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Ever feel like you missed the boat...? - Page 2

post #21 of 74
Thread Starter 

Me too!

post #22 of 74

Don't be too hard on yourself! Five is a very good age to learn that mom has needs that sometimes trump yours. You haven't short-changed your son. You've recognized that he needs to learn some new skills, and I'm sure you'll figure out a way to help him do that.

 

It may help you to focus on the positive too -- what has your son gained by gaining a brother? What have you done right? What have your kids gained by having a very relaxed home?

 

None of us are perfect parents. I yell at my kids too often. I get grumpy and tired. Our house is cluttered. Actually, right now is the longest period we've managed to keep the main living area looking decent. And you want to know why? My kids are older! Not only are they finally past the stage of pulling every toy off the shelf, they're actually real help in cleaning up. When I told dd to clean up the clutter in the living room the other night, she did. When I ordered ds to scrub the floor during chore time he did. And he got most of the bad spots clean. Our dishes get done much more regularly because ds empties the dishwasher (after we remind him). It's so much easier to do dishes if you don't first have to empty the dishwasher. When my kids were 1 and 4 (and 2 and 5, and probably 3 and 6), I used to joke that we didn't need a burglar alarm. We had toys strewn across the floor that would trip up just about anyone! My point is: It gets better.

 

And I can't emphasize enough how important an individual child's temperament is. If I'd only had ds, life would have been grand. He slept long stretches, was very regular in his schedule by about 6 months, is pretty calm generally. He had a few tantrums, but not much. He's rather stubborn in his own quiet way, but was amenable to reason at a very early age.

 

Then we had dd. The child is 7 and she still doesn't have a sleep schedule! She still wakes at 1 or 2 every morning and comes into our room to sleep (we had to kick her out of our bed at age 4 because she got too big and she would always try to kick OUR covers off when she got hot). To say that she's intense at times is an understatement. She's highly dramatic and very emotional. She still has meltdowns regularly. For example, last week, she hit her brother because the basketball game he was watching on TV went into overtime, and she'd been promised to be able to watch her show when he was done. She was frustrated that she had to wait. She'd already hit her brother once, and I'd told her that if she hit him again, she was done with TV. She lost her TV privileges. What did she do? Stomp, scream, rage and tell me "My brother is ruining my life!" She takes a lot more energy to parent than ds does, that's for sure. She's a long way from being able to regulate her emotions consistently, especially if she's tired or hungry. How much of that is our parenting? How much of it is genetics? (I have memories of hurling toys across my bedroom when having a tantrum, and I must have been 5 or 6.)

 

There isn't one "right" way to parent. And the rotten thing is, once you've figured out a way that works for you, your kids change! And when your kids change, darn it, you have to change what you do too. And then you enter into a period of disequilibrium where you feel incompetent again for awhile until you figure out how to make it work.

 

So, you're in a period of change. You sound like a very caring, attuned mother. You can take constructive criticism, reflect on what's going on and see the need to change. Those are some pretty strong skills that will see you through.

 

(And just remember, even scheduled babies grow up to be toddlers and 3 year olds!)

 

 

post #23 of 74
Thread Starter 

Thank you Lynn! Your DD sound so much like my guy... he is rarely never intense. I feel crazily blessed to have him, but he is always a handful, everything he wants must be done when he wants it, or massive gut-wrenching  negotiations ensue. I know it's confounded by DH, who has to be told continuosly not to use the word 'no' with him, whether it's 'practical' or not. It doesn't work. Watching him and other kids, including DS2 I figure he's the equivalent of ten kids. But I wouldn't change him.

 

Like you said, if DS2 was my only child, by life would be far different. It's nice to hear about things resolving with your kids,, a bit more order is majorly called for, thanks for the good words.

post #24 of 74

I know how you feel about never getting any sleep and wondering if you could have done something differently.  But, my first had night terrors and cried for 3 hours every night for many months.  She wouldn't let me put her down for the first several months of her life and she didn't nap on her own until she was 10 months old.  I think she had GERD, but I am not going to pump her full of drugs, if holding her upright solves the problem.  If I let her cry at all she would go into hysterics and throw up.  For awhile there any car ride over 10 minutes would result in hysterical crying and throwing up.

 

  I admit, I don't like crying, but I think it is ridiculous to suggest that is why I pick up my baby.  (I have done a lot of reading on this subject and know Althea Solter's theories about the need to cry, but that doesn't change night terrors.  I have 3 kids and only the 1st had night terrors, but they all wake to nurse at night).

 

She was my first baby, but not the first baby I ever took care of, so I knew it was not ME... but her (and maybe my genes!).

 

I watched my infant brother when I was 22 years old. And lived at home with my parents and him.

He was a natural scheduler.  He would fall asleep at 7 PM no matter where he was.  When he was over 6 months old and eating, if we had a late diner, he was asleep in his high chair.   He woke at 5:30, had a bottle (he was adopted) and then went back to sleep for a couple of hours when he was first born.  Then up and play and eat and back to sleep.  He was a wonderful sleeper.  I would rock him to sleep with a bottle for naps.  (After the first couple of months my dd HATED being rocked and neither of my boys would allow me to rock them to sleep either).  My little adopted brother slept in a bassinet near my parents at first, but later easily adjusted to the crib (they did put him to bed with a bottle though).  My dd would not sleep unless she was up against my breast.

 

I didn't do anything to "put" my brother on a schedule, he did it himself.   My mom was afraid he was going to have sleep problems because I had had sleep problems as a baby and child.  He never had any sleep problems, nor did he have a stubborn temperament at all.

 

8 years later I had my first born girl.  Full of sleep problems, night terrors and, surprise, surprise, a stubborn temperament - just like me.  Come to find out, dh was a super clingy baby.  So, I got the best of all worlds with my dd.  But you know, it's not natural to use a clock and "time" (some bizarro man-made construct) and cribs to raise a baby.  (i mean it was called crib death for a reason).   And all the years in the early 1900's where parents were told to ignore their infants and leave them in cribs is what led to WWII.  The Germans really believed they were doing the right thing when the beat the sh** out of their kids to get them to behave.  That really worked out well for creating the Nazi Youth Groups where young people, who where angry and detached could find something to attach themselves too - the Nazi group, and some "other's" to beat-up on - Jews, Gays, mentally and/or physically disabled people, etc...  

 

I don't want to raise a child that is disconnected and angry.   I would love to have a schedule and maybe we could have had a loose one with my other 2 kids, but my first dd continues to be stubborn and have sleep issues, so that make is hard to keep a schedule for the others.  What am I gonna do?  beat her down?  That seems to be what the culture expects.

 

This culture is just a blink in time and I will not be a slave to it.  :D 

 

I agree that you should do what you need to do to make yourself feel better, but it isn't always about trying to CONTROL another person.  Sometimes it is about learning to accept that you can not control things.  People who were raised by controlling parents find this more difficult to accept (especially because their controlling parents think they are nuts for not controlling their baby).   I just wish everyone would sympathize/help  people with hn babies rather than acting like they have some better way of parenting, just because their babies are more easy going.

 

Best wishes, good luck!

 

Andee

 

post #25 of 74

I haven't read the whole thread, but want to throw something out there.

 

OP - I know this is really about thinking through your approach, and wondering if the loose, flexible thing is working. (I'm there, too - I thrive on loose and flexible. DD1 thrives on loose and flexible. DS1 thrived on loose and flexible. DS2...doesn't. We're really trying to figure out how to structure things.) It's hard to know exactly what to do.

 

But, I also want to bring up the subject of temperament. I know a woman who had a baby, and had him on schedule, and touted the benefits of it to everyone. I met her and her son when he was about five. He was quiet, well behaved, and did very well on the highly structured, scheduled regime she'd had in place since he was a newborn. Then, she had some more kids. She's not the type to eat humble pie, but she could wolf down an whole oven's worth. She did the schedule again...and her kids were/are borderline feral. They're kind of out of control, hate being scheduled and structured, and are just...I can't describe them. I think they're great kids, but they're not, in any way, evidence of the overwhelming awesomeness of structure and schedules. She knocked herself out for years to make sure things were structured and scheduled, and it didn' work. It simply didn't work with the temperments of her other kids. They're quite a bit older than her son was when I met him, and they've never been anything like he was.

 

If I were going by her first, I'd be thinking, "wow - that's obviously the way to go". If I were going by her others, I'd assume structure and schedules just create backlash and chaos.

 

It depends, at least in part, on the child(ren) in question.

post #26 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post


But, I also want to bring up the subject of temperament....... She knocked herself out for years to make sure things were structured and scheduled, and it didn' work. It simply didn't work with the temperments of her other kids. They're quite a bit older than her son was when I met him, and they've never been anything like he was.

 

If I were going by her first, I'd be thinking, "wow - that's obviously the way to go". If I were going by her others, I'd assume structure and schedules just create backlash and chaos.

 

It depends, at least in part, on the child(ren) in question.


Agreed.

 

I also think that going by what some one SAYS they are going to do is really different than watching how things play out over the years. Most parents start off with one plan and end up tweaking if not changing it altogether. Or do one thing for one child and something different for another.

 

What your relatives are PLANNING on doing and what they END up doing may be different things. I knew a lot more about parenting before I had any kids. bag.gif And then our first DD was such an easy baby, we just thought we were great parents and that our *style* produced happy, easy babies. I thought she was happy because I was such a great mom.

 

Then we had a second child who screamed for about a year. No matter what we did. So, obviously, it didn't have anything to do with me. Some babies are just easier than others. shrug.gif

 

May be they will do everything they plan on, but may be not. And may be it will all work for this kid, but not the next. Or may be it will work out just peachy for every child they have, but even in that unlikely scenario, it doesn't really matter. It only matters if what you are currently doing is working out for you and your kids.

 

You can relax on the comparisons and just be happy for them than that have a new baby and that everything is going fine. That's a lot right there to be happy about.

post #27 of 74
Thread Starter 



I am so enjoying this dialogue, it is very liberating! It is so good to hear so many PP's defending all of our - kids and parents - right to uniqueness. No matter how many times we consider how easy this or that might be if only our kid's complied, it seems so wise and necessary to remember we cannot quash them into whatever suits us best, even if we had that inclination.

 

I would never want to change my kids, though I definitely would enjoy the predictability of certain things, like sleep - who doesn't want that?

 

My DS 1 always went to sleep late -from 11 to 12 most nights and some people seemed horrified by this, others would laugh conspiratorially, happy to hear there were others like them out there. He would sleep his full 10 hours and we didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn, so it wasn't a big issue. I am a night owl and an all-over-the-place person, so having a strict regiment is something I can truly say I could never apply myself to. I love doing unscheduled things. Spontaneity makes up many of my fondest memories, and my sons - taking buses to unknown neighbourhoods, unplanned ferry-rides, our much talked about- midnight walks ( we used to go when DS1 couldn't sleep.. ) Sure, some things are more difficult - we can not sleep over at relatives at all, but that is not a serious loss. I do worry that he is tired long before he goes to sleep and subject to meltdowns, but ( like PP One Love was talking about ) I myself stay up way past any sensible hour when I'm in a zombie-state to, as does my mum, my husband.... I do admit to the odd push and pull, when I see how co-operative some 'scheduled' kids are, but cribs and fully-planned days are anathema to me, even before I had kids. I am very comforted by the thought that this is them, not just me... from others in the same boat! I mean, I have thought about it, known it, lived it, but - again- it is is so nice to hear it staunchly defended by so many PP's !!!

 

I'm fairly comfy with chaos, though a little order would probably be beneficial to everyone's needs. I have to make the balance ours, and nobody else's... It's so weird when you're a person that is kind of proud of being different and are suddenly shaken by the status quo you've always questioned.  I def. want to honor keep my ( largely unshakable...!) conviction that kids DO bring a whole lot with them, and try my best to be intuitive and understand what level of order/routine they need to thrive.

 

So, maybe haven't missed the boat... different trip altogether?

 

Can't wait to re-read all this wisdom...

post #28 of 74

I think you can get down on yourself all you like, but if you have two children and one of them is just five and the other is an infant, it doesn't really matter what parenting philosophy you follow. It doesn't even matter whether you were incredibly disciplined with DS1 all the way through. You have a kid who is an age when many children find it hard to give up attention, and an infant who, no matter what people say about schedules, needs a lot of attention. If you were strict and tough and a martinet, you'd still be facing this. If you were a Continuum Concept parent, you'd be facing this. It's just the way it goes for many families!

 

Now, if you don't like your older child's manners, for the sake of not losing your mind, it would be good to teach him. Love might mean never having to say you're sorry, but attachment parenting does NOT mean never having to say please and thank you! It really is not a problem whether the child sat in a high chair or whether you made him. No one has to sit in a high chair in adulthood, but everyone has to learn how to come to a meal with others and how to leave it. Manners are a skill, like reciting the alphabet, that you start when the child is little and that progress to more interesting lessons as they get older. You can still be an attached mom and teach these skills. 

 

I realize that I have it much easier than you on this one, because I have one child. Do you also realize that I have it easier, that the dynamics of two children are tougher until you and the kids get the hang of it? Don't let your sister-in-law's example discourage you--she has one, tiny baby. Your SIL is talking endlessly about getting him on a schedule because she's sleep-deprived. I think you know that! 

 

 

post #29 of 74
Thread Starter 

Yes, of course they need some social skills, otherwise- as I often say to my 5YO, there would be chaos everywhere! But, yes, Cap. Optimism I agree, no matter what I'd be facing some challenge.

 

But, when DS1 was an infant I never gave a thought to schedules and I was mega-sleep deprived. I catered to every whim, lifted at every pre-mewl... He was only happy sleeping on me, I was crazy happy if he slept at all. And keeping track of nursing, BM's naptimes? No way, he was always nursing. What I wondered, in a moment of weakness, was; does an ordered existence in the beginning mold a more content, happier, ultimately easier babe? I heard a lot of valuable testimony that maybe it does not.

 

Plus, if SIL  has an easy babe, or a crazy babe ( which I think is unlikely..) it will be loved, mightily, by all of us. 

 

Sure, I will have some envy if he goes to bed at 7 o'clock and sleeps 'til 8! I always joke to mothers about it " They sleep how long? Wow, you're a lucky mama.." Makes them feel good about it, however long it lasts, helps me make light of it!

 

Now I'm figuring out that maybe my fellas, no matter what may never follow that schedule, and I could never enforce something so far from their inclination. But I can inch it back, and encourage the gentle routine that may help them flourish?

post #30 of 74
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lupena View Post

 

But, when DS1 was an infant I never gave a thought to schedules and I was mega-sleep deprived. I catered to every whim, lifted at every pre-mewl... He was only happy sleeping on me, I was crazy happy if he slept at all. And keeping track of nursing, BM's naptimes? No way, he was always nursing. What I wondered, in a moment of weakness, was; does an ordered existence in the beginning mold a more content, happier, ultimately easier babe? I heard a lot of valuable testimony that maybe it does not.

 

 

I didn't really answer this question. I will tell you that ds1's infancy was much as you describe (except that I had to go back to work when he was very little, but my MIL and sister alternated childcare, and my ex was home quite a lot - they all handled him the same way I did...except that they gave him bottles of breastmilk, of course - but they held and cuddled him while he ate). He's almost 19, and he's honestly probably the most emotionally well adjusted person I know. I know - I'm his mom, and I'd think he's awesome, anyway, but I've had a lot of other people comment on it. He's a very well adjusted young man. I don't think the lack of schedules and structure hurt him any. :)

post #31 of 74



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

What your relatives are PLANNING on doing and what they END up doing may be different things. I knew a lot more about parenting before I had any kids. bag.gif And then our first DD was such an easy baby, we just thought we were great parents and that our *style* produced happy, easy babies. I thought she was happy because I was such a great mom.

 

Then we had a second child who screamed for about a year. No matter what we did. So, obviously, it didn't have anything to do with me. Some babies are just easier than others. shrug.gif

 

 

Oh good lord, truer words were never typed! 

 

We had an easy baby, maybe the easiest baby ever.  People were in awe of how content he was, how much we were able to do with him and so on.  The only schedule thing I can remember doing was exposing him to sunlight as much as possible during the day while he was awake.  I just assumed his fantasticness was because of our parenting!  Ha Ha Ha! 

 

Then he turned 3.5 yo and holy cow, did things change!  As he aged a bit and his daily activities changed and expanded, I began to see how he needed much more sleep, how our family bed/later bedtimes where affecting him and how our la-de-da lifestyle created sort of a little monster.   Looking back, I could and should have done a number of things differently (who can't say that?) that would have made a big difference in our sanity now.

 

OP - I don't have any advice.  Just chiming in as another mother who feels like she missed the boat too.

post #32 of 74
Thread Starter 

I love it when patterns don't emerge, all that random outcome makes me feel less clueless. I love all this humility, too... why can't everyone be this way, conscientious, lighthearted..

 

Storm bride, the fact that your son is 19 and wonderful says a lot, now I'll harass you for all your secrets.. here's hoping it's simple as a carrying on of all that unconditional love.

 

As AP parents we're all hoping that our parenting will result in emotionally 'well' adjusted children, but even if that equilibrium isn't obvious, or if we hit bumps in the road, would we have done it any differently?


Edited by Lupena - 1/27/12 at 5:36pm
post #33 of 74

Thank you for that post...:)

post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupena View Post

but I think it's me - never saying no -  except when I'm pushed to the brink, or exhausted (and only since DS2 arrived) when I do it in all the wrong ways.

 

Poor little man, how crappy must it feel to have such huge feelings and not know how to cope?

 


Barbara Coloroso described the above in her book Kids Are Worth It:  mom puts up with a lot of free-form behavior for a long time, until she exhausted and frazzled beyond control. So she ends up responding in 'wrong ways' or less than ideal or what have you.  For me, when my kid's behavior tipped me over the edge, I'd respond by going 0 to 60 in no time at all, suddenly FURIOUS.  I'm sure I looked and sounded like thunder and lightening. Some times I spanked, but that was essentially useless. Mostly my anger at this little person left me feeling drained and ashamed. Your version of  'doing it wrong' might look different.

 

As to your second comment above, part of what he might be feeling is surprise and confusion. "Whoa! Mom's been fine with this all along.  What changed??"

 

What helps is to discipline when you're not emotionally worn out and unable to think straight. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lupena View Post


But, when DS1 was an infant I never gave a thought to schedules and I was mega-sleep deprived. I catered to every whim, lifted at every pre-mewl... He was only happy sleeping on me, I was crazy happy if he slept at all. And keeping track of nursing, BM's naptimes? No way, he was always nursing. What I wondered, in a moment of weakness, was; does an ordered existence in the beginning mold a more content, happier, ultimately easier babe? I heard a lot of valuable testimony that maybe it does not.


 

In the long run any 15 y.o. won't be any more contented and happy because he had a sleep/nursing schedule, no more contented than the fifteen year old that was nursed on demand till he was 2.  But in the mean time Mom has got to take care of herself.  It's not just about what's best for the child, it's also about the child's mother.  As well, your son needs to learn in a gradual, organic and natural way that his wants aren't always the priority, that other people have needs and wants, and that he IS capable of waiting and putting other people ahead of himself.  Who better to learn that from than mom. 

 

From what other moms describe about themselves here at MDC, I think I must be pretty selfish. And perhaps that benefited me and my kids.  Like someone else mentioned, I get super cranky if I don't eat well and regularly. So it benefited everyone involved, if when my kid wanted me to get out the painting supplies I simply said, "Sure, when I'm finished with my sandwich".  The same with innumerable little but important instances where I put my needs ahead of my kid's wants.  I have to admit I felt odd/bad about it sometimes, but the selfish part of me said, "sorry, I need this 20 more seconds in the bathroom by myself.  You are safe crying in the play chair, you will be just fine."  

 

Of course sleep time is a whole 'nuther ball of wax.  Basically we just survived and were sleep deprived a lot of the time.  Even though when they were toddlers I introduced them to a bedtime routine, kept to it pretty firmly.  I know I'm very lucky that dh was willing and able to sing softly, and sway and pace around the room continually holding the baby, for about an hour straight. Every night.  It meant much less nursing to sleep.  Bless you, father in law. You were a great example to your son. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Severely edited for errors. 


Edited by journeymom - 2/2/12 at 8:08am
post #35 of 74
Thread Starter 

Journeymom, you don't sound selfish at all. If we look at the natural world, all mamas follow this pattern. It is only us that follow a pattern of such extreme self-sacrifice. I think that any mother, animal or human (!) would lay down her life for her young, but that doesn't mean that 5 minutes to eat your yogurt in the morning instead of fulfilling the first 17 requests means that you're selfish. These small survival tactics allow us to gather ourselves, the remind ourselves that we still exist outside of our mothering roles and allow us to be better mothers. Often, when my husband comes home I sneak ( yeas, sneak! ) off for a fifteen minute coffee break for myself, in another room, or for a run in the evening. These mini-reclamation rituals make me feel so much more capable and balanced. I try to see if I am starting to see red ( noise, constant noise is a huge trigger for me...) I start whispering, if that doesn't work I tell DS that I cannot do anything until I have a few quiet time moments. If he obliges me I genuinely thank him, and that empathy ( not even quite there...) was a long time coming. Kids can't always provide empathy,  so I have to empathize with everyone, including me. I will do anything to avoid the martyrdom thing, which to me is very damaging to children and boring to boot.

 

Your DH sounds wonderful! I do a lot of delegating with my DH as well, though I never used to and I actually think it helps us both.  He might not always know what to do at a given time, but he is always happy to do it. For us I find it is very important, that daddy-time. Mine and DS1's bedtime rituals, for example, need to be intact.. though DS1, since he was walking will pound on the door and yell to be let in to play. I'll never forget one time just after DS1 was born, our bedtime stories got interrupted for the third time as I had to nurse the babe and DS1 broke into the most tragic sort of tears, like he was trying so hard to hold them back and they just wracked his little body. My heart just broke right there, and I knew that I had to preserve this time, no matter what. Now DS2 loves his daddy time, and if he gets whiny he still has to wait. Point is, these little allowances and rules preserve us - I am only just now realizing that routine - no matter how 'loose' must have some element of structure..? Knowing what is about to happen - though I never used to buy this - can translate to something far deeper to children than a timetable - it stands for something dependable that will not desert them. They need that comfort.

 

I have so much to figure out! Some people just seem to know, innately.

post #36 of 74

This is a great thread.  I love the non-judgemental and no shaming talk. 

 

 

post #37 of 74

I actually don't think I'm particularly selfish, I think some mamas are needlessly depriving themselves for their little ones.  Specifically I'm referring to some mamas here who describe not being able to use the toilet without a toddler barging in, not eating meals because their kids need their time, and the best example, nursing the baby while using the toilet because she couldn't put the baby down.  These instances were baffling to me. Lock the bathroom door.  Eat your food.  And for pity's sake don't sit on the pot holding your baby. 

post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

and for pity's sake don't sit on the pot holding your baby. 



LOL..... Oh my I remember those days- what was I thinking????

post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

I actually don't think I'm particularly selfish, I think some mamas are needlessly depriving themselves for their little ones.  Specifically I'm referring to some mamas here who describe not being able to use the toilet without a toddler barging in, not eating meals because their kids need their time, and the best example, nursing the baby while using the toilet because she couldn't put the baby down.  These instances were baffling to me. Lock the bathroom door.  Eat your food.  And for pity's sake don't sit on the pot holding your baby. 



Can I just say THANK YOU for posting this? I'm very much a lurker, but only because I fear so much being judged around here. This is so, so refreshing to read as a mama who loves her children more than chocolate but sometimes lets them cry outside the bathroom and doesn't jump at every whimper.

 

Just.... thank you. :)

 

post #40 of 74

If I could do it over again- I would have done it differently- like the mamas on here are talking about.  I think there is a difference between being AP and being ridiculous- and I was ridiculous!  I wish I had set boundaries and used better discipline techniques starting at a young age.

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