My photo
wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Saturday, May 28, 2011

advice and dis-advice :)

While I wait on the boys to fall asleep so B Dawg and I can find a late night movie to rent on TV...I thought I'd blab a little.

Today has been delightfully uneventful...picked a few things from the garden. The boys played in their new little swimming pool.  I mopped my kitchen floor with my homemade concoction (no...not bleach and ammonia...i'm smart, remember!) and homemade swiffer pads... :)  And now I'm sitting here just waiting to veg out on the couch and watch a movie.  I'm a go-getter.  Idle hands I do not have.  So I don't take nights like this very often, and when I do, I eat all the snacks I can find and stay up as late as my eyes will stay open.

I have a lot of friends who are new moms...or moms going through things for the first time (of which I am one, since my 4 almost 5 year old is new territory every day- never raised one of those before...) and I have seen a lot of questions lately, or musings by other experienced moms or mommy blogs or whatever whatever about advice needed now, or advice you wish you would've had- or wouldn't have had... so I thought I'd compile a list here--- hopefully you will nod in agreement, or shake your head in dismay, or laugh, or whatever.  And when you're all finished reading this little diddy, you can leave a comment if you have one.  I mean, you know, if it's nice.  Because we all received that advice at one point-- if you can't say something nice.... :)

So. advice, musings, regrets, mistakes, whatever this list becomes, here it is.

1. Your offspring WILL poop in the bathtub.  Maybe not as a baby, or maybe so...but it will happen. Brace yourself. Get some latex gloves or an aquarium net...and keep some bathroom cleaner under your sink.
2. child-proof cabinet things are annoying. But if you don't have them, because they are annoying, the removal of all your cabinets' items becomes even more annoying.  In addition, everyone who comes to your house who does not have children or is not familiar with such new-fangledness as child proof latches will become incredibly frustrated trying to open your kitchen cabinet to get to the trash.  I mean, why do you need a latch on the trash cabinet?  It's not like your 1 year old is gonna open the cabinet and eat an enchilada out of the trash.
3. your one year old could possibly eat an enchilada out of the trash.  mine did.
4. You will get frustrated. You don't think you will. You might even judge those moms who do.  But you will get frustrated at some time.  I mean, you're the most awesomest person around, so you will probably hold your frustration in supremely and never yell or cry or just need to shut yourself in the laundry room with a box of zebra cakes while Jr. cries it out....but you will still get frustrated. gracefully.  or maybe not so gracefully.  that's okay.  it's super okay because if you are AWARE that you will get frustrated, YOU can lay baby down or put child in room with some toy, and step away, even if you are letting said child cry it out...because when you do get frustrated, it is good to know when you need a break. and those zebra cakes will make you feel sick later, and might even make you get a little fatter, but it's worth it.  just make sure you say grace before you eat each one.
5. you don't know everything. you don't.  you might know a lot of everything by the time you have a second child, but with your first, there is no way you know everything.  neither does everyone else- even if it's your grandmother who birthed 17  children in the same day with no anesthesia.  every mom is different. so is every baby.  so take advice when it's offered, and throw it out the window if it's advice that sucks.
6. sometimes weird advice might be right...for you. even if you don't think it is/will be. like how i read of someone giving their kid goat milk and i thought they were the wackiest people ever until i met someone else who had to give her kid that, and then someone else...and then i realized that even though i'd been giving my kid cow milk like a normal mom, so much better than those weird moms, he had super bad eczema that was always worse the more dairy he ate/drank.  and i had another baby, this one with a lot of medical issues, who would be doing semi-fine when he was breastfed but when it came time to switch him to another form of milk, dairy messed him up inside every time we tried it.  so even though i thought it weird, i gave it a whirl- the goat milk, that is.  and it's worked beautifully in my son.  so even if someone tells you something and you think "that's stupid. she's weird."  you better smack yourself in the mouth, because you might just be wrong, and you might need the weirdos advice one day.
7. you don't have to do what everyone tells you. in fact, don't.  but tuck it away in a file-- figuratively...or literally if you are THAT type-A.  but maybe you might need that goat milk advice.  or maybe you might need to talk to that mom who is educated about vaccines. or maybe that strange sounding website that weird mom at the park told you about might have exactly what you are looking for.  or maybe jane from down the street planned a super cool birthday party on a tight budget and you wanna know where to score those awesome party favors.  don't be afraid to ask, and don't be too rude to listen with an open mind.
8. you are the parent. your baby can't talk. it can cry. it can laugh, sometimes. it can pee, poop, burp, and pass gas with the best of em.  but you gotta know your stuff.  you are the advocate.  i don't just mean you get to do whatever you want, no matter what hippie mom down the road tells you.  i mean, i guess you DO...but i am saying- you call the shots.  this puts a HUGE ball in your court.  you HAVE to know your stuff.  and all that random advice people give you, that's part of your stuff.  no one knows everything. not the lady down the street, not your coworker, not you, and not even your doctor.  so ask questions- especially at the doctor.  don't take the first random thing you are told as gospel truth- if the only thing wrong with your kid is that she has a red dot on her leg, even if the dr told you it was chicken pox, you might not believe the doctor.  if the only thing wrong with your kid is a fever, if the doctor says it's a virus but you think it's something else, you have the right to ask-- you're paying the copay!  you can have the doctor look at the ears...the throat...the whatever. you're the boss.  yeah, you don't have 50 years of medical school under your belt, so you gotta bow the knee a little bit, i mean, they ARE the doctor.  But they aren't God. They aren't psychic. They can't see through flesh.  Just because they SAY something doesn't make it true!  We've been misdiagnosed-- humongously but also on smaller scales. "no it isn't strep throat, it's a virus."  oook.  a week later my kid is still feeling bad, still having fever, tonsils swollen to kingdom come, can't talk normally..."it's just a virus."  3 days later, still no better.  antibiotics given...and within 24 hours, normal child is back. coincidence? maybe.  maybe not.  YOU are the advocate.  love your doctor. give them respect. appreciate the knowledge they have. But don't take it like you're stupid and they're smart.  YOU'RE smart.  and your kid can't tell you what's going on, so BE persistent.  If I could harp on one thing, this would be it!  I can't TELL you how many times I have known something specific is wrong with one of my kids and have been told- not by one doctor, but multiple- that nothing was wrong, or it would pass in a few days, etc....and then a week later, we return to get the diagnosis i suspected in the FIRST place. And I can't even count how many other parents have told me "oh it's just this" and then "just this" becomes something else.  And it isn't the parents' fault. It isn't the doctor's fault. Just be educated. Don't take things at face value JUST bc of someone's degree status.  *disclaimer here- i am NOT anti doctor. I love our doctors. All 23875976387456 of them. i am PRO-parental education and advocacy. And as far as I know, so are ALL of our doctors.  so SPEAK UP, mommas and daddies!  YOU are your child's voice. YOU!
9. Breastfeeding isn't easy. It isn't sunshine and roses and constant cuddles.  It is going from a tiny chested individual to dolly parton with your first baby and figuring out how to get comfortable with that engorgement and figuring out how to work a fandangled contraption called a breastpump...and is that kid latching on right?  WHAT? I can't have ANY milk at all bc it's making my kid's belly hurt (this was my case, with BOTH children).  Heck no, I'm having my ice cream!  And then I'm paying for it being up all night with a baby arching his back in pain. Nope, no dairy for me.  But it is worth every effort you put forth- it is FREE, it IS better for your kids than formula, and unless there is some physical reason or medical reason you CAN NOT do it, it is totally worth the effort. I know there are exceptions to EVERYTHING, so don't take this personally- your situation might be an exception. That's fine. But in the average jane person, breastfeeding does not go splendidly at first.  Baby might latch on, baby might not. You might need some weird nipple shield.  You might have to pump.  Don't listen when people tell you you aren't making enough milk, especially at the very first, when your baby is brand new.  What you ARE making is what that baby needs. I know that's a lot in one paragraph and I didn't even camp out near as much as I want. You find someone who is supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding if that's what you choose to do with your baby...find a friend, a LaLeche leader, a Lactation Consultant...and you ask all the questions you can think of. And don't listen to the naysayers.  As with anything new, it is difficult at first. It takes awhile to get used to it, but then it is second nature, even with all the hoops some of us have to jump through.  Promise....I made it 12 months with my first baby and 18 with my second. (again, no one get their panties in a wad- i KNOW there are exceptions).
10. Keep pens and permanent markers out of reach- your couch will either look like a Pollock original or your child will have a Hitler moustache.  And kids are really good at finding stuff, so you know...hide things somewhere super duper good- out of reach...or you know, in those child safety latch cabinets.
11. kids give the best hugs and the sweetest kisses, and if they are your kids, take all that lovin you can get.
12. children draw really funny pictures and if you need a laugh, give your 4 year old a crayon and some paper and tell them to get to work.
13. unless you are wonderwoman (and i know a few who are!)-- your body might never look as good post baby as pre baby.  i know this can seem like an excuse for laziness, but i don't mean it as one.  sure, get up and dance, go to the gym, lift some weights, do some cardio...get in shape- you owe your kids that. so do i.  but you don't have to look like Barbie...remember what usually happens to Barbie anyway- she gets her hair cut off in some awful chop job by a 3 year old.  hot? i think not.
14. sleep when the baby sleeps.   work fast and furiously when the baby sleeps. sleep when the baby sleeps. or don't. do what you have to do. if you wake up from a drool producing deep sleep, buried in a pile of laundry you can swear you already folded...well, that's okay too.  babies make you tired.  and they create a lot of laundry.  you know...just do what you gotta do.
15. have fun! you don't have to be june cleaver, and i hope you aren't peg bundy, but YOU are the mom (or dad) God gave to the child He gave YOU.  yes, you're gonna get frustrated.  yes, you're going to mess up sometimes.  make it right when you do that.  make playdoh with your kids sometimes. bake cookies.  let them help.  when you've had too much, go out for a night with a friend- THAT is important and FAR too many people are unsupportive of stuff like that. You deserve that.  And when you come home and find your prince(s) or princess(es) tucked in bed, fast asleep, kiss them on their sweet foreheads and breathe in that life, that youth, that innocence, that is just beaming out of them!

movie time. I could keep going, but I'll give you a turn!!!


Jana said...

good to know all this..... tucked away for when that time comes for us. :) The only part I disagree with is the part that "if you're the parent, get as much lovin' from kids as you can" (or something like that) because I want to get sugar from kids even though I'm not their parent. :)

alisha said...

ha-'re safe, but there are weirdos who might say the same thing you did. like...unsafe weirdos.

bsjones7 said...

Ha! That made me laugh, which was needed after this past week of tornados tgat came entirely too close for comfort! I can totally relate to the goat milk stuff! The skin issues my son has when he has cows milk is awful! Bit goats milk...its worked great for us, and yes most people look at me like I'm crazy, oh well...

Twin-Daddy said...

Sweet goodness..this may be the best blog post I've read in far as wisdom and usefulness.

You've been down a long road Alisha. You've handled it superbly and you're wise indeed.

It brought back memories from my own two children being in the NICU. I created a rule for doctors..nothing goes into my child until I read the labels and dosages myself. No blood thinners, no blood, no nothing.

I typed and crosschecked and reviewed everything. And you know what? I found mistakes... More than once.

alisha said...

@ bsjones7-- So glad to give you a laugh-those tornadoes WERE too close for comfort this past week, you are so right!

@Twin-Daddy-- good to hear from you! man, may be the best post in years as far as wisdom and usefulness?!?! I will totally take that! ha. and props to you for checking everything- I know most people don't live through what either you or I have, but lessons like that are so important to EVERY parent...we have to know what's going on, not just take it at face value. So kudos to you for being a great advocate for your kids!

alisha said...

*checking everything with your kiddos in the NICU, is what I was referring to :)

The McCoys said...

Love it! I was totally the weirdo Mom with the goat milk! hahahaha I laughed, but it worked and no eczema anymore, just sweet soft skin! But now he LOVES milk and yogurt and all things dairy, but you're right at some point you have to be the advocate and say "I'll do what I have to do regardless of how strange it is!" As I prepare to have baby numero dos I'm slightly terrified to think that I might not know it all - thanks for the reminder...that I don't! Thanks for the words of wisdom!

alisha said...

Tricia- I am super excited about your baby number two! You're a rockstar mom, so I can't wait to see you guys with two kiddos! So exciting!