The Unfortunate Side Effect of Unconditional Love

Parenting and Irrational Fears

The Unfortunate Side Effect of Unconditional Love

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Ask a parent to define unconditional love and you’ll have your answer before you finish asking the question. It’s an answer you know the moment your child is born.

It’s the moment you instantly know the pecking order of life. No matter what, the child’s well being supersedes your own. You’d take a bullet, you’d fight a bear, you’d face a train. No questions asked, the survival of your child is the most important thing in your life - that’s unconditional love.

The side effect of unconditional love they don’t tell you about, however, is irrational fear. We are so consumed with the survival of our kids, we will worry about every. single. little. thing.

Our brain says one thing, instinct says another.

My youngest son, Charlie, is nearly 21 months old. The ‘books’ say he should have a vocabulary of more than 15 words. He speaks 1. Car. That’s it, the rest of what comes out of his mouth are mumbles and grunts. He understands everything we say. He smiles and nods at the right times, but he doesn’t really speak.

And it’s brought out our irrational fear.

When Charlie was born, he was tongue tied, his frenulum was attached to the end of his tongue, instead of the middle of it. Our doctor said it was easy to snip, and we did it when he was a couple of days old.

Now, nearly 2 years later, Charlie isn’t speaking and my wife is having sleepless nights. She tosses and turns thinking it was our decision to snip that has now lead to him not being able to fully speak. She had dreams of having to teach him sign language, of him going through life not being able to communicate.

My wife is being silly. While my son’s lack of vocabulary is increasingly worrying to both of us, it has nothing to do with him being tongue tied.

You could call it irrational fear, really it’s unconditional love.

I'd love to tell you what my family doctor says, but we live in Calgary - we don't have one.  Alberta is a have province with a have-not population that can't see a physician on a regular basis.  We go to a drop-in clinic for our visits, but never have consistent care, or consistent answers.  



Breast Is Best, But ...

Don't Tick Off The Mommy Bloggers

Breast Is Best, But ...

formula powered

Hell hath no fury like a mommy blogger scorned.

They bond together more quickly and strongly than any other political group in history - and they are political. Women who have social media bonds tend to be more outspoken and active in debates that go against their collective wisdom.

Witness the furor that is whipped any time breast feeding is debated.

There's the Nestle Family fiasco. There's Gisele Bundchen speaking out. Then there was the uproar over a logo on a onesie at Old Navy (left) that had the social media moms marching into a boycott.

The latest is a call to arms by @momzelle over an ad from Evenflo. The video has since been pulled from the web, but Amber Mac does a good job describing the scene in an article for the Globe and Mail.  Her key point of advice to marketers trying to make a push into social media? "Don't tick off the mommy bloggers."

Evenflo apparently did.

What was their crime? Trying to make something comedic around breastfeeding.  The moms motivated their army because they felt the Evenflo video portrayed breastfeeding as "inconvenient, embarrassing and difficult."

Well guess what, Moms, not everyone can breast feed. My wife tried it with Zacharie. He couldn't latch. We saw a lactation consultant, did all the exercises, positions and it just. didn't. work. So she pumped. For SIX MONTHS she pumped. This turned the normal feeding process into a task twice the length because it meant sitting in a chair for 30 minutes 4 times a day to pump. 

My mother (a nurse) called Jen a hero for putting up with the extra 2 hours of labour each day to try and squeeze out every drop she could for her son. Finally, she was convinced she had done her best and was just exhausting herself with the pumping. We switched to formula.

With baby number 2, we had the same problem. Charlie was tongue tied which prevented him from latching properly. We snipped his frenulum to help the process. For another 5 months, my wife spent an extra two hours a day hooked up like a dairy cow (her words, not mine).

She would look longingly at women who were able to just "whip it out" in a food court or park. When our sons needed to be fed she had to pack along extra bottles and seek out a way to heat them - it was a process.

So for us to see women get on a pedestal and absolutely blast those who don't have boobs that work as being part of the problem, we get defensive.

Is a "Formula Powered" onesie propaganda? Hell no. It's cute. It's fun.  

Is an ad showing a Mom trying to find a quiet place to breastfeed in a house full of nosy in-laws offensive? Hell no, it's a slice of real life.

The self-righteousness that accompanies the breastfeeding debate is embarrassing. And why is there a "debate?" Breast is best. Full stop, end of discussion. BUT - not everyone can do it, and those women need to be supported, not chastized.

We're dads, we don't really have a say in the matter other than to offer support and help where we can. As one father commented to me "my wife chose formula. Great side effect was that I instantly became a complete equal in the ability to care for & feed infant."

What about you? Was your family successful at breastfeeding? Did you have a choice?



Should Your Kids Be On Facebook?

We Need to Loosen Up

Should Your Kids Be On Facebook?

MummyBuzz has a post up this week about a 12yr old girl who posted sexy pics on Facebook and started gaining attention from men.  Her dad wants to sue the site.

This follows a discussion on YMC earlier this year about when kids can have Facebook privileges. Should your kids be on it?

The arguments against lie with the rules of Facebook stating users must be at least 13, but in an era where kids can operate smart phones before they know how to tie their shoes, the push to get online is becoming younger and younger.

My children are 4 and 20mos. They have blogs, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels and Facebook pages. They don't know how to use them, I control the content and the connections, but I am building a network for them so that when the time comes it’s ready for them.

We hear many stories about child predators and the dangers of the online world. It’s easy to live in fear when the media constantly terrorizes us. Yes, the rules state that 13 is the minimum age for Facebook, but when you’re faced with highly networked children (who most likely already have cell phones that you gave them because you were afraid of them waiting for a bus alone after school) you have to ask yourself - What Would Lenore Skenazy Do?

Lenore writes a fabulous blog called Free Range Kids. She wants us to let go of the manufactured fear we face as parents when raising our kids. She wants us to let them go to the park alone. She wants us to let them walk home from school. She wants us to let them play. She wants us to let them be kids.

We need to loosen up.

Are there bad people online? Yes.

 Are kids fully able to distinguish friend from foe in this tangled series of tubes? Not likely.

And there lies the best part of opening your kids to Facebook: a chance to teach them. By getting your kids online, you can show them the right way to do things. You can empower them with the filter to learn what’s good and what’s bad and how to create a positive online identity.

By getting them in the game earlier, they’ll have more experience in networking. They’ll learn the rules and hopefully, it will be another place for you to engage your kids on their level. It’s kind of like the parent that lets their teen take a sip of wine at the family dinner table. By not making the behaviour outrageously taboo, you take away some of the allure of being deviant (something attractive to teens).

Just look at the campaigns of abstinence vs sex education. By simply saying "this is bad" and closing the door, you are sending your children into the world without the most vital tools they'll need to survive: knowledge and information.

The world is not a scary place, when you know what you’re doing. It’s the naive that easily fall into traps when they’re not aware of their surroundings.

So let your kid have the account when they want it and just start with some ground rules until they understand what the social network is all about.

Rules for Facebook:

Parent and child MUST be friends.
Parent MUST know child’s account password.
Parent gets full editorial control over the child’s profile

We all get learners permits before a full driver’s license. This is the same thing.

Are your kids on Facebook?