It's a dictatorship I tell you

advice

Our friend came to visit yesterday with her 6 weeks old baby girl. Our friend is a new mom with a tendency to "crunchiness", mid-thirties, free spirit, lived all around the world, did some crazy things in her days, a sort of an avantgarde performance artist and a totally cool person in all respects.

And she's driven insane by her mom and her advices.

"The baby isn't dressed warm enough", "Why does she sleep in your bed?" "Why don't you have a regular feeding schedule? It's not good for her to eat whenever." You get the picture, I'm sure.

Funny thing, advice. We need it – as new parents, we crave it. We go to baby manuals and baby sites and mommy blogs and look for support and wisdom. But when it comes unsolicited, or maybe even just in a tone or manner we don't feel comfortable with, it hurts us. It insults us. It's perceived as criticism of our parenting.

Sometime it is criticisms, but not as often I think. I think the problem lies with the inherent vulnerability of new parenthood. Here you are, endowed with this enormous responsibility you're not necessarily prepared for, and you can be pretty lost. Still, it's something that you need to do, it's your thing, and you want to do it your way, even thought you don't always know exactly what it is.

When Ulysses was born I was as much of a novice as anybody else. I was receiving advice from EVERYBODY. Heck, my MIL and mom spent about two hours discussing the exact qualities my baby dresser should have. At some point, when it started to get to me, I decided to take a stand and simply… ignore it.

I had a line I used to deliver whenever some unsolicited advice came my way: "This baby is not a democratic regime. It's a dictatorship and we [meaning, me and A.] are the sole rulers." And it really helped me both in making sense in my mind about things and in calmly accepting the advices that were less than welcomed.

My point is, (yes, there is, surprisingly enough, a point), most if not all advice-givers are well-meaning. The one good advice you need in order to make it easier to either receive advice or ignore it is to remember one simple truth: you are a good parent.

Photo credit:Laughlin Elkind

Fixin a hole

hiding

"I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home." (Robert Orben)

Funny right? Funny in that special way a hint of truth always is. You know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those days you would do almost anything to get just. fifteen. minutes. of. QUIET.

Take last Saturday for example. During our afternoon walk we met a father we know, all by his lonesome. "Where's everybody?" I asked, referring to his wife and daughter, and he replied: "I don't know. I woke up today and there was no one home."

What? How? Who? Why not me???? I would have given a limb this Saturday morning to wake up to an empty house, without kids jumping on my bed or trying to make themselves chocolate milk in the kitchen. (You DO NOT want to know how that little stunt ended. Let me just say it's lucky my kitchen looks good in brown.) There are some mornings where they wake me up and I'm all "let's go do something fun", but there are also those mornings, like last Saturday, where I'm all "let's go. Yes, I mean you two short ones, GO. AWAY."

Those moments, when you desperately need a break from being the responsible adult parent, but can't get one, are my least favorite moments of parenthood. I will trade them in a second with the scary-injuries moments or with the sleep-deprivation moments. It's not the laziness speaking – I'm not saying I would rather the Dandelion hit his head than wake me up too early.

Parenting is, in a sense, like putting up a front – there's the real you and there's the parent you, and it's not exactly the same person. You try to filter out your less-than-desirable qualities: impatience, selfishness, laziness, for the sake of being a good parent to your children. Mostly, you succeed. But those moments, they make a small rip in that fabric and give your kid a taste of something you didn't want him to have.

Yes, we are only human beings. No, there's probably no way to completely avoid those moments. Yes, it's not so bad for your kid to know that mom/dad isn't perfect.

But don't you wish it would never happen?

Photo credit: Stefano Mortellaro

(The above quote and the kitten are dedicated to my lolcats-loving quotation-using amigo. You know who you are.)

Happy Turkey Day USA

winter

Happy Thursday, rest of the world!

For me, Thanksgiving always signals the beginning of winter, which was okay when I was childless, but has become a bit more stressful now that there are all those kids to keep warm and entertained.

We do most of our daily routines on foot, not in a car – taking the kids to school and picking them up, grocery shopping, going out for coffee etcetera etcetera. Come winter, everything becomes that much more of a logistical nightmare. Instead of finishing the school routine in 20 minutes, we have to take the car, which doubles the drop-off/pick-up time. I'm not even talking about how we sometimes have to be very creative with cooking because we didn't go for groceries in way to long.

Like every seasoned parents, we have our tips and tricks and hacks to deal with winter's challenges, that are becoming more involved every year. Think managing a 1 year old in the winter is difficult? try it with a terrible-twoer and a newborn. Think that is the worse? How about a one year old who won't sit in his stroller and insist on running after his 3YO brother?

You want some tips you say? Well, for example, when the Dandelion was in his crawling phase, it was winter and the floors were very cold. So I put those anti-slip socks on his hands and wallah! warm hands AND no slipping! Another thing we do when it's too cold outside is bake cakes together. Sure, it's not the most effective way to bake cakes, but it's very handy in keeping kids happy and entertained.

What do you do in the winter? Any cool ideas? Comment here and share your wisdom with us!

Photo credit: Tom Eppenberger Jr.

Show me that Halloween baby – Results!

The moment of truth has come.

The dice were thrown. (Not the dice per-se, but "the random number generator was activated" doesn't have such a nice ring to it)

The winner is:

random number generator

If you don't feel like going back to count, I'll tell you right here and now that the winner is Persefanie.

I know, big surprise right? Some commentors were so sure Zoe is the sure bet, but Lady Luck has decided to dance with Persefanie and Nakia tonight…

Nakia, drop me a line at shiri at tinylove dot com (replace at with @ and dot with . and erase spaces), with your mailing address and this adorable elephant will be sent to you.

Zoe and fans – thank you so much for all the enthusiasm, you've really made this contest a fun and memorable one! I hope to see you around here now that you know we are here!

That goes the same to everyone else who participated: Hailey, Aidan, Juan, Cooper, Caleb, Ryan, as well as Columbia's adorable Shiloh and Elijah who missed the voting due to technical difficulties – you were all great! Thank you!

Linkty Link Link – special video edition – 11/18/07

Today, the Tiny Love blog will do you an invaluable service. You will thank me. Trust.

Don't you hate it when you're stuck with a paper plate, tin foil and a penny? I know! Happens all the time. Fear not, here's the solution:

And here are some kids with mad skillz you can listen to on your new high-def speaker: (Don't play dumb, I know you went right ahead and tried making that speaker just like I did. Oh, wait, you didn't? It was just me? I mean, of course I didn't… what am I a geek? *sigh*)

And finally, how could I leave you without at least one laughing baby??

Linkity Link Link 11/05/2007

Did you miss all da link love as much as I did? I know you did!

Have you added your baby's Halloween photo to the contest yet? What are you waiting for? Look at all those cute babies! Shouldn't yours be there too?

1.10*

1.10

1.10, you confuse me.

I know, I know, I should be prepared. It's not like 4.0 wasn't 1.10 a few short years ago. Still, you perplex me.

You wake up in the middle of the night every night. What gives? Five months ago you were already sleeping through the night, and now all of a sudden it's no good for you? You won't go to sleep unless I'm there, which is just too cruel a trick to play on me after being the easiest kid to put to bed ever since you were 6 months old.

You won't shower, because you don't want to take your clothes off. Every evening when it's shower-time, we go through a screamfest until you are willing to be separated from your dirty clothes. Then you are happy as a button.

You won't eat anything healthy, while a mere three months ago you were voluntarily consuming vegetables. The healthiest thing you are willing to eat nowadays are fruits, but mostly it's chocolate, cookies and some more chocolate. I dig you 1.10, I really do. Chocolate is my favorite food too, but in the name of all that is holly, you were eating fresh fish at 9 months. WHAT HAPPENED?

You understand everything I say to you, but have yet to acquire the willingness to comply. It's maddening really, your ability to look me in the eyes, grinning devilishly, and blatantly ignore me.

This playing with my mind has got to stop, 1.10. It's hard enough to keep a straight face long enough so you'll get the message that what you're doing is wrong, the mind games are really just… too much.

And you know what the best news are? Only two months left until Terrible Two begins.

If you need be I'll be crying in the bathroom.

*with regards to Alice.