It’s a week now until the kids and I leave for Europe and I’m feeling a bit desperate with all the things I still have to do before we leave. Packing is obviously high on the list, but there are some cleaning jobs I want to get done this week before we leave.

I brought the suitcases upstairs yesterday and Alpha got extremely excited and I talked about flying on an airplane. I told him he was correct and we would be flying on an airplane. I also told him he needed to carefully consider what toys he brings with him since he wouldn’t be able to bring them all. Two minutes later, he returned with his arms full of his construction vehicles and put them in the suitcase.

I’m looking forward to flying again and seeing all the places and things I miss while I’m in the US. The kids will get there just in time for St. Nikolaus Tag so we’ve been listening to “lass uns froh und munter sein” to get us into the mood. But I do wonder how it will go flying with both the kids, especially since Beta refuses to go in a sling. She interprets it as me controlling and restraining her, which isn’t too far from the truth. But I would prefer it if she thought of it as fun cuddle time with mommy or something so I can rush through the airport wearing her instead of carrying her. We’ll see how it goes.

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The Three Types of Attachment Parents

Since since leaving taw attachment parentinmove cement, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about what drives people to labeling themselves as attachment parents andwho these people are. I’ve reached the conclusion that there are three types of attachment parents: The Normal Type, The Abused Type, and The Narcissistic Type

1) The Normal Type

The normal type is just that: normal. They’re the parents who always protest when someone else talks about looney AP types by saying they practiced attachment parentingsend weren’t that extreme. Some of them just fell into attachment parenting without knowing it: breast feeding on demand, baby wearing and co-sleeping. Others like it for its “green” appeal. It’s more natural. Or they haven’t spent a lot of time around babies and their friends did it this way or they live in an area where AP is the prevalent parenting culture and just fell into it. These parents are not dogmatic and are perfectly fine with other parenting styles and abandon tenets when they no longer work. I’ll be optimistic and say that this group comprises most attachment parents

2) The Abused Parents.

I’m not sure this is the best term for this category, but basically parents whose childhood experiences were suboptimal fall under this heading. This includes those whose childhoods may have been fine by objective standards but as adults view their childhoods as lacking. For these parents, attachment parenting is a way for them to heal themselves and their relationship with their parents via their children. I myself fall under this category. Since my mom didn’t really have room for her kids in her life, I was determined to raise my kids differently and stumbled across attachment parenting when I was 18, it seemed like the perfect philosophy. Finally a parenting method where kids matter!

However, the 7 baby b’s of AP are so demanding that they have particularly insidious results for members of this category: just as the Abused Parents needs weren’t met by his or her parents, so they continue to be neglected as the parent strives to sacrifice herself for her kids while practicing attachment parenting. In my case, it became another relationship in which my needs didn’t matter if I needed sleep, I was supposed to wake up hourly at night to meet the needs of my 18 month old. Similarly, when I was a child it didn’t matter that needed to sleep, my mom was upset and needed to blast Peter, Paul, and Mary at full volume. My needs didn’t matter.

Even without attachment parenting, it is extremely easy to lose yourself in the role of parent. If you haven’t had a healthy parent-child relationship modeled, it’s even easier, especially if you fear breaking away from AP will damage your child in much the same way you were damaged as a child.

I managed to break away from this mode of thinking when a very AP friend told me she chose her style of parenting because her mother was very controlling and she hoped her way of raising her children would enable her to have a better relationship with her kids than she had with her mother. Being my usual compassionate self, my first thought was “That’s dumb. Why should she let her mom determine the way she raises her kid? Her relationship with her kids could be better than the one she has with her mother by the simple fact that she is not her mom.” It was like a light bulb went off over my head. I’m not my mom either and the fact that I’ve actively sought out better ways to raise my children than my mom raised hers automatically makes me a better parent.

Aside from me and my friends, I know several other women who practice attachment parenting largely because they were abused as children and I can only view them as sad cases in obvious need of therapy. Their lives revolve around their children and they are quite open about the fact they were abused by their parents and seem to think mainstream parenting is also abusive and will result in ruined, broken children, just like themselves. What they don’t see is how they are inadvertently forming abusive relationships with their children. One of the women mentioned how her son calls her a “fucking bitch”  (I think he was about 7) and smacks her, breaking her glasses. She reported she didn’t know how to handle it and it was very triggering for her and made her very angry, as well it should. No one in the AP community had any suggestions for her, aside from lamely telling him “It sounds like you are very angry right now.” Indeed.

It’s useless to tell these Abused Parents that they don’t need AP in order to avoid repeating their parents mistakes on their children. The ghost in the nursery is too strong to avoid and unless they got therapy–that is, real therapy and not therapy with therapists who themselves advocate attachment parenting and insist that’s the only way to not create broken children–they seem quite content to continue to sacrifice themselves.

3) The Narcissistic Type

Again, I’m not sure if this is the best term for this category. I first typed “Overbearing Type”  as I don’t want this to be confused with the narcissistic parent who has narcissistic personality disorder. But basically this is the parent who is not only an attachment parent, but the BEST Attachment Parent. They are the Most Attached, the Most Involved. They wouldn’t never dream of not playing with their kids at the park and their kids are always their number one priority and they will be quick to inform you how much of a martyr they are for their kids. Not in those exact terms, of course, but that’s what they mean. Because everyone knows there’s no less selfish thing in the world than raising your own kids. After spending any significant amount of time with these parents, you get the dim impression that it’s not so much about their kids, but about them. Just as Abused Parents raise their kids using the AP methods in order to heal themselves, these parents us AP in order to glorify themselves. It’s not so much about them meeting their kids NEEDS, but how their kids need THEM.

So they will tell you how they sacrificed their Very Important Career in order to stay home with their kids. They’re not bitter, but man! They’re such MARTYRS. They’re the ones who will tell you they nursed until their kid was 5. It’s about THEM, remember.  They haven’t gotten a night’s sleep in years and it’s so hard, isn’t it? The sacrifices they make! Other parents who don’t attachment parent aren’t good parents. They don’t love their kids as much as the narcissistic parents. Their kids will have all sorts of issues. A lot of times, narcissistic APers tend to have issues respecting boundaries. My narcissistic friend once informed me she couldn’t help us with Alpha’s Finnish and I stared at her dumbfounded and informed her that we didn’t WANT her help with his Finnish, given that she couldn’t speak it. She also informed me on multiple occasions that friends whose son she babysat wanted her to raise them and he was so obviously unwanted. It must be hard being the Best Parent Ever and having all these other parents banging down your door, eager to have you raise their offspring.

Attachment Parenting plays into their hands so well with its constant claims of being better than mainstream parenting and producing better kids. The sad thing is that a lot of these parents don’t seem to see their kids as anything but extensions of themselves. If their kids grow up to be wonderfully empathetic people, it won’t be because that child is just amazingly awesome on his own terms, but because of What a Great Parent he had.

So, what do you think? Did I miss any types of attachment parents? Does this seem accurate to you?

Laptopless

My laptop broke. It was already bad enough it was election day but then Bera kicked over my mug of tea onto my keyboard. But it’s not too bad. I told my husband I was going to use the time without a computer to get a lot of stuff done. But I think I’m mainly moping.

Fortunately I can post from my phone. Unfortunately my autocorrect keeps trying to replace every word I type with beef drippings and Honolulu. Don’t expect much until I am blessed with a new computer, which bites because I had some really great thoughts germinating.

Participating

I got some good feedback from Alpha’s preschool teacher today: for the first time ever, he shared at circle time in preschool! In the beginning he flat out refused to say anything. The teacher allowed them to refuse to share but they had to say “pass” and Haakon wouldn’t even say that. Then after a while he relented and started saying “Pass.” Today, he decided to open up and share. So he talked. And talked. And talked. For 3 minutes. “I couldn’t understand any of it,” his teacher admitted, “so I just let him talk and when he was done I told him,  ‘it sounds like you had a very exciting weekend!'”

I was very pleased to hear this. It means he’s getting more comfortable with preschool and it means that his newfound chattiness at home is carrying over to school. He talks all the time right now and tells long narratives about….well, most of the time I don’t have any more than a vague idea what he’s talking about. Today at dinner, Alpha kept talking about halloween topics: about hanging up a skeleton outside the house and other various decorations and how they would say “wooooooooooO!” and then Beta would run away screaming and so many other topics. Yesterday he told me he was a ghost, I was a monster, Beta was a pumpkin and Papa was a dinosaur. I guess those are our costumes for next year!

***

Beta’s language skills are advancing rapidly. Her pronunciation is surprisingly clear with most words but a lot of them sound similar. For example, nackig and dreckig usually sound the same. Since she’s usually naked, I have to take a closer look at the context to determine if she or something else is also dirty. A lot of her speech consists of stock phrases, although she does use 2-3 word sentences. She asks “Wo bist du?” a lot and adds the name of whatever she is looking for at the end of it to indicate “Where are you” or  “Where is so-and-so?” This is also how she plays peekaboo. If she wakes up in the morning and sees DH is already up, she will ask me “Wo bist du Papa?” and after a few times has learned to automatically answer for me, “Oben” (upstairs).

She is definitely in that annoying toddler stage where she has to have everything the EXACT way she wants it and is a bit obsessive compulsive about it. If she wants to wear a shirt, it has to be that particular shirt otherwise THE WORLD WILL END. If the shirt gets wet, it needs to come off IMMEDIATELY. She still uses her sign and “hmmecker” to indicate she wants to nurse, which is good because the way she says it sounds exactly the same as the way she says “schaukel.” So sometimes I start to head towards the swing when I notice she’s signing. In case of refusal or me telling her to wait, she will drag me to  my chair and tell me “setz dich hin!”

Her Finnish is also progressing. She repeats words well after DH says them, usually with Alpha beside her providing the correct Finnish word. He refuses to speak Finnish himself, though, for the most part, unless he’s lecturing one of us. Today Beta brought me “Hauska Maatila” (Funny Farm” and wanted me to read it, so I did, pronouncing the Finnish as well as I could and using the German words when I knew I didn’t stand a chance in hell. At the end of the book, I said “Das Ende” and Alpha sternly corrected me, “Auf Finnisch ‘das Ende’ ist ‘loppu.'” I thanked him and told him he was correct and said “loppu.”

He knows it, he thinks it, he just won’t say it. I hope he doesn’t have a grudge against Finnish. I hope he will be encouraged to speak more of it after he sees his grandparents and gets to use a lot more of it on a daily basis.

Duck and Egg Update

Since we first got our ducks and I thought they were smelly and disgusting creatures, they’ve grown one me. They’re also outside now and no longer brooding in our bath tub. On the whole, ducks are adorably cute. I don’t know if they’re cuter than chickens, but they’re definitely different. They prefer to walk in a line where ever they go and wander from point to point waddling and quacking. The recent hurricane filled our pond back up and the ducks have discovered the joys of swimming it. At any point in the day, we can look out our window and see a line of 9 ducks waddling down the slope to get into the water.

Nine ducks? You might ask. Didn’t you have 11? Yes, in the beginning we did. One got its leg ripped off and neck broken in what we suspect was a racoon attack. Another flew away from a fox attack, survived, spent a while in out bathtub and, since we thought it was fine, we put it back outside. Then we noticed it was losing weight. We kept an eye on it, tried to make sure that it got food and water, then finally separated it out again to keep a closer eye on it and it died that night. I’m assuming it had some sort o internal injury because otherwise it looked fine. It wasn’t behaving any differently from the other ducks, either. We ended up feeling like we’d let it down though. Maybe we should have taken it to the vet, but as DH points out once you start taking fowl to the vets they’re not livestock, but pets. We’re trying to keep our fowl firmly on the side of livestock.

They’re also laying eggs. Every morning, we get a nice pile of 8 eggs. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs and their shell is also a bit thicker and harder to crack. They’re also less popular with the general population. Our chicken eggs are selling well, but it seems like we can’t hardly give away duck eggs. “They just sound weird,” my sister informed me. She isn’t even sure if she would eat them. They’re good, though. I don’t notice a bit of difference between them and chicken. They’re supposed to be gourmet and therefore cost more than chicken eggs. We sell ours for $6 a dozen when we sell them. But mostly we just eat them ourselves. I have a 3-duck egg omelet every morning. My  husband said he would eat a couple boiled eggs every morning if I boiled them for him and sometimes he does. But mainly….the eggs just pile up. I’d like to find a couple more regular customers for duck eggs. We have 3 and sell bout a dozen and a half  a week, or 18 eggs. That’s two days worth of eggs, if you’re keeping track. Meanwhile, the ducks just keep laying. “At some point,” I told my husband, “I would like to get to the point where having an omelet in the morning is a choice, not an obligation.” He agreed and nibbled on more salami, the boiled eggs uneaten and unloved.

The main problem is that we did no market research before we got our ducks. We didn’t ask anyone if they would be interested in eating duck eggs. Rather, my husband said he wanted ducks. I said, fine but don’t get too many. I thought he might bet 5. He ordered 10. We got 11 (a spare duck in case of deaths). We might be able to stay on top of 4 eggs everyday, but not 8.

Fortunately a friend wants ducks. She wanted to get ducklings in the spring and start them out that way, but we’ve generously offered to sell her 5 of our ducks, all full grown no pain of brooding them. We’ll lose one of our duck egg customers this way, but since she doesn’t buy 4 eggs a day anyway, it will still be an improvement over the number of eggs we’re currently getting. I just hope she doesn’t realize that she will have an eggs situation on her hands before she takes our ducks. I’ll have to keep her in the dark about this. That means never, ever mentioning to her how many eggs I have on hand. Except I already have. So I guess I’ll have to stop that in the future.

A Little Translation

In Preschool, they did a unit on apples in which they went and visited a local apple orchard, they learned how apples grow and they also learned how to sing a song about apples. One day, I heard my son singing in the car:

I am apple, I am apple

On a tree, on a tree

You come and eat me

You come and eat me,

I taste good, I taste good.

to the tune of “Fere Jaques.” I said it was a good song and that he sang it well and he kept on singing it. But the next time he sang it, it went

I am Apfel, I am Apfel

On a Baum on a Baum

You come and essen

You come and essen

I taste lecker I taste lecker

I couldn’t figure out what he was doing. He sang it a few more times, each time it sounded less like English and more like German until he ended up with

Ich bin Apfel, ich bin Apfel

Auf dem Baum, Auf dem Baum

Du kommst zum essen

Du kommst zum essen

Ich schmecke lecker, Ich schmecke lecker.

Apparently there was some internal debate as to whether the last line should be “ich schmecke lcker” or “ich schmecke gut” and he sang it a few times, alternating between the two options. And I realized what he had been doing was translating the song, getting closer to his end translation with each repetition.

What made this so astounding is that I had no idea he was capable of this. I knew he translates a lot of things from English to German. Like if he hears me talking to Lasse about, say, getting ice cream, he will pipe up with  “Ich mochte auch Eis essen!” but actively translating a set song…that’s something else.

Unfortunately, translating the same song from English into Finnish would have been a lot more difficult since Fininsh is not a Germanic language while English and German are. Their words share similiarities in roots and the sentences are grammatically similar. In order to translate the song into Finnish, he would have had to change the sentence structures around entirely, which makes me wonder if that’s part of the reason why his Finnish lags so much behind his other two languages. English and German kind of reinforce each other, but Finnish has to stand on its own. But no worries, we’ll visit Finland and it will get a good shot in the arm!