When Katie was born I was hell bent on making her as independent as humanly possible from the earliest age possible. I let her cry it out. It was important for me that she learned to sleep on her own in her own bedroom. It was important to me that she learned how to play on her own.
While I was pregnant with Christian I met up with a group of gals on babycenter.com. We called ourselves “The Bitter Bettys”. We were a group of 40+ moms and moms-to-be. We shared our pregnancy and parenting issues. I learned so much from this group of ladies!!! I learned about babywearing and cloth diapers! I learned about the benefits of extended breastfeeding AND extended rear facing car seats. I learned about attachment parenting.
I also discovered that I made a mistake with Katie. I wanted her to feel like Daddy and I are ALWAYS there for her. ALWAYS. She didn’t feel that when she was being made to cry it out behind closed doors. FAIL.
When Christian came in October 2010 the Bitter Bettys had planted the seed in my mind to venture into babywearing and cloth diapering. When I had Katie we nursed in the living room (even overnight feedings), but with Christian we nursed in bed. Katie was still sleeping in her own bed across the hall. She was a good sleeper.
When Christian was around 9 months old I was ready to transfer him into his crib. I thought I was helping him adjust and helping Katie sleep better by moving her into our room while he transitioned to the crib. Wrong.
Katie had been comfortable falling asleep and sleeping through the night in her own bedroom. I disrupted her routine. After Christian got used to sleeping in his crib I tried to move Katie over into her toddler bed. It was a disaster. She cried and cried. She kept Christian up. She was miserable and afraid now to be on her own.
At this point we started cosleeping/bedsharing. She would start out on the floor in a pallet she named “Cranberry River”. She usually wound up in bed with Christian and me before too long. Daddy is a night owl so he unfortunately spent many nights on the couch or in Katie’s twin bed. There just wasn’t room in our full bed!
We’ve been a cosleeping family for 3 years now. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it’s an elbow to the eye or a foot to the ribcage. Sometimes it’s Christian falling asleep with his head on Katie’s chest! Those nights make all of the other nights worth it. Stay tuned for my next post…all about dealing with chaos at bedtime.
My paternal great grandfather owned a general store in Kings Creek, Kentucky. My husband’s step-dad owns a chain of convenience store/gas stations. My second favorite job of all time was working as a cashier at Food City. Maybe grocery stores are in our blood.
Yesterday Christian made a ta-ta-tower on the hearth. They put the dinosaurs inside and played for a while. Then, I took them to Granny’s so I could have some much needed “me” time. Katie came home last night and Christian (tried) to stay at Granny’s.
She asked for some paper and set down in front of the ta-ta-tower. I thought she was going to draw a picture of it, but instead she started copying words off of the cans.
Her: Mom what does P-E-A-C-H-E-S spell?
Her: Peaches. pa-pa-ea-ea-ch-ch-es
Me: Right! Good job!
Her: Mom, which letters make the “ch” sound?
Me: The “ch”. Church, peach, change, each.
Her: Am I learning to read?
Me: Yes, you are!
Boom!!! She and I butt heads
sometimes a lot. She doesn’t like being told how to do things. I love that she is taking opportunities to learn on her own!
My little sweetheart turned 3 during my hiatus! I still can’t wrap my head around it!
He’s currently dragging the canned food out of the pantry and building a ta-ta-tower on the hearth (fireplace doesn’t work).
As an infant he was completely different than his sister. He loved to be held and loved to kiss and cuddle. Jackpot bonus for this mama — he STILL loves it!
The birthday boy drags around a “sleepy night night” shirt (aka the Mom shirt) almost everywhere he goes. He loves dinosaurs, trains, and having a snack!
He’s a fast learner and loves to climb! He’s a force to be reckoned with — be can be very stubborn.
He is an excellent helper and loves to play with his sister!
Happy (belated) birthday!
Where have I been? Why haven’t I posted in a couple months? My husband is bipolar. Things have been rough around here.
For two or three years we treated depression with Paxil. Once or twice a month he had a manic episode, but he was mostly able to maintain. He held a job, played with the kids, and maintained a mostly normal life with us. Around the first of the year things started to change. He was in a full blown depressive state. His manic episodes started to decrease and eventually disappear altogether.
So here I was juggling a toddler, a preschooler, and a husband with mental illness. I tried in the beginning to mask it all from the children, but eventually they caught on. Daddy went from playing with them all day to not at all. He went from bike rides and trips to the park to 20 hours a day in bed. He lost interest in: music, video games, family, and everything else he ever enjoyed.
He started counseling in the spring. I believe he tried to hide the severity of it all from them. I’m not sure. I didn’t go to all of his appointments. Since July he’s been through 4 or 5 different medications for treatment of bipolar or depression. We’re still getting no where…and fast!
We shut off Directv and within a day or two internet service will be off. We’re living on SNAP, my part time babysitting gigs, and thankfully the generosity of friends and family. I am at the point where I need to work, but can not. He has several appointments per week. I can not afford child care and he is unable to keep them. It’s basically a big mess.
After an anxiety attack and a trip to the ER this week we may have found some help. He was approved for a more intensive outpatient program. He will be able to see a counselor 2 or 3 times a week instead of once a month. He’ll have an opportunity to participate in group therapy as well. It will not be a permanent solution, but it will be a step in the right direction.
Please remember that mental illness effects a whole family…even extended family! Please do what you can do be a helper to the people in your life who have mental illness. The smallest things can mean the world to a family in this situation. Today a high school friend dropped by: paper towels, toilet paper, and the makings for laundry soap!!! I am blessed beyond belief!!!
Last week Katie and I read “The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers”.
I agreed with some of the things it was teaching, but parts I vehemently disagree with with. One of the most important messages to me was that kids should not keep secrets for adults. I explained to her that if an adult has a secret they should trust it to another adult, but never a kid. We also went over adults asking kids for help looking for puppies, etc. They should always ask an adult!!!
I don’t want my kids to be afraid of every single person they meet. I am raising them to be free range kids. I think it’s okay if they say hello to a random stranger. It’s okay if they say thank you when someone holds the door for us. After this discussion she curled up on the couch. Her arms were tucked in. She was upset about something. My mind was racing. My stomach was in knots. I had to ask.
Me: Honey, is something bothering you.
Her: (shifty eyes)
Me: Did someone ask you to keep a secret for them?
Her: (sob) Yes! (sob)
Me: Okay, who was it? An adult should never ask a kid to hold a secret. You should always tell me or dad if they do. Always.
Her: Mamaw. She bought me Monster High Dolls!
Me: (thankful) Well, she knows mama doesn’t like them.
Her: Can I keep them please?
Me: I think you can keep them, but they have to stay at her house.
Her: She got me a Monster High nightgown too!
Me : Really?!
So Mamaw posted this picture on FB:
Here’s what I don’t like about Monster High:
- Short, short skirts
- Sexy shoes
- Super teeny tiny waists
- Over the top make up (I don’t know anyone in high school that uses that much make up!)
- The appearance they’re about to go clubbing….all the time!
- Their dark theme
We have lots of Barbie dolls. I have issues with Barbie’s itty bitty waist, but all of our Barbie’s have ball gowns. They aren’t out in street corner attire! How do I resolve my issue with Monster High? We are going to allow her to keep what she has at Mamaw’s house, but ask that they don’t add to the collection. She only stays over with Mamaw once a month so I can’t see it doing that much harm. My Grandma used to let me drink her cold coffee…and I turned out fine!
I think I’m finally ready to share this.
I haven’t blogged much lately. I have been in a very low point as a parent. I have been the kind of parent I don’t want to be. Here I am admitting my guilt, my defeat, and my pledge to my husband and children to get back on track.
Let’s start at the beginning. I have terrible anxiety issues. I am on an prescription for those issues. I also use lavender essential oil to help calm me. This problem is 100% my problem. I have let my daughter take the blame for our out of control house. It was never her fault. It was never her burden to carry. It was mine.
Three weeks ago Katie had a terrible nightmare. She dreamed that someone had attacked her in her tree fort…put a zipper in her mouth….zipped her mouth closed…and she puked. Pretty horrible, right?! From that point until two days ago she would get more than 4-6 feet away from Mike and I. I had to accompany her to the bathroom. Every time I turned she was on top of my feet again. I got stressed out. I got upset. I was not a nice mom.
I was very impatient and uncaring. I was the worst mom ever. I let my need for “me time” override my five year old’s need for comfort, security, and safety. I should have had both arms open to her. Instead, I was freaked out that my free range kid was crowded me out. How do I mend this broken fence, because it is broken.
What can I do to reassure her this will never happen again? I want her to always feel confident that her mama will meet her needs. I want her to know I am her safe haven.
She is out with her Papaw right now. When she gets back I will make a little time for her and I to read a book. Maybe we’ll have a tea party or bake cookies. I aim to work every single day to never to the person I have been for the last few weeks.