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Mommy Truths: October 2008

Mommy Truths

The Hard Learned Lessons and Eye Opening Realities of Raising Young Kids

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Mommy Vote for Barack Obama

Over the past five years, I've trekked up to our middle school gym to vote in various elections with a baby strapped to my front, riding in a stroller, then holding my hand as I explained the importance of pulling levers in that funny booth drawn off by a curtain.

This year, it turns out I'll be away on Election Day so Daughter and I made a special trip to Town Hall. We waited in line for my absentee ballot then sat at a large conference table while I filled in the circles for each of my chosen candidates. At two years old, she doesn't understand the importance of this election - for her present and her future.

This year's election is the first to draw me into the political process in such an engaged way. Barack Obama inspired me to reach into my wallet, pick up the phone and call strangers in another state, and eagerly await my nightly installation of Shields and Brooks on the News Hour.

Many months ago, I read his autobiography, Dreams from my Father, and this sealed my belief in the quality of his intellect, social insight, leadership, and ability and willingness to tackle steep challenges. Watching how well he's run his campaign this last year and how expertly he's crafted his policies; I'm convinced he is our children's best hope for a brighter future than what lies before them today.

On the Economy
If your biggest worry is the economy: I'll cite his tax plan, his regulatory stance, and his plans to build a new energy economy as the smartest solutions. A (wealthy) friend recently derided his tax policy that would have her family pay more money. Well, my friend, you are fortunate to make so much money that you received a tax cut from George W. Now it's going to be taken away. You can choose to view that as having your taxes raised. However, the many millions of Americans who didn't get a tax break then, justly deserve one. You claim your "trickle down" will drive the economy more. Ah, come on.

As for regulation, well, hopefully we're all on the same page in seeing why more regulation is necessary because certain industries (and people) can't control their excesses.

Next, Obama's plan to build a new energy economy not only provides millions of new jobs, but has the best chance of saving our planet for our children's future.

Global Warming
After the economy, his policies to stanch global warming are my second primary reason for supporting him as a candidate for President. I'll say two things on this. One: If you don't yet believe in global warming, go visit the North Pole or pay a visit to a bustling city in China. Second: Do a little reading and learn that there is not enough oil on our planet (let alone in the United States) to last the next generation's lifetime. Add to that our melting glaciers and bizarre weather patterns (see Hurricane Katrina), and you hopefully understand our planet's fragile condition and the need for urgent alternatives.

Foreign Relations
My third primary reason for supporting Obama is his gifted ability to rebuild our nation's respect in the world. He has a gift for diplomacy and a willingness to understand his opponent's position, even while continuing to oppose a position, belief or action. This gift will make a difference in our foreign policy. A big one. And, he is one of the few leaders to fully understand the threat and impact of Pakistan and Afghanistan to our nation and world peace.

Our Choice, Your Choice
So, if I haven't sold you yet (if you're undecided at this late date), I'll make my final plea: As a woman, as a mother, it is imperative that we protect our right to choose. Even if you would never choose abortion for yourself, would you really take the right away from other women, from our daughters and their future peers, who may for whatever their own particular saddest reason, desperately need it?

Finally, as individuals and as a country; we can't under value the opportunities made possible by a great leader. Obama has a rare gift for eloquently expressing ideas and hopes that inspire people to change and help make change. Think of the first great boss (or any other mentor/leader) you had who inspired you to work harder and better for your own and a greater good. Imagine what's possible at a national level with a leader of Obama's calibre? Then, we might have a country that our sons and daughters are thriving in, that respectfully leads in the world, and that their parents made the choice to give them.

Go vote on Tuesday!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

From Crib to Bed and Back Again

I've just had my second decent night's sleep in three weeks. It was about a month ago that we moved two year old Daughter into a "big" bed for "big girls." The big bed happened on us through a good find (the frame) on Craig's List then a gifted mattress set from Aunt and Uncle when they downsized from a house in the burbs to a condo in the city. Mommy couldn't wait to set it up and move nighttime story time from uncomfortable rocking chair to sprawling queen size bed. Yes, the picture of my tiny two year old in the ridiculously big bed (she can use it until she moves out!) was odd, but the need for my comfort outweighed any reticence that this might not be such a good idea. (She wasn't climbing out of her crib or giving any indication that it was time for her to move.)

Daughter loved reading books on it so much that she started napping in it. Then, of course, she wanted to sleep in the big bed at night. Things went well for a few nights. Then FREEDOM kicked in. She was up and out of that bed faster than our feet could hit the top stair with hopes of legs up on the couch, remote in hand for the rest of the evening.

We were determined not to lie down with her until she slept or start any other patterns we had learned were so hard to break with her older Brother. So, we bounced back and forth along with her, cajoling, rocking, pleading, demanding that she STAY in her bed.

It got worse. She would finally go to sleep at 9 or 10 pm, then wake at 12, 1 or 2 am for a repeat performance of up and down. Downstairs to get a snack (feed her and she might sleep!), rock, sing, hum, pat, rub, whatever it takes when you're bleary eyed in the wee hours.

She's GOT to sleep in, we thought, after such a rough night. Not so. She'd be up at 6 am, strolling into our room with such pleasure that she was able to arise and wake the household of her own accord.

I was becoming a cranky hag and watched as my easygoing, well rested daughter became cranky and demanding with dark circles under her eyes. The doctor recommended a gate or lock on the door. I couldn't lock her in. Even the notion of her room being a "big crib" couldn't get me to stomach my daughter pounding and screaming at the door to her room.

So, at wits end two nights ago when Husband was working late and I simply had to get her to bed by nine (to watch the debate), I stood there rocking and singing to her then turned around and.... put her in her crib. No words, a quick good night, I love you, and I walked out the door.

She screamed for a minute then went to sleep. She woke in the middle of the night and we reverted to old methods for putting her back to sleep in her crib (walk in, rub back, say goodnight, then leave. Repeat as many times as necessary but don't get her up or give her anything.) She slept until 7 am.

Last night, she screamed longer (5 minutes) when going to sleep and I went in once to console her then she slept. She slept all night without waking until 7 am.

My gut tells me she wasn't ready for the freedom and still likes the "safety" and confines of her crib. She's also experiencing a spike in developmental ability (counting, numbers, etc.) and may need a balance of babyhood as she grows in ability and independence.

I think it's working to not mention crib or "big girl" or have her feel in any way that she can't hack it in the big bed or is being punished for getting out. In this case, actions not words seem to work. I'm also giving her major praise in the morning about how well she did all night and letting her put a sticker on big Brother's responsibility chart.

Eventually, she'll move into the big bed. And while she may then be a bit older with more ability to understand she needs to stay in it to sleep, we may also be a bit wiser about the need to put up a gate.

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