Sunday, November 28, 2010

34 Months (deux)

Quinn has reached the age of the terrible twos. Yes, she has been terrific for some time now but more and more often nowadays, her incessant whine tends to take over. She's a stubborn little chicken. We thought Lucas was stubborn in his younger years but that kid has nothing on my Quinnita. If she doesn't want to do something, then you are simply out of luck. You can fight her and try to push her around or threaten her and take her prize blankie away, that girl will not give it up without screeching at the top of her lungs. During those moments of wear, it's a struggle to say the least.

We called them the terrific twos for Lucas and it took a year for us to reach the terrible part (are we still going?). I guess we're getting close to three with Quinn so maybe she's just an early developer. I'm hardly surprised because we knew that she was going to let us know how she felt right from the get-go. It can be frustrating at times, especially when she doesn't want to say goodbye to you as if you were the least of all her worries. Try to get a kiss or a hug out of her before stepping out the door, once she's made up her mind that you ain't getting one, and it's a struggle. Yet, at those times when you need a straight answer out of her, you know that what she's telling you is the absolute truth. It's refreshing to have that because that's how we are trying to teach our children to communicate and those lessons are a burdensome competetion against a false and secretive culture.

I've always had a difficult time being open and honest with my feelings. One of the reasons that I fell in love with Christina was that she was so honest herself and she demanded that I give her that same respect back. I'd been able to squirm my way through life, never actually getting caught under the hammer but I really needed to challenge that aspect of my personality in order to grow into a more complete human being, which was something that I truly longed for but never had much guidance toward up until then. So when we took the plunge into the deep end of the pool, whether or not we even knew how to swim, and placed these children on our shoulders, we were either going to drown and take their souls down with us or we would learn how to tread water and buoy their lives. I immediately made a determination to be honest with them about the truly important details of life. They needed to trust me and I had to follow that up with action. Honesty lies in our hearts and the more that I open my heart to Christina and the children, the more we form together into a cohesive family unit that is comfortable and secure with one another. That's all I want from them. They may not always come to me with smiles upon their faces and I may not always have the exact words that they need for whatever they're dealing with but the more that I can provide my true self for their benefit, then the outcome will be one of comfort.

Quinn can be a stubborn as she wants to be, as far as I'm concerned. It's going to be a struggle for me and Christina to deal with at times but when that hard shell of arrogance sheds away and her soft nature needs a shoulder to cry on, I hope that I have helped create an environment where she knows that she only has to turn my way and my arms will be wide open.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

73 Months

Halloween has come to casawex and Lucas is having mixed feelings about it.

About a month ago, after we went to Sea World and saw the Shamu show, Lucas insisted that he wanted to be an orca whale for Halloween. We thought that it was a great idea since we like to make the kids' costumes instead of just buying them at the store. The orca idea was one that we could handle without getting too elaborate with the technical side of things. Christina did her mind maneuverings and figured out that all we would need was a black hoodie and some white material to sew on the outside for the patterns. Then Quinnie said that she wanted to be a pink shark and, bingo, we were ready to go to the thrift store to look for a couple of hoodies.

Every year, at Lucas's school, they have a Halloween costume parade for the second grade and below. It's a rather modest affair out on the blacktop, mostly for the parents to come and see all the little ones in their outfits. Supposed to be cute, right? Well, this year turned out to be a bit annoying. First thing in the morning, Lucas decided that he didn't want to wear his costume during the parade, even though he had tried it on at home and said that he liked it. We had to fight him and for the first time since he began riding the bus in the morning, he wouldn't ackowledge us as it pulled away from the curb (normally he has to wave at us about twenty times). When we finally arrived at his school to the scene of the parade it was pretty obvious that Lucas wasn't happy about participating. I perceived that he thought that his costume wasn't cool enough. All the boys were ninjas and all the girls were fairies or princesses, all store bought of course.

Christina and I often try to give our children a different perspective on the world. We could have just bought him some walmart thing and he probably would've been happier at school but we just can't do it. For us, halloween is about using your imagination and creating a new persona for the day. It's too boring to just go out and buy one when you can create it out of various fragments. It's more interesting to use the creative part of your brain, as well as develop a little work ethic. It makes sense to us but we are a little bit more crunchy and granola than your typical parent.

So, Lucas ended up wearing his un-cool costume that was really cooler than most of the rest and definitely more appropriate than half of them. Most of the girl costumes were child versions of what their parents probably wear, sexy-this and sexy-that, except these kids are six, sixy-fairy and sixy-princess, completely stupid. We even saw a little boy who was dressed up as a pimp. Yeah, it's hard to imagine having that conversation around the dinner table.

"What do you want to be for Halloween this year, Johnny?"
"Oh, I don't know. A ninja, maybe."
"How about someone who abuses women for a living?"
"OMG! That's fucking hilarious, Honey!"

It was mostly just a complete disaster. The parade was chaotic and no one seemed to be paying attention to anyone else and the sun was baking down on everybody and by the end of it, Christina and I had quickly come to the conclusion that this year was going to be the last time we forced Lucas to go through that debacle.

Later in the day, Lucas was running around the house in his costume with a happy smile upon his face. Apparently it was just the whole peer pressure school environment aspect that was hindering his enjoyment of the holiday. Welcome to the scholastic community. Where we have very little control of how he's being influenced and where his education of adapting to the idiocracy has begun. Once he was back in his comfortable abode where he's allowed to express himself in every reasonable way possible, Lucas had transformed back into the delightful child that we love so much.

Nanna nd Nonno came over and they left with the kids to wander the neighborhood with all of the other ghouls and goblins and witches and fairies. They came back with bags full of candy, which Christina and I immediately helped ourselves to, and then they drifted off to sleep with pumpkin giants and skeleton bones dancing in their heads. It was a Halloween to remember and another moment in parenthood where we learned the lesson of humility. Sometimes our children know a lot more about the tenor of our environment than we may ever understand and when they turn away with such disdain, it's probably better to just take a short vacation for awhile.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

33 Months (the second)

The next topic that I wish to delve into regarding my lovely daughter is one that often frightened me greatly from the moment we found out that she was a girl. Quinn is obsessed with the color pink. It is by far her favorite color and I have no idea how to stop it!

We've always been very clear about our disdain regarding the gender specific brainwashing that is so pervasive in our culture and how much we wish to bring up our children in an environment that is free from these evil forces. It's a prominent problem in the landscape of capitalistic amerika and if you don't believe me then go into your local toy store and have a look around. It's absolutely disgusting and every time it's reinforced I find myself doing everything in my power to offset the demonizing source, which doesn't seem to be having much of an effect so far.

Everywhere I turn with my daughter in tow, it's "I want to wear that pick outfit" or "I want the pink bag" or "Pink is my favorite, Daddy". She does tend to compromise a little bit if I suggest something in purple. Pink or purple, that's it. She humors us with some of the outfits we make her wear but if the choice is hers, then it's definitely pink.

I have no idea where she gets it from either. We don't let her watch any shows that might influence her one way or the other. If we do then it's something that will express gender neutralization as much as possible. It's almost like it's an inherent part of who she is, some extreme form of karma that I can't explain. It's not like she gravitates toward all things gender specific. She's not really interested in dolls, tending to play with Lucas's hand-me-down cars more often than anything that could be considered girly. She does have a stroller but she loads it up with her kitty-cat stuffed animals, which are very pretty neutral beyond the fact that she likes cats and Lucas likes dogs. Not sure if that's a common differentiation at this age or not. It just seems like all of this pink affinity was like a bolt of lightning that came down to inform Quinn's personality.

At the turn of the 19th century it was the exact opposite. Pink was considered a boys color and blue was often used for girls. Somewhere along the line this changed and in the modern day, pink has become heavily associated with girls. It all boils down to an intense form of marketing that is geared toward creating division amongst us so that we will buy as much stuff as possible. If pink is not accepted per the masculinity standards of our future men, then we have to buy more clothes for our children if they happen to be of different gender. Now, Christina and I don't follow along with these marketing standards and have never had an issue with dressing Quinn in Lucas's old clothes. We've even gotten comments to this day about our beautiful little cherubic young lad. It's meaningless at this point and I could care less whether total strangers are aware of the gender of my children.

That's what makes this infatuation that Quinn has all the more infuriating. She's either totally aware of the kids around her, which really wouldn't surprise me because she is very keen on other aspects of life, or someone has been secretly subverting our parental guidance. There's a few suspects that I have in mind but I don't have enough evidence to convict them entirely, plus I still trust them enough to give them the benefit of the doubt. So, that means I'm back to where I began, completely at a loss about my daughter's mysterious obsession.

Perhaps I need to get over my own obsessions. Maybe my utter devotion to molding them into a force of individualism and humanism doesn't have to be imposed on every aspect of their life. Maybe their instinctive desires and attitudes should develop without so much guidance from above. They already are growing up in a world that is completely fresh from the one that we grew up in and they will evolve in ways that we will be completely unaware. Perhaps there is a way for me to twist this misguided form of gender division. My own father used to act like a complete goof at times in order to show us the folly of many of our childish concerns. It wasn't always the most effective means to get a point across but I remember many of those embarrassing moments to this day and they often bring a smile to my face. I suppose I'll have to find a way to adopt the color pink in a way that shows the useless attention we create in our culture that only divide us from our basic human tendencies. Not in a way that will embarrass her or make her dislike me, but in a way that helps her evolve into a more comfortable human being regardless of the color adorning her body.

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