Posts Tagged ‘ Super Why ’

Legitimate Fear or Irrational Parent Anxiety?

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Okay, I have said before that I’m terrified of spiders. I’m especially terrified of my children getting bit by one. We live in the hills in Los Angeles. We are with the wild. We caught a possum. We had roof rats. And there are spiders everywhere.

When we first moved out here, I asked exterminators to come to our house. Phil intercepted them. Here’s an excerpt.

“Um, why the f—k is Pest Control here? They said you booked them to spray for black widows. I told them to leave. Call me.”

I happened to be 7-months pregnant so perhaps I was a tad hormonal irrational.

Fast forward to now. As in, last night. Phil was outside grilling. Fia was playing near him.

“Hey honey,” he yells. “I don’t want to freak you out, but I want to show you something.”

Keep in mind, I’m not pregnant. Which means I’m my normal incredibly levelheaded and stable self. BUT I DON’T WANT TO LIVE WITH SPIDERS.

I walk outside holding Emmett.

He points to a drain pipe about 6-inches from where Fia had been sitting.

“That’s what a black widow looks like,” he says calmly, and points to one with that telltale red hourglass on its belly.

Shockingly, I didn’t freak the f-ck out. Maybe because he shot me a look, like, not in front of the kids, like I did during a recent Fia freakout.

“Okay,” I said, trying to remain calm. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to kill it, but I wanted you to see what it looked like so we are aware of them.”

Really, just aware? I’m ready to bomb our place with a mix of comet, bleach and ammonia.

I walk into the kitchen with both kids and pour a glass of wine.

He comes in (post-killing) and tells me not to make a big deal about it in front of Fia.

“I don’t want her to be scared of spiders,” he says. Fair enough. (Lord knows, we’re both pissed at what her favorite TV show has made her frightened of…)

We eat dinner, put the kids to bed, and I begin Googling. Okay, I did come across a website that makes me think it could have been a brown widow. And they are not as venomous as their black cousins. Though it could have been the smaller brown female, which is still considered a black widow and can be deadly though it is rare for someone to die from the bite. Confused? Start Googling.

Nevertheless, we live in a wooded area, we have small children…should we exterminate? I spoke calmly and rationally with Phil about it. We made no decision on what to do.

This morning over coffee and Sesame Street, Phil says, “Maybe we should exterminate. Just to be on the safe side.”

Rather than smirking, I actually deliberated. I happen to be taking the kids out of town for a few days.

“We could do it while you and the kids are away.”

I nodded.

I really hate the idea of toxins all over my yard. I also hate the idea of killing a bunch of harmless insects. I imagine that Doctor Death (i.e.: Dewey Pest Control) has to douse everything. But a spider bite can be bad. I’ve had friends go to the ER because of them. My own mother almost died from a brown recluse bite. Okay, no one I know has actually died from one, but I have reason to be afraid, right? And reason to be fearful for my kids, correct? I’ve done some research and there really isn’t a non-toxic way to do exterminate. They may claim their way is, but it’s not. There are poisons and chemicals involved. If I could sprinkle some magical salt all over my yard or something, believe me, I would.

By the end of the day, I had called my dude Angel. He dealt with our roof rats. And possum. He’s coming over to deal with the spiders. I’ll have to start calling him my Angel of Death. Probably not the first time he’s been called that in his job.

 

And by the way, I’m not even putting a picture of a spider on this post because I don’t want to have to look at it. That’s how stupid my fear is. So Dr. Death and the cockroaches will have to do.

 

Picture of exterminator via Shutterstock

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Why I Hate My Toddler’s Favorite TV Show

Monday, October 29th, 2012

You know what pisses me off? Television for my kids. Okay, I’ll admit it. Fia hasn’t learned to spell or read only from us. We read books every night, but what has really taught her is Sesame Street and Super Why. Both PBS shows (please don’t take away Big Bird if–god forbid–you get elected Romney).

But what these shows, particularly Super Why, has also taught her is to fear–of the dark, of shadows, of monsters. These are things she never even contemplated before. She has always slept in a pitch-black room, with one small nightlight. But ever since an episode of Super Why where the little girl was scared in the night, Fia has insisted we keep her closet light on and her door slightly open. The latter has meant she can hear Emmett cry and subsequently she wakes up. But that’s not nearly as frustrating as watching her become afraid.

Her recent fascination with shadows is at times fun and playful (and annoying when you decide on a stupid whim to have her sleep in bed with you), but other times it’s steeped in fear. “Mama, look at that shadow!” she’ll whine. “It’s S-C-A-R-Y!”

Spiders are another one. In the past she loved to look at them. Now she screams, “Mama, a spider!” and runs the other way. Even spider webs, which used to fascinate, have her freaked.

I don’t want to totally bash TV because I am fully aware of the tradeoff. She has learned a ton from it. But producers, do you have to frighten in your themes? Learning is fun for them. Being scared isn’t.

If we never taught our children to fear the dark or spiders, would they grow up not afraid? Or is this something that eventually happens by being a member of society anyway? In other words, am I kidding myself to think I could have avoided her arachnophobia if she hadn’t seen those episodes? I’m not sure. I know she never learned the word “mine” and toy-grabbing until she hung out with kids who did that. But how did those kids learn? Was it just inherent in their personalities and thus this is just part of life? Or did they learn it from someone who learned it from something, and so on?

Of course when it’s appropriate, she’ll learn stranger danger (we should probably start on that soon), the basics of safety and eventually the staggering problems of the world. But during the tender age of toddlerhood I could stand her being left in the dark a bit longer. Without a light on.

 

Afraid of Dark Picture via Shutterstock

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(My) Milestone Monday: No More Mommy Guilt! I Refuse It

Monday, August 13th, 2012

 

Last weekend Phil was away. I don’t have help on the weekends. I was by myself with both babies.

Here’s the scene:

Up at 6 a.m. Throw Emmett on the boob. Park Fia in front of Super Why.  Make coffee. Get Fia breakfast. Switch to Sesame Street. Let Emmett roll around on the carpet while I supervise and sip coffee (2 minutes of quality time). Feed cat. Emmett poops. Explosively. Put Fia in her high chair with a coloring book and bathe Emmett. Then feed him again. Fia starts to whine for eggs. Put Emmett in the swing and make eggs.  Plop eggs in front of Fia. Emmett starts to fuss. Pick him up. He poops again…a crazy amount. I am covered. In sh-t. I keep Fia locked in her high chair and give Emmett a sink bath. Put him back in swing, go change my clothes. Fia is finished. Begins to throw crayons. I am so happy she earned herself a time out, because for those 2 minutes I take my Lexapro, my Wellbutrin, and debate a shot of tequila.

I look at the clock. It is 7:30. Well f–k me.

At that moment, standing in my kitchen, dripping with sweat and both babies screaming, I had a complete and utter revelation. NO MORE GUILT.  Divine Intervention of the Non-Guilty Mom spoke to me.

I’m totally going to “out” myself here. I have full-time help and a part-time job. Not even. I’m a freelancer. I even have a night nurse a few times a week. It was almost every night in the beginning (I’d pump and bring her the bottle.) With Fia, I lost my mind with lack of sleep. It was so stressful for all those around me; I decided with Emmett I would do things differently. I would take my therapist’s advice and throw money at the problem. Lots of it. I could have sustained a village in Africa. Maybe two. Instead, I’ve sustained my mental health. And my marriage.

Up until now I’ve been afraid to fully confess. I’ve been nervous about the backlash from moms who will say I’m indulgent, that I’m not taking care of my kids, or even the “extremists” saying, “Why did you have kids if you’re not going to raise them?” Because here’s the thing: I am raising them and I now know I am doing a far better job with hired help than I could ever do on my own.

I shouldn’t have to justify this, but before I go further here’s why I have a full-time nanny: with Cleo in my life, I can pick and choose which child I want to be with. I can get quality time with both. That is key. But, I can also go to the bank, the grocery store, the nail salon and get a massage, all without carting a kid around. I can pay bills without sticking Fia in front of the TV. And blog. Added bonus: Cleo sometimes cooks for us. I still feel like I have zero time and I practically have a staff. Yet I often battle the demons of guilt. Shouldn’t I just plow through this on my own and be with my kids every hour that I can?

First of all, carting my kids to the store isn’t quality time. But now I think holding down the fort alone with your kids isn’t quality time either. For me, it was about keeping them alive. It was S-U-R-V-I-V-A-L.

Yet, my battle is constant: When I’m not with them, I feel like I should be. When I am with them at my house with the to-do list staring me in the face, I think of everything else I have to do.

While I’m at it, here’s another confession: I don’t love to “play.” As in, sit on the floor and build blocks or have a tea party.  I love watching Fia play though. I like to see the creative way she invents characters or stacks things. But pretending to pour tea over and over again? Honestly? I get bored.

So what I’ve done is carve out specific mornings and afternoons that Fia and I “do” things. We ride the kiddie train near our house, go on playdates to waterparks, museums, whatever. But usually it’s somewhere outside of the house. To me, that’s where I find my quality time with her.

Granted, throughout my solo-parenting day, we did have 9 more minutes of pure fun at home.  Fia and I were watering the lawn and she took the hose and squirted me. A mini water battle ensued. We chased each other around laughing. Emmett was taking one of his 20-minute cat naps (which is about all I ever get). “Ahh, see I’m doing it,” I thought to myself. “This is what the full-time moms get.” But then she fell, screamed for a Band-Aid, Emmett woke up arching his back (ready to release 11 more fart bubbles), and the moment was gone.

So why do I feel guilty for having help? Without it, I wouldn’t have quality time. Or maybe I would for a mere 11 minutes per day. Hardly enough to justify the guilt.

Sometimes I envy the full-time working moms because they can totally justify their nannies or  daycare. Other times I envy the SAHMs (Stay-At-Home-Moms) who I picture doing this in an orderly way.  I think I fall in this in-between area and perhaps that is where my guilt comes from. Or used to come from.

But ever since my revelation last weekend, I am trying to stop second-guessing how I raise my kids and just feel lucky I have this luxury.

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