Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Listening to your mother

When I was pregnant with my son, I was working at a company located about an hour away from where I was living. I would sit in the car and sing along to the radio, secure in the fact that my son was the only one who could hear me and he wouldn't judge me for being out of tune.

At the time, I realized how important it was for my son to hear my voice (muffled though it was) and I was happy to spend time that I would normally be stewing in traffic focusing on bonding with him instead.

What I didn't know was that even today, my voice causes a special reaction in my son's brain. That's right, science has discovered that Mommy's voice lights up more areas of emotion, rewards and recognition than any other voices. This is true even when a child only hears a one-second sample of their Mom's voice.

I'll keep this in mind as I read to my son at night, or when he sits in my lap and asks me to tell him a story. Maybe on some fundamental level it is more than the story that he wants to hear - maybe he just wants to hear Mommy's voice.

I need to go call my Mom.

Tell me whose voice you love to listen to in the comments.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Don't fear the needle

My son and I are at his annual wellness checkup. He giggles when the doctor looks in his ears, and he shows her his muscles. He asks questions about how the doctor is able control his reflexes and what his heartbeat sounds like. At the end of the visit, he reminds her that he isn't scheduled to get any immunizations until he turns 10. He waits for her to confirm this statement.

When she leaves the room, I tell him that just because he isn't getting immunizations any time soon, it doesn't guarantee a lack of needles in his life. He makes a face at me when I bring up potential flu shots or blood being drawn and make my point about needles being a part of health.

I wouldn't say that I have a fear of needles, but whenever I have to get my blood drawn, I look away. I am fine with the rest of the process - the strap, the tapping to get a vein to come up, even the slight pain of the needle going into my arm. I just don't want to watch it.

When my son gets shots of any kind, I do my best to treat it like it is no big deal. I try to distract him but I am honest, too: I say that it will hurt for a second, and then it will be fine. I hate seeing his little flinch as he gets poked by a needle and the immediate tear reaction. I feel very sorry for the nurse who has to give children their shots, and I thank her for helping to keep my son healthy. (She looks like she could use a vacation.)

My intent is to not encourage my son to develop a fear of needles, because our children's reaction to shots is based on how we parents act about getting them. A study published in the journal Pain has found that if you act fearful around your child getting a shot then they will pick up on that. If you talk about shots as a positive experience, then they will be less fearful overall. (On a non-related note, why is there a medical journal entirely devoted to pain?!?)

Do you have a fear of needles? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, May 23, 2016

It's time for some Daddy play

My husband is stretched out on the bed while I put away some clothes. What happens next is inevitable: My son comes into the bedroom and climbs on top of his Daddy. For the next half-hour, they play some game that I don't understand, but they both know the rules. It involves keeping each other down on the bed and tickling and laughter and it makes no sense to me.

It is Father and Son play, and it is super important.

When my son wants to play with me, it involves a board game or something outside: There are stated rules or I have to come up with complicated villainous plots for him to overcome. I have never been sitting on the couch and had my son climb on top of me just to block my vision of the television. If he climbs into my lap, he wants to snuggle.

Parents figure out pretty quickly that our children develop different ways to play with us. It is amazing for me to watch my son want the rough and tumble play of his Dad more often. And I like being reminded how important it is to his emotional well being. It's not a type of play that I would be good at, so I am glad that my wonderful husband has got that subject covered.

I'll be over here ready for a good snuggle when the guys are done.

What's your favorite way to play with your children? Tell me in the comments.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sometimes charts make me sad

I hate to bum you out on a Friday, but if you are a working woman, you have to see this. On this link from the Wall Street Journal is a chart showing how women earn less than men in 439 of the 446 major U.S. jobs.

I think of all the hard working women that I know who are also Moms. Of how they put in full days at the office. Of how they still do the majority of the child care at home. Of how they love their families and they love their jobs. And it breaks my heart to think that they are working for less.

Not a good way to start a weekend, but it's important information to have the next time you need to talk to your boss about your salary.

Do you think there is a gender wage gap in your workplace? Tell me in the comments.