When I have kids…

“When I have kids, they will never throw fits in public”.

“When I have kids they won’t be picky eaters”.

“When I have kids they will be off the pacifier before they turn one”

“When I have kids I’m going to breast feed for at least 9 months”.

When I have kids… When I have kids… When I have kids. We have all said it or thought it AT LEAST a few times prior to poppin em out. But when they’re actually standing there in front of you screaming and throwing their body all around in public because you gave them a yellow tortilla chip instead of a blue one, anything you thought about “when you have kids” just flies out the window. Because the truth is, sometimes your kid is going to throw a fit in public for absolutely no obvious reason, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Sometimes your kid is going to refuse to eat the healthy freshly cooked breakfast you set in front of him, but will happily eat the sweet potato cereal puffs that have been sitting in his snack container for a week. Sometimes giving your kid their pacifier when it’s the only thing that will get them to sleep is the best option you’ve got, and sometimes your milk production slows down far before you’d planned it to.

Nothing about parenthood is predictable, but that’s the beauty in it. “When I have this kid, I will love him more than anything in the entire world”… I thought to myself often as I watched my son somersault around in my tummy. But it is impossible to understand or predict how overwhelmingly true that is until your little one is snuggled up next to you in bed saying “mama” as he nestles his head into your neck. Every fit, every tantrum, every ‘hand in the toilet for the third time today’ incident is instantly forgotten with one sweet little smile.

Last week while on vacation in Newport, my husband and I took our son to breakfast. The establishment was full of business folk looking for a little peace and quiet before starting their busy work days. And what a surprise… Our son spent the entire 30 minute meal screaming because he didn’t want the strawberries and potatoes that we got him. We both left in somewhat of a bad mood, only to take him back to the hotel room in which he threw another giant fit because he couldn’t play in the bathroom. Right as I hit my limit, my son started crawling around on the floor uttering the sweetest “meow” sounds I’ve ever heard, pretending to be a kitten. And just like that, I’d forgotten about all of the chaos and all of the times that I had ever been ridiculous enough to think “when I have kids, they will never misbehave in a restaurant”.

The next day, my husband had to tend to business in the area, so I decided to have a day date with my son. I found a Barnes and Nobel near the hotel, got my ice coffee, and took him to the kids section of the store. It all was going great for the five whole minutes leading up to the moment in which my son found a toy that he wanted. I told him “no”, to which he responded “BYE!!!” and took off running towards the elevator with said toy. As I went to chase him, the weight of my purse on the back of the stroller caused it to tip backwards, sending my coffee flying and giving my son just enough time to reach the elevator. I jumped into the elevator and swooped him up just before the doors closed. And yet somehow after all of that, we left the store that day with a stuffed animal in hand, despite the many times in which pre baby me thought “my kids will never get rewarded for bad behavior”. But you know what? After the elevator incident, he cuddled up in my lap for a few sweet moments of book reading…found a stuffed animal he liked… imitated the sound that he thought it made….and then nodded his head yes so very enthusiastically when I asked him if he was going to be a good boy. So yes, I bought my baby that souvenir polar bear stuffed animal (that he thinks is a cat). And what do you know… He was a perfect angel baby for the rest of our day date and that stuffed animal has been his favorite possession ever since.

My point in all of this is that in the parenting world, things don’t always go to plan. Even if you are an over the top organized planning freak like me, shit happens (literally… sometimes your kid is going to poop in their diaper just as you’re walking into dinner). Going against all of the “when I have kids…” that pre parent you ever uttered does not make you a bad parent, it makes you a completely normal parent… A completely normal parent who is learning and evolving…A completely normal parent who is doing your best… A completely normal parent who probably deserves a really long bath, an early bed time, and a pat on the back (or a rub on the back if your significant other is feeling generous).

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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Liam and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Twos.

“Do NOT throw another piece of chicken into my water”, I told my son as I returned to my dinner after rinsing out the chicken that he had thrown into my glass moments earlier. I had spent an hour and a half preparing a lovely feast for my family and after a long day of errands and toddler chasing, all I wanted was to enjoy a warm meal. And yet what do you know… In the split second between setting my water down and picking my fork up… *plop* another piece of grilled chicken sat in my water cup. Normally I might have found this slightly amusing. Maybe even funny. But not at the end of the week I’d just had. You see…my son has hit early onset terrible twos. Dun dun dunnnn.

Funny to think that just a couple of weeks ago, I was writing away about what great behavior my son had been displaying. It was fun while it lasted.

I completely understand why the terrible twos exist. My little man just reached the age in which he is no longer a baby, but still cannot fully express himself the way that he wants to. I’m sure it’s frustrating and for that, I give him as much patience as I can. However that being said… The terrible twos are taking EVERY ounce of patience that I have.

My son’s most recent fits have included riveting displays of drama following me telling him:
-that he could not consume a bottle of hot sauce.
-that I would not put his socks back on after he had pulled them off three times
-not to roll over my toes with his golf club catty
-not to eat lotion
-to stop chewing on DVD cases
-And of course… me telling him it’s nap time.

His fits last for anywhere from one minute to twenty minutes or so, and his favorite place to throw them of course is in the middle of large public settings. The fits include him dramatically throwing himself to the floor, some sort of fake crying/screaming combo, attempts at hitting the adult responsible for ruining his fun, and my personal favorite… Running off towards the laundry room, slamming the door, and pouting in the corner between the washing machine and the wall.

So what is a parent to do? My only answer… The best we can. Just like the ‘waking up every two hours’ phase and the ‘spit up on 6 outfits a day’ phase and the ‘I’m going to suddenly start waking up three times a night despite the fact that I’ve been sleeping through the night for a year now’ phase, this too is just that… a PHASE. He might test my patience and I might still have a bruise on my forehead from the fit fueled head butting that took place last week, but at the end of the day, he is a toddler. He is growing both mentally and physically. He is frustrated. He is testing boundaries and learning what he can and cannot do in this world. It is my job to guide him into understanding right from wrong. It is my job to teach him manners and to teach him to communicate what he wants in the best way that he can. But most of all it is my job to love him. Through every fit, through every tantrum, through every melt down, the best I can do is show him love. Show him understanding. Show him patience. Even if that means collapsing into my bed at 8pm due to the pure exhaustion that all that patience has brought on.

I have to look back at the pre baby me and laugh at the fact that I once told myself that ‘one day when I had children’, the terrible twos would not phase me because I was a two year old pre-school teacher with enough experience to tame any unruly child. HA! The truth is, no amount of experience will prepare you for the day your child throws an Oscar award winning level of fit in the middle of a small restaurant at ten in the morning. No amount of experience will prepare you for the first time your child violently throws a cup at you because you told him he had to finish his lunch before he could play in the backyard. And no amount of experience will prepare you for the feeling in your heart when at the end of a horrendous tantrum, your toddler walks up to you, wraps both little hands around your neck, and gives you a big fat slobbery kiss. Nothing can prepare you for parenting…No amount of experience or reading or advice. Parenting is simply about taking it one day at a time..one tantrum at a time.. One hug at a time..doing whatever feels right, and hoping and praying that you’re doing a good job of it.

Earning my title of Whine Connoisseur one early onset terrible twos tantrum at a time!

Cheers,

T.W.C.

PS: Now accepting all offers to babysit my son 🙂

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