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Random Questions, Random Answers

I was looking for ideas for a quick post today, so I asked my followers on twitter if there was anything they wanted my opinion on that wouldn't require research. Instead of picking one, I thought I'd answer several of them.

When a porn star breastfeeds

Molly (@KnockedUp_Over) asked "Have you see this article? I'm dying to know your take. I'm struggling with it a bit." The article she then linked to was When porn meets real motherhood on Salon.com. To begin with, the subject of the article, Madison Young (@madisonyoung), stated on twitter that she does not support the article and that it does not present the facts accurately. Another case of sensationalism over good journalism. So don't even bother clicking on it.

I considered writing about the controversy. I don't struggle with it at all. However, I was struggling for the right words to make my point eloquently. But I was saved from that work when Blue Milk decided to take it on. I nodded my head all the way through her post called Too sexy for breastfeeding? Go read it.

I like alternatives

Charlene (@laughingbaubo) said "I would love to hear the @phdinparenting opinion on homeopathy." I think it is great that alternatives to traditional medicine exist. I would encourage people to give it a try. I know people and animals that have had great success with it. I've tried homeopathic remedies numerous times and never had much success, but I have had limited success with my kids. My opinion? Worth a try, but no guarantee.

Mom's time is more than just nap time

@Naptimewriting asked me "How do you feel about asking children, during school and work holidays, to play by themselves for a few minutes? An hour? Mostly a philosophical question about acknowledging our responsibility to them and our need to have a few minutes to blink."

How do I feel? I unequivocally support it. I think it is important for children to learn to entertain themselves and to play independently. I don't think that parents have the responsibility to provide entertainment during every waking hour.  Is it easy? Not always. Some kids play on their own more easily than others.

I also fully support having more than one child so that they can play together. Obviously each parent needs to make their own choices about family size and I'm not saying that it is wrong to have just one child, but I do think it can be easier sometimes to send two kids off to play together than to insist that one child play alone.

Bright is good, right?

Mrs. Cupcake (@MrsCupcake79) asked for "Tips on parenting very bright and frustrated toddlers. Please? Please, please, please, please, please, please."

There are no quick answers and I FEEL YOUR PAIN. Also, IT GETS BETTER. It does, really. The girl I wrote about in Age three: defiance with a smirk, is now 4 and a half and much, much more pleasant. She's still sassy, but the fun side of sassy is coming out more and she is easier to reason with.

Mostly, I recommend patience and listening. It can be hard when they are melting down to listen to what they are saying, but I think that truly understanding what is frustrating them and finding solutions together is the best way to go.  I would also highly recommend Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, which has excellent suggestions on how to work through those tough moments with kids.

Guilty as charged

Rachel (@rachelbeld) had a very brief question: "parental guilt?". My brief answer: yes. We all have it. For some of us it is an obsession and for others it creeps in when we have one of those "bad parent" moments. Even you asking the question brings back flashbacks of the things I wish I'd done differently or the times I wish I could have been there. How to deal with it? For me, it is a combination of seeking balance and accepting that I am not perfect.

More on balance

I'm sensing a theme. Averil (@averilrafferty) asked about "balancing your needs and child's". I don't think this is something that I could take on in a quick blog post, but it is something that I've written about at length in other posts. Check out the Child's Hierarchy of Needs and Intersecting Needs: Maslow, interdependence, parenting, caregiving, relationships, two posts that were inspired by Meagan Francis' Mother's Hierarchy of Needs.

That's it. Now I'm off to bed. Good night!
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Reader Comments (10)

I have to laugh at your response about your 3 year old turning 4. My 4 year old boy was awesome till he turned four. Now, he's a whiny, crying mess. :)

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

THANK YOU for acknowledging that some kids play on their own more easily than others. We've been trying and trying to foster independence in my son for awhile now, and he's not into it. He'll do his own activities, but he needs an adult to at least talk to, if not to have join in, the entire time. It's exhausting. I know that people think we are spoiling him, we are turning him into a brat. But it's a lot more complicated than that.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuli Simon Thomas

Thank you - what a sweet intro to my link. I'm flattered.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterblue milk

Juli, my so was like this until we tried books on cd for him to listen to while playing. The library has them. He will do a puzzle or fiddle with toys while it is on. It has also made car trips a breeze. Good luck. It is exhausting.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlisad

As I often do, I nodded my head in agreement through your post. One caution, though, with respect to homeopathy. It is not particularly well regulated in Canada, and while there are many, many awesome and wonderful results from it, it should be treated akin to medicine (IMO), and when using it, find yourself a wonderful and trusted resource, especially one that can tell you about the potential interactions between prescribed and OTC medicines, and homeopathic remedies. (I have a great resource in my local small-town pharmacist!)

I love the alternatives, but treat them with as much respect as medicine, please. :)

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Thank you so much for linking me to the Blue Milk article. The Salon article I read had my head spinning a bit. First, my Southern upbringing chimed in and said, "Oh my gosh, she's a PORN star!" Then I stopped myself and said, "So what? She's a porn star. Big deal." Then the lactivist in me said, "But breastfeeding isn't sexual! How irritating is this!" (I've got a lot of growing and learning to do, cut me some slack.) Then the feminist in me said, "She's not being sexual in this instance. Just because she's a porn actress doesn't mean everything she does is about sex. The porn thing is just a red herring. Also, gorgeous picture!" So I had this war of perspectives going on that I was struggling to figure out. My gut was telling me that this is an exciting and positive thing she is doing, but I was having trouble from an intellectual standpoint with understanding why.

Blue Milk's post really helped me sort things out. :) It was just too much to explain via a tweet.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly A

Just want to say you are not alone, my 2 yr old is like that. Even when she is playing on her own, she needs an audience. I had someone tell me that I "needed to get on that [making her play by herself]". Um, how? We both constantly encourage her and tell her she can do it on her own, but any refusal from me or my husband leads to her breaking down in tears. I thought it would change when she started daycare, but not so far. Maybe things will be different in a couple of years when she has a sibling.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

There's a reason they call it the f*#king fours. Personally, I find 3 a huge challenge (been through it once, going through it again right now), but 4 can be, uh, trying as well. Good luck.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkarengreeners

I can vouch for kids having different ability to play by themselves. My eldest had a contradiction for a while...and still a little bit. He WANTS to play by himself (he is 6 now) but does not want to be alone in the basement. He is finally getting over the nameless fear he has regarding this and realizes if he is in his room alone or in the house alone (if we are on the porch or yard) he is still very much safe and can focus on playing uninterrupted. Often kids just need a parent (or parent or caregiver or friend) to get them over the "OMG I'm A L O N E " feeling into "hey I wonder if this play apple can fit into that wooden box.." mindset. Then they can play alone for a while until they think "Where is my Mom, is she still here, what is she doing?" when maybe they can guide them into a new thought of play. It is a process and very different to each child.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

On Porn star breast-feeding- Being a porn star is not about being sexy. It is about creating a illusion of sexiness. It is like if we saw Merle Streep play Julia Child and then though t that she was really into cooking.

On playing by yourself: My kids are far apart in age so I had few sibling interactions or playing together. I did reward my daughter ( now 5) by letting her watch TV after a set time of playing by herself. ( This borders on bribery , I know but it worked, she got used to the idea and then would play by herself without prompting some times). I would also get her set up on an activity and then leave to make dinner, telling her to call only if she need help. I was firm, in that if she called me for a trivial reason I would tell her that that was not OK because then we'd never get dinner made and we'd be hungry. Also I gave her chores ( put away your toys , clothes, fold napkins , put out the cutlery-- yes at 3) . This kept her busy while I was doing other things and she had a sense of accomplishment. It is still not her preferred thing to do ( playing alone). But it did get better over that year of 3-4.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAurora

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