Okay, I have two small comment questions to answer and then a bigger one.
Noricum (Andrea) asks whether I have a feed. Yes, yes I do. I just tried it, and if you type or paste http://www.shellykang.com/Blog/ into the form, you’ll get a choice between atom and rss. To be honest, even though I have a degree in Computer Science, I still don’t know which one of those is better to pick. To be even more honest, Bloglines baffles me. I keep thinking that it is something that would be handy, but instead I use the RSS function in Firefox and somehow understand that better.
Jan asked whether I’m working the blanket from side to side or bottom to top or what. I’m working from the bottom up, or I guess it could be considered top down. I do think you need to work this particular arrangement of miters vertically, so that the decrease lines will run vertically. Unless, of course, you want the decrease lines to run horizontally in which case you would work…are you ready for this…side to side.
Moria asked why I was so hard on a present that someone gave my daughter. She didn’t like the tone of the “I guess” at the end of my paragraph about it in yesterday’s post. The short answer is that I was giving an honest review or assessment of my feelings about this product. The I guess part, at face value, is my normal attempt at semi-snarky humour, which anyone who’s read my blog very much has seen before.
The long answer is that as a parent, I’m always making decisions that I’m not fully comfortable with. Sometimes because I’m taking the easy path that I know is not perfectly right, but makes all of our days easier…like letting Julie watch some TV every afternoon while I start dinner – usually an hour or less, but studies have shown that ANY television is detrimental to small children. Most parents seem to think that certain shows are “educational” and therefore somehow not just an easy babysitter, but actually good for their kids. Sorry to break the news, but that’s what the marketers want you to think. TV is actually hampering their brain development. Still, I know of very few parents who never turn on the boob tube for their kids. And even knowing that it’s not good for my daughter, I let her watch Sesame Street or a Bob the Builder video pretty much every day. Because it’s there, she likes it, and it gives me a moment’s peace. Nope, I’m not fully comfortable with that, but I do it anyway. I can live with it, I guess. There are lots of other little things like that which bother me about the way most Americans raise our kids. I’m guilty of some of them, too.
Juice is another great example. It’s not good for you, me, or our kids. It’s empty calories, linked to obesity, and rots their little teeth. Yet most kids get it, undiluted, every day. Not my kid. I give it to her once a week, maybe twice, and then it’s diluted with water. I even had a chat with the preschool teacher when I saw juice as the beverage for snack time the first few days of school. Somehow, many parents seem to think that it’s good for their kids, even necessary. So even though I know she doesn’t need it, I do give it to her as a treat some times. And that’s okay, too…I guess. Don’t get me started on all the other really junky stuff like Kraft macaroni and cheese (Kraft Dinner for you Canucks – KD for short, so I hear through my Canadian insider friend) that I hear many kids are eating every day.
And about a million other little battles that we either choose to pick, or just fall in line with what it seems like everyone else is doing because that’s the easiest path to follow. Color Wonders products are another tiny little example of this kind of thing to me. They sound like a great idea, till you really think about them. I summarized my opinion about them pretty well yesterday. Yes, they are relatively harmless. I’ve bought the markers version of them before for the long plane trips when we went to Hawaii a couple years ago. Someone bought them for us this time, and we’re using them. But I’m always hearing about how in today’s world, creative thinking skills are important for success in our world. It is much better when I pull out the old-style finger paints and let Julie smear them around in the undefined patterns of her own choosing on blank paper. It’s maddening sometimes watching her play with them in the way that doesn’t seem “right” to me, but I bite my tongue and watch what she comes up with. She’s learning creativity, and they hold her interest a lot longer than any coloring book ever has.
And that’s the real reason for the I guess. Because even though it is easy, even though they are there, even though Julie seems to like them and asked to play with them, deep down I feel a bit like I’m doing less than I could be as a parent. The I guess says I’m not 100% sure I’m doing the best job I could be, but I’m plowing ahead anyway, and you know what, I am a
darn good great parent even if I could do better.
And here’s the most important part – the part that I hope you read before you get angry at me and write up a comment. Just because I have these standards for myself and my kids, doesn’t mean that I’m judging you and your standards for your kids. Quite the contrary. I know how hard it is to even figure out what the right thing would be. I know that doing it 100% of the time is impossible. I know that we all do our best, and if you’re feeding your kids juice every day, you have your reasons and we’ll all survive.
Okay, and if you don’t think I’m the world’s biggest heel after reading this post so far, I’m going to give you a good reason to think I’m a jerk. Yesterday we had some friends over for lunch. Some friends who happen not to eat pork for religious reasons. I was halfway through heating up a pile of lasagna before I realized what I was doing and had to switch to turkey coldcut sandwiches. I feel awful for being so inconsiderate. I mean, I had offered the lasagna on the spur of the moment without thinking it through, and the turkey sandwiches had actually been plan A. But still. I’m a freakin’ idiot. Sorry, dear friends! I will try to be more considerate in the future!