Parenting is NEVER Boring Blog Post - Sleeping Child

Parenting is NEVER Boring

Parenting is NEVER Boring Blog Post - Bedside Lamp

 

The Three D’s

I love it when my children are tucked up in bed fast asleep. They look so peaceful, so beautiful, so scrumptiously soft and warm. And there is added bonus that in their current state they are unlikely to climb up the pantry shelves to the cookies, inexplicably demand breakfast in another bowl or get dressed in a new swimsuit to wear to daycare. All situations that have not just occurred in our household but happened today.

I just do not comprehend it when parents say they find raising children boring. There are the three D’s – danger, drama and decision-making – that make parenting one of the most exciting jobs in the world.

 

Danger

We have child proofed our house to the hilt. There are gates blocking access to the kitchen, child locks on drawers plus those plastic things you put into electrical plugs that hinder your vacuuming efforts, as they are almost impossible to pull out. Yet, I feel like I only need to turn around and my kids discover yet another novel way to endanger themselves.

My almost three-year-old daughter’s current favorite game is to say ‘look at me’ as she swings off the stair balustrades where if she let go she could easily tumble down a flight of stairs. I have learned not to look when I hear ‘look at me’.

Last week I noticed a small light emanating from our bedroom and found that both reading lamps had been turned on and the bendy part pushed down so that the lamp was almost touching the bedside tables. Result: bubbling varnish and the top of both tables way too hot to touch. Yes we need to check the light bulb strength in our reading lamps but who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t noticed anything for a few more hours.

Drama

I feel like my children are auditioning for a soap opera. The emotional responses I get to trivial situations would win them a Daytime Emmy for sure. Finding out that I crushed up their Weetbix – hysterics. Wrong breakfast bowl – howls of protest. Requests to brush teeth – met with running away and hiding. And that is just the morning drama.

How to navigate this emotional minefield is a tricky area for parents. I want to acknowledge their emotional response and let them vent for an appropriate period of time. But I also do not understand how putting the wrong Paw Patrol episode on can lead to a meltdown.

 

Decision-Making

Perhaps decision-making is not as exciting as danger and drama but it happens more often each day. Eloise is already dressed in her new swimsuit, should I just send her to daycare in it? She would be happy, it would take less time, but it is not really appropriate attire.

Routines and rules can help to reduce decision-making but there still seems to be a myriad of snap decisions to make all day long and that means parenting is never boring. Rice or couscous? Play Barbies or Lego? Shoes or no shoes? The list is endless.

 

Never Ever Boring

Sometimes, just in case you were feeling quite content with the whole parenting thing, maybe even a tiny bit bored, you will get a situation where all three D’s are thrown at you at once. Like when your toddler insists on driving the car (danger), and your five year old is making a fuss that he doesn’t get a turn (drama) while you are trying to figure out where your wallet may have ended up so you can actually leave the house (decision making).

No wonder I love watching my kids sleep. Not only do they seem like angels but also I get to have a break from the constant adrenalin coursing through my body. That is until they wake in the middle of the night…

Parenting is NEVER Boring Blog Post - Sleeping Child

Three Realizations Blog Post - Cryptocurrency Image

Three Realizations About Mama Worry

Three Realizations Blog Post - Cryptocurrency Image

Typical Mama

When I was going through my pregnancies, I worried about tons of things including ending up with an emergency C-section and stretch marks. Then when my kids were little babies I worried another stack of things like reading to them enough and their sleep routine falling apart.

I am huge worrier from way back and that coupled with my fear of traditional (spiders, snakes) and perhaps stranger things (Doctor Who, geese), probably just means I am a typical mama.

Somehow I thought that as my kids grew up, the fears and worries would reduce, but instead they are as constant as ever. I mean how do I explain things I do not understand myself like crypto currency? I still worry ALL THE TIME.

Is this my lot as a mama? Is there anything I can I do about it?

 

Realization One

I do remind myself that what I worried about the most ended up not being a big deal. Both births were relatively fine and a few stretch marks are not important in the scheme of things.

 

Realization Two

Also, I do know deep down that adding worry into the equation does not help. I love books and read to my babies a lot but if some days it didn’t happen worrying about it did not help matters. And looking back, if my baby fell asleep in my arms, then I should have enjoyed one of the best feelings in the world rather than worrying about keeping to a sleep routine.

 

Realization Three

The most ironic thing about all this worry is that it was actually stuff I didn’t think about that that actually slammed into my life like a freight train. At the end of the pregnancy with Dylan I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, something I had to look up on my mobile phone after I was confined to a hospital bed and told baby would be induced the next day.

I worried about having too much milk or none at all. I even didn’t know you could have a small flow of milk. And I foolishly didn’t foresee how lack of sleep for baby and me could be such an issue.

 

A Good Start

Perhaps being a Mama means I can’t switch off the worry but knowing it is completely pointless is a good start. We worry about things that don’t ultimately matter, we worry about the wrong things and don’t worry about things that actually end up being major issues.

But being a Mama also means that we are stronger than we think and we cope with the things that come up. I played the game with the cards I was dealt with. I handled it. Maybe not well to start with sometimes but I found answers or got outside help where required.

So I guess this means I don’t have to worry about how to explain crypto currency for now. Phew, what a relief!

Don't Worry Be Happy Blog Post - Parenting Worry Cartoon

Parenting Easier Blog Post - Parenting Toolbox

Does Parenting Ever Get Easier?

Parenting Easier Blog Post - Parenting Toolbox

Tools Down

I would really like to know: does parenting ever get easier? I skimmed through a couple of my favorite parenting books again this month trying to glean some nuggets of wisdom. This was due to some poor behavior exhibited, mainly from my kids, and occasionally from me.

I don’t know what has brought the poor behavior on or how best to deal with it. I thought a few years into this parenting gig that both causes and solutions would be easy to spot. Not so.

So far I have narrowed down the possible causes to any or all of the following: food, sleep, a possible growth spurt, adjusting to returning to school/kindy, the weather or the phase of the moon. Replace ‘school/kindy’ with ‘dirty diapers’ and I am essentially back to trying to determine why my ‘baby’ is crying. With the moon a possible cause.

And how best to deal with it? Ignoring it, distraction, time outs or showing empathy with cuddles have met with varying degrees of success. Nothing has had a massive positive impact. These are the main tools in my parenting arsenal but right now they feel a little worn out.

 

Messy

Where does this thought that parenting would get easier even come from? It is probably from cultural messages that state things like ‘now he is seven he makes his bed each morning’ and ‘my ten-year-old does her homework on her own’. The teenage years seem a bit dismal, but after that your kids were adults and surely then they were less work?

But this stage-by-stage approach doesn’t take into account the inherent messiness that comes with parenting. That seven-year-old could still be wetting the bed some nights. The ten-year-old may be scared of another child in her class. Or you may get a knock on the door one day from your 27-year-old needing a place to live.

 

What To Do

So what to do? First, acknowledge that parenting NEVER EVER gets easier. Accepting that may be difficult. But it is much harder to live with a naïve assumption that parenting gets easier.

Second, try to enjoy, or at least accept, being in the parenting trenches. Life is not a movie montage. Sometimes the only thing you can do is take a deep breath or three.

Last, realize you didn’t become a parent because it was easy. You did it because it was hard. You did it knowing deep down how difficult it could be and you did it anyway. All the best things in life take hard work. That is why they are the best things in life.

And please don’t worry about us. As one of my go-to books state: ‘all behavior is communication’. If I stop wishing for it to be over, take a deep breath and truly listen, I know I will figure it out.

 

References

Of Course I Love You… Now Go to Your Room – Diane Levy  http://amzn.to/2Ha333q

Politically Incorrect Parenting – Nigel Latta  http://a.co/heKyjXj

Parenting Easier Blog Post - JFK Moon

 

 

 

Comparisonitis Blog Post - Dylan-Eloise-Halloween

Should We Stop Sibling Comparisonitis?

Comparisonitis Blog Post - Dylan-Eloise-Halloween

Sibling Comparisonitis – The Cuteness

For the first year or so of Eloise’s life I put side by side photos on Facebook comparing Dylan and Eloise when they were babies – in the same Halloween costume, at the zoo with the elephant, even in the same pretty dress (another 21st photo for poor Dylan). Oh the cuteness!

Last week, I caught myself talking about Eloise’s ability in gymnastics class and comparing it to Dylan’s. Yesterday a friend remarked I how complex Eloise’s speech was for her age and it got me likening it to what Dylan was like at the same age.

In fact, any area is up for grabs including all the baby things – teething, crawling, sitting up, walking, eating. Now the kids are five and two, personality and both physical and mental development are contrasted. And don’t forget physical appearance – a huge focus for any sibling comparison.

 

Sibling Comparisonitis – The Questions

Why do we do this? Is this ‘compare and contrast’ of our kids something ingrained in all parents? Do we want them to be the same or different? Are we trying to prove something by comparing them so much?

Is this phenomenon of comparing our kids to each other a good or bad thing?

Should we stop sibling comparisonitis?

 

Sibling Comparisonitis – The Good

It is definitely not all bad. Side by side photos of our babies in delightful outfits and lovely settings can’t ever be thought of as a bad thing. It is too darn adorable.

Noticing things the children do the same at the same age is also a revelation for parents. Some things really do follow a typical developmental timeline. At around two years of age, both Dylan and Eloise went through a stage of saying ‘nigh nighs’ (good night) to all their toys. Something they both quickly grew out of, but super cute to observe for a brief time.

Detecting things that are different between my two kids is interesting. Eloise, at two and half, is going through a stage of wanting us to read the same book over and over for a week at a time. She even sometimes requests the repetition of the same book immediately after I just read it to her! I can’t remember Dylan ever doing that.

Observing our beautiful tiny humans as they grow is a great thing to do and should be encouraged as it is what shared family memories are made of.

 

Sibling Comparisonitis – The Bad

Where we may go wrong is when there is a negative overtone to the comparison. I do this all the time! Dylan has better co-ordination when it comes to riding a bike, but Eloise has superior co-ordination in gymnastics class.

I have also noticed that I tend to focus more on the similarities between Dylan and Eloise than the differences, leading to Eloise going without. Dylan decided when he was very young that he didn’t like tomatoes. Because we very rarely dish up tomatoes to Dylan, Eloise ends up missing out on them as well. When I threw a couple of cherry tomatoes into her bowl of vegetables the other day she devoured them like a zombie who has come across a fresh corpse.

One of the worst outcomes of comparing siblings is contrasting some behavior that is difficult now with a rose-tinted view the other child. Memories do get fuzzy and what is hard now supersedes problems long since resolved. Eloise was an amazing sleeper as a baby but since she hit two years old we have been going through a bad patch of night wakings. Dylan seems like an angel as he sleeps so well but we kind of forget that he basically didn’t sleep at all for the first four months of his life!

 

Sibling Comparisonitis – The Strange

The strangest thing about all this comparing and contrasting is that we often get surprised when the second child is different to the first child. We celebrate the similarities and overlook the differences.

However, we should be surprised that there are ANY similarities at all! Think about it. The second child has an older sibling to talk with and copy behavior from. With Eloise, we are more relaxed as parents. She is a girl. Her height, hair color and eye color are not the same. Heck, she falls into a different Chinese Zodiac sign.

She is a whole entire another human being!

 

Sibling Comparisonitis – The Answer

Maybe it is impossible to stop sibling comparisonitis. It is baked into us as parents as soon as there are two or more kids in the family. But it is good to be aware of it so we can tone down the negative and celebrate the best parts.

One of those best parts is celebrating our kids’ differences. Let’s do more of this. With everyone. That we are all Homo sapiens yet all unique is the defining feature of our humanity.

Comparisonitis Blog Post - Dylan-Eloise-Dress