Raising Girls and Raising Boys

I’m sure you’ve all seen the latest story about the frat guys who hung signs up basically insinuating that they’d be having all the sex with all the freshman girls.  It happens year after year, time and time again, across every campus in America… and maybe other countries too, although I feel in my gut that America is the worst.  Anyone know for sure?

Anyway, every time I see these things I roll my eyes.  I don’t get angry and scared for the girls, which I know many people do, which is why news anchors say idiotic things like “I’ll put my daughter in a convent” or “I’ll keep mine home in the kitchen.”  Instead, I say, women are intelligent.  Did you know most of us can read now and everything??  Why not put a little faith into the women to make a good decision.  Why do we assume that the freshman girls will be lining up to let these guys have their way with them.  Like we are helpless and find ourselves drawn to their sexy signs about banging us and our moms. Oh, I’m turned on just thinking about it.  *This is the part where I roll my eyes*

Do you know where this world is going wrong with raising girls and boys?  We treat them differently.  We treat boys like they are supposed to brag about their conquests.  We treat girls to be embarrassed or ashamed about theirs, and it begins in infancy.

Whaaaaaat?? You say, confused by conquests in infancy, but let me explain….

When E was a little, tiny, baby girl, we went to a friends house who had a little, tiny, baby boy.  They rolled on the floor together (as neither of them could crawl or talk or do much of anything but roll), and they eventually got near each other and grabbed each others hands.  It was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.  What wasn’t so cute, however, was my husband growling and the boys father saying “that’s my boy!”

And that’s where it starts.  You don’t notice it, because you think it’s funny, or cute, or whatever, but that’s where it starts.  We automatically think about daughters and sons as totally different beings.  We buy boys blue and girls pink, even though those are just colors and mean absolutely nothing.  We make boys play with Legos and make girls play with dolls.  We buy girls kitchen sets and brooms, we buy boys toy trucks and building sets.  I met a girl at a nail salon who said she wanted a boy because she wanted a child that could play soccer and watch sports.  My daughter has two soccer balls, which she loves to kick around, and she loves to watch football.  I know, she’s two, but she loves it. She even does the touchdown sign.

Girls and boys aren’t different beings because they have different sex organs.  They are different beings because we make them believe they are.  Women struggle to be heard, and men struggle to show emotion, both because they are told these are not important things for them, just to realize later in life that they are, but it’s too late, we’ve already been raised to believe that we are different and have rolls based on what’s hiding in our pants.

Women are more than a vagina, men are more than a penis.  Teach your children from the start that they are no different from one another and maybe, maybe, one day we can have the kind of world where we don’t see gender as being a defining criteria for life. Maybe women won’t think that their sexuality is a powerful tool, and the only tool, to get ahead in life, and maybe men won’t think they have the right to do and say whatever they want just because they are told they are the dominant sex.

Let’s remember that we are all human.  One species, not two separate species.  Let’s teach our children to love and respect one another, to hold hands, to play soccer, to watch football, and pretend to cook together.  Let’s start now, before the cycle repeats itself.

Advertisements

The TV Has Been Dead Nine Days Now….

Well, I’d like to say we made it 100% in nine days, but alas, we had a really bad day with a sick mommy, and an E who fell down a step and hurt her foot.  Add the fact that she refused a nap (for the first time in… I can’t even remember), we decided it might be nice to curl up on the couch and watch The Lorax.  It was nice.  She was exhausted, and mommy felt awful.  We snuggled, danced, laughed, and sang (why does this word always sound awkward? Singed..?).  When it was over?  She walked over to the TV and asked me to turn it off.  Unheard of!

Other than that?  Nothing. Not once has the TV been turned on, and after day four, she completely stopped asking for it.  This is actually huge.  We used to have the TV on all day and night.  More for background noise than anything, but always at the request of E, who chose what we were allowed to watch.  Although we did sneak in Modern Family and Big Bang in the evening before bedtime.  That’s a mommy and daddy type of need, especially when mommy had been watching Muppets and cartoons all day.

So, here are the results.

  •  E is more attentive to whatever she is playing with.  Blocks, letters, books, puzzles.  She takes time to look at what she’s doing, and although she still gets easily frustrated, I’m starting to believe that’s just part of her personality, or part of being two…. hopefully the two part.
  • E enjoys everything more.  She now randomly breaks into dances, she drums on tables and her tunnel.  She pretends more.
  • She no longer breaks down into hysterics when she needs something.  I mean, good god guys, it was the most traumatic experience in the world for her to run out of milk and need more.  Before asking “mommy, more milk, please” she would just immediately start whining and throwing her cup at me. “E NEED MILK!!”  I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying this.  Not to say all the hysterics are completely gone (I’m not sure that is a possibility with a two year old?), but we are down to maybe 2 episodes a day instead of 20.  Awesome sauce.
  • Now I can tell if she’s been watching TV.  Her grandparents are, well, grandparents.  They think that what mom and dad says is poo-poo and they can do whatever they want (they won’t even anchor dressers to the wall, which is a completely separate fight).  I get it, my grandma was notorious for not doing what my mom wanted, and my mom hated it.  I guess you forget that when you become a grandparent though.  My in-laws have the TV on all the time.  The tantrums she has thrown at their house the three times we’ve been there in the past nine days…. wow.  That’s all I’ve got.  They are either 10 times worse than before, or she’s just become so calm in the past nine days I had forgotten how bad it truly was.  I feel like this is a battle I can’t win though.  So I put up with it, and put up with the 24 hour grandparents house detox it takes for her to calm down and get back to normal.  It’s a long 24 hours….

So, this is the evidence I have that “breaking” your TV is the best decision for your toddler.  It might not be the easiest at first, because it will require a lot more of your time to keep them amused, but I am now finding that she will go into her playroom, or out onto the porch all by herself and play, and pretend, and come back in to tell me what she’s been doing.  Then, when she understands that I’m done doing whatever I was doing (cleaning, peeing, eating), she will ask that I come play with her, and I do, as I am no longer distracted by the TV either.  I’ve even been able to crochet in the same room as her while she plays.  It’s really been life altering, and I’m so glad I tried it.

…although I do occasionally miss The Lorax and The Muppets, I’m so glad I traded them for my little E.

The Day The TV Broke ——- *Wink*

Today the TV was broken all day.  Well, as far as my daughter knew it was.  I told her as soon as we got up that the TV was broken and would not turn on today.  I was expecting a total breakdown, but I was surprised because she said “okay. E want milk.”  Phew, crisis averted.  (Also, my daughter still speaks in third person… we are working on it).

What did we do instead?  We played with her stacking cups, we painted, we colored with chalk, we tried not to pass out from heat exhaustion (why are there so many hots outside right now?  I can’t handle all the hots!), and we went to the doctor because she has a little infection around her belly button.  Then we came home, had lunch, and took a nap (both of us — score).  After nap the TV was still broken *wink wink wink*, and she was still fine. She actually played upstairs with her daddy for an hour while I went to pick up her prescriptions and some dinner.  After dinner we played outside on the porch, then we played with puzzles before bedtime.

What was the point, you say?  Well, I’m tired of the TV.  I’m sick of all the background noise.  I want silence, or at least just my daughter saying the word “mommy” 45,000 times in a day.  That’s enough noise for me for the day.  So, what was the outcome?  Was today any different than any other day?  Yes, it was actually.  Do we always play? Yes.  Do we always play with cups and puzzles and paint?  Yes.  The difference was her attention span and her attitude.  She was so much more interested in what she was doing.  She was focused.  And she had almost no breakdowns the entire day.  She usually has a couple an hour.  Not tantrums, per-say, but just little fits about things like… wanting to have a pickle for breakfast, or wanting to go into the bathroom just so she can close the door, or needing to sit on the side of the couch that I am sitting on.  Today we had none of that.  It was marvelous.

I suggest you all try breaking your TV for just a day.  See how your little one(s) handle it. You never know, it may be the best day you’ve had in a while.  I know mine was.

Perhaps the TV will stay broken just a bit longer…

You Must Be Patient

This is something I repeat over and over again to my two year old during the day.  I’m not sure if it’s all two year olds, but she has negative amounts of patience.  If she decides she needs something, it must happen IMMEDIATELY, or the wrath of E will be upon you!  It’s kind of intense most of the time, so we try to get her to calm down and tell us in a non-whiny, non-screeching voice, exactly what it is she needs.  Sometimes it works, sometimes she gets even whinier, screechier, and then some tears get thrown in.  It has to be hard to be a two year old, but I think it’s even harder to be an adult sometimes.

I’ve also been having to practice patience with myself.  I find myself constantly getting worked up because I am frustrated with my impatient two year old.  I find myself thinking “why can’t she just play with the puzzle by herself for two minutes while I crochet?  Why is it all about what SHE wants?!”  Then I have to shut my eyes, breath, and remember that she is two and I am 31, and if either of us should be acting like a two year old, it should be the two year old.  I am the mommy.  I made the decision to be a mommy, and with that comes certain responsibilities, like entertaining her, teaching her to be patient, and helping her understand that you shouldn’t bring your food into the bathroom to share with mommy while she’s on the toilet.

I understand that one day she will want less to do with me than… well, probably anything, and it hurts my heart already to know that that day will come, but there are days where I could take a bit of the cold shoulder and be okay, and I don’t think that makes me a terrible mother.  I think that makes me human.  I sometimes day dream of the pre-baby days, where I could sit on the couch and eat a snack without a toddler running off with the bag.  Where I could watch Ellen in the afternoon instead of Super Why.  Where I could get up and go to the store, or two stores, or three stores, without someone telling me they want to do something else, or that they need the balloon with Elmo, or that they want to sit in a different part of the cart.

Did things used to be easier?  Oh, yes.  Yep.  Uh-huh.  No doubt about it.  Would I change anything now?  Nope. No.  Not even a little.  I just need to learn to be patient.

You must be patient.