iamtheinvisiblehand

Posts Tagged ‘parents

I’m not biased or anything, but as a moviegoer – especially now that I’ve slashed my movie outings from once or twice every weekend to once a month – there are certain crowds I just wish I didn’t have to put up with while trying to enjoy a movie.

I’ve narrowed them down to these 4:

1. The giggly girls. They manage to giggle about every single thing, but they are especially annoying during suspense or horror movies. I remember vividly a couple of stupid girls sitting next to me during Shyamalan’s “Signs” who just couldn’t stop giggling even through the scariest parts. And don’t get me started on the fits they have when there’s some kind of skin exposure, or if the actor is cute, because sometimes it’s not even worth enduring the rest of the film.

2. The teen boys. Not only do they fail to pay attention, but because they get bored after a few minutes, they start talking to each other – LOUDLY – or throwing their popcorn at unsuspecting viewers behind or in front of their seats. As if that weren’t bad enough, they keep asking one another what is going on, because none of them seems to be able to grasp the essence of the movie. And I’m not talking about serious or complicated movies, like say, “Inception” in which if you don’t pay attention you can easily get lost, no. I’m talking about “Puss in Boots” or “Transformers”. I mean, how thick can you get?

3. The parents with the bored child. Sigh. You can spot them easily because the child is already showing signs of a meltdown even before the movie has started. At some point, the child will get uncomfortable, either by having to sit still for 2 hours or by the insanely loud audio theaters are using these days, and the tears will come shortly after. In the end, they just waste their money because they have to leave before the child has a full-blown tantrum. I feel bad for these parents, having suffered this myself, and in their defense, there is truly no way of knowing beforehand how a child is going to behave during the movie, no matter what their behavior was five minutes before entering.

4. And last but not least, the phone-addicts. I mean, not only is it spelled out in huge letters across the screen, cinemas usually get the star of the upcoming blockbuster to tell people to TURN OFF THEIR PHONES. And still, these people think that the world will come to an end if they turn they wretched thing off.  Even if, let’s say you need to be available for whatever reason (even though it’s hard to believe a person can’t be spared 2 hours of their precious time, but whatever, it happens) , you can silence the device and still enjoy the movie. If it does ring, at least it will be silent and you can swiftly leave the theater to take the call. These people, however, never do that. Not only is their phone left on, it is not even silenced. To make matters worse, the phone is more often than not stashed at the bottom of the purse (in the case of the ladies) or in some unreachable jacket pocket (in the case of the men), so it takes them about 4-5 rings before they can get to it. And then, they answer it. IN THE THEATER. LOUDLY. And no matter how many “shhhhhes” they get, it’s like they’re in their own little world where there is no one and nothing else but the phone and themselves.

I’ll just have to forget about Saturday night screenings and stick to Sunday morning screenings, as teenagers and phone-addicts don’t usually get up that early.

I went to my daughter’s school yesterday for a conference with my daughter’s teachers and the psychologist. 

The meeting with the teachers was to give us our daughter’s report card; we met with the Psychologist for something else, I’ll tell you in a minute.

Anyway, the report card basically stated what we already knew: our daughter has a hard time concentrating and staying put; she’s a chatterbox and gets easily distracted; she also has a huge, dominant personality that is difficult to handle. However, all learning goals were achieved for this term, regardless of all the BUTs.

Blah, blah, blah. Anyone with a 5 year-old knows that part of being a 5-year old entails focusing on something for a few minutes and moving on to something else just as quickly. Granted, some kids are more focused than others, but I’ve rarely seen kids this age truly engaged in anything for more than 15- 20 minutes. So no surprises on the report card.

The Psychologist was there because we were worried about our daughter’s pre-adolescent behavior (mommy I don’t love you anymore, etc.), so she had been doing some tests and talking with our daughter to figure out what was going on.

And so there was a hint at ADHD. Hubby and I decidedly ignored it, so the Psychologist dropped the subject as soon as it had been brought up, mainly because our daughter doesn’t entirely fit the profile.

Growing up, I took care of a 6 year-old boy who had been diagnosed with ADHD . The kid could be a handful, but once you found ways in which to keep him busy, he would indeed, keep busy for long periods of time, albeit always under a watchful eye because he could turn his bedroom upside down in a matter of minutes. He loved reading, puzzles and building stuff, so that is basically what he’d get to do after, say, finishing his homework.

Based on my experience, ADHD exists, but it is harder on the caretakers than on the child. The child has no way of grasping that he/she has a condition that makes it difficult to focus and stay focused.  I also believe it is getting harder with every passing day, because kids are exposed to a million things each day, a lot more than we were at their age, so it should be more difficult to concentrate.

I’m not in denial, because I know my child isn’t perfect, but I don’t think kids should be slapped with ADHD at the slightest indication of poor concentration. What’s worse: it seems that most of the parents of my daughter’s classmates were told that their kids also got easily distracted and had a hard time focusing. So what is it, then? All of our children are on the road to ADHD or is it a generational thing that we, as parents, will have to deal with?

And then came the rest of the conversation.

It appears that our daughter has a strong personality and is always on the dominant side, a natural leader. But of course, since she is not always the most well-behaved child, she often steers the other kids into mischief. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not the devil reborn either, not even close, but she certainly does enjoy telling others what to do.

This, obviously, is a problem for any caretaker, be it a parent or a teacher. As the parent, I can tell you she can be quite difficult to handle at times. However, I firmly believe a strong, assertive personality is rather a good thing if we manage to deal with it properly. She knows what the rules are at home and she usually follows them, so I know that as long as there is structure and that she respects it, she’ll be ok. I refuse to be the one that crushes her spirit, bans her spontaneity and makes her become a follower instead of the leader. Sure, achieving the balance is hard, ongoing work, but hey, who said parenting was easy?

Anyway, at the end of the conference, adding insult to injury, the Psychologist suggested we have another child as a way to harness our daughter’s rebellious tendencies.

Wow.

Even though the question was dealt with swiftly, because it is a real physical impossibility (due to my hormonal, metabolic and spine-related health issues), I can’t see how this even concerns her at all.

First of all, in what world does having a second child help resolve “behavioral problems” with the first child? I thought people had children because they wanted to have  a family, and love them and raise them and give them what they need so they could grow up to be decent human beings.

It appears that the notion of having an only child is far from beneficial, because only kids have way too much of everything and tend to be dominant and selfish because they have no one to challenge their turf. I thought having an only child meant I could dedicate more time to her instead of having to clone myself trying to be available for anyone, and providing solid financial security (at least for her education) .

Does that mean that children who have siblings are easier to handle? Are they not dominant and selfish as well, in addition to other stuff? Is it true that having more than one child guarantees that the siblings will have a close relationship and accompany one another?

I have 3 sisters, and I honestly don’t think that it was a pivotal fact that made me the way that I am, even though it probably played a part. I also disagree that just because you have a sibling you will automatically be close and will accompany one another. Again, even though I have a cordial, healthy relationship with all my sisters, I don’t consider them my friends and I don’t even consider them close to me. Sure, there must be people out there who are on both sides of the spectrum: there are those who consider their siblings their best friends, and those who want nothing to do with their siblings. Generalizations don’t seem to apply here either.

And there’s another reason why, even if I could, I wouldn’t want another child.

I already have the life I always wanted. I manage my own business, which allows me to organize my schedule according to my needs. I get to spend as much time I want with my daughter and husband. I get to take care of (almost all) our family’s finances. If I had another child I’d have to start over again and things would never be the same.

And I’m not being selfish here. I’m just well aware that I would never be able to give that second child the same type of life I’ve given my daughter, and that would definitely be unfair. Sacrifices would have to be made, and I’d have to make all of them.

I’m not really complaining about my husband when I say this, it’s just the way things are.

To illustrate my point, I’ll tell you that last week I was reading some magazine, and I found a picture of Ben Affleck with one of his kids (maybe Violet?). Anyway, the caption said something like “Look, how sweet of Ben, babysitting his daughter”. I almost choked. Babysitting? I thought Ben was the father of his children and as such, what he was doing was called parenting, not babysitting. But see, the common mistake here is that since the mommy is supposed to take care of the kids, she is the one doing the parenting and dads are only babysitting. Great.

And that is exactly the underlying issue here. When children are involved, mothers are always expected to step up and take over, while no one expects the dads to do much of anything. Again, I’m not criticizing or generalizing, but let’s be honest, even when dads pitch in, the feeling that they are already doing enough is so ingrained, after centuries and centuries of being told that their duties entail taking care of the family (financially) without really being involved, that it’ll take a few more centuries for them to shake off those teachings completely. 

If another child comes into the picture, guess who’ll have to stop working, at least for a few months and probably start over again. Guess, who ‘ll have to keep doing everything as before and add another million tasks to her everyday life. Guess who’ll have to make sure our daughter doesn’t feel left out and jealous with the arrival of a new baby. Guess who’ll have to suck it up if she never gets her life back.  All of this is added to the smaller things mothers do everyday and go unnoticed, like setting up and taking the child to medical appointments; knowing the date of every single past and upcoming event; knowing which medications and how much they need to take; knowing when your child has had a bad day or is just out of sorts; knowing exactly what clothes are too short or which shoes are too tight. You get the picture. 

It may sound cold, putting it this way, but honestly, I’d rather learn to deal with my spirited daughter and not jeopardize everything we’ve already accomplished as a family. I’m aware of my limitations and I’m not about to ignore my instincts just to see if things could get better. If I knew, without a doubt, that having another baby was not going to be a task that was exclusively mine, that I could maybe drop a few duties to handle everything else, I’d rethink it, although I’m sure my decision would still be the same.

So no, no more children here. AND, no more psychologists either. Three is OUR perfect number.

I read that last week Mr. Karl Lagerfeld, the man behind Chanel, recently stated that Adele was “a little too fat”. And what did Ms. Adele do? She just won 6 Grammys and looked absolutely fabulous in the process, wearing Armani I might add. Ha!

When the movie Titanic was the hype, I read that James Cameron would call Kate Winslet, Kate “Weighs-a-lot”. Nasty. And what has she done since then? Every single time she is a part of something she gets nominated for an award, and more often than not, she wins. She also looks like a million bucks every time she’s on the red carpet.

When I lived in Paris, and English friend of mine had a French boyfriend who used to say that Cindy Crawford had “big” thighs. Also in Paris,  I was at the movies watching “Mickey Blue Eyes” with Jeanne Tripplehorn, and at a certain point she is wearing a little something to seduce her boyfriend, Hugh Grant, and the ladies behind me said, “Oh My God, that actress is fat”. I remember thinking that if that was the French standard of beauty, ordinary women like me were doomed.

In what universe are these woman fat?

My younger sister, thin as a stick and childless said, upon watching Heidi Klum hit the runway about 2 months after the birth of one of her children, that all new mothers should get their old bodies back just as quickly as Heidi had instead of making excuses not to do it. My older sister and myself, knowing what childbirth entailed, jumped at her immediately, obviously. Not only is it difficult to focus on anything but your child, let alone yourself, but also, normal women don’t have million-dollar contracts forcing them to be in tip-top shape to parade VS underwear (with all due respect to Heidi and VS), nor the helping hands to get you back in shape while someone takes care of your little one, etc..

How is it that men (mostly, but not exclusively) get to dictate what women should look like and what beautiful means? I mean, why did we gave them the right? But also, why would they impose on us things they don’t really care about when it comes to themselves?

If women had a true say in what beauty should look like, we wouldn’t be subjected to unbearable high heels that make walking, let alone standing, a miserable experience;  we wouldn’t feel the need to wear body shapers to fit into clothes that are usually intended for women on the catwalk; eating properly and exercising would come naturally, since no woman would feel so bad about herself to sabotage her own body for not feeling pretty enough or for not having the stick-thin figure we are forced to believe is the only beauty standard worth living up to.

I’m not trying to criticize or judge, but I do firmly believe that our health and beauty standards have been so distorted throughout the years that we are endangering the future generations’ perception of themselves.

I say it because I’ve seen with my own eyes preschoolers that are worried because they think they have a big belly and refuse to eat to avoid “getting fat”. Ergo, the anorexia this population has been increasingly displaying in recent year. And yet, I don’t see anyone alarmed.

My 5 year-old daughter hasn’t shown any of these signs yet, but if this trend continues, I’m sure it won’t be long for her too. The worst part is that even though as parents we try to instill that beauty is an inner condition, that she must love herself for who she is and that looks mean nothing, if she gets it into her head that she doesn’t look like she is supposed to, nothing we say or do will change that.  Our kids are so exposed to pictures of “perfection” everywhere they go that the voice of the minority – their parents – can’t be heard over the din made by the media.

And so in my house, there is now a blanket ban on saying that people are fat or ugly, on criticizing people on how they dress or look and in general, on anything that demeans another human being on how they look vs. what we think they should look like.

Beauty, as it is frequently quoted, is in the eye of the beholder and I hold that statement as my beacon (along with another: live and let live). As long as you think you are beautiful – in the ways that count, anyway – and love yourself as you are, then everything will make sense. Let the others concern themselves over minor stuff if they like.

I’ve seen so many friends of mine trying to change to look like their husbands or partners wish they would look like, working out their butts off at the gym, starving themselves to death, or letting their hair grow out when they’ve always preferred it short, that it breaks my heart. These women, all of them powerful and extraordinary in their own way, and with so much to give, are constantly insecure about the way they look and feel like they are worthless if they are not appreciated by their significant other.

I understand that our perception of ourself is a great part of our self-esteem, but we can’t expect external factors to boost it if inside we feel like the tiniest grain of sand on the bottom of the ocean. Our appreciation of ourself must come from inside, and it must encompass not only what we are, but who we are. Any changes required must be motivated from the inside, not the outside, because, how can anyone that hasn’t lived inside your body and mind know what you need to feel better about yourself?

Recently, a well-known model (locally, I should say), a stunning beauty, went public on some problems she had with a butt filler. It appears that the doctor who put the hyaluronic acid in her butt used a far-from-ideal product, even though the product itself was duly registered and approved by the local equivalent of the FDA. So while the doctor is suing the lab, the model is now telling everyone that she has now had to endure several surgeries to remove the stuff (or at least that’s what I’ve understood so far).

The irony is that when asked what surgeries she had before, she stated something like this in the following lines: “only breast implants and a nose job, the normal surgeries women get done”.  I wanted to slap her square in the face for saying such a stupid thing. Yes, I know, cosmetic surgery is a reality and millions of people get things lifted, augmented, eliminated or reduced every single day across the globe. But does that mean that cosmetic surgery is now a normal thing for people to do? If it is, then stupid me for thinking that people still cared about the important stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I know cosmetic surgery changes the life of many people every day, such as burned, disabled or maimed people, but these people truly need it to be able to fully live their lives and regain their self-esteem. Elective cosmetic surgery, such as the model’s choice, is exactly that: elective. You can either choose to live with what you have and make the most of it, or live in misery because you don’t have a bigger backside, smaller breasts or that button nose you think you need to be complete.

So, basically, my thought for today is, forget what other people have to say or what they think. The only opinion that matters, is yours. The only person’s appreciation and approval you truly need to get you through each day is your own. And don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise.

My five year-old daughter finally pronounced these piercing words to me yesterday. It felt like I was being stabbed to death, or at least what I assume it must feel like.

She’d been acting up for some time now and the day before, she decided to throw away her dinner in the garbage and then lie to me about it. So, she had been warned that there would be no movies or TV the next few days and that she would have to stay in her room as soon she got home from school.

She was truly sad, I could tell by the way she was crying, but I knew I just couldn’t let this one go. I had to follow through with the punishment, come what may. First, she just begged and tried to negotiate, as only little ones can do. Any adult who’s tried ignoring a toddler with negotiation skills knows what I’m talking about, because even though you are sure you have it covered, after a while you figure out that you have yielded something you didn’t mean to and suddenly you have agreed to do things you hadn’t even thought of to begin with. (That happens a lot to my mother and my mother in law when they’re trying to deal with my daughter, the expert negotiator. It’s amazing how, as adults, we think we have everything under control when it comes to our kids, until we realize that we don’t).

A few minutes later, seeing that I wasn’t budging, she then said she would never play or have fun with me again. The point of the knife’s blade started sinking into my heart at this point. And then she told me “I don’t love you anymore, mommy, and I’m serious”. And that was that.

The worst part is, at the time she said it, she probably meant it, even though by bedtime she was her usual sweet self.

I know that as parents it’s up to us to guide our kids so they grow up to be good, responsible people. I know that everything I do is for my daughter’s own good, even if she can’t (and will probably never) appreciate or understand it.

So does this mean that if my daughter tells me she hates me (which will surely come again at some point in the not-so-far-away future)  it’s because I’m doing my job right? Because if it is, then these 5 years will have been the shortest ride into adolescence. Ever.

Honestly, I was expecting this type of behavior 10 years from now (I know, too optimistic, right?), but not now when my daughter is supposed to be sweet, innocent, good and pure, but most of all, willing to go along with mommy’s instructions.

Wow, this was a rough awakening!

I know kids have changed a lot since I was a kid myself. I remember being an obedient and respectful child (most of the time) because I knew the consequences of bad behavior were serious and proportional to the infraction. And I remember most of my friends were raised the same way too, so in general, we were all more or less well-behaved.

I also remember just trying to swallow my veggies with a mouthful of something else to help them go down, because they would not go down on their own, and not even attempting to persuade my parents not to make me eat them because that road would lead nowhere.

Tantrums, whining and all these other unpleasant scenes were swiftly dealt with and the urge to start them wore off immediately because they weren’t tolerated. At all.

But I see kids like my daughter now, and I have to marvel (or freak out is more like it) at how much things have changed in 30 years since I was her age.

It’s not just my daughter, who at age 5 is already acting like a teenage drama queen and diva, but all her friends as well. 

I don’t know if we (and by we I’m referring to the generation of parents ranging from age 25 to 40)  have become pushover parents because we were so restricted as children, or if we just don’t have the guts to be strict parents, but something is seriously wrong.  

I consider myself to be a strict parent, and so is my husband. This doesn’t make her declaring her absence of love for me any easier. I’ve tried to instill in her that actions – good and bad – have consequences and that she must accept what comes to her accordingly. I’ve had to do many things in my attempt to teach her right from wrong. And yet I feel I am failing horribly.

I know I’m not a pushover, but I also don’t feel the need of being as strict as my parents were with me, so where on earth is the middle of that?

I don’t appreciate my daughter’s efforts at negotiation, because at some point she must realize that there are some things that can’t be avoided and just have to be done no matter what (picking up her toys after playing, eating her meals, going to bed when she’s told to, etc.). I do, however, let her speak her mind even though I know that the answer is no.

I’m not an absent mother and my husband is not an absent father either and I feel she is well looked after and has everything she needs, nothing more, nothing less. So where is she (and all her friends) getting all this attitude?  Do they know something we don’t? Or is just that we are such bad examples that they disregard everything we say and do?

All I know is I was hoping I would still have some more peaceful years before age, growth and maturity kicked in, but I see the new generation is way ahead of us.



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  • Carrie Rubin: I don't always remember names well, but I remember circumstances. I especially remembered yours because it's such a rare cancer, and you were the firs
  • iamtheinvisiblehand: Thank you for your kind words, but also thank you for remembering it was me....it's amazing that you'd remember this considering the endless stream of
  • Carrie Rubin: I am so sorry to hear about your mother. After you commented on my blog yesterday, I remembered that your mother was the one who had cholangiocarcinom

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