundreds and I was lucky (or good?) enough to get one of the ten places available. It was a gigantic achievement, especially for someone so young, so blue, and so insecure. So when the impossible became reality and I returned home for a weekend to pack my stuff and say goodbye, my father took me to the side and, with the semblance of sharing well-grounded, good-natured, father-to-daughter advice, he told me: “When your classes start, try to sit always in the back, don’t intervene too much, don’t lift your hand and speak your mind, you know, cause when they will realize you don’t have the talent, they will make your life really hard.” This was 18 years ago, I’m still working on getting this poison out of my creative system.
* NO HITTING! * I was beaten. And by this I don’t mean that my parents would use physical punishment as a way of affirming discipline, no. I was violently, irrationally smacked all over the place – by my mother. I was born into an intellectual upper-middle-class respectable family of seemingly civilized people who should have had all they needed to lead a happy life, but didn’t. The beatings were on in the five years when I was between 9 and 14 years of age and the reason for them was that, after the birth of my little brother, my mother fell into Post Partum Depression. She had never been a very warm “mommy”, but at that point she really lost it. One time I will never forget happened one afternoon when her nap had been interrupted by the voices of my brother (3) and sister (11) who were playing too loud. I was hidden somewhere reading a book and she came to find me, cursing the day she gave birth to all of us and covered me in punches to the point I landed on the floor of our elegant dining room in fetal position and still she kept kicking me in the belly until I peed myself. I was 12. I still remember the skirt I was wearing. I still remember how happy I was she did not notice the small puddle of urine, because if she had, she’d most certainly beat me again for having soiled myself. So. May I be damned in the worst of Hells for all of eternity if I ever, *ever*, lift my hand over my child with the intention of hurting him. Fucking NEVER.
* NO BLAMING HIM FOR MY MISTAKES! * When you are a child and your mother explains to you in the deadpan voice of a psycho kidnapper that she could have been “someone”, she could have done “something” with her life, if only you would have never existed – you tend to believe her. But then you grow up (your personality grounded in guilt for being your mother’s downfall) and one day something snaps in your head and you go: “Hang on a minute! She was 21 when she married my father, she was 30 when I was born: why did she not become “someone” or do “something” with her life in that decade when she was childfree and young? Nine years is plenty of time to “do something”. The day my son was born was the brightest, most breathtaking moment of my entire life. Ever since he has entered this world, I have become a better person. He rocks my world, every single day he teaches me to be patient, humble, selfless, caring, funny, loving and serene. There’s nothing more I wish for him than to grow into a happy, fulfilled human and the only way I have to do it, is to be a happy, fulfilled person myself. I love him, he is my biggest treasure, and I solemnly promise to always make damn’ sure he knows it.
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