The list of things I was blissfully unaware of on the day I first saw two little lines turn pink on a pregnancy test is a bit laughable. Whether you, my lovely readers, have kids or not you too could be unaware of these things. So, in an ongoing effort to be open and honest about my experience, please allow me to enlighten you on some things I have learned in my five (sometimes long and sometimes short) years in this adventure called motherhood.
Babies always poop when they sleep and newborns always poop when they eat: Other parents have told me about the lovely moment when you hear the cooing noise through the baby monitor and you excitedly walk into the nursery to see that smile you’ve missed while your little angel slept so peacefully. Although I have walked into the kids’ rooms to smiles, I also seem to (nearly always) get smacked in the face with the overpowering smell of poop. Why must they ALWAYS poop while they sleep?! How long has this baby been living in a diaper filled with their own mess?! How can a child sleep through pooping?! It’s amazing! All of my kids also would poop while nursing. I was never able to take advantage of that lovely full belly and post eating sleepiness because I always had to change a diaper before putting them down. I have never thought that meal time was a good time to poop but maybe it is me who is missing something.
Kids can cough and cry themselves into vomiting: Seriously. Not all kids will do this but my oldest does it nearly every time she gets sick. She has no control over it and no warning that it is going to happen. She has thrown up in her bed, her car seat, on my kitchen floor, you name it. How is it that no one warned me of that one?! She gets all worked up, whether it is from crying or coughing, until I can see it coming. I have had to rush into her room when I hear her coughing hard to try to get her to calm down, breathe through her nose and sip water. Not fun.
A child’s hearing is different that that of an adult: A child cannot hear certain things, like simple instructions to clean up after themselves or take their shoes off before running through the house. They can’t hear warnings that it isn’t safe to jump on the couch or try to do cartwheels in the bathtub, even when they’re within feet of the speaker. They can’t even hear you calling their name for dinner. But, if a child is quietly playing in their room with the door shut, the TV is on in the livingroom, and you tiptoe into the pantry, shut the door behind you and quietly open a snack package, they can hear that for sure. It’s true. Try it.
Children have the ability to choose not to poop before they even turn one: This one I take a bit more seriously. This one really is honestly true. Our pediatrician told us that a child as young as 9-months has the cognitive ability to decide that pooping is uncomfortable and they don’t want to do it. The result: conscious withholding. This leads to a whole mess of problems that I was never aware were even possible. It is a more common problem than you may think. I’ve encountered numerous other moms with children having this experience and they’re all surprised to hear that I have a child with the same issue. Our child has gone as many as 10 days without pooping before. It becomes habit forming and, trust me, you don’t want to go there. Please, please, PLEASE, if you know anyone with a child who is having trouble going #2, even if they’re a newborn, tell them to talk to their doctor and get it handled immediately. Our child’s problems started at 6-weeks-old and today we spend more time at the GI doctor’s office than we do at the pediatrician. And it is all because of something that our child chooses to do. It is all in her head.
PSA over… Now back to the “funny because it is so true” stuff…
Baby proofing doesn’t prevent everything: I know you want to protect little Johnny or little Sally from everything you can from the moment he/she is born. Well, I’m telling you the honest truth when I say…you can’t. Am I saying you shouldn’t baby proof? NO! kids will open cabinets filled with chemicals, climb up unblocked stairs, pull large furniture down while trying to swing from it. These accidents are preventable and you should try to prevent them. But, Johnny/Sally will still get hurt because you can’t prevent everything. Accept that. Breathe it in. Let it sit for a minute…
It is okay for a child to get hurt. Did you ever fall off your bike, down the stairs or hit your head on a table? Congratulations! You survived! So will your child! My kids have pulled down a glass top table, fallen down an entire flight of stairs, pulled a bleach soaked paper towel out of the trash and taken a bite of it, fallen off the swing set, the couch, off of a step stool, out of the car, into an empty bathtub, touched a hot stove burner, touched the inside of a hot oven door and one even stuck a cheerio pretty far up her nose. All three of my kids are still alive and, according to their pediatrician, healthy. My point is this: kids will find ways to get hurt no matter how hard you to work to prevent it. My middle child almost split her chin open the other day. (See image below) What dangerous thing was she doing when this happened? She was standing. That’s right. She was standing and somehow tripped over her own feet and hit the ground. I could have never prevented that. I never knew how easily a child could hurt themselves. Now I know and I want every parent to stop with the guilt over every injury. You can’t prevent everything and, unless you’re being abusive or neglectful, you shouldn’t blame yourself for an injury either!
Children are hoarders: I actually saw another blog in which the author wrote about this. After that I began to see just how true it is! My children will part with nothing. I mean nothing. Every single piece of paper with the smallest scribble based doodle is of vital importance and must be saved forever. Every McDonald’s Happy Meal toy is as precious to them as my glasses are to me. Nothing can be thrown out, donated or passed along. Ever. Kendall actually agreed to donate something recently while we were trying to do a bit of a clean out. I was so proud of her! Then I realized it was Peyton’s toy she was willing to part with. Peyton, no surprise, was unwilling to agree to the toy’s departure. *sigh*
A good note to the previous item…
Children won’t notice if you get rid of their things without their expressed agreement: I do most of my cleaning after bedtime. It is peaceful and easier than the alternative. This is also when I used to get rid of the toys they no longer use or need. When the older ones were little I would go right into their room while they slept, remove the toys that they had outgrown and pack them away for the little sibling(s). Luca is too young to care about his toys that much yet so I just take them while he’s wide awake and either pack them up or add them to the donate pile. I have finally gotten the girls to realize that if I say something is leaving our home, it is leaving regardless of how much crying they do. I understand some mom’s aren’t as heartless as me. If that’s you, just stick to the nighttime cleanup.
Every child is different and their distinct personality is evident at a very young age: I never knew how different kids from the same family could be. My three sisters and I are pretty different but I always assumed that, as children, we were more similar in temperament and behavior. Our kids could not be more different from each other. Kendall is a crazy person. She is high energy form the moment she wakes up until she finally falls into bed and she barely sits still in between. She doesn’t stop talking or making some kind of noise virtually all day. She is also the pickiest eater I’ve ever known and afraid of the silliest things. She completely prefers her daddy to me. If he is home, Kendall has no use for me. Peyton is completely laid back until she’s not. She will put up with Kendall’s craziness until she’s had enough then she’ll explode. She is content to sit alone and color, do puzzles or flip through books. She is an adventurous eater and is fairly fearless. She is also my snuggly little lover. Luca is the most relaxed of all. Nothing bothers him. Ever. He is happy almost all day. He can go without naps and miss meals without caring at all. He tolerates harassment from his sisters for an endless amount of time. I keep trying to warn them that eventually he’ll probably be bigger then them and he’ll kick their asses but they don’t believe me…yet. Eventually they’ll see how right I was.
Motherhood is such an adventure. I learn new things about my own kids every day. I can’t imagine how different this blog will be if I write on this topic again in a few years. I hope the problems I encounter stay this simple, but I know they probably won’t.
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