It’s been said many times, “kids don’t come with a hand book”, and no matter how many books you read, parenting is a learning experience.
We had this conversation with our kids the other day because even we can see the difference in our parenting from one child to the next. If we can see it, I am sure the kids can see it.
Here’s what we discovered during that conversation:
Everything Eleanor (our eldest) does is new to us. She is the first 11 year old we have ever had to parent, so we react to her in the way we react to any new situation. We are cautious and maybe a little scared.
Ethan is 8, and whenever he does anything, we say “Remember when Eleanor did that?” We react completely different with him because we’ve been there before. Does every 8 year old challenge the school lunch? I’m thinking, maybe so. The 2nd child doesn’t get punished nearly as harshly though.
Rebecca is 6 and by the time she hides her uneaten sandwich in her bedroom garbage can, I question if we will even take away her treats for the week. Maybe Kathy Buckworth was right, and I should be content that I sent a lunch. If they don’t eat it, well, that’s their own fault.
I see us relaxing as parents... with the younger kids. Siobhan (our youngest), has a whole lot of leeway because she’s not doing anything that we haven’t seen before. I think maybe she is learning more and faster because we give her so much room to do what she wants.
Being the youngest of 4, I know that the rules change for each kid. The first child has to forge the way, the 2nd child gets slightly more wiggle room, the 3rd child tries to push the limits even further, and the 4th child has to do something drastic, like get a tattoo, for their parents to react. I may speak from experience.
So, while Eleanor is heading into her teenage years with red tape at every turn, Siobhan will turn 2 with Skittles in her pocket and an open road ahead.
So when something like a dead dictator trends on Twitter, I tend to feel the need to check out what’s going on. It turns out a couple in the US has a son named Adolph Hitler, and a daughter whose middle names are Aryan Nation and child services has removed the children from their home.
Now I agree, this seems a heavy burden to place on a child, and for certain these people are not in their right minds, as far as I am concerned. I have a hard time dealing with anyone who is of a racist mind, but I would never say that they shouldn’t have children, nor would I say that they shouldn’t be allowed to pass their beliefs on to their children, as skewed as they may be.
If we are going to start taking kids away for their parents embarrassing them or giving them ridiculous names, child services is going to be busy.
Growing up, I had a neighbour whose kids were named Buffy and Fawn. I thought they were crazy, but I never thought they were bad parents. My daughter’s name is Siobhan Annalise Rasmussen, the poor kid won’t be able to spell her name till she’s a teenager, but that doesn’t make me a bad mom. Siobhan is a Gaelic name and my mother is Irish. Her name has heritage, so does Adolph Hitler.
I actually worked for Adolph Hitler’s godson when I was 18. His name was also Adolph. No-one felt the need to remove him from his parent’s custody.
I’m not saying that I think these parents are doing their child any favours, and they are certainly going to make things more difficult for him in the long run, but who is to say it will hold him back any further than someone whose parents felt it would be funny if their named rhymed with their twin sibling, or say a parent who thought the name Miley was super cool.
I suppose this is why New Zealand has adopted a new law stating that people cannot give their babies weird names.
I feel badly for little Adolph Hitler Campbell, but for all I know, he may grow to love his name, he may even do something great, changing the way we see the name Adolph forever.
The other day, I rushed home from work to take Eleanor to her club swim meet. Tom was taking Ethan to hockey, and Rebecca was going to spend the evening with her dad, so Siobhan came with me to the pool.
As I said, I was in a rush, so I threw a few diapers, a change of clothes, and a snack in diaper bag and ran out the door. What I didn’t bring was anything to entertain Siobhan while Eleanor was swimming... for 2 hours.
I guess that wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if the bleachers at the pool weren’t right beside the water without any barrier between us and the pool. Even that wouldn’t be so bad if Siobhan didn’t absolutely love to be in water and play with water, but neither of those things are true.
I did manage to convince Siobhan that only Eleanor was going swimming, but how was I going to keep her entertained long enough that I could actually pay attention to Eleanor’s meet? I had no idea. My iPhone is no longer a novelty for her.
I found a seat at the back of the bleachers near a window (beside a vent blowing cool air, thank goodness; it was freaking hot in there). Then I handed Siobhan my purse to see what she would find to play with.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear? All the business cards that I had collected at Blissdom Canada. She loved them! She sat for 45 minutes sorting through them, stacking them, handing them to me and taking them back. She would spread them out on the seat and then put them back in my purse. Interestingly, she picked one that she would not give to me, nor would she put it back in my purse, and if I tried to take it she would say “Mine”. I guess she really likes @KelliDaisy.
Siobhan would stop and clap or cheer when everyone else did, but for the most part, she just played, and I was able to watch Eleanor take first place in the front crawl.
Afterwards, we met up with Tom, his brother, Ethan, Rebecca and her dad for a little celebration at Kelsey’s. There Siobhan played with ice cubes... who needs toys?