Monday, October 27, 2008

My rant against John Rosemond

I used to like "parenting expert" John Rosemond a lot, before I had children -- HA!!

I still sometimes read his stuff, for a few reasons:

1) I think he's a good writer and speaker;

2) It keeps me on my toes;

3) I do agree with him, at least partiall, about some things

I was checking into his website the other day and saw this column, which basically states that the number one problem facing today's families is that parents are too involved with their kids.

Yes, you read that write. I almost couldn't type it without laughing. Is he serious??

Here's an excerpt:

Symptomatic of this ubiquitous state of bad mental health is mother-to-mother conversation, which will almost invariably be all about their children: what they’re doing for their children, their children’s latest magnificent accomplishments, and so on. That today’s mothers cannot seem to think of anything else to talk about is rather, well, sad. My mother once told me that when mothers got together in the 1950s, they talked about everything but their children. “We talked about interesting things,” was the way she put it.

I have a few thoughts about this:

1) If a group of teachers got together and talked about their students, their classroom activities, and so on, would that also be "sad" and "not interesting"? What about a group of college professors discussing their job and their students?

2) Rosemond always talks about how women in the 50's, and earlier, always did this, or that. Really? How could he possibly know what "most women" did over fifty years ago? How could that possibly be the same for almost everybody? Anyone have clues about this one, based on conversations with your grandmothers or something? Is this really accurate?

3) Why in the world would you bother to have children if you don't want to be involved with them or spend time with them? Oh wait .... maybe these wonderful women from the 50's didn't choose to have children.

4) Is it really "sad" that I find my children and my life with my children interesting? I would think it's sad if you didn't! We have interesting conversations. They have interesting observations. We read interesting books, watch interesting TV shows, play and sing and listen to interesting music together, go to interesting plays together, hang out with other interesting people, do interesting projects, and go to interesting places together.

The more I think about it, the more this is a perfect example of the totally condescending, "What you do doesn't matter because you only stay home with kids. We, on the other hand, are intelligent and interesting people."

I guess a lot of people questioned this article, because he has a follow-up to it here.

Yes, you read my audacity correctly: I am the contrarian of parent involvement. I think it’s bad for parents, bad for children, bad for families (obviously), and for all those reasons, bad for America.

Wow. Don't even know what to say to that.

Parenting is a form of leadership. In order for a leader, in any context, to be effective, he or she must command (as opposed to demand) the respect of the people being led. This requires a boundary between the leader and the led, the permeability of which is controlled by the former. “Get involved with your children” puts relationship before leadership, the cart before the horse.

This made me think of Jesus, the Ultimate and Perfect Leader. Did he get involved with his disciples? Didn't he spend plenty of time with them on a regular basis?? Please do chime in on this if you can, because I really would like to learn something here and not just be critical.

... the child’s primary challenge was to keep his parents from getting involved.

Bwaa-ha-haa!! Well, maybe if he liked his parents more, he wouldn't desperately want them to stay the hell away from him! Give me a break!! I'm supposed to feel like a terrible parent because my kids like my company?

[I should point out here than you can never win a "Rosemond" argument, because he always says that if this ideas sound crazy, or cruel, it's just proof of how upside-down our society and current culture is. Okay.]

It's interesting that I know from other writings that Rosemond thinks that having an at-home parent -- as well as homeschooling -- are good things.

He said in one book that "a mother should be home for her children, in case they need her, but not be home with her children."

Uh-huh. In other words, she should quit her job and hang around at home all the time, just in case her kid breaks a bone or something, I guess, but stay away from all her kids. Just be home doing "interesting" things (whatever they would be) in another room while her kids basically fend for themselves -- because, apparently, they don't want to be around her either!

And how in the hell does that work with homeschooling? Yes, homeschooling is good, but you shouldn't actually be around your children, or involved in what they're doing, or talking about it with other parents?? Huh? What, is his idea of homeschooling to stick the kids in another room with "assignments" and then go in another room and do your own [interesting] thing?

I guess so.

It bothers me that this bothers me. It makes me feel like he must have hit a nerve. But, really, I find it very insulting. I am an intelligent, well-educated, yes, interesting person (even though I kid that I'm not), and the fact that I spend time with my children and do things with them, and know them well, does not make me less so.

Successful Meal #4

On the weekends, the five of us usually do eat together, thankfully. And this is one of the few meals that all five of us truly like.

It's Trader Joe's frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken. And rice, cooked separately. And broccoli, if we have it in the house, which we did not this weekend.

Successful Meal #3

Hmm, this meal is suspiciously similar to Successful Meal #1.

But it is different.

I had read on a homeschool forum about how Coco Wheats was a really good hot breakfast that their kids loved. I couldn't find it at the store, so I took a chance and ordered a case off the website!

Everyone seems to like it. Rachael, our Oatmeal Girl, seems to like it the best, but she said she would like me to put less sugar in it.

So anyway, here's our meal. We probably don't need every single component every time:

1) Bowl of Coco Wheats
2) Morning Star "fake bacon"
3) Bagels and cream cheese (mostly to satisfy Rebecca)
4) Cheddar cheese omelets

Hm, I just noticed there are no fruits and vegetables in this one. Eh, we can have it with orange juice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We got a note sent home from Rebecca's teacher

The girls played school for a few hours the other day. Rachael is always the teacher and she writes a daily schedule and everything.

Later Rachael brought me a sealed envelope that said "to Rebecca's parins"

Inside a letter said:

Rebecca brok a rool at nap time. first genuvev asct hr a qeshchin. the rool is don't tok at nap time. then Rebecca tokt bake.

That darn Rebecca! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Successful Meal #2

This one won't win any awards in the Healthy Department, but it worked.

I remember reading years ago that the secret to not stressing out over planning a meal is to remember that, really, you just need two things. For example, spaghetti and a salad.

(Unfortunately, none of my kids like spaghetti or salad.)

Anyway, in that spirit, we had:

1) Aunt Ella's macaroni and cheese.

No, it's not a frozen meal; it's the name of the recipe. It is goood. I think what makes it extra good and a little unique is that it has onions, nutmeg, an egg, and dry mustard in it. I think next time I will put in some extra noodles, to stretch it out and make it a little less rich.

2) Canned peas.

I'm not crazy about peas myself, but usually two out of three kids will enjoy them. I think I'm going to start getting frozen peas instead, though. Is frozen supposed to be better than canned? Anyone? Anyone?

[Note: The next day I served the leftover macaroni and cheese and found a can of chickpeas in the pantry. I heated them up and served them on the side. Rachael and Benjamin loved them, and Rebecca ate a few as well, so I definitely have to remember to keep some of them on hand.

Of course, knowing my kids, I'll buy several cans, and then everybody will decide they don't like them anymore.]

Monday, October 20, 2008

New trucks and cool

The above assortment (not including the child) cost $5.

The truck on the left was free at Home Depot craft day.

The other three were purchased at a garage sale for a total of $5,
batteries not included. The "cool" actually will lift stuff up by the shovel and dump it into the truck.

Benjamin needs to be tucked into bed with all of them.
Posted by Picasa

Pony rides and trains

We visited Robert's family in North Carolina this weekend.

There was some sort of fair in town, and as you can see they had trains.

They also had pony rides:

Posted by Picasa

Anniversary Pic

Can it be a true anniversary picture if only one person is in it?

Our fourteenth anniversay was this week. We went to North Carolina to visit Robert's family this weekend. They baby-sat and we went to a fancy restaurant in Sylva. We had chocolate martinis and filet mignon while listening to live music -- woo-hoo!

Anyway, here's a picture of me in front of the restaurant.
Posted by Picasa

Thanks, Julie!

You might have noticed I hadn't blogged very much for the past couple months. Then recently I got an e-mail from my buddy Julie, which said (among other things):

Keep on blogging.
Your writing is always refreshing and insightful. I still think you
to submit your writing to mags. Get a little paying gig on the side.

Well how nice! :)

Actually, years ago I did get paid for my writing several times, and hopefully will again someday. The problem, though, is that researching the market takes more time and energy than the actual writing, and at the moment I'm not up to doing that.

But, Julie has inspired me to catch up and write some stuff here!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Lego Creation

Fortunately I have a husband who will see something like this and take the picture.

If you can't tell, it says "Rachael," with a penguin next to it.

Posted by Picasa

Successful Meal #1

Okay, tonight's dinner was pretty good. Easy, healthy, and fairly well-appreciated, although Rachael, that crazy kid, refuses to eat the chocolate-chip pancakes.

Here it is:

1) Cocoa Chocolate-Chip Pancakes from The Sneaky Chef.

This is much healthier than it sounds. It's sweetened with honey instead of sugar or (God forbid!) corn syrup, and has wheat germ, whole wheat flour, and baby food jars of apple/blueberry combo. It's real good, too! (unless your name is Rachael) The two younger kids will eat it cold like a brownie for a snack too.

2) Morningside Farms "fake bacon."

I think it's soy bacon or something. I actually like it more than real bacon because it's not so greasy. Benjamin calls it "ca-cogs" (hot dogs).

3) Raspberries.

All the kids devour raspberries. Of course their favorite fruit has to be the one that costs a fortune.

Benjamin's Carz

Here are some cute pictures Robert took of Benjamin and his "Carz!"

I'm pretty sure Robert built this car from a model kit he bought at HobbyTown.

Benjamin just loves cars, trucks, and "cool" (construction equipment).
Are all little boys like this? It's so funny, especially after having two girls.

Posted by Picasa

Getting a handle on this meal thing

Okay, I'm determined to do better with handling meals around here. I don't know about you -- maybe there's just something wrong with me -- but between trying to find something that's fairly healthy, fairly quick and easy, and that at least some of the five of us will like, feeding everybody always seems like quite a challenge.

Breakfast is easy. Rachael eats oatmeal with wheat germ, every day, forever and ever, amen. Rebecca has a waffle, or possibly pancakes or a bagel and cream cheese. Benjamin has one or more of the things the girls are having.

But it seems like every day at lunchtime and dinnertime I stand around saying, "Hmm, now what are we going to eat ...?"

And then I think, "Um, haven't we eaten before? What do we normally do at mealtime?"

And the answer, of course, is: Stand around saying, "Hmm, now what are we going to eat ...?"

I should point out that my husband doesn't eat dinner with us, so that makes it more tricky, somehow. Of course, maybe if he did eat with us, it would be even harder, because I'd have one more person and their opinion to worry about.

So ...

Whenever we eat a meal that seems like a success, in some sense of the word, I'm going to post it here, for a few reasons:

1) So that I can remember it;
2) Because someone else may want to try it;
3) To prove that I'm not a totally horrible mother and we do have a decent meal around here every once and a while

Recent Read-Alouds

I've always kinda said that the reason I had kids was so that I'd have an excuse to play with their toys, watch their TV shows, and read their books.

Lately I've been reading more chapter books to the girls (who are ages five and seven).

You already know we read Ramona the Pest a month or two ago. Since then, we've read:

The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series (except for Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm, which we quit halfway through. It had a different illustrator and a completely different feel, and we all thought it was pretty boring.)

Mr. Popper Penguins (which I had never read before)

Charlotte's Web (which we just started yesterday. Of course we will have to watch the movie which means that of course I will cry.)