Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Preparing and Thinking About Big Messes

Apparently we're supposed to get official winter Storm Jonas here on the Eastern Seaboard on Friday and Saturday so today Jim and I prepared for it. Oiled the snow shovels, sprayed Pam on the old synthetic broom I always use to sweep off the walkways and got out the Quick Melt for the steps.

Around noon we went out, got a few things and went to the park to walk around and feed the ducks. It was cold but invigorating. A 180 degrees from growing up in South Louisiana where if the temps get near freezing or there are a few random flakes everyone freaks out. The first time I owned a proper winter coat was when I moved to Germany.

Washed and dried all the throw rugs, bath mats, etc and swept and mopped, which is likely the worlds dumbest move on the front side of the bad weather. Snow here usually means that the cats and Jim and I once we start trying to shift the frozen stuff off every car start tracking road salt, Quick Melt, sand and melting snow into the house, turning the beautiful wood floors into quite a mess of drying puddles ringed with white. This year I think I'm going to put a pan next to the front door and a couple of old beach towels. Take off the boots at the door, wipe up the mess.

While I was in and out, dealing with deep winter preparations today I kept popping in and out of online, seeing a big mess happening on one Duggar-related site I am a member of, but rarely post at. Over the last month or so at this place there have been more and more photos posted of Jill Duggar Dillard and Derick (why do I always think of 'Zoolander' whenever I type this poor kid's name?) Dillard's ten month old son.

I'm not even going to post that poor baby's name. But the photos and speculation is going in a way that is telling me that many in the anti-Duggar sites are headed straight into creepy and inappropriate-town. I'm so glad that I decided for NLQ that discussion of minors, no matter how famous or famous via parent they are that we're not going to discuss them.

Been asked why we haven't chimed into the discussion on the swaddling photos that Jill posted showing was seems to be her child crying his eyes out wrapped in a blanket. Well, it's because it's concerning this child and I'm not comfortable with speculation on this kid at all.

Today's dramatic discussion and denouement was over the same child, over photos posted by his mom. Why? A bruise on the forehead. A bruise. A bruise like every active child that age that crawls, gets into things, is learning to walk routinely gets.

Heck, the first six months after my son Andy learned to walk he was sporting a bruise on his forehead frequently. Once he was mobile he didn't walk, he ran! He would get up in the mornings and run headfirst into his sister's room to wake her up. He was so active as a toddler that if I had him out and about in Germany, say at the zoo, or the farmers market or on the subway I quickly discovered I had to put him in a leather padded harness and leather lead. If not he would be gone in a flash.

Yeah, I got dirty looks over the harness and lead, but it was better than having him dashing into the street. He was very active and being allowed to walk instead of being in the stroller made him much happier, even if I wasn't exactly happy how he'd stick every cigarette butt, bug or other thing he'd encountered in his mouth if I wasn't watching with an eagle eye every second.

Which is why I was so uncomfortable the minute people started howling that Jill was a bad mother because her young son had a bruise on his noggin. Commenters were diagnosing everything from some sort of palsy to him being mentally challenged. Some went as far as claiming Jill was an abusive or neglectful mother, insisting that someone call whatever version of CPS there is down in whatever part of Central America the Dillards live in now.

See, here's the thing with that. I know that there are message boards out there that love to call the authorities and make child abuse and/or neglect claims from photos they've seen online of the children of various mommy bloggers or reality show television people. I know of one in particular who that is their raison d'etra who've caused a mountain of troubles for people having a bad public moment. But really, unless you are there, witnessing first hand that the bruise was caused by someone slapping their child into a cabinet or hearing an outcry witness like the siblings you're just speculating based on a small narrow window of time, a single photograph.

Let's face it, childhood isn't all roses and peaches. There are stubbed toes and bruises, bloody noses and scratches from an entire spectrum of things. It happens no matter how carefully you at watching every move your child makes.

And parents are always going to make dumb mistakes. There will always be moments where you are suddenly distracted for a millisecond and look back to see Lil' Mr. Perfect has decided to chomp on the pebble near his feet. It happens.

Let's grant grace for those moments and worry about our own parenting instead of everyone else's parenting lacks. Perhaps we can all learn something from those moments.

Makes me happy I'd decided there should be a moratorium in 2016 on the discussion of under age children on NLQ.

We're not called to be perfect as parents. We just do the best we can and hope it's good enough.

1 comment:

Karen said...

It's been awhile since I've been able to catch up on your blog... and wow, things have not been going well! I'm so sorry. Ghastly family drama, a missing->dead friend, health problems, nasty weather... it makes my problems seem small, but that's not good for you!

My mother, one of six children, had one very toxic sister. They grew up in an abusive household, so maybe it was inevitable that one of the children should become an abusive person; maybe it was surprising that it was only one, though I'm not sure of how good my uncles were at parenting. At any rate, I remember Mama having phone conversations with my aunt and ending up crying; my aunt knew all the right buttons to push. Eventually Mama ended up going No Contact with her sister. I celebrated.

Something to consider. I appreciate that where your MIL is involved, that might not be practical... but maybe Low Contact is.

May the future be brighter!