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Ask Sherry: Are we really alone in the world?

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

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This may sound a little philosophical, but do you think that, to a certain extent, we are alone in the world? Or not? (I’m not referring to aliens :-), but to human relationships).

I know that people change throughout their lives, but sometimes they can change drastically and, suddenly, we realize that maybe we are not in the strong relationship we thought we were in.

This brought me to the idea that maybe, just maybe, in the end we might be alone in life.

Therefore, we should always count on ourselves as much as possible, in all respects. Emotionally is perhaps the hardest because people need the company of others and they also need to trust and rely on other people.

We are most certainly alone in that respect. If you want to consider that in the end, you can rely on others but you also cannot rely on anyone, it is to ourselves we have to turn for issues.

I feel like I’ve always grown up like this anyway, so it is interesting you brought up this point to make me reflect back upon it. My siblings are very far apart in age to me, so I feel alone, but distantly, I can always rely on them to help me, and vice versa, but up to a certain point.

My parents, same thing. I’m the closest to my mother as most children are (boys or girls) and it is exactly for the reason you state — that the parent-child relationship is the most selfless, but the mother-child bond is the strongest of the parent-child pairs, in what I have observed.

I would say that I try my best to get my partner to bond more with my son in the way that I feel I am bonded to him but it somehow doesn’t click in the same way without a lot of effort (it seems) on his part.

Also, another question, whom would you consider the closest people in your life, say, on a more permanent basis? Your child, parents, partner?

As far as I’m concerned, I find the relationship with a partner the most unpredictable of all the above. For example, when children appear in a relationship (i.e., really hard work), one may find that the partner is not up to the challenge, doesn’t cope well with the busy schedule, routine, lack of vacations, lack of personal or couple time, and that the woman usually must hang on, even without emotional support.

Those who have good parents are lucky because, of all the relationships, the parent-child relationship can be the strongest and most selfless (it is not in all cases; that’s why I said “can be”). Thank you.

I am the closest to my son, above my partner in an emotional sense. He is a bond I will never and can never break even in the darkest moments where I felt like I was losing it with him. We are tied together in a bond that is deeper than love. He is basically a part of me, and what hurts him, hurts me, although that doesn’t stop me from being strict with him for his own good and my sanity.

My partner, I am also very close to and we have a strong bond but you are right in that he is an adult and a separate person who can pull away, but as I birthed my son, it is not the same kind of love.

We love each other, I can DEFINITELY rely on him, in an interdependent manner. When I ask him something or he asks me of something, we both do it. We put each other first. I try very hard not to take him for granted because I know who he is and what he does for me.

They always say don’t end up with the person you wouldn’t want to divorce, and honestly, I would say if we did separate, it would be quite fair — he is not that kind of vindictive man, but quietly, staunchly rational and fair in his own way.

You are right however, in that if we did separate, I would end up with my son most of the time, but he would definitely want half of his time, and not be a part-time father, so this is something I am well aware of and appreciate as a quality in him.

The Greeks definitely codified it best with pointing out all the different kinds of love there can be: 7 types of love. But ultimately, things happen.

People die, leave us, grow up, lose touch, move away, and the only one we can rely on is ourself, but to build strong interdependent links is the most important thing to do as well, so that we don’t feel like we are all in it alone (which is not at all the way I feel about the world and life).

What a lovely, thoughtful question.

Thank you. I’ll be definitely thinking about this all week and objectively as I play and interact with my son and my partner and with friends and colleagues.

Do you think it is ok to travel by plane with a one-year-old, let’s say to visit a city for 1-3 days? (I’m thinking about the child’s well being.) And what about traveling by train? I’m thinking about a travel that could last maybe 2-3 hours.

She now naps only once a day.

At what age do you think it’s ok to travel with a child?

YES AND YES. The younger they are, the easier in some respects.

You strap them into a baby carrier and off you go aside from having to tote along diapers and all that crap like some sherpa.

The only thing is to keep in mind how far they can walk, and what will or will not interest them. DO NOT plan on a 16-hour trek of the city. We are talking light touring right? Light walking, lots of time for them to explore and play, see a few things, nothing too rush-rush?

I found that at a year old, Little Bun was pretty good for traveling, but the diaper thing would have killed me (we cloth diapered), and they are far more portable with diapers than without, because you don’t need to run around looking for a washroom or a safe place to let them go potty.

If you can go and are willing to go and travel with them, then do it. EVEN BETTER if there are two of you.

If the city streets mean you can use strollers (some European ones are all cobblestoned or uphill both ways :-P), then EVEN BETTER. She can rest in the stroller as you are touring. Or, you can put her in the baby carrier and walk around town with her (this is what I did too).

Baby Bun was SUPER portable in the carrier at a year old, although he got antsy when it was too hot and he started to sweat, and I had to let him out a few times to stand on the chair, and hang out, and I did have to tote along a diaper bag with his diapers, etc.. so that sucked, doing it alone.

As for being on a train, at a year old, they’re pretty fascinated by anything that moves.

Baby Bun was SO QUIET in the car many times as we traveled because he was just enamoured with the motion and the movement of the train, car, and bus. He just loved it. I’m sure yours will too, 2-3 hours is long, but not unacceptable. If you said 7 hours, I’d say rethink it.

Have you ever felt odd when speaking your own language in public, in a region or country where a different language is spoken?

Often, I feel odd speaking my own language in public (in the street, park, etc.) in a foreign country as I suppose this draws attention to me and somehow makes me stand apart from the others.

Not to mention that my language is also a ‘non-prestige’ language and I guess it might seem even more odd to others or draw attention. Also, I’m an introvert and this also makes things worse. I always pay attention to what I say, how loudly I say it, who might be hearing me, etc.

Nope. I think it is fantastic, wonderful and a GOOD THING that you love your language, and can speak it. Do not feel odd.

Embrace it, be totally into it and feel like you have a secret language that only you and your family / friends / colleagues share. It’s the coolest thing ever to have a secret language.

I’m envious of those who have that with colleagues in the office. I wish I knew a third language and could connect with that with someone at work. I only know French or English and pretty much everyone is bilingual at work so it’s not that sexy.

I’d love it if I had a secret language only I and few people shared then I’d just BUST IT OUT and just start gossiping. LOL

No one is looking at you, honestly. I know it feels like that, the way I got my eyebrows tinted and I felt like people were all staring at my kabuki brows, but NO ONE WAS LOOKING. HONESTLY.

But I do know what you mean by a ‘prestige’ language… when I speak English in France, they all do a double-take.

It’s a more prestigious language and one many people we know wish they knew perfectly because it would open so many doors for them career-wise. Even here, some Francophones don’t speak English and are envious of us who are bilingual, although I CONSTANTLY demonstrate that I am not perfectly bilingual. My brain can’t conjugate fast enough sometimes when I am tired, and the only way to learn, I tell them, is to just speak it. Make mistakes. Learn from what others are saying. Learn the conjugation and vocab.

On the one hand, I think if you are introverted however, it has more to do with your personality and lack of wanting attention to be drawn to you, than your language. I on the other hand, am a bit extroverted in some ways (more than introverted) and I think I rather enjoy knowing more languages.

I’m proud of how hard I worked to learn French, how well I speak it for the time spent, and how I am improving daily and forcing myself to be truly bilingual.

DO NOT FEEL SHAME ABOUT KNOWING ANOTHER LANGUAGE. I’m envious of you! Be proud!! Just don’t be too loud 🙂 (But that has nothing to do with what language you are speaking and just being polite…)

In your relationship with your partner, who makes the first step towards reconciliation in case you two had a fight?

It depends on whose fault it turns out to be. If it was his and he acknowledges it was wrong, then he does the first step.

If it was mine, I do it. More often than not it is my fault (I’m very headstrong and impulsive), or it is because I did not think it through and he sees it all the way to the end of let’s say how we shouldn’t leave plastic bags in reach of Baby Bun as he might use it to suffocate himself, which comes out as: STOP LEAVING PLASTIC BAGS AROUND! and sparks a fire in me until I realize his reasoning for getting mad.

Sometimes, even if I don’t think I’m wrong, I’ll bend first or leave it until we are both no longer upset and no one has made the first step to reconcile, and it disappears because it was not an important thing to fight over to begin with.

If it is a VERY important thing, I don’t let it go and he can be sure to get an earful from me.

Still have a burning question?

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