Having a social child

My parents tell stories about me as a child.  Hiding under the chairs at social gatherings or church.  Clinging to their legs in the company of strangers, or even people I’d met but didn’t see on a daily basis.  My stranger-danger was always on high alert.  And being the older sister, I made sure to protect my little bro by keeping him hiding out right along side me.  It wasn’t until I was in high school and part of the Speech Team (kind of like a  competitive theatre team) that I started to come out of my shy-shell.  I just wasn’t created as a social butterfly.

We had friends of the family who’s kids were younger than me and far more outgoing.  Always talking to everyone and anyone.  Always the center of attention.  I never understood how they were that way, and just assumed it was because of their parents being social butterflies and passing that along to them.

Then J came along.  He’s almost 3 now (OMG) and he is the quintessential social butterfly.  Everywhere we go, he’s making conversation with random people.  He’ll ask strangers at the store what something is.  He wants to tell anyone in earshot about his favorite toy.  The clients that come into my office hear all about his adventures, or his small water bottles that Pop-pop bought just for him.  He’s a talker.  A sharer.  A little spit-fire.

I have no idea where he gets it from.  Me and the Hubs are not particularly outgoing – at least not to that degree.  J’s stranger-danger seems to be dangerously low at times though.

I love that he’s so trusting in a lot of ways.  His trust makes him outgoing and adventurous.  He has no boundaries for trying new things, meeting new people, sharing his story with the world.  His ability to easily and effortlessly put himself out there will help him all his life.

I try and keep all that in mind on the days where my parental worries kick in.  When I get anxious that all his trust will put him in a dangerous situation.  It’s an internal struggle.

C isn’t old enough to see her whole personality yet.  She loves to flirt with anyone that smiles at her, but she’s only now walking and is still fully focused on people she knows.  Guess we will see!

Play places as “no-sorry” zones

Play places are a god-send when parents decide to take their little ones out of the house for a few hours to get some interaction with other kids, get some fresh air, or just a little change of scenery. Parks, indoor or outdoor playgrounds, gyms, and other for-children-only play places all provide that much needed location for social interaction, plus the added bonus that you don’t have to clean up after the mess your kids make while they play. No need for the destruction of your own furniture when you can let your kids climb, slide, and jump all over heavy duty “child-proof” play things.

But, here’s the catch. If you spend any amount of time in these play places, surrounded by other kids and their parents, you’ll soon realize that you spend most of your time there apologizing for your kids behavior. Yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that you kid isn’t being the bully of the playground, but is it really necessary to have to say “sorry” every time your 2 year old decides that it’s their turn on the slide and jumps in front of the 3 other kids patiently waiting in line?

The whole idea of visiting these places is so your children get some social interaction and start to learn from the things and people around them. Sharing, taking turns, playing nice, not pushing – those are all valid lessons they will *hopefully* pick up on. But why, WHY, do parents feel obligated, or guilted into feeling like their child is constantly doing things that need apologized for?

Yes, my kid probably did steal that toy. And guess what, if I saw it happen then I will use that moment, or another one of my choosing, to teach the lesson about not stealing and instead sharing the toys. But right now, I don’t want to have to turn to the other child’s parent and say “Sorry, he’s still learning about sharing.” “Sorry, she takes a while to go down the slide” “Sorry, we are still learning about taking turns.” Why should we be sorry that our children are learning lessons, learning how to play nice, learning what happens when they don’t? Why should parents have to apologize constantly for kids being kids?

I know what you’re going to say, “What about the kids who are being purposefully mean to other kids and the parents aren’t intervening?” Well, frankly, you chose to bring your kid to a place where that might happen. The way that you teach your children probably isn’t the way someone else teaches their own. That’s life. Instead of passing judgment or expecting that kid’s parents to apologize to the whole playground, why not instead move your kids to another area of the swing-set and move on. If your kid was being the mean one, would you really want to say “sorry” to every parent present? Probably not. Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have your 2 hours of playtime and be able to head home feeling like naptime will be a huge success today? Instead of being on-edge the whole 2 hours as you constantly micro-manage your child so that when they forget to wait their turn you are there to apologize for their child-like action?

It should be one of the unwritten rules that these play places are gathering spots for parents and children alike, where there is less judgement, less parent-to-parent guilt. These should be “no-sorry” zones. Let’s let parents off the hook here. Let them watch their children without feeling constantly aware of the judgment of every other parent in a 10 foot radius. Let them and their kids play without the need to apologize for every action. Play without the “sorry” around every corner.

10 Things that change after your first kid

Your entire life changes when you have your first, but there’s also a lot that changes between each of your kiddos.  Here’s a few…

1. You take less pictures.  Especially of yourself, but in general your second baby doesn’t have nearly the millions of pics that you took of your first.  The second time around you don’t take a picture every time #2 does something new, or cute, or exciting…because, well, you’ve kinda already been there, done that.

2. You probably let your first sleep in the bassinet next to your bed for months.  And by months I mean like 6 or 8…or maybe even more.  Terrified that you wouldn’t be able to reach over and touch them at any point during the night, you probably jinxed your little one’s sleep habits since they had to learn to sleep through the inevitable snoring of 2 more people.  But #2 got kicked to their own room to sleep ever-so-peacfully in their own bed after only a few weeks.

3. You don’t remember the milestones.  Sad, but true.  While it’s still very cool when your second reaches those special milestones, you just don’t remember them the same as with your first.

4. Less 1-on-1 time.  You’ll have to make a special effort to spend time with just one kiddo or the other now.  Quality Mommy and baby time significantly decreases since now you’ll split all your time and attention between two.

5. You don’t sweat the small stuff.  With your first you worried constantly about what they ate, where they were, how they spent their time.  No TV, a balance of fruits and veggies, and don’t you dare let them put that rock in their mouth!  But with #2 you’ve finally resolved that as long as they are happy, healthy and safe, all the rest doesn’t matter so much.

6. Any former phobias about snot, poop, blood go out the window.  If you used to get queasy at the sight of puss, kiss those days goodbye! You’ll start wiping boogers with your bare hands and don’t blink an eye when you end up with poo all over, well, everything.

7. Let them cry.  While you may still not use the Cry It Out method entirely, you are a lot more willing to let both of your kids cry for a while before you decide if it’s absolutely necessary to pick them up.  Visible blood aside…

8. Back to the food thing. You used to worry if you kid wouldn’t eat anything except for fruit snacks.  OMG they aren’t getting a full rounded meal because they refuse to eat anything I put on their plate!  Well, you finally figure out that as long as that kid is eating something, anything, that they will eventually eat other things too.  So if for an entire week all they will eat is Goldfish and juice…so be it!  They’ll eat veggies another day to make up for it.

9. Get rid of the extra baby crap.  Remember when you registered for everything in the “suggested registry list” at Babies R Us – aka: the entire store?  Yeah, well by baby #2 you’ve weeded out all the extra crap that you never did use and finally your house is only 1/2 full of baby gear.

10. You’ll constantly compare your kids.  Not to other kids so much, but to each other.  Baby #1 did this when they were this age, but Baby #2 is doing this sooner or later than that.  Eventually it’ll all blur together though, and trying to remember who got teeth first and who’s first word was “yeah” will become harder to differentiate.

Twice the kids may equal twice the work, but you’ll quickly figure out how to get them both fed, washed, out the door and loaded in the car each morning and fed, washed, and into bed each night as if it were your second nature.

20 Things all second time Mama’s learn the second time around

20 Things second time Mama’s learn the second time around…

1.  You will worry how you can love two kiddo’s at the same time, the same amount

2.  As soon as your second (or third, or fourth) arrives, your heart will grow big enough to have enough love for each of your children.

3.  No birth, no labor is the same.

4.  Planning only goes so far, at some point you have to just go with the flow and trust it’ll all work out

5.  Your house will become baby land, overtaken by toys, diapers, blankets, baby gear, no matter how many times you clean it.  This is especially true with another kiddo in the house…

6.  You will wonder how you will do it all…

7.  Don’t forget to make time for your hubby…even if it’s just a kiss when you come or go

8.  It’s OK if it takes you a while to feel back to “normal”

9.  Breastfeeding the second time around can still be hard, painful, take adjustment before you get it right

10.  No two kiddo’s are the same…you’ll *almost* have to start from scratch…ALMOST

11.  Take advantage of any time you can have for just yourself.  A hot, quiet shower can do wonders to rejuvenate you.

12.  It’s OK to decline visitors until you are ready.  There will be plenty of time for everyone to meet new baby.

13.  You don’t have to be Super Mom.

14.  Look to other Mama’s for advice, support, and help.  Even if it’s just for encouragement or reinforcement.

15.  If you’re worried about your hubby finding you attractive after watching another human come out of you…don’t worry, your new “milk boobs” will take care of that!

16.  That being said…both you and your hubby will have forgotten just how ginormous your boobs will get when your milk comes in.

17.  As miserable as you were during the last days of pregnancy, you’ll almost instantaneously forget what it was like to be pregnant once that baby comes.

18.  You’ll also find yourself suddenly missing being pregnant…even if it kinda sucked most of the time – heartburn, morning sickness, nerve pain, sleeplessness etc.  all seem so insignificant now.

19.  Sleep deprivation. again. enough said.

20.  Labor really is the worst pain most easily forgotten.  In the middle of labor you swear you’ll never do this again…but a few days afterwards you’ll seriously consider doing it all over again.

❤ parenting love 🙂

Routine

rou·tine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program

Now that I really think about it, I remember hearing a lot about establishing a routine from the time you bring baby home.  I also remember that the part that actually stuck with me was to let the baby establish their own routine…Maybe I just imagined that’s what the advice really was.  Although I’m pretty sure that at least some of the advice we got from the hospital classes and other moms and the books was that when babies very new they should be able to eat, sleep, etc as often and whenever they need to or want to.  I guess somewhere between bringing J home and about 2 weeks ago, we forgot to start establishing an actual routine.  All along we’ve pretty much let J eat, sleep, nurse when he wanted to or needed to.  I must have missed the memo on when to make the transition from baby-led routine to parent-led routine.

Since J has been with me all day I have let him lead on establishing his own “routine” or whatever you want to call it.  However since I have him with me at work and not at home, I have found it more difficult to try to establish a nap routine in particular.  I’m in an office all day where I do have a door, but the walls are thin and between the phone’s ringing and needing to work even while he’s sleeping it’s taken until recently for him to be able to sleep long enough and hard enough for those things to not interrupt his sleep pattern.  This is one thing I really envy about stay-at-home mammas – the ability to put the kiddo in their own crib in their own space where it can be quiet and dark all at the same time!  But I’ve worked with what I’ve got and it’s been good enough.

J used to nurse as often as he wanted.  Anytime he was a little fussy, before naps, when he had a boo-boo – he got to nurse.  It goes without saying that when he was really tiny he ate every hour or two – as all newborn should.  But he’s really always nursed often.  He’s just recently weaned down to 4-6 times a day.  Mostly before nap times and whenever he wakes at night.  So, I guess you could call that a routine.  Ok, I guess we managed to figure that one out somewhere along the way!

What about eating?  This one was pretty easy to establish a routine since I pretty much feed him at mealtimes and whenever I’m hungry.  I figure if I’m hungry then he probably is too.  And now that he’s eating pretty much anything, he eats whatever we eat plus snacks when he wakes up from nap.

The hardest one was napping and sleeping.  Our struggles with J’s sleep routine, especially at night, have been going on since he was born.  We though we started off on the right foot when he would sleep 3-4 hours at a time when we brought him home.  But that soon went downhill and he didn’t quickly establish a longer sleep routine.  For the first 9 months we struggled with J waking 3-4 times a night in order to nurse or be helped back to sleep. The good news is that for the last two weeks or so, J has been sleeping for 6+ hours before he wakes, and only wakes once during the night.  He’s also been sleeping until after 6am.  Hooray!   Luckily he has (slowly) managed to wean himself down to 1-2 wake-ups a night.  He still nurses to get back to sleep, but I can handle that many wake ups at least.  With napping, J used to be able to sleep whenever he got a little fussy.  For months he would only sleep for 30 minutes but would need a nap almost every hour or two.  Only in the last few weeks has he started sleeping for an hour to an hour and a half on a regular basis!  He’s also moved to 2-3 naps a day depending on the length of each nap.  We’ve kept his bedtime at 7pm since he was about 6 months.

So in the end I guess we did finally end up with a routine!  Horray!  Now that we’ve been through it all the hard way, we’d certainly do it differently the second time around.  I’m glad that we’ve managed to keep a few things solid (bedtime and meals) and I’m now a HUGE believer that more sleep leads to more sleep.  It wasn’t until J started sleeping a regular 1 to 1 1/2 hours a few times a day that his nighttime sleeping also smoothed out and increased.  I’m also now an advocate for establishing more of a sleep routine (if possible) as early as possible.  I know that it’s sometimes easier said than done though…so let’s hope that when it’s time for the second time around that we can figure it out along the way.  Either way at least now we seem to be on the right path.

This parenthood thing can be more of a challenge than you think sometimes.  But you work your way through it eventually, just like with anything else 🙂