The euphoria is gone. I’m not sure every mom goes through this after they become a parent – but I did. I probably knew it would happen, but wasn’t aware that it would be only 3months after my little girl was born. All of a sudden, the cute cries of a newborn are more like ear piercing screams that are in no way cute or precious. When most other babies were still sleeping at 3 months, my daughter decided to stop napping during the day. Seriously. She got up at 5:30 am and went to bed at 10:30 pm. No matter how hard I tried naps – she never slept during the day. She just screamed. Not a ‘colicky’ scream. More like a ‘I’m mad at the whole world’ scream.
This darling little girl was the reason my husband and I made a pact to never purposely produce offspring again. We couldn’t chance getting another child like her. Don’t get me wrong – I love that girl beyond words. As I always tell her, ‘You know I love you more than my luggage!’ It doesn’t change the fact that she challenged me big time! I was a mom for the first time- and I got her. Talk about a boot camp in learning how to deal with a strong willed child.
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There are many myths of parenthood. I want to dispel one for you. One so notorious parent’s approach this day with such apprehension their pediatricians even warn about it.
The terrible two’s
Here’s the truth…. two’s are easy. Two year olds are busy, filled with adventure, wonder, climbing, hands in the dog food fun. Your little darling is going to make you work for it, your house will always look like the Rolling Stones partied there the night before but two year olds are by nature sweet and curious.
Your little darling is going to turn on you. Sometime before his third birthday that little cherub will change before your eyes into a creature you have never seen. This creature appears to be able to communicate with a very limited words, consisting mainly of “no” and “mine”. The rest of his communication skills include grunts, ear piercing shrills, pinching, scratching and the occasional bite.
Dear Mom and Dad don’t fear two. Fear three. Three’s are the new two’s. I think two gets a bad rap. Just as you think you have beaten the odds and breezed through the terrible twos, three sneaks up on unsuspecting parents and smacks you down.
Three is difficult for many reasons, I think the main reason it is so hard is because you are so totally unprepared for the alien that has taken over your sweet baby. Three is power struggles and the need for independence. “Me do it” is the mantra of three. Consider yourself warned. Three is the new two. Three is the age to be wary of.
DH (that’s Dear Husband) and I have a long-standing conversation about “bad guys” and “good guys.” It’s always the same conversation: we both believe in the underdog, we both enjoy being the “good guy” and helping others whenever we can, and we both think that bullies totally suck.
This conversation changed a bit once we had Pineapple. And now that she’s a toddler – and at a stage where she understands “*no*” and “*I said,* *no touch, please*” and “DON’T TOUCH IT!” – the rules have changed.
You see, often times I feel like *I’m* the “bad guy.” I’m the bully that won’t let Pineapple put that rock in her mouth or eat the dog food. I’m the “bad guy” who won’t let Pineapple touch that nasty neighborhood cat who most likely has some sort of skin condition…probably.
And why is that? Because I’m more vigilant and more conscientious and more cautious and I’ve come to realize that I probably say “DON’T TOUCH IT” to my 30+ year old husband just as often as I say it to the 1.5 year old toddler. I feel like my life is spent running behind my daughter, constantly instructing her on safe ways to play as well as guiding her in which things belong in her mouth (very few) and those that don’t (the majority of all items on the planet).
Although I don’t have to be quite so vigilant with my husband, he does have a tendency to do things that are surprising for someone who should “know better.” Given this reality, I HAVE to be the “bad guy”…which I now come to realize means “*the responsible one*” or the “*someday you’ll understand why I’m being so strict”* one. And I gotta say – it sucks just as much as bullies.
This perception of mine that I’m now the “bad guy” of the family resulted in a new conversation just last week. DH and I were headed to Babies ‘R Us to get some new shoes for Pineapple’s ever-expanding feet and I was thinking about how much she’s growing. I was also thinking about how often I have to admonish her for some activity that isn’t necessarily “bad” but rather “dangerous” and how I wish DH would step up more often. Deep in thought, I turned to DH and said “*I need you to be the ‘bad guy’ more often so I can be the ‘good guy*” and I immediately had a flashback to my childhood:
*…mom and dad are in the other room and I hear mom frantically yelling that she’s sick of being the bad guy and dad needed to punish us more so she could be the good guy and dad saying that he wasn’t going to be a bad guy just so she could be good and maybe she should relax a little and why are they always fighting?…..*
and DH said “*I’m not going to the be ‘bad guy’ so you can be the ‘good guy’…*(I froze for a moment – stuck in that memory from my childhood while DH continued)…*maybe we need to rephrase it so it’s not bad or good but rather what’s best for Pineapple and how we’re helping her be safe*.”
That’s why I married him, folks. And no, you can’t have him. He’s all mine. Continue Reading »
I was never one of these moms who had rosy visions of how much my toddler would love his new baby sister. I hear mothers who are expecting their second baby talk like this – “Oh, Annabelle just LOVES babies and she is so excited about having her own baby brother!” – and I think “You, my friend, are in for a terrible surprise.” I’ve always had tremendous sympathy for the plight of the older child who has to make room in his life and house and heart for a new sibling because from their perspective, for the beginning at least, its a lose-lose situation. Babies don’t do jack except cry and eat and both of those things take Mama away from First-born and First-born never wants Mama taken away from him. I get it, completely.
But at what point, dare I ask, is First-born supposed to get over the trauma of having a sibling?
Because I am feeling like after 3 years, maybe Primo should get with the program.
He has been on an absolute sister-hating rampage of late. She drives him totally up the wall. And look, I don’t blame him really. Seconda’s shenanigans –hiding the special dice to the board game we’re playing, eating my favorite lipstick, cutting her own hair — are frustrating and exhausting. And despite that, they have an inherent charm to grownups. She’s a precocious, adorable firecracker and adults can’t help but find that endearing. But for the big brother, her antics hold no charm whatsoever particularly because they take every ounce of attention away from him. I understand this and I sincerely sympathize. Nonetheless I am tired of asking, can’t we all just get along?
There’s the not-sharing problem in which even if Primo hasn’t played with something in years, he can not suffer Sec to even look at it.
There’s the mean-talking problem in which he teases her and calls her a “baby.” Calling a 3 year-old a baby is like calling a dieting woman a heifer. Too close to home. Sore topic.
Then there’s the ordering around. The ordering around actually works for a lot of sibling teams. Many 3 year-olds love nothing more than following the instructions of their big siblings, whom they look up to and adore.
Not so in this case. Sec won’t give an inch. Sec has her own ideas about everything and she’s not budging. So the ordering around turns into the mean-talking and then Sec, who’s not so adept at controlling herself, lets her fists do the talking, freeing up Primo to unleash his wild side and soon everyone’s appealing to me with “he did this” and “she did that” and “you’re lying” and “you’re a baby” and Mommy yelling, “CANT WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”
I read Siblings Without Rivalry cover to cover, you know. But I think its time to re-visit.
What are your ways of dealing with the sibling smackdowns? Or better yet, your strategies to prevent them altogether? I hope it doesn’t include living in a house which is larger than 900 square feet because then I’m in trouble.
I have recently had several conversations about the differences between jar food and making your own. I am making Davis’ food right now and before I go any further, I don’t want to come across as I am trying to persuade you to doing something different. Just wanted to share some facts of making your own. If in any way, this causes some sort of debate, or sparks something that makes you upset for any reason, I apologize and feel free to move on.
Sometimes going to the grocery store and buying the pre-made food is just so much easier. Why do something differently, especially when it takes more time to prepare? What happens if you run out of your already made food and you aren’t at home? Well, obviously plan B. Go buy some! Check a couple of things: Buy the jars with the most calories. Unlike most women who look for 0 calories, obviously baby needs them. If only life were that easy! Also, make sure there are no added chemicals and preservatives. Sometimes, that is the tricky part. You don’t always know. Continue Reading »
When I was pregnant with my first son, Buddy, I was determined to give breastfeeding a try. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out for us, but I thought it was well worth trying.
I had a very difficult labor so we had a rough start with breastfeeding. After 2 weeks and plenty of crying on both our parts, I went to a lactation consultant for some help. It turned out we were doing EVERYTHING wrong, and Buddy refused to do anything right. The lactation consultant was very honest with me and told me that we had some very hard work ahead of us and even with all that hard work, breastfeeding isn’t always the best choice for everyone. She also made me feel better by telling me that no one would think badly of me if we decided that breastfeeding wasn’t for us. That’s all I needed to hear. Buddy began formula that evening, and everyone was happier.
Since Buddy ended up being allergic to almost every single food out there, I vowed to try harder the next time around and nurse my child for at least six months (research says that breastfeeding helps with food allergies). When I got pregnant almost three years later, I immediately began doing research on how to make breastfeeding successful. It paid off.
When Buster was born, I felt much more prepared to actually breastfeed, and thus, things went much smoother. I still had pain and I ended up seeing the lactation consultant again, however, this time instead of telling me we were doing everything wrong, she praised me on how well things were going and gave me some helpful hints. Her praise and confirmation that we were doing things right was the motivation I needed to continue to nurse Buster.
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Nearly two years ago I made the decision to become a full time stay at home mom. It was the most intuitive decision I ever made and even though I was leaving behind a good paying job and would have to put my student loans (you wouldn’t believe the amount) into deferment for the time being, it really made me feel incredible to be able to dedicate all of my time to parenting.
Now that my daughter is almost two, we’ve really hit our stride. I’ve made friends with other stay home parents and we plan times to play. We visit the museum bi-weekly, as well as the park, library, neighborhood Starbucks etc. And I finally feel like I’ve found my self again after a long time searching.
It wasn’t always so easy though. I went from being a hard working career woman with a daily schedule full of meetings and activities, to someone with virtually no commitments other than the small infant I was caring for. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself those first months during the transition. I loved being home, but I felt inadequate and lonely. I felt like I went from being Miranda, a woman with hobbies and interests, to just any old, regular mom. I felt like the stereotype. I didn’t feel as beautiful or interesting. I even struggled with the hostility of some of my working friends who’d ask, “don’t you worry your husband will resent you for not working?”
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Her story went something like this: ‘You know, when he got something in his mind that he wanted to do, there was no stopping him. I was at the bottom of the staircase looking up and shooteroos, here he came running in his superman outfit thinking he was going to jump off the staircase and fly…’
My husband is an only child. Yup, he is. (I can hear all you married-to-single-child peeps out there letting out a big sigh of ‘Oh, I know what you’re going through’ for me. Thanks. I appreciate it.)
He is loved, adored, praised, and held up very highly in his parents eyes – I think he is very lucky.
Not a family get-together goes by where we don’t hear an endearing story of Sheldon’s life growing up, all the while his mother’s pride still beams out of every morsel of her body.
Sheldon is in his mid thirties. We have been together for five years. I’ve heard all the stories… more than once.
Okay, I’ll admit. It started becoming less endearing and more annoying about, mmm, 4.5 years ago. Sometimes I just want to scream… HE’S NOT PERFECT! DO YOU KNOW HOW LOUD HE CHEWS HIS FOOD? DO YOU KNOW HE PICKS HIS TOENAILS IN BED???
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When I planned to have a baby I understood that I would be making some major sacrifices. It’s just what moms do. We give up our bodies like a science project to grow another human. We accept that we will have stretch marks, heartburn and swollen feet. I knew I’d be buying things for the baby and not getting my annual designer purse. It’s all a part of the package deal. The baby’s needs come first. What I didn’t think of were all the little things that come well after the baby is home that I would be giving up as well.
I didn’t realize that as a mom I would continue wearing my maternity clothes long after I came home from the hospital. Not only did maternity jeans fit my newly expanded hips and thighs better than my pre-pregnancy jeans did, but well, let’s be honest here, the tummy paneled pants sure did make me feel a bit less jiggly and exposed. Let’s face it ladies, if I tried to squeeze into regular jeans I’d be fighting muffin top all day long. Instead I have taken to wearing mostly sweatpants or those wonderfully stretchy yoga pants and my favorite maternity tank tops. I like to call my current wardrobe choices my “momiform”. It’s now my daily stay at home mom uniform. My son doesn’t seem to mind.
Not only did I give in to my new found momiform, I gave up on ever wearing clean clothes again. Not for lack of washing mind you, because we do laundry in this house 5 days a week, but because the moment I put something clean on it is destined to be spit up on, slobbered on, pooped or peed on. It seems that no article of clothing is sacred. After weeks of changing clothes after every little spill or spot I noticed on them, I finally gave in to the wonderful scent of a mom. Ode de Slobber and spit up. It’s a lovely combination; we wear it well here in my house, and we wear it often.
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When I was getting ready to leave the Northeast for a new home in the deep, deep, DEEP South, a colleague who had lived most of her life in Georgia told me to prepare for five seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall and tornado. She missed an important one, though. My favorite season here, by far, is consignment sale season. It comes twice each year, and it can be fabulous, as long as you know how to weather the toddler-sparked storms that can accompany it.
I was standing in a slow-moving line at a consignment sale this morning. Women were queued up on three sides of the church gym, laden down with smocked dresses and gingham jumpers, balancing seersucker diaper bags and “like new!” Mary Janes while they reached for DVD’s, books and toys piled along the path to the registers.
I had my 18-month-old daughter, Belly, with me. She was my partner in finding a season’s worth of clothes in one trip. Last year, Belly and I hit the same sale while my older daughter was in pre-school. We had a pretty easy time of it then; I slipped her into a baby carrier, and she slept against my chest while I piled a dozen outfits into her stroller. I knew this year would be more challenging.
Before we left the house, I prepared myself for avoiding the top five toddler temper tantrum triggers: Continue Reading »