Long ago when I was preparing the arrival of my first child, ok not that long ago he is only 5 1/2, but some of those years have been loooooong if you know what I mean. I couldn't get enough of the pregnancy books, the baby center chat rooms, the emails telling me what size my little bean, lemon, watermelon-yikes was now. We took the birthing class that prepared us for delivery, the breathing, the strategy's not to panic, & we watched the Happiest Baby on the Block. So we were all set. Bring it on. Two people totally ready to be parents here. Not. Quite. It wasn't that we were immature or too young. We had been married over 10 years before we even had children. We were street smart. Savvy working adults who could take care of themselves pretty okay & had even tested out parenthood on 2 dogs & they were doing just fine. What I didn't know then as I would cuddle my little bundle in his oh so tight swaddle, shushing him & swaying with him is something I know now. I/we were totally & completely unprepared to parent. Hadn't a clue about so many things we were about to encounter over the next few years. So many things that NO ONE mentioned to us. I don't know if they don't tell you certain things because they expect you to know, they dont' want you to be scared off from reproducing or maybe it was just us & everyone else already had been filled in on what to expect & we were absent that day, but sometimes I think it would have been so great to have been aware of this.
Like it would have be great to hear that nursing doesn't work for everyone. And, when that discovery is made it is ok. There is no shame in giving a baby a bottle of formula. That is what it has been made for. And, there is no need for health professionals to suggest you are being lesser of a mom if in your sleep deprived, crazy eyed, frumpy self decides that instead of starving her baby any longer by trying to pump every 15 minutes each day, using the shield, eating or not eating certain foods that you have given it a great try, but as a mama you know your babe just needs to eat. And, that maybe just maybe both of you will flourish & find relief that there is some alternative to this really personal, upsetting & serious issue.
It would have been great to hear that each kiddo comes complete with their own temperament. That there are no 2 alike. Seriously they are just like snow flakes! I remember after having my second child I kept waiting for things to go back to normal (duh..) for him to start acting like his older brother. I couldn't understand why he would react so differently in situations that his brother had gone through before him with a completely different outcome. I think he was a little over a year when it dawned on me. They were different people...that was how it was supposed to go down. Because they weren't the same. I know some people have light bulb moments, but this was like a light show moment. I couldn't believe it. I was so relieved & ecstatic that it wasn't anything I had been doing "wrong", but that this is how they came. Each one individual with their own set of emotions, attention span & sensitivities. It made things so much easier on me to parent them to accept & relish in their differences. I was also able to stop waiting for things to go back to normal & just accept & appreciate & adjust to our whole new normal.
I think it would have also been fantastic to hear that not every discipline method works on every kid every time. Seriously there are so many to choose from & we have found that as our kids mature & change so does the method need to evolve as well. But, typically I am a few steps behind so it is like sitting at a table with a lazy susan full of condiments. I spin & grab time out. Nope not this time. Spin again. I'll try spankings. Nope just makes him laugh. Okaaay try again spin for a love & logic here is your choice. Great we found one that works. What?! That expired already. Anybody? I know part of the struggle we have had is not always being consistent. I totally admit to that. The lazy susan approach is pretty much just that. L-A-Z-Y. So, I have been trying to study my kids see who they are & figure out how to reach them. Really reach them. Not punish them to punish them because I do have a bit on a controlling side to me that really just wants them to obey me, because I want them to obey me. But, I more than anything want their heart changed not just the behavior. When I yell & get hysterical at them because they haven't yet picked up the Lego's I asked them to pick up 2 seconds before it may produce the result I was looking for in the moment, but it didn't teach them anything other than they hold the power to make mom froth at the mouth & to get her already frizzy hair more frizz as it stands on end. And, really that's just not pretty.
So, although it can be totally frustrating that they are so different & I wish they had come with an instruction manual, because wouldn't that have been so nice I am actually delighted that they are so unique & I am looking forward to how we will all grow & change together in the coming years. And, I look forward to the little moments of encouragement when seeking their heart is rewarded with a glimpse of it & the potential that is there.
Would love to hear if there is anything else that would have been nice for you to hear while you were still sans kiddos.