Friday, December 14, 2007

"This too shall pass."

So I know I'm just a typical first-time mother, but I struggle so much with Blaine's hard phases! I am definitely getting better, though. Last January he got really sick and there were all sorts of nutrition concerns--refusal to nurse (or eat anything)made me so worried about dehydration, etc. But I would get so upset about it that it was paralyzing. It was ridiculous. The most recent phase has been two-fold. First, Blaine's been sick again. Second, he's turning the corner into that "terrible two" stage. He wants to be the boss of everything. Everything. Mr. Independent. Those two things combined have been ugly. Grumpy in the mornings ugly. All I will eat is milk and fishies ugly. Cough myself awake from my nap ugly. Throw a hideous tantrum in the Target foodcourt ugly. Forget that I know any words other than "nooooooo!" ugly. And, true to form, I've been convinced that he'll never be a nice boy again. And he'll never eat again. Surely he'll die of scurvy! (And how would I possibly deal with this new Blaine and an infant at the same time?!)
Thankfully, I have grown as a parent. I have been much more calm and patient and rational than I ever thought I could be. I have reminded myself (and Taylor) that this learning of identity and autonomy--though horribly frustrating at times-- is critical to Blaine's development. I have remembered last January and reminded us that Blaine will eat again. Even things with vitamins and fiber.

And when I have needed support and validation, it has come. It has come in the form of my dear, dear friends with children just months older than Blaine who have promised me that his behavior is normal and will pass. It has come in the form of a sister who is years ahead of me in this whole mothering gig.
Anne: I mean, how long can a child live on crackers and milk?!"

Liz: Oh, indefinitely! Sometimes we forget to feed Mary (child #4). She just brings me a plate and says, "Sandwich."

And it has come in the form of a mother who has always been able to calm my troubled heart.

Anne: We're just so worried that he'll get into bad eating habits and always be like this.
Mom: Oh, you'll go through that over and over as a mom. Once when your brother was in Kindergarten the teacher said if any kids didn't have lunch money they should tell her and she would give them a quarter. Your brother fibbed that he didn't have any so that he could pocket the quarter! I was devastated. Oh no! My son is dishonest!

And, just as her son turned out to be an honest, upstanding citizen, lo and behold, Blaine has been his cheerful self two whole days in a row. And he started eating bagels. And yogurt. And pancakes. And tonight he slurped down to bowls of miso soup, and even looooved the tofu and seaweed. (Yeah, he turns down bananas but loves seaweed. That makes sense.) He's still enjoying his right to exert his opinion and say "no." He still wants to hold the yogurt spoon. But he's smiling and hugging and playing and laughing and I feel like my boy is back!

Well now I'm bored with this post. I guess I just wanted to say that if you are going through one of those pull-your-hair-out parenting phases, remember that it won't last forever! And thanks to all of you who helped me remember that while I was going through it so I didn't have a total nervous breakdown this time.

p.s. Those 3 pics are the ones we sent to GAP for their babe contest. Can you even believe that Blaine wasn't a finalist? We can't either. Ridiculous. (wink.)


Joan Koplin said...

Oh, Anne...can I relate or what?! Call me ANYTIME you want to vent about "creative" or "independent" child likes to poop in his pull-up and wipe it all over the carpet! He also enjoys flooding the kitchen by turning the water on full blast and watching it run all over the counters and spill onto the floor below :)

kate said...

Oh Anne, I was having these exact same thoughts just this morning, at 5am! So here's how mine goes, will my baby ever sleep longer then 3 hours? Will my baby ever eat more then 2.5-3 oz? I swear he's supposed to be eating more. Is he gaining enough weight? Will my baby ever stop being so darn cranky? Will he ever get 100% healthy again? When's he really going to smile at me, cause I really need a good smile, cause this is hard work! Am I ever going to be happy to get up at 4 am? Am I ever not going to have to get up and 4 am?

So when I got up at 5 this morn for a feeding and a breathing treatment, Charlie went back to sleep and I decided that having a clean house was what really was going to make me feel better. So that's what I did, I cleaned for 3 hours while my boys slept. And it was nice. The dark morning, the quiet, the smell of bleach...just me and my thoughts...Just what I needed.

I just fed him again and what do you know, he's giving me lots of fun smiles and half giggles! It's melting my heart, so I guess I can do this after all!

You are my inspiration! Thanks for this post!

kate said...

Oh and DARLING pictures! I can't believe he's not the poster child for Gap!

Amy Jean said...

How dare they not choose Blaine? any kid that will eat seaweed should win in my book!

Rachel and Jared said...

Thanks of the heads up anne. Hope I can get through it like you when the time comes, if not I will be calling you.


Anna said...

Thanks Anne. That makes me feel better. Eli has had eating issues from day 1. Last night (at age 1 I remind you) he woke up 4 times to eat, and usually flat refuses any solids. I was so thrilled when he ate 6 Cheerios today AND he didn't even choke or throw them up. I just decided not to be too concerned any more, though his doctor may have different opinions. I am glad that, where ever the end of the tunnel is, there is light there. Thanks for the encouragement.

Eric, Halcyon, Viana and Brooke said...

You know our on-going mothering commentaries and dialouges are priceless to me Anne! I'm glad it's helpful for you to hear that this too shall pass...but for me, it's so helpful to be able to say it out loud and realize that it really does pass!
And don't worry, as you know, Blaine was voted Gap kid at playgroup, hands down--and moms know a cute kid when they see one way before any advertising guru would!

The Lindsey Ladies said...

As a mother of "two under two", to a soon to be one, I won't lie...its tough! Some days it seems one is ALWAYS crying, yet when Keaton sings to Reagan, reads to her or they sit and laugh together, there is nothing better in the whole world! But you are right, every phase passes, and its usually just when you have figured out what to do! Blaine will survive this, and all the rest of his crazy phases!

The Lindsey Ladies said...

Oh, and yes I call BS on this Gap Casting Call! I too entered my adorable toddler and got nothing! Did you see the finalists?? Our children are WAY cuter!!

EMILY said...

It's hard. It's really hard. But, Anne, you are amazing. I don't want to get all "church-y" on you, but you know what there is always help, love and guidance from our Heavenly Father. Sometimes, like the other day, I feel like I just can't do it anymore. I can't do late nights working, Tim in school, housework, diapers, bottles, spit-up. Then, after a good talk with my dear Tim and a sincere prayer for help, I can do it once more. I can get up. I can be a mother. I can be an employee. I can be a wife. I always know that things will get better, but getting there is hard.

lori said...

Amen and Amen. What would I do without other moms to give perspective to all of my parenting worries! So glad we all have eachother! So outraged that Blaine didn't win that darn contest. Those pics are to die for!

Sugar... said...

Oh how I know this all too well!I'm going through 3 phases of my own at the moment...hyper-sensitive, terrible two's, and newborn. HELP! It seems like one phase gets over and done with and you are dealing with another phase or another child. To quote a fave: President Hinckley said, "Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

So true, so true, more often than not I'm knee deep in cinders and dust. Then Jeff or the kids go and do something that positively makes me euphoric, and I instantly remember why I'm doing this again.

You are awesome! What you are going through is so normal I can't even scream it loud enough. It'll get better, and if I had any advice to give I'd say that the thing that worked most for me is to completely ignore the tantrums. It's hard, but if they don't get the attention, then they settle down a lot faster. Lots of love, hang in there!

The Innkeeper said...

Love that quote from President Hinckley. We've had a pretty tough year and I came to the conclusion that life's supposed to be hard, most often the real growth comes during the trials.

liz said...

Oh, gosh. I'm just trying to decide if I should be embarrassed that you wrote that sometimes I forget to feed Mary! It's really more that her meals aren't always as prompt as she would like them -- she now tells me she would like to be dressed as soon as she finishes breakfast. You mean noon isn't a good time for that?

I'm with you Anne. I've realized that my bad moods are in direct correlation to whiny, sick babies. In ten years, I haven't learned to rise above that yet, but it does pass. Every phase has cute things and annoying things, so we need to just focus on the cute ones, or motherhood would be a complete bummer.