Confessions of a P̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶ mom:
- Choices (coming soon)
- Want to’s (coming soon)
Infancy is one of the best stages. Your child will be so small, cute and totally in awe of you and you of them. They are completely dependent on you. Watching what you do, where you go and listening for your voice. They need you constantly for everything. They are innocent and pure and best part, they have a great smell to them. Isn’t it true that smelling a baby is what all women do when they hold one? Strange creatures we are.
This is also the worst stage for the exact same reasons: they cannot do anything for themselves, they are totally dependant on you and the worst part is that they cannot even tell you what you need to know in order to help them stop crying. You must try and figure it out on your own.
When this precious new life enters your home, your whole world will revolve around them and taking care of their every need. In this stage you might, no let me reword that, you will be exhausted. Don’t panic, there is probably nothing physically wrong with you that a week’s worth of sleep wouldn’t cure. But don’t expect this to happen.
If you are nursing, you might be up as much as three to four times a night. But even if your baby and you end up hitting it off on the nursing stage and they sleep through the night, your sense of hearing will increase so much that you will wake up at the least little sound. We have a Spidey sense that kicks in when we think our little one might be in any kind of danger.
Confessions of a P̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶ mom:
Being too stubborn to ask a lot of questions with my first 2, it took me until my third child before I found out that I did not have enough fat content in my milk and so my children were hungry all the time.
Thankfully by then, I did learn to supplement my breast milk with formula just so I could some sleep as having 3 little ones was exhausting. Showing my ignorance once again, I was unaware that formula has a bitter taste and breast milk is sweet and so my little one wasn’t happy with the ‘fake’ stuff until I added a bit of honey to it.
The theory is that you should not give them a bottle no matter what, as some believe that once the child starts taking from a bottle they might never go back to nursing again. I never had that problem so cannot speak to it. What I do believe is that in most cases it is not that they don’t want to go back to it, but we, the parents, discover that it is easier to bottle feed and as we are so exhausted some people opt to do this. I am not judging this; just setting aside what I think is a myth.
You must determine within yourselves if nursing is imperative and if so, how important it really is to you as you are the one and only one that will be doing it. Not your partner, not your in-laws, not even your mom, so don’t let them talk you into doing what they want if it is not what you want. It will be easier to give up than it to stick with it so in order to not succumb to the temptation of giving up, your ‘reason’ for wanting to breastfeed must be solid.
As breast milk is very sweet and formula is not, my thoughts are, ‘why would a baby want the formula’? However, some babies are lazy suckers and find it easier to suck from a bottle. If you are determined to continue to give your child breast milk and they only want a bottle your option is to pump and give it to them from a bottle. There is a bonding that happens between mother and child when you can nurse that you don’t get from pumping your milk into a bottle, but breast milk in a bottle is still a better option than formula.
That is just my opinion as I think our milk is what has been provided to help nourish our children and it has things in it that cannot be chemically reproduced in its entirety. Still, I do not think you should feel guilty if you cannot breastfeed for whatever reason. As breastfeeding is a natural thing for most of us, it is a gift we should give to our children if possible and I think you should at least try.
Many have and will argue this point with me, however, I do think it is unnatural to still be nursing your child if they are eating solid foods. What our breast milk provides are all the nutrients that children will need to start as they cannot eat whole foods yet.
Discovering this little trick of supplementing my son’s milk, allowed him to sleep better than my first two. However, he had a respiratory infection at birth, which I believe was caused by the chemicals put into my body in order to induce me, instigating many more sleepless nights checking on him, ensuring he was ok.
Confessions of a P̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶ mom: More like complaining and looking for sympathy. 😊
Let me stop here briefly and explain that for the first three times he struggled with breathing we took him to the hospital, and they put him in an oxygen tent. In those days (yes, I am ageing myself) we, the parents, could stay but we were only provided one blanket and were allowed to sleep on the tile floor next to the baby’s crib if we were feeling the need to be close to our child. Causing even more sleep deprivation. All of which is not good for the mother’s milk and consequently not good for the child either.
Frustrated beyond reason, after the third trip I asked if my husband and I could rig up a makeshift oxygen tent at home. Doing this allowed me to sleep in a bed next to him rather than on the floor, freezing with only one blanket. Doctors were not happy with my request, highly cautioning me to be careful that nothing fell on him while he was in the crib. Curing his jaundice in the sunlight at home much better than the hospital did under their UVA lights, felt I was as capable as the staff at the hospital. Being much more rested I was able to be a better mother to him.
Let’s just take a second and explain a bit about doctors. Governed by the laws, they will suggest things to you that are not always the best solution. They must be careful in how they proceed as they do not want to be sued, so I don’t blame them, however that doesn’t mean their advice is the best for you in your situation. Find a second opinion of either family, friends or other doctors. Please know that I think doctors are wonderful and we are blessed to have them.
Some, however, will be overbearing. I had one that constantly complained about the weight of my children, the growth of my children and the raising of my children. She did not believe in disciplining your children but instead believed that you should just ignore a misbehaved child. And although there are times that might be effective and worth a try, it is not the normal way to handle bad behavior. After asking me how I handle it when my children misbehave and hearing about my frustration with my daughter taking a temper tantrum, her advice was to just leave the child there and walk away.
Besides the fact that I don’t know why the doctor was asking me these questions in the first place, I was horrified that she would say this. I was aware she was a God-fearing doctor, so thought maybe I did not understand what she was saying. Upon explaining that my daughter took this temper tantrum right beside the road, I expected her to explain that in those cases, of course, you do not do this. To my horror, that is not what she said.
Another time she encouraged my son to take medicine to help acne which did more damage than it did good. Other times she encouraged my children to take pain meds that were not necessary. Clearly, we did not agree on much, obviously one of the many reasons I did not go as often as I should, but there are many additional reasons.
When my older two were born with jaundice they were kept in the hospital under ultraviolet lights for seven days each. Never really getting over jaundice until I got them home and put them in the sunlight. By the time the third came along, I had enough problems from the respiratory infection, the toxins in my own body from the inductions, and finding out I didn’t have enough fat content in my milk that when they told me he had jaundice I insisted on going home. Explaining that I had two more children at home that not only needed me, they each had jaundice at birth, so I did know what I was doing. Upon confirming from their records that they didn’t get better until I got them home, they allowed me to sign whatever the release form and off we went.
Putting a naked baby in front of a window to get the natural ultraviolet lights onto his skin is the simplest and healthiest way to get rid of jaundice. Unlike my first two who sat under lights for seven days, his jaundice cleared up in less than two days. I do believe it is now practice to suggest this method instead of the fake ultraviolet rays, so hopefully, you will not have to deal with this issue.
Finally, I feel vindicated. I was right about something in child rearing. Science has come such a long way since I have had children. The difference even from my first two and then four years later going back for my next two was amazing in their advancement. My point here is just because science is good, and medicine is good, if it goes against what you think or believe, you do not need to allow the doctors to run your home. You are the parent and you do have a right to stand strong in what you want for your children and in what you believe.
My youngest had major problems with her ears for years. After much thought and research, we choose to take her to a chiropractor instead of getting tubes in her ear. Within six months, her ears were back to normal and healthy. Although her eardrum had burst before that and had caused permanent damage, we made the best choice we could once we knew what was going on and got all our facts. But here is the interesting part of the story. Seventeen years later we go back because she is explaining that her ear feels like it is flapping.
Once again, my doctor just tells us to get on medicine and it will clear up. Before we had even made the doctors appointment, I knew we would have this issue so had explained to my daughter to stick to what she wanted, and what she wanted was a specialist appointment. Good thing she did because at the appointment with the specialist we were told that the way my daughter had described it was exactly the way it was. Her ear canal was larger than it should be and so it created more of a wind sound in her canal which caused the skin over the canal to flap. If she had gotten tubes when she was younger there might have been a real issue with them falling out, and or getting stuck in the canal due to the size of it. It was a good thing that we saved her that issue. Additionally, with her standing firm on not taking the medicine and insisting on a referral, she got an answer without hurting her immune system by taking unnecessary medicine.
Confessions of a P̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶ mom: More like complaining and looking for sympathy. 😊
Back to the story…we were still dealing with the breathing problem, but at least I had learned something from the first two hospital stays to help me with some of my issues with the third child. I would also like to add a little side note: my son having this breathing problem could have lead to many more months of health problems but due to some good old fashion advice that my grandmother had shared years before, I did not give my son antibiotics every time the doctor prescribed them to me.
Each time my son was struggling to breathe, I would make a doctor’s appointment to ensure it was not settling into pneumonia. Once the doctors assured me it was not pneumonia, I would take the doctor’s prescription, but would not fill it. The reason is that I wanted his body to fight this on its own. He was not in grave danger and so he would build up a better immune system if I could let his body do what it needed to learn how to fight this. And that is exactly what happened.
My son is still the healthiest one out of all of us and he had the most health issues as a baby. He was only on the penicillin once in that whole time and he did develop a great immune system. I did sleep by his bed to ensure all was ok and put lots of Vicks on his undershirt to help him breathe. I had the dehumidifier going and the window open as wide as I could while keeping him warm. All those things helped him breathe well so he could get some sleep. With the ability to sleep, making sure he was hydrated and as comfortable as possible, his own body did what it needed to do in order to fight this and make him stronger.
We tend to think to take the easy road, especially with our health, is the better option. Especially for our children, thinking if we can give them meds so they get better quicker, that has got to be better, right? I can tell you that this is most often not the case, not only in health issues but also in many other issues as well. We will discuss this much later in other chapters but thinking that taking a pill to fix something is easier than eating right, or exercising, losing weight, or getting enough sleep is not what is best for the body. Similarly, thinking that if we can take an antibiotic that it will be easier than struggling with the problem and letting our bodies build immunity to it.
Please understand, I am not advocating and saying we should never take medicine. There is a time and a place for that. But when you educate yourself you will learn there are some things better for the body if you allow your body to fight it off. A few examples are the simple cold or flu. Stay at home where you are comfortable, drink lots of non-sugared liquids and don’t infect others by going to the doctors to get a prescription that will just weaken your immune system. If you don’t know what to do when you are sick there is a simple rule my grandmother always told me. Feed a cold, starve a fever, but in both cases gets lots of liquids and fresh air
You might be surprised how many things your infant will get, either sickness or booboos and you standing there scratching your head trying to figure out the best ways to help them. This is normal, and why parenting books, Google and friend’s advice should be taken with a grain of salt because we can only give advice. You must sift through everything you have been told or learned and figure out what is best for you and your family.
Infancy is also a very exciting time as they start to be more alert. Looking around more, wanting to gibber and gabber at you learning all the basics in life. If they cry you will tend to them. They learn quickly to cry even if they just want your attention, which means you quickly must learn which cry is which and only give in to the cry when it is something you need to help them with. But I would like to state that although I don’t think you should give in to the crying or whining they might do to get attention, that should be a sign to you that they might need more of your attention than you are giving them.
This happens more with the second and subsequent children as it is hard to spend quality time with just one child when you have other children to take care of, dinner to make, and a house to clean. Additionally, with each new person in the home, there is even more to do and less time to do it all. Making it important that if you detect that your child is crying for the attention you do need to make the time in your schedule somewhere that is just ‘you and them’ time.
There are many simple ways of doing this without making it an extravagant affair and causing you to stress out. Spending extra time with them during their bath, cuddling them for an extra 5 mins before bed, holding their hand while walking them to school. Simple ways of expressing how much they mean to you and how valuable they are to you. They need your love as much as they need food and a diaper changed. I personally think they need it even more than the basics in life. And if truth be told, so do you.
Those special moments that are just the two of you will develop a bond that will not be broken when they are old. It might appear it is broken, especially when they are a teen and mad at you for your rules, but that bond is what will bring them back. Those extra special times are when you can learn even more about what makes your child unique as you will begin to see things that you missed from being so busy. discovering sounds that will make when they are annoyed, happy or sad.
Good to know these things, especially when they are older, strutting an attitude and refusing to talk to you, you will still know what they are thinking and or feeling due to sounds they might make. Take the time to observe what words excite them, make them giggle or made them sad. This is all useful information that will be tucked in your memory to use at the appropriate time.
Your toddler is getting a bit older now and they are learning how to hold the bottle themselves, how to sit up, then they learn to crawl eventually to walk. All the things we take for granted every day, we see them learning and discovering. Learning mostly from us teaching them and or by watching what we do. It’s scary when we see them make a face at something and we see ourselves in their expression. It is like holding up a mirror but extremely important for you to know how much your every move, every word and every action is watched. You hold a lot of influence at this stage of their lives, use it wisely.
Being totally dependant on us, we never give up trying to teach them. Nothing earth shattering at the beginning, but it starts with us helping them by putting their little hands around the bottle and then gently taking ours away. Although they drop it more times than they hold it at first, they eventually learn to hold it if they want to keep drinking.
At this time in their lives, that life-giving milk is the most important thing to them, and they will make a big ruckus if they do not get it. But the need for it will enhance their willingness to try and hold their bottle if you are willing to try and encourage it. Personally, I think some people start way too soon on this. Babies need your help, and you are not supposed to expect them to be able to do things on their own just to make your life easier. But please do not leave it too long either.
There are some parents that do not want to give up the baby stage and so stunt their child’s ability or their ‘want to’, to do it themselves. Do not hold them back because you don’t want the baby stage to disappear. The sooner you can give them some independence, the sooner you are teaching them to ‘want’ their independence and they will ‘want’ to learn.
Teaching our children never stops. It is easy now because what they are learning is fun. It is a pure joy to watch them learn how to walk or hold a bottle, until one day they do. As they get older the things, we have to teach are more difficult and will seem endless, but wouldn’t you rather be the influence in their lives rather than Google strangers, or peers?
The stages in your little one’s life start happening quickly. They don’t want to hold the bottle for too long as they have now learned there are a few more things that are just more interesting to investigate. Discovering, with your help, how to sit up and see things other than the ceiling, now their curiosity is bigger than the need to have that bottle. And so, the need to explore starts.
They start by getting up off their bellies with knees tucked under them and they are rocking back and forth. Realizing quickly that if they move one knee and then move the other knee forward just a bit, they will be able to reach that toy that was just out of reach a few minutes ago. Soon they are speeding across the floor at high speed.
Eventually, they will even learn the ability to multitask by walking and having the bottle swinging from their mouth at the same time, stopping every few minutes to tip their head up and take a drink. Not that they need that milk now to fill their tummies, as they are already eating pablum or maybe even baby food at this point but more so because it’s a habit.
We need to watch for these habits they should be giving up as they grow. Being honest with ourselves and realizing that it is time to make them give that up. And so the process begins of us learning from them what they need and don’t need, while they are learning from us how to do what they need to do to fulfil their destiny at whatever stage they are in. This process never stops. The only thing that changes is what each of us is learning.
Learning can be painful, with many falls, and or failed attempts. We cannot minimize their hurt, but we also need to help them see that growing, learning, processing forward is the only way to live. Encouraging them to move forward even if they get hurt because being stagnant is not a fulfilling life. If you make the learning enjoyable, if you learn to give praise on even these little things, they will learn that it is a good thing to keep learning. Their desire to do so will be stronger the more you are excited when they are learning.
For me, this was a fascinating stage in my children’s development. Everything they are learning in this stage is the things we take for granted. While you watch your children learn to sit, eat, walk, you begin to realize the depth of what we are capable of in our own learning abilities. Remember what I said at the beginning, we are all still learning, growing, and being taught.
The title of the book pretty much sums up what life is like for us all. We think we have it all figured out, but then we do something wrong, or in my case with parenting, many things wrong, and occasionally we do something right and somehow things turn out ok. The big guy upstairs doesn’t let anymore happen to us than what we can handle and allows us to learn with each mistake if we are willing to. Sounds like what we do with children when they make mistakes. Take heart, even when you do something wrong, you and your children can learn from it. I did, that is what this book is all about.
We learn something and then forget that others may not have learned that yet but assume they should know what you know. We really do need to start being more tolerant with others and realizing that they might not know what we know as their experiences will be different than ours. Additionally, they might know something we don’t know because of what they have been through in their lives.
The point is we should not make others feel bad for not knowing something. We should be looking at them with awe like we do our little ones while watching them learn and grow and remembering what we ourselves had to go through to learn what they are in the process of learning.
And so the process of learning has started. But let’s not forget that just as it took time for them to learn to drink from a bottle and crawl across the floor and they learned it more quickly with our help, they will not be able to accomplish much in life without our help. Not our interference, but our help. We didn’t try to walk for them or drink the bottle for them; we showed them how to do it.
That is not saying they cannot learn on their own as I believe they could, but our job as the parents is to teach. And in so doing, we teach them not only the basics such as how to make a bed, but why we make our bed, and how often we do so, and why we need sheets, and how do those sheets get cleaned, and where did the fabric come from.
As parents, we know that learning never stops and this is very evident with little ones. The word “why” is asked more in a day than any other between the ages of two to six. And our job is to explain the ‘why’ whenever asked as this is how they learn the simple and complex things in life. If they ask the question, as frustrating as it is to be constantly answered, you need to do so.
You don’t need to repeat an answer, as they will re-ask several times. That is when you can take the opportunity to make them think about what your answer was the first time. This will slow down the process of them asking questions and teach them to start really listening. Listening is a huge skill that must be taught, like most children, and truthfully, most adults as well, don’t listen well.
Confessions of a P̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶ mom: this one I think I got right.
In dealing with this when my children asked where babies come from, I looked to someone older and wiser than me at the time and I learned that you never answer any more than the question asked. For example, babies come from the mom’s tummy. That is usually enough at a certain age to satisfy the child. However, if they are a bit older, then the next question might be: How do they get in there? Now your brain is working overtime. How to answer that one was one of the first questions I remember really struggling with.
I do not believe that children are little adults. I believe they are children. This means they should not be given adult information when asking a child-like question. So my answer to this innocent question was satisfied with my reply “God put the baby in there in a very special way so that it would not get harmed like you put your stuffed animal on your bed by your pillow so that it would not fall off the bed.” Thankfully that was the end of that question for a few years.
Believe it or not, you will start to see signs of ‘things to come’ in your children, almost right away. What do I mean by that? Well if your child is shy, you will see them stand back into a corner more or struggle to speak up. Or if you have one that is always coming to the others rescue, that one will be the one that is forever loyal to the family.
The one that doesn’t notice what else is going on around them is the explorer. But you will also start to notice what their love language is at an early age as well. What is a love language you ask? Well if you read the book ‘The 5 Love Languages’, by Gary Chapman*1, you will see that we all have one or two ways out of five possible love languages that make us feel more loved than the other three or four ways do.
Although I do want you to read the book if you are serious about learning how best to parent your child, I will give you the 5 languages.
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
As you can see these are great things that we all like on a regular basis, but there is one or two that each of us like more than the rest and those are the ones that will prove love to us.
For example, my one son was not much on praise (words of affirmation) however he loved it when he got that hug and kiss every morning and night. Another child loved it when I took her out for an icecap and would suggest any reason to get out of the house just so we could get one. She loved it even more if I showed up with one and surprised her. So clearly her love language was ‘receiving gifts’. I am whetting your appetite for this book and that is good. This book was a great teaching tool in showing me how to tell my children I love them that suited them individually.
We all have ways that we enjoy being shown a love that means more to us than other ways might. Guaranteed that others will need a different way of being shown love. I have three children that thrive on ‘words of affirmation’. But I have one that prefers gifts over words. This book was also helpful for my marriage, for my friendships, for every relationship I had in my life. I strongly suggest you read the book for more than just your parenting.
If truth be told you will not be able to notice what your child’s love language is right away unless you are looking for it. I wish I had some training on this kind of thing before I had my children.
Confessions of a P̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶ mom:
I have a son who loves to talk. Let me clarify; he likes to debate, and the writing was on the wall if I had of only known to look. Even as a baby and nursing, I could not stop him from making noises as he had so much, he wanted to say albeit not in actual words yet. Rather funny looking back on that now. But he was also the one that woke up singing.
He cannot sing well, but it wasn’t the singing that I was to notice, it was that he was a happy child, and he loved the mornings. Useful information when you are thinking of going out for a big day. With the knowledge that he is better in the mornings, that was the time frame that I should be doing what I need to get done. Obviously, that is when he is at his best and he will be more content, therefore, better behaved.
Another one of my children was quite often off on his own. He wasn’t a loner as he did like to be around people, but he didn’t need to be around people like his sister. He was also a thinker. Those two facts together showed me that he would dig to get answers. He would explore anything at his disposal to learn what he wanted to know. And when he decided that he wanted to know about something he would spend hours to learn everything there was to learn.
He would read books, ask questions, check the internet and explore in person whenever he could. He was the one that was going to cure cancer. Helpful information when it was time to buy him presents for birthday or Christmas. Buying him things to help him learn showed him that his learning was a great and positive thing and that I not only encouraged it but helped him to do so. This knowledge has also made him a very independent thinker. He won’t take anyone’s word for anything. He tries things, tests them until he has come up with an answer that satisfies him.
In his teens, he went through a drug stage, which developed into a problem. Knowing that he exhausted subjects he was interested in, I became aware of why this was an issue and was better able to help him. Realizing that part of it was just because he was a teenager and wanted to try it, but a big part of it was that he wanted to see the extremes, and what could happen. Although it terrified me that he wanted to experiment, and I wish at that time he wasn’t that kind of person as I knew there would be dire consequences, understanding his motive was key in helping him get past his addiction.
One of my daughters was a very quiet, follow the rules kind of girl. She was number four and she stood back and watched a lot. She would get involved and play but only after she checked out the whole situation. This showed me that she was probably going to be the kind that would watch and learn more than ‘live and learn’ from mistakes.
My oldest daughter, child number two was adventuresome. She always had to try new things. She didn’t ever want to wear what I had set out. She was more determined to wear anything else but what I set out. That showed me we were going to be butting heads a bit. The pre-knowledge of this should have made me realize this fact and should have given me the knowledge to be more patient. I was not wise enough to have figured that out, so instead, we had constant battles of the wills.
Her free spirit was wanting to try out new things were also her creative side. She wanted to wear her hair in a ponytail in the front of her forehead. I let her do so, much to my husband’s dismay. I explained that one of two things would happen. The children would laugh at her and it would cause her to never do it again or it would give her backbone and be a trendsetter. As I expected, she was a trendsetter. Although she didn’t wear it that way for long as it got in her way, she did come up with other things to do with her hair.
The worse was when she cut it and yes, I mean at a very young age with scissors, all by herself. I am sure she thought she was doing a great job. Short in some spots, longer in others: oh boy, what a mess she had. A key point here is that she only cared because she didn’t like the way it turned out, not because I was mad at her
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