Self Expression Magazine

#8- It Takes an iPad

Posted on the 18 November 2011 by Brainy @mybrainthings
I'm trying to make a post on my sister's iPad through blogger's app. It's not going super well so far. I can't use it in landscape?! Bleh! I have to make so many sacrifices when I come over here to babysit! They buy me Chinese food AND make me play with their gadgets? Unbelievable!
The point is, I'm babysitting my nieces today and my daughter couldn't come because she puked her guts out last night. Technically it was in the early hours of this morning, if you want to be a stickler about it. My son tagged along though, so the four of us are just chillin' like villains, watching The Backyardigans. Please refer to post #4 to recall how I feel about this.
My sister has 2 kids just like I do. Our first set are six months apart from each other, as are our second set. We didn't plan it this way, but it's worked out pretty well in terms of the kids getting used to kids their own age and having playmates and stuff. Did I mention that we also live on the same street? It's pretty awesome. Mostly.
You know that old saying, 'it takes a village to raise a child'? Well, I don't think that's a requirement for child-rearing, but it sure does fucking help. I remember when we were growing up in Small Town, USA, Mom certainly didn't have a village to help her out. Being an immigrant meant that she had left everyone in her life behind so she could move to another country to be with the man she loved. I can't even imagine the isolation and loneliness of her experience. She didn't have a job, or a car, or a husband that was around a lot, and within a year she was stuck in an old house with a baby with no double-X comrades to commiserate (I'm talking chromosomes, not porn, by the way.  Get your mind out of the gutter, Jesus!). Back then, you couldn't pick up the phone to call Australia everyday unless you were a millionaire. There was no Internet; email, skype, IMing, webcams did not exist. Flying home for a visit was also quite an investment. By the time I came around eight years later, she seemed to have gotten things figured out, but it must have been a never-ending stress-ground, complete with a poop slide and barf train for a long time. Or maybe she was just tired by then.  But we all turned out OK in the end.  Right?  That's what my two therapists tell me at least.
On the other hand, a completely communal approach would also be a difficult environment to raise a kid. It bothers me when someone else disciplines or reprimands my kids when I'm present, but what's even worse is when I tell my kids no, and someone else gives them the extra cookie anyway. I feel disrespected and valueless; that person doesn't think I'm a good enough parent to know what's best for my kid? Or, do they just not care what I say because they want to do whatever they want? Living in a situation where I saw those type of people several hours everyday, let alone residing in the same house, would drive me just as nutso as raising kids sealed up all by myself.
I guess I'm envisioning some kind of Waco-esque compound, but I would assume that those ladies would have been properly and thoroughly conditioned to think that was the best way to live. On a more realistic note, many cultures around the world live in very close proximity with their extended families or other Mom's. A lot of people probably can't afford to leave home and/or live independently. Just like my mom, and many other people in similar circumstances, the community Mom's don't have a choice and/or don't know any other scenario to realize that a more ideal arrangement is out there.
Those of us, like me and my sister, are fortunate enough to live in the suburbs within close proximity to many relatives. We're both in situations that allow us to own our homes (not posh mansions in lush neighborhoods, or even multi-level cookie cutter abodes, each one more similar and taupe colored than the last. Our houses were built in the 50's and have.... character), feed our children, and buy iPads.
As I have concluded with most matters, moderation seems to be the best option for those that have one to make. I love being able to get help when I need it from people who are always willing to do so. No judgement, haggling or resentment included, just an occasional exaggerated, sarcastic sigh.  I also love going home and not dealing with those crazy fuckers when they're acting all crazy and stuff.  Damn!
So I guess spending my Sat. with my nieces typing on an iPad and eating free wontons ain't so bad after all. Just don't tell my sister.  She might think she and her husband can go to the opera more often.  That bitch be craaaazy!

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