semperfiona: Books on a table superimposed with "There is no frigate like a book" (books)
[livejournal.com profile] mousefeathers gave me this last month, as we are soon to be the parents of a teenager. She stipulated that she had bought it years ago and wasn’t even sure she ever read it. I read it a week or so ago. I started this post the next day but have not had time to work on it until now.

I am not impressed. Dr. Rosemond calls himself a psychologist heretic, and has little good to say about his fellow professionals. Nor does he have anything good to say about parents who disagree with his premises or conclusions. He repeatedly insults parents whose values for their children differ from his, calling them foolish or deluded or simply “bad parents”.

The book, while not presented as “Christian parenting,” is nonetheless full of Bible references and Christian assumptions and expects that readers will subscribe to them. He spends a lot of time going off on divorce: “Today the once-sacred sacrament of marriage is nothing more than a flimsy contract that any partner can walk away from at the slightest whim.” He insists that unhappy couples should just suck it up and stay married. “...agree between you that you’re going to hang in there no matter what...Staying married is the toughest thing you will ever do, which is precisely why it is the most rewarding thing you will ever do.” His opinion of feminism is even worse: the only mention of the word comes in the phrase “the feminist sport of having children out of wedlock”!!!. Even political correctness comes in for a casual slam: “...nothing the child in question can do but say ‘Uncle!’ (or to be politically correct about it, “Sibling of a parent!’)” What was that for?

He sums up his overall method of parenting with the old saw “Give them enough rope to hang themselves,” meaning allow teenagers a great deal of freedom and independence (which I tend to agree with in general) but he then seems to take a great deal of pleasure in coming up with the “hangings” when the teens overstep the freedoms allowed. The punishments or consequences need not have anything to do with the error, nor even be associated in time; indeed he makes a point of how he thinks it’s better if they are not, claiming that “eight out of ten times a child misbehaves, effective consequences are not immediately available.” Where this 80% number comes from is never stated, so I can only assume it comes out of his ass. In narrating a conversation about this idea with a parent (client) he analogizes to a workplace situation where someone “misbehaves on the job” (his words) and four months later finds out during the annual performance review that the “misbehavior” has caused the loss of a raise. Personally I would think that is bad management as well—why would you let someone go on for months thinking they were doing fine if they’re not?

An example: he tells a story about asking his daughter to wash dishes and clean house while he and his wife were out, in preparation for a dinner party that night. She refused, so he said, “If it’s not done when we get home we’ll do it.” It wasn’t, and they did. No consequences for the daughter, who continued in her original plans for the evening...until the following Friday when she wanted to go out with her friends and he announced (in front of her friend for maximum humiliation), “Oh, I forgot. Since you didn’t wash dishes last week you can’t go out now.”

He only once mentions gay teens, tossing out this remark on the very last page, in reference to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which he disparaged for a page and a half: “Here’s another absolutely astonishing finding:[...] Teens who have repeated a grade in school or are attracted to members of the same gender are more likely to have problems than heterosexual teens who have done reasonably well in school. As today’s teenager might say, ‘Well, duh!!!’” Due to the complete lack of any other comments on gay teens it rather looks like he’s saying it’s their own fault for having problems. (Interestingly this page appears to be missing from Google Books. All the other quotes show up on the appropriate page, but searching by several words on page 265 does not find anything.)

After writing all this, I looked at the reviews from Google Books, which are invariably positive. I would probably have not been so irritated by this book if it did not have the preachy condescension and insults or the anti-divorce, anti-feminism slams.
semperfiona: (rosa crowned)
Last Saturday, Rosa and I went to the library. She came down from the children's section with five picture books. Fine and dandy, I checked out five books myself. One of them, Castle Waiting by Linda Medley, I had picked up, looked at the cover blurbs, looked at the introduction, thought it sounded interesting, flipped open at a random page. It was a graphic novel, 487 pages long. So after I got it home and started reading it, Rosa became enthralled and wanted to snatch it away from me. I told her she could certainly read it, but she had to wait until I was finished. I half-expected her to forget about it.

She didn't. As soon as I finished it, she grabbed it up and started reading. Today, she carried the book about with her all day, and finished it. That's the longest book she's ever read. And on top of reading over 300 pages of graphic novel today, she read all of Where the Sidewalk Ends. Little girl spent about four hours reading today.

The other night, she asked me whether she could read after the bedtime ritual. She had her little flashlight right there for reading under the covers. I told her she could, but she had to remember she had school the next day. I figured if she thought she was getting away with something by reading that maybe reading would become enticing to her.

She was doing it again tonight. *self-satisfied grin*

GIP...

Oct. 3rd, 2007 11:34 am
semperfiona: (wtf)
I'm such a terrible Mommy. I gave my daughter flan for breakfast today.
semperfiona: (Default)
Rosa: Can I have icecream now?
Mommy: Not unless you finish your vegetables.
Chris: (How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!)

Rosa complained that she didn't like the way they're cooked but eventually ate some of the vegetables.

Rosa: Now can I have icecream?
Mommy: You haven't finished your vegetables.
Rosa: I ate half of them...
Chris: Then you can have half of ice cream. Do you want ice, or cream?
semperfiona: (demon baby)
MOMMY: Come on, read with me! Don't you want to know what happens?
ROSA: No, I want to stay in suspense.
MOMMY: *laughs hysterically*

***

Recipe for Abomination Sandwich (a Rosa speciality)

White bread
Lunchmeat ham
American cheese
Ketchup
semperfiona: (rosa crowned)
I've been feeling a lot of mommy guilt lately, what with three nights a
week away at derby practice, and fatigued Leave Me Alone Syndrome much
of the rest of the time, on top of the everyday long days at work. So
tonight will be Mommy Mommy Day. I'm skipping derby practice and staying
home to do what Rosa wants to do, whatever that may be. It will probably
include taking a bath together, maybe coloring the fuzzy poster she got
me for Christmas, doing puzzles or playing a game. Ooh, sudoku! We
haven't done sudoku together for ages!

I hope if I can consistently make some time to dedicate just to her that
we'll be okay with less non-quality time together. The guilt has been
building up for some time, although the addition of even more busy-ness
to my schedule recently has brought it to a head.

I miss the weekly dinner dates that she and I used to have when I picked
her up from Grandma's on Tuesdays, back before she started school. So
much about our lives is better now, but we had a lot more one-on-one
time back then, and I miss it. I blame myself, partly, because it seems
to me that I used to be a lot better about playing with her when we
*were* together, but I seem to have started telling her to go play by
herself more and more. I do realize that she's a lot older now, and
playing by herself is something she needs to learn, but I think she's
lonely. She doesn't have very many friends outside school, and again
this is something I blame my busy schedule for: I don't get home in time
to let her play with neighbors before it's already bedtime, and weekends
are full of errands and obligations.

Sigh.
semperfiona: (rain leaves)
I'm a horrible mommy. I completely forgot Rosa's girl scout meeting
yesterday. She's missed two or three through parent stupidity, but this
one...This one was the last one of the year, the "Bridging Ceremony" for
moving up from Daisies to Brownies. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
semperfiona: (Default)
Sunday morning. Ray's supposed to come and get Rosa at ten a.m. But
because we are going to breakfast down in the City, I call him and asked
if he'd like us to bring her to him instead. He says that'd be great,
but please get there before eleven because mass starts at eleven. I
confirm, "Between ten and eleven." Yes, that's right.

So, not surprisingly, our arrival at his house is much closer to eleven
than ten. 10:48, to be precise. I pull up into the street partially
blocking his driveway, on the not-illogical theory that he can't
possibly leave before us anyway. I have to honk my horn, though, because
he is backing his car out without looking.

When I get out of the car, he starts in on me right away. "I was going
to have to leave without you. You're very late. You should have been
here by about ten-thirty, you know mass starts at eleven." I point out
that if he meant ten-thirty he should have said ten-thirty.

Rosa is frightened by his anger and comes and clings to me. He pulls her
off me and tells her to get in the car. I tell him that she has a right
to hugs from Mommy.

I start to go get Rosa's medicine and his Father's Day present and card
that we arranged for him. "I don't have time for that." Tammie gets out
of the car with it all and brings it to him anyway. He thanks her
perfunctorily.

The girl has strep throat. At a minimum he needs the medicine, dammit!

At breakfast, later, [livejournal.com profile] beckyzoole says, "You look tired." No,
pissed off is more like it.
semperfiona: (demon baby)
Yesterday morning about eight, the girl got herself up while we were all asleep, put on clothes, and went outside. She was halfway to Leo's house when Chris caught up with her; he'd heard the doors opening, thank gods.

That's the second time this spring she has gone walkabout on a Sunday morning. Time outs aren't working to stop it, and there's not really any deprivation punishment I can think of that makes sense in this context either. She wasn't going to be watching TV anyway.

Baby teeth

May. 24th, 2005 10:02 am
semperfiona: (rosa crowned)
Suddenly, I have gained understanding about Ray's mother. When he and I
were packing for our move to England just after our wedding, I
encountered something that made me shriek in startled disgust. He had a
little cardboard display with two pink clay arcs holding all twelve of
his baby teeth. Ma had given it to him as a graduation present. Somehow
those teeth "disappeared" in the move process.

But now, I regret having done that, and I understand why she had kept
them. I kept Rosa's first "lost tooth", too (must find a place to hide
it where she won't find it any time soon). I still don't get why Armida
thought the preserved teeth would be a good graduation present, though.

Rosa lost hers at school yesterday, but wasn't sure where or when.
Luckily, when she was getting her ritual drink from the
bubbler1 before going home, there it was. I'm not clear on
whether it was in the bubbler or on the floor near it, but all the same,
it was found and secured, and put safely under her pillow at bedtime.

About ten-thirty, Chris asked whether I wanted to do the transfer that
night or wait until morning. I chose the night, and it's a good thing I
did. This is a child who never gets up before 8:30 if she can help it,
but before seven o'clock this morning, Ochi comes bounding downstairs to
show off what the Tooth Fairy had brought her (a shiny Sacajawea
dollar). She insisted on taking it with her to show to Grandma today,
too.

1 Over the last twenty years I've mostly eradicated "bubbler"
from my vocabulary. For some reason nobody outside the Milwaukee area
gets it. But today I feel like using it. For those of you who didn't
spend your formative years in Wisconsin, substitute "drinking fountain".
semperfiona: (sleepy rosa)
Ray, and his parents, have a very irritating method of "disciplining" Rosa when she's dilatory about making ready to leave. "Mommy's going to leave without you, Rosa!"

Today, I called him on it. "I don't like you saying that to Rosa."

"It's the logical consequence." (Which is one of those phrases used by some parenting instruction book we read. You know, the punishment should be a logical consequence of the misbehavior.)

"No, it is not. I'm never ever ever going to do that."

"Don't correct me in my house."

"I did not. I said I do not like it." And I don't. It's not just because it's a threat that will never be followed through on, and worse yet a secondhand threat, but it imputes horrid motives to me that are not mine.

I think I'll have to tell him his "logical consequences" threats are not to state anything about *MY* actions.

We win!

Mar. 29th, 2005 11:20 am
semperfiona: (rosa crowned)
Rosa's going to public school next fall. Ray actually felt that the
public school had its act together better, and that the facilities and
specialty offerings were better. He still thought she'd get a better
"morality" education from Catholic school, but the other things seemed
to outweigh that.

With the following conditions: We're to drop her off at school and pick
her up for at least the first year rather than sending her on the bus.
Starting in the first grade she's to go to Public School Religion
classes on Wednesday nights, and to adjust for some of his "lost time" I
start picking her up at eleven on my Sundays rather than nine. I
stipulated that that was a tentative agreement because it's a year and a
half away, but it seems okay. Gives me a chance to go away for the
occasional weekend and not have to come back before the crack of dawn.

So the Christian Witness statement is moot. Whaddya know. Now to
register the girlie for kindergarten and also for the summer school
pre-K introductory session.
semperfiona: (Default)
I talked with Jen late last night over IM and began to feel better about things. I still hate that life comes between us, but she's a mom too, and I know that her son has to come first. In the end it turned out to have been for the best, anyway, because Rosa insisted on sleeping with me, and she was very restless. Still feverish, waking up every half hour or so to ask for water, or to be covered or uncovered, or for hugs...I did not sleep at all well, and was very tired this morning when Jen came over. She didn't have a very good night either, only getting Phaelen to sleep at 3 am.

Rosa was being clingy and difficult even in the morning, until the Motrin finally began to take effect and she let Jen watch her while I took a shower. Then we each changed into the clothes we were going to wear to the Ren Faire: she wore a chemise and overskirts with a leather corset, and I wore the new leather bodice and skirt I bought the other day, with fishnet thigh-highs and boots. Totally non-period, but a hella lot of fun all the same. I discovered an unexpected talent for lacing corsets.

When Ray arrived to collect Rosa for his day with her, I answered the door dressed as described. He was rather taken aback, to make a drastic understatement, but recovered and said "You look like you're going out." Well, duh. Then he saw Jen, and said to her, "You guys look fabulous. Especially her," slapping me on the back in a rather superior way. It felt like a claim of ownership, and I gritted my teeth so as not to bite his head off. They told each other how nice it was to see each other again, and after he left with Rosa Jen and I laughed for quite a while at the patent untruth of that statement.

And off to the Ren Faire. The day started drizzly, and just got wetter. We wandered around the grounds several times, checked all the vendor stalls, greeted some people and vendors she knows...got accosted by a 15th century lady who wanted to know how I got into the leather. I said, "with a zipper" and then was struck speechless because she wanted to know what a zipper was and how it worked. Oops. Jen teased me about that for quite a while.

We were followed around by a lot of eyes. "You're going the wrong way." We ran into those two guys several times during the day. Another who said I was just the right size: with my boots on we were exactly of a height. A vendor who told me he thought I'd be interested in the other thing he sells, but wouldn't say it out loud. "Latex," he whispered, and we got into a conversation about latex and fetish nights and so on. He thought I should wear something called the goddess dress: long sleeves, full circle skirt, and a V neckline. Four hundred dollars. Ouch.

Eventually we ran into Jill, who now has to believe in Jen's existence and can't call her a figment of my imagination anymore. But they'll come up with something else to tease me about, of that I have no doubt.

Jousting was called off on account of mud, but the knights were mud-wrestling, which was greatly amusing to watch. After that, though, Jen had to get home for family time (Mother's Day and all that) and we were both quite thoroughly wet, so we took off. She told me to take a nap--a good idea, that--and I curled up on the couch, not to wake for a good two hours.
semperfiona: (Default)
Homemade split pea soup and a sleeping baby on my shoulder.

Sick baby

Mar. 10th, 2002 04:16 pm
semperfiona: (Default)
Ray called me this morning around nine to warn me that Rosa was sick. She has a fever and had thrown up twice the previous day. She was perfectly chipper when I got there to get her, though she was very clingy and cuddly, and went to sleep around 11 and woke up about 1. She was very very hot; I gave her some Motrin and a lot of water. She kept asking for water. Then I fed her some lunch, she threw up three more times but most of what she had eaten stayed down. She was happy-baby for a while, she asked for some more food but didn't really eat any. And then she went over to the couch with her big stuffed bunny, pulled a blanket off the back of the couch, curled up under it and went to sleep. She put herself down for a nap! I've never seen such a thing from her.

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