Monday, May 21, 2012

How much is enough?

You've read the articles and the books, heard the hype, asked your friends, and consulted with parents...about how to be the best parent you can be.

"Are you Mom enough?"
Do you know "What to expect when you're Expecting?"
Do you have "belly Laughs?"
or do you have "The happiest Baby on the Block?"

Odds are, you are, you do, you may, and you might.

But do you feel like you are?

I don't.

Is it my fault that I have what others have stated "A wild child", "A terrible Child", "A lot of kid", and "a very energetic little one?" 

He doesn't sit still.  He can't be left alone with strangers ( new babysitters etc.) He stops when I say "red light" then says "green light means Go Go Go!" and continues to run.  His energy is he has a little tesseract cube inside him.

What two year old refuses to nap, then finds himself not being able to sleep until anywhere between 9:30 and 11:00pm?

OK, here's the most recent example:  This weekend was a very important graduation for a very favorite friend of ours.  We were prepared, we had everything we could possible need; food, diapers, change of clothes, new toys, camera, distractions, etc.  Really, we had it all.  We got perfect seats, had a perfect view, and arrived in time to relax before the place filled up...

... Graduation had not even begun before Daniel needed to get up and run around the theatre... down the rows, up the stairs, down the stairs, across the mezzanine, along the marble landing, in and out of bathrooms and over and over again.  We pick him up, bring him back to our seat and firmly tell him we need to whisper, sit and look for "AJ." It works for a minutes before he is back up again.  Once the benediction began he was running...we decided to let him play with the Kindle Fire some learning games.  The volume was muted, but, who can be heard clear across the entire crowd?  Oh yes... Daniel yelling: "Banana! Yellow! Grape! Green!  Yeah that wasn't working.  Then not to be outmatched, Amelia started yelling "Da-da!" and "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!"  Of course we picked them up and removed them as not to disturb others.

Soon after Brian and I strapped those talkers (turned yellers)  into their stroller and packed them up to go back to the hotel.

I stayed back by myself - I wasn't going to miss it.

But, before I sent Brian off with the kids, I had a minor break down:  "What am I doing wrong?  How can other kids still still and ours can't?  I feel like such a bad mom, am I?

The fast answer to this is "You're doing great, he's only 2  1/2, all kids are different, and would you want to sit still if you were not even 3 years old?"

Sure sure, great advice I'd give to any mom who posed a similar question to me.  Hard as a Stephen hawking thinking question to answer with any discernible clue.

Should I be more firm?  yes.  How do I enforce the rules? Time our doesn't seem to work, and smacking him around is not in the cards.  If I close him in his room, he'll start to scream , cry and then his asthma kicks in and he throws up everywhere.

I'm at a loss.

Perhaps I don't need any advice, though knowing there are other parents out there who face similar issues. 

Are we the only parents who can't go out with our children? 

Behavior.  Are they on their best behavior?  Well, folks, sadly, there are.  You should see them when they are NOT on their best behavior.

An amazing dinner would have to start around 4:30 for the ideal eating window to be encapsulated.  We all sit down, Daniel gets some crayons he plays with for a little before he starts to throw and eat them.  We keep a stash of books, toys and cups with us and order his meal right away so it comes out first.  Then, hopefully, he is hungry enough to keep eating while Brian and I ( or whomever is brave enough to go with us or old enough to want to eat the early bird way) try to enjoy our meal without having to give in to Daniels "GET DOWN NOW!...please."

It gets better.  It must.  I believe it will.

But it would be nice to know we're not alone.


Today's Mess Of The Day:

Rice.  Jasmine rice to be more specific. 

Rice is akin to snow or glitter in a theater...once it gets everywhere, you're finding bits and pieces everywhere for weeks...


  1. Eva is a handful! It is ADHD (for her). It is not some awful thing to be ashamed of. It simply means her brain is moving faster than her body (or us) can keep up with. She is incredibly smart, but can not focus long. What you explain about Daniel as far as into everything and always on the move is Eva. Most kids do not nap after the age of 2. Eva does. More so if she is up early in the morning, and to bed late. We did away with the early bed time. We're lucky if she in bed by 11 now. Main reason is we miss her and we're doing school work. It hits us that shes still up. I will admit that she is 3 and I think she's slept though the night about 15 times! Time out as far as in her room to cool down works most days. Others I honestly put her in her room and walk away for my sanity. Playing outside, at the park, or swimming (yippie summer!) is what wears her out. Keeping her busy means its going to be an easy. Days we don't so anything is AWFUL. I also started doing learning things above her "normal" age level. Shes too smart & what is appropriate for her is not challenging enough. Her issue we can't break is whining! It does not stop!
    So, I don't know if I helped, but you are not alone. I promise. All I can say is do what we do, keep trying new things for 3 weeks at a time and if it works keep it, if not, toss it! No point in trying to push something that doesn't work. Don't be afraid to try the same thing again a few months down the road. You need to figure out a way to destress too! Daniel and Amelia love their Mommy, but they need a break from you too. Being a stay at home mom is hard! I've been there, done that. Working isn't any easier, but I get a break. It is a loose loose really. :-( You're doing the best you can, just keep swimming! I have to repeat that to myself every day! I need your home address too please :-) I have a real letter to send you!

  2. Hmmm... typing one handed makes for some interesting typos. Oh well... back to work I go!

  3. You're not alone. :-) We can only go to Mexican restaurants with our son because that's the only place he likes the food and they're fast enough with the orders that we have some chance of actually finishing our food before he's "all done". He is very good, he just really wants to explore and interact with the other diners. He doesn't go running and screaming or anything, but he wants to wander and say "hi" to everyone. He's really not interested in eating. I think some children are more into food and those parents are lucky in that they have a "good" audience when they go out to eat.

    We have resigned ourselves that we just don't go out to eat with him. It's not enjoyable for anyone and it is just a "season in our lives" and eventually we'll all be able to go out to eat.

    We can't take him to church either, since he wants to explore the entire sanctuary and take out the hymnals and Bibles, etc. The nursery attendant is spotty in her attendance, so it's hit or miss if we'll actually be able to hear what is going on, let along participate in the service.

    Not much help here, but just wanted to say you're not alone. They're only young once and I believe we need to enjoy it while it lasts, because before long they won't want anything to do with us and will think we're "old" and out of touch with reality. You're going to miss these moments eventually....

  4. Krista,
    You make a very very good point. Certainly it's nice to know that we're not alone, but more importantly, I think you're right about the growing up part. It's hard to see it now when things are so hectic and difficult, but even the kids of my friends are already in HS and I remember days before they were born.

    Thanks, and I hope for both of us, happy years.


  5. Krista said it beautifully, "...season in our lives." You are a wonderful mommy. You have two active healthy children who adore you. They are happy children. You will survive. Someone said they need a break from you (if they can stand it$ and you will get the time to recharge your batteries for the next round that way. Only good mothers worry about their mothering skills

  6. As an older person, who was taking care of toddlers many years ago, I just want to interject the following:
    First - Relax and breathe! Child rearing is a lifetime job and takes time and your best parenting skills.
    Take each outside the home activity a step at a time - don't expect a 2 year old or even many children under 5 (or older) to be able to sit still at an event geared for adults. While I know this means that perhaps one parent misses the event, it will make your lives easier to just accept that it won't work in some situations. Try dinner out at very family friendly restaurants, etc. As they grow, introduce them to some short events and see how it goes.
    This doesn't mean that you don't start at a young age to teach your children that there are rules of decorum and boundaries, just keep it within their range of understanding. For example, you can have dinner at home be a slightly more structured situation to help them understand that you act a certain way when eating. This will eventually carry over to a restaurant.
    Of course, this is not fail proof. Nothing about parenting is. It takes lots of patience, self discipline (keeping yourself as a parent consistent and on track), and you are constantly learning as you parent. Each child is unique and you will learn those special things as they grow and develop. Different children thrive in different situations and children also have to learn to adapt to be a good member of their society. Whether their society is a daycare center, a school class, t-ball team, whatever, they will learn what is appropriate from your gentle but firm teaching.
    Love and patience is key. Consistent rules and gentle prodding will help. You are obviously doing something right as you got the great comment from Linda.