Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Future Tell All

One day I would like to write a tell-all book for new mothers. Some of the chapters would include:

Labor and the week after - what your mom won't tell you.
Breastfeeding - how nature really intended it to feel.
The Tantrum months - how to survive.
and Introducing #2 (by this i mean the second child.....not poop) - the types of mayhem you should expect.

And that's as far as I've gotten, because let's face it Hayden is only 2.5 and that's all the hands on experience I've had so far.

The first 17 months of Hayden's life were mothering bliss for me. I enjoyed every minute of it. He was arguably the worlds easiest baby. I was enraptured by his every smile, it was so good it was almost magical, like floating on a cloud or dancing in a flowery meadow. I felt on top of the world, like I must have some mad mothering skillz to have such a good baby. I loftily looked down on the mother of the screaming child in the grocery store and wished to myself that she would control her young so it wouldn't wake my sleeping angel.

Then Hayden turned 18 months old, started throwing hourly tantrums and having routine scream fests, hitting other kids and kicking them and doing that really annoying head butting trick that kids learn (you know, when you're holding them and they slam their head into your face and give you a bloody nose). My lofty dreams of being the perfect mother and avoiding all the parenting pitfalls plummeted. So much for my perfect angel. What the heck happened?

By this time in the story I was already pregnant with Mariah. At 15 months Hayden was such an angel that we decided he needed a little angel friend and companion to complete our angelic family. I was horrified. If this is how bad my son is now, what are we going to do when he actually turns 2? Maybe it's just a phase? Maybe we should spank him more? Time-outs? What the heck? After a few embarrassing incidences at the store and with friends we became somewhat reclusive. Too humiliated with our child's horrible behavior and not wanting to loose friends that we were just making we decided it would be best to keep him at home for a while and not expose other kids to his fury. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. We were lonely and desperate. Do other people have devil children like this? or is there something wrong with our kid? There is a good ending to this story so keep reading.

By this time I was full-term and gave birth to our precious girl. Now we had a little monster, and a new baby angel (or so we thought). Hayden, sensing the coming arrival, stopped sleeping and started waking up screaming several times nightly. By the time Mariah came along we were so sleep deprived that we didn't know how we were going to make it. We brought her home in all her wailing goodness and started trying to establish a routine. After a few almost calm days Mariah decided to fit with the theme of mayhem and be a colicky infant. She spent the next two months screaming incessantly.

I spent my days and nights in super-survival-mode. Must keep baby fed and changed. Must make sure Hayden doesn't hit her or pull her hair too many times. Must try to keep children ALIVE. Must not become so depressed that I miss out on the cute baby stuff. Yeah right, like that was going to happen. I spent many days swimming through a sea of depression, struggling to keep my head above water. How did we go from "angel child" to this is such a short time? Keep reading.

A few moths and much screaming and crying later I was researching my brains out trying to come up with solutions and I came across an article about pin worms. EWWWW GROSS. As if my child could have something that nasty! So for a few months I let it go. I mentioned to Hayden's Dr. that I thought he could have them, but she thought it unlikely and let it go at that. Then I found out that the cure is just an over-the-counter medicine and it's super safe. So I decided to try it out and OH MY GOSH it must be magic in a bottle! Hayden was about 26 months when I gave it to him and that day he threw his very last scream fest/tantrum. He also stopped waking up at night screaming. He started talking to other kids instead of hitting them first. He started laughing again and being normal. He turned into the little boy that I remembered from so long ago.

I don't want to blame everything on the worms. I know that much of his behavior was part of growing up. Going through the terrible 2's (which we're not through just yet) and the difficulty of getting used to a new sibling. Trimming the apron strings, but by no means cutting them. But it sure did help. Those months were so intense for us that dealing with the actual "terrible two's" doesn't seem that bad anymore. I still loose my patience too often, and overreact when he's naughty. I still sweat a river down my back when he screams over toys he can't have at the grocery store, but in the end it seems so much more bearable and normal. Like that's how it's supposed to be.

At this time I also figured out how to help Mariah with her colic. ENZYMES. If you're breastfeeding you can take them and again, it's magic in a bottle ( just be sure to consult a professional as to which are the best for a breastfeeding mom, some have herbs that you want to avoid). I started taking them for me, and two days later I had a calm sweet infant. I was able to stop pacing the living room with her for hours on end and actually sit down for a few minutes together. My sanity took a turn for the better. I started to feel like life could be fun again at some point and less like I was living in a self-made hell.

Mariah is now 9 months old and I'm back on top of the world, but with more humility. I no longer think of myself as a great parent, but instead a work in progress. I no longer look down on the mom of the screaming kid in the store.....because most often it is me. I find Hayden's behavior amusing and enjoy watching him interact with other kids.

To put it plainly: I love every minute of being a mom.


  1. Great post Kari!! I love your honesty and candor. Athena is 9 months (today) and we are thinking of adding another one, partly because like Haydon was at that age, she is so easy and it dosen't seem like a big deal to tack on one you've given me something to think about!! I'm not sure how I will handle it when my kids start throwing the screaming fits in the store. I'm stubborn yes, but I also get embarresed SUPER easy when I'm in any type of social situation where people are looking at me. I think I'll have to grow a thicker skin. Again, good blog entry! I'm really glad everything has settled down for you, I see it must have been some pretty tough months there. :)

  2. I would completely buy your book! You were so genuine and yet wise in this post I just had to leave a comment to thank you for sharing it with the world. I have so much respect for what it takes to be a mom, and although I am no where ready for that kind of challenge, when I am I will most certainly refer to you for advice. Kudos!