01 Apr 7:01 Adventures in Parenting
Did the dumbest thing ever. Tried to sneak into Tog’s room just now and turn off the portable heater we use since her room gets cold at night. Thought she was still asleep. She popped up immediately. Dumb move. I could have gotten another 30 minutes of rest if I hadn’t gone in there. Grrrr.
She’s in bed with me now. Looking at me like I’m plum crazy. She keeps saying, “Mommy ‘Puter? Mommy ‘Puter?”
She means: Woman, what the hell are you doing?
Tog will be two very soon. And she’s sitting next to me right now with her beloved paci in her mouth and clutching her “blankie,” a purple monstrosity that she can’t live without.
The blankie doesn’t bother me. The paci does.
She’s too old for it.
And particularly in the Black community, comfort items like a pacifier are frowned upon at this age. Let’s just keep it real for a second. I got out to the mall and see five year olds being pushed in strollers and happily sucking on pacifiers. When I was little, my mom would roll her eyes and make a face that said: trifling.
Then again, in the name of brutal honesty, I swear when I was a kid, it always felt like white kids had it easy. Before we stepped into any store, my mom gave me and my sister the look of death and said: don’t. touch. anything.
We go into the store and there would be a white kid tearing the club up. Knocking things over, having a temper tantrum. While the mother said, “Molly, your behavior is displeasing me. Let’s review our contract for good behavior…”
As an adult with children of my own, I’m still trying to figure out where I stand on key parenting issues. I haven’t spanked Tog, (though, my god, it’s tempting). I’ve never spanked TG. But she’s my stepdaughter, so I don’t think that would be appropriate. (Though a few weeks ago, she tried to get real extra with it. And I had to get right up in homegirl’s face when she started talking back to me. I said, do you know I will smack you? Don’t think I don’t have permission from your mother to pop you because I do. Try me little girl. Try me. TG settled down real quick. And then I immediately called her mother. “Yo, do I have permission to pop this girl? I just told her I did.” Her mom chuckled and said, “We are all in this together. I come thisclose to popping her on a daily basis.” Puberty is no joke, people. TG, I know you’re reading this. Love you dearly. But you drive me mad sometimes with your sulky talk-backy-ness. You know you are my girl. But I will pop you if you continue with the backtalk.
So anyway. Tog and the pacifier. She only has it for naps and at night. Which her pediatrician and dentist say is perfectly fine. (The dentist was more concerned with the bottle, which she gave up a year ago. He said that would be a problem. And I swear I was in the Short Hills Mall last weekend and saw a little white girl who was damn near as tall as me drinking from a bottle. She had to be every bit of six. Did I mention she was in a stroller!?)
But still, I’m kind of embarassed by the whole thing. If I take Tog out and we’ll be out past her bedtime, I’d damn sure better have her blankie and paci in my bag or there will be a war after 7PM.
Here’s the thing.
I’m raising Tog different than I was raised. We’re touchy-feely parents, as much as we hate to admit it. I don’t berate TG if she touches something in a store. I think part of the reason why my mom was so adamant about stuff like that is because we were still made to feel uncomfortable in stores. She knew there would be extra drama if something came up broken. My mom was followed around upscale stores, helped a little too quickly from sales associates. All that drama.
Things are different now.
And it impacts how I parent.I want Tog to be well adjusted and happy. If she needs her paci, so be it. I think.
Every morning, when it’s time to leave: I say, Hey Tog, let’s put your blankie and paci in the bed so we can go to school.
And every morning she looks at me like, woman are you out of your MIND?
And there are tears. She throws her paci over the side of the crib and sobs. She strokes her blankie for a full minute, whispering sweet nothings to her purple matted lover.
When do I put the smack down on this?
I knew a girl once in high school who carried her blankie in her bookbag. We sat directly across from each other in Mrs. Bassette’s English class junior year. She would have her book open on her desk, one hand stroking her blankie in her bookbag, the other hand with her thumb in her mouth.
Will this be Tog?
Time will tell.
Right now, she’s kicking her feet on my keyboard in protest. And occasionally, she puts her hand over my typing hands to make me stop. I think she’s trying to tell me something…
Holy crap! It’s 7:30!!!