Monday, February 10, 2014

The Things I Swore I'd Never Do

You know when you are thinking about becoming a parent and you'll think to yourself or say to your spouse, 'when we have kids I'll never....'  You tally up this mental list of things you'll ideally do or not do when you have children. You know, because you're going to have a perfect family and it's all going to go as planned...

Well, I certainly had a parenting list creating in my little head of how things would go. Then we couldn't just 'get pregnant', we ended up with twins, our twins had horrible reflux, one had colic, etc. You get the picture. Life doesn't happen as you plan. We all know that. Here is a list of things I swore I'd never do as a parent! I'm a rule breaker!!

*LET MY KIDS WATCH TV. I'd seen the kids zoned out staring at the TV not responding when you spoke to them. My kids would never be like that! We'll be doing crafts, playing outside and doing other creative activities. HA! What was I thinking?! We stumbled across a show (Tec the Tractor-worst show EVER btw) that stopped Evan in his tracks. It was a particularly desperate Saturday filled with whining. Collin turned on Baby TV. That damn tractor was there and Evan stopped whining and watched the show. He was hooked. We now have a routine that includes watching Tec while we drink milk because it's the only way to get him to sit still to drink his milk. We also watch Baby E.instein DVD's before bed. Again, it keeps them calm and they drink their bedtime milk this way. We started watching the Ein.stein DVD's early on. They'd be in their jumpers watching them and be content. It was a beautiful thing. I know, kids aren't supposed to have any screen time before they are 2. I thought we'd be doing that, but sometimes we need TV. It calms them down...mom needs that to save her sanity.

*HAVE PACIFIERS I was adament in the hospital about not letting them have pacifiers. I didn't want to get them hooked on them. One of my pet peeves is seeing children with pacifiers who are too old to have them. I didn't want to be one of those people. We came home with our two angelic babies and something happened. They became screaming monsters sometimes. Evan was inconsolable for hours on end (COLIC SUCKS). We broke down and gave them pacis. It calmed them down and made them happy. We had a 'only in the crib, car seat or stroller' rule. We stuck to that until teething started. Then they became whiny messes and mom wanted to pull her hair out many days so I broke down and started giving them pacis more frequently. They also got sick a few times and we couldn't comfort them. You know what did (at least a little)? Pacis. Yup. If it makes you feel a little better, have it. I know they have them too much right now, but again, sometimes it's for my sanity. Since teeth aren't coming in fast and furious anymore, we're reducing the time they have them. We'll wean them eventually...

*CRY IT OUT The thought of letting my babies scream in the middle of the night without comforting them seems absurd. Well, after 16.5 months of not sleeping well, I changed my tune. We tried laying them down over and over when they'd wake up at night. We tried watering down bottles. We've gradually reduced the amount they drink in the middle of the night. We've tried letting them cry and going in to comfort them in gradually longer intervals. We attempted to let them CIO before. But one of them crying would wake the other and then we'd have two crying babies. After an hour of crying I just wanted it to stop. Them crying meant neither of us were sleeping... CIO was not very successful. We've mostly just broken down and picked them up, rocked them or even fed them in order to just get them to sleep. Typically, we've been feeding them around 3-4 am. Usually this was the only time they would get up. It didn't seem that bad. However, in the past 2 weeks they went on a series of getting up 2-3 times at night for no apparent reason. That was my breaking point. We are both beyond exhausted. Cranky. Irritable. So, we decided, after a mini mom meltdown, we had to cry it out. For real. We started on a Friday night. Evan is stubborn!!! He was up crying for over 2 hours...  We moved to the basement at one point because both were crying and we couldn't sleep. Both of them were up on and off throughout the night, but we were firm. We didn't give in. It sucked. Night two went better as they were up only 1-2 times and the crying time was reduced to about 20 minutes. Night three, Ella was up once (I went in and gave her a paci) and Evan was up once for a short time, but they slept until 8:20. We aren't doing bottles in the middle of the night. I hope in the next few nights they sleep without waking at all. I hate CIO. Hate it with a passion, but I don't know what else to do. I literally haven't slept soundly in years...

*GET FRUSTRATED/COMPLAIN We tried over 4 years to have children. I always told myself when I heard other women complaining about their kids that I would NEVER do that. I'd always be grateful to finally be blessed with children. While I am beyond grateful for our two healthy beautiful children, it has not been an easy road. Some days I am tired from getting interrupted sleep the night before after working and not getting to bed until 12:30 a.m. Some days they whine endlessly and I get frustrated beyond belief. Some days I feel inadequate. Some days I feel lonely. I complain and even cry to my husband. I have mini melt downs and tell him how miserable I am some days. I dream of running away to start a new life in a coastal town (no I'd never do this, but I think about when I'm having a bad day). There are difficult days and nights. I have not been completely thankful. My infertile self would like to slap my complaining mom self some days.Yes, they are amazing and make me laugh. I can't imagine life without them. I love them so much it hurts. Everyone should have the chance to parent. It's a beautiful thing. BUT, it's incredibly difficult and trying at the same time. I don't want to get frustrated and upset with these beautiful babies I prayed and begged for, who think the world of me, but I must admit that some days I do... Some days I am ungrateful. 

There are other things, but these are my top four. If only life went as planned, I could be the perfect parent I imagined myself being... This parenting thing is hard. I'm learning every day and I am trying my best to do well by these sweet little toddlers who have beaming faces of pure joy when they look at me. Sure, I've done some things I swore I'd never do, but we're all surviving. We're all happy (mostly). We're making it and learning as we go.

What kind of things did you swear you would never do as a parent?

7 comments:

Our Journey Through This Lovely Life said...

I love this! It is so true! I am not a parent yet, but I used to have a list in my head of what we would never do as parents, after years of watching my friends kids I quickly learned they don't just do what you what them to do!

S said...

Amber, I should definitely write a post about this myself! Reality turns out to be so much different than what we had pictured, amirite?

I am totally with you on the TV thing, btw. I had been adamantly opposed to ALL media usage for kids under 2 and planned to follow the AAP's recommendations in that regard, but as a mother of twins, sometimes it's the only way to save your sanity.

Jill said...

Let them play with the iPhone/iPad. At 5 am I am just desperate for my co-sleeper to leave me alone and the phone will let me doze.

Co-sleep. I did not want to share my bed with kids, just the husband. We now each co-sleep in a separate room with one boy. We all get more sleep this way and our only regret is we didn't make the switch sooner. The boys go to bed in their cribs, but Hen will often wake up after two hours and have an hour long scream fest. This repeats every hour unless he sleeps with dad.

Let them have sugar. I am so desperate for little Henry to gain weight that I am making him a milkshake everyday (with vitamins!). He was at the 1-3% on the growth chart as it was, got a double ear infection that wouldnt go away, and stopped eating for six weeks. At this point it's anything we can get the boy eat works cookies, ice cream, anything at all.

Nichole said...

Same here!! I guess we all just go through that stage of how we plan on parenting and then you just realize that some days you just do whatever you have to do to keep the baby(ies) entertained and happy :)

Jules said...

I also did/do everything on your list! Another thing I said I'd never do and I'm pretty sure I will once the spring comes -- put my kids on a leash! Yeah you heard me! I'm totally buying those backpack leash things!

Jen said...

Oh, we do it all. Too much TV, sugar, you name it. Liam comes to our bed every night. We wake up in the morning and he's just there. Eh.
He was WAY more into TV than OJ, however, they are more into everything else that they should't be (crayon on the walls, anyone?) and I WISH they would just sit and stare at the damn TV sometimes!

With twins and toddler I feel like we are ins survival mode all of the time. You do what you gotta do!

Liz said...

Co sleeping is something I never wanted to do. It's amazing how things change so quickly when it's all about survival.