Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Perfect Parent...NOT

I am not a conventional parent.  I probably never will be.  It started even before Lucy was born.  I requested a C-Section - yes, voluntarily.  We named her after the infamous Peanuts character who snatched away the football from the ever trusting Charlie Brown.  After she was born, I chose not to breastfeed.  And so far, so good. 

Most folks who know me would agree that I am a perfectionist.  Okay, I'm downright anal and extrememly competitive.  I have to be the best.  At everything.  But for some reason, I do not strive to be the perfect parent.  Why?  Because 1.  No such animal exists and 2.  I would be setting myself up for certain failure should I attempt to attain such a lofty (and ridiculous) goal. 

I don't play by the parent rulebook, if there is such a thing.  Now that being said, what I am about to describe is working for me.  I am by no way encouraging other parents out there to behave as I do.  You will find your own path, and your child will guide you. 

1.  Food.  Lucy eats pretty much whatever she wants.  We give in to most of her food requests.  This often means a dinner of chicken nuggets, cheerios, and ice cream.  Now the good news is that her daycare teachers have opened her eyes to the beauty of fruits and vegetables, so it is not unheard of for her to ask for broccoli and oranges.  The main thing that we try and control is how much of a certain 'treat' she consumes.  I wholeheartedly believe that children should eat a well balanced diet and exercise.  However, I do not believe in such over-the-top dietary restrictions that a child never gets to enjoy the sweeter things in life.  If they don't get them now, I promise you they will find a way to get them when they are older. 

2.  Bedtime.   Doesn't exist at our house.  At least not in the sense of "Lucy is in bed every night by 7:30".  We have more of a range of time during which she goes to sleep.  While she does not usually request going 'night night', the telltale signs of crankiness and eye rubbing are always present when Lucy gets tired.  It's just that these behaviors don't always happen at exactly the same time every evening.  So rather than force her to go down when she does not appear ready, we let her demeanor dictate bedtime to a certain extent.  Rarely does she fight us.  Now - I hope I don't eat my words soon since she is approaching the Terrible Twos...

3.  Music.  Admittedly, there is something a little disturbing about watching your child bob her head to "The Humpty Dance" while riding in the backseat of the car.  But it has happened.  A lot.  In fact it started way back when Lucy was in mommy's oven.  She was continuously bombarded with music from the Hair Nation station on XM.  Motley Crue and Metallica were the source of many lullabys.  And I refuse to change the station even now that she is alert and impressionable.  Frankly, I think musical exposure of any kind is a great thing.  Much to my chagrin, her father's musical tastes are the polar opposite of mine, so she'll be getting her Eurotrance and Classical fix from him.  Ewwww.   Now I am not completely insane in this area of development -- if you listen closely, you might hear me singing along with Lucy during the ABC song or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  If you're lucky.

4.  TV.  Along the same lines as music, I am not a big believer in restricting what a child watches on TV.  I will not be cancelling my cable or flipping out if Lucy hears a curse word (she hears them anyway) during a show.  As a child, my Friday night lineup was The Incredible Hulk (AWESOME by the way), Dallas, and Falcon Crest - drama/violence followed by two nighttime soaps.  And I turned out relatively okay.  I would prefer that Lucy watch TV under my supervision and ask questions if need be. 

So despite my perfectionistic inclinations in other areas of life, I would actually say that I am a pretty laid back mommy. And again, so far, so good. Lucy is normal. She is healthy. She is happy. Some have even said that she is bright. Well, DUH.   

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