Friday, October 19, 2012

Parenting stories and tips

Did you ever have a week where you felt like everything you did was wrong?

I know I'm not a perfect parent.
And I know that I could learn a lot from other mommies.

But sometimes I find it so difficult to just smile and nod when yet another mother or nanny gives me unsolicited advice. 

It always comes about the same way.
            First, she asks The question, "How old is he?"
            I respond, "13 months."
            They seem surprised.  "Really?  But he's so small.  He only looks (insert number less than 10) months.  And he still isn't walking?"

Even though I've had this conversation several times, it always hurts like a knife to my chest.  Everyone seems to operate under the assumption that a healthy baby is big and walks around by himself.  

And then the ladies always continue with those two dreadful words, "You should..."

Stab stab.

I'm beginning to dislike those two words.  Yes, their advice comes from a good place, but sometimes I just don't want to hear it.  They don't know me and they don't know my child.

They don't know how we battled terrible eczema during his first year of life.  They don't know about all the allergy testing and sleepless nights that we went through. They don't know how we once had to change his bed crib sheets every night because he would scratch and rub until his face and head bled.  They don't know that we're doing our best to live and eat normally given (what seems like) our every-growing list of allergens:  wheat, soy, barley, nuts, and bass.   

I'm crying as I'm writing this, because it's just so frustrating.  Yes, I am a new mommy.  Yes, I have lots to learn.  Yes, I'm making lots of mistakes along the way.  But I'm sorry, sometimes I just don't want to hear your advice, well meaning or not.

Maybe my kid is small.  Maybe he should eat more.  Maybe I shouldn't carry him so much. But you know what?  Please just back off.  I'm already berating myself enough. I'm just doing the best that I can.

And lately when I've been getting like this, I always try to think back to all the parenting tips and stories that I do appreciate hearing. You know which ones I'm talking about.  They're the ones that make me laugh and remind me that all parents make mistakes, kids do crazy-funny-scary things, and we're all just trying to love our kids the best that we can.
Here's what one mommy confessed to me at the park the other day:

And you know what?
Her little girl looked just fine to me.

Thank you, cat food girl's mommy, for reminding me that things will be ok. 


  1. ): hug hug! you're doing good leslie! if the doctor isn't concerned i wouldn't be either!!! here's another story to add to the list: jim told me that he didn't start talking until three! ;) his family thought something was wrong, hahah but i guess he just didn't have anything good to say until then!

  2. I'm so sorry you have to hear such cr*p multiple times. New Yorkers and older ladies are the worst! I even had a woman yell out of her car window to tell me to put a hat on my child. What a tough first year you guys had - Chuck is doing great and you are the best parents he could ever have.

    Maybe reading these would help you feel better or at least laugh a little :) -

  3. Dont worry about what people say. All babies are different and people should not compare. I saw a child yesterday who was 18 months old but he was tiny and not walking yet. Mom didnt seem worried. She said he was healthy and happy. Felix is a normal gorgeous boy and you have nothing to worry about.

  4. Dear Pink Stripey Socks:

    I don't have children, but my sister does. Six, in fact.

    Her 3 year old tripped and fell into a piano the other day. She has a huge knot on her forehead and 2 black eyes.

    I have celiac and I know it's got a genetic component. I've been telling my family members with any similar symptoms to give up gluten. A month ago she took her 2 year old daughter to the doctor and the doctor said, "Take her off gluten." 2 years she waited!

    My home church has double-hinged doors at the entrance to the sanctuary. They swing both into and out of the room. When I was 15, I had my then 9 month old niece with me. She started screaming in the middle of the service. I rushed out, and when I pushed the door open in my hasted, it swung right back and smacked her in the back of the head. This door probably weighs 100 lbs.

    When I was kid my brothers ate dog food for fun and my younger brother once ate a worm because my sister told him they tasted like bubblegum.

    I think you're probably doing a wonderful job as a mom. And I know that you are an extraordinary woman.

    Be encouraged, my friend!


  5. Hi Leslie - I wouldn't worry too much about it. In my mothers group, there are about 12 kids in the group who are all similar age and only 2 of them can walk. Juni is the same as Baby Chuck - he can walk if he is holding onto something or someone but doesn't have the confidence or balance to go by himself yet. I hear it will all happen quickly, one day they'll be hanging onto you, then within a week they are running and running.

    Juni is also small for his age - on the Australian graphs, he is only in the 10th percentile and a lot of people think he is about 10 months old. But then I remember that Asian kids will always be smaller than their Australian friends. Nikko likes to say there is a place for all the kids in the football team - the big Aussie kids will be the front rowers doing all the tackling and Juni will be one of the wingers on the side (ask your hubby to explain the football talk:) haha)

    Our issue at the moment is getting him to eat. We try all sorts of things - purees, steamed veges like carrot and peas, cheese, shredded chicken, meatballs, fruit, rice and even hot dogs. it's pretty hit and miss. some days he'll eat a bit and other days all he'll have is a bite of cheese, rice crackers and milk. hopefully its just a phase and eventually he'll open his mouth - or he'll get old enough for me to say "you can't leave the dinner table till you've had your veges" and he'll understand! haha!

    good luck and persevere - when Juni is happy he gives me so much joy and it makes it all worthwhile :)


  6. What you wrote is beautiful :) And you are doing a beautiful job with Baby Chuck.

    You are not alone, it is so, so hard. Tears are inevitably cried. If only we could tell well-meaning people to to back off. Every child is so, so different. I love your drawing, that just sums it up!

  7. Hi Les,

    I just came across your post. You are probably having a better day today than when you had written this post. Maybe? Probably crapting as I write this!!! lol I just want to say that you are such a great mother to Felix. From a third person looking in and my own experiences watching you interact and take care of Baby Felix, you have such a HUGE heart. You provide him with a safe, loving, and predictable environment. When he cries, you are there to comfort him, maybe not all the time since you are presented with teachable moments to where you can't always be with him. When he's hungry, you are there to sit by him, provide food and feed him. Where would he even go to get breast milk? You're his number one source and what would he do without you? Who will be able to ever squeeze the delightful goodies the way that you do, in regards to the sweet goodness that comes from under the skin of a blueberry? I look around and can't think of anyone else besides YOU. When he gets a boo boo, you're there to kiss it goodbye. He may have allergies and struggle with eczema, but other than that he is a healthy, gorgeous boy. Every child learns new abilities at their own pace. Baby Felix is obviously loved and I'm sure he doesn't even care what others say about his developmental journey. He's enjoying the company of his loving parents, family, friends, he's enjoying eating, playing, going to the playground. Experiencing each moment out of the day. He brings forth joy and I'm sure on occasion a couple of headaches ;) At the end of the day, he's with a wonderful, loving family.

    1. Thanks Kim. I just saw your comment today... And even though quite a bit of time has passed since writing this post, your kind words still touch my heart. Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. I just found your blog today through a link on Craftgawker for your hockey stick horse...great idea! I have been going backwards in time through your blog and this post hit home for me.

    I have a 27 month old and most days I feel like the worst parent in the world. I don't know where the pressure comes from but I often wonder if my Mum felt this way too? Toddlers are tough and people can be so judgmental. My boy knows how to push all my buttons now and I used to be the most patient person in the world. How our kids get to us!

    I know this is an old post, but only you know the journey you have had with Chuck to get this far and I am sure he is growing and developing the way he should be. When someone comments, nod and smile and then pat yourself on the back for getting this far!

    1. Thanks Tawnya for visiting and leaving this kind comment. Gosh..... How do people do it? I always look at parents of young children and we all seem to have this hazy, tired, slightly messy look. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not alone in feeling this way.

      We're going to make it, right? And one day we'll look back at these tomes and think... "Gosh, those were some crazy-funny-awesome-and tough times."

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