I am not a perfect parent

Yesterday. Target. Arora was lying on the floor blocking a whole isle. She had been pretending to be a snake and had mostly been following close enough to me that I didn’t really care. Then another shopper wanted to get down the isle she was blocking. I beckoned to Arora to move. She didn’t. Then the other shopper gave me the eye. The “I don’t approve of your parenting skills and your kids are going to end up in jail” look.
I was immediately embarrassed and defensive. I shouted, loudly for Arora to get up and move right now. She looked at me and started saying “I am bad” over and over. Ouch. That hurt me way worse then the lady who I will never see again. Arora decided from my shouting, the tone of my voice and I’m sure look on my face that she was bad.

I immediately  got down on the floor with her and told her she was not bad, she was good. I told her I was sorry, I was wrong to shout at her and that she was not bad.
I told her I was upset because she was blocking peoples way and that she needed to listen to me when I asked her to move.

I told her that I would try and not shout at her, that I loved her and she was good. All the while on the floor blocking the whole isle way.

I am not a perfect parent. I need to read this. To tell myself that I am not expected to be perfect.  I don’t expect others to be perfect parents.

Ten minutes before this event, we had been in the baby stuff section. There was a new looking mom, with a screaming little one. I  stopped to ask her how old her daughter was, to coo at her for just a moment. To smile at her and hopefully tell her: I’ve been there, it gets easier, you are doing well!

I am going to make more of an effort to be the smiling non judging stranger in the store. And less of the get out of my way I’m in a hurry stranger in the store.

This post was inspired my my friend Lauren post on the same topic.

 

“Hug it out”

I just read this article and it sums up why we parent like we do to a T. I don’t want to look back and think of my baby “crying it out”. What is is they are crying out anyway? The need for attention? The need to be held and loved? I want to remember holding my babies and intentionally loving them. If I spend 10 years of my life rocking fussy babies, nursing on and off all day and night, eating cold food so they can have their needs met first and missing outings to respect their natural bedtimes, then I will look back and see a life time of service. I feel incredibly blessed to have these two children to raise.

Ender with Grandma Kathy

Kathy, my mother in law, is a great example to me of how to intentionally love her children, and grand children. She takes time to play with our kids, is concerned with their development and their likes and dislikes. She gives great parenting advice, when asked for, and is supportive of they way we parent our children. I am grateful my children have a grandma like Kathy (and grandpa Mark too!)

* How involved are your children grandparents in their lives? What will you remember when you look back on your children’s early years?

Parent education classes

Twice a month David and I attend a parenting class. And we love it. It is a time to talk with other parents who have children around the same age as our own. We talk about normal development, what can be expected, and problem solve. The classes are sponsored by  Family Stepping Stones, so the classes are free. I found out about them because my good friend and fellow mom, teaches the class. Chelsea has two boys and has a degree in family sociology.  So she is perfect for teaching the class.

Classes are held every Thursday night from 6-8pm at the Gladstone Center For Children and Families. (8905 Portland Ave, Gladstone OR 97027). Each week focuses on a different age group, the first Thursday of each month is for parents of babies 0-1 “incredible infants”, the second Thursday 1-2 “wobbles and toddlers”.  The third week is 3-5  “growing up”, and the fourth Thursday of the month is for teen (and young twenty’s) parents.

Each class also has dinner (free!) and childcare (free!) so you can actually focus on the class and discussion. As I said before, we go to more than one class because we have an infant and a toddler. We have been attending for a while now and love the feeling of community at the classes. Plus it is simply a great night out, no cooking, no dishes, and two hours of adult talk.

If you have kids, and I think a lot of people who check this blog do, you are personally invited to come to a class.  You can find out more information at the Family Stepping Stone website, or by calling Chelsea at (503) 320-8745.

P.S.  Thanks to Kathy for watching Arora who sleeps through the classes.

Elimination Comunication

When I was pregnant with Arora my step sister Lisa, over at  my world Edenwild, told me about a book she was reading, “Diaper-Free Baby”. She told me the basics of EC and honestly I thought she was crazy (sorry Lisa). But I was also intrigued. I ordered the book from amazon and read it. I still thought is sounded too good to be true. I thought “if this works why doesn’t everyone do it ?” When Arora was born I decided to try EC  for one day and see if it worked. I took her to the potty and gave a cue sound, psss, and she peed. She was 3 weeks old. After that I was hooked. We began practicing EC with her full time. It was super easy to take her to the potty, it took no longer then it would to change her diaper. David was super supportive and could see the benefits, like saving money on diapers and having a happier baby. We went through times when we would “catch” nearly everything and times when we didn’t.

We never pushed Arora and tried to follow her lean and cues for eliminating purposes. We switched to regular panties around 18 months and Arora was potty trained at 25 months.

I knew we would EC with Ender before he was born but was a bit worried about having the time and connection with him to be successful. I was also worried about the different anatomy 🙂 Little girls piddle, little boys spray. And with everything that comes with parenting it wasn’t what I thought it would be.

We started EC the first week he was born, we noticed he really does not like to be wet. We have a little step stool in the kids bathroom and it makes it easy for me to sit on and hold him over the toilet so he can go. I make a cue sound, psss and say something like “Ender do you need to go pee or poop? We are at the toilet now. This is where we go potty.” He will go within about 30 seconds or he doesn’t need to go. We catch a lot of poop, not many pee’s.

I am glad I can help him to be clean and dry and not have to use so many diapers.I am glad we are forming a trusting relationship when Ender knows that I will help him with his needs. Arora likes to help Ender flush the potty, and to pick out what color diaper he will wear next.

Here is a link to an article my step sister Lisa wrote a while ago on doing EC with an infant.

Here is an cute article my husband wrote for an assignment in school about EC.

Our bedtime experiment

Arora has always had a difficult time with sleep. Not just falling asleep but staying asleep too. She does not sleep through the night. When she was a baby she would wake to nurse often.  I hoped that when she stopped nursing at 16 months she would sleep through the night. She didn’t. She did have a few months that she slept better, only waking to go potty and then would go right back to sleep. Then we moved, and her sleep became the worse it has ever been. It has taken hours to get her to sleep, only to have her wake a few hours later with night terrors.

If you have never experienced night terrors, it is well terrifying. Arora will be sobbing, her eyes open and looking all around but not seeing you. Not really awake. She thrashes around so hard it is difficult to hold her. Some times she will be talking but not able to tell us what is wrong. It is heart wrenching, in those moments I feel so helpless. I only want to comfort my child and let her know she is safe. Nothing we do will calm her, she must calm herself. Sometimes this happens multiple times a night. Sometimes it will be weeks between occurrences. Her Doctor says it is normal and it should pass with age.

A bit over a week ago we decided to go to the Clackamas County Fair. David gets off work around 4:30 so by 5 we were in the car headed out to a night of fair food, booths and animal fun. That is until we had been in the car for 10 minutes and Arora was sound asleep. We went home and put her to bed, she slept all night, yup about 14 hours. She did this 3 days in a row. So here come the experiment: change Arora’s bedtime from around 8 to 6:30. Here is how the week went:

Monday: Went to bed at 6:30, was asleep with in about 5 minutes. Slept great for about 3 hours then was “up” with a night terror. This woke her up completely and she was up from about 10- 12am.

Tuesday: Woke up around 7am, which is normal for her. Then took an unauthorized nap in the car for about 30 minutes around 2. Tried to put her to bed around 6:30 took til around 8 for her to fall asleep.

Wednesday: Woke early again, no nap and went to bed great around 6:30. Slept all night.

Thursday: Up early, no nap, bed time around 7, took around an hour for her to fall asleep.

Friday: I can’t remember what happen, but David says she went down early and nice.

Saturday: Up early about 6,  we took a family trip to the zoo which resulted in a 2 hour nap. Then didn’t fall asleep until around 9:30.

Sunday: Up about 6am, then fell asleep in the car, slept for around 30 minutes in church. Was very tired and tried to put her to bed around 6:30, fell asleep around 7:45.

I can’t decide if putting her to bed early is helping, making it harder or not even effecting anything. What time do your kids go to bed? How do you deal with difficult bedtimes?