Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big Deal or No Big Deal

One of the trickier things about parenting is figuring out whether something is a big deal or not, to wit, will the child and/or I be in therapy over this situation in the future? Or not?

An example: I was kind of stunned to see our child described in the Difficult Child sidebar in the What To Expect With Your Toddler book. Yes, it's true: I'm the mother of an Unscheduled Child. She doesn't sleep at the same time every day, doesn't wake up at the same time, ditto re. eating and peeing/pooping. And it's no big deal. Because I've realized that routine is really for the parents' benefit--it gives the day some structure and provide its own argument for doing what Mom and Dad say, the (usually) unspoken, but-we've-always-done-it-this-way justification that has surprising power. The only timing issue I'm a hardass regarding is bedtime: bedtime is at 8-ish (so, not so much a hardass as, um, semi-consistent) and we only suspend bedtime for very rare circumstances, like out-of-town guests and the occasional party. And we've never let her just fall asleep wherever and carried her up to bed, because that would drive me nuts--I really require some child-free quiet evening time before I can sleep. And yet I know parents whose kids just pretty much go to bed when they're tired. Not me: our Little Miss Unscheduled has chattered away to herself for more than an hour before she goes to sleep and I'm cool with that.

Then there's the Sorta Big Deal: as I blogged previously, my girl and I saw our dog kill one of our chickens. As in, I was grabbing at the dog's collar as she finished off the poor bird with my daughter on my hip. Babygirl and I finally talked about it the other day and it was like this:

BG: Lucy got the brown chicken.
POM: Yeah, she did.
BG: It funny?
POM: You mean, was it funny?
BG: [nods]
POM: It was more scary. I was scared.
BG: Was I scared?
POM: Yeah I think you were. Lucy was just being a dog but it was scary.
BG: Ok. [pause] Higher, Mommy! More!

See, we talk like guys: rather than discussing it over General Foods International Coffee and milk (me and her, respectively), like women might, we talked it over while she was on the swing and I was pushing her. Like guys: talking about our feelings in passing while we're doing something else. Which is fine with me. Guys get accused of being all emotionally constipated (and, frankly, they sure can be) but at least they don't analyze everything to death over the coffeecups. Plus, I don't much like those froo-froo coffee drinks.

I'm thinking the whole incident with the chicken might be retired to No Big Deal, but I'll wait a while first. I'm thinking we're going to try again with another batch of chicks and we'll see how that goes.

Oh, and an unrelated topic that I can't resist bragging about: after endless weeks of listening to tedious kidfolk music in the car, my girl has found a new group: Gnarls Barkley. My Babygirl rocks! Whooo!


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