As excited as you are about the new addition to your family, you dread the wailing at night that comes with your bundle of joy. You find yourself wondering why you thought you could be a parent and worrying that you aren’t giving your little one the best mommy they could have. Sometimes you are even worried that you may not like your baby. As soon as you let yourself think that you feel guilty.
To the new mom out there that feels this way, you need to know that you are not alone. Your sleep is being constantly disrupted and your body healing and possibly even chasing after your new baby’s older siblings. Anyone would feel ill equipped to bond positively with a crying baby, but it can be done.
Not for your little one. Take a time out for you. Almost every book or blog I have read on being a new parent says it’s okay to put the baby down in a safe place (like a carrier or a crib) and take a moment to breathe. Those five or ten minutes can help you clear your mind of the negative feelings and give your nerves time to un-knot.
Have you ever tried to brush a cat’s teeth? Attempting dental care with your toddler can be just as daunting. There is only one difference I have seen. Cat’s eventually resign themselves to their fate. Toddler’s don’t.
No Scary Toothbrushes
Trying to get my toddler to either brush or sit still long enough for me to brush his teeth has been next to impossible. So I thought that I would improve the brushing experience by getting him an electric toothbrush. I thought it would be fun. I thought wrong.
He started crying the moment I turned the silly vibrating thing on. He backed away from me when I put it near his mouth. So I gently showed him how to use it and then handed it to him so he would feel like he was in control of it. And he was. He threw that vibrating toothbrush into the bathtub and ran off. So I wiped toothpaste off the tile wall and vowed to just put up with the standard toothbrush.
Prefolds have been around for quite some time. Before prefolds, flat diapers—squares of cotton that were folded and pinned onto baby—were the most common way of diapering in Europe and the United States. However, one issue with flats was the time needed to fold them into the proper shape and thickness for baby. Folding one flat is fast. Having to fold six to a dozen flats or more a day, every single day, for every diaper change for a year or more, easily tired out families who were already swamped with cooking every meal from scratch and hand washing the laundry.
In the 1950s, the prefold was invented when someone had the bright idea to pre-fold and sew together a flat diaper. The prefold still had to be pinned into place, but the more time-consuming part of folding all the layers together was no longer an issue. Although cloth diapers have gone through many more innovations in the last sixty-five years, prefolds are still extremely popular. Part of the reason is that they are still fairly cheap compared to other cloth diapers—really, only flat diapers are generally less expensive than cotton prefolds—and the traditional cotton prefold tends to last forever. Ok, not really forever, since cotton is a natural material that breaks down organically, but they tend to last far beyond their uses as diapers.
Who knew that mommies had so many uses? Yes, we cook, clean, assist in bath time, and tuck our children in six times a night. There are, however, a few roles we take on for the love of our children that are often left unsung.
Life Size Barbie
They do our hair and our make up. As we watch this slow and horrifying transformation we realize that the entire eighties fashion scene came from mothers letting their children have at them with a brush and some lipstick.
It never fails. Our children will get a cold and suddenly we are covered in snot. It doesn’t matter what we are wearing. It doesn’t matter where we are at. The idea of Kleenex is alien to our children, but the collar of our shirts is soft on their little noses, making our clothes the go to for nose wiping.
When you live in the same area as your huge family the idea that there is a family way of raising children can rear its ugly head. The idea that certain behaviors are okay as long as it’s among cousins or that you need to back down on discipline because other family members would do things differently become holiday dinner topics. Here are a few ways to tell your family to butt out of your child rearing without using those exact words.
Keep A Copy Of The Rules
Your family has rules. Perhaps not a lot of rules, but they are definitely set in place. So are the consequences. Both are publicly displayed on the wall or on a chart you carry in your purse. These are rules that both you and your spouse agree on in raising your children. That’s exactly what you tell Auntie or Grandma when your child acts up and they come rushing to correct your way of dealing with your child. It does not matter if they believe you need to be more flexible or if they think you need to be stricter. What matters is the consistency of consequence to action for your child.
With My Child…
Little ones go through so much to get their teeth. It hurts to cry. It hurts to drool. It even hurts to eat or drink. Here are a few tips on how to get a baby to eat on the days their little mouths hurt too much to want to.
One of the very best ways to get a teething baby to eat is to choose foods that help with the pain. Buy some baby yogurt and stick it in the fridge or freezer, depending on the sensitivity of your little one. Pull it out and feed it a little at a time to your baby. The coolness will feel wonderful on that poor little mouth. If you aren’t ready to introduce yogurt into your child’s diet yet you can do the same thing with sweet potatoes or bananas.
Congratulations! And commiserations all at once. We have reached that stage where our children want to be independent. They want to dress themselves, feed themselves, and go potty by themselves.
At the same time they are still fascinated with the flush mechanism in the bathroom and will still flush the earrings we have left in the soap dish. They feel bathing suits are obviously for the rain. Let’s not mention that ranch dressing suddenly became an art supply just yesterday.
How do we balance letting our children do for themselves and how much we can take of them doing that?
Two Person Jobs
One of the best ways to work with a toddler that feels they don’t need you anymore is to start doing things that require two people. Cooking is great for this. They can be mixing or frosting something while you are cutting things up and using the stove. They can sprinkle cheese over things, pour salad dressing, or dipping sauce.
They get a better idea of how to properly use kitchen items and you are allowing them to help instead of clearly underestimating their culinary abilities.
It doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but these developmental years are critical to a child’s educational growth. At this age that can mean anything from academics to social interaction. How do you choose the right preschool for your child?
There are play schools, church preschools, and Montessori schools. There are Headstart programs and day care preschools. You can even do homeschool preschool. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration of trying to find a preschool. The real question is not what type of school you want to send your child to. The real question is what you want the school to do for your child.
Do you want your child to focus on letters and numbers? Do you want your child to spend a lot of time playing instead of at a desk or sitting down? Are you more concerned about your child developing good social skills? While many preschools work on all of these skills, some focus on one or two more than others. Know what you want your child to focus on and choose a school that is focused on the same skills.
No one wants their child to grow up feeling insecure. We want them to feel like they own the world. Confident children are more likely to create and use opportunities available to them. So, how do we build confidence in toddlers?
How do I feel about myself? Well, it seems that no matter how much I exercise or how healthy I eat I haven’t lost weight. I should wear makeup more often. I am not a fan of my skin and I hate my nose.
Imagine how surprised my two year old would be if I told him all that. To him I’m beautiful. I know because he tells me daily. Now imagine how he would feel if I told him everything wrong with me. Best case scenario he would feel mommy is sad and try to comfort me.
Worst case scenario is a much darker road to go down. The person he thinks is beautiful and perfect as she is has flaws. These flaws, she says, makes her not pretty. How many flaws does he have? What does he need to change about himself to be cute? Did he get mommy’s nose? Mommy is always saying she hopes he didn’t get her nose! What if he did?
Woe to the mother that tries to put young children to bed. This is particularly true of mothers putting multiple young children to bed. How do you keep them from ganging up on you? How do you keep them in bed? Here are a few tips.
Each child should have their own bedtime ritual. This means they have their own special songs, special blanket, and special stuffed animal. Have a spoken checklist of before bed activities. This could include prayers, turning on the night light, and getting a drink of water. Let each child know they are loved and safe. After the ritual of bedtime give them a kiss goodnight and walk out of the room.
Two In A Room
When children are young they often share a room. This means double the trouble at bedtime. They seem to have a tendency to feed off of each other in bedtime defiance. The trick to turn this pair into dueling snorers it by separating them as best you can.