What I want more of in my life:
I’m a parent, my son turned 1 recently, he became a boy.
A month later I noticed he became a boy.
There’s a lag behind when things happen, when I notice them and when I can accept that they happened.
It wasn’t that easy for me to notice my son grew up, because it happens in small shades, then when it did, it took a day or two to feel and accept the pain that my last baby has grown up.
I see him now, so stable on his feet, so curious about grabbing the curtains and engaging with the world in every way he can. I love him so much, I kind of wish I had wrote more of the times that are gone now. But I did my best, it wasn’t easy to raise a three year old and a baby at the same time.
I felt so guilty to give my first child less time together that I gave her more than was fair, my second child got so much less (but maybe enough), my husband got almost no attention and I got much less self-care than is at all healthy.
Maybe all I can do is remember going forward to write just a little at least, about what it’s like with my kids.
My son, is learning to talk, he says “da” for yes, he says “da-da” for his dad, he says full sentences sometimes “I work out,” “I don’t go out a lot,” that stuff happens with all kids, but what is unique for me, in this relationship is being amazingly proud every time I hear it.
I’m not counting words, I’m not comparing the age chart to see if my son is on track or not, and it feels so good.
With my daughter my husband always asked me if our daughter was normal. Not because she wasn’t, but because his niece wasn’t and he was probably afraid our child would be “different”/autistic because of his genes.
I hated it from day 1, but I wasn’t assertive enough to say “if you have a concern, you research it, I’m going to enjoy our daughter as she is.” If I could go back I would, maybe I would be more polite than that, but it really ruined the experience of raising my daughter almost always being tense that I had to report back with the number of syllables my daughter was either ahead or behind at all times… it really did, it added stress to an already insanely stressful time and now I can’t go back. But going forward it’s important for me to notice I have gaping hole in my assertiveness the size of my husband (not saying it’s his fault). Hmm.
My son says anything, and it catches my heart, it warms me like a fire on a cold winter night.
My daughter, when she was very young, caught me eye and I paused and really paid attention, she told me “I love you,” it was heart wrenching, because she was so young she sounded like a dog saying it… there is a dog that can kind of say that, but it’s unclear. The effort of the vocalization was so obviously great, that it meant so much to me, that it meant so much for her to get through saying it. She is difficult, but she has always been loving, so much so I wouldn’t believe the stories I have lived through, had I not been there.
But then I started checking online to make sure my child was doing what she was supposed to, exactly on time, and I stopped appreciating the miracles that are normal, because they are normal.
Every newborn baby is a miracle to me, but at some point we forget.
Knowing that doesn’t restore the connection.
I’m trying, I didn’t give up on my girl, I haven’t lost my boy, but I know there is distance between my daughter and I.
Yesterday my daughter sat on my lap and told me “my life has always been so hard.” I asked her why, she couldn’t put words to it.
It was not to say “no your life wasn’t hard at all,” but I didn’t. Because I don’t really know that. I don’t really know what my daughter’s life was like for her.
She is an animal lover, she has never been allowed a pet, that does sound hard.
It’s hard for me to see her life as hard because she had so much more than me, but I did have so little that more than me still leaves room to suck.
I’m grateful that we had money, but since my mother was a drug addict, money in her hands didn’t mean food on the table. The worst years we ate about every three days, compared to my daughter gets three meals a day, pretty good stuff (not as good as someone with chef parents) and if she is good ice cream Saturday and treats like caramels or chocolates.
It’s hard for me to give her real sympathy and I can’t give her empathy, because even if we ate every three days, we were so grateful to eat that day, I don’t know how to connect to her grandiose entitlement.
I know it’s normal for all kids to be self-centered, narcissistic, not have perspective and gratitude is something that is difficult for everybody, but I feel so unqualified, unskilled, unable to pull my head out of my own a** and be there for my daughter. At least I don’t tell her she is wrong, at least I don’t negate her experience, but it seems like I’m failing to be a good mother for her.
Yes I’m doing better than my mom, but that bar is um.. low. I’m doing my best too, but sometimes I wish my best was better.
It’s hard not knowing what to do. I’m not too busy, I’m not to tired, I don’t even keep a phone, I don’t watch TV, I don’t have an excuse why I don’t do better, but even 5 years into being a parent I feel like someone who walked into the wrong classroom. I feel largely clueless despite having read book after book, because it seems like the most important things go unsaid, like everyone knows them, but me, so there isn’t a reason to write the obvious things down.
I feel like someone who can’t add being asked to multiply, sometimes I get the right answer, but there is very little understanding on part about how this whole “healthy” parenting thing works.
Still I try everyday.
Anyways. My kids are playing, they are happy, they are safe. With my daughter four and my son one, they give me a few hours I can read or write without feeling guilty, because we are doing music time from breakfast to lunch. After lunch my daughter needs a break from learning, she just won’t take in any more information since music contains math and following the rules ext. My son is a whole different species. I think my daughter needs to be nudged past the uncomfortable beginner phase of reading and math and then down the line she will be able to flourish and set her own curriculum, where as my son learns more than I would make him, with no pushing, so why push?
This day, having no more babies, I think it’s the right time to restore my individuality (that maybe I shouldn’t have let die, but really I didn’t have the childcare help to prevent it).
It’s funny, but I think enjoying life is important to a life of value. Not going over board, no cocaine off prostitutes in this house hopefully… but maybe a cup of herbal tea (to each their own).
It’s silly that I have to justify having down time to myself, but I really do, I’m that person.
So, I want my daughter to know when she has kids, she can take a break, I want my kids to know that they are capable of playing without me holding their hands and hovering, I want to not go crazy from too much childcare, I want to have a space between when I am with my kids (mentally) and when I’m not with my kids (mentally, physically we are stuck in a very small area) so that being with them doesn’t taste stale, it’s not like hearing the same great song on a loop for 4 years straight, so I don’t become blinded by the light.
Anyways, with my free-time, which I feel is both right for me to take as a parent and also healthy for my kids to experience on their end of it, I want more comedy, music, reading, balance and peace in 2020.
As far as comedy, I’ve been enjoying stand up comedy on YouTube and Netflix and Amazon video, maybe I’ll try make my top 10 comedians list as an excuse to watch more. Lately I’ve enjoyed Ronny Chieng (who’s coming to my town, but the show date was during quarantine time, kind of ironic for a Chinese comedian), Bill Burr (who shares me religious views more than anyone else I’m aware of), I’ve always liked Dave Chapel, sometimes Keen and Peel, used to be Monty Python, but perhaps too times watching burns it out…
As far as music, I can’t believe how much it makes me feel better in this time that I’m not exercising due to health concerns, it’s provided me so much sanity and fun. I get into the flow, even though I’m a total amateur. It provides me fun right now.
As far as reading, it provides me a little freedom, I can kind of imagine I’m somewhere else as I metaphorically enter other people’s worlds of imagination or life stories.
As far as balance, today is the very first day in at least five years that I breathed a breath that wasn’t rushed. I’ve been talking about it, writing about it, today is the beginning of DOING it. I don’t think my parents made me live in fourth gear out of hate, but they did, and then I turned 18 and didn’t know anything else was out there. Then I found out, but it wasn’t immediately possible to downshift to first gear.
As far as peace, this is the most peace I’ve ever had with my family, since my daughter was born. At first we were afraid to discipline her (it’s a four letter word in popular culture), then we didn’t know how, then we did know, but were inconsistent, finally we started both being consistent with quite reasonable discipline which is kind of “No Drama Discipline” but is a bit more ghetto to be honest, because my daughter benefits from straight up talk a bit more than “gentle talk,” but the real important part isn’t the words at all, it’s the actions. So, she is old enough to know what we expect and do it, and we have finally grown the balls to put our child in their room for being a jerk and she is responding to being deprived of treats and luxuries much more than endless talk or consequences a bit too paltry to quell the strong rebellious quality of my daughter. My daughter is a Joan of Arch, strong, smart, illiterate, opinionated, makes unsafe choices… I love as she is, but punish her so that the family can live in a fair way (not just her way), so that she will be literate someday, so that she will be safe. And finally, finally, at last, at long last, she is starting to crack, meaning she will stop screaming to be able to watch a video about an Eagle she likes instead of screaming for an hour like an idiot, because we turned off her video, because she broke our family rule about not jumping off the sofa.
Her favorite movie right now is Brothers of the Wind, which is wonderful. Great HD footage about an eagle growing up in the mountains, amazingly beautiful, but a luxury, not a right…
🇨🇳 As a mixed Chinese, I’m apologizing for my people, we do a lot of stupid things. We murdered so many babies they can’t even be counted (50,000-60,000 babies per just one midwife… from 1979 to 2015) of our own babies! Some left some in the trash, some on the roadside dying, rotting in the markets… We forced women to be sterilized against their will, check out the movie “One Child Nation” if you don’t believe me, so although I’m embarrassed about some of the civil injustice going on in China right now, I’m not surprised we did it, because um, if we can kill our own babies en mass, it’s not surprising to me, that we can be incredibly stupid about who to blame right now. Please don’t think all Chinese people are okay with what’s going on, it’s 100% shameful to target innocent refuges, victim blaming in a disgusting way. My Celebrate Asian Heritage featured image is a satirical celebrate Asian Heritage picture for the first time today as a small measure of apology to the world.