Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Actions Really Are Loud

"I don't understand why you want to wear nightgowns to bed every night. I buy you perfectly nice pajamas, and you never wear them because you always want to wear nightgowns. If you want to wear nightgowns all the time, then I won't buy you pajamas anymore."

Thus I chastised my daughter one morning as we changed her our of her nightgown into shorts and a tank top.

To which she responded, "Do you know why I want to wear nightgowns to bed every night? It's because I want to be like you, Mama."


What parent hasn't had a moment like that? Looking with disdain on something your child is doing, only to realize that they are only trying their best to follow your example.

It brings such unexpected, maybe even unwanted, weight to our decisions as parents. Why should we bear such weighty responsibility? Is it fair that what used to be such easy, inconsequential decisions now are not so easy, and bear consequences? Is this what we signed up for when we participated in procreation?

In one word? Yes.

When you have a child, you suddenly have a tiny disciple. Someone watching you, following you, copying you. Whether you're aware of it or not, whether you intended it or not, whether you want it at all. Suddenly, everything you do... matters.


What's more, we can't even just tell our children the right thing to do. Or better yet, have them watch a video series, go to a seminar, and read a good book about "How to Be a Good Person". They won't be shrugged off so easily. Nope, they're becoming little versions of you.

The day will come when our example will matter less, our words and explanations will be understood a little better- though still not necessarily followed, and they won't intentionally try to be so much like us anymore. But today they are small. Today they are pure and untainted by life and experience and pain. Today they are learning all they know about life and being human from us.

So when you look past all the books and flashcards, when you silence the words and nagging, when you remove the clamor of voices and lessons:

What are you really teaching your children?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Joys of Genes

Apparently, my genes are stronger than my healthy habits. That is the sad discovery I made this week.

I have a family history of high blood pressure. Both my parents have high blood pressure, several of my grandparents. I grew up hearing warnings from my parents of my grandparent's unhealthy lifestyles that had led to their heart disease.

I never had a problem with my own blood pressure until I was pregnant with Violet. During my last two months of pregnancy my numbers would climb higher and higher with each visit. I went from being advised not to exercise anymore to being told to rest and sit down as much as possible to being induced for labor because they didn't want my blood pressure to rise any higher.

However, six weeks after delivering Violet, my numbers had gone back down and I was taken off the medication they had prescribed me after her birth. Having taken my blood pressure reading at several machines in the last sixteen months though, I was fairly certain my blood pressure problems weren't over.

So at my yearly physical on Wednesday, I wasn't surprised when the nurse told me that my blood pressure reading was high. My doctor sent me to the lab to have blood drawn so they could test to see if any underlying medical conditions were causing the high blood pressure. The tests came back negative, meaning I don't have liver disease or thyroid disease or any other condition causing my high readings. I was informed that I will be prescribed a daily low dose of a diuretic to help lower my blood pressure.

Now, I'm not a physical specimen of health, but I take good care of myself. I exercise four to five days a week and try to incorporate cardio, strength training, and stretching. I am not fastidious about what I eat, but overall I am a healthy eater. I rarely eat red meat, incorporate fruits and vegetables every day, lots of whole grains, etc. I get at least seven hours of sleep every night and don't have an overly stressed lifestyle. (Unless you count my two little ones as overstressed...) I've never even been a smoker.

Despite all this, in my late twenties, I am going on daily blood pressure medicine. Oh, the frustration! Despite all my efforts and prevention, my family's medical history has defeated me.

It just goes to show you... well, mostly me- that there are some things you can't control. Some things that simply are, and all we can do is to accept them and move forward. Taking a pill every day is not the worst case scenario in life, it barely counts as a blip in the story of me. So I will continue with my healthy living, and take a little pill every morning to help me along. (Oh yes, and I will blame my ancestors and Violet for laying this medical mantle on my shoulders. Grr...)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

De-Throning a Princess

I hate to admit it. But- at least in this area- my husband is right.

After observing a reoccurring pattern of behavior over the past year from Hope, I finally have to admit that after we visit with either set of grandparents, it seems that Hope has to be... deprogrammed.

Honestly, it's not through any fault of my in-laws or my parents. Yes, they're your typical doting grandparents, but they do abide by the rules of the house while they're with us and support my husband and I in any discipline we have to dole out.

Nonetheless, when my sweet, three-year-old daughter finishes visiting her grandparents, I now know we are in for two to three days of over-the-top whining and world class fits. Simple, although irrational, requests turn into all out mother-daughter warfare. Like today at the park. We were just finishing up a visit with some friends, Hope had been having a blast rolling down a huge hill numerous times. I told her it was almost time to leave, so she made her way over to me.

"I'm thi-hsty," she says.

"Okay, you have water and chocolate milk in the car. When we get there, you can choose which one you want."

"I want juice," she counters.

"Sorry, I don't have any juice here."

This doesn't deter her in the least. She only persists, louder, higher, and with longer words, "IIIIIIIII waaaaaaaaant juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuice."

"Hope. We. Don't. Have. Any. Juice." Mommy responds tersely.

Needless to say, Hope's requests for juice only continued to escalate into full on screams, finally culminating in kicking Mommy in the leg for good measure.

The final battle of the war was waged by Mommy pushing a screaming and crying Hope, very quickly, in her stroller to the car where we proceeded home and Hope was put in bed for her nap with no book by a crabby mommy.

A mommy who spent the afternoon shedding tears in her room because she let her three year old get the better of her temper, and disciplined said daughter out of frustration, not love.

A truce was reached by both parties this afternoon when they each apologized, the smaller faction for her words and behavior and the opposing force for disciplining in anger.

Let no one ever say the dethronement process is easy.