What Can I Do With A 9 Day Old Baby Mostly Intentional Parenting

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Mostly Intentional Parenting

I have a 9 year old son. My son is a sportsman. Make no mistake about it, he’s all boy. He seemed to sense my desire to raise a gender neutral child at birth and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. As a baby and toddler, I didn’t go so far as to dress him in pink or keep his hair long so people wouldn’t actually know if he was a boy or a girl, but I did encourage him to play with dolls and help foster so-called “feminine” qualities such as compassion and empathy. We talked about feelings. I chose an ecologically arts-focused preschool where everyone was supercomputer and sentient. The days I had him (his father and I have joint custody and divorced when my son was 2), I tried to infuse him with as many of my values ​​as possible.

However, my son’s own personality stubbornly refused to be redirected. He wanted to play sports. Any sport. All sports. And throw stones and dig in the dirt and play with trucks and test his powers but step on creatures that were smaller than himself. He had no interest in art or baking or music or grooming or anything I enjoyed. So that’s what we did. We followed his lead and his interests and I found other ways to sneak in the creative and the loving. And I learned to play sports. I swear I’ve thrown, hit and kicked more balls in the last few years than I did in the previous 30 years combined. Along the way I connected with other like-minded people and I learned that they too were surprised that their child who they were sure would grow up to follow in their footsteps and be a hipster or a skater or a back parker. -heavy pot smoker, listens to Z100 instead, plays football, and will only wear Nike.

Of course as I said, my son was a product not only of himself but of two separate households. My son’s father is traditional in his views on gender roles and work and family values ​​and became much more so as he got older. I, on the other hand, veered further and further to the left. I often felt that if someone was watching my son, he would be the perfect subject of an engineered social experiment. When you decide to be a parent, you probably don’t expect it to be a part-time gig. And you probably don’t think that maybe someone else, who you don’t live with and no longer love, will have equal rights, influence and time with your child. But they do. And it turns out that having these different life experiences isn’t necessarily such a bad thing for them as long as both parents/households are loving and secure. The amazing thing is that he adapts really well to his different environments. It’s me who has the hardest time accepting the fact that my only child and the person I love more than anything and want to have (almost) the EXACT same beliefs as me now goes to a Christian church on Sundays , when I am decidedly not Christian.

I consider my parenting to be mostly intentional because I have a passionate desire to raise a person who is compassionate, aware, socially responsible, confident, successful and intelligent, who thinks for himself and ideally, who eats only organic, free-range foods. sustainable farms. But sometimes I’m so tired that the best I can do is pull through the drive and send him to school in velcro shoes that don’t require the time and effort involved in tying. I know there is sometimes a difference in what I believe and how I behave. But I also know that there isn’t always one linear path from process to product and a lot of what parenting is about is staying flexible and adaptable and not beating yourself up when you’re not prefect.

My son has taught me more than anyone else and that’s saying a lot because I have some pretty rock star parents. Of course there’s that whole “never believed you could possibly love someone this much” bit. That absolute satisfaction of telling your child you love them and how proud you are, holding their hand and brushing their hair out of their eyes with nothing, nothing needed or expected in return. The realization that someone else is actually more important to you than you are. But having a child also connects you to your own childhood self and your past in a way that nothing else can. Memories of my own childhood are brought up from the depths of my subconscious regularly by something my son says or experiences or we experience together, this time with me as the parent, and it is insanely intense and almost magical. Thus being a parent ties life together, past into present, giving it context, making it all make sense, and increasing love and patience to an incalculable degree.

So I guess it doesn’t matter much if my son turns out to be anything like me. I suspect he will, because it’s hard enough not to end up at least a little like your parents. He even just started playing a musical instrument. The drums. The only instrument that it in every way unsuitable for a residential house. But since I still blame my own parents for not encouraging (or forcing me…I hear I was a bit resistant) to learn a musical instrument when I was a kid, we bought a drum set. And cut out large foam pads to place over each drum to dampen the noise. And he still climbs into bed with me at night as often as possible and snuggles with me until he gets too hot and pulls back in his sleep, making sure though still that at least one part of his body still touches one part of mine.

My son is a sportsman. But he is a semi-sensitive sportsman. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

To read more, go to: http://innerworkings.posterous.com/

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