About Me

“Internet Decorum” or How the Anonymity of the Web Brings Out the Worst in People

Recently a reader read a blog post that I had written and came back with some very sharp, harsh, critical and judgmental remarks about my parenting and about the type of child I was raising. This was all based on a few pages that I wrote. She does not know me personally; we have never spoken; and she does not know my child. Although it bothered me, I also knew that I couldn’t let it get to me. The Internet is a wide open public forum where anyone can read and respond.

Regardless of the commonplace nature of such behavior, I still find it perplexing as to the kind of behave that people feel comfortable displaying and engaging in on discussion forums, Facebook, blogs, text messages, email. There is a certain sense of freedom that comes along in these electronic forums which results in some very negative behavior. I wonder about future generations. I wonder how this is going to affect future generations of young people who are growing up in a world where such behavior seems to be considered acceptable.

I believe in argumentation. I believe in the importance of disagreement. It is through disagreement and argumentation that new ideas come about and that new awareness is born. Through discussion we discover and learn.

Although the personal attack caused me to sit back and think a lot about human behavior, as well as attachment parenting practices, I am still left with the nagging sense that boundaries must exist, that one must restrain from making personal attacks, and that there are must be rules in place to protect a readership and authors from unnecessary hurt and criticism. Given the freedom of speech, I hesitate to “Reject” any response that a reader has to what I have written. The reader may not hold the same opinion I do, but he or she has the right to his or her opinion. It is not my job to censor comments and to only those through that are in alignment with my thinking.

However, I have made a decision based on my personal values around respecting others. On my blog I will not accept responses that come in the form of personal attack. I’m all for criticism; I have no problem with disagreement, but please do not make any personal attacks on anyone. Attack the idea, not the person. One can disagree with the ideas and support one’s disagreement with good argumentation and evidence.

So please, play nicely with one another. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Follow the rules of good behavior and manners — and in doing so demonstrating the same virtues and values that you are hopefully striving to instill into your children. Model for them the path you would like them to take. No criticisms of a specific person. No name calling. No attacks on one’s parenting skills or on one’s children. Let us strive for a higher level of being and for a demonstration of good Internet decorum.

Thank you,

Christina

Related Posts: https://singlemomontherun.com/2012/11/29/potty-training-and-giving-up-the-pacifier-a-relaxed-moms-perspective/

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The “Tell Me About Yourself Award”

Gratefully I accept the “Tell Me About Yourself Award!” given to me by TaurusMom Tells the Truth

I’ve been thinking about ways to write my responses and quite honestly, what will end up here is not what I planned out in my brain. But, alas, the clock is ticking and it has already been several weeks since this Awared was bestowed upon me.

What is there to know about me that might not otherwise be apparent?

Well….

1. In my pre-baby days I was a rock climber. And a pretty good one at that! Not great, but good. I LOVED it. Things change when you have a child. Over the few years that I was active in the sport I climbed in New York (the Gunks); Red Rock (Las Vegas); Canada, Minnesota, Colorado, Thailand, and a few other places. It was wonderful!  

There’s me with my gear to do some lead climbing, meaning that I go first and set the route. This picture was taken in Shawangunks Mountains in Upstate NY.

2. I love to bake. Since I had my baby, I try to make everything super healthy. I take boxed brownie mixes and add flax, wheat germ, bananas and apple sauce. The resemblance to brownies….? The taste? Yum!

3. I would die if I didn’t get to ride my bike to work and back. I love being in the fresh air and I love the feeling of freedom and not having to pay and not having to search for a parking spot.

4. I love taking pictures of kids. I like to capture their spirit and their expressions and their emotions. It’s a challenge and its fun. They are so spontaneous.

5. I’ve never been to New Zealand or Iceland and I’d really like to go.

6. I’m going to make a “bucket list” soon and post it on this blog. Perhaps that will help it seem more “real” and there will be more accountability!

THANKS AGAIN FOR PASSING THIS AWARD ALONG TO ME. IN TURN, I’D LIKE TO PASS THE AWARD ALONG TO:

http://yogicare.wordpress.com/
http://bellissimom.wordpress.com/
http://folkhaven.wordpress.com/

The Perfect Gift for Your Child—Something of Yourself

It may sound trite to say there is no greater gift than something that expresses love and a piece of oneself, something beyond a store bought gift, but I have recently found that to be very true.

For my little girl’s third birthday I was inspired to do two things for her:  One was to write a letter and one was to create a painting. Neither was originally meant to be a present; the ideas and the opportunity just happened to present themselves at the same time.

After I wrote the letter, I pulled up my blog and showed a friend of mine what I had written (“I Have Two Names Now: Mommy and Christina”). She paused thoughtfully and after a moment said, “You are leaving such a gift for her.”

My friend is a mother of two grown children and a grandchild that she also raised for the first three years of his life. This feedback coming from her meant something.

It was then that I knew I had written something meaningful; something that my daughter would carry with her through time.

My letter recaps the last few years as a mother and in particular how much my life has changed since I gave birth to my daughter. It also describes to her, while my memories are still fairly fresh, what her birth was like and what our relationship has been like these past three years.

I am thinking that perhaps I can print it out somehow and put it, with other such letters or essays, into a book that she can keep and cherish for a long time to come.

The comment that my friend made caused me think about the importance of gift giving and how ethereal the types of gifts we normally give are.

If one thinks back on it, the things we really hold onto the longest and the closet to our hearts are the photographs and memories of family and friends.

As one of her “real” presents, I gave her a very cute, Elmo playdough machine that talks in an Elmo voice and tells you whether you should make a square or a circle. It’s cute but in a few years it will most likely be long forgotten, as will the stickers or some of the other toys she was given. Many will end up in the donation box for other young children or will break after a few years of use.

These gifts will become distant memories, if memories at all.

But the letter will live on, even as she grows into an adult herself, or has children of her own.

The two paintings were inspired by Eric Carle’s illustrations in two of his books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?  From the The Very Hungry Caterpillar I chose the beautiful butterfly that the caterpillar turns into at the end of the story. Carle’s rendition of this butterfly is simply beautiful.

The second painting is of a crane in Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?  I chose the crane for my daughter’s Godfather to paint because there is something about that crane that draws my child in. Whenever we read the book she always insists on turning back to that page.

Because she likes the crane so much, I thought it would be lovely to have a painting of it hanging on the wall behind her bed. We could look at the painting and talk about it while we read the book.

The paintings did not take much effort – even for two novices to acrylics. I had bought some canvasses and I sketched the outline of the animals onto the canvas. I had learned this technique from a local art studio that offers one night classes to adults who would like to paint. To actually create the paintings we then went to the studio for another one night class. The studio provides everything one needs: brushes, paints, easels, gentle instruction. It was quite enjoyable.

(There is an art studio in town called Simply Jane where you can go for a one night class called Paint with a Pint. Off we went with our bottle of wine, bags of chips, cookies and unpainted canvases. I had attended a class there before called Paint the Greats and the Sharpie idea came from there.)

We spent the next three hours with our bottle of wine, chips, easels and acrylics painting our pictures. The teacher then sprayed them with a glossy spray to protect the paint.

Here are the final products of our work. I think they look wonderful and I am so happy that I have them to offer up as a special gift.

Eric Carle’s butterfly:

My butterfly:

Eric Carle’s Crane:

Randy’s Crane:

I love these painting and I am sure my daughter will come to love these paintings as much as I do. Both will be hanging in her bedroom over her bed and hopefully she will cherish them forever.

But at the same time, it has occurred to me that although these paintings are a gift to my daughter, they are also a gift to me. For a brief moment they stop the clock at the age of three and they will hold a special meaning for me that even she will never be able to understand.

No matter how old my daughter becomes, whenever I look at those paintings I will remember what she was like as a three year old and how meaningful those images were to her at that time in her life.

I will remember parenting my little three year old girl and I will remember how she looked at them and said “Butterfly!” and “Geese!” when she was asked what they were.

They started out as a gift for her but in turn have become something even greater, a wonderful reminder of the fleeting moments of childhood and the special times we enjoy.

In the future, I hope that I am equally inspired to create some special gift that will stay with her for a lifetime and that will carve out a special place in my heart for me to revisit as my baby grows up and becomes a young woman.

Minneapolis Resources:

Here is Simply Jane’s Facebook page if you would like to see more:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Simply-Jane/19831748624

I Have Two Names Now: Mommy and Christina

To My Daughter, on Her Third Birthday

Three years and two days ago, I had one name: Christina.

I wore it and I wore it well. I studied, I worked and I played. I danced and climbed mountains and ran like the wind. I was free and there was no one to stop me. I loved life and it loved me.

But then one July a little seed was planted inside me and it grew. It grew and it grew and it grew. That little seed was you.

Then forty-two weeks later, on the nose, with a big belly about to explode, out you came, quicker than I thought. No long labor, no deliberation. It was time and the doctors and nurses knew, even before I did.

Faster than I could blink an eye you were in the world. And there you were. They held you up and I saw you over the sheet. You were a baby. My baby! I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

They measured you and weighed you and then they brought you to me. They put you naked on my chest, just as I had asked, right next to the sheet that separated you and me from the men and women that had so carefully and attentively brought you into the world.

You cried and suckled and took to the world like it was yours to keep.

You stayed beside me while I healed. I never let you out of my sight. You lay on me and in the crook of my arm while I nursed you, watched you sleep, and nursed you some more. I learned how to swaddle you and to change your diaper and to feed you. I learned how to care for you.

Most importantly, I kept you next to me as much as I could. Not only had I read all of the books but I knew in my heart that that was where you belonged.

The little you, who was also a big part of me, lay beside me for four long days before I could take you home. 

At first I was uncertain about this new, crying being who needed so much from me and without a pause. Is this what I had wanted? Is this what I had asked for? Is this what I had expected?

Despite all the preparation, I did not feel prepared.

Oh sure, I had the co-sleeper and the swings and the bottles and the bibs and the onesies. It was all there. But somehow you can’t buy the one thing that one really needs: Experience.

I don’t think one can ever be truly prepared for what lies beyond the birth of a first child.

People had told me my life would change but I didn’t believe them. How can a little baby like that be so much work, I’d ask? My life will be the same; I’ll just have a baby along for the ride from now on.

They would just shake their head and smile. They knew it could not be explained. And they knew I was in for a shock.

After some time of getting used to you, I started to change.

“Here, give her to me. I know what to do,” I’d say to those who didn’t know.

We worked together—she at being in the world, and me at learning to give 100% of myself to someone other than myself.

We’ve seen some good times and some bad times. We’ve worked through some smiles and some tears. I’ve watched as she’s reached many milestones – usually without any help from me. I’ve had many sleepless nights and have cleaned up a number of messes in the middle of those long seemingly endless times. I’ve seen her grow from a little baby, into a toddler, and soon into a little girl.

After three years, I think I have finally made the transition.

Yes, it has taken that long.

Up until a few months ago, I was only known as “Momma!” “Momma!” “Momma!” Usually with arms stretched high. “Up!” she’d demand.

A few weeks ago, for the first time, my little girl looked at me and said something like “Mommy, what you doing?”

My heart melted. I almost cried.

Where had she learned this word? Where did “Mommy” come from? I knew it was me, but I still couldn’t believe it….Me? Mommy? Yes, I am Mommy!

So now I have two names: Christina AND Mommy.

And there are some things Mommy knows how to do better than Christina could have ever done them.

Mommy knows how to choose a cloth diaper, fit it, change it, and clean it.

Mommy knows how to call the doctor in the middle of the night and how to put a wheezing baby on the phone.

Mommy knows how to put an infant and a toddler to the breast.

Mommy knows how to soothe a colicky baby like nobody’s business! I lovingly refer to her as “The Baby Whisperer.”

Mommy knows how to give really big hugs and how to kiss really little toes.

Mommy knows what it’s like to have a baby sleep on her chest all night long while keeping one eye open, just in case.

Mommy knows that a cookie can fix just about anything and that a song can soothe most of what ails.

And Christina knows a thing or two, too.

Christina isn’t climbing rocks much these days. Christina isn’t running as fast as the wind anymore.

But Christina knows that special feeling of having a baby kick the inside of her stomach, and that amazing “thump, thump” when the doctor checks for a heartbeat.

Christina also knows what it’s like to go to work every day while still remembering that there’s a very little girl out there who needs her Mommy.

And Christina knows when it’s time to take her baby from some other caring adult just because her girl will only be soothed by her.

And, most importantly, Christina knows to bend down when she picks her baby girl up from school because there she’ll be, a little girl now, grinning from ear to ear, running towards her, reaching out, calling “Mommy, Mommy!”

And Christina knows, that no matter how much she may miss parts of who she used to be, the little girl who calls her Mommy fills an amazing spot in her heart that no one else can ever replace.

Happy birthday, Baby Girl.

Love, Your Mommy.

The Meme: A Genetic Mutation

“A meme (  /ˈmm/; MEEM)[1]) is ‘an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond’ to selective pressures.[3]

 

“Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. ”

Answer the following questions:

How do you find time to….

Do the laundry? This is the easy part. On the way out the door the laundry goes in the washer. On the way in the door the laundry goes in the dryer. On the way up from the laundry room for some random errand, the laundry makes it to the first floor. On the way up to the 2nd floor where the bedroom is, the laundry makes its way up. The laundry gets dumped on the bed. Three piles: hers and mine and towels. I put them away while my daughter splashes around in the tub (the bathroom door actually has French doors that open into the bedroom so, yes, I can still see and monitor her. I did write a post on water safety after all!

Write a blog post? Most of the blog is written in my head while I ride my bike to work. It gets typed up while I’m on the computer or between the hours of midnight and 2:00 am! Cut, paste and cite is also a big time-saver!

Be the parent you want to be? I don’t understand this question. How do I find time to be the parent I want to be? This is a 24 hour job. Even while I’m at work I’m being the parent I want to be. I’m maintaining my identity as a professional, providing for my family and serving as a role model for my young daughter. When we’re together I may be folding the laundry but I’m talking to my child, teaching her about the world. It’s a part of everything I do.

Find time for yourself? This is sneaky time. Can I steal a few minutes here or there? Can I get someone to watch her for a few minutes while I go for a run. Can I stop at a guilty pleasure fast-food restaurant on my way home from daycare? Finding time for myself while raising a toddler almost single-handedly isn’t easy.

Foster Your Spirituality?: By running, hiking, watching my child play, attending yoga class, going to Sunday morning meditation.

***************************************************************************

Some of the questions didn’t speak to me so I used one and added one:

Rocker: Buy a big oversized chair that can be used to rock your baby in from the time they are little until they are young children. I had an uncomfortable glider from birth to 2 and now I have an electric, overstuffed glider/recliner that is extremely comfortable. I wish I had had one from the day my baby is born.

Sling: Some may gasp at this. My three year old still likes to be put in the sling and carried around until she falls sleep. Luckily she only weighs 26 pounds. I do this because she does fall asleep. It’s like a magic pill for her. My theory is that she gets over-stimulated and the sling helps her some this overstimulation. I use the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. They are kind of hard to come by.

RULES:

  1. Please post the rules;
  2. When answering the questions, give as much information as possible;
  3. Leave a comment on sex, drugs, rocker, stroller, baby if you would like. This is so we can keep track of the Meme and take a polite nose into everyone else’s lives;
  4. Add a photo that speaks to you and say why it speaks to you;
  5. Tag 3 or more people and link to them on your blog. Add new questions, delete old questions and play about with the rules.

Thank you to bellissimom for tagging me on this meme. I in turn will tag: navinatime, asnormalasnormalcanbe, sleeplessinsummerville.

A Little about Me

My name is Christina and I am a single mother of a young child. I live and work in the outskirts of the heart of downtown Minneapolis. I love Minneapolis for all it has to offer. If you could take a big city and turn it into a small town you would have Minneapolis.

One of the highlights is called “The Chain of Lakes.” The Chain of Lakes consists of four lakes that are connected by bike and running paths. They are Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. You can see the downtown skyline from any of the lakes because you’re only about five miles away at the greatest distance.

As soon as the weather becomes warm enough (40 degrees plus) you will find people out biking, rollerblading, walking dogs, running, playing, swimming, hiking. The State Park system in Minneapolis is also amazing, particularly because part of Minnesota connects with Lake Superior.

In the winter, people like to cross country ski, hike, snowshoe, and even run. Temperatures can get pretty low (like -20 low) but you will still find people out and about, and even find some people still biking to work.

The outdoor life is one of the reasons I love Minneapolis. The other main reason is the number of activities going on at any given time. There’s theatre, movies in the park, music at the bandshell on Lake Harriet, 5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons, Marathons, children’s museums, science movies, independent theatres. And the best thing ever: You hardly ever get stuck in traffic trying to get one of these events.

I grew up in D.C. so I appreciate the big city activities combined with the outdoorsiness and small town feel of this big city.

In my free time I like to read, cook, garden, hike, backpack, camp and take pictures. I love to ride my bike. I’m really into yoga. Oh, and I love to shop for kids’ clothes at thrift stores. If I had more time I would sew more of my baby’s clothes myself. I also like pottery although I’m not very artistically inclined. I used to love rock climbing – still do, I guess – I just don’t have the time for it anymore. Honesly, what I like to do and what I really have time to do  are very different things these days.

Professionally, I have a B.A. in English and German, a Master’s in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Family Social Science. Currently I work doing research to help people quit smoking and I teach a number of different classes in the social sciences and in a Marriage and Family Therapy program.

I worked with kids for a number of years and took a number of classes and did internships related to children and mental health. I’ve also worked with adults helping them with things like depression and anxiety and other life issues.

I’m currently putting a lot of energy into learning how to be a mom of a currently very young child, and actually doing it, rather than reading about it and advising others on how I think it could be done.

Despite all of my education I value immensely other people’s experiences and expertise. We have a wonderful state funded program in Minnesota called “Early Childhood Education” or “ECFE.” My education puts me beyond the requirements for this certification but I listen good and hard when the educators talk to me about parenting. They’ve been on the front line a lot longer than I have.

So that’s a little about me. Hope to hear from you at some point as you peruse and become involved in my blog.