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#1 of 10 Old 11-29-2002, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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has anyone here used less effective parenting techniques for an older child and feel really guilty about it? my 5 month-old dd is breast-fed, worn in her sling, and sleeps in our bed at night. she is so healthy and happy, seldom cries, so secure and content.

when my ds was born, i was a single mom on welfare. i let the hospital talk me into accepting formula from wic. i used disposable diapers. i wanted to co-sleep so bad, but the hospital social workers who visited my home told me he had to sleep in a crib in another room. he rode in a stroller or sat in a baby seat, i was told carrying and holding my child was dangerous because i could drop him. when he was little i think i yelled too much. my family was even pressuring me to spank.

he's 5 now. we are working very hard at improving our parenting. ds is a VERY energenic, high-needs boy. as he grew he was often sickly, clingy, he had diaper rash all the time from the gel goo in the diapers, he was fussy, woke freqently at night... and now he seems so sensitive and neurotic. he has trouble with anxiety, and acts out in inappropriate ways to get attention. i just feel like he could be a happier boy now if i'd made better deciscions then. what a rotten mommy i am...
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#2 of 10 Old 11-29-2002, 11:50 PM
 
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frodo (love your screenname), if every child had a mama like you, who questions all her decisions no matter how big the authorities that forced them upon her, who does what her heart says is best even if everybody around her tries to make her insecure and less than confident, and who doesn't ignore his problems but faces them and tries to make them better,

then the world would truly be a better place

You just did what you think was best. It looks like a lot of people around you used your insecurities to tell you what to do. Your ds knows you love him. You didn't spank him, which in my eyes is one of the biggest biggies.

Some children are very sensitive, no matter how they're parented (and it's not a bad thing of course). Your son is old enough that you can discuss some of these things with him. You can ask him what he remembers, maybe try to find out if he feels you loved him less because you behaved differently with him. If so, explain why. Everybody has to learn, even parents.

You sound like a very loving caring mama, and your son no doubt knows that. If you keep telling him and letting him feel how much you love him deep inside where it counts, he'll be okay.

ps my dd was ap-ed from the start, and she's also clingy, nightwaking, and sensitive. Some people just are like that. I like to think that that's how Picasso was as a kid, too
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#3 of 10 Old 11-30-2002, 12:07 AM
 
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i totally agree with you, simonee.. and wanted to let you know what a sweet and thotful woman you are!

and frodo, you sound like you are doing a fine job.. i like what simonee said about talking with your son about it.. you can't erase the past, after all, but it is obvious you love him. i'm sure he knows that..

p.s. starting out ap is no guarantee you will have a content baby.. mine was very easily upset and clingy for over a year (still is often), and i held him in his sling *constantly*, slept with him, breastfed on demand, etc. etc.. so much of it really is temperament..
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#4 of 10 Old 11-30-2002, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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we did spank for a little while, and i felt just horrible about it. the pressure to spank from "those who knew best" & it took his step dad a while to learn to parent, we were very poor & under a lot of stress & sometimes we'd loose our temper & spank! when things cooled down though we'd _always_ make it the _first priority to talk about it, to tell him we were wrong for spanking and we were sorry; however, he was also wrong for hitting (biting, trying to stuff cat in toilet, other tpical toddler problem, etc.) and let's both try to do better. it just seemed like the best i could do at the time. maybe we gave him mixed messages?

please please please tell me the tantrums are a phase. intellectually i know they are. i read the article in the recent mothering, i had my husband read it, but when world war III started breaking out over the bedtime toothbrushing issue, i had to go into the kitchen and chant over and over again like a mantra that i hadn't screwed him up for life. yet.

(thank you, simonee, i love my screen name too. i made a little hobbit costume for ds for his 3rd halloween, which was before the movie came out, complete with glow-in-the-dark sword, brass ring of doom on a cord, jaunty feathered cap, and furry little hobbit feet made out of half-circles of fake fur that almost matched his hair, tied over his sneakers. nobody knew who he was supposed to be, or had even heard of tolkien, middle earth, or hobbits! i am surrounded by illiterates.)

how do i explain the differences? he keeps asking why his sister doesn't use her crib? where's her stroller? we thought making a sling for his doll would be a start, but we don't want him to feel like she's more important than him. he and i survived welfare together. that created a bond that's just as strong and sacred as all the babywearing in the world, i just don't know if he can understand that.
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#5 of 10 Old 12-02-2002, 01:02 AM
 
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Frodo --
I don't know you, but I just have to tell you that I love you!

The last paragraph of your post above really touched me for some reason...especially the part about how surviving welfare together created a bond just as strong and sacred as all the babywearing in the world. Wow! What a beautiful, powerful statement that is.

I have a 5 year old ds who wasn't "fully ap'd" the first year or so of his life. I had trouble nursing, so ended up supplementing with formula. Ds didn't seem to mind his crib, so he slept in there most of the time (though he napped with me in our bed during the day). We vaxed without even researching the issue. And the thing I regret the most is that we had him circumcised. I still feel guilty about that sometimes. But....he has always been loved and held and kissed and respected and made to feel appreciated....and when I knew better, I did better. (Now we co-sleep, homeschool, etc...)

I think you are doing absolutely the right thing with your ds. And even though you feel your parenting at that time was less than ideal, and even though your situation at the time was difficult, I am sure that you haven't caused permanent damage (in any way) to your son. Simonee was right that you should discuss everything with him. Assure him with your words as well as your actions that he is important to you. Let him know that if you had known about babywearing, cosleeping, etc... when he was a baby, you would have practiced that. I've had these same kind of conversations with my own ds and he seems to get it. He understands that mommies aren't always perfect and sometimes we need to learn new ways to do things. I'm sure your son would understand too.

Please don't be so hard on yourself. You sound like a beautiful mom. It's obvious you really love your son (and if I can feel that from just a couple of posts, I know your son feels it!) And, I have to say, the way you took time to make your ds a hobbit costume for Halloween is so special!! That's a bonding experience in itself! Those are the things he'll carry with him all his life. The fact that you love him and care about him enough to share your interest in Tolkein with him in such a creative (and probably time-consuming!) way means so much!

BTW, I think tantrums are a phase. My ds goes in and out of them! (We are currently in a pouting/tantrum phase again). I know they're not easy to deal with and I don't have any real advice (I lose my cool during tantrums sometimes too)....but when it happens, just breathe. Leave the room if you can. Try whispering. It may help.

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#6 of 10 Old 12-02-2002, 01:24 AM
 
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Moms, remember, it doesn't matter so much where you've been as where you are at this moment. Now is what matters, what we have control over. As Maya Angelou said, "When I knew better, I did better". That's what this parenting thing is all about. Do not be harsh on yourselves, just keep learning and trying. You're doing fine. When you focus on the past, that's where your energy goes and not to the present. If you feel bad, feel bad, but then learn from it and let it go.

Boy am I preachy tonight:

Sorry 'bout that
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#7 of 10 Old 12-02-2002, 01:36 AM
 
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Frodo,

You are beautiful, you are strong, you love that boy, and he *knows* it. I feel some guilt too, that I didn't research when I was told that I had to stop bfing due to some meds...which turns out...wasn't true, and I fully missed out on that...I'm working on that. But I talk to dd about it...and wonder how she'll handle me bfing a sibling.
Please, forgive yourself, and keep hugging that boy...he's lucky to have you as a mama!!!!

Peace,

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#8 of 10 Old 12-02-2002, 01:48 AM
 
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Frodo, you are so lovely...

he will understand that you learn, just like he does. Can you explain that with him you did what other people told you, but that thanks to him you are now able to make your own decisions, and that thanks to him your heart has opened up so much that you dare to be different? Sure, his little sister gets treatment that easier comes off as better (and that most of us at mdc find better for our own families, of course), but he deserves to know that he is the person that guided you there.

and yeah, the tantrums pass. though I've had some bosses that made me see that it can at least take 40 years :
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#9 of 10 Old 12-02-2002, 01:51 AM
 
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Quote:
and yeah, the tantrums pass. though I've had some bosses that made me see that it can at least take 40 years
:LOL

OH, no, don't discourage her!!!!!!
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#10 of 10 Old 12-08-2002, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm feeling a lot better now, although i still worry about my wonderful little basket-case. i was really down last week - i've developed some sort of chemical sensitivites and have had to give my life a major overhaul and that had me depressed about everything. i can learn to live without extra-mega-super-slutty-hold aqua-net. i can forgive my parenting mistakes. everybody here is so supportive! thanks, i really, really needed it!

i remember some time ago there was a post on one of the boards about what natural parenting thing you wished you'd done with your kids. this was way back before we were online at home, so i was just reading the boards from library computers & unable to post. a lot of mamas said they wished they'd held their babies more, or whatever. i really wanted to take part in this discussion but i was stuck on the stupid library computers. in spite of all the things i wish i'd done with my son the thing i regret the most is hanging on to this damn guilt! i think that a lot of us mamas were taught as girls to be harsh with ourselves and to feel guilty about not being some june cleaver ideal. i wish i could just drop the guilt. it serves no purpose and does more harm than good!

i was having a great conversation with a woman at an alternative craft fair about waldorf education. there's a great homeschooling group-moving-towards-private school out in one of the 'burbs. the tuitions beyond our reach, but i'm growing more curious about waldorf education, and what it can do for my son. it just doesn't seem very affordable. plus it's kind of hard to share nature with your kid when you're surrounded by concrete and don't even have a backyard. we have a balcony we can grow stuff on that even sort of gets a little sun, but i couldn't afford the pots and compost this spring, and was kind of too pregnant & ended up on bedrest anyway. it seems like the buildings and pavement and buses hold his attention far better than the green things growing in the sidewalk cracks.
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