Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Victory and a Parenting Question

We did it. We went to the movie. We even held hands a little bit, which is huge right now being my core temp is similar to that of the sun and I can't bear to be touched because it makes me even hotter. He cried at the right places (Huge relief. During the last movie he didn't cry when Dobby died and I almost left him.) and we had a very satisfying talk about the series on the way to dinner.

And when I felt my stomach seize up after the movie I did not, repeat, DID NOT suggest we bail on dinner. I sucked it up, told myself there was a bathroom at the restaurant, and kept my mouth shut. I'm pretty proud of myself. We went to a fancy restaurant and the food was supremely mediocre, but even that was sort of interesting. I'm a food snob through and through, but it isn't about gourmet for me. I just want food to be delicious. Z told me about another place he'd like to take me to that's on the fancier side of things, but he said if I don't love that we can stick with the awesome (and cheap) pub across the street from his work where I can get a half order of most excellent fish and chips and be happy as a clam. Bottom line: I agreed to more dates. And I'm looking forward to them. As long as he stops trying to convince me that I will magically start to like meatloaf if I make it at home for him. We wasted a bizarre amount of time on that topic. Zeke: I love you. I will happily make you meatloaf. I will not eat it myself. I will not ever start to like it. Please never bring it up again.

So we are feeling pretty good at our house. I'm not loving the lows of last week combined with the highs of the last few days, but I'm aware of the crazy mood swings. And I think the pregnancy hormones are bringing more to the party than I acknowledge a lot of the time. So on to a quick question or two for my fellow parents...

How do you instill empathy in your children? When is it age appropriate for your child to develop empathy? Little man is so very wonderful in a million ways, but he goes not get that his actions can cause pain in others. It might be completely ridiculous that I'm expecting him to have that realization at 23 months, but his comprehension and verbal skills are so advanced it just makes sense to me that he'd also develop some feelings about those around him. Last week our lovely friend invited us over to play with her two dogs and they were excellently behaved around T. And T was just too rough. Both dogs were significantly larger than him, and he had no problem stepping on them and using the opposite of gentle touches. About a month and a half ago I caught him purposely stepping on another dog's leg. I was so embarrassed and frankly, frustrated at him. I think part of the reason he isn't careful is our cranky old cat loves babies and will let him do anything to her without repercussion, but I also want him to know he is hurting these animals! And I want him to want to not hurt them! How do I teach him? Smart parents out there, please share your secrets! And would you mind assuring me that these are not the signs of a sociopath?

 Z took this pre-date. Next time perhaps I'll actually iron the dress and do something with my hair and maybe for the love of god put on lip gloss or something.

After the date. Crap pictures, but I was just trying to get him to stop making crazy faces. And to cut it out with trying to lift the baby off of my body. Was not successful in that department. I assure you it was not physically comfortable for me, and I'm guessing New Guy wasn't crazy about it either. 

 T was pretty excited he could see us in the phone. We couldn't convince him to look in the mirror. 


  1. Completely normal. Little boy keeps hitting his sister for no reason. I've heard our dog yelp a couple times just because little boy wants to pull her ear or hair. (And he's a couple months older than T.) So, it's normal. It stinks. Some are rougher than others. I give a time out or a smack on the hand, which I admit is counterintuitive, but it also shows what hitting feels like, just a little bit.

  2. 1. Meatloaf is disgusting.

    2. I used to beat the shit out of my little brother & tortured the family cat. I'm fine now, I think?

  3. J-You consistently make me feel better about life.

  4. Jonas does that too. It sucks. They're at the age when they're discovering their actions have power. I pretend our dog is talking to him (yes, I do the funny dog voice) and they'll have a whole conversation about how he's hurting her and that he should be nice to her. It's weird but I think it's effective.

  5. Btw, you look beautiful!

  6. S-love it. We do funny voices, too, but I hadn't thought of talking as the cat while he was being aggressive. Such a great idea.
    And thanks, but my hair doesn't look nearly as nice as it did in Providence!

  7. I have no practical advice to offer, having a girly-girl as I do. (You might email Jessica Nevins, as she's got to be an expert on this stuff.)

    But FWIW, my limited understanding of child development suggests that it's another year at least before T can be convinced of the idea that anyone besides himself actually exists as a real being, rather than just a shadow on the wall of his mind. If the eggheads are correct, then T is by now vaguely aware that you are a separate person from him, but he may not be ready to grant that status to others, much less pets.

    So yeah, just a phase, and given that he sounds like a high-spirited little guy, a totally natural one. You and Z are totally empathetic, and he'll learn by your example.

  8. Thanks H. The child development info you provided does make me feel better about his current behavior. Hugs to to your two Ms from us!