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Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

Somewhere around his 2nd birthday, my sweet, wonderful, lovely, lovable baby turned into a terrible two. He was still underlyingly sweet, but everything turned into a battle. Everything. There was not one thing that he didn’t battle me about. For around a year its been very challenging, to say the least. I had times when I wondered who took my little angel and replaced him with someone else who looked like him.

He is back. Somewhere in the last few weeks something changed. Its like we went into a valley of toddler tantrums and are now heading out into the sunshine. My little man has become as sweet as he could be. The battles are getting fewer and farther between. My sweet darling little boy is back.

He has spent the last few days miserable. Full of cold, ears infected, sore throat and a fever. Even with that, sitting up very very late at night cuddled up with a very poorly little boy, he has been so sweet. Even really ill he has been a joy to be around. He has spent the last two days planted on my lap. Its been a joy, and it really reminds me of his baby days.

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I have come to the conclusion that I must sound like an adult in a Peanuts cartoon. I am sure that when I speak, my son only hears “whaa whaa whaa whaa whaa whaa”. I am pretty sure that is what my husband hears after the first sentence of anything I say. Then, when I get upset that he hasn’t done what I asked of him, saying he cant read my mind, he cant hear what my response is. I don’t like living in a cartoon.

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Here is the conversation I am having with my 13 yr old British step-daughter (SD) , who, by the way, has been to America.

SD- “what is a dime?”

Me- ” You know, what is it?”

SD- “5p…no, 2 cent…???”

Me- “Whats a quarter then?”

SD- “15… 5”

Me- “What is a quarter of a dollar?”

SD- “less then half”

Me- “No, what is a quarter of a dollar… what percent is it?”

SD- “14%….no 25%”

Me-“So what is a quarter then?”

SD- “25 cent”

Me- ” so a nickle is 5 cents, a dime is 10cents and a quarter is?”

SD- “14%”

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I was looking at the Mystarbucks site and I was struck, once again, how so many people have such a low view of children. A lot of comments along the lines of ” There is a place for mothers to get coffee with their children, its called McDonald’s” leave me frustrated, pissed off, and confused. Like Starbucks is a place for adults only. Yes, they sell coffee, but they don’t sell beer. I have sat many a time in a Starbucks with teens and twenties who are acting like loud mouthed idiots causing people to scurry out the door fast. But, as they are no longer ” children” then I guess that its fine. After all, I have a feeling that its these same people who make this type of comment. I do remember my twenties. The world belonged to us. We knew it all. Get out of our way. But I soon grew up.

The other comments that I saw quite often was “make Starbucks feel more like the European cafe culture”. Probably written by someone who has never been to a cafe in Europe no doubt. How you can make a Starbucks in Chicago with people coming and going in the fast paced busy lifestyle of America feel anything like the laid back cafe in Spain drinking a Cafe Con leche watching the world pass by is beyond me. The two worlds can not mix. Especially with the children not welcome attitude.

It did make me stop to think. Europe and its cafe culture. I have spent quite a fair bit of time in Spain. Home of the best coffee on the planet. The one thing you will see at any cafe bar in Spain is families. From grandma to the baby. Family is everything in this culture. You see children having their evening meal at 10pm with the family. Kids are everywhere. They don’t hide them away. Its one of the main things I love about Spain. Children are very welcome. They dote on them. They include them. When my step daughter was four she walked up to a Spanish family she didn’t know in Spain at a cafe bar and they pulled out a plate and fed her. They didn’t get upset and look around angrily for the parents who let their “brat” disturb them. What a difference. The one time it really really hit home the difference between Spain and the US/UK anti child attitude was when we went into a “Family” restaurant in Spain. This was when my son was 7 months old. We where seated and then noticed that everyone was British. Mostly elderly. We where the only “Family” there. From the moment we walked in we got icy glares. Dirty looks. Whispers. This was the first time on the whole trip that I felt uncomfortable because I had a child with me.

So I go back to the comments on the Starbucks site. How on earth does a child learn to be an adult without seeing how adults behave? If all we ever do is expose our children to the likes of McDonalds then that is all they will know. How will they know how to behave? As a small child my parents took my sister and my self to many very nice restaurants. We where expected to behave. You just didn’t become loud or run around. It just was not done. I clearly remember sitting in places eating things such as lobster or steaks and my parents having fancy cocktails. I had my Shirley Temple feeling very grown up. If a child is taught from very young how to behave, and it is expected then they will. Don’t get me wrong. Not all children are built for fine dining. But they are all built for better then McDonald’s as their only choice.

So if you think about it, Starbucks is the perfect place to take your child for a hot chocolate and sit for a while. The time is fairly short so the attention span lasts. They can learn how to behave in public by watching the adults around them. And, best of all, you can stop for a bit and have a chat with your child. What is more important then that?

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