I never learned appropriate methods of dealing with anger.  I have spent my life bottling it up until I can’t take it anymore, and then lashing out with the fury of five scorned women.  I realize that’s what I do, and I don’t like it, and I am continually searching for better ways to deal with anger. Especially in my relationship with my ever-patient Kullervo, I try on new tactics for better (taking a break to cool down and get perspective) or for worse (calling him names* and being bitterly sarcastic).

I want to do better for my kids.  I am sure that there are good strategies out there for dealing with anger, and I want to teach my kids appropriate mechanisms. Oliver has gotten to an age where he is testing boundaries and trying to assert his independence.  This results in a lot of anger, which, in my opinion at least, is totally normal and a good time to teach him good ways to deal with those feelings.  The big problem with this awesome parenting that I’m going to be doing is… I have no idea what to tell him.

I decided to get some advice.  The first person I turned to was my mother.  Sure, I don’t have good strategies for dealing with anger, but I was a stubborn child and maybe I just never learned them.  I mentioned that Oliver has started getting angry a lot about stuff, and her response was that he doesn’t get anger from our side of the family, because we aren’t angry people.

And I’ve looked in magazines and online, and it seems like nobody is talking about how to help your kids deal with anger.  I know what I’m supposed to do when my kid throws a tantrum.  I’ve read about things to do to help prevent tantrums.

Maybe nobody knows.  I mean, anger is pretty darned powerful, and nobody seems to want to admit to having it.  And it’s all well and good to prevent anger as much as possible, but the fact is, we all get angry.  Multiple times a day, even!

The things that I do now with Oliver include the following:

1. We talk about how he’s feeling, and put a name on the feeling.  (Anger, frustration, fear, feeling overwhelmed, etc)

2.  We talk about what NOT to do–we don’t hurt ourselves or other people, and we shouldn’t break anyone’s stuff, including our own, because we’ll regret it later.

3.  We talk about what to do next time.

The problem is, when I get to number 3, I wind up telling him to do things that are unrealistic when he’s angry.  I mean, how likely is it that anyone who is really mad is going to have the presence of mind to stop and ask for a pillow to punch?  Seriously.

So, I’m on a quest to find good ways to deal with anger.  We talk about talking it out and using words and stuff, but when you’re mad, you still have all these feelings and you feel like you need to lash out.  What do you do with all that energy?

Someone help me!

*In my defense, sometimes I call people funny names when I’m mad and it deflates the whole situation.  However, this is unusual.

Root Canal with Gas

Someone found my blog the other day by searching for “Root Canal with Gas”. 

I choose to willfully interpret this, and have decided to advise against going to get a root canal if you have gas.  Although it’s possible that the pain of the root canal will eliminate (haha!) the gas pain, it’s more likely that you will just have pain in multiple places.

Also, if your dentist has gas, I would also advise against it–because all you have left when they have put the ugly sunglasses on you, pried open your mouth, turn on the drills, and you’re holding on so tight to the chair that your knuckles are changing colors is your sense of smell.  And do you really want to have the kind of day where at one time, all of your sense are experiencing unpleasantness?

Parenting Tip!

I am no god of parenting, and I screw up all the time.  But occasionally I stumble on something that magically works.  Yesterday was one of those days, and it worked again today.  I thought I’d share for the other parents out there who might struggle with the same.

Oliver is three.  He wants everything he sees.  He wants everything he’s not holding.  He has had a blue doll stroller (they were all the rage last year among the toddler set in NYC) for a year, and he and Hazel wind up fighting over it.  So, and because Hazel so rarely gets anything new (besides clothes), I got her a doll stroller.  She loves it.

Of course, that means that Oliver wants it.  He only wants hers; his is unacceptable.  Hazel only wants to play with hers too, which means that I am having the same fight, but now I’m $13 poorer and frustrated because I have two freaking doll strollers.

So, because the pink one is Hazel’s, and we generally institute a ‘you have to share, but you don’t have to share what you’re playing with rightnow or what you love most’ policy, Hazel doesn’t have to share her pink stroller.  Which leads to mega-tantrums by Oliver.  And if you know anything about our housing situation, you’ll know that that could lead to us getting evicted from our apartment.

When Oliver was throwing his tantrum, I kept my cool (woohoo!), and we talked about it.  He said that he really wanted a pink stroller.  I explained to him that we couldn’t go out and get him a pink stroller right then, but that we could start a list of the things that he wants, so that if we’re ever out and want to get him a treat, he can pick something off of the list.

So we made a special “Oliver’s Wish List”, and when he gets upset about something he wants, we add it to the list, and it seems to calm him down and I guess it makes him feel heard and understood.  Right now, his list consists of three things–a scooter, a pink stroller, and a remote controlled Thomas train (I love advertising and its effects on children *cue eye-roll*).

Advice for a Beggar

Generally, when someone asks me if I have any money, if I have some change or a couple of bucks on me, I’ll give it.  No big deal.

My advice to the person who approached me today–if you come at me from behind while I am strapping my infant into her car seat, the answer is not only going to be, ‘No’, but it’s going to be a terrified, ‘Hell no, and get the *&#@ away from me and my children.’

It’s nothing against you, you see.  But I don’t know about any other mothers, but I feel quite vulnerable when I’m putting the kids in the car.  I am unlikely to stop buckling my squirmy five month old to pull out my wallet and fish for some cash for you.  It just sounds like a recipe for a disaster.

CyberShower Party Post

My friend Mama Saga is having her second child soon.  And she’s having an online baby shower.  One of the games is to share an inspirational story regarding the pregnancy/labor/delivery.  I don’t know how inspirational it is (it could be thought of more as a horror story), but here’s mine:

My first labor was really difficult.  Oliver was all set to go, I went into labor on my due date, and things seemed to be going perfectly.  I got an epidural (I’m not really one for pain), and it worked so well I couldn’t feel contractions at all.  I continued to push for hours–into the middle of the night.  After four or five hours of hard pushing, Oliver still wasn’t making his appearance.  His heart rate started to drop, and the doctor recommended that we go to c-section. 

They began prepping me–which was kind of otherworldly, especially since I was so tired.  I’d been up for more than 24 hours at that point.  They made me drink something sour to keep me from throwing up (which had the effect of making me throw up), and wheeled me to the operating room.  They slathered iodine stuff all over me, and it was weird because I wasn’t very mobile and was disoriented and freaking out in my mind, but the nurses were all talking about regular stuff–what they’d be doing after work, etc.  It was so weird because it was just a normal day at the office for them, and it was the most unexpected event of my life. 

I had the c-section, which went pretty uneventfully.  My arms were so tired, and kept falling off of the table where the anesthesiologist was monitoring me.  When my arm fell off the table, it would hit my doctor in the bum.  And it happened multiple times!  I didn’t know until afterwards that I was accidentally groping my doctor who was delivering my baby…  (and I did apologize after the fact!)

Because Oliver had gone into fetal distress, he also had his first baby poop, and wound up inhaling it in utero, giving him meconium aspiration which made him need an extra few days in the NICU in the hospital.

The whole situation was fairly traumatic.  We had difficulty establishing breastfeeding (although we wound up being able to nurse for 18 months!), my recovery took a really long time, and I was altogether overwhelmed by the whole process.

Because of all of that, when I was pregnant with Hazel, I decided to forgo the VBAC attempt and go straight for a C.  While still being pretty weird, my recovery was faster and everything went incredibly smoothly (and my scar looks way better this time around than last time).  While perhaps not inspirational to anyone else, I am glad that I was empowered to make my own decision about my care with Hazel, and I have two incredible kids as a result of it all. 


Another of the games is to share the best/worst/funniest advice for expectant mothers. 

Best Advice: Think back on all of the high school and college aged kids you’ve seen walking around with pacifiers or in diapers or drinking from a (baby) bottle or still breastfeeding.  Can’t think of any?  Then don’t stress about when you take away the pacifier, potty train, or wean from the breast or bottle. 

Worst Advice: Anything your mother says you should do that you don’t agree with, or that science has since shown isn’t great advice.  (“I did that with you and YOU turned out okay” is not good enough justification, in my opinion.)

Funniest Advice: When someone asks you why your baby isn’t wearing a hat (because we all know that regardless of the temperature outside, and regardless of your child’s affinity for removing all head-wear immediately after you put it on, ALL babies need a hat at all time or else they WILL die immediate and painful deaths that are a direct result of your negligence), do what Conner and I did (and many thanks to Kris for the comeback on this one!). Here’s our story:

We were waiting on an elevator to get into Target.  A woman walked into the elevator wearing a huge marijuana leaf on her necklace.  She said, “Don’t you think that baby needs a hat?”  I responded, “Actually, we just put a bit of whiskey in his bottle in the morning.  Warms him right up from the inside.”

Now THAT, my friends, shut her up.  🙂 

Feel free to play along with Mama Saga’s shower.  She’d love to hear from you!

Unsolicited Advice

This time I’m the one giving it instead of receiving it.  Maybe we could call this a public service announcement though.

Here is your list of things not to do in your apartment if you are not planning on cleaning it before you sublet it:
1.  Smoke in bed and leave your cigarette butts under your mattress.
2.  Leave a filthy mattress at all.  Seriously–how do you make it so nasty?
3.  Spill juice–thick juice–on your bedroom floor and not mop it up.  It congeals, hardens, but stays sticky. 
4.  Leave all of your rusty utensils.  No, I don’t want to use them.  I’ll buy new ones for $10 thankyouverymuch.
5.  Leave an entire fridge filled with food that expired.  Not expired-last-month expired, but expired in 2002 expired. 
6.  Leave a dishwasher filled with crap.  Not dishes–trash.  Paper towels in the drain.  Ick in the drain. 
7.  I won’t even talk about the oven.  Let’s just say that we bought a toaster oven and haven’t gone near the real thing.