Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ockham's sippy cup

Ockham's celebrated razor tells us that Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem or "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." Or, as it's usually summed up, the simplest solution is best. I was unable to find my razor today, so I would recommend avoiding my armpits while I discuss how this famous saying applies to sippy cups.

Having a child is complicated. When a pregnant woman asks for advice, she most often hears tearful lamentations about, "Enjoy every second, they grow up so fast [sniffle sniffle]", which isn't really helpful. My advice would be, "It changes every day; the simplest solution is best; learn to drop back and punt". Meaning, children change every freaking day. They sleep well for 2 days and then keep you up all night. Yesterday, she loved yogurt, and today she throws it at you, shrieking with anger. The park was a joyous occasion last week, and today, it is terrifying. And there's nothing you can do to change them. Discipline takes years of "don't touch the stove" before it sinks in. They think "no" is the funniest word on the planet at 18 months.

Therefore, you must find the simplest solution and drop back and punt, as my country cousin Jaybird likes to say. Instead of screaming back or smacking them, figure out how to go with the flow, work with the changes. I know it's a cliche, but thinking outside the box is the only way to stay sane. It helps, of course, to have a proper amount of sleep and food in the parent before this technique is attempted, as even the best of us have days where we hide under the covers drinking coffee, saying, "Mommy is night night" after 4 hours of sleep while our naked child puts a 3-inch tall Noah in the potty and tinkles on him while screaming "Poop NOAH!"

Or maybe that's just me.

Think of all the kids you see screaming and crying in stores, restaurants, and parks. For some but not all of them, their parents are doing the same thing over and over again, trying to force their children into a mold that doesn't fit instead of using their imagination and psychology. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing 1000 times and expecting a different conclusion, and to me, that kind of parenting is insanity. If your child won't sit in a high chair in a restaurant, all the physical force, anger, and reasoning in the world isn't going to keep them in the high chair. You just get frustrated, angry, and resentful, which benefits no one. Much better to find an alternative that works for everyone, even if it means having to sacrifice your own desires for what will benefit your child and you the most. Which is why we don't go to restaurants right now but enjoy infrequent take-out and pray for weekly date night.

To offer a caveat, I also believe that different children have different needs, and we all know they are their own little people starting in the womb and regardless of all the nurturing in the world. I know quiet kids and loud kids, physical kids and needy kids, and I know and adore some very special kids who have developmental needs that make them even more difficult to deal with for their saintlike and loving mothers. All our kids cry sometimes, no matter what we do, and I think it's important to respect the parenting challenges that loom before us. Patience, tolerance, and camaraderie go a long way in dealing with other moms, because you never know which kids might be on the Autism or Aspberger's spectrum these days. Sometimes, discipline, no matter how gentle and loving, just doesn't work, and sometimes we ALL find ourselves helplessly crying along with our child in the car. And that's okay, too.

Anyway, i'm on my soapbox today. Why Ockham's sippy cups? Because children between the ages of about 10 months to 3 years drink out of sippy cups, and the sippy cup of every other child on the planet, no matter how filthy or infected, is the most obviously attractive sippy cup that ever was. Lots of parents freak out about germs, or label their child's sippy cup, or dive at their child every 45 seconds to remove someone else's sippy cup from her mouthward hand, screaming "NO!!!". None of which changes the child's determination to ingest what is in the other kid's sippy cup. Which is why I mainly hang out with people who don't give a crap about sippy cup exchanges. I don't hang out with people who give their kids soda or sugary crap, and I don't generally chill with people who are OCD or germaphobic about their kids. I figure germs strengthen the immune system and hope for the best.

It's the simplest solution. It's my parenting attitude. And it's helped me find some great friends with similar feelings, and we rarely have to dive at our children or scream NO, which makes hanging out that much more pleasant.

As Michael Scott says, "
Adapt. React. Re-adapt. Act." He's actually right for once, but i'm guessing he has no idea what he's talking about.

Wow, you're still reading? Your child must be napping. Or perhaps i've just scared you into getting your tubes tied tomorrow. I think this is my longest blog entry ever. And it's still going. Blah blah blah. I'm Winston Churchill; would you like a crumpet? I'm Winston Churchill; would you like some tea? Mmm... tea. I'm going to go have some Celestial Seasonings mint green tea with honey. I think my Benadryl is kicking in. Have you ever watched The Venture Bros.? That's like my favorite show. I even have a VB quote on my license frame, which I don't think anyone will ever, ever get. But i've always liked inside jokes like that. It's enough if it makes *me* happy. Seriously, though. Go home. I've got painting to do. And fish sticks to eat. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.


stinestrain said...

I read the whole thing. I think you should publish that.

and I love you.

stinestrain said...

by the way, you are not only one of the smartest funniest people I know, but also one of the best moms. and best friends.

elaine said...

I'm sad Delilah. You would never want to be friends with me as I do not do sippy cup exchange. And hey- why are you picking on poor OCD people. ;)

delilah said...

Well, Elaine, I hear you're really cool, and you like some cool music, but we've been on the same board for, like, 6 months and never hung out. Once you saw Cleo eat a raisin off the ground, you'd file me off as a freak and hide your children.

delilah said...

Also, for stine's edification, this post was inspired by my Coffee Park experience yesterday.

In between watching two moms of twins endure one happy child while telling a crying child, "Your sister doesn't throw her yoghurt/have to get out of her chair. Why can't you do what sister does?" And I was amazed that after having these people inside of them for 9 months and outside of them for over a year, they didn't get that twins are very different people, no matter how "identical" and would require a different approach. It boggles the mind.

Imagine those poor kids, one constantly being told, "Why can't you be more like your sister?" depending on what's going on that day and which sister is getting the treatment she likes best.

And, Elaine, you know that i'm =) with you. Hope we can meet at the playground soon, now that germs are headed out. Just don't bring sippy cups, cuz I can't control my mongrel child.

Blair said...

Aw! I'm proud that my kid has shared a sippy cup with your kid.