Preparing for parenthood…..

It’s amazing how one ridiculous evening with your out of control toddler can make you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you are doing with this whole parenting thing. Nothing makes you feel more like an inadequate parent than a 2 year old having one meltdown after another. For the most part, Tyler is a really good kid but he is 2 and a product of Jim and myself, which means he is stubborn, hard headed and has a bit of a temper. So occasionally, when he is tired or crabby, he can be very challenging. Last night was an especially challenging evening, combined with the fact that sleep has been hard to come by lately, I had reached my limit. Every time I reach that point, I think about how much harder it would be to have had a child as a teenager. At least at 28 I had an idea what I was getting into. That’s not even true, I had no idea what I was getting into but I think being a little older makes you more prepared to handle it. Plus, being in a strong relationship and being more financially stable sure makes it easier.

I was watchIng Teen Mom 2 today, it’s one of those shows I DVR to watch while I fold laundry. It always makes me laugh because it claims to portray what it is like to be a teen mom and discourage teen pregnancies. Yet every person on that show has a brand new car, a house of their own, and not many of them have jobs. Almost all of them have family around so they can hangout with their friends or take weekend vacations child free. It absolutely kills me. Most parents, no matter how ready you are to have a child, don’t have it that easy. It reminds me of when I was in 8th grade and we did the “bag of flour” project. Where you carry around a bag of flour for a week and pretend it’s your baby. I’m not really sure what the point of that project was. It taught you about as much about having a baby as remembering to bring your math notebook to school everyday. In fact, I’m pretty sure I forgot my flour baby one morning and had to call my mom to bring it to me. I hope that doesn’t say to much about the kind of parent I am today.

I’m not sure there is anything that can prepare you for having a child. I think I was equally as surprised by the challenges of parenting as I was about the joys. It’s one of the only times complete aggravation, exhaustion and frustration can be wiped away with some snuggles and a sweet smile from your little one. As hard as it is some days the rewards are so much greater.

Tyler is getting big so fast and I know someday I will miss this age but it’s hard right now to imagine missing being woken up every day at 5:30, power struggles, temper tantrums and time outs. Watching him learn new things, playing, being silly with him and those sweet snuggles, they make it worth it, almost all of it. 😉

On a side note, if anyone has a teenager they would like to teach about how it really is to be a parent, feel free to send them to my house around 5:30am.

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As if parents are not tired enough…lets talk about the time change!

Oh. My. God. I am tired!

I literally just stared at that sentence for like a minute wondering if I had the energy to come up with anything more than that.

As a parent of a highly energized toddler I am usually tired, but lately our little angel has taken to getting up at 5:15-5:45 in the morning, and by lately I mean for the last month. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen with the time change on Sunday. The last time change totally screwed us. (Extra hour of sleep….HA!) But considering we lost an hour of sleep on Sunday, Tyler slept until 6:30 Sunday and Monday. I thought we actually had gotten lucky for once in the sleep department and the time change had tricked him into sleeping an hour later. After a month of getting up at 5:30, 6:30 felt GREAT! He came home from “school” last night super cranky and tired, we played outside all afternoon so he had to be exhausted. He went to bed around 7:45 and at 5:15 this morning I hear “Mom” coming from the hallway. Of course, I had already been up all night – damn insomnia – so I was extra exhausted as I drug myself into his room and told him it was way to early to get up. He screamed for about 10 minutes and then got quiet. That lasted only a few minutes when I heard the door to his room open and “Mom” again. He must have realized I wasn’t kidding the second time because he laid back down until 6:00. It really made no difference at that point. I was awake.

I have read numerous articles on toddler sleep habits, we have tried putting him to bed later, it actually makes him get up earlier. We have tried putting him to bed earlier, he still gets up at 5:30. I have tried nightlight vs. no nightlight, sound machine on and off, we bought room darkening shades, we turn his fan on….NOTHING WORKS! I have read articles about parents who buy a nightlight on a timer and teach their child to not get up until the nightlight comes on. Jim and I agree that if he is awake in his room he will be talking and we will be awake anyway. Plus, I read an article about a toddler who was playing in her room while her mom slept in the morning and she pulled a dresser over on herself and died so I am not comfortable with that idea.

I think for now I am going to try putting him to bed earlier so he at least gets more sleep, that’s harder now that it stays light later and we want to be able to enjoy our time together in the evenings. We already have so little time with him by the time we get home from work.

Jim said this morning that we need to start going to bed at 8:00 so we can catch up on our sleep, we are so tired because we stay up spending time together. After Tyler goes to bed is the only time we have for us but if we don’t get some sleep soon our whole house is going to implode! I am not  a good tired person, I get crabby and then I cry. I can always tell when I am way too tired because I cry. It isn’t pretty.

If anyone has any suggestions on getting him to sleep later I am open to them. I will try anything at this point!

I never want to forget…

Last night, Tyler was sitting in his high chair having a snack and watching Dora. I love listening to him because he answers the questions, sings the songs and just gets so excited. Last night they had 3 trees in a line, short, medium and tall, they asked which was the tallest and he pointed right to it. Little things like that make me feel so proud. He is learning so much and everyday he says or does something that shocks us. It’s amazing how many things your kids know and you have no idea how they learned it. I love this age. He’s like a little sponge. Everything you say gets repeated, which is sometimes cute and sometimes not. 🙂 Every day is an adventure.

Often he will do something and I think when did he grow up? I think I missed it. I think back to bringing my newborn baby home and there are so many things I don’t want to forget. I was thinking of doing a scrapbook of all the things I really want to remember.

I want to remember how when the moment Tyler was born Jim said ” Awe, he’s so cute” and then took a picture of him to show me. I want to remember the moment in the car on the way home from the hospital when it hit me that we were taking our baby home. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe we have our baby in a car. What if we get in an accident?” It was at that point, I realized, I would never think about anything the same way again. I was a mom.

I don’t want to forget putting Tyler in his bassinet by our bed that first night and then laying in bed holding hands with Jim. I don’t think I had ever felt closer to him than I did at that moment. Whatever our first night alone with our baby brought us, we were in it together.

I never want to forget the little noise Tyler used to make when he sneezed. Every single time he sneezed and made the noise Jim and I would “Awe”. I am pretty sure Jim’s 11-year-old son, Aaron thought we were crazy, or at least annoying. I am sure I would have.

I don’t want to forget how Tyler called Aaron “Mmmm” until he was 2. We have no idea why.

I don’t want to forget the sound of his baby laugh, or the first time he smiled, crawled, or took his first steps.

There are a million things I don’t want to forget. I haven’t been all that good at keeping up with his baby book. I fill it in but there isn’t space for the things I think are important to remember. At some point I need to make my own baby book and fill it with the things I want to remember. I want to be able to share it with him someday. I want to be able to look back on all of those things when he’s all grown up.

When you have a baby people are always telling you how fast it goes. But nothing could prepare you for really how fast it goes. They grow at lightening speed. I remind myself of that at times when I get irritated because I have heard the word Mom 350 times by 7:00am. I remind myself when I am tired or really don’t want to play cars. I remind myself that right now I am everything to him but someday, sooner than I am ready for, he won’t need me as much as he does now. It helps me slow down and enjoy it. I know someday I will long for the sound of his little feet running down the hall.

“You will be his first kiss, his first love, his first friend. You are his momma and he is your whole world, he is your little boy.”

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Parenting theories….

Before I became a mom I had all kinds of theories about raising kids. Now that I have a child, I still have theories but they are a whole lot different than they were then. When I was younger I worked in daycare. I spent my day surrounded by 2 year olds and I thought that meant I was an expert. Now that I have a 2 year old I realize no one is an expert. It’s a whole different world being the parent. Never again will I look at a parent who’s child is having a complete meltdown in the middle of a grocery store with that look of disapproval. I have been there. It isn’t pretty. No matter how well behaved your child is there will come a time where their behavior makes you want to disappear into a hole in the floor. We live in a world where everyone wants to make it seem like they have it together at all times, that is impossible when you have a full time job and young children.

One of the hardest things when becoming a new parent for me was knowing which advise to follow. It can be very overwhelming. There are so many different opinions on everything baby related. Pacifier, no pacifier, swaddling, breast feeding, etc…..I finally figured out that it didn’t matter what “they” say is best, you have to do what works for you. Every baby is different and every parent is different. What works for one may not work for the other. And sometimes I wonder if “they” who say they know everything about babies have ever actually seen a baby. Tyler had colic and was a particularly difficult infant so I had a influx of advise and I was grateful to everyone for it. I had no clue what I was doing. I wasn’t at all prepared for a baby that cried ALL THE TIME. But when it came down to it, I had to chose what advise to actually listen to and what advise to just smile and nod at. 🙂

There are some things that I think are silly. Like people who say they never let their child watch TV. I am in no way saying sitting your child in front of a TV all day is the right thing to do. Children need to play and interact to learn. Plus, children are young for such a short time we parents should be soaking up every second we can. But, realistically we all live busy lives and having your child sit still for a 1/2 hour to watch a non-violent cartoon isn’t the worst thing in the world. One of my all time favorite things to do with Tyler is curl up in my bed and watch Disney movies. He is now at the age where he will sit a little longer. We never get to watch the whole movie but we watch pieces of it throughout the day or weekend. Now he will turn to me and say “Mom, bed” and we run into my room and curl up under the covers and snuggle. We laugh at the movies and I answer his questions and I love every single minute of it. His favorite movies are Toy Story, Shrek and currently Up. We have probably watched his favorite parts 300 times but it doesn’t bother me to watch the same parts over and over because he loves it and I get to snuggle which doesn’t happen that often with a busy 2 year old.

Here is my advise to new parents. Do what works for you and what works for your baby. Don’t worry about things like when they give up the bottle, or stop taking a pacifier, or when they take their first steps, say their first words, count to 10 or learn their ABC’s. Don’t rush the baby stage. Don’t be in a hurry for your baby to grow up. It happens too fast no matter what you do. Enjoy it. Do not listen to people who tell you not to hold your babies too much. Hold them all the time. Let your house get messy, let the dishes sit in the sink and do something silly with your child. Enjoy every minute of them being little. They grow like weeds right before your eyes. It makes you proud and sad all at the same time. Enjoy every minute.