Thursday, July 12, 2012

What I vowed never to do

Before I had children, I had a pretty detailed list of how I was going to parent. I was pretty certain on a number of things I would never do, and of the things I would definitely do. Today, whilst catching up with my old friend Lisa McKay (a talented author BTW - you should buy her new book) we were reflecting on just those things. We were reflecting on these lists whilst my 2 children did many of the things on that "I would never..." list and I was hardly even batting an eyelid, although looking back on it now I am groaning and cringing a fair amount.

This is how the hour of our catch up went:
It was within half an hour of dinner time, and I let the boys eat cookies (more than one each) and gave them juice (this was probably Noah's 4th taste of juice ever and Beau's 1st).
I let the boys eat their fruit squeezey packs before the main meal.
I gave up trying to feed them both the main meal (smoked salmon pasta) after about 5 minutes (I usually persevere far longer than this).
I gave Beau a cucumber stick and I just realized I have no idea what happened to that (apologies to Lisa's Aunt and Uncle if they find that in a day or two squished somewhere unpleasant).
I let all of the above happen whilst the boys wandered around the TV room where we were catching up spilling crumbs and juice everywhere. I think I did mention a few times to Beau that he should sit down, but in all truth, there was very little persistence on my part to enforce that requirement.
On the drive home I pulled into McDonald's and bought a cheeseburger and fries and shared the fries with the boys (though I did manage to evade Noah's questions about the name of this "dinner pick up place" under some misplaced belief that if he doesn't know the name of that particular "family restaurant" he may not pester me to go back there. Somehow I think the "salty, crispy, yummy, chips" are going to lead to a fair amount of pestering regardless of whether he knows the name or not).

So what are some other things on my "I would never..." list? A lot of them have to do with food, with bedtime and with sleep.

Food and meal times

I was pretty determined that I was going to cook one meal for my children and if they didn't eat it/like it,  they were going to be hungry. This was all good in theory and I even stuck to it a few times, but then I had a 12 month old, or an 18 month old, or a 3 year old waking up at midnight or 2 am hungry and demanding food or milk or both. In the end it is far better for everyone to make a vegemite sandwich or serve weetbix when the grilled perch and beans, roasted lamb & vegetables, or other nutritious meal is rejected. I can scream and cry and howl at my 18 month old all I want, but if he doesn't want to open his mouth, he won't.

Beau closes his eyes to avoid eating his dinner

I was also pretty determined I was going to introduce my children to a huge range of foods, so that they wouldn't be picky eaters. But following on from the previous point - well it is also far better for everyone, nutritionally, emotionally, to cook meals for them I know they will eat most nights of the week. I won't go so far as to only serve them one type of food - such as only serving them pizza (which I have heard of by the way - for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week), but I do often take the path of least resistance - googy eggs and soldier toast, frozen peas with every meal, smoked salmon pasta (besides tonights state of affairs this usually is a sure winner), spinach pie.

Sleep and bedtime

I was pretty sure I would have babies who slept through the night from 8 weeks. When Noah did sleep through the night for the first time at 8 weeks I gave myself a little pat on the back (after the initial panic about why he didn't wake). But it was short lived. Noah was 14 months when he began consistently sleeping through the night. Beau was 14 months old as well. Now at 3.5 years and 18 months Nathan and I rarely have a night of unbroken sleep. Between wet beds, bad dreams, wanting milk, being cold, and traffic noise we are really fighting a losing battle with this one.

I was pretty certain that letting your baby cry to go to sleep was the best method and wasn't that hard. That was until I had a baby and couldn't bare hearing him cry. The first night we tried "Ferber" with Noah I think I cried more than he did. I disliked it so much I hoped for 14 months with Beau that he would learn to self-sooth. He didn't. I know that after both my boys learnt to self-sooth to sleep they were both happier boys, but I never understood how hard it would be getting there until I had to do it myself.

I was absolutely never having children sleep in my bed. These days between the hours of about 2-5am we have either 1 or both of the boys in bed with us. I have given up fighting it. I just might buy a King size bed to accommodate us all.

Two little monkeys asleep in the bed

Other "I would never..."

I was not going to let my children watch TV. And whilst we have made the decision to not own a TV for this reason, I have to admit that TV, a DVD, or a downloaded episode of Sesame Street etc, is a  wonderful little entertainer when you have to jump in the shower, make a few phone calls, pay the bills, or many of the other everyday items on the "to-do" list which are best done without a child hanging on one leg or in one arm.

Oh, I could go on and on. But you get the picture. My before-children-I-would-never-do...list is out the window.

What about you? What was on your "I would never" list which you find yourself doing now that you are a parent?


Lisa McKay said...

I would never jump up at my child's every whimper to soothe them (says the mum who's held her child back down twice already tonight). Sigh.

Unknown said...

I hear you Lisa! There was much lying on the floor between my boys beds tonight to help everyone go off to sleep (one of the benefits of the boys sharing a room - I can lie on one floor and comfort them both at the same time!) I think I may have drifted off to sleep first though...

Lucretia said...

I loved this post, Bree! Too funny and I was nodding along the entire time. I knew SO much before I had kids of my own. :)

Gemma, Australia said...

I'd love to pick your brain about your experiences living in USA.
My husband and I are looking at moving to the U.S and we have a 15 month old daughter.
Is there another way I contact you to ask some questions :)

trish said...

Haha - so true! Made me giggle. X