Hindsight Parenting: When Your Child Loves Your Spouse More Than You

I Love Daddy More!

Ila’s chin quivered as I undid her car seat buckle after school a week ago.

“Is daddy home?”  She asked.

“No, sweetie, he’s working,” I replied gently.

And then…the saddest cry in all humanity came from the depths of her.  Tears swelled and cascaded down her tiny face.  She cried hard…her-little-mouth-opening-with-no-sound-coming-out hard.  I scooped her up and asked, “Sweetheart, what is the matter?” Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: When Little Boys Grow Up

Not Nurse Nightengale

When Son1 was 17 he had the brilliant idea that he wanted a three person sling shot. It was made out of high tech stretchable exercise bands and was made to launch water balloons at “friends.” I immediately said no to the ludicrous idea knowing full well it wouldn’t be just water balloons that he and his friends would be launching…Nuh uh. I knew my son well enough to know that there would be lots of mischief making with a toy like that. Not surprisingly however, his father DID purchase it for him and my super mom senses were correct that he would choose to use said toy in a way that was NOT recommended…yup…that one fateful day in which he decided to put a potato in the harness that was meant for a water balloon. Yes, I said a potato.

So…picture this if you please… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Whining Monster vs. Angry Monster

“Let it Go” Let Me Let it Go!

I had a day last week. BOY OH BOY did I have a day! You know…one of THOSE days, where nothing goes right, nothing makes your child happy, and he or she whines and whines AND whines…and WHINES! When I was in my twenties and had THESE kinds of days with the boys, I would explode, implode…lose—my—mind! Yelling, stomping, snarling, slamming. I did it all.

But now I have Hindsight and I know that what I do is what my children, in the end, will do as well. I also know that a mother who loses it in an unpredictable way will not be a human being that her children will trust and therefore they won’t come to her with problems that might in fact make her blow a gasket. These are truths that I know.

The problem on THAT day last week is that as hard as I tried to remind myself of the things that I knew about anger and raising children, my body, my mind, my SOUL just wouldn’t respond appropriately. So as the day progressed and the whining got louder, more frequent and MUCHO irritating, the more I felt unable to keep the angry monster from jumping out of my throat. Even the heaviest iron boots wouldn’t keep him down.

Believe me, I tried. I did everything that Dr. Speed Dial and my constant companion, Hindsight, have taught me about being a mother who wasn’t a raving maniac. I reasoned. I hugged. I ignored. I distracted. I played and played and played and played. And still…and still…she whined. She whiiiiiiiiiiiiined… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: 20 Ideas of Love

What Love Is

When you read this, Valentine’s Day 2014 will be a memory, but the column was penned the week before…so bear with me. Anyways, is there ever really any BAD time to talk about love? And truly, is there anyone more qualified to speak about this particular subject than a mother?

Although I didn’t grow up with the best model of what love is, the older I get the more chances I have had to observe those that are experts at it. Not only have I observed it, but I’ve experienced great love from so many special friends and family, that it is impossible not to learn more and more each day and give it back to my children. And although I have a lot to learn about the strongest emotion in the world, I am beginning to understand the nuances of this complicated thing called love:  Twenty ideas of love…

Hindsight Parenting: Mother & Daughter Solitaire Extraordinare

Solitary Not-Confinement

She walks into the party.  Her patent leather shoes shine, stockings are straight and sleek.  Her hair is in a perfectly high ponytail with red grosgrain ribbon to hold it in place.  When she arrives, she is happily greeted by the other children attending.  They surround her.  Two grab her hands and lead her to the awaiting bouncy houses.  She scurries up the ramp and begins to bounce.  Her laughter mixes with the laughter of her friends.

Her mother is greeted by the other moms.  She knows them all by their first name.  She is gloriously adept at making small talk; remembering to ask about this one’s son and that one’s husband, commenting on the fierce cold, and sharing recipes for perfect Valentine treats.  She is pulled together perfectly; jeans, boots, and long sweater.  Her hair, in a high pony tail, matches her daughter.  She nods her head in sympathetic agreement as she listens intently to one of the other mothers exclaiming how she would just PERISH if she wasn’t able to go out every weekend “just to get away for a bit.”

Can you picture it?  I can…but that’s it.  I can only PICTURE it.  None of this scene has ever really happened in this girl’s world; not last year, not last month, and not at a party last weekend… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Top Five Most Misused Words and Phrases by Preschoolers

Fluent in Preschool

You did it!!!  It may not have been smooth sailing at times, but at least the dingy didn’t capsize! You made it through the sleepless-nights-poopy-diapers-tantrum-throwing-potty-training years of infancy and toddler-dom.  Now, you have a preschooler, and he or she can speak! What does that mean? All of that incessant crying to get what they want—done!  After all, you are living with a pint-sized communicator–all right–a rudimentary communicator, but at least able to say what he or she wants and needs.  Now it’s going to be much easier, right?

Maybe…It really depends, because you see, those teeny humans, like any human learning a new language, may use a word or utterance in a way that it is not meant to be used.  And without a translation guide, parents are…well… back in that dingy without a paddle.  Luckily, not only have I unlocked the code to the top five most misused words and phrases by preschoolers, I have devised a parental action plan to take for each, and share them with you here: Top Five Most Misused Words and Phrases by Preschoolers…

Hindsight Parenting: Pretend Play vs. Violence

Let’s Pretend: A Discussion on Violence

Let’s go back to Fisher Price amusement parks with Weebles that don’t fall down, to plastic farms where a cow moos when you open the barn door and to kick ball out in the middle of the road using the cracks in the street as bases.

“Ok daddy. Let’s go in my tent and you get to kill me.” These were the words uttered by my VERY sheltered three-year-old daughter just last night. I was shocked. Daddy was shocked. He immediately responded, “I will play with you Ila, but I won’t ever play ‘killing’. That just isn’t a nice thing to play.” To distract her, he pretended to see a dragon in the clouds and they went chasing off in that direction determined to introduce themselves. While that seem to be the end of it for Ila, it wasn’t for me. How on Earth did she come up with THAT one?

Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: The Strength of Children

Have Faith in Your Children Strength

I was a big ol’ chicken this week. I mean a shakin-in-my-boots-anxiety-ridden-big-ol’-BAWK-BAWK-chicken. Last column and the column before that, I had hinted that there were things going on at my daughter Ila’s current daycare/preschool that weren’t all that wonderful. Between the mean girl attitude, and the teachers’ lack of motivation to implement the suggestions given to them by Ila’s physical and occupational therapists, coupled with the unwelcoming disposition of the lead teacher who neither greeted nor even looked up when a parent walked into a room, we came to the rather terrifying decision that we’d have to change Ila’s school. I will tell you that just last week if I had to pen that previous line, I would get a panicky feeling right in my solar plexus.

We had already made the decision that she was not returning the following year. We picked out another preschool/daycare that had a reputation for academics and a child centered approach. Both the OT and the PT had encouraged us to check this school out as they both had experience being there to do therapy for other students. But we were determined to keep her in the school she had been in at least for the rest of the year. Moving Ila seemed to be cruel especially given the background she has had on loss and leaving. We thought it would be ‘best’ for her to keep her in the place that she was ‘used to’ and not uproot her and pull another set of people out from under her. I was sure, absolutely sure that her “fragile” self couldn’t handle it. But the more problems we experienced the harder it was to stick to the decision of keeping her there. And while I won’t go into the final straw, there was one…a big honkin’ straw, and it was completely and utterly apparent to us that we’d have to get her out of that toxic place as fast as we could.

From the moment I made that decision, I had massive anxiety. Hindsight kept reminding me that the feelings I was experiencing were paramount to those same feelings that I had when I wanted to spare my boys any discomfort and therefore would move heaven and earth to make sure they didn’t feel it. Hindsight also kept reminding me what the end result of that was; two children who find it absolutely excruciating when life doesn’t go exactly the way they want it to go. “When does life always follow the path you want it to?” Hindsight whispered. “Give her a chance to adapt to discomfort,” it urged. I knew. I always know that the whispers and elbows to my ribs that Hindsight gives are always the voice of reason. I knew I should listen, and so with shaky hands and that persistent anxiety ache in my solar plexus I pushed forward trying to find a new place for Ila to attend.

Luckily, the consummate preschool that we had decided on for the following year found room for our daughter and after a couple of visitations with mommy and daughter together, this past Monday, the day of doom, (at least in my head) came; the day that we’d have to drop Ila off “at that strange and new place with no one she knows.” Saturday and Sunday leading up to that day, I didn’t sleep. I tossed. I turned. I felt nauseous and turned to friends and my husband to soothe me. The anxiety took me over and I was convinced that I couldn’t possibly bear the moment in which I left Ila all alone at that new place. So I enlisted Ila’s daddy to be the culprit; the bad guy so to speak. HE could drop her off. HE could watch her whimper. He could peel her off his leg and run out of the classroom while she screamed for him not to leave her. I just simply couldn’t do it. And Hindsight chided, “Chicken. Coward. Don’t you have any faith in the strength of your daughter?” He had a point, but I pushed that thought aside and continued to wallow in anxiety until the fateful Monday arrived.

And so while I worked away in my classroom getting ready for the week ahead, my palms sweat and I waited for the fateful call that would inevitably come; that call that would have my husband’s voice on the other end shaky and sad that Ila was so distraught at being left at a new school. So when the phone rang, my gut did a giant roller coaster dip, but I put the phone to my ear and squeaked out, “How was she?” and braced for the horror story.

The line that was uttered by my husband could have very well been uttered by Hindsight itself. He said, “Logan, I think we need to have more faith in Ila and how strong she is. She was absolutely fine. She walked into the classroom, kissed me goodbye and walked off to play with the girls that were already in the class.” I was instantly relieved and ashamed. Hindsight was right…again. I needed to have faith and confidence in the strength that we have helped to foster in our daughter. I needed to listen to him when he reminded me that parenting with a sense of wisdom will then become the wisdom of the child, and here again was a perfect example of that.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that wanting to spare our children discomfort and trauma is an innate part of being a parent. However, I am finding out that the images of what may take place, of how they may feel, or of how they may react can be completely erroneous. Therefore, if we give in to that feeling of being the hero and saving them from the deep down dark of life, not only are we not equipping them for the ultimate continuing deep down darks of life, we miss out on some pretty amazing moments where we get to see our children being strong; stronger than we may think they are, and each time they are strong it will help us to let go a bit to the savior complex we have as parents and instead let our children build the muscles that they need to be strong humans for the rest of their lives.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, and Appleseed.  Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around every first and third Tuesday of the month.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Brian Hart]

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