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I often need parenting advice. Thankfully, I go to the studio everyday and there I can ask any number of sweet, sensible moms and dads for their two cents. Because we now live in little isolated family units, and since I can’t just go ask the village elder when I have a problem that I don’t want to email my sister about, I turn to the interweb to guide me. I am happy for the amazing resource that is the world wide web, but it does sort-of concern me for two reasons:

1. If I am raising my child through internet advice, that means other people are certainly doing the same and I’m not sure what that means for our kids because…

2. The interweb is full of crazies.

Recently, I googled “three year old won’t wash hair” because Holden screams and yells and generally freaks out whenever he gets his hair washed. We start out okay, until Holden gets worked up about a drop of water on his forehead. And then, without fail the whole thing ends in a big pile of shampoo, water, and tears. We reached a low point last month, when fed up after several months of the aforementioned screaming, I told him that his hair would have to be cut off if he couldn’t wash it without starting WWIII every week. That was a shitty thing to say, and it made him cry and freak out more. After I put him to bed that night I decided I had officially reached the end of my parenting skills on that particular issue. So I turned to the bastion of good parenting, Google.

There are always three distinct parenting camps on those discussion boards. There are the Yahoo Answers type, that generally favour corporal punishment, the BabyCenter moms that have week-long cutesy project ideas, and then the far-out radical parenting sites.

The three pieces of advice I gleaned from the discussion boards:

1. Smack your child so he knows who is in charge. (Yahoo Answers)

2. Buy foamy stars and beautiful shapes and stick them to the ceiling above your sink. Buy an insert to wash your child’s hair beauty parlour style in the sink. Make up nice songs and a short musical about hair washing. Build the sets and cast your pets in the production. Perform on the street for change and then use that money to take a course on towel making. Make the most beautiful soft towel and present it to your child in a candlelit ceremony at his favourite toy store. (babycenter)

3. My child hasn’t taken a bath in over a year. I forced him to wash once a year ago, and he cried. That night I lay on the kitchen floor and sobbed in the darkness for hours because I knew I had broken his trust forever. I vowed then to never force him to wash his hair. I can see that it is dirty and he has crusty spots on his scalp. Sometimes I gently suggest a bath and he says “NO BATH” I am sure he will take a bath one day. I know yours will too! (radical unschooling site)

Okay, so I exaggerated a little with number 2, but 1 and 3 are almost word for word suggestions by ACTUAL PARENTS who posted their opinions because they think they are doing right by their kids. That night in bed, I told David what I had read. We both lay awake feeling worried for our future.

The next morning, I understood something – something I felt I had known all along but it took some creepy parents to make it clear: Parenting is about being the fucking adult. All the time. Even when you want to cry in the kitchen for hours or hit someone or whatever crazy thing you think might be okay at the time but actually totally isn’t. You have to take a step back and take a breath and say, “Ok, self. I am screwing this up. It is my job to fix it.” And that is a really hard thing to do. At least for me because I like to blame other people for my problems. But this parenting stuff, this is my problem, my joy, my heartache. I alone have to answer for my actions or inaction.

That day, I asked Holden if he didn’t like getting water in his eyes. He said he didn’t. So, David held a towel over his eyes tightly while I washed his hair. Then we chanted his name for five minutes because he didn’t freak out. When he got out of the bath, he said he wanted to cut his hair. Voila! Stanny and David, 1. Google Parenting, 0.

Just so you don’t think I waste all my time googling parenting questions, today I googled historical photos of Bowood and Lawrence, where the studio is located in Toronto. I found this on the Toronto Public Library’s site.

It is St. Leonard’s Anglican church, it was moved further south. But the picture, and the implicit tumbleweeds, it made me think that our funny small location might be a little point of focus. And I was really happy. Amazing, no?

I also recently googled “What Girls Character Are You?” And I completed three different quizes which all came up with the EXACT same answer. Which means it is Poll Time!

24 comments

Anna S

January 25th, 2014

Daniel said to me not too long ago:
“Mom, you really practice tough love!”
“Oh”, I replied.
“It’s good!”, Daniel said with a big smile…
That’s my studio advice for you! ❤️
Love Anna S xo

January 25th, 2014

I love this. Thanks for sharing. Perhaps being an adult is also about being an adult all the time. Hard lesson to learn.

abbie

January 26th, 2014

I chose Jessa because of her name – I have never seen the show and don’t know anything about the characters. Apparently I am not alone in choosing Jessa – perhaps you’d like to write a post about the relationship between names and personalities or perceptions? And no pitta? Odd.

Essie

January 26th, 2014

I am much too busy answering and re-answering What Girl Character Are You Quiz’s to be answering any of your parenting e-mails. Also, as it turns out I’m MARNIE! Ha ha!! Well once I was Hannah, but the majority was Marnie. So it’s scientifically proven.

Also, your post was really smart! It’s very true. And big kudos on the hair washing!

Stephanie Bonas

January 26th, 2014

Sing it sister.

January 26th, 2014

I don’t think you’re any of the Girls characters… – really because I wouldn’t WANT you to be any of them. Aren’t we happy we’re done with our 20s?? 😉 If anything, you have their good qualities – you’re an awesome writer, you’re whimsical, smart and super funny.

As for parenting sites… ….. …. … … …….. … …. 😉 When I have parenting questions/issues, I go to my mom, my doctor, my yoga girls and the parenting experts and editors I get to work with – after I check my own instincts. But I learned well when I was preggers: Stay off the Google! (And J hates washing her hair – so I feel ya!) xoxo

stan

January 26th, 2014

Haley-O – well, of course I didn’t mention the best site! :) And yes, I am certainly old enough to be done with my twenties, but I often behave as though I am not. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. And, yes, I should stay off google. For everything. Except historical photos.

stan

January 26th, 2014

Stephanie – You are friends with a friend of mine of fb. She posted some photos you took, and I thought they were beautiful.

stan

January 26th, 2014

Essie -I am so happy that you took those quizzes. Sorry about the annoying Marnie outcome, you are really not a Marnie. However, you are a good friend so that would have cancelled the other three out. I was Hannah over and over again. Thanks for reading!

stan

January 26th, 2014

Abbie – You should watch the show because it if funny and the episodes are short so you can put the boys to bed and then watch and get to bed 30 minutes later. I appreciate that you chose Jessa, because I would LOVE to be a Jessa. And yes, no pitta? Very strange.

stan

January 26th, 2014

Andrea – I think you are right. You certainly don’t have to have children to be expected to behave like an adult. Hopefully, I will become one in this lifetime.

stan

January 26th, 2014

Anna – you are tough love in the best way. Mostly because you are tough and loving and you expect that of others. Thanks for the wisdom. xoxo

stan

January 26th, 2014

Poll Others:
Pippi Longstocking: YES!! She is the greatest!

Stanny: I am what I am

You are the best qualities of all of them: You, dear reader, are too kind and obviously unaware of the self absorption that led me to get Hannah several times in Glamour quiz land.

KElly

January 26th, 2014

We just had the same problem and them same solution. Great minds if I do say so.

stan

January 27th, 2014

kelly – we should start a parenting website! 😉

Lydia Teinfalt

January 28th, 2014

Our children are our meditation. It is sooooo hard to sort it out. You’re doing great. My 3.5 son does the same thing.

January 28th, 2014

when Ize was 3 he also despised hair washing. at the time i only had a shower..no bath option or sink insert ability. it was so sad because as soon as the water hit his head he would start crying and pleading ‘noooo, mom, nooooo!’ and snapping his wee fingers. i felt like a shitty ass parent every. single. time. sigh..but a combo of just sticking it out and singing and being fast about it with cuddles afterwards moved that along. he now loves showers. alot. he also still loves me. and i agree whole-heartedly. you guys are doing great! <3

Arna

January 29th, 2014

I´m very “nerdy” when it comes to quizes, could easily get addicted! I took The Girls test (one of my favorit show EVER!).Result = Jessa! So not bad, NOT bad at all!!…But you are way more stylish then Hannah! And you are the coolest mum in town!

Michelle

January 30th, 2014

The hair washing song that my mom would sing to me and what I now sing with Emma! Classic Rogers and Hammerstein …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzu8ZxBHMWk

nothing beats a catchy show tune….

stan

January 30th, 2014

Lydia – I am sorry that you have the same bath time woes. Although, it seems quite common. There is something to living in our own little mini-family universe to make you feel like you are the ONLY person on earth who has ever experienced an issue parenting. You are right, our children are our meditation.

stan

January 30th, 2014

Be – Haha! Well that is important that he loves showers AND you. I guess we do what we can with what we have got. He probably would have taken issue with you later in life if you didn’t stick with it. Thanks for your love and support! xoxo

stan

January 30th, 2014

Arna – you are a Jessa! I am quite jealous because I wish I was a Jessa. And yes, I can see how you would absolutely be a Jessa. I don’t see myself as a Shoshana, but others do – David assures me that she is the best one. :)

stan

January 30th, 2014

Michelle – OMG yes! And then that song later became a shampoo commercial. I used to sing that to myself and imagine that I had beautiful shampoo commercial hair. Good idea!!

Arna

January 31st, 2014

Ah, I thought you had scored higest for Hannah! Shoshana or any other character David would always think it´s the best one :)

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