27 Apr

T1′s Birthday Celebration and T2′s Blessing Weekend

Posted by Jenna, Under family

In March my parents came down for a weekend (my dad hadn’t had the privilege of seeing T2 in person yet) and we packed those few days as full as they could get. We decided to celebrate T1′s birthday a month early, took family pictures, and gave T2 her blessing.

One of the presents my parents gave T1 was a kite. We took it over near Google’s main campus to fly it. Note: You are not supposed to fly kites here. We did not know this when we started.





This will be the only picture of me publicly breastfeeding (maybe the only picture of me breastfeeding, period) in existence, now that I’m done. (I took some notes and plan to post about my experience with T2 eventually, just like I did with T1).



We decided to to T2′s blessing at home (we blessed T1 at church in my hometown when a bunch of my family was in town). I loved how intimate it was. That Husband gave a beautiful, meaningful blessing that she will treasure.

This is the dress I was blessed in, handmade by my grandmother. That same grandmother made the booties she is wearing as well.





We finished off the visit with a trip to the zoo. I don’t know if T1 just doesn’t like zoos (I actually don’t like zoos either, they make me sad), or he just really loves maps and couldn’t be bothered with a group of caged exotic animals, but he was frankly a bit of a jerk. He wouldn’t even look at the animals, sat in the stroller and searched the free map they handed us for the choo choo train, threw a fit and hit me in the face when we got to the choo choo train (which meant he didn’t get to go on it), rode on three different carnival rides you can find in the corner of random parking lots across the US, and then the place closed and we went to the airport.



Despite the zoo fail, it was a wonderful weekend with the grandparents. I love that we were able to spend time celebrating both T1 and T2 while they were here.

64 Comments


  1. Why are you not supposed to fly kites at the google campus?

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    Jenna Reply:

    No flying kites at the park next to the campus because there is an airport somewhat close by.

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  2. Beautiful pictures of you all! We did Lyla’s blessing at home too, I loved it and think I want to continue that tradition with any future kids we have.

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  3. Good to know about no flying kites near google campus since I live close by.

    Will you also document T2′s birth as well?

    I know things must be super hectic with two kids but it’s nice to know that you seem to still be enjoying life. What a lovely visit!

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    Jenna Reply:

    I uploaded the birth photos today! Now to start filling in the text…

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  4. The gown is adorable on her; I bet your mom loved that you both have now worn it.
    You will find that your son ( and your daughter, in time) will have his own interests/passions; they may not align with your expectations, but that is the job of parenthood-to lead your kids to what THEY love. He wasn’t acting like a “jerk.” Sounds more like he was acting like a three year old, LOL.
    Take it from a Mum of 26 years:)

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  5. Beautiful pictures as always! And the blessing for T2 sounds really sweet: I think it’s so nice to make an official acknowledgement of a new baby’s arrival and publicly discuss your hopes and dreams for her.

    Is that the first zoo T1 has been to? He might like it once he’s used to it. My daughter was totally uninterested on our first visit (though she was quite a bit younger than T1 then) but now it’s basically her favorite place on Earth. You could prep him next time with some animal books: I have noticed that really increases my daughter’s interest (she is enthralled at seeing the animals in person once she’s read about them).

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  6. I believe you once said that when T1 was a child, you contemplated just getting him a cardboard box for Christmas because you knew he would probably find that more fun than an actual toy. Perhaps it’s the same with the map. You can’t really tell with children.

    I know that the first time I went to a zoo I was six and my sister was four. I was on the moon but my sister just sat in the stroller and didn’t really pay much attention to her surroundings. She found my grandmother more interesting. Maybe T1 is just a bit too young to appreciate a zoo.

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  7. Nicole R. says:

    Could his short attention span have anything to do with his delays? It doesn’t seem like typical behavior. But then again, I learned that the more you expect from a toddler the less they deliver. Haha, the only thing you can predict is how unpredictable they can be!

    Cute babies you got there!

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  8. Love the pictures of you guys as a family- very cute family photos!
    Not gonna lie, though, it makes me sad that you called your 3 yr old a jerk. I have an almost-2 yr old and I know how frustrating it can be to do something you think they’ll looooove and they have no interest in it whatsoever, but that kind of wording can be harmful and someday he’ll want to read your entries about him and his sister and what you guys did when they were younger-if I came across my mother calling me a jerk I would probably cry.

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    Jenna Reply:

    I have tried really hard to objectively think through how it would make me feel if my mom said to me “I invested in an opportunity for you at 3 years old and you deliberately made it a negative experience. You were being a jerk.”

    That would not make me cry. That would make me sad… that I was a jerk to my mom.

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    Lexi Reply:

    He’s 3, though. 3 year olds don’t have the self control adults do. No, he shouldn’t have hit you in the face. But he’s a small child. They do that sometimes, he was probably overwhelmed by a situation where there was a lot to see and a lot of people and he acted out. Punishment (like not being able to ride the train) is definitely appropriate and needed- obviously you don’t want to reward bad behavior like that, but intentionally trying to be a jerk? He’s a toddler! Obviously I wasn’t there and I dont know T1, but from your description it sounds like an overwhelming situation for him.

    I dont think he can understand the concept of investing in expensive opportunities for him. He was interested in the wrong thing? I mean, yeah it sucks when kids don’t like the things we buy/’invest’ for them, but that’s life with small kids.

    And just because it wouldn’t make you sad or cry doesnt mean it won’t hurt someone else later down the road. I’m not an overly sensitive person, but seriously that would hurt my feelings very badly to see my mother saying such negative things about me on the internet where anyone could see them.

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    Brandi Reply:

    I think you’re probably taking this way out of context. If you’ve read this blog anywhere beyond this post you can see that Jenna is a very loving, doting mother who cares a great deal about her son, and loves him to pieces. I think it takes more than writing that he was acting like a jerk once on the internet to really hurt his future feelings. The boy will be just fine, and I can say that confidently having an excellent relationship with my parents who have many times told tales of my jerkiness to others.

    Toddlers throw tantrums and act like jerks. Moms get frustrated. It’s the way of the world, and it’s okay sometimes to accept both of those facts. If this is something that really upsets you, I’d invite you to take a career working with children, because as someone in education, I know plenty of children who wish they had parents half as caring as Jenna and TH. You’ll see quickly how little power this singular instance holds.

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    Lexi Reply:

    I’ve been a reader since T1 was born, so I am pretty familiar with the blog, thank you.
    I am a parent. I also have parents. I also worked with children extensively (I was a preschool teacher) before I had children- I still have the same opinion. Just because it wouldnt hurt you doesn’t mean it wont hurt him.

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  9. I have 3 kids. Oldest is a boy who went to a zoo at age 3 and just wanted to run and splash in puddles. Totally normal. He even ran away from me a lot that day and ended up in the stroller. I didn’t judge his character for it, but I did learn that the zoo wasn’t his thing. If you take these things personally, you are going to be constantly frustrated as a mother. Just laugh it off and roll with the punches. I promise he wasn’t conspiring against you.

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    Jenna Reply:

    You bring up an excellent point – his actions at 3 are not who he is (and who he will always be). Our kids will be raised to know that – and this we will be able to say “you were a holy terror when we did X” and they will not irrationally project such statements to make assumptions about how we view them as a person.

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    Laura Reply:

    I’m not really concerned that he’ll google his name in high school and be traumatized forever that you called him a jerk (though it’s possible). I’m more wishing you could just chill out regarding his quirks and not view them as him deliberately trying to tick you off. Isn’t motherhood hard enough without adding extra expectations? You’re making it harder on yourself with these kind of thoughts about his behavior.

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    Steph Reply:

    Really? Isn’t a kid who hits his mom in the face being a jerk? I don’t see that as a quirk but normal kid behavior that a kid ought to be reprimanded for…

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    Laura Reply:

    Perhaps the hitting is what Jenna was referring to when she said he was a bit of a jerk. Though, like you said, normal for a kid! It’s just that part of her description of his jerkiness is the fact that he didn’t look at the animals and was showing too much interest in the map and cheesy rides. These kid-quirks to not a jerk make.

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    MissPinkKate Reply:

    I think this is good advice. Obviously bad behavior cannot be tolerated, but it’s good to give your child the freedom to enjoy what he enjoys and not just what you want him to enjoy. Then you won’t be disappointed if things don’t go exactly the way you imagined them.

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    Michelle Reply:

    I’m not a mom but I was a holy terror as a child. I remember it, and my parents will still rib me about it from time to time. Actually my mom just told me about a new instance of my obnoxious behavior that i didnt know about before (i was 3). I was just looking at her like “whoa – that sounds pretty crazy! bet I got spanked for that!” and then I gave her a big smile and a hug and said “but look how good i turned out!!” and we all laughed. :) It sounds like he was ACTING like a jerk, which is exactly what you said. He’ll be fine. You’re a good mom and honest writer.

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  10. that’s great that he can read a map though, isn’t it. next time you’ll have to have him do all the directing to the animals (and then maybe he’ll be more interested if he’s helped locate them?).

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    Jenna Reply:

    Haha, I like your perspective. We have seen a continuing interest in maps (he picked up a free one in San Francisco) and so outings planned around maps or afternoons spent learning how to read a map would be a wonderful way to spend time with him.

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    Rachel Reply:

    that sounds like fun. I wonder if he’d enjoy some kind of Bay Area wall map in his room where you can mark on all the local places that you’ve explored together?

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  11. Jenna, your son is not a jerk. He’s a 3-year-old. I worked in a preschool and I took multiple hits and kicks to the face (and various other places). One kiddo kicked the glasses right off my nose. You are right that it is not an acceptable behavior, but he isn’t planning it or doing it with malice towards you. Children get frustrated, confused, tired, etc., and they strike out because they don’t know how else to communicate the enormity of their feelings. It’s our job to teach them how to deal with those feelings and how to behave in public spaces and with other people. Nice as it would be, kids do not intrinsically know manners.

    Realistically, you’re probably going to get hit a couple times before it really registers with him that it IS NOT OKAY to do that. Pay attention to see if there’s something he usually does before he lashes out, then watch for that indicator. Do something to redirect – point out something cool, have him get up and walk around, or even just get down on his level, look him in the eyes, and ask him why he is upset. Make him feel like you are hearing him and don’t dismiss his concerns. Some of the stuff that kids get worked up about looks so stupid to us as adults, but a child’s world is much smaller and little things can feel incredibly important to him. Giving him a clear outline of what will happen can also be helpful. Saying something like “Boy, T1, I can tell you are really excited to go to the train! Let’s look at three more animals, then we’ll go! Can you help me count?” lets him know he is going to get what he wants, not just yet, but in an understandable amount of time. I feel like you and I are similar in that it feels unnatural and kind of stupid to talk this way, but many kids respond well. Set up little tasks and short waits that he can succeed with, then build from there.

    Kids as young as T1 are filled with quirks and curiosity and you can’t really predict what will pique their interest. To him, a map with colors and drawings that he can hold and fold up and ask questions about and that might lead him to a train (which I imagine in his mind sounds more like TRAIN!!!1!TRAIN!!! Mama, TRAIN!) is equally as interesting, if not moreso, than cool but far-away animals. I know in your mind you paid to take him to the zoo, but all he knows is he is somewhere new and awesome with about a millions things to look at. Kids T1′s age are just beginning to learn to distinguish differences, assign importance, have any meaningful understanding of cause and effect, and really sort and categorize the world around them. It can be overwhelming and there are definitely times when kids find importance in things that we do not see as adults.

    If I’ve learned anything from working with kids, it’s that sometimes it’s best to make sure they are safe and are being polite, then let them go wild discovering. Don’t look at it as you paid for X and T1 is doing Y. Look at it as you paid to discover a new area of the world through your son’s eyes. The zoo will always be there. I hope you continue to take him as his interests and curiosities grow and change. Maybe next time, read some books or watch some of Planet Earth to see if the animals catch his interest.

    Anyway, I apologize for the essay. I’m normally a lurker, but I think T1 is a doll and the fact that he’s already interested in decoding maps suggests you could have a little smartie on your hands. I certainly don’t want to tell you how to parent, but I figured it might not be out of line to share some things that really helped me relate better to kids and their funny little brains.

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    Jenna Reply:

    It’s not about “not getting my money’s worth” – I didn’t pay for the trip, my parents did. Poor grandpa who paid $60 for his grandson to not show any positive response to such a generous gift.

    I do like your version though – he didn’t pay attention to the animals because like me he feels they are inhumane (ok, that part is my own spin) and his refusal to do anything other than look at the map or push/sit in the stroller was a manifestation of his desire to be intellectually stimulated. And he wants to ride the train because he’s adventurous. He’s a compassionate, thrill-seeking, genius in embryo. I’ll take it.

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    MrsW Reply:

    I’m not really sure gratitude and especially the idea of “expensive” vs cheap gifts really is a calculation a three year old can make. It’s unfortunate and I don’t think a reasonable person would begrudge you or your family regrets that the zoo trip didn’t go well, but assigning T1 attributes or names like “ungrateful” or “jerk” is harsh and not developmentally appropriate. These are things he should be just beginning to grasp, with your coaching. It is not innate.

    Also, I would hesitate to use labels like “being a jerk” on my children. “Acting like a jerk”, maybe (though of course I wouldn’t say it in front of them, I’m sure you wouldn’t either) but actually assigning labels like that can be really harmful, if not to them (since he’s not reading your blog) but to you in how you think of him.

    And of course, hitting is wrong and I think the removal of the train trip is completely appropriate. I’m sorry that you had a disappointing trip to the zoo, and I hope that you and T1 can find some fun activities that you can do together. Three is a tough age – T is 3 and 4 months now and I am tearing my hair out most days because I feel like she’s going to grow up absolutely hating me because we clash so much. I have just got to believe that it gets better.

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    Jenna Reply:

    At what age do we hold them responsible for their actions? Because I’m hearing a whole lot of “he isn’t old enough to understand what’s going on”.

    When is it time to say “Someone is doing something nice for you. Here are ways that gratitude is shown”? Or we at least label the behavior is inappropriate and ungrateful.

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    MrsW Reply:

    That’s up to you. IIRC, we once had a big disagreement about the issue of the innocence of children and original sin, in which I think I was the one who was actually talking about being sinful from birth. ;) Though that’s a bit tangential.

    I think he is definitely old enough to begin the dialogue. “I am disappointed with the way you acted at the zoo today. That was a special trip we took with Grandma and Grandpa to celebrate your birthday and Sister’s blessing and I don’t think that you acted sweetly [replace with your own catchphrase for good behavior] when you [what he did].”

    Then you coach, reinforce, repeat. But briefly. My trap is I try to reason and explain and it’s too soon for that. Their attention spans really are SUPER brief (at least for lectures).

    Personally, my philosophy is that of course my kid is responsible for her actions. But I am responsible to help her filter and process a world that is too big for her to handle right now – and sometimes, when I don’t respect her abilities, I get to deal with the fallout of a tantrum or other bad behavior. The responsibility, therefore (to me) is dual, and I understand that may seem contradictory. If she is tired, if she is not feeling well, if it really doesn’t matter whether or not she wants to wear the same dress to church three times in a row, then I take a deep breath and remember that I have trained long and hard to have control of my emotions in stressful situations and give her grace because she has not had that same time and training.

    Of course, this is super ideal world me. Real world me yells, sweats the small stuff, gets bent out of shape and sassy right back at her.

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    Ellie Reply:

    Mrs. W, I think your comments on this are spot-on. You seem to take a thoughtful, measured approach to dealing with conflict with your daughter, and to treat her with respect and consideration.

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    Jenna Reply:

    And I do admit I have a hard time feeling like all of the advice I’m getting about how to parent is the only/best way to go. It’s crowdsourcing from those who have minute amounts of information, from people living in a country where children often act in spoiled and entitled ways.

    But I like your comments. You remind me a bit of Opinionation/Grace.

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    Turtle Reply:

    I don’t think these comments are saying that you can’t hold a 3 year old responsible for his actions– but you have to differentiate which actions he can understand as being wrong. For instance, hitting mommy (or baby, or daddy, or stranger, etc.) is wrong. Do not do that. Linking that behavior to a potential punishment also makes sense. obviously the people here don’t know T1 or what he can understand, and they are only guessing.

    But, it’s worth keeping in mind that things like gratitude (especially, as Mrs. W says, degrees of gratitude– big gift vs. a small gesture) and knowing the socially understood/proper way to enjoy something (for example, should a three year old understand that the train ride is not the reason Grandpa bought the tickets to the zoo?) are bigger concepts; these ideas take time and development. Right now, saying thank you after receiving a gift is a good way to show gratitude, eventually understanding that you don’t make fun of the ugly sweater your aunt gives you for christmas is another stage of gratitude. But really getting the concept takes time and A LOT of modeling from parents and other caretakers. It’s a process, and I think all others are saying is that you be less hard on yourself (everyone with children knows they can be embarrassing, but it’s often unintentional on their part) and on T1.

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    MrsW Reply:

    I presume you mean minute amounts of information about you and your child?
    From what I’ve seen, your commenters don’t seem the type to have spoiled, bratty kids – they all seem rather down-to-earth and thoughtful in how they talk about their children or their plans for them.
    And I don’t think there is just one way to go for parenting, or even a best way, seeing as every child is different. I think that learning about cognitive and emotional development in our kids is important, so that we can consider whether or not we’re frustrating ourselves by asking our children for the developmentally impossible. But I think kids are never too young to hear about how we act sweetly (“No baby, don’t pull your sister’s hair.”).
    I think as a culture we need to strike a middle stance between the old parenting models of expecting either silence and absence or tiny adults, and the new model of spoiling or “Indigo Children” (seriously, spare me).
    Glad you like my comments. I do try to be balanced and give you the benefit of the doubt when we disagree.

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    tanne Reply:

    Holding a three year old accountable for their actions? Totally necessary. Dealing with the small problems that arise now are going to be SO much easier than dealing with serious issues when they’re older. You have to put a lot of work in now though. Whatever you do decide to choose, stick to it. Consistency is key. You might really like Love and Logic. It’s a great approach to discipline. It’s all about offering choices which it sounds like would work well for T1. It puts the responsibility on them to behave well.

    Calling T1 creepy and a jerk are just not really nice ways to talk to or about someone. I get what you’re saying about spoiled and entitled kids. Something does need to be done about that. You can get good results without having to result to harsh words though. I can see it not being all that hurtful of a thing to say when T1 is an older teenager but now when he’s so little? He needs guidance and to be taught how to properly react to different situations. Not to be called a jerk. You’re a smart women. You know what’s nice and what’s not nice.

    If you need some guidance with navigating this age you can always ask TI’s preschool teachers what they do at school. As a former Early Childhood Ed teacher I used to work with parent’s all the time. Giving them suggestions and age appropriate advice. If you have him in a good program then all of those teachers should be educated in the age group they’re working with.

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    Betts Reply:

    I would say at his age, it’s appropriate to have him thank Grandma and Grandpa for taking him to the zoo and to mind his manners pretty well while he is there. You just can’t make him pay attention to (or feign enthusiasm about) something that doesn’t interest him.

    One other thing that was pretty effective was using what we called “thinking time” rather than a time out. Instead of setting a specific time, you pull the kid away from the situation and give him some time to cool down, same as a time out. But then instead of the timer going off or watching a clock, you have a quick talk with him after he’s sat a minute or two. Get on his level, make him look you in the eyes, and ask him why he thinks he needed a thinking time. He might need help if it’s a new situation. Otherwise, kids usually can figure it on their own. Ask him why we don’t do whatever it is he does. Again, you might have to help him at first – we don’t hit because you could hurt somebody. It makes me sad and hurts my feelings when you hit me. Wouldn’t it make you sad if one of your friends hit you? Then talk about how he will change his behavior. Keep it quick and use a calm voice.

    Basically, yeah, he is kind of young to understand more complicated social concepts like gratitude, rudeness, etc. Things he understands are more basic emotions like happy, sad, scared, excited, and so on. However, now is a great time to start easing him in by helping him see how his behavior affects other people and how certain things are safe or unsafe. If you can work through situations using words and concepts he understands, you gradually can start expecting him to be “responsible” for his actions.

    Good luck with your crowd sourcing. When it comes to raising kids, there’s definitely more than one way to get the job done. Different things work with different kids. My mom is a teacher and she is a fan of Parenting with Love and Logic. I like a lot of it, too.

    Nurture that curiosity! A curious kid is a kid who wants to learn. Be prepared for some weird interests, but it usually doesn’t hurt to see where they lead.

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  12. I’m not American and I have several kids. In case you need credentials. I think you might like Your Three Year Old, Friend or Enemy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440506492/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0440506492&linkCode=as2&tag=plus06-20

    It answers the questions you bring up – what is age appropriate behavior for a three year old and what can we fairly expect of them.

    My own experience with my children is that you can require a three year old to behave politely – not yelling, hitting, etc, but you cannot get them to do things like fake enthusiasm for stuff they’re not interested in. They just aren’t emotionally mature enough to do that. So, you can require him to say thank you grandpa, but you can’t get him to act interested in the zoo if he’s not into the zoo.

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  13. You should check out the blog below, Sarah has some wonderful insight into dealing with littlies in a gentle and insightful way:

    http://nursememama.com/

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  14. Jenna,
    I love the photo you took in black and white where you are reflected in the mirror. Did you take photography courses ? You have a beautiful family. Best wishes to you.

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  15. Too bad you can’t fly kites there, it seems really pretty and a great space to do so.

    I suppose I have more of an issue with the word “jerk” and “deliberate” and the idea that your son should have a solid undersanding, instead of a developing idea, that he should appreciate time/money spent on him.

    My three year old (a little more than a month older than T1) does not have a solid understanding that Mommy/Daddy/Whoever has spent __ amount on her and so she should behave in a way that shoes gratitude. So you are not alone in feeling that way.

    We pay a fair amount of money (monthly payments, costumes, extras) on ballet and when she is not listening to her teacher or, bless her heart, is three steps behind everyone in her class (probably because she’s in love with her image in the mirror), I sometimes get in a funk.

    Doesn’t she know how much we spend on her for this, why isn’t she paying attention/having fun/talking to kids her own age/saying thank you?

    Then I remember that she is three. But there is that question, right? When do we begin to teach our children about gratitude.

    By having conversations, by labeling the behavior and not the person and really understanding that at 3, 10, or heck even 14 children are not able to fully grasp certain conecpts 100% of the time.

    Also, if my kid was more interested in the map, I’d be over the freakin moon about that map too. Just because something cost $60 doesn’t mean it holds any value, especially to a 3 year old who seems to love kite flying, paper bags, his mom’s high heels, and paper maps. Some kids just like things that doesn’t cost us adults a lot of money, which is great.

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  16. I don’t comment often, but I read regularly. You and I have very opposing views on many issues, but I still admire your love for your family and your desire to be the very best person that you can be. I just wanted to say that I love how adorable T2 is, and that I’m sorry that you had kind of a crummy day with T1 at the zoo. I think the internet has forgotten that you have a life outside of blogging and that this isn’t the first temper tantrum you’ve dealt with. I think you’re a great mom, and that you shouldn’t worry about what your kids will think about this post in the future just because a couple of people with different parenting styles and nothing better to do than find a way to make themselves feel validated say otherwise.

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    Jenna Reply:

    You’re very nice.

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    Crystal Reply:

    Ditto

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  17. I’m sure you will dismiss my opinion based on the fact that I don’t have children of my own. I do have a young niece who I spend quite a bit of time with, due to the fact that her mom, my sister, is quite ill. I have personally taken her to the zoo and have learned that she doesn’t care to walk around or sit in the stroller and stare at the animals, but would rather feed the ducks. So was I upset that I spent a ridiculous amount of money to get in to the zoo and then spend even more money on duck food so she could feed the ducks? No. I realized that at her age, not everything I think she is going to enjoy is going to work out. Was I upset that she didn’t appreciate that I spent the money on an outing that frankly we could have done for free in her neighborhood? Nope. She’s a little girl who doesn’t grasp the idea of spending money on things and that she should appreciate the effort. Instead, I appreciated the time I got to spend with her, even when she threw a little temper tantrum about running out of duck food. She was reprimanded for that and didn’t get to buy more duck food, but I most certainly didn’t call her a jerk.

    So from my perspective, a woman who is unable to have children, I just enjoy being able to spend time with my niece, whether she is on her best behavior or not, and whether or not she appreciates the money I spent or the effort I put in to the outing.

    I hope you realize I’m not bashing you, I’m just commenting on what you have described, which is what I assume you want out of people since you posted it online.

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  18. Nicole R. says:

    I keep thinking about the idea that his behavior could be labeled in such an adult way with the adult term”jerk”. That word is sticking out to so many people because it is not a word that is typically used by mothers, and if it is and we are called on it, we immediately backtrack because that is not at all what we mean. For you to defend the usage is what is a bit jarring about all of this.

    So many factors go into a toddler’s behavior in a public place. The stimulation alone is a lot to absorb for them. It makes their behavior unpredictable. Add in the family members that he isn’t always around, the weather, hunger, skipped naps (maybe?), expectations, and you’ve got a fine mess on your hands.

    Don’t forget Jenna, you JUST had the baby a few weeks before the trip! He was asjusting to his new role in life and probably acting out for attention or even feeding off of any stresses you were feeling. I know T2 is an easy baby, but I’m sure there was the stress if getting them out of the house, etc. He had a lot going on in such a short amount of time. He might have been acting out, but not because he is a jerk. He is a toddler with a major life event. Please cut him a little slack. When we project adult labels on to young kids they will grow up thinking “well, I act like a jerk so I must be one! I’ll keep acting like one”

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  19. Marissa C says:

    Oh goodness people, if you’ve ever been frustrated with your child and called them a “Holy Terror” or “Hellion” or whatever, you’ve done the same thing as Jenna.

    If you haven’t, then good for you. I didn’t know the Virgin Mary read blogs. Say hi to Jesus for me?

    Jeez.

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    MrsW Reply:

    …I really don’t want to get into commenter on commenter flaming here, but wow, this is way more harsh than anything any of those who have disagreed with Jenna have posted. In fact, it seems to be the only comment on this post that appears purposefully mean-spirited.

    Reply

    HRC Reply:

    No, I think it is expressing frustration with the nitpicky way that people tend to read this blog. People stalk it looking for any reason to tear Jenna apart.

    I am no white-knighter. Hell, I haven’t always agreed with Jenna. I’ve even side-eyed a few things in her approach to parenting in the past but I know enough about her and of her in more ‘real life’ interactions to know that she is a caring and thoughtful parent.

    More to the point, this is a blog that a mother is writing about her life and parenthood. Mothers sometimes call their kids jerks. Three year olds can be nightmares and sometimes they can do it knowing exactly what they’re doing. I’ve worked with enough kids for long enough to know this. To express that when recounting her frustration with the day, on a blog where she discusses her life, does not give people license to make the claims they make against her.

    The thing that really gets on my nerves is that when there isn’t one thing that could be construed as a misstep, or when all you can see in a post is examples of loving and ‘perfect’ parenting, there’s no pats on the back for Jenna. No, just the odd comment here and there. She says she felt like her child was being a jerk and all bets are off.

    Seriously, enough with pretending that these comments are well-meaning when they are just a result of hate-reading and a desire to find something, anything, lacking in Jenna’s efforts as a mother.

    Also, I think you meant ‘purposely’.

    Reply

    MrsW Reply:

    I did in fact mean purposely, now that I have looked it up on Grammar Girl. I’ve been up half the night with my own child so I chose the wrong word, sorry. Unfortunately, since there are no tones of voice on the internet, I can’t tell whether you were truly concerned for my grammar or just taking a shot at me.

    I don’t deny that there are some people who do hate-read Jenna. I’ve been to the forums and seen them talk about it. That said, I don’t think all of these people are hate-readers.. I see a lot of names I recognize from my four years of reading and commenting here who take issue with this. It’s insulting to those of us who are not hate-readers to lump us in with those that are.

    And yes, mothers call their kids jerks. I know that I went around the house today muttering “shut up shut up shut up” under my breath at my kids’ whining and crying. But that is in the heat of the moment. I take issue with the fact that, more than a month later, after taking time to cool down and move on and take the time to write up a blog post about it, Jenna chose to use the phrase “being a jerk” and “deliberately [making] it a negative experience” to describe the actions of her 3 year old. I have a three year old, too. She can be incredibly frustrating. But I would hesitate to, in front of such a formal audience (and yes, Jenna’s blog is a formal audience – she posts infrequently enough now that her posts should be quite deliberate, unlike a different medium like Twitter or Instagram), call my child a jerk or tell others that she deliberately ruined my day… because that demeans her and I in the eyes or ears of my audience, and choosing to use language like that about my child when I’ve had time to sit and think it through means that I am choosing to harbor negativity about my child, which is going to poison our relationship.

    Reply

    Marissa C Reply:

    I have noticed that in the past year EVERY LITTLE NITPICKY THING Jenna posts is torn apart here, and then of course you can go view the corresponding comments on GOMI.

    I just find it ridiculous that there is SO LITTLE here to inspire these litanies. Seriously people–it’s one paragraph about how he didn’t really enjoy the zoo and acted up. and she used a word that typically describes adult behavior. Would “Hellion” be better? Or “Toddler Terror?” Think about it. It’s life with a toddler/small child. Don’t pretend it isn’t the epic backstory of amazing neglect that some have created that aren’t inspiring most (but not all) of these comments. I don’t agree with many of Jenna’s parenting decisions either, but this is just insane.

    Reply

    MrsW Reply:

    Are you actually engaging with me or just continuing to rant about trolls? Because I’d like to have a conversation if you’d like to. I don’t see the waves of trolls/haters I used to back in the day (I think Jenna is better friends with her delete key now, good for her), I see pretty regular readers taking issue with a specific issue. I’m just finding it odd that you seem to be so bent out of shape about all the hate when this is a pretty mild, civil conversation.

    Reply

    Marissa C Reply:

    My point is that much of it is not mild, civil conversation, at least under the surface. I have no doubt that some of it is. I don’t think you can see the quote I posted above (it shows waiting moderation above–Jenna’s choice and I respect that). What I am referring to is GOMI. If you are unaware of it (I was for a long time), then I understand why you don’t know where I’m coming from. If you are aware/participate, then you know exactly what I am talking about and our discussion will go nowhere quickly. For many of the seemingly benign comments here, there is a much more hateful corresponding comment on that forum.

    If it were only the comments here, then I would be more inclined to believe it was truly normal readers pointing out something that really rubbed them the wrong way, but I don’t believe that anymore.

    I didn’t agree with Jenna’s decision to leave her son for 6 weeks. There are people that respectfully disagree and move on. I don’t see a problem with that. But this is so much more than that.

    Reply

    MrsW Reply:

    I’m aware of GOMI. I read it for a few weeks and then I decided that it wasn’t a good use of my time and stopped reading. I remember there being a few grains of truth in every bucket of sludge GOMI kicked out – a lot of it is just them whipping each other into a frenzy and building a backstory, like you said.

    However, there’s only a limited amount of possible things to disagree on in a single blog post, and if regular commenters have a problem with something that GOMI people also have a problem with, I’m not sure how that negates the opinions of the regulars. If anything, I think it would confirm that, for once, GOMI was right about something. And I’ve seen good, positive changes that Jenna’s made in her parenting and how she reports it to us that (at least to my mind) seem to stem from criticisms that have come either from regulars or some of the truest bits of GOMI.

    I guess you’re just going to have to take my word for it that I’m a genuine participant in the discussion (or you can ask Jenna, we’ve emailed a couple of times) and that my comments come from a place of encouragement as I’m similarly in the toddler trenches. If not taking the time to pop in every post to say “cute pics!” or other inanities makes me less credible, then I guess too bad for me.

    Reply

    HRC Reply:

    MrsW, that would be all well and good except that GOMI members just say she’s faking it for them. Damned if she doesn’t, damned if she does.

    I think there are so fabulous, intelligent and truly wonderful women on GOMI but the fact is there’s also a lot of hate-for-fun. They also make some great points sometimes but there are many people who take pleasure in hating on people and also digging up dirt on every facet of their lives (digging up dirt on a blogger’s sister’s marital status comes to mind, amongst other things). That’s not well-meaning constructive criticism.

    I haven’t always agreed with Jenna. I have loudly voiced my disagreement with her at times but I have never waited around for her to ‘fail’ so I can come in and criticise her for my own entertainment. There’s a lot of people that do that on here and it is incredibly tiresome.

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  20. I think the problem isn’t that you called him a jerk (I, for one, have called my son worst when he is out of earshot. It’s just venting, as I love him more than anything.), but that you believe he willfully (deliberately) ruined the trip for you. He went to a place you took him, and even if he had expressed interest in zoos, he’s 3! They run hot and cold. Now, that isn’t to say that you planned something and can’t be annoyed that he didn’t enjoy it – and under no circumstances do I think children should hit their parents without major time outs. But sometimes, even in toddlers, it’s a bad day and you cut your losses.

    As for your readers only seeing a minute portion of your life, the picture you chose to paint was one of t1 doing normal toddler things, and your reaction to people being taken aback is silly.

    Reply

    Marissa C Reply:

    See, I don’t “get” epic disappointment in what Jenna posted. Half the post focused on the positive points of the visit. Especially ending with this:

    “Despite the zoo fail, it was a wonderful weekend with the grandparents. I love that we were able to spend time celebrating both T1 and T2 while they were here.”

    Reply

    lifeonmulberry Reply:

    Frankly, its kind of refreshing to read a blog that acknowledges that sometimes mothers are frustrated with their kids but at the end of the day, they still love them.

    How inadequate might some people feel if every Mom blogginghad perfect kids, while readers sinkingly wondered if their kids were the only ones who seemed to act up in public?

    Reply

    HRC Reply:

    Yes! The expectation is that mothers have to be perfect and find every moment of parenting to be an explosion of rainbows and unicorn farts. And even if it isn’t, they should keep it to themselves, lest they be honest that they felt like their kid was being a bit of a jerk that day. It doesn’t mean Jenna doesn’t love T1. It doesn’t even mean that she things her child is a jerk. What she said was she felt like he was a jerk that day. Seriously, people, stop digging for reasons to jump on Jenna.

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  21. But Marissa…surely you can see that even in the midst of describing the “positive,” Jenna leads off by referring to the zoo trip as a “fail.”

    I’m not a regular commenter here, though I do read regularly because I, too, have a 3 year-old boy and I like to read blogs about what other little kiddos are up to at this age…I guess I feel like, even with the “minute” peek at T1 that I’ve been given in the blog, I could find a lot more positives to focus on than Jenna tends to. I wish Jenna would consider that many of her readers and commenters are coming at this post from the perspective of parents who are also living with the daily challenges a child at T1′s age presents…and take into consideration that, though we can commiserate on the foibled plans, we still find it overly harsh/potentially hurtful to describe one’s child, in front of the whole Internet world, as a jerk.

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  22. I am going to ignore all of this noise and just say that you are looking more and more like your mom (who is gorgeous, btw).

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  23. I was just wondering, what happens at a blessing?

    Reply

    Jenna Reply:

    http://thatwifeblog.com/2010/07/25/t1s-baby-blessing/

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  24. The big issue for me is: are we invading our children’s privacy when we reveal so much of their private lives in our blogs? WHo knows how social media will evolve but I wonder if our kids will read what we wrote about them when they were young- when they are older- and not be too happy to see how much personal info about their childhood is out there for the world to see. I am beginning to reconsider how much I put out on my own blog and FB pg about my kids. I forget about their privacy sometimes.
    Any one else have those concerns?

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  25. Barbara Cosentino says:

    I usually lurk but I have to say something here:

    I have a child T1′s age. It’s not strange that he preferred a map or rides to staring at what appears to be a large wild animal to someone his age.

    I’m guessing he’s an analytic, smart little guy who will grow up to love maps and puzzles.

    That does not make him a jerk.

    It’s hard when you’re a mother and distracted all the time and feel you don’t have time to yourself, but you must remember that those moments – the zoo, the park, etc – are not just about you and your needs.

    And what the heck is a GOMI?

    Reply

    Kat Reply:

    I had no idea about GOMI either. A quick google suggests it’s “Get off my internets” and looks like a blog where they critique ( or maybe complain about would be better) what people post on their blog. It’s definitely not for me, it seems like a continous stream of complaints and negativity!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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