Bye-bye, Seliodka

Middle age is truly here. There are now two foods I can’t eat. Sunflower seeds and seliodka (salted herring.) They make me ill. Sunflower seeds make me feel like my gallbladder came back and is hating me for abandoning it.

Coffee is also becoming a rare luxury.

A Caveat

Mind you, kids aren’t born as a blank slate. They are born with a personality. Even before birth they have a personality, which is part genes and part other factors. Women who were pregnant more than once know this well. My parenting strategy works well for my kid and her personality. For other kids, it might be a bad idea.

For instance, Klara is extremely careful and cautious. Even when she was a baby and didn’t yet walk, she’ll crawl around, and if she found something on the floor, she would never just stuff it in her mouth, although I could see she really wanted to. She’d look at me, waiting for permission. If I said no, she might wince or grumble but she always obeyed. She even threw tantrums only after making sure her dress wouldn’t get crumpled in the process. Many children are a lot more impulsive because that’s their personality, so they need more supervision. I’m not advocating my method as a universal one. Absolutely not! Parents know their children and adapt parenting to their specific needs.

Crazy Parent

A new viral thing on social media is to share what you do as a parent that other people find crazy.

I have a lot of stuff on this list but number one is that I don’t limit my kid’s access to sweets or use them as a reward or punishment.

I put candy and cookies on the table or leave them on a lower shelf in the pantry so she can access them easily. She can have as much as she wants. I had severe gestational diabetes in pregnancy, so she’s at risk for diabetes. I’m terrified of that, which means I can’t play games with sweets.

As a result, my kid loves broccoli and literally tears it out of my mouth after finishing her portion. Her favorite foods are soup and salad. She eats tons of fresh vegetables. At Halloween, she lost her basket of candy immediately upon returning home because candy isn’t special to her. And still people look at me in horror when they see my approach.

But there’s a lot of other stuff. I let her roam outside the house alone and wade the little creek in the backyard. I encourage her to get extremely dirty on the playground. I don’t supervise her during playdates at our house. She had a six-hour playdate a couple of weeks ago and the only times I saw them is when I fed them. The other mom kept texting me to ask what they were doing, like I’m supposed to know. And guess what? Everything went great. They cleaned up after themselves with no prompting. I think they fought once or twice, judging by the sounds but then figured it out themselves.

I don’t mask her. I don’t assign chores, which results her in fighting me for the right to make my bed in the morning, organize her dresser, and fold laundry. I don’t teach languages to her. I don’t really teach anything, to be honest, which for people in my circle is shocking. I let her climb anything she wants. Now it’s not unusual but you should have seen people on the playground when she was 2. I take her out in any weather that isn’t pouring rain. I don’t teach her to ride a bike because she says she doesn’t want to. I let her draw, play, or run around in the back at church, which made one babushka want to get into it with me but that obviously had no effect.

I Miss Conferences

I’m not going to apply for any conferences in 2022 because I don’t believe they will be conducted in person. I’d rather be wrong and miss a conference than have another experience of 3 days on Zoom.

The whole point of a conference is not to be at home or in the office alone. There’s absolutely no point to it all otherwise. I already spend all day sitting alone and staring at a screen. These virtual conferences are only making me more tired instead of more energetic.

I really like conferences, and their loss is upsetting to me.

Who else on here misses conferences a lot?

We Need to Laugh More

Everything that’s happening is our own fault because we aren’t making fun of these people:

Where I come from, these “critics” would face such ridicule that they’d either get over themselves or fail to survive kindergarten.

Like the kid in Home Alone said, “I’m in third grade. A guy can get beat up for something like this.”

Weeping Books

I’m not known for my sensitivity. In fact, I often find it hard to understand why people react emotionally to some things. OK, many things. So there haven’t been many books that have made me cry. But there have been a few.

#1 on the list is The Gadfly by Ethel Lilian Voynich. It was very famous in the USSR (also China and Iran), and I read it about 15 times as a teenager. Every time, I would weep hysterically through the last few pages. I wonder if it would have the same effect if I read it today. Anybody here a Voynich fan?

Another book that makes me cry is actually “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr Seuss. I discovered it in my forties but every time I read it to Klara I feel an approach of big, salty, gloopy tears. It’s really a touching story! Those tiny people! They were almost destroyed! The Grinch is also plenty touching. Unfortunately, I never manage to cry it out like I’d wish because I don’t want to freak out Klara. It’s OK to see mommy cry but probably not over a little elephant and his flower.

Rafael Chirbes’s On the Edge had me bawling all over my bed. I was in my first trimester, sure, but I reread it twice for work since then and cried every time.