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Life While My Brain is Sleeping

So, I stumbled across a post today that was titled "I Hate Mommy Bloggers". I was surprised that a person who probably values diversity and intelligence would post something so short-sighted and ignorant. Unless of course a blogger who happens to be a mother also savagely attacked her entire family, tied them up with extension cords, burned vinegar incense, and forced them listen to a scratched CD of Yanni (pre-domestic altercation). Then I could understand the hate--COMPLETELY.

I have read a lot of stuff that I categorically disagree with, or sometimes find offensive (I use that term loosely because I do believe offense is taken more readily than given), or writing that's just not my style. To quote a fellow mommy blogger "The worst that could happen is....click that little X". That's pretty much as ugly as it should get in the blogging world, in my opinion. But, this post, it was like a bad accident. The kind my mom always told me to look away from if we passed by. "If you were the one in the accident, you wouldn't want people staring at you." I didn't mean to be the one staring, but I couldn't look away. I wanted to see how a person could justify making a public, published on the internet, judgment on me because I blog and because I've given birth.

And somehow, because I find humor, or frustration, or enlightenment, or fatigue, or befuddlement at the hands of a 3 year old and 1 year old---my world is small, my mind has gone limp and useless and I have nothing worthwhile to contribute to the blogging world or to conversation. That's a shame. Before my mind became useless, I was going to raise some spectacular children who were going to find a cure for heart disease or develop a strategy to end homelessness or grow up and have children in whom they find humor, frustration, enlightenment, fatigue... I was going to raise children who were kind and true and strong. Ones who are not easily offended nor easily dissuaded from their convictions. I was going to raise people who would consider the effects of their words. How unretractable they are. How powerful they are. How permanent they are.

But alas, I will instead wallow here in the numbness of my mind and the deep puddle of my drool.

OR I will tell you how my life today was dramatically better than yesterday and nothing had changed except me. My Avee is sick and teething and whined enough to make today alone feel like the entire month of August. I got to hear Benja say things like, "I'm just not feel liking that Mom" and "Mom, say 'Good job Ben for putting water in the toilet!'" and "Help me take off my pants, I want to go outside".

I stood at my kitchen sink, wiping off a high chair tray for the 43rd time today and searched my brain futily for the best approach to answering some of Benja's questions. I thought I had at least until Pythagorean Theory before I was in over my head, but it has come much too soon.

A sample conversation:
Benja watched a cartoon about the Good Samaritan today.
6 hours later:
B: Mom, why did that man get hurted?
M: I have no idea what you are talking about, give me a minute. (grasping for clues) What was he wearing?
B: A dress. A green dress.
M: (in my head: Oh crap, he turned on Jerry Springer today while I was in the shower!) Did he have all his teeth? Was there a naked woman beating on him?
B: He was hurted and needed help and no one helped him, why did no one help him?
M: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh---parable, no Jerry Springer---YES!
B: Who's Jewwy Fpwingoh?
M: Nobody. So, the man got hurt and he needed someone to help him---who helped him?
B: The man in a purple dress. Why did he get hurt?
M: Well, it was bad men who hurt him, they were being very naughty.
B: Why were they being naughty?
M: I'm not sure---I guess they were making bad choices, or maybe their moms didn't teach them to be kind to people. (if you think that's a lame answer, you're right. I am not a fast thinker when it comes to 3 year olds. Or 17, or 23, or 42 year olds) (I know it's not "olds" either)
B: Why not, why didn't their moms teach them to be kind?
M: Uhhhhhhh....so tell me about the man who helped him.
B: You tell me.
M: He was a Samaritan. The cool part about that story is, the man who got hurt thought that Samaritans wouldn't be nice, but it was a Samaritan that helped him after nobody else would.
B: Do Samaritans wear purple dresses?
M: Almost exclusively.
B: I sot so.

I can handle fashion questions. At least with a 3 year old boy. I have until Avee can say Gucci before I get in over my head that way. But I really don't know how to answer moral-type questions. I know what I think and believe, I just don't know the best approach in conveying it to a 3 year old. I'm dreading the question about skin color. He's had a lot of exposure to different races and has never said anything, but he will, right? He's bound to notice his lack of skin pigmentation, isn't he? I want to be able to teach him perfectly on such matters. I want to teach him about looking at a person's eyes and hearing the words that come out of his or her mouth, long before he notices anything else about their appearance. I want him to immediately want to help if he sees someone hurt or being hurt. I want him to know what kinds of things are worth his time and energy, and what kinds of things aren't. I want him to understand the importance of his choices and how to make wise ones. I want him to know so many things and I'm not sure of the approach. His mind is SO RIPE right now---he wants to know everything, and I'm supposed to be the one providing the answers. Pretty soon I'll be the dumbest person he knows, so I need to seize the day here.

I would love any ideas on teaching effectively and appropriately for his little mind. My knee jerk reaction right now is to call Grandma or Grandpa and have them answer his questions, and well, I think I should start doing things on my own now.

Well, he is naturally resistant to the WWF in general, so...

If there's anything I've learned, it's that little children are so much more receptive and understanding of wrong and right and truth and decency than we give them credit for. It's amazing the stories and truths they can process and retell (which can be good and bad). You can give it to them straight - all the deep thoughts with maybe just a simplified vocab and they will TOTALLY get it, and probably give you some insights back.

Oh...I meant to say that they learn all these things even when they are staring at us blankly and we think that NOTHING is sinking in...then three days later, they come up with a really profound take on men in purple dresses...So just because they seem to not "get it" doesn't mean they don't.

Words do stay with you forever. Makes me want to watch all of mine where my kids and family are concerned. I know what others' words have done to make me the messed-up individual I am today.

I think when kids are as young as yours, you really wonder what you're doing and if it's helping or hurting. They don't have much command over language to tell you either way. It's not until they get to be Ben's age that you can start to see what the effects of your parenting are. It sounds to me like Ben is an absolutely cute kid, someone I would not be opposed to teaching in Sunbeams. So you must be doing something right.

Avee... well, never judge anyone by the way they act when they're under 2, is a popular saying at my house. ;)

I usually answer my kids questions with "go ask your daddy" :D

This was such a good post, I enjoyed every single paragraph.
I also want to teach my kids not to be easily offended by other's actions or words, to never judge people by their skin color or appearance, and to help those in need.

I could care less about my lack of domestic skillz, the amount of money and stuff we accumulate, if I know my children will turn out to be good, decent adults. That to me, is the only success I need in my life.
It starts with small baby steps. And lots of prayers.

Now, I shall wallow here in the numbness of my motherly mind and the deep puddle of my Mexican drool.
Who else wants to join?

I just read that "anti-mommy bloggers" rant, delightful SFW quotation: "I don't want to hear about how many times a day ....stabs itself in the eye with its own foot".


I referred to a child as "It" once (it was in my mind of course) he totally deserved it, a complete awful brat.

But hey, we are allowed to say whatever we want in our blogs, those who don't like it, don't have to. The very same way I'm also allowed to comment about someone's post, such as this one: "sheesh lady, take a chill pill. No one HAS to read or listen to poopy diaper stories, not in the America of the 21st Century."
'Cause I certainly don't.

'That's why I didn't go to BlogHer'

I think example is a very powerful teaching tool and you are an excellent example of those traits you want to teach your children. They are qualities you value and they will know that.

By the way, I really enjoy your "mommy blog".

I think CYM has a really good point about kids' abilities to absorb information while appearing to pick their noses and babble about sandcastles. They also have excellent instincts - and absolutely no reason to hate anyone. Ever notice how quick they are to forgive? My kids will practically punch each other in the heads, and moments later, they're kissing and playing as if nothing happened. Okay, so maybe that's not entirely comforting... but the point was supposed to be something like this: so long as they have examples (that's you and your other lovely family members, church members, whatnot) they will have every ability to show that to others. The ability to give good speeches is probably 5% of good parenting. The rest is just example.

ps. I think exposing kids to diversity is really important too, but that would take for EVER to explain fully and you probably already know what I mean.

What Big Jay is referring to and what took me half the morning to figure out, was when Benja was about 17 months, we went to a festival and as we were leaving, off in a corner was a fighting ring with some WWF imitators. In a moment of hopeful bonding with his son, Jay approached it to enjoy and Benja LOST IT. He was devestated by the fighting and hopefully the prospect of people hurting each other.

CYM-You make an excellent point, and a good reminder. The blank stares are not representative of what's going on inside. I'm okay with telling them straight, but I guess with the Samaritan story I struggled with teaching prejudice, simply.

Millie--GREAT advice on not judging, love it!

NCS--"Go ask your dad" is what I hoped to rely on---but with him traveling, I get stuck with all the hard work, like answering philosophical questions from a 3 year old. I liked your point about baby steps and prayer and your kids turning out decent being the most important thing. I thought it was hilarious how that girl referred to children is "its".

Princess--Thank you, and thank you.
One thing I can say about your future Baybean is, "It" will have a wicked sense of humor

Aunt Emily--The ability to give good speeches, 5% made me laugh, but a very good point. Thanks.

I had the exact same thoughts when I was sitting in church today. It amazes me how quickly Haddie is learning things right now and I felt a sense of urgency to help her as much as possible. I'll be tuning back in for tips from the comments!

Stop beating your self up.. Children learn by example.
You have nothing to worry about, Ben & Avee will grow up to be outstanding people just like there Mom & Dad.

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