Sep 142006

Yesterday was the first teaching day for me after summer break. I already complained about summer vacation, but I really have issues with transitions. I realized that when I read Christine Kane’s essay about this and also Liz Strauss’.

So we had a little ritual to mark the beginning of the school year. On Sunday we opened a bottle of champagne and sat down to talk about what we did during the last weeks and what we’d like to do during the next weeks. I feel much better because of this.

So, what happened? My son got a cold. First sniffles, then a mild fever then we thought he’s better already and then it got worse. Monday night he woke at half past two in the morning, couldn’t get back to sleep, kept us all awake, until my husband went off to the guest bedroom and I pulled out the anti-pain-medication. The child slept, in my bed and managed to take up two thirds of it. I don’t know how he does it.

Yesterday, of course, all my plans were automatically canceled, I became nurse to a miserable child. Other people tell tales of miserable children, clingy and – miserable. Mine becomes clingy and – very angry. He spent most of the day restless, talking without a stop and throwing one tantrum after the other.

When I looked for something to help him, I took out my books on homeopathy (yes, books not book). And I think I’ve found something for him.
But homeopathy won’t help me with my time and energy management issues. While I long for the structure that my teaching days give me, there actually is less time to accomplish anything. So on my to-do-list is:

  • fix new shelves to wall in living room
  • transfer video recorder and television set to new stand
  • layout and print new flyer to attract more singing and piano students
  • entertain my son, who’s staying yet another day at home due to his cold
  • send e-mail to banking guy to alter something on the mortgage
  • give a singing lesson to a new student
  • write new blog-post
  • do grocery shopping
  • do two or three loads of laundry
  • and, most important, practice singing, piano and guitar.

Funny, isn’t it?

Okay, I’ll practice in the evening. I’ll do the grocery shopping after the singing lesson, when my MIL can babysit.

(Short break, while I look for my son, who is playing in the garden.)

Son still there. Phew! E-mail sent, blog-post written.

(I promise another one titled “Do what you want or surrender” the next time I can hear myself think.)

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  13 Responses to “school starts – child sick”

  1. That’s a tough call. Probably he would have been made fun of. My gramma wore glasses frames that were very male-ish, and she loved watching wrestling and drinking beer. I always thought was awfully cool.

    Maybe yer son will have more opportunities to express himself once he has also learned the unfortunate reactionary reactions to his actions.

    My male best friend’s son had a doll. But my friend called it an “action figure” in mixed company.

  2. This is a tough one. As cool and accepting as we like to think we are, we also know something about reality, so we know the other kids will tease him. And that just feels too harsh to accept.

  3. Fabulous post, and a very tough decision to make.

    Yay for pink socks with horsies and hearts!

    Do you know about Breyer and Schleich horses? They’re plastic and I’ve seen both boys and girls playing with them. Older kids, it’s mostly girls, but as long as you’re willing to let the horses get banged up a bit and even broken, they seem to be socially acceptable for younger kids of all genders. You can get nice used Breyers inexpensively on eBay.

  4. Part of our job as parents is to teach our children how to navigate the world in which we live. The real world, not the ideal world. To make sure they are not hurt, physically and emotionally, that they learn how to make and be a friend

    Another part of our job as parents is to make the world in which we live the best place it can be for our kids (and if other people benefit, that’s great, but seriously, it’s our kids that motivate us first).

    So, you weren’t a bad mother. You were thoughtful and realistic. There’s nothing wrong with being practical, especially at his age. When he’s a teenager and more able to make informed decisions about how he presents himself, and understand the consequences, that’s the time to permit self-expression.

    When it comes to kids shoes, I’m for practical because of the cost. And your son was happy in the end.
    (Those particular sandals would indeed survive machine washing.)

  5. I agree that we should all live in a world where we can do anything we want (as long as no one is hurt). I have friends who have given their small sons dolls and pink things, which I think is great. I don’t know if the children’s friends harassed them or not. It is so hard to buck the system when bringing up a child. You can do all the right things, but all the other folks around you are more status quo and interfere with the good you are trying to do. It’s great you are pondering all of this!

  6. A friend of mine’s preschool son wanted to go to the school’s Halloween party as a princess. Not a prince. A princess: golden crown, sceptre, pink glittery tutu-ed dress, and magical shoes. It was a hard call; sure just for the duration of an afternoon, but nevertheless children can be cruel, can’t they? Since he was not to be dissuaded, the parents asked the preschool teachers to have a talk with the children about using their imagination to choose funny and fun characters. The teachers even suggested to the children that it is fun sometimes for girls to dress up as Harry Potter or Merlin the Magician and boys to come as witches, or Pippi Longstocking. In this one case little boy dressing up as a princess worked fine. The boy came back from the Halloween party bright-cheeked after having a great time.

    Yet, this doesn’t really apply to your story because the princess outing occurred over a short period of time in a private setting.

    My mother (truly) hated dangling earrings. Unfortunately, when I was a young teenager, longlong dangly earrings were the rave. Gosh, the things were so long and heavy; they even ripped the holes in some of the girls’ ears. But, one has got to make sacrifices for fashion!

    In order to discourage me from wearing dangly earrings my mother told me, when I asked her whether she liked a certain pair of earrings, “Oh, yes, they’re quite nice. It’s such a shame they make you look short”. Horizontal stripes make you look fat. Dangly earrings make you look short. End of history of dangly earrings.

    Later in life, when I finally realised how conniving, how smart my mother was I didn’t know whether to be angry or cry in frustration. I decided to laugh instead. Still, deep down, there is a thirteen year old inside of me that rather resents the fact that her mother ended her dangly earring career before it even started.

  7. It’s particularly hard to be raising a boy in this situation. While girls have it harder in a lot of ways, they do have more flexibility when it comes to gender performance. The poor little guy.

  8. This is really interesting. I think if I were in the same situation, I would do the same. It’s true that girls have it easier. I could easily buy my daughter those brown and blue sandals.

    Great post.

  9. My husband and I are in the same boat. Pink shoes, pink bike, pink anything. We took wise counsel from a good, oldschool feminist friend who, when faced with the same issue with her son, said “you can have the pink, no problem. But other children might make fun of you. It’s your choice, but I’m just telling you what I think might happen.” Her son was able to make decisions with all of the information. That’s what we are doing now and it’s working well.

    There was a great article in Brain, Child awhile back called something like “If my daughter can be a Tomboy, why can’t my son be a Janegirl?” I loved it. Catch it if you can.

  10. i don’t know how i missed this the first time. but wow. what a great post. what a complicated situation.

    and above all, how lucky he is to have you.

  11. Well, my boy wouldn’t have gotten the pink sandals because I tend to pick up such things without him in tow. Easier that way.

    But I hear you on the gender thing…girls do get a lot more flexibility in these areas it seems.

    With that being said, however, we otherwise let MF do what he wants: he pushes dolls around in toy pushchairs at playgroups; he likes tea parties; he dresses up in my hats and scarves and shoes; he likes to wear my hair bands when I’m drying my hair; he likes to use lotion on his cheeks when I’m using lotion post-shower; and I dress him in lots of bright colors which he loves (orange and yellow and red). And my husband and I are fine with all this. It probably helps that my husband’s brother is gay, so we already know that we don’t care what people think, and our boy absolutely adores him.

  12. Here fromt he Just Posts…

    you know, you make a good point with the cot factor, really. it might make a nice balance to have bought a pink pair if they were cheap, and then if he changed his mind, it wouldn’t have made such a dent. Pink socks are probably just about the right level of pocketbook commitment to letting him express himself! (and yes, I’m noticing my girl’s wardrobe getting pinker, even though I buy her clothes, because that’s what out there. I try to temper it with lots of green and blue and red where I can, but…)

  13. I came here from the just posts a week and a half ago, but didn’t know what to say. Your post has stuck with me ever since, especially since the very next day I took my son to buy his first hard-soled shoes. And I noticed all the bright girls’ sandals and the dull boys’ sandals. I have a post generating here.

    My first thought was we would do well to buy our kids pink sandals if that’s what they want (although my son is not at the age of choosing his own clothes yet) but your point about cost is valid, as is concerns about kids’ teasing.

    It’s much more complex than I first thought…

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