Archive for June, 2010
happy #2!

about to blow it out (maybe)

Happy 2nd Birthday, H-bomb!


Holden is not quite two years old, yet I have already been forced to reflect on how I will handle the inevitable bullying that is bound to happen as Holden progresses through childhood and adolescence.

Recently at the playground, Holden was climbing over the play equipment while a large group of much older children (say, 8-10-year olds) were playing a game of tag on the equipment.  Holden was underfoot during these activities, and at one point, a MUCH older child glanced down at Holden and muttered “Out of my way, kid.”

I was a tad taken aback when this happened, but didn’t say anything to the older kid because Holden didn’t even seem to notice what had transpired, and the kid hadn’t done anything physical to Holden, like pushing or shoving.  As I stood there thinking about all of the ways I could react to such a scenario, I started to think about how those reactions will shape Holden’s perception of other kids’ behaviors, and his relationship with those kids.  If I jump in and intervene every time, will Holden always expect that I’ll come to the rescue?  Will he ever learn on his own how to fend for himself?  Will he be labeled a “sissy” or a “wuss” for having an overbearing mother who is overprotective?  If I do nothing, will Holden feel powerless and alone?  These are not trivial questions.  Bullying exerts profound effects on children and adolescents, and it can determine the quality of one’s experience as a younger person.

Certainly, bullying is nothing new.  The media pretend that it’s a new phenomenon, although this couldn’t be further from the truth.  I think that the effects of bullying are more insipid nowadays with the wide use of social media, but certainly bullying itself is as old as the hills.  Other species do it too, except they don’t consult shrinks or pharmacotherapies to deal with it.

Interestingly, the other type of bullying I have experienced recently does not evoke as many difficult questions and is therefore substantially easier to deal with.  Today while at the library, Holden got ahead of me and started running down one of the aisles.  I was trying to reprimand him for running in my most discreet library-appropriate speaking tone, and as we pass the information desk, one of the librarians yells at Holden to stop running.  While I understand it’s her job to keep order in the library, I wanted to turn around and smack her.  Had I just let him run without re-directing his behavior, I would understand her need to say something.  But for her to yell over top of me pissed me off—-I felt like *I* was being bullied—or at a minimum, that she was passive-aggressively commenting on my inability to control my barely two-year old child.

I managed to grab Holden at the far corner of the library, who thought that the chase through the library and my ensuing anger were HILARIOUS.  I got on his level and explained that running is not allowed in the library (as I have many, many times before).  I told him we wouldn’t be returning to the library if he ran again.  Then we left, and I shot the librarian a dirty look.  I fumed in my car on the way home, and I thought some more about how I should react, when (not if) this happens again.  It made me sufficiently angry, that I think I will have to say something to the pseudo-disciplinarian.  I think I am within my rights to say to someone that I have the situation under control, and that their interference undermines (rather than reinforces) my authority in such situations.  I know in my gut that confronting someone on this will only provoke more hostility, but maybe if Holden sees that I stand up to those surly, middle-aged women at the library, he’ll figure out how to handle the kids on the playground that mutter at him to get out of the way, all on his own.

More funny stuff

I’ve been home with Holden for a week now.  It is absolutely wonderful!  We have been having such a blast together—I am so grateful that we have the chance to spend the next 3 months together.  This week we’ve gone on many outings to the park and library, plus a special trip to his school to take cookies for his classmates.  We’ve weeded our flower beds, gone for bikes rides in the driveway, painted, baked, played guitar, and danced to music.  Holden is starting to give up his naps entirely (he only naps about 20% of the time these days).  Last night we had movie night—we let him stay up late and watch an animated movie while eating popcorn and snuggling on the couch.

Some of Holden’s newest words are “ecosystem,” “angst,” and “privacy,” which is usually uttered as he shuts the bathroom door.  I tried to transition Holden back into cloth diapers for the summer (I had given up cloth diapering when I returned to work in September because I just couldn’t keep up with it)—but Holden wants nothing to do with the cloth diapers.  So I am giving them up.  I guess I should be happy that I cloth diapered almost exclusively for the first 14 months of his life.  I am proud of that accomplishment, but feel guilty when the garbage can piles up with disposable diapers destined for a landfill.

Incredibly funny things that Holden has said recently:

“Not too bad…..” typically uttered with tears streaming down his cheeks, most recently during the concluding snips of a long overdue haircut.  It’s his little way of reassuring himself that he will, in fact, survive such hardships as watching a loud train go through the center of town, brushing his teeth, or enduring a diaper change.

When reading to himself, or otherwise playing with his toys, he’ll exclaim “Good job, Holden!”  So self-congratulatory, already.

When asking “Do you want to read another book, or not?” Holden will sometimes reply “Not.”  This is funny mostly because he sounds so sarcastic when he says it.

Yesterday, when I was sitting on the ground weeding our flower bed and Holden was pushing his little bike across the driveway, he turned to me and gave me a look that said “I hate to break this to you, Mom….”

He then said to me, “Bye-bye Mama.”  Then he waited for my reaction.

I asked “Where are you going?”

He replied with a smirk:  ”Restaurant!”

I asked “How are you going to get there?”

“Bike!” he exclaimed.

“What are you going to eat at the restaurant?”

“French fries and chocolate milk!” he declared in the most rebellious and conspiratorial air I’ve ever heard.

I laughed at his ambition, and he seemed surprised that I found it funny.  I am sure that the next week with Holden will bring a wealth of new material that will inspire laughter and appreciation that we have such a funny little person living with us in our home.