Lately I have still been feeling overwhelmed, but also feeling much more on top of things. My family continues to be well fed, eating primarily home-cooked meals and enjoying each-other's company.
Baby's first tattoo:
I have been reading The Mother of all Toddler Books by my favourite parenting author, Ann Douglas. I deserve a slap on the head for not picking this up earlier, I purchased both her pregnancy and baby books while entrenched in those periods and found them to be essential guides, covering every subject imaginable.
This book is no different - in two days of reading I have found jumping off points for discipline *and* interactive learning and play. It turns out that I, and to a lightly lesser extent, Andrew, are "Permissive Parents" of a mostly "'Difficult' or Spirited Toddler" (the quotes around "difficult" are the author's, not mine - most days here are difficult not "difficult"), but I sure would like to change that. In 48 hours I have shaken that horrible feeling that this would be our lives until he left for college (if he made it that far - I didn't at first).
I don't have any solutions or anything right now, but we do have a goal. We want to become "Authoritative Parents" to our spirited son. I see those types out all the time - hell, I know a few - but I have always had trouble grasping the style. My FOO was Authoritarian, to a tee, with a smattering of Permissive when I would spend time with my father*. I think children of divorce have it especially hard when it comes to sorting out their own parenting styles. These days there seems to be a better understanding of the importance of a united front with regards to parenting and disciplining the children of divorce - and huge kudos to my father who is doing an absolutely stellar job raising his second batch of kids along-side his ex-wife (literally, they live a few blocks apart). But back in the 80's, my parents were treading in mostly uncharted waters and I give them full credit for doing their best. I am a mostly well adjusted and healthy parent in a healthy marriage with a wonderful child. I am lucky that a few parenting issues, that my parents gave me the brains and emotional intelligence to be able to identify and address, are all I struggle with.
Also on my reading list are Ann Douglas' books on Mealtimes and Sleep as well as Elizabeth Pantley's book, The No Cry Potty Training Solution and a book of Vegetarian food ideas for babies and toddlers to supplement my re-reading of Sharon K. Yntema's Vegetarian Baby (we have a second edition copy - but it is essentially the same as the "New" one as far as I can tell - and the retro angle makes it that much cooler).
Now it is time to pull Sebastian away from Baby E*nstein, which we had shelved long ago as being too young for this kid (because, you know, he's a genius). He has happily watched the entire DVD, yelling out animal names and asking me questions - as much as I hate to admit it, I think he is getting more out of this than anything else we have around. I am going to keep an eye out for non-disn*y videos similar to this so that I can, hopefully, squeeze some extra in-bed time out of my mornings. If all else fails I know the library has a huge collection of these ones and it sure as hell beats Dora or Thomas the Tank. We have an appointment to meet our new family doctor at 10:00 and I want to get a little running around (literally) done before that.
*my father had a temper and would revert to total Authoritarian in moments of anger - boy does that sound familiar.