Posted on July 11, 2008
After spending some time at my parents house, I realize that here at home Chloe has a commercial free existence. My parents have Tivo, which is wonderful, but you have to fast forward through the commercials. Here, we have Myth TV (ask john for details, because I only know it works) and it has an automatic commercial skip. We don’t listen to the radio, instead In the car I listen to my Ipod with my carefully selected adult, yet kid appropriate music. We don’t receive a newspaper because both John and I get our news online and from the Daily Show. All the online computer games she plays are carefully selected by me, and if there are any adds, I skip them before she sees them. In addition to that, we use mozilla with add and pop up blocker. When we get a new movie, John puts it up on Myth TV, eliminating all previews.
I believe this is good, for the most part. I do worry sometimes that we have too much control over what she sees and what she hears. Will she be able to establish her own likes and dislikes if she is never exposed to anything other than what John and I like and dislike? Will she miss out on the excitement at Christmas time of creating a “wish list” based on the toys she sees on the TV and in adds? Will she be able to keep up in social conversations with her friends if she doesn’t have the same exposure to “pop culture” that they have?
I have already noticed that she doesn’t recognize certain characters, specifically Disney classics such as Micky Mouse and Donald Duck. She uses the generic “Princess” to describe any of the female Disney characters and doesn’t delineate between Cinderella and Snow White (I do have a fairy tale book that has generic forms of these characters that wasn’t published by Disney.) She doesn’t know Dora, Diego, or the Doodlebops. The only cartoon she watches at this time is the Little Einsteins because its the only one I can stand, and with Myth TV (or any DVR) she can have it on demand, so she doesn’t have to watch the Disney Channel until it comes on.
It’s possible that most people wouldn’t worry about this, but I am a believer in pop culture. I enjoy being able to converse with anybody based on what is happening NOW. I enjoy that sense of belonging when you discover that somebody you just met has read the same books, watches the same TV shows, enjoys the same movies, and listens to the same music. You have an instant connection. Am I denying her that by creating this electronic bubble? Or, will she be able to see through all of our protections to discover her own identity? I always assumed once she started going to school, we would start losing control over what she is exposed to, so I wanted to make sure she understands quality before she was thrust into all that noise. But, perhaps we aren’t giving her a chance to see the bad in order to compare it to the good?
I really want her to have the best in life, but I wonder if I am being too controling in my attempt to expose her to only the best. And I guess there is the argument that the best is subjective, and who am I to decide? I know there are more important issues to worry about, like is she eating the right kinds of foods and getting enough excercise. However, I feel that preparing her socially is also important, and I hope that all of the cool gadgets we have aren’t stunting her ability to cope with the competitive and sometimes cruel kid society.
Posted on July 3, 2008
Sigh. Thanks to Sara, I am down of the ledge. I decided (even though I was tempted to delete it) to leave my previous post up. I have gone back and forth on how honest you can be while blogging because I know who reads this, and I don’t want to offend anybody. But, every now and then I have to speak my mind, no matter how ugly it may be and how hurtful it may be for others read.
I am not a bad friend. We all get caught up in our day to day living and sometimes we forget that there are others out there that we can talk to and confide in with the little things as well as the big things. I just found out a lot of things I didn’t know in the last week. Some of these things were directly from the source, and others were told to me by other people, but all the info was old news for everyone but me. And I have to admit that I was hurt. I was far out of the loop.
But, like I said, I am off the ledge and back in the loop. I am letting go of the hurt and the frustration and just accepting that sometimes I am not going to be the first to know.
Posted on July 3, 2008
At some point, and I have no idea when, I stopped being the accessible friend. I am not blaming anybody but myself, but I have to admit that within the last month or so, it has become more and more obvious. People I have known most of my adult life are not telling me things. Not just run of the mill things, but LIFE ALTERING THINGS that happened to them months ago. And yet I am the second, third, fourth, LAST to know. I am not going to pretend that I am always the most accessible. I have a two year old and that limits my ability to just drop everything. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t. AND that certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t. And yet…there is the possibility that I built this “everything is fine” cocoon around me, and people are hesitant to cross that. But COME ON PEOPLE! I can’t say it doesn’t hurt when I discover that you had PPD or were dealing with an hormonal imbalance or were trying to get pregnant and I didn’t know anything about it. I am starting to wonder if these friendships are more important to me than they are to the people I so desperately cling to. I also wonder if I checked out when I got married and had a child, and that I may not be able to repair the damage.
I don’t feel like I am a judgmental person, I don’t feel like people should be afraid/ashamed to tell me things. I also feel like I can be trusted. If you want something to be a secret, I can keep it. (And trust me, there are people who can attest to that.) So, why am I sitting her whining? I miss the friends I had in Colorado. I have made friends in NJ, but it’s different, and I am not sure why. But, I idolized what I had here, and when I return I always assume that all those friendships would just go back where I left off. And yet…
This just reiterates that my loneliness in NJ isn’t just because I moved. But, because I moved, people stopped considering me someone they could talk to, confide in, relate to. And now I am feeling even more lonely, because all the things I look forward to are gone, and just coming back to the place doesn’t mean coming back to the feeling and the idea.
To all those friends that I let down, I am sorry. I am sorry that I got so caught up in my own life you felt like you couldn’t tell me about yours. I am sorry if I ever made you feel like I would judge you or criticize you in any way for the decisions you have made. And I am sorry if I didn’t share enough of my faults and failings to make you feel like you could share yours. I can and will do better if you let me. Please don’t cancel me out of your life. I will be there, no questions asked.
I have alway tried to be a good friend. And, I am, like everyone else on the planet, fallible. But I can’t say that it doesn’t hurt to discover that the friendsips that I hold most dear, are more important to me than to others. I am open to suggestions, please let me know what I could do better, and I will. Just, don’t give up on me. I am lost, but that doesn’t mean that I am lost forever.
Posted on June 22, 2008
Check out how the static made her hair stand on end!
Posted on June 13, 2008
When I was a teacher, I worked with kids who were between the ages of 11-17. I always joked with their parents that there was very little difference between a two year old, and a twelve year old when it came to emotional development. I was right on quite a few fronts.
1) two year olds and twelve year olds believe that the world should revolve around them, especially if it doesn’t.
2) Both are going through a strange transitional period where for the two year olds, they aren’t babies any more, but they aren’t big kids either. With 12 year olds, they aren’t kids anymore, but they haven’t crossed over into being teenagers.
3) Independence is of vital importance, except when they need help, and then its not.
4) They know EVERYTHING. And any suggestion an adult makes is suspect.
5) They have absolutely no control over their emotions, especially anger and frustration. They also have very little ability to express these emotions in any other way then tantrums. The only difference is, you can carry a two year old out of a restaurant.
6) Logic does not apply. Cause and effect are foreign concepts invented by the MAN!
7) Impulse control does not exist! “If I want it, I should get it,” becomes the catalyst for most behaviors. “If I feel it, I should say it,” Is also popular.
8) Pride rules over all. You wouldn’t think that a two year old has pride. Well, they don’t have a word for it, but I think the fierce independence is ruled by an immature sense of pride. Where as a 12 year old has this uncontrollable need to prove themselves, as a teenager, as independent, as better than the weakest kid next to them.
9) Single mindedness. This is that bizarre, obsessive quality where a two year old will watch the same tv show or movie 150 times, and a 12 year old will collect, read, and watch all things related to their favorite subject.
10) Selective hearing. A two year old can pretend they don’t understand the words, where as a 12 year old pretends they don’t hear them.
Of course there are differences. But the similarities are strong enough, that I think I have developed a way to handle my toddler. Here’s hoping I actually know what I am doing. (Another way of saying this is, “Please oh please don’t let me screw up my kid!)
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