You know it’s funny, 15 years ago, after I had my first, I would have considered myself the go-to person for advice. I loved going to Mom’s groups and talking shop, being able to share my tidbits of information that I have learned with other new Moms in exchange for their pieces of knowledge describing things like how to get a shower each day. We would commiserate over the prospects of never seeing a movie again or what to do with a toddler in a restaurant (of course you pack a cooler full of healthy finger-foods and you walk around with them instead of sitting any enjoying your meal). Or we would offer opinions about the latest study that suggested you should never put footwear on a pre-walking baby, even in winter else you stunt their development due to sensory deprivation. Or how tofu was one of the best first finger foods to give. Ohmygosh, I don’t think I could have stood to be around me. I can’t imagine sitting around talking boring baby/toddler crap for more than 5 minutes, let alone picking up another issue Parenting Magazine to find out what I might have missed. You know, the rules are so simple: don’t give them raw meat (especially before they get teeth), get some vegetables into them, keep them clean, try to deter them from eating dirt and garbage and I don’t know, hug them as much as possible (seriously, that’s the most important).
In retrospect, I get it. Changing from not having children to having children is huge. People have no idea until they each do it themselves. Your life is totally turned upside-down and inside-out. With your first, if you were a person who dressed nicely and wore earrings, now you wear sweats because you never leave the house, are covered in spit up and earrings are gone because the baby pulls on them. Who knew? So it makes sense to think you learned a thing or two by undergoing this complete transformation.
Here’s the weird part: while I would have stepped forward with advice on how to get baby to sleep 14 years ago, today and 6 or 7 (I lost count) kids later, I’d be the first to admit I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. After 14 years of reading ,Dr. Sears, Dr. Brazelton, Dr. Mendelsohn, and Dr. Spock; subscriptions to Parents, Child, and Parenting Magazines (the last I have not renewed a subscription to in 6 years, yet I keep getting it with “This is your last issue” notices), you think I would have picked something up. (With the periodicals, the same advice gets recycled over and over again, much of it contradictory One month it will be “Well Baby Visits: Are They Necessary” and an article condemning parents who miss them as neglectful and 4 months later it will be “Well Baby Visits: How Necessary Are They?” stating that being late for one or two when a child is obviously healthy is not going to hurt anyone. 8 months later, it’s back to the original “a child’s life depends on well baby visits” article.) Seriously, of course I have, but every new child has both given me confidence and thrown my confidence for a loop. Every child is so different and some of the experience you gained from child #2, you might as well ball it up and throw it out because you will never need what you learned there again.
So here I am with pregnancy number 7 wondering if anyone would like to offer their 2 cents on how to survive morning sickness. People are probably thinking “Hey Lady, if you don’t know, who does?”, but I don’t think I have ever been this sick and dysfunctional before. Maybe I have been, and was so grateful when it was over that I never looked back. But this is hard! i have so much crap to do and I can only get one or two things out of twenty done before my body shuts down. I try hard to one more task, and I am paying for it big time with ten times the nausea. But for example, I have never been this sick with 6 kids, 3 of which eat adult value meals at McDonald’s and gas nearly $5 a gallon, therefore making blowing off cooking supper for one a financial impossibility. So you see, the rules are constantly changing.
And my kids, ohmygosh, what annoying little buggers! It never occurred to me how much I have to keep on their little behinds (and how much physical energy that exerted) to do their chores. Now I haven’t got the energy to do anything more than “Posco, clean the kitty litter, Posco, clean the kitty litter…” and of course that isn’t enough to ensure it gets done. And requesting for help beyond their regular chore roster only incites yelling at the younger one under them for doing nothing to help…yet nothing still gets done. One rule is no video games during the day, no TV until chores are done (during the school year, no games during the week period and TV for evening shows). Every time I turn around, these buggers are turning on games and the fight starts “No games until… (insert what needs to be done)” which elicits one of two responses: “Oh, ok, I didn’t know” or “Why not? That’s not fair!” Yet, after I yell a few times they win out because I am too queasy to keep yelling, I have a constant migraine, and my thoughts are constantly occupied with finding new ways of breathing without smelling anything in the world.
So any advice on dealing with morning sickness, tying up kids, getting boosts of energy with pregnancy fatigue, bending the wills of little people to do your bidding (mwoo ha ha ha), telling teenagers to just get dressed already, keeping a house running clean and smooth when you can’t get up and do anything, would be most appreciated.