Tuesday, May 13, 2008

blood sweat and tears

Two other blogs had posts last week that have had me thinking. First, Dutch at Sweet Juniper! discussed how much attention he gets when, as a Stay At Home Dad, he takes his two kids and a dog out for a walk alone. Suddenly he is "Superdad" despite the fact that he has done it a thousand times. Mary P. over at It's Not All Mary Poppins, is told that she's "lucky" that the five toddlers she cares for are so well behaved in public. It has me ticking off of all the things my children do for which I am proud. Proud of me. Yes, I'm proud of them for many things that they do. But some of the things they do are the product of my blood, sweat and tears. I am neither "Supermom" for accomplishing them, nor "lucky" for not having to work for them. I earned them.

Pook has always been a good sleeper. I'll give him that as a basic character trait. I'd be on the phone with my mom during his nap and tell her I needed to go; he'd be awake in a minute. How could I know that? Well, he usually slept between 59 and 61 minutes at each of his three naps: 9am, 12noon and 3pm. Bug didn't exactly fall into that pattern. I worked my butt off to get him to nap at all. Irregular sleep is probably more typical for a child, but I made naps available to him regularly. Pook continued to nap or at least rest alone quietly for an hour until about Christmas of kindergarten. Bug is four and still naps daily. I am not lucky. I gave up a lot of activities. I made sure my children were home and in their own beds every day. I was as consistent and routine as is possible. And now I reap the benefits.

Bug will eat anything. He is curious about foods by nature. He wants to taste the baking soda, the raw onion, the salsa. Pook has been skeptical about new foods since he started to eat them. Bug was a great influence on him for a very brief time. Quite soon after watching his baby brother enjoy spicy foods and, mostly, vegetables, Pook simply wrote him off in that department. But I persist. I think that if left alone he would have been a buttered pasta eater. I was a very picky eater, so I understand, but I do insist. He must taste new items and he must eat "his age" in some type of vegetable. And he does. He might not want to eat something, but by trying them he has added many, many items to his repertoire.

They come with inborn traits. Some things they learn from us. The rest we shape. We form the raw material and we get to be proud of what we create.


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