31 March 2011

Playing to be Mom

My pup Pacey was acting her normal rambunctious self today when she decided to play doctor on her latest fluffy chew toy (i.e., victim), redman, and remove his squeaker. The life cycle of a toy around these parts is about five minutes, so I decided to break out the ole sewing kit and restuff the redman, squeaker and all. This surgery was being done on my lap and poor Pacey couldn't stand to be away from her new BFF for even a second, so she was making grabs for the redman. And here I am, at the end of a long day of work and pricking myself on the finger relentlessly, so without even thinking much about it, I smacked her on the head one.

Though all Pacey did was sit there and stare at me with a look that almost read as "is that all you've got?", I couldn't help instantly feeling the guilt build up. I shouldn't take my frustration out at a dog, I was messing with her toy within her line of sight, blah, blah, blah. And the point of this post isn't really even about a dog, because not five minutes after redman was fixed did I find him in the bedroom missing an arm and hemorrhaging stuffing - but it got me thinking: if and when I become a parent, is striking out going to be my first reaction to my kid?

(This isn't a post that tells the world that I've changed my mind and I am suddenly ready and open to having children. No, ma' am ... But as most any woman of child-bearing age does wonder from time to time, what kind of parent would I be?)

BF is convinced I am going to be a big softie because I treat the pup like a baby. I feel completely different because he seems to forget I was raised from immigrant asian parents (see the nods of understanding from my asian sisters out there) - meaning schoolwork above all else, helping around the house is not a request, if you can take the bus by yourself that means you're old enough to have a job, and disciplining offspring does not mean taking away their iPhone for 30 minutes.

I am pretty sure I am going to be the hated parent, as I've already made rules for the imaginary child in my head. Such as if you're going to whine about wanting to stay in the store, I will leave you there. I am not a short order cook, so if you don't like what I make, then you're going to go hungry. You don't have to eat everything off your plate, but you better at least try everything. You don't get negotiating power until you're making your own money. When I say "now," I don't mean "later." You get the point.

I guess I really won't know for sure until it happens, huh. I may freak my current-self out and become a total child-cooer. So what about you? For you gals out there with no kids, what kind of parent do you think you'll be? For the mothers out there, are you the parent you thought you would be (hope I didn't just ask a loaded question)?

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Dress: Garnet Hill piazza knit (similar strapless here or not close but wow here)
Sweater: J. Crew featherweight (worn here before - similar 3/4 here)
Belt: Anthropologie looping lanes (worn here before - similar here)
Tights: Target
Shoes: Xhiliration by Target teanna (worn here before - similar here)
Bracelet: Forever 21 faceted cube spiral (worn here before)

And don't worry, Pacey is still with us ...

39 comments:

  1. OK. As a gal who is rapidly reaching her child baring age, I think about this topic almost everyday. Am I ready or not? how do I know when it's time am I going to be a good mom? then it comes to the conclusion every time that you will know all when you become one.(and this is the answer I get from most of my "mom" friends haha in fact, 99% of my gal friends have kids, and that 1% is my tiny tiny hope that there will be one person that I am not aware of who doesn't have kids yet haha)

    but I really DO think my hubs will be better at this.haha

    Jin,

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  2. While I don't have kids yet, I have an idea of what kind of parent I'll be after "parenting" my six younger siblings for my entire life. While not asian, it sounds like my parents were extremely similar to your own and your future parenting style seems to mirror my own. Parents are far too soft these days and its not doing the next generation any favors. I know both my husband and I will end up being considered far too strict by most but that thought really doesn't bother me...there are far worse ways to be thought of in life. :)

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  3. I wonder about this sort of thing all the time. With Simon (my dog) I am a huge softie. I treat him like a baby and spoil him, yet he listens to me and not the fiance. He knows I run the show. I spanked him once on the bottom and felt horrible, tear-inducing guilt for days, so don't worry, you're not alone.

    As for what sort of mom I'll be...my parents weren't strict at all with me. But I knew when I did wrong, if that makes any sense. I don't believe in yelling or laying a hand on your kids. I don't think your kids should ever fear you. I do think they need discipline and that kids are too spoiled these days. I guess I'll find out what kind of mom I'll be when I have them, and that age/time in my life is rapidly approaching!

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  4. I love your yellow cardi and I'm digging the sandals with tights too!

    If I ever decide to have kids, my worry is kind of the opposite of yours. With my dogs, I pretty much let them get away with anything. Kya rules the roost and they are all spoiled rotton. Being a dog mom is a learning experience. So, if I do have children some day, hopefully I can take what I have learned and go from there!

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  5. Kids are so different than the doggie in this house. LOL. My kids are convinced I love Rico more. But then again, Rico does everything I tell him to. The kids? Not so much. I'm sure you'll be a great mommy though if and when the time comes.

    On to lighter news, I love that dress. This fits your body perfect and the belt just adds to it. You should wear it each and every day!!

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  6. You are too funny.

    All people think they have rules with their children before they have one, but not may stick with them after they get one. It is tempting to give in and think it can be dealt with it later when the whole store are staring at you and your tantruming kid and think that your children misbehave because you spoil them. Threaten leaving them in the store won't work because you CAN'T legally do it so you can't follow through. They will catch on to that fact really quickly ;-)

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  7. There is no handbook when it comes to parenting. There is also no one way of doing it. Sometimes I am ornery and sometimes I am fun and sometimes I am hated and sometimes I am adored. I am always respected in any of these situations though. The rules have changed from time to time once I have realized that something isn't working. The methods sometimes vary from kid to kid because one approach will work on one and not the other. They are individual people with individual reactions. I just play it by ear. If you become a mother, my guess is that you will do it just like everyone else (including me) does. By making it up as you go along and pretending that you know what you're doing. :)
    (PS... EVERYTHING I thought BEFORE having kids turned out to be wrong. Planning is futile!)

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  8. I really worry about the kind of mother I'll be. I like to think I'll be able to be patient but I'm not sure. I have a certain amount of patience and then its gone. As in I'm so mad I yell, scream, and basically have a temper tantrum. I know that has to change if I have kids (and for me that is a big if).

    About the outfit, that dress looks great! You have such a tiny waist and it accentuates it perfectly!

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  9. I worry often about what kind of mother I'll be. A couple of years ago, I was very keen on "having kids soon". Now that I'm married and nosy relatives have begun asking, my thoughts on the matter have gotten more reflective and critical than romantic. I don't think I will even consider having children until I am comfortably sure about the answer to "what kind of mom will I be?"
    And btw, I catch myself smacking Rufus on the butt once every...let's say...2 weeks or so. Not hard, just a little tap that he totally ignores and continues to do whatever terrible thing he was doing to begin with- but i always feel guilty afterwards.

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  10. Lisa- I feel like I might be closet Asian. LOL You just described me. I have four kids, and I am pretty strict. I feel like when you truly love your kids, you set strict boundaries. But I also LOVE having fun with my kids, and they are a pleasure to BE with. (A bonus, when they know what is expected of them.)
    It sounds like you really love your doggie, you were just trying to get his attention. And sometimes that happens in parenting. That is okay too.
    I love your thought process.

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  11. Good questions. Although I must initially say that I sat for nearly 30 minutes over the weekend sewing up Abbie's dog bed, only to finally look up at Husband and say, "Why don't we just buy her a new one?" For some reason, though, I'm constantly sewing toys and beds shut!

    I'm definitely going to be the more authoratative parent. Husband is way too much of a softie. The dogs annoy him for twenty seconds and suddenly they're enjoying a second (or third) dinner to shut them up. I, on the other hand, will sit for hours ignoring them to teach them a lesson.

    There's a comedian, Bob Odenkirk, who has this funny bit about how he sits quietly when his kids are acting up and then out of the blue starts SCREAMING at them. His wife is always like, "It's not like they grabbed a knife. They have a cookie." I'm kind of the same way. After a certain amount of time, I flip out.

    I need to work on that! LOL

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  12. First off I love your dress!! I never put too much thought into what kind of a mother I would be, I think whether you are too strict or too soft the MOST important thing is that you love your kids with unconditional love. Since I studied child development in college I noticed that was the most important factor to being a successful parent! I have no doubt you will be a wonderful mother!

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  13. oh my gosh lisa - i totally say 'when i say now i don't mean later' - i'm with you on that one. as laid back as i think i am i think i could be a tough one. maybe that's why i've held off this long...the last thing i need to do is damage someone. oy!

    xo,
    c

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  14. Now that I'm married and plan on having children soon (1.5-2 yrs). I really wonder if I'll be as strict as my mom or a soft like me dad. I'll probably be a perfect mix of both though my husbands thinks I'm too sweet sometimes. :)

    ps. That dress looks great on you and I love the color combo.

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  15. <3 your outfit! The colors are amazing together, love the ruffles & that belt is so CUTE!!

    http://behindtheleopardglasses.blogspot.com/

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  16. I think I'll be the hated parent too cause my husband is more laid back when it comes to ANYTHING. lol.. well someone's gotta set things straight and guess that means someone's gotta look like the bad guy.

    www.mrschong.com

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  17. HAHAHAHAHA! I loved this post! Preach, Asian sister! No kids yet, although definitely in the foreseeable future. I will definitely be the "meanie" parent - making homework is finished, as you say, leaving kids in the store if they refuse to go home, let them go hungry for a night, etc. I highly doubt that I will veer too off this course, fighting recent memories of unruly children from my teaching days ...

    I love whenever you talk about Pacey and his victims. Idk why ... you just write in such a funny way.

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  18. Loaded question, but fun loaded question :) I know I will be the tougher parent, not bc my hubby and I don't agree on parenting styles- we do!- but bc I'm usually more direct and assertive than he is. He's quieter, gentle, and calm, which are all great assets in a parent. And the fact that we're having girls means he's going to be a huge mushball now. I'm patient and stubborn so when it comes down to a test of wills with our kids, I know I got it :)
    PS- I've popped my dogs when they've snapped at me, but don't plan on doing that with kiddos. Something about my unruly pup brings it out of me!

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  19. Love that dress - it looks so comfy!

    I can tell you this - no matter what kind of mother you are, you'll never think you are a good enough one ;) I just watch Super Nanny sometimes to make myself feel like wow, I've got my stuff together, lol! I'm sure you'll be fantastic, and even if you snap and bop your kids on occasion, they'll be fantastic too!

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  20. Your comments are all wonderful, ladies - insightful, funny, encouraging, inspirational.

    Jen - I agree with you, I also think that parents nowadays are too soft on their kids. I often see my BF's sister negotiating with her children and my own sister bribing her son to get them to do something, act a certain way, etc. I think I was always a straight-as-an-arrow kid partly because my dad instilled the fear of HIM into my sister and I, though he rarely had to discipline us.

    Kim - it sounds like you had some awesome parents, and you were a pretty awesome daughter too! Respect is the key, you're right!

    Betty Ray - well Pacey ran off today and ran right through traffic! It scared the heck out of the BF and I! Not one of my pup's better moments!

    Inkmark - aw, don't ruin my strict parenting fantasy with reality, haha!

    Ady - I think thinking of your kids as little persons are so important - and for a non-parent like me, it also seem very intimidating!

    Tara - I can't help but to feel a little miffed that I bonked my dog on the head and all she did was look at me without any real reaction!

    modernmom - I think you totally would have to have more rules in your family with four small ones running around - otherwise I think it would be chaos!

    Kathleen - Your Odenkirk comments reminds me of an episode of The Family Guy: Brian the dog got ticked off at a screaming baby next to him and he started screaming "wah, wah, wah, how do you like that now? Wah, wah!" The worst part of that? I actually tried it on my nephew once a few years ago ... let me tell ya, it so does NOT work ...

    Danielle C - I wonder if it is OK to overboard if a kid had two strict parents? BC the BF totally agrees with my thinking, which could mean bad news for our potential kid!

    LT - OMG, you're having girls! Congratulations! And wait a minute - do you mean plural girlS?!

    Jan - I don't know why your comment makes me think of this, but sometimes I watch the Real Housewives to make myself feel better about my shopping - "look, honey, I don't shop THAT much" or "I so don't have THAT many shoes .... so I should get some more ..."

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  21. You go the Teannas in both colors! Okay, jealous.

    With my kids, I communicate/reinforce the rules often and there are immediate consequences if the rules are not respected. I also say, "Because you didn't listen to Mommy during xyz, Mommy cannot listen to you right now." This is a two-way street, after all. But am I the mom I hoped to be? NO. I had hoped to have more patience and be a MUCH better cook. ;)

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  22. A few weeks ago, I finished reading The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom. I'm pretty sure my parenting style will be on a somewhat similar wave as hers, but maybe not quite as extreme (I would allow sleepovers and such). As a teacher, I can tell you that kids these days are so overindulged and feel entitled to everything. They don't understand the value of hard work and expect to be rewarded for every little minor thing that they do.

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  23. Bf and I joke about being parents all the time. Of course I think I'm going to turn out to be a cool mom... I mean, look at me! j/k :) But really, the more I think about it, I think I'm going to be one of those tough love parents. You fall down, pick yourself up. No babying in this house! That just makes bf laugh more cuz we'll be the perfect good cop/bad cop tandem... except I'm the bad cop -_-

    I ADORE this dress on you. On second though, is there a dress of yours that I don't love?! Don't think so :) Speaking of dresses, I finally went to the biggest F21 around and tried on the white/yellow striped dress that you posted awhile ago. It looked horrid on me though. So much excess fabric in the upper back area. So I will be living vicariously through you!

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  24. So! I am the last one to the party, but I think you must have been reading my mind. (Also, though I'm black, I think we had the same parents. My mother DID leave me in a store once, lol. She came back.)

    I'm so like you- I think I'll be strict. I am trying to think of how to be strict and very loving. I know those things aren't mutually exclusive, but I worry about being the bad guy in my house.

    And Naughty Dog gets a bop every so often too- today he was chewing on my calf hair zebra- printed flats!!!!

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  25. Well, I'm 31 years-old and have yet to decide if I ever want to have kids.
    If I do, I would want to be a strict but loving, open, and honest parent. I think it's all about balance and communication.
    I won't know what type of parent I will be unless I have kids...

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  26. Great topic! I'm at "that" age too. Sometimes i look at other mothers and how they treat their kids and would think "erm, they are way too soft", especially ones who let their kids run around punching things and hitting others. My husband believes that there should be one "bad cop" in the household. I don't know which one of us it is yet! I do believe in discipline though. Kids need to be told when they are doing something wrong and they need to know the consequences and be responsible for their own actions.
    Whenever i hear on the news about teenagers out of control (i'm talking theft and violence), i wonder about the parents. But then again, how would i know...i don't have kids yet and not sure what's to come!

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  27. LOVE this post!! I had very similar feelings to you before I had kids...different, but similar. My husband and I craved kids--being the youngest of 12 children, I grew up babysitting my nieces and nephews and I truly love the magic children bring to everything. You just can't be silly and build forts with grown ups. But when we got pregnant, although very excited, I was so nervous I wasn't good enough to be someone's Mom. I felt like I was just bobbing in the wake of this monumental event in my life hoping I wouldn't drift too far away from "the real me" (whatever that is...). So anyway...I am actually very, very happy with myself as a Mom--so much so that I truly ache with worry about my kids getting bigger. How do I let go of this role that I've grown so comfortable and confident in? I equate it to falling in love but knowing that you aren't going to be his partner forever...he will outgrow you. It sucks! I just want to keep them. We are strict, they go to bed when we tell them, they eat what we give them, and there are clear consequences for rude or disrespectful behavior, period. It's a daily project, but I believe if I spoiled my kids with gifts, unearned praise/rewards then I would rob them of true work ethic...and good work ethic is so important to us. I truly enjoy my kids. Now I worry about becoming a crazy person when they grow up and leave :(

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  28. your pup is getting so big!

    I know what kind of parent i'll be- the kind that leaves my kid's teacher alone! and I'll raise my kid to respect his/her teachers and do their homework and I will NOT buy them everything they want only to drag it to school and flaunt it to the "have-not's"

    yep, it's that time of year at work.....

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  29. Oh gosh Lisa, I've been thinking about this very topic for some time lately, and I've figured out that I'm going to give myself slack and take it one day at a time. There are definitely things I've learned from my parents on what NOT to do, but also learned what works. I would like to set the tone and be strict, but with a purpose, and provide room for my child to learn the reason for it. Sometimes I do think that I'll focus more on just having fun and creating a comfortable environment, but I also really don't my child/children to ever take anything for granted or feel entitled to what's being provided. Great topic and cute outfit!

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  30. Oh, I love your dress!!! Seriously, so cute! You mix colors so well--that cardi looks great with it! As for the mothering thing...I am way more impateint than I thought I'd be. I shouldn't be that surprised...I'm impatient by nature. The most interesting thing is to see your not-so-fabulous traits show themselves in your kids...it's like geez, why are you so spastic? Oh, because I am...duh! =)

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  31. My dogs have taught me patience. I remember years ago reading advice in dog books to train a bad puppy by hitting him lightly under the chin, making loud noises to startle him etc. But soon I realized the dog (a Dalmatian, VERY rambunctious) responded better to praise. That dog taught me a lot about patience and love.

    Now I will never to punish a dog except by talking in a disappointed voice or occasionally ignoring the dog for nipping etc. Sometimes it helps to make a puppy lay down for a "time out" to be petted for five or ten minutes when he's misbehaving. They are impatient with that (so am I) but it teaches them to be calm.

    It's probably the same with kids, and I am good with older kids, but I don't want any of my own... still don't feel I have the patience for little ones. I don't want to find out. But if I pretended they were puppies I'd probably be OK.

    Love your outfit today -- great colors, makes me wish I had that yellow sweater!

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  32. thanks for the sweet comment!

    I have to say that that yellow cardi is just what that outfit needs, it looks great... also, you have a tiiiiiny tiny waist and that belt emphasizes it!

    your blog is great, missy, I am officially following you :)

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  33. Lisa, I love your outfit today! You made a jersey dress a completely covetable item for me!
    And as far as being a mom question, I must say I was terrified to be a mom. I didn't want to raise them the same way I was raised. I kept the good, left the bad. Some days are better than others. The biggest thing I have come to know is that you set boundaries (also rules), be consistent, and yet realize each of your kids is unique and needs to be communicated with in his/her own way. You have to be multi-lingual with kids!

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  34. Really cute dress!

    Motherhood is an adventure. You have really great moments and not so great moments, even within a short range of time! Love your kids unconditionally, and the occasion misstep is no big deal, they know they are loved. You'll know what to do when the time comes. Roll with punches and enjoy the ride :)

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  35. Lisa, as a fellow Asian sister and woman that is nearing that "age" when you should really decide on the motherhood front, I feel your anxiety!

    The hubs and I just bought our first house and I am not sure if it was the stress of moving coupled with the fact that the house brings on the onslaught of questions, "so you guys are settled now...how about kids??", but I totally had a meltdown and spanked my dog for the first time when he had an accident in the new house.

    I FELT HORRIBLE (and still do).

    But as you know, your dog is going to love you unconditionally...you'll be reminded of this whenever that little guy's tail is just wagging away every time he sees you walk through the door.

    As for motherhood...some days, I think I am going to give myself an ulcer from trying to figure out just when and if I even want kids. I think it's just a natural thought that occurs in women of our age.

    Thanks for this enlightening post!

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  36. As your sometime-bloggy-Asian-soul-sista, I have to say I totally empathize with you, on future-parent-to-be-anxiety. I am not a pet owner, or a mom, but I can say that looking back at my upbringing and my friends', (who are raised by old school europeans), that there was more love and encouragement, and less "do it my way or the highway". I also wanna say, a gentle tap on the puppy is fine to discipline it, my ex BF had 2 dogs and he was always loving but firm and consistent with them.

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  37. Anjali - I had to get both pairs, there was a voice in my head urging me on. ;o)

    Liz - I heard about that book - and it has apparently erupted some controversy on child-rearing. I do agree, that I think kids today are too over-indulged - one of the bad things about living in an over-extended society!

    Cee - F21 dresses are difficult to fit sometimes - but I lucked out on this one because I have a pretty wide midriff/torso area. Oh well, there will always be new cute cheap dresses!

    Thirteenlbs - oh no for the pup - or rather, for your flats! Good thing, Pacey, has yet to show any interest in my shoes - but I am always freaked out about those things so I always store my shoes away. She has, however, chewed up a pair of the BF's Crocs. I didn't cry about that though, haha.

    Anne - I hear about that from my friends who are moms all the time. They are worried about the types of moms they will be, but now that they are moms and are bonded to their kids, they worry about them growing older and more distant. As daughters to our parents, we need to remember that more and make sure our parents know how much we appreciate everything they've done for us!

    spiffy - I have a lot of teacher friends and hear horror stories sometimes about their students! On one hand, it is like the parents leave all the child-rearing and disciplining to the parents, but then when something is not completely right, they are jumping on the teachers like it is their fault! I don't envy your job, girl!

    Lady Cardi - I've been reading a dog book right now that says that when you sound stern to your dog, the dog ends up fearing you and will actually not listen to you because they are scared. But then again I'm not sure who is expected to stay calm and loving when their dog squeezes out of a gate and goes tearing across the street during rush hour traffic! (That was yesterday afternoon ... good times).

    Molly - I definitely hope I can be consistent as a mom and not "give in" to my kids. I've seen kids go between parents trying to negotiate dessert without dinner and parents giving in to a plea just because they don't want to hear it anymore. I know, easy for me to sit here and criticize with my no-kids, haha!

    Jennie B - I think the unconditional pet love thing is what makes me feel so guilty! I'll act unfairly towards my pup, but yet she still wags her little tail and loves me - aw, insta-guilt!

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  38. This post is so funny to me 'cause I just spent 4 days watching my 3 yr old niece. She is opinionated and strong-willed...but not as strong as me! :) It was enlightening to say the least. There were a few times I was discouraged with how much I was telling her no and I've heard moms say the same thing. She would give me a hug and smile at me after those moments and it made me realize how resilient children can be. My husband thinks I'll be a softie when we have children of our own. However, unruly kids grate on my nerves so I'm sure we'll have some interesting stories to share along the way!! :)

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  39. Every Mother has her moment. Let's face it. In Pacey's eyes, you are her Mom. I'm sure you know, that animals don't understand punishment. But they do respect a change in the tone of your voice.

    Yes, I struck out at my child a few times. Like the time he pulled away from me, and ran into the street. You better believe I smacked him on the butt. Hard! But it's a fraction of what being hit by a car would have felt like.

    Society has twisted disipline and punishment into something evil. As a whole we are beginning to feel the negative effects of the lack there of. I was walloped a few times as a child. Even a teenager. Like the time my parents had to pick me up at Juvenile Hall because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even though I did nothing wrong, I knew my parents would not approve. I remember each time I was spanked with clarity, and as I grew older a healthy fear of the same made me think before acting.

    I don't advocate beating a child. But a good swift kick in the butt at those times when they need a good waking up, is neccessary and healthy. My Teacher/Father would disagree, but my Teacher/Nurse/Mother approves.

    Since this is obviously the first time you bopped sweet Pacey on the noggin, I'm not worried. Just the fact that this one tiny incident occured, and you immediately regretted it. So much in fact, that this Post was conceived.

    Don't worry! It's thoughtful, caring people like you that raise the best kids.

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