Where Whine Meets Wine

Ain’t that a kick in the head

on August 23, 2011

Lately, I’ve been wondering something. Well, lots of things, but this is in the top ten, I’d say. Is it possible for me to say how I feel and what I believe, to people that feel and/or believe differently, without judging them? I think it is.

I feel like I have two main pieces of advice that I usually give to my friends when they become mommies: 1) No matter what anyone says, YOU will know YOUR baby better than ANYONE else does. 2) Risks and benefits. Before doing something or deciding something when it comes to your child’s health and well-being, ask yourself, what are the risks and what can I live with? We all want what’s best for our children. I found myself asking this question (to myself) frequently when my oldest was a newborn (especially at the Dr’s!), when faced with a choice, whether it be to breastfeed or bottle feed, or to CIO or not, or to let the kids play outside vs watching TV…big and little!

Here is a shortlist of things I believe/practice/do/whatever in my parenthood. Yours may be different, yours may be the same… we each have to live with the results. And I say that without insinuating that my results will be better, or worse, than yours. (Because obviously mine will be better. Kidding, kidding.)

  • I use cloth diapers on Littlest E, and for various (valid!) reasons I didn’t with the older two, even though we talked about it and thought about it. While I totally love it, I only bought enough for about a week, so by the time we’re to the weekend, he’s in disposables, which is of course when we usually see people, and so I get asked about if we’re still using them all the time. I’ve been meaning to buy more for months, but just keep forgetting! (And maybe at this point I’m just wishfully thinking that he may not need them for too much longer!) It’s sooo much cheaper (key selling point to hubbyman). Plus less waste, which is something of importance to us, as a family. We’re not super hippyfied, just kinda straggling along the edges.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything about this in here, but we didn’t use CIO (cry it out) methods for our children (under one)… although sometimes in the middle of the night, it is occasionally temping. There are various reasons for our choice in this, but none of them really matter because our children are stubborn! Biggest E would cry until he threw up and then cry some more… there was so crying that child to sleep. Road trips were not fun. Miss E you could lay her down, and just pat her back gently and she’d fall asleep very quickly (she’s still that way). Littlest E as a newborn could be laid down sleepy after a feeding and would go quickly to sleep. Occasionally he’s still willing to do this. Now he likes to eat and then just snuggle for a few minutes. It normally doesn’t take him long to go down. That’s just the way my children are. Because of how close in age the older two are, when Miss E was born Big E had a hard time. He was used to mommy putting him to sleep, but that wasn’t really an option since it was prime feeding time for the new baby. Therefore Daddy took on that job. And Big E did not appreciate it, for months. Man he would cry… for a loooong time. At least it felt that way to the mama listening in the other room, generally crying along with him. But he was being held by his daddy, so I’m not sure where that falls on the “crying it out” spectrum.
  • Breastfeeding. As the daughter of a lactation consultant (among many other mother/baby licensures) I have been exposed to it my whole life, and I never really knew there was any sort of stigma surrounding it. Growing up, I always found it odd when that wasn’t how babies were fed, because that was all I knew. Plus, it truly saved my brother’s life. Drs said that without it, he never would have survived his serious illnesses he suffered as a newborn. And for me, with a few short breaks in between, I have been nursing for the better part of the last 4 1/2 years. That’s a long time. While I’m ready for the freedom that will come with littlest E’s gradual and eventual weening, I know that I will be sad. But at least I’ve reduced my risk of breast cancer by over half! Not to mention all the other health benefits for me and baby (like reduced rate of SIDS -over 50%, reduced rates of asthma, allergies, and obesity…the list goes on). Plus the bmilk changes as your baby grows, so that it has what your baby needs at all steps. Nothing man-made can come close to that. Plus, God designed it, and I kind of think that He knew what He was doing. But that’s just me. Nobody can ever tell me I don’t know how hard it can be, because I totally get it. From poor latches, to thrush, to double infections, to having to pump exclusively to having to hand express, to an overnight change in milk supply (loss)… I’ve been there, done that. No fun, but to me, it’s worthwhile.
  • I fed on-demand. If baby was hungry, baby would get fed. It seems so simple and obvious, but to some it’s not. That does not mean that baby gets fed with every fuss. They have other wants and needs too! Littlest E hated to have a wet diaper and would immediately stop fussing as soon as it would be changed. Big E, he always just wanted to be cuddled. Miss E, she just wanted to be where she could see everything going on. Thankfully feedings (because they are so physically demanding) get more spaced out as they grow, because the ever 1-2 hrs that a newborn needs can be exhausting! And did you know that when you’re measuring the time since your last feeding you measure from when you last STARTED feeding and not when the feeding ended? Like I said, it can be exhausting. Those first few months I always felt very “touch overwhelmed.” Not everyone feels this way, but I have come across lots of other mothers that do. As far as on demand feeding goes, I will say this, a growth spurt goes WAY faster if you feed on demand vs. scheduled. It can be over in a couple days vs. a week (or more). I’ve witnessed the difference!
  • Breastfeeding in public. I’m a fan. I do it. I think it should be done so that more people can be exposed to it. That said, I wear nursing friendly clothing when I’m in public during a feeding session. I am not offended by the women who throw care to the wind and bare all (she has the right to feed her child how she chooses), that said, I’m not that woman. I’ve had enough practice now that I’ve had lots of strangers walk up to me to get a look at one of my chubby-faced babies only to realize (after a conversation) that I’d been nursing the whole time.
  • I never implemented a schedule. That said, we do develop routines. Personally, I think everyone benefits from a routine, it’s when you have a hard and fast schedule with no flexibility that I find I don’t agree with.
  • I didn’t want any of my kids to watch TV before they were 2 (because this is what’s recommended!)…Big E really didn’t and I think we have that to thank for his big imagination and the way he really loves to just play on his own. Miss E was probably closer to 18 months, just because her brother was older… but really she was over 2 before she even wanted to watch anything. Littlest E, I’m sad to say wants to watch TV now. I try to distract if I’ve let the bigger ones watch something… thankfully he’s still young enough that he’s distractable. That and they all really just love to play, more than they want to sit still.
  • Food. I believe in not filling my kids up with garbage. While they have had McDonald’s (which they really only like for the playland) we are teaching them about the importance of what we put into our body. Their favorite weekly activity? The farmer’s market. Really. They love fresh fruits and vegetables. Big E loves (and will request!) spinach, and both he and Miss E love broccoli. Hubbyman and I believe in living our lives with intention, and we believe that should include the things we eat (not to mention the health benefits or how we just plain ‘ol feel better when we eat that way!), and we believe that should be passed down to the kids.
  • Discipline. I do not like spanking. In general, not just with my children. But I am not a believer that no spanking has to mean no discipline. My children have been spanked, but it is very few and very far between. Actually, I’m not sure when the last time was… anyhow. For me, discipline needs to be consistent and fair and AGE APPROPRIATE (I cannot stress that enough). For Big E, he needs a quiet space to settle down. He’s been this way since he was really, really little. I don’t shut his door, but tell him he’s going to have some settle down time (after talking about whatever attitude or action he’s needing to have settle down time for). He either a) falls asleep, b) calms down and comes out saying, “I’m ready to be happy now!” or c) calms down and begins to play quietly on his own. I’m ok with all these options. Miss E is an entirely different story. If stuck in her room you’d have to shut the door (or she’d never stay put without you physically holding her there) and she would scream the whole time, no matter the length, and still be just as worked up when you get her out as when you put her in. What she requires is about 3 minutes of one-on-one time. Tell her why her behavior is unacceptable, tell her what you expect, hug and kiss her and she’s good to go. I have yet to develop a routine with Littlest one, but his time will come too. *Sigh*
I’m sure there’s more but I’m on a timeline, and I may be getting behind… Please know I don’t mean this as a judgement on the way YOU do things, nor am I telling you this is how you need to do things. It’s more or less just me sharing my reason for doing things the way I do, you know, in case you were wondering. (*Wink*) And to show you that even with all my feelings and beliefs on various aspects of parenting, there has to be some wiggle room because each child will keep you guessing, as they are each unique. Whether you have one or twenty-two (God help you if you have 22!). And you know, to show that I can be me, and you can be you… and we’ll focus on the things we do have in common! Motherhood and parenthood, and really life in general, is hard enough without having to justify your every move and decision to the rest of the people around you!

One response to “Ain’t that a kick in the head

  1. John says:

    I love the fact that you recognize each child is different, and instead of trying to mold your younger two into what your eldest is/was/does/etc., you raise them individually, yet all the while with a great sense of togetherness. They have good parents 😉

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