I didn’t do this because I’m an expert on kids, and you shouldn’t trust my advice at all or even read it, probably. I wrote it because I enjoy reading about how other people are screwing up their kids and I want to share my own variety of irresponsibility. Flavors of life, man.
What I want for my kids is for them to grow up and be helpful. For them to be able to see a problem in the world that needs fixing and be a part of the effort to solve it. Our current methodology in education doesn’t help develop an interest in community. American financial ideology teaches us to rise up on our own, be the best, make the most, take it all, let no one drag you down.
Their gendered names are things they can change if they identify differently as they get older. Chastise me, praise me, none of this affects people outside of our own family, so please respect our parenting decision and take comfort in knowing if we fucked something up, we will listen to our kids when they tell us we fucked up. My point here is that for this first part of my kid's life, we are calling them him/he because Felix was born with a tiny penis. As for Felix’ gender and his own chosen pronouns, he can figure that out later. Iris did.
If you have friends or family that would like to pitch in, we recommend making a wishlist and asking them to PLEEEEEASE split costs of a couple big items instead of piling up tons of clothes and toys and things they “think” you need. If they’d like to buy clothes, request bigger sizes! 3-6MOS, 6-9MOS, 9-12MOS. You know, all those sizes you don’t think about when you think about an 8-lb baby loaf.
I've only got one kid, and I've only had her for eighteen months+incubation, therefore I'm not as qualified as some parents who might have the look of a refurbished human, worn but possibly showered and still living. I'm writing this post mainly because of all the discussion of growing more babies and I'd like to record helpful, unpacked synapses before they are vanquished to another entity.
Some helpful toddly things:
1. When toddly or even baby would like you to remain close but you wish to sneak away and accomplish something like heating up pot stickers, throw a rice warmer in the microwave for 45 seconds and lay it partially on top of toddly. Be free.
2. Have a couple boring patterns you really commit to. Mine are making sure Iris always finds her placemat and eats on it, never letting her leave the bathroom with items, throwing her diapers away, and putting her shoes on before we leave. Never budging on those four things minimizes angry child and angry me.
3. If toddly is doing something that is mildly abrasive to your nerves and you want toddly to stop, ask yourself if the reason you would give is "just because I said so." If that is the reason, let toddly go on! Toddly gets to turn up music loudly and dance. She also gets to tear paper into tiny shreds and be free in the grocery store.
4. Ignoring toddly takes the power away from them. Not completely ignoring, just not letting toddly get a rise out of you when they are testing limits. It was surprising how quickly my mindset shifted from "this sweet droolbag doesn't know how to manipulate" to "this slimeball is trying to break my spirit." Iris used to hit me in the face. I'd say, "I don't like that, nobody likes that," move her away from me, not let her near me long enough to agitate her, and then change the subject. It took away the power of her knowing she fucking hurt my eyeball. I think feeling a little hurt combined with seeing the lack of emotional response leads to a change in behavior. Also, toddly took away my edamame nuggets yesterday and hid them in a box. I said, "You took my nuggies, yo!" and waited silently and read the National Geographic until she quietly returned them a few minutes later.
5. Nipple tweaking will never stop. No tips for that except feel free to smack away that little twiddly hand, toddly has absolutely no sensitivity when they have boobies in their faces.
6. Offer the toddly anything you eat, and offer it every time you eat it. Iris didn't initially like most of what she eats. Now she stuffs her cheeks full of kale and spicy foods! Wahoo!
7. Wanna kick the paci? When it disappears, deal with a few shitty emotional days. It's called withdrawal. Whether you're craving drugs or a tiny silicone nipple, you'll want to lie on the bed in fetal position and cry it out. After withdrawal comes acceptance.
I've had her for so many days and there are few things I've understood. She's a whole human inside a tiny skin, so talking with her as though she's a whole human is what is most effective. I will sometimes yell, "Ahhh my squishyyyyyy" and kiss her face one million times, but I'd do that to my grownup wife, too.
Any moments of wisdom, first "aha!"s from fellow unwise parents?