Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have a co-worker/friend, (ok, she's really my boss) who moved back into her parent's home at 32 due to some unfortunate circumstances which happened to her. Life just crashed down around her and she needed/ welcomed the support, love, and guidance of home. Well, now 4 years later, she is trying to leave again and is finding herself incredibly disillusioned and frustrated with them. For their part, they just can't seem to let her go and call/e-mail her about the most minuscule of things. (for example: the absolute crime of leaving dirty dishes in the dishwasher during the day.)

So, I was talking to her about this the other day and asked her, "Is this the first time in your life, you've ever been disillusioned with your parents?" She said something interesting, she said, "No, when I was 18, 19, 20, I went through this. I told them to stay out of my life, I was 4 hours away and was going to do what I wanted. But, back then, I was such a pain in the ___ that they were happy to send me away."

I was thinking about this and my own experiences and have decided that during the phase between 18-20 and sometimes for much longer, I think almost everyone- if not everyone- despises their parents. It seems to be a universal stage of development that everyone goes through. In some weird way, I guess it's even an important experience in order to break out of the nest and build your own world. It's as if at that age- for the first time, you can see all of your parents screw ups, but you're still too young to know that you are a screw-up too. You haven't realized yet that this whole world somehow runs in spite of the fact that most people aren't that competent. (Heck, apparently, I don't even know how to spell competent. Thank goodness for spell checker.) So, at 19 a person can critically analyze every mistake their parents ever made, but they are still comparing their parents to this imaginary fairy tale super-human parent. They haven't yet crashed and burned enough times to realize that NO ONE is competent. (Misspelled it again.)

My point... I wonder if it helps our children later on, if we are honest about our imperfections early. Eventually they are going to figure out that we aren't super-human! Is it better to let them down easy? Right now, to Ian, I look like this all-knowing, all-powerful super woman. I can do anything, I know just what to do, and when to do it. He has no idea that I don't know what I'm doing.

The other day, Ian was touching a shelf of DVDs that is "forbidden" because we don't want them scattered throughout the house. Dave told him "No". Ian walked away obediently, but was clearly upset. His feelings were hurt and Dave just couldn't figure out why. Now, this wasn't a protest cry, this was a "But Dad, I just don't understand" cry. Upon further investigation, Dave learned that Ian was pointing to a Baby Einstein DVD which he is absolutely aloud to watch whenever he wants. Ian wasn't trying to play in forbidden territory, he was trying to make a simple request. Dave lovingly apologized, asked him to sign, "Please", and put it on. My point, We don't always know what is going on in Ian's head, so sometimes we accidentally hurt his feelings. His feelings are important and occasionally he deserves an apology when we can't read his mind. Not necessarily because we did something wrong, but because we love our child and it hurts his feelings when people don't understand. Maybe a little understanding and a few sorries in these years might help to decrease the beating he will dish out to us when he is 18-20. We'll see. :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Screetching Soprano

Our little one grows so much, so fast. In the last month, he went from not walking, still cruising around, to moving independently - far and fast. Now that his legs are stable, he likes to check out the world upside down in a highly adorable, leg supported head stand. His language is exploding as well, He's now learned signs for "Please, more, banana, bike, drink, and some attempt at outside" and says, "mama, dada, cup, car, green, jiggle-jiggle (the sound he makes for his dad's belly), tickle-tickle, pssss (potty), and please, " He's really starting to understand a lot. As a speech-therapist, I find myself mentally cataloging each new behavior, It's just so exciting to watch him seemingly without effort, progress through each step. One day, you are just dilligently teaching (or not even teaching something), the next, seemingly out-of-the-blue, he's got it! It's really just a lot of fun.

I remember a few years ago, someone referring to their child as "fun" and thinking, "uh, ya right, I'm no dummy. Kids are just a lot of work. Good work, but work." Now I realize that I was dead on, but wrong as well. Ian is just a joy! He just amazes me every day. I follow patterns. I expect to see what is next on the pattern. But, with Ian, he's been doing A & B so I expect a C, when suddenly an E or F jumps out of no where, leaving the C &D for a later surprise when I have all but given up on them. I just really enjoy him.

With these new happenings, comes also the less delightful developments as well. Ian has learned quite a few signs and words. He has learned that words/ signs have power. But he doesn't have a word or sign for Everything yet. And he does want just that--Everything-- to see and do and touch and feel and/ or eat Everything. There's the whole world to explore and he's gotta see it. It's gotta be frustrating for him sometimes, to have the whole world in front of you, have no way to access most of it, and have words for 10 items. He's also been practicing his high-pitch soprano voice, which converts itself occasionally, but conveniently into a clearly audible frustration signal as well. I thought I was gonna go insane for a couple of days there, but fortunately, it seems to be decreasing within the last few days. (I think as a result of teaching substitute vocabulary.) I go into auditory sensory overload pretty easily, so I was about to loose it for a couple of days there. Of course, this was the same day that Ian learned that he could splatter food over a 4 food radius if he blew raspberries at just the right time, AND that it was fun to dump out cups. My ears and my clothes were oversaturated. (Fortunately, I have developed strategies to minimize all of these, but Wow were they frustrating.)

Then, yesterday as I was watching him do his little thing, It occurred to me. I think it's really easy for parents to say to themselves, "When my kid starts/ stops ...... (fill in the blank), then I will really enjoy him/ her." Well, that's just silly. Don't you know, that with the next phase of development comes a whole new set of desirable AND less desirable characteristics. We've got to teach him so he grows out of them successfully and thrives in each new phase. But if we always wait for our children/ spouses/ life to be absolutely perfect, and of course absolutely convenient, to enjoy him/ them- Then we could waste our whole lives never realizing that what we have is nothing less than amazingly wonderful.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I've be pretty quiet lately on the blog (really since about May). I have had several e-mails requesting that I end my tight-lipped stale mate and start writing again. Well, the truth is- If you know much about me, you know that when any one aspect of my life is uncertain, I, like a turtle, hide deep inside my shell. Only, unlike a turtle I keep walking forward-with shaking feet- waiting for something bad to happen, but believing that if I just keep walking, somehow, all of the uncertainty will clear. All right, so it's not my finer characteristic, but it's my version of bravery.

Life involves risks. Greatness requires it, even thrives on it. Not random, stupid risks. But thoughtful, well calculated risks with good backup plans .

When I decided to go to Penn State, I took a HUGE risk. (Huge Risk is defined as up to 40k dollars and no social life at the same time.) But I knew it was the right thing- and I have NEVER regreted it. I ended up paying 20k, but it was WELL worth it. I now have an incredibly unique and marketable set of skills. If I could do it all again, I would, only this time, I wouldn't be so scared.

Well, in Dave's "spare time" (a.k.a., the time "left over"/ squeezed out/ created in the tiny crevaces between working full time, going to school full time, being a brand new dad and an excellent husband, and being elders quorum president), he has been working on a project for quite a while now. It's really the kind of top-knotch work that few people can produce. Dave is an artist at heart, he LOVES to create. And he's really good at it. He's had someone marketing and using his computer program for quite a while now.

At the same time, Dave's primary employer (now previous employer) was really limiting the scope of items Dave could create in that environment. He had created for them an incredible product, which they used for years. All he was really doing was tweaking it. It was getting stale.

In October, we made a decision that it was time for him to focus on his project, complete it, and sell it. (With financial support.) Well, you know that feeling you get in your stomach when you know you are doing the right thing, but you still are almost paralyzed with fear. Yep. That's been me. I have this sub-theme to my life, a lesson, I keep having to learn over and over. To TRUST the Lord. Trust that things well work out.

Well, We're about 3/4 the way through this tunnel here. I am starting to see the light at the end. It's really exciting. Of course, I'm still waiting for a huge log to fall on my tunnel and squish me. But, I can feel the knot in my stomach loosening ever so slightly.

My point. In life, we have to take risks- intelligent, well thought out, well planned risks. I never regret it. Those difficult, but right decisions have lead me down paths that have added value, uniqueness, meaning, and color to my life. I have so much more to offer now. I guess my only regret is that I spend half of the time hiding in my shell waiting for the next tree to crash on me rather than simply enjoying the amazing adventure.