a family in need of a hug

Yeah, it sounds trite, wanting to give these nice people a hug, but that's exactly what I was left with after reading THIS ESSAY about one family's adjustment to the birth of their third baby.

The mother is dealing with PPD. The two older daughters, ages 4 and 7, are angry and ascting out, and the father who obviously loves all of them desperately can't seem to figure out how to hold the center.

I read the essay and thought, this is a family where the mama's PPD is making everyone hurt. The little girls are scared and hurting. Which doesn't necessarily make it easier to be their father at the moment. But scared and hurting isn't gonna respond too well to taking away all of life's little pleasures, like cake.

My 2 cents.


clara said...

I agree, I'm not trying to judge, but perhaps punishment is not the answer. With kids that age, its a moment by moment existence, a week long punishment is extreme and it doesn't fit the crime.

Anonymous said...

The mom in question is Tabitha Soren, formerly of MTV.

Anonymous said...

Nevermind the circunstances.....How is eating the cake in front of the little girls any different than making a little boy stay at the dinner table until he eats a whole piece of bread?
You have to walk in their shoes....
My 2 cents

Anonymous said...

sorry...just re-read the sleepy head post, not quite as I portrayed it....but still......

Laura Linger said...

I don't like it. For one thing, as a mentally ill adult myself and an advocate for the mentally ill, I don't like the flippant way in which he describes what his wife is going through. Oh, if it were only that simple, those "brain screams" so easily silenced by the ingestion of pills. She's not breastfeeding, is she? Because trust me, you wouldn't want that stuff to get into a newborn's system.

The children look and act like little brats, frankly. Yes, they're young, yes, they're children, but I still pick up on a smug, self-satisfied, entirely too overindulged vibe from these girls. You can see it on their faces in the photographs, you can tell that they are the progeny of similarly smug, self-satisfied parents, right down to their smug, self-satisfied yuppie nouveau riche names, "Dixie" and "Quinn."

YAWN. Smug, self-satisfied, overindulged white people whining about how bad they have it. Why don't we talk about how poor people cope when PPD kicks in? Or is PPD just the realm of the smug, self-satisfied, and white?

(It isn't.)

dedanaan said...

I agree with Laura. I thought these two kids were brats who needed their heads knocked together.

When I was six, my father had a brain tumor, and my mom spent a great deal of her energy caring for him (he died when I was seven). Then my mother got breast cancer, and it took most of her energy just to survive for another four years. I learned at an early age that the world didn't revolve around me and that other people's needs often surpassed my own...I learned compassion and how to be my own person as well, and it has served me well in life. I never felt that my mother didn't love me or that my family's friends paid too much attention to her or my father and not to me.

katie allison granju said...

Show some compassion people! "Brats" aho need their "heads knocked together?" You're scaring me.

These are VERY YOUNG children who are feeling overwhelmed and frightened and have no idea how to react to the fact that their mother is dealing with a serious mental illness. They are scared to death.

Do they need guidance/discipline? Yes. But they need loving guidance and discipline that helps them learn to express how they are feeling in appropriate ways.

When a human being of any age is hurting and frightened, being more and more punitive with them doesn't ease their fears and certainly doesn't improve their behaviors.

Kindness will get you everwhere, no matter what age human being you are dealing with.

Laura Linger said...

We can agree to disagree on whether or not the kids are brats (I've reread the article twice and I still stand by my assessment), but I agree wholeheartedly that violence is NEVER acceptable against a child. NEVER.

My mother beat me and my siblings as we grew up in her house. It was her primary mode of parenting, actually.

She would beat us with what used to be referred to as "thongs," you know, flip-flop shoes, so that she could beat us without any marks showing up later.

She whipped us, bare-bottomed, with belts.

She beat us with hairbrushes.

She beat us with wooden spoons.

She would shove us outside in the subzero temperatures without any clothes on, and sometimes with no shoes on. We would have to beg her to let us back in the house.

She hit me so hard on the side of my head when I was ten that I still have permanent hearing loss in my right ear.

She would push, shove, kick, scratch, and even bite my sister and me when she felt as though we were "misbehaving."

I've been basically on my own since I was 12, the age that I had to start buying all of my own clothes, including my shoes, using only babysitting money. The kids used to make fun of me for wearing the same two outfits all the time to school.

I put myself through college, working three jobs at a time and taking a full class load. I managed somehow and graduated from Purdue "with distinction."

When I was six and my sister was four, I took care of my sister as if she were my child. This was especially true if Dad were out of town, as usual, on business, and Mom had been hitting the bottle, as usual, as her means of dealing with her life. Forgive me if I don't feel too terribly sorry for two overindulged sneering children whose terrible lot in life is that they cannot have a piece of cake because they were being punished.

When I was six, my mother put my hand on a hot burner to teach me a lesson about leaving the stove on. I was making Spaghetti-os for my sister and me, I remember it so well. I still have a loss of feeling in the nerve endings on my right hand, which is the hand I write with. I can't muster up too much sympathy for those whose "problems" are self-induced hallucinations of deprivation and woe.

I am living proof of the damage that parental violence can do to your life, not the least of which souring you on the entire childrearing experience to such an extent that you opt out of it altogether.

Anonymous said...

The only things I can tell about this family from the pictures are: they let their 7 yr old wear eye shadow. Gross.
The 4 yr old is in desperate need of a haircut.

The text could be all BS. The guy is fictionalizing his life. Let's hope so, because people from Berkeley should NOT be giving their kids Southern names like Tallulah, Dixie and Walker. Makes mom and dad sound like wannabes--they *wish* they were from New Orleans or something. Please let these be fake names!

And if any of this stuff is true, they need family therapy and fast.