Tag Archives: motherhood

Bonus Baby

Standard

This is my first post in seven months. My baby is seven months old. I have so many fragments of posts floating around in my head and what prevents me from writing them down is always this feeling that posts need to be made in chronological order, and how can I fast forward and write about something seven months after the birth of our Grand Finale, without actually writing about her birth or anything else right after that?

(sigh)

But nothing will ever, ever get posted if I follow that rule. Someday I will go back and post about Grand Finale’s birth and the days directly after that period, not because it’s particularly earth shattering or might apply to someone else, but mostly because this blog is an online memory book for our family and I’d like to be able to go back and read it someday.

This post, on the other hand, may be applicable to someone else, and I think it every single day:

Adults generally use the term “bonus baby” as a tongue-in-cheek way to refer to a baby who wasn’t exactly planned. A happy accident. An oops. A bonus baby.

While Grand Finale was very much planned, I very, very much consider her to be my bonus baby.

Every single day, I look at her and think to myself, “What if you never came to be? What if we had been too scared or too nervous to say yes to what we felt in our hearts? What if we had convinced ourselves that we couldn’t handle it, or that we wouldn’t have enough time or money?”

And then I look at her and I THANK GOD that she came to be.

Every day. That’s what I think.

She is SO MUCH a cherished and beloved member of our family. Her sisters adore her. They dote on her, care for her and help us to entertain and occupy her. And she reciprocates with BIG grins when she sees them.

Sisters

Sisters

WE adore her. She is such an easy baby. She was sleeping 11-12 hours a night by the time she was 8 weeks old. At 7 months she’s still very mellow. She’s by far our most snuggly baby.

As Monkey said one day, "She's a cute bug."

As Monkey said one day, “She’s a cute bug.”

When I look at her, I try to picture our family without her — would we be happy? Sure! Would we love our other two kids to death? Of course! Would we parent the same? Pretty much.

If we had remained a family of four, I think there be less chaos, more order, two little girls who would grow up to be BFFs forever and who would be used to receiving more attention and things. I probably would be more stressed out trying to maintain my version of parenting “perfection” (because with “only” two kids it seems more doable).

I think our family-of-five dynamic will be more chaos, less order, three girls who will grow up to be BFFs forever, and who will have a greater understanding of sharing, more selflessness and compassion, and hopefully more appreciation for things because there will be less of them. In place of things, they’ll have what I believe is the greatest gift we could have given them — a sibling.

If we had never had Grand Finale, we would have been a happy family of four.

But we would have never known what we were missing. Even in her seven short months, Grand Finale already added so much depth, richness and perspective to our family.

Love.

Love.

The baby is frosting. And I’m just so, so, so thankful to have her. I’m so happy we trusted our gut, and also so grateful that things worked out and that I had a healthy pregnancy.

And for that reason, although she was very much planned, she is my bonus baby.

And my takeaway to you, is that if you’re feeling like you want another child, but you’re just not sure if you can “handle” it, or if you have “enough” time or money, DO IT. You won’t regret it. That’s how I felt six days after Grand Finale’s birth, and that’s how I still feel today.

I’m So Glad We Get to Do This Again (and, an explanation)

Standard

Blogging has just not been a top priority for me lately — as much as I’ve wanted it to be. Usually I’ll have a story running through my head; a partial post bursting out of my brain; funny or introspective thoughts I’ll want to run by other parents. Normally I’ll be scrambling to get it written down and the words just pour out. But for the past four months I just haven’t had the head space. Not that I haven’t had the constant chatter in my head … because I have … it’s just seemed like an insurmountable task to actually get those thoughts down on paper.

This pregnancy has been much harder on me mentally and emotionally than my pregnancies with Monkey and Bean. I don’t know exactly what accounts for that … except that I know that every pregnancy is different. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a lot to do with already having two young kids to take care of. Add to that the overall growing pains of raising a young family, i.e. some terrible two’s, growing independence, and general “WTF am I doing as a parent anxiety,” plus work obligations and ding, ding, ding — you get some major emotional/mental exhaustion which leads to more crabbiness, short temperedness, anxiety. Don’t forget the extra credit — the hormones and physical tiredness and limitations that come with every pregnancy.

I honestly think that the physical limitations of pregnancy sneak up on you so slowly and gradually that it’s almost unnoticeable until one day you’re just SO frustrated that you can’t fit between the bathroom door and the sink to brush your uncooperative 4-year-old’s teeth and you just LOSE it and yell “WOULD YOU COOPERATE SO I CAN BRUSH YOUR TEETH!!?” And then you realize that you just totally overreacted, and yes your 4-year-old is being a pain, but you’re mostly just pissed because dammnit, you cannot MOVE normally.

And as far as the hormones go, all I’ll say is that in the moment your reactions seem rational. And for anyone who’s never been pregnant and thinks that the whole “hormones” thing is just some ploy to act like a crazy person, believe me, it’s not. Because honestly, no one wants to feel like a crazy person.

OH! And the extra, extra credit — being pregnant during the summer of 2012. Do you think that will be a thing that women who are pregnant this summer talk about? “YOU were pregnant during the summer of 2012?? OMG, ME too! That HEAT was just unbearable, and I just didn’t go outside for like three months, unless I could lay in a pool like a beached whale and not move and be jealous of everyone with their fruity drinks, and we kept the air set to 73 degrees, but I was *still* always hot, and it was just miserable, and …”

I think what drove all this home for me (why I’m experiencing this added mental/emotional exhaustion) was being away with my husband for our final “babymoon” this past weekend. We quite literally, did nothing. We ate, we walked, we sat, we walked, we sat, we ate, we slept.” Repeat. No one needed our attention. We didn’t have to follow anyone else’s agenda. We were only concerned about our own needs. There were no stressors or obligations. We watched all the other parents enjoying the three-day holiday weekend with their kids and we were a little sad that our kids weren’t with us, and envious of all the family fun. In the moment, I tried to remind myself how much harder it would be if the kids were with us, how the weekend would not be ours, and that I needed to just relax and enjoy the alone time. I told myself that those kids were probably being pains. But still, I was a tad sad and we were really excited to get home Sunday afternoon.

And then after I got home on Sunday afternoon I wasn’t so excited to be there. Because damn, they need A LOT of attention! And at times they can be pains! And I am TIRED! But seriously. This is what I realized — I did nothing while we were gone. I did nothing except eat, walk, sit and sleep, and I was still physically tired and limited (there was no light hiking as I hoped; baby being in VERY uncomfortable positions made slow walking and sitting the only things comfortable). So take me, already tired, physically limited and uncomfortable, and add caretaking and stressors of everyday life and work, and yeah. I’m kind of crabby! So I guess this weekend made me realize there’s probably nothing earth shattering about why this pregnancy has been more emotionally/mentally draining, except for normal things that have left me with little motivation to tackle extra things.

Hence, not much head space left over for blogging. I guess I feel like I’ve been surviving these past few months as opposed to thriving.

BUT, what I’ve also realized in the last few months, is that I’m so glad we get to do this again.

My brother-in-law is getting married this month to a wonderful girl and in June they asked me to look through my photos to see if I had any of the two of them together. So I started in 2010, the year they started dating and the year Bean was born, and boy. I really started to miss two-year-old Monkey and baby Bean. I may have shed a few tears.

It made me realize how glad I am that we get to have another baby. I can’t wait for the snuggling and the feedings and even the diaper changes. I can’t wait to see how this third person will enliven and enlarge our family. I can’t wait to see what she looks like, and slowly peel back the layers of her temperament and personality. I can’t wait to see Bean in the role of two-year-old big sister, like Monkey was for her. I can only imagine how Monkey will fill her role as biggest sister. She is such a nurturing soul, and already is instructing us about when, how and where she wants to hold and feed her baby sister.

Honestly, they’re both so excited. Have I mentioned that they both walk around with their loveys stuffed up their shirts and ask me if I want to feel their babies move?

This little girl is already such a blessing to our family and I really feel like she completes us. After being so indecisive about should we or shouldn’t we have a third, I feel so privileged that it was even an option.

With Monkey setting the pace for us, I’m just so happy that I get to experience all these stages again one more time.

New Beginnings

Standard

It’s been almost four months since I’ve blogged, and this post isn’t even necessarily about the fact that I’m only about four weeks away (!) from having this baby. Or the fact that we’re having our THIRD girl!

No. What’s top of mind for me tonight is that my first baby is going off to 4k in the morning.

How did that even happen? When she’s sleeping at night and I check on her before I go to bed, I just stare at the long legs, the long hair, and the very big kid sleeping in the bed. I picture her as a teeny newborn and it’s a little mind boggling to realize how very, very quickly this all goes.

I’ve had these realizations before. Especially after having more than one child. The second time around it’s easier to keep things in perspective when your infant isn’t sleeping through the night, or you’re trying to get rid of the pacifier, or struggling through potty training — it’s easier to tell yourself, “This will only last a few [fill-in-the blank — days, weeks, months].”

As a parent, we’re so excited when our child reaches a new level of independence, be it sleeping through the night, being able to wash his/her own hands, getting their own water. Let’s be honest, mostly because it means less work for us.

But my latest realization was different — for the first time, I realized how truly short a time period it is that our kids are 100% completely dependent on us.

I mean, between six and nine months babies are already less dependent on us because they’re crawling. They can move away from us. Bean was walking at 9.5 months.

Wow, right? At nine months old, NINE MONTHS, the amount of time it took you to grow them, they’re already doing things independently. Without you.

And it just snowballs from there. Their independence milestones just keep getting bigger.

As a parent, we feel like our job is to “raise” this new life. To take care of them, provide for their needs. They NEED us, right?

But really, I’m starting to realize that our job as a parent is to teach them how to succeed in life … without us.

And that’s just a little sad, isn’t it?

I remember my mom wistfully telling me (as an adult) “I gave my kids wings so they could fly.” As an adult, I thought that was great! Now as a parent that makes me boo hoo hoo. I think it’s the hardest thing in the world to so lovingly and tenderly put so much time into another human being just to watch them walk away from you.

Monkey’s first day of school tomorrow reminds me of the first time I dropped her off at my mother-in-law’s house to go back to work after maternity leave. The girls’ Nana has been watching them four days a week since they were 10 and 12 weeks old, respectively. They LOVE their Nana and love going to her house. They’re usually a little disappointed on the weekend when we tell them “No, you’re not going to Nana’s house today, you get to stay home with Daddy and me!” (much to our chagrin).

I remember trying to be really brave and matter of fact when I dropped Monkey off that first day back to work. I almost made it too, until I started bawling at the last minute and then basically had to run out the door. I was so sad that someone else was getting the privilege of spending 8-9 hours of the day with MY baby and that someone wasn’t me. Someone else was getting to *be* there. I was jealous.

Ultimately the experiences Monkey has had over the last 4.5 years at Nana’s house — the memories she’s made and the bond she has with her Nana — have been a benefit to everyone, including me and especially her. The same is true for Bean.

And I know that school will be SUCH a blessing for Monkey. She is so looking forward to it. She will love it and she will thrive. She has an inquisitive nature and it will be so wonderful to watch her mind growing right before our eyes.

But it’s definitely bittersweet. It’s hard to watch this child I love so much take another small step away from me. Even though she was in preschool two mornings a week last year, this is a bigger step. Every day there will be another person, aside from her Nana, her dad and me, who will occupy a central role in her life and development. Another person will get to spend 3+ hours a day with her that I won’t get to spend with her.

My friend who is a teacher wrote this last night and I can only hope all of our kids will experience a teacher or teachers like this in their lives:

“I am excited as always for the first day of school. Parents who are nervous about sending their kids to school: remember, your children are spending the day with peers, but they are also being welcomed, taught, challenged, cherished and watched over by teachers who open their classroom doors, their arms and their hearts to your children. Teachers, remember that tomorrow your rooms will be filled with the most important people in the world, and every one of them is their parents’ heart and soul and pride and joy. Handle with care. And parents, remember, we teachers teach because we want to love and guide your children. We know you see your child as a miracle; know that we do, too. Work with us, and know that we take what you say to heart, and we have the very best intentions in what we do to help your child grow and thrive. Most importantly parents, talk to us. Give us the feedback we need to make the most of our time with your child. I know that it is hard to believe that anyone could feel about your child the way you do — but know that your child’s teachers spend the majority of their lives trying to do and give everything they can for the students they’re blessed to work with. Have a beautiful first day of school everyone!”

I’m hoping I can keep my boo hoo hooing to myself.

Why I’m Not Hoping for a Boy

Standard

We have two girls. Two wonderful, lovely, beautiful girls. So must people assume that we’re hoping this baby is a boy. Nah. It’s so cliché, but we’re just hoping for a healthy baby.

There would be pros and cons to having a boy or a girl.

I would love to have a boy because it would be a whole new experience. It would be something totally different. And it’s nice to think of Husband having that dad-boy relationship that I have with my girls. He’s a terrific dad to the girls, and at the same time it would be nice for him to have a boy to balance out the estrogen.

I would love to have a girl because as excited as I would be about the whole new “boy experience,” it simultaneously scares the sh*t out of me. At least with girls I kind of have a clue about what I’m doing. I remember one night at my grandma’s house when my cousin (who’s like my sister) was sitting on the floor with me and we were both changing diapers. My cousin has two boys. I was changing Bean and she was changing her son K. We both looked at each other’s baby’s (opposite) parts and she said, “I have no idea what to do with that.” And I said, “I have no idea what to do with THAT!” At least I’m familiar with my daughters’ parts!

If we have a boy I think it will be easier for me not to compare my kids to each other. Especially when it comes to comparing the baby to the first two. It’s already hard enough for me not to compare Monkey and Bean.

If we have another girl, I’m afraid that the baby will break up the super close bond that the older two girls have. On the other hand, I have two best friends. I know it’s unlikely to have two best friends, and you’re probably thinking that surely I’m closer to one than the other. But I’m not. I truly do have two best friends. And in many instances, having one of us stay neutral while the other two get worked up, has helped resolve conflict faster. So I think it could be awesome for them to each have two sisters.

Regardless of whether it’s a boy or girl, those girls are going to looooooooooove on that baby like you just won’t believe. They were baby obsessed before, but I think they’re going to take it to a new level. They just LOVE babies (real and pretend).

With all of that said, it’s still fun to guess, right!? After all this time, Monkey is still hankering for a brother, while Bean wants a sister. We told them that one of them will get what they want. 😉

For what it’s worth, my intuition told me “boy” from the moment I got a positive pregnancy test. I refer to the baby as “he.” However, lately I have been doubting my intuition because this pregnancy has been pretty much the same as the other two.

Here’s what the old wives tales have said:

  • The Chinese pregnancy calendar says GIRL, and it was correct for both Monkey and Bean
  • The baking soda test says GIRL (pee in a cup and if it sizzles it’s a boy; if it does nothing it’s a girl)
  • The baby’s heartbeat has been over the place. At my six-week ultrasound it was 137. I had another ultrasound at 9 weeks and it was 178. At my last two check-ups it’s been in the 150s. Typically when we listen with the Doppler at home it’s in the 130-140 range. With the girls, the heartbeat was usually in the 150s-160s. The last time I input the heartbeat in the above gender prediction tool it said BOY, but it has said GIRL before, too. So it’s a toss-up.

Husband thinks it’s a girl. We’ll find out tomorrow if my mother’s intuition is right! (it was right for both girls)

What do you think!??

(And if you’re so inclined, please say some prayers for a healthy baby)

I’ve Never Been Pregnant on Mother’s Day Before

Gallery

A Monkey Turns Four

Standard
A Monkey Turns Four

1. What is your favorite color?

Orange and purple

2. What is your favorite toy?

Baby dolls and my strollers

3. What is your favorite fruit?

Strawberries

4. What is your favorite TV show?

Team Umizoomi

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

Smashed potato (with butter, ham, cheese, peas and corn)

6. What is your favorite outfit?

Dresses!

7. What is your favorite game?

Candyland. And I want you to buy me a Dora game, too. And if you find any Team Umizoomi games

that is going to be super fun, because we love Team Umizoomi.

8. What is your favorite snack?

Cheetos and pretzels and goldfish and strawberries

9. What is your favorite animal?

Fishies

10. What is your favorite song?

Taylor Swift (Also, on a separate occasion she told me that she wants to play all the instruments that Taylor Swift can play: banjo, guitar and piano)

11. What is your favorite book?

A Team Umizoomi book or a Dora book

12. Who is your best friend?

Braelynn

13. What is your favorite cereal?

Reese’s Puffs

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?

Swing

15. What is your favorite drink?

Chocolate milk

16. What is your favorite holiday?

Easter! And I love Christmas too.

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

Petey and lovey

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Pancakes! And strawberries.

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?

Hot dogs

20. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A mama and a girl fire fighter. Can you be three things when you grow up? Then I want to be a mama, and a girl fire fighter, and a teacher.

(sigh) I just love her so much. I’m so proud of the person she’s becoming.

Birthday morning surprise.

She was especially thrilled that the bike had a basket for a baby.

Totally spontaneous smile. Iconic.

Friends party at the Y!

Pure joy.

They love each other so much.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Monkey!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxooooooooooooooo

This is What I’m Going With

Standard

Lately, I feel like everything with Bean is an epic battle to the death. And obviously, there are no winners.

Here’s a typical scenario from our house in the last three weeks:

Morning

The mere mention of going to the bathroom and getting dressed sends Bean into a flailing tantrum complete with arm waving (and mostly unintentional) hitting, kicking, tears and screaming. We’re talking head thrown back, on the floor, ear-piercing screams.

Sometimes, she will willingly take off her clothes, but then when I suggest getting dressed, she just runs away. If I happen to grab her before she gets away from me (because I refuse to chase her), then the above tantrum ensues.

Bedtime

Most of the time Bean is all too happy to get into pajamas, but the tantrum inducer is when (gasp) her father, (God forbid) attempts to help her with getting ready for bed. Last night as I was brushing Monkey’s teeth and told Bean that daddy was going to help her, the above tantrum ensued. Same goes for helping her go to the bathroom, getting her pajamas on, washing her hands, you name it.

Mealtime

I made homemade waffles last weekend. They were dang delicious and so much easier than I remember. Especially now that my waffle iron is accessible and I learned not to overfill the darn thing. Bean loved them. But then she accidentally dropped one of her last two pieces on the floor. No biggie, right?

WRONG.

I picked it up and threw it away. Bad idea. Cue tantrum. Except a mealtime tantrum has the added bonus of Bean being strapped into a chair, thus able to fling her body back and forth and all around without falling out. It’s awesome.

I was stunned.

I explained to her that the waffle was dirty, but that it was okay because I would give her one of my waffle pieces.

Didn’t matter. She wasn’t hearing it. She wanted that dirty waffle piece back and there was nothing I could say or do to make her happy.

And generally, that’s how it goes.

The instant something happens that she doesn’t want (or the suggestion of something she doesn’t want to do), it’s the end. There’s zero ability to talk with her. There’s no communication. She just shuts down.

All of the wonderful parenting techniques that we employ with Monkey (all of the parenting articles I’ve been poring over), don’t really work.

  • It doesn’t matter if I give her choices. She just screams “NO!” back at me about everything.
  • It doesn’t matter if something is a rule (establishing rules and expectations so that I’m not the bad guy). “The rule is that when we get up in the morning, the first thing we do is go to the bathroom.” Or, “The rule is we brush our teeth in the morning and at night before bed.” We run through all the people who brush their teeth and go to the bathroom in the morning. Meh. Most times she could care less what the rule is.
  • Asking her if she wants to do something now or “in a minute” always gets the “in a minute” reply. But then when 5 minutes goes by and I tell her it’s time to do XYZ, generally we still get the tantrum or the running away, or the running away followed by the tantrum (like this morning).
  • We’ve been really trying to talk to the kids like we would talk to another adult. The example in an article I read was along the lines of, “If you saw an adult knock over their milk at McDonald’s you wouldn’t jump up and start berating them about how clumsy they were and how they should be more careful and then huff off to get some paper towels.” Not that we’ve ever done that; generally we’re pretty calm about those types of things. But, you get the point, which is, “Don’t treat someone poorly, or more importantly, force someone to do what you want, just because you’re bigger than them.” Because that sets up all sorts of problems that leaves kids vulnerable to sexual predators, peer pressure, etc. How-ev-er, like I told Husband, if he dropped his piece of waffle on the floor and I threw it away because it was dirty, he wouldn’t start flailing his arms, kicking his legs, throwing his head back and screaming. I’m pretty sure we’d just talk about it.

And that is my biggest frustration. There’s just no communication. No opportunity for any of the above. The only thing that somewhat works is empathetically saying how I think she feels. “I know you’re mad, honey. I know you want to keep playing. I’m sorry that we have to get ready for bed.” But even if she stops to listen to me, she still doesn’t then cooperate.

The only time she wants to do something is when she can possibly beat her sister to it. Which honestly is unfair to Monkey because then Monkey’s always second. Or, if Monkey beats Bean, Bean still cries and has a tantrum. Good grief. I’m exhausted just thinking of all the tantrums.

I feel beaten down. I feel like I’ve just had it. I am pulling out all the tricks and it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference.

I don’t yell much. We don’t spank. We do use time-outs, although this Aha Parenting Web site advocates for doing time-ins (sitting with your child) instead of time-outs (which apparently make them feel isolated and alone with their feelings). I tried that this morning with Bean when she wouldn’t cooperate about getting dressed. She just laid in her bed (naked) and yelled at me to get out. I stayed anyway. I have no idea if it helped.

Up to this point we’ve been trying to follow Love and Logic parenting techniques (I say “trying” because we like the philosophy but we don’t always execute) which focuses a lot on empathy and consequences (as well as choices, routines/rituals, etc.). However, Aha Parenting advocates for not issuing punishments or consequences (unless they’re “natural” and not “parent-imposed” consequences) because when kids are acting their worst, that’s when they need you to love them the most.

Aha Parenting argues that when kids are dwaddling and being slow getting ready for bed, the last thing they need is for you to yank away stories or cuddle time as a consequence. But when we’re running out of time to get Bean to bed (and we KNOW she’s probably acting out from being tired), it seems like a natural consequence that if you’re not cooperating and you’re making things take longer, that you don’t get stories. It’s not even really a punishment! It’s not like we’re saying “No stories because you’re being sassy or because you hit your sister.” It’s a natural consequence. We ran out of time. I feel conflicted about this whole “consequence/punishment” thing.

I don’t really yell much. BUT, when pushed, I do raise my voice (not to a yell, but it’s raised), I do get a mean look on my face, I do lose the ability to negotiate and communicate and just start barking orders. Basically, I get angry and frustrated. I also say things I shouldn’t; things that I try not to say. And then I find myself still saying them: “Why do you have to be so uncooperative?” “I am so sick of this.” I know this is bad because I’m sending her the message that she, as a person, is bad.

Day after day, night after night, these are my interactions with my child. She knows that I’m frustrated. One of the things I remember from the Love & Logic CDs is that if you send your child the message that you can’t handle them, they’ll think, “Geez, I must really be bad if even my own parents can’t handle me,” and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The kid acts worse and worse, and the parent is less and less able to get a handle on the situation. I’m afraid that’s going to happen.

I also feel like the frequency of these occurrences makes it more and more difficult for me to remain calm when they happen. I’m immediately on edge because I feel like I already know the outcome (major tantrum), and no amount of choices, or empathy, or quietly speaking to her, or whatever is going to help.

I feel like a failure. Not just because she’s not listening and cooperating. But because there’s no room for any negotiation, communication, education, discussion. Period.

Aha Parenting says “Kids who feel connected to their parents naturally want to please them,” and that:

Defiance is always a relationship problem. If your child does not accept your direction (“I don’t care what you say, you can’t make me!”), it’s always an indication that the relationship is not strong enough to support the teaching. This happens to all of us from time to time. At that point, stop and think about how to strengthen the relationship, not how to make the child “mind.” Turning the situation into a power struggle will just deepen the rift between you.”

Since I seem to be engaged in a non-stop power struggle (epic battle to the death), obviously I’m not connected. Failure.

My child does not feel connected to me, she will think that I think she’s a whole lot of trouble and that she can’t be contained, therefore she will become increasingly troublesome, and basically I just ruined her chance at becoming a successful person, not to mention we don’t have a relationship.

I know this is extreme, but it’s my fear.

I am not used to this. I am not accustomed to encountering a problem that I can’t solve, even with repeated effort. Am I not trying hard enough?

Can anyone tell me they’ve been through this and have come out the other side with a happy, well-adjusted, still free-spirited but more reasonable child?

Will this get better? Will time (maturity with age) make this better? Will she become more reasonable so that I can actually employ these very useful techniques that seemed to work so well with Monkey? Am I ruining my child? Is she not connected to me?

I will also add that I think she’s definitely not getting enough sleep.

After getting through the difficulty of her wanting us to be in the room while she fell asleep and waking excessively at night (2-5 times every night), we’re now dealing with her early rising. She goes to bed beautifully now, but instead of sleeping until 7 a.m. like normal, her waking has gotten earlier and earlier. First it was 6:45 a.m. Then it was 6:30 a.m. The past two weeks it’s been 6 or 6:15. And today it was 5 freaking 40 A.M.!

She’s also started taking shorter naps. At least I feel like that’s more normal for her age — she just turned two, so I can’t really expect her to continue taking 2+ hour naps. An hour and a half is more in line, but sometimes it’s only an hour and 15 minutes, or like yesterday — 45 minutes! Between early waking and shortened naps, she is just not getting enough sleep.

And thirdly, her picky eating is at an all-time high. We trying our best to follow the advice of our pediatrician who tells us every time I express concern over her picky eating, “Your job is to prepare and serve healthy food. Her job is to eat it. If you start bribing, rewarding, coaxing or cajoling, you’re not doing your job.”

So, for the most part, we serve the food. Sometimes we’ll ask her to try one bite (she always refuses). But do you know how hard it is to serve your child a meal that has all the components of something they would like (or have eaten before) and have them push it away on sight, screaming and crying??? Or just start picking things off the plate saying “Yucky?” (Yes, I’m sure you do, because you’re probably a parent reading this). UUUUUGGGGGHHHH.

I bet Bean is down to a list of 20 things that she’ll readily and gladly eat, not including dessert, and only two of them belong to the fruit/vegetable category.

Since we don’t make separate meals, and since we nearly always give dessert (so as not to set up a good food/bad food paradigm), Elise gets a lot of yogurt for “dessert.”

Do all of these things mean anything together (lots of tantrums, not getting enough sleep and picky eating)? Am I missing something?

I have been praying. Praying that God will guide me, help me, direct me to the resources I need. I pray that he will let Bean see how much we love her and that he will open her heart to listen to us.

Believe me, I DO NOT want to crush Bean’s spirit. I do not want her to grow up believing that people who are bigger than her get to tell her what to do.

I get it that it’s a good thing that she isn’t going to do what she doesn’t want to do, just because someone else says so. I know that research shows that she will be “almost impervious to peer pressure.”

But in the meantime, I don’t know what else to do.

Aside from reading parenting articles, pouring out my feelings on this blog, asking for help, and praying, the only thing I can think to do is this:

Every time I see her naked butt running away from me I’m going to think, “She’s running away from drugs,” or “She’s running away from a stranger trying to harm her.”

Every time I see her flat-out refusing to do what I ask, I’m going to think, “She’s saying no to underage drinking,” or, “She’s saying no to teenage sex.”

At least that’s what I’m going with now.

But I’ll repeat my plea: Can anyone tell me they’ve been through this and have come out the other side with a happy, well-adjusted, still free-spirited but more reasonable child?

Will this get better? Will time (maturity with age) make this better? Will she become more reasonable so that I can actually employ these very useful techniques that seemed to work so well with Monkey? Am I ruining my child? Is she not connected to me?