Doing What Works

5 Jan

I’ve always known exactly what parenthood would look like.  My child would eat what I gave to her when I gave it to her, do what I asked her to, and play with the toys I wanted her to play with.  There would be no television, no food with empty calories, and my living room would not have toys strewn about.

The day Adeline was born, they brought me to the recovery room after my c-section and handed me my beautiful little girl for the first time.  Just 45 minutes old, do you know what that child tried to do? She tried to lift her head.  I knew then, right then that she was going to give me a run for my money.  But I was sure that with a little bit of training and conditioning, life would be good.

I was right that day – on the run for my money part.  From day one Adeline’s wanted to do things on her own terms; eating, sleeping, playing, cuddling, you name it.  From day one I’ve tried to reign her in, to help her to see my way.  Honestly, for the most part it hasn’t worked.  But this toddler stage, man, I feel like I never win a battle!

Let’s take eating.  We’ve routinely sat her down for three meals and at least two snacks a day (at her leading), but in the last few months she’s begun throwing food, not eating, and spitting everything out.  What she liked last week she hates this week.  What she’d eat at the beginning of the meal she is throwing at Mama by the end of the meal.  Nothing we did worked.  Not scolding, not letting her pick her own foods, not ignoring the bad behavior.  At Matthew’s urging we decided to try grazing.  He did some reading and found that many active toddlers to better with this method, and often have better behavior because their blood sugars are regulated.  We gave it a try, though it killed me to do.  The thought of Adeline running around with food in her had all day drove me crazy.  So far, it has worked.  She’s eating more, throwing less, and we don’t stress when she doesn’t eat much of a meal.

The fits have lessened but our hardest hour of the day is 4:30-5:30.  We’ve done everything under the sun to entertain ourselves, she’s cranky, and dinner has to get made.  The only thing that can get the job done without tears is….gulp…television.  THis is something I swore, swore, swore I’d never do.  But 30 minutes of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan on Nick Jr. with me saying, “See Kai-Lan’s hat?”  or “Do you see the sun?  Adeline, can you sign sun?”  or “Tolee is hopping!  Adeline, let’s hop!” seems to be a good middle ground.  I’d really hoped to be a no-television family, but for sanity’s sake, I’ve broken my own rule.  Want to know something?  She’s still learning from me as I interpret the show for her and focus her attention on what is important.  I still hate it.

Now,on to the “We’ll never be those parents, with that kind of living room”.  We are 100% those parents with toys strewn about our living room, and our apartment is a mess 90% of the time because of it.  There is nowhere to stash the bouncing horse, and Adeline really loves having at least five stuffed animals nearby in case she’d rather cuddle with the monkey instead of the frog or bear.  Moods change, you know.

So, I was totally right at the beginning of Liners’ life.  With a little bit of conditioning and training ways are changing.  Though somehow, they are mine and not hers!  It’s difficult but joyful to find tricks of the trade that work for our family, and I’m learning that like childbirth, marriage, and all other areas of life, parenting cannot be planned because one never knows what (or who) one will be given.

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2 Responses to “Doing What Works”

  1. Kaitlyn January 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Amen, sister!! I’m in the same boat and riding out the storm! Isn’t motherhood everything you never thought it would be? =)

  2. Jennifer January 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Absolutely! It is wonderful to have good company, though. 🙂

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