Thursday, August 18, 2011

Who's the Boss

After this week, I am feeling like somewhat of a failure as a parent.

One morning, I promised Raphaela that she could see some Sesame Street videos, and when my computer would not comply, I allowed her to watch a little bit of a television instead. I have sworn that I would never use the television as a baby sitter.

Savta Shira and I had a long conversation about the lack of formality that I have adopted around Raphaela's meal times.  She urged me to set up a "proper meal atmosphere," even if it is just the two of us sitting together and eating yogurts or cereal.  She is right of course, but I must be honest;  in the morning, that ten minutes when Raphaela eats her breakfast is the only time I have to shower and get ready for work.

I took Raphaela to the our pediatrician this morning, as a post-op visit and to ask her advice regarding Raphaela's walking.  My daughter knows how to walk, she no longer has the limitations of shortness of breath, and yet she mostly prefers crawling still, for convenience and speed.  Our doctor agreed that it was a confidence issue and not a developmental delay, but pointed out that it is clear from the little she was able to observe while in the clinic, that Raphaela rules the house.  Why should Raphaela walk when I will carry her, or when I will immediately offer her a hand to hold while walking? For all of Raphaela's independence and spirit, my relaxed parenting and eagerness is impeding her potential, and that is the last thing I want.

And apparently I bought Raphaela the wrong summer shoes, and according to the doctor, I "should know better," presumably as a Chiropractor.

Raphaela was not talkative at the pediatrician, which also caused concern regarding bilingual language confusion; trilingual if you count her very elaborate mystery language.  It is not enough that Raphaela has the inherent understanding of sentence structure, her reliance upon body language and Hebrew /English /Gibberish may create problems.  This is also apparently my fault, if I do not strictly adhere to English in the house, Hebrew at Gan.

Truth be told, I have often felt envious of the parents of Raphaela's Israeli (uni-lingual) class mates, whose children seem to have a more highly developed talent for conversation.

I did get points, however, for our bedtime and night time routine, and for the fact that Raphaela is clearly a comfortable, opinionated and joyous little girl.

Not even two years old, am I ruining my child?


Nicole said...

My daughter is 3.5 and bilingual - I am very strict about the English at home, Hebrew at kindy rule - so much so that if I slip up, my daughter will remind me that I need to speak English.
I remember also wishing her language would develop faster like her uni-lingual friends, but just wait a bit longer and it will be there - my daughter doesn't stop talking in both languages now

koshergourmetmart said...

you should not feel that you are a failure as a parent. RR is thriving and happy. You are allowing these feelings of guilt make you feel that you are a failure.

you are not using tv as a babysitter. Using it as a babysitter would mean you are constantly sitting her in front of it. One time does not make it a babysitter. In point #2 you mention not having time to get ready. I would eat with RR formally and then put the tv on for a few minutes to allow yourself to shower and get ready for work. As a single mom you do not have the ability to have someone else watch her.
it is not too late to make meals more formal with her. Try to serve her b-fast a little earlier than you have in the past, sit with her and then put the tv on while you shower and dress. Or drop her off at gan a little earlier and get home to shower

I would suggest being more firm with RR and not giving into her b/c you do not want to cause a scene. The more you hold off the harder it will be. My son when he was 3 was a messy eater. When I would point this out, my husband would say he would grow out of it so stop fighting him on it. He was a terrible eater with getting fod on himself and basically ate like a 3 year old until he was in 2nd grade.

My husband says you should pick the fights/arguments/battles you have with kids. Having major battles about what clothes to wear is not worth it but about walking should be.

If you want RR to be really bilingual then you do need to stick to a program of exclusive english at home/hebrew at gan. If you cannot, then you should abandon it.

When someone imagines being a parent they say I would never let my kid watch tv, I will be a more relaxed parent than my mother was. I will never do what my parents did. However, when it comes to reality and having a baby to take care of, some of things you thought you would never do, you end up doing. Don't feel guilty at all.

Ariela said...

No No No - you are the best mother in the world for RR. You know her better than anyone else. Let no-one make you feel guilty or tell you otherwise.

Doc said...

No, I am not perfect. I am a human being and a first time mother, single or otherwise. What I know is that other people can have more objective opinions, because they are not personally invested. What I know is that not all advice is worthwhile, but that I need to keep an open mind; find the gems within the garbage, so to speak.
And what I really know is that my daughter, for all my mistakes now and in the future, is healthy and happy, and that I am giving her love from the deepest and best part of me.

Doc said...

If anything, I think the reason I am more laid back as a parent is because I grew up with such strict rules. I most definitely believe that there is a place and a need for boundaries, but I have to find my way to some place in the middle.

Midlife Singlemum said...

I am also a single mum with a bi-lingual daughter who speaks English/Hebrew/Gibberish - long speeches of the latter whilst playing pretend. She also watches a lot of TV - Cbeebees on BBC in the morning whilst I get us both ready to leave, and dvds in the evening when we are too tired for anything else. Mealtimes are flexible and relaxed - we often have a 'picnic' in front of the tv. And bedtime is also felxible - when I feel like it. It works for us, shoot me.