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Shauna Soldate
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ZOMG, I would love this book. My husband cooks every evening, but since we both work opposite schedules (he works graveyard) and we both work full time, there are many evenings in which we both just collapse on the bed and our daughter decides to tapdance on our heads to wake us up (of course, as you may obviously know, tapdancing doesn't work for at least 10 minutes, as laying there feels considerably better, even with tiny feet dancing away, than getting up. Plus, you know what? I dislike most home made cookie recipes. They have this weird flavor to them that seems to get more distinct as I get older, and that makes me very, very cross. So I would love to know the secret of the best cookies ever (and yes, they will be made only as a treat). :) I know I probably won't win, but I just wanted to contribute my two cents.
My parents were really protective of me. I was pretty sheltered. So basically, I was only allowed to go to the end of the block (and maybe just around the end) and then about four houses down or ELSE. I didn't learn to ride a bike for the LONGEST time because my mom tried to teach me on the sidewalk and as a kid learning to balance, it feels like the BUSHES ARE COMING TO ATTACK YOUR BIKE. A neighbor had me put the bike in the street (we lived on a quiet street) and I learned to ride without training wheels in like five minutes. Seriously. I wasn't allowed to watch TV and we didn't have video games until I bought an old game boy with MY MONEY that I had earned from working around the house at a garage sale, so it was mine and I didn't have to share. When I see my daughter, I basically see her as an alien who just got to the planet- she's not an idiot and generally knows what's what, but she still needs to learn basic words, customs and differentiation of various stuff or situations. She's only 2 and a half, but she's already good at playing on her own in her toy corner (we have a tiny apartment) and she can keep herself amused pretty easily when we're at the store by "hiding" in the clothing racks. Of course, the best way for me to figure out where she is is to say in a theatrically sneaky voice "OH WHERE COULD SHE BE!?!" and she giggles like mad. She generally knows to stay near me when we're out and she has somehow decided that whenever we are out, even when it's people I know, she'll come get me by the hand if she wants to meet a new person or go a certain distance away. I find it amazing how much she sets her own limits and how much she looks to me (and my husband) for cues on how to behave. Of course, I hate riding bikes with a helmet on and stopped doing so once I turned 18. People say that this is a bad idea, but I've found that in my town, cars ride waaaaay closer when you wear a helmet for some reason (as though said helmet will protect you?!). As a kid, I used to ride my bike all over the place and not come home until late in the afternoon. But I always had to tell my parents where I was and what I was doing and when around I'd be back...and that was only after they had me do a "biking test" so they knew for sure that I knew what to do when bicycling around. The funniest thing is that the worst accident that ever happened to me was when the railing failed on our bunk bed (they were really just two beds that my parents stacked on one another and then had a slide out railing that wasn't really held in by anything beyond my body weight), and snapped my arm in half and the bone came out (I was 13). Luckily after some surgeries and physical therapy, I was mostly fine (I still have residual nerve damage in my right arm), but that's where I decided NO BUNK BEDS EVER for my kids. As generally good as she can be, my daughter has plenty of time to get into mischief. My husband and I work opposite shifts and he tends to sleep until the early afternoon. My daughter goes to bed very very late at night so she gets up probably about an hour before he does. He puts on cartoons and she plays with her duplos and toys until he gets up (and she can wake him up if she needs him). I usually come home during the lunch hour so she's fine. The other day when I came home, she'd somehow found the Vick's Vaporub and because she had a stuffy nose for the last couple of days, she decided to apply it on herself......the whole rest of the bottle...and then she put it in her hair too (as I had recently put in some detangling cream in her hair the other day, so she must have thought "oh, this is exactly the same thing, right?"). Of course there was the obligatory mess all over the comforter where she had attempted to wipe it off, but all in all, she was fine. I remember plenty of situations as a kid where things like this happened even though my mom stayed at home and watched me like a prison warden. Kids learn best when they're allowed to make mistakes, even if those mistakes are not convenient for the adults. Obviously, putting the dangerous and poisonous stuff away is important, but all of those months of training her as a baby/young toddler have paid off. Eh, maybe I'm just more laid back as a parent because my younger siblings were basically my "mom practice" as a kid, so generally the thing that scared me the most about having my own was the whole diaper thing....I'm still thinking that the move to toilet training is now going to be the BIG HORRIBLE THING. I'm still not sure how to even broach the subject with my daughter....LOL.
I sometimes wonder why we have to be so nice when someone gives us a horrible or downright crappy gift. I'll say thank you, of course to be polite, but generally, if someone gets me something horrible that I will never use, I'm not going to gush over it like it's amazing. Basically, bad presents go in the regift box, unopened and just like new. When I find someone who it really looks like they would like it, on it goes! Of course, remember what it was like before we had any money of our own and we were basically left to the whims of our parents and other adult people to get the few things that we got to own for ourselves. I remember that once I learned that I could get a job and pay for stuff with my own money (via watching pets for people on vacation or helping out at music camps and stuff at the age of 10/11), I was THRILLED- finally I could choose what I wanted with my own money. Of course, not having all that much money, this is where I began a love affair with thrift stores. Honestly, I feel sympathy for children- if their parents or family members don't buy them everything and spoil them rotton, there are really only a few times of year where they have any possibility to get anything that they might actually want. In a world where it seems like so many people are materialistically driven, it makes me sad to think that a lot of parents will buy all the toys for themselves that THEY want and then buy their kid some crap from the dollar store and expect them to make due. Honestly, I think a gift ought to reflect how close you are to the person and your knowledge of their tastes. I would much rather not receive any gifts than receive something that someone just threw together. Which reminds me, I'm somewhat annoyed at the moms and dads who force their children to not get any birthday presents and instead make them choose a charity for their friends to donate to. That's just unfair to the kid UNLESS the kid comes up with the idea on his or her own.
So here's my situation. I have a big black male kitty, who was rescued as an adult from the animal shelter when he was on death row. He is a very big gentleman....MOST of the time. For example, my daughter (now 2) is someone who he loves to cuddle up next to her feet on the toddler bed (or when she is napping on the big bed). She can throw her arms around him screaming "KITTY!" and he'll just let her. And whenever she does pull on his ears or tail or tries to be rough, I always scold HER for doing it, but he doesn't swipe at her! Once he grabbed her arm with his mouth, but it wasn't biting (ie: he grabbed her with the same lightness as a cat holds kittens). I love my cat because petting him calms me down, but I get frustrated at him because he loves to pee on the couch whenever he is mad at us for whatever reason (so far, the peeing seems to specifically be the couch...knock on wood!), but I can't tell you how angry I get when I smell the smell or god forbid sit down on a wet spot! He also does the whole MEOW MEOW MEOW alarm and wants to constantly be let into the bedroom (through which is his perch and the bathroom with the litter box) when my daughter is sleeping. The only good thing about this is that my daughter seems to have gotten immune to meowing as long as it's not going on for a long period of time, so thankfully, my sanity isn't totally slipping. I can't believe that I'm starting to think about having another baby (we want two) and wondering how much more frustrating the "little things" are going to be once we have a new baby! We got our cat almost six months before I found out that I was pregnant (I actually didn't know that I could become pregnant as I was told I was infertile), and he had a profound positive effect on my husband's mental health (he has depression problems). Every time my husband comes home, our cat climbs up on his lap purring like a freight train and wanting pets and loves. I honestly think that this is one of the main reasons his suicidal thoughts have almost disappeared.
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Aug 30, 2011