Friday, February 1, 2008

What could be simpler?

The screams that are currently assaulting my ears make me yearn for simpler times.

Times before I had Graham when I was absolutely certain about the type of person I was, the type of household I would run and, most significantly, the type of mother I would be.

I had it all planned out. I would be patient. I would be unruffled. On nights like tonight, I would not waver in my conviction that my son’s tearful, unrelenting chanting – Mama! Mama! – was symptomatic of fatigue as opposed to distress.

I would be logical. I wouldn’t even consider lifting him out of his crib, bringing him into the living room and allowing him to snuggle with me for an additional half hour on the couch. I would know – obviously - such actions would make it all the harder for him to settle down later.

I would never be one of those parents who let their children run their lives. I would be loving – of course I would be loving – but I would be firm. I would not be ruffled by tantrums. I would not be manipulated by – of all things – a two-year-old.

I was educated. I read all the books. I was secure in my belief that what children need above all else is consistency.

What could be simpler?

But then, back then, I never could have imagined how very, very complex the mixture of love, fear, protection and pain that a little boy’s cries can elicit.


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51 comments:

Life As I Know It said...

I can't even begin to count the number of things I've done since I've had chidren that I swore I'd never do before I had children.

They are complicated little beings. And I've learned that what works for one kid may not work for another.

All those books fail to mention the emtional aspects of parenting.

Hang in there. Trust your instincts!

Brittany said...

I hear ya momma! I had the same ideas, before having my kids... Funny how those things change when those big beautiful eyes look up at you... sigh.

Are You Serious! said...

I think we've ALL done that! It does get "easier" as in easier to hold out a little longer on certain tantrums, wants or needs... ;) Today my 2 year old was kicking a screaming on the floor. When she realized I wasn't going to give her the time of day she stopped. Thanks heavens because it was seriously driving me crazy!!!

Good luck!

Holly said...

Amen. I'm such a different mother now that I actually have children!

Maria said...

Oh don't you just love the premommy thought about parenting! He looks so pathetic in that picture! I'd pick him up, too!
Maria

Tot's Mom said...

Oh, I read about the cry it out method about training a baby to sleep on his own. Sounded very logical and all. But I just couldn't do it. The mothering instinct didn't allow me to as the moment my son cried, the urge to soothe and comfort became too strong to resist.

sky girl said...

I'm with you.

And that would be why I still rock her to sleep most nights. I can't handle the crying. I'm a sucker.

tommie said...

Doesn't that make them that much madder (is that even a word) when you break out the camera to take a pic of the meltdown?

painted maypole said...

motherhood changes us, doesn't it?

Corey~living and loving said...

oh how we have NO idea until we are walking the walk.

great post!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

It's so nice, cuddling them to sleep. Sometimes I just get the 2-year-old to sleep on my bed, while I lie next to her and read or knit; then we move her to her bed later. All of her older siblings go to sleep very nicely on their own, despite having been similarly "spoiled" when they were two.

Melissa said...

It's easy to say what you would do, following through on those thoughts seems to be the hard part. Especially when our small loved ones come into play.

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs I've ever done and yet the most rewarding thing I've ever done, go figure!!

Awesome Mom said...

Aww poor little guy. They really know how to melt your heart and annoy the crap out of you all at the same time.

Kitty said...

LOL ... been there, done that, read the book, got the t-shirt, etc. It is difficult, and I must admit I found my son's tantrums more difficult than my daughter's - I have no idea why. But they need to do it - it's part of their development ... so hang on in there! I'm sure you're doing brilliantly.

Take care. x

Family Adventure said...

And the minute you think you've got a handle on this 'mom' thing, they change from toddler to preschooler or kid to teenager, and that's like starting all over again.

On bad days, I am still torn, confused, worried and mixed up.

Heidi

Laura said...

What a wonderful post -all so true - for all of us! This mothering gig is difficult and ever-changing and ever-challenging.

We must do what is best at the time and what works for us, and the little people we love. Which at times differ from what we planned or read or believed.

You are a great person (with an incredible writing skill) and an even better mommy.

jennwa said...

I had those same misconceptions. I was going to be firm and my kids were going to listen to me. I was not going to put up with misbehaving. HaHaHaHa!!!! It is so much easier said then done.

GoMommy said...

They are so smart! They know just which heart strings to pull! Poor Graham! But Poor you more!

Kyla said...

A wise blogger (that I cannot remember right now) recently said that crow tastes MUCH better with a bit of Ranch dressing. I'd have to agree, it almost makes it delicious! ;) I've been on a steady diet of crow for almost 6 years now. LOL.

kittenpie said...

Too true. There were plenty of times when Pumpkinpie was smaller, especially, when my burning belief in consistency meant that I did what I was sure I had to do, but then went and cried because it hurt to do it "right." And that was without even going the cry-it-out route!

Gabriella said...

going through this right now.

Dawn said...

You have perfect timing with this post. I really needed to hear that I'm not the only one struggling with a little boy who knows exactly how to pull those heartstrings. My son gets away with so much. Just last night, we had the same struggle with him not wanting to go to bed it probably sounded much like your house.

Not Your Regular Mini Van Mom said...

Your post is so true. What a sad looking little guy. AWWWWWWW. So how are you doing LOL.

I know exactly what you are saying. I never thought I would be the type of mommy to say"because I said so"...unfortunately in the last week I have probably said that about five times LOL.

OHmommy said...

Oh. So true. So very true. You never really know until you become a mother.

Awesome picture too. I have to remember to take more crying pictures. Such a big part of my life. You, know?

Badness Jones said...

Right there with you! I swore up and down that I would never let a baby sleep in my bed. The princess was sleeping in my bed before we even left the hospital! The nurse put up the sides, because I just couldn't stand to have her all of two feet away from me in that plastic bassinet. My, how the mighty have fallen, hmm?

Kellan said...

No ... it is way different than we planned it or thought it would really be - isn't it? In so many fabulous ways and in many, many not so fabulous ways! In the end - we do the best we can and try as hard as we can to be good mothers. I think you are a very good mother and that is one cute cryin' boy!! Take care - Kellan

Ms. Porter said...

Is it horrible that I LOVE that photo?

Ahhh yes, big sigh. Then and now. What have we gotten ourselves into?

Karen MEG said...

Awww, poor Graham! He's so sweet in that shot. Yes, they really know how to work ya, don't they. And it tears at your heart.

Little G does this to me everyday when I drop her off for preschool... and then she runs back to me when I pick her up telling me what a terrific time she's had. Yeah, they really know how!

Haley-O said...

Awwww! I know that face...well...! My little monkey's a pro at it (just tonight, actually). It's sooo hard to deal with them when they're like that, so visibly distressed cuz of, well, us....! Tough being a mother.... So emotionally, physically complex, yes.... Great post, DMD! I totally relate this evening.... :)

Zoe said...

oh man! how could you not pick him up?

Barrie said...

Think how flexible we've become!

What a sad, sad picture. But cute.

Ginaagain said...

Now that's a face that would totally melt my heart. He's adorable. My youngest used to call down the stairs "I love you Momma" every few minutes for an hour after she had been put to bed and would have an absolute screaming tantrum if I didn't say "I love you too" over and over and over...

secret agent mama said...

That tear down the cheek is so heartbreaking. But, I've been there, done that, and am getting ready to go back again.. ((HUGS))

Dayna said...

Welcome to parenthood. It's a lot easier to know how you would handle a situation when you're not emotionally involved in it.

I always thought parents who put their kids on leashes were mean and horrible and boardered on abusive. Until I had a 3 year old who could and would out run me - and had no fear of strangers or of water. First time I put a leash on him, was the first time I had felt comfortable being in public in 18 months. It was the first time I didn't worry my son would be dead by the end of the trip.

I try not to be sure of what I would or would not do in the future. By the way, I also promised myself my kids would never have a tv or video games in their room - until I had a 7 year old who had arthritis that hurt him too bad to get out of bed some days. Suddenly a tv in the room didn't seem like the worst thing in the world.

Trust me, the fact that you thought about it in advance makes you the good parent - not that you followed through or not.

Amy said...

i guess one thing motherhood has taught me is to not judge people until you've been in the exact situation.

we have preconceived notions that we will act a certain way... until something happens.

i agree with consistency and strive to be that way, but then again everything isn't black and white. i guess it's the grey area with which i have a little trouble.

sometimes you just have to go with your gut. i think that's the essence of motherhood! it sounds like you did just that!

wheelsonthebus said...

I, too, knew so much more about motherhood before I had children.

Emily

ALF said...

I know nothing about such things - I have no kids but he's so cute!

Jen said...

Ha! Once you have a kid, its all over. I used to be able to tell you the page number of an interesting tidbit in a book. Never again. I do good if I can remember which book it was in. If I even had time to read it. :)

And I used to have a "heart of steel" and nothing brought me to tears. That part of my life is also over.

But its worth it.

MBA Mommy said...

It is all easier in your head...until they actually come out. I swore mine would never eat mac and cheese for days in a row either....they'd always be happily gnawing carrots and celery. Hmm. Bet you can guess how that turned out.

MBA Mommy said...

It is all easier in your head...until they actually come out. I swore mine would never eat mac and cheese for days in a row either....they'd always be happily gnawing carrots and celery. Hmm. Bet you can guess how that turned out.

MBA Mommy said...

It is all easier in your head...until they actually come out. I swore mine would never eat mac and cheese for days in a row either....they'd always be happily gnawing carrots and celery. Hmm. Bet you can guess how that turned out.

ewe are here said...

I think many people were 'perfect parents' before they had children.

;-)

Amy said...

Your post is so filled with truth that it gave me chills.

Love, fear, and the need to protect constantly pull at my heartstrings and push away all the knowledge I gained from the parenting books.

BTW- I have an little award for you on my blog.

Jenifer said...

Who out there has not locked themselves in the bathroom and cried?

Nothing on this earth could have prepared me for what motherhood really is, nothing.

crazymumma said...

my children were never going to eat sugar or watch tv. Oh, and I would always do it right.

caramama said...

Awwww. The poor guy!

Since having my own kid, I have said many times, that I should never had said anything about parenting before I had her. I had no idea what I was talking about!

Katie said...

I'm with you! I doubt myself during EVERY tantrum. Every single one. Self doubt extraordinaire!

I've heard it only gets harder and harder in terms of knowing what is right with parenting. I'm dreading the pre-teen years.

Jennifer said...

The only thing I now say I'll never do is...to say I'll never do something. Because, chances are I will. That photo ROCKS! (Poor guy, but...it rocks. Ha.)

girlymom said...

Oh~ look at those real tears!

girlymom said...

Oops, I wasn't done yet...

Before I had children I swore I would have the kids that sat quietly in church and didn't throw fits in the store~ then my oldest was born and that was thrown out the window!

The Boyds Family said...

Oh yeah! It's funny to reflect back on our pre-children thoughts. My how our perceptions change once they actually come along....

PS. What a cute face....who wouldn't let him come snuggle up for a little longer?? And those eyes...I think you may be in trouble!!