I love hearing new words and phrases from my little one. Some good, some not so good and some are hilarious! Sometimes they are random and out of the blue and you wonder where in the world do they come up with it? And what is even funnier is when you catch yourself saying those exact words and phrases and you realize you have created a little clone of yourself; a tiny parrot that catches your every word. This morning Little Man sneezed and nonchalantly said, “Oh my gracious. I need a tissue again!” It’s a joy to watch their personalities grow and have a laugh or two along the way!
Today it’s all about Christmas. The husband is off fixing the lights for the tree and we’re watching Christmas movies, drinking apple cider and making gingerbread men shaped ornaments for the tree with the little ones. Christmas is just better with children. And there are only 5 weeks to go!
I can’t help but notice the amount of urban legends and poorly researched literature going around social media lately. For those who may not have read the About the Momster part of my blog, my educational background includes a degree in Folklore, and in greater detail, a focus on folktales, folk songs and urban legends. How many times have my mother informed me with great trepidation of the latest scandal to hit the supermarkets related to someone bringing home spiders in their produce or human remains in their meat. These stories, although told in full belief that they are indeed true, have been around for centuries and circulate every so often through word of mouth, and now even faster through social media sites such as Facebook. Urban legends usually start off with the person relaying the event as a true story which “happened to a friend of a friend of mine,” or FOAF tales. How many of you out there has heard of the snake owner whose snake was starving itself to get ready to eat their owner? Or of on-campus kidney heists by med students making a quick buck through the black market to pay for medical school? Or that baby carrots are coated in a deadly solution? You can certainly read thousands more on the popular site snopes.com.
This leads me to the realization that social media and communicative technology are influencing people’s psychology; Many will believe just about anything that anyone says. If it sounds legit or looks legit than it must be. There’s a Facebook link so it must be true! Our minds are being morphed into this machine-like mentality that has the inability to filter and decipher on its own. We see it on the screens and monitors in front of us and automatically believe it to be true for the simple fact that technology presents it as appealing, professional looking and undeniably true. Our brains sometimes work by memory and repetition or classical conditioning like Pavlov’s dogs. We hear the key words and our brains automatically respond and start channeling the information in a particular way: “A friend of a friend once told me…”, “I read an article one time…”, “They say…”(That one always cracks me up! Who are the They the person is talking about?) Soon the brain starts believing all the myths, legends, lies, ill-researched articles and literature and so on.
Here are some of today’s common myths thrown at married couples and those with children:
“They say once you have kids you stop having sex”: This one seems a little trite to me because of its logic. The way I see it, young married couples are more than likely doing it and doing it a lot. When the decision comes to have children, you again will be doing it a lot. Once the children come, our priorities shift and suddenly we have to divide our time. Children can be a little demanding at times and cause many sleepless nights. Sometimes our priority may be sleep. But sometimes this drought of intimacy and the fact that our brains have heard the warnings causes ourselves to believe it. Truth is, when that idea settles, it tends to get stuck. Yup, this is just as they say. Intimacy and romance are out the window. Quit that thinking! That’s a lie! You need and crave intimacy with your partner and your partner is the same. If you can’t remember the last time you two were romantic than you need to make a date and make it happen. Sex is important and you could have a very active and healthy sex life even after having children. It is human nature to be sexual and emotional beings and your relationship requires sexual and emotional intimacy for it to be successful and to last. Without it you and your partner are mere roommates coexisting with similar responsibilities surrounding the common aspects in your lives such as your children.
The Divorce Fence: As I was walking out of the building of vital statistics where I applied for our marriage license, the clerk jokingly asked which side of the fence I was going to land on. “It’s 50/50” he said. “Are you sure you’re ready?” He was talking about divorce. I was startled and a bit offended by his flippant remarks. Yes, I agree that the divorce rate is extremely high but with that negative mentality influencing a marriage, why would it not be? Our society is quickly becoming a place where if something is broken you can just go buy a new one. Why waste time fixing something when there are a thousand more similar versions out there? Marriage is a big, serious deal. Divorce is also a big, serious deal. It isn’t something to be taken lightly or joked about. Unfortunately, some relationships just don’t work out, but that doesn’t mean yours won’t either. It’s easy to think “Well if the Jonses’ marriage didn’t work than ours certainly won’t.” We need to stop comparing our relationships with others, stop listening to the negativity and focus on fixing and building and repairing what we have. If relationships filtered the input, the output would be much stronger. Garbage in, garbage out I say.
“They say immunizations can cause Autism”: This has been a theory by some for quite some time. Some parents of children with Autism, or who have children with Autism spectrum disorders, feel that there should be a reason other than genetics or luck; there must be a cause. Many parents are opting to forgo immunizations for fear that it causes such conditions. What Canada is seeing now is a recent outbreak of measles that was once thought to be eradicated several years ago. Reports are that all reported cases are due to unimmunized people. My advice is to do your research using scholarly articles or literature backed with scientific research by reliable sources. Don’t be quick to make assumptions based on the latest Facebook link that keeps popping up in your news feed or the common word on the street.
“Eating peanut butter while pregnant may cause an allergic reaction to the baby in the womb”: There are plenty of food myths surrounding pregnant moms and parents of young children that it can completely freak you out! And it seems that almost every year new research comes out to update the food guides and regulations for feeding our children. Peanut and nut allergies are so prevalent that many public places and food items have become nut free. Allergies are not to be trifled with and therefore have raised much alarm and even fear to many parents even causing horror stories and myths like the one above. Out of fear many parents delay giving their children foods known to have allergens. However, the province of Nova Scotia has seen an incline in the amount of nut allergies among children when foods such as peanut butter was introduced later. The NS Health system have realized the correlation and have completely turn the tables to inform new parents to introduce peanut butter much earlier, even as early as one of their first foods. The Mayo clinic also states, “… research suggests there’s no convincing evidence that avoiding these foods during early childhood will help prevent food allergies.” Again, I would say educate yourself on the latest researched data relating to food guides and feeding your child.
“You’ll spoil the child if you hold them too much”: Babies need to be held and to be touched. In fact, most hospitals are now promoting skin to skin contact between baby and parent because they see how beneficial it is for both parent and child. A child that is held, cuddled, kissed, and touched more often are more likely to be balanced, healthier, well-rounded adults. Child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry explores this theory in many of his published works such as The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog. A child that is left to cry for long periods of time, who do not feel touch or love from a parent or guardian are more likely to be ill-developed, rebellious, and delayed emotionally and mentally.
Parents, educate yourselves before you fall for myths, lies and urban legends of our society. Don’t just merely assume things to be true because someone heard it from a friend of a friend. Listen to your own instincts, do you own research and do what is best for you and your family.
I’m going to be honest, I’ve had a stressful few weeks. Between unexpected viruses and sudden colds and sleepless nights there was hardly a moment when I thought, “Ah, these are the joys of parenthood right here.” It was more like, “Where’s the escape hatch?” There will certainly be days (or weeks) where everything seems to be going upside down, but rest assured there will be more days when things are alright. Look forward to those moments.