Archive for July, 2014

On Inlaws

2014-07-16

We are rapidly approaching our trip to Tennessee to see my Mom, Sister, Aunts, and other relatives. It’s times like these that I am reminded just how different my and my wife’s family are from one another. I grew up in a household where any objections to a particular action was a gauntlet thrown down for a verbal duel. No only means no when you’ve reiterated it at least five times and after being told at least four different ways your objections could be overcome. This was certainly how wife’s family operates. I think this often means my family is seen as pushy and argumentative. My wife is frequently telling me “do you have to argue everything to death?!”

The fact that I see that as a good and actually enjoyable thing further iterates this the environment I was raised in. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but it is family. My wife’s family and likely her culture (she’s Norwegian) couldn’t be further from my own. I won’t be as presumptuous as to describe how I think her family is because I wasn’t raised in that environment. It would only be dime store psychiatry for me to do so. I will say only say that based on what I’ve experienced everyone spends an enormous amount of energy trying to anticipate what everybody else really wants but is too modest or shy to say. Reading between the lines isn’t a hobby it is a full time job. I apologize in advance to my wife if I’m completely off base but it is my perception.

This trip is making me nervous. My Mother’s suggestion of buying denim shorts was countered with my explaining how his Michelin Man Vanilla Tootsie Roll legs need more stretchable material. That was promptly foiled by an explanation from my Mom of how we could get them just big enough that his thighs would be OK. That was enough to get the exasperated hand throwing in the air from my wife. After the call I was lectured by my wife about how my Mother never knows when to take no for an answer and how she feels she’ll really have to set some boundaries with my family.

I don’t disparage my wife for feeling this way. I really don’t. I don’t think she’s being unreasonable. I just think she’s different and realize she was raised In a different family environment. Not better, not worse, just different. I don’t think my Mom was being unreasonable or different either. She was just being Mom.

When my wife asked me if I would support her “boundary setting” I responded with a definite yes, That’s my job as her husband. She’s the Mother of my child and my role is to support her whether I understand these “offenses” or not. I trust my wife and her instincts. Could it cause friction with my own family? Yes. But I have confidence in my ability to handle it if it arises. I have confidence in my family also to accept my wife’s parenting style. Above all else I have confidence in my wife that she will always do what she believes in her heart is the absolute right thing to do with our child even if I don’t understand how denim shorts could be such big deal.

5 months and counting.

2014-07-14

I can’t believe my boy is already 5 months. It’s been pretty amazing. Every day he’s becoming more and more like a real person. I still can’t believe he’s really here. Today we discovered his first tooth coming out. He’s fascinated by the dog. Even more so fascinated by her dog toy. When sitting on the floor with me he’ll reach so far out for it that he’ll inevitably face plant into the carpet.

The last 5 months have been one heck of a roller coaster. I think one of the things that have caught me off guard has been my wife’s full force embracing of “attachment parenting”. The underlying concept of attachment parenting, based on my in depth research which included piecing together bits and pieces of things I think my wife might have said while I was fantasizing about winning the lottery, is basically don’t ever ever leave your child for a split second or they will turn into sociopathic killers who light school buses full of nuns, orphans, and puppies on fire before driving it into a tank full of sharks. Ok, that doesn’t make any sense because that would totally put the fire out but you get my inflammatory point. Oh, pun ahoy.

No, really I get the whole attachment parenting thing. Don’t leave your child in a room alone for 23 hours a day under Romanian orphanage conditions. I agree. I do though think it can be taken to extremes. I think if the a baby is not in physical contact for 5 minutes while I use the bathroom, it’s ok. If the baby happens to whine for the last 30 seconds of that bathroom visit he will not be irrevocably harmed. That’s my view though.

My wife sees it somewhat differently. I don’t blame her and I don’t hate her for it. I could be wrong I know. I may not have done my research as thoroughly as her, or at all, but I’m pretty sure my 44 year old male mind has this parenting thing figured out. I don’t have a degree or anything but I have seen a few episodes of Nanny 911 or Super Nanny or Walking Dead or something. I’m not sure but it was very parental oriented or parental guiding or something.

I appreciate my wife’s opposing view. I need her to counterbalance me. I need that loving motherly touch. Something to off set my “a 5 month old can fend for himself” attitude. I need her in my life and I’m pretty sure my child does also. I often go along with my wife’s attachment parenting thing not because I think it is the be all end all of parenting but because the only thing 14 years of marriage has taught me is my wife knows a hell of lot more than I do about some things and I’m pretty sure this is one of those things.