Thursday, May 26, 2011

Home With Two Boys: Starting My Collection of Parenting Books

By the time we brought David home, the nursing agony had started again.  More toe-curling, involuntary gasping in pain, wanting to cry whenever the baby needed to eat, but it only lasted for 3 WEEKS this time (still a LONG 3 weeks, but better than 3 months!)!  David slept SLIGHTLY better than Ian had, taking short naps during the day, but sleeping for 2 or 3 hours at a time at night.  We tried the whole "Teach the baby to sleep through anything by keeping him in the main living space where all the noise is" thing, but, around 3 weeks old, David (and the 3 after him) started not sleeping for longer than 30 minutes at a time unless he was being held.  Also at this time, he, too started the nightly scream for hours each evening.  I tried restricting my diet again, mainly dairy, and it seemed to help a little.


Ian watched David cautiously, trying to process this big change in his life.  He held the baby occasionally, and gently pushed him in his baby swing.  It wasn't long before Ian said, "I'm cute too;  can we take the baby back to the hospital?"  He eventually adjusted to the fact that David was going to stay, but, especially as David got older and wanted to be doing everything Ian was doing, he treated David like a mosquito his mother wouldn't let him squash.

Ian playing a song for the baby.

Ian continued to be very active;  fighting nap time but falling asleep every afternoon between 4-5 if he stopped moving for any period of time.  About a month after David was born I was walking down the hall thinking "Why does it smell like baby powder again?" and I quickly discovered that Ian had climbed up to the new spot I had put the baby powder and was finishing dumping the rest of the bottle (CURSES on baby powder and stupid vacuums that shock people who are only trying to clean up giant messes!).  Also that week he:  dumped water all over his bed, emptied the contents of 6 shelves from his closet onto the floor, poured buckets of water out of the bathtub on to the bathroom floor, wrote on himself with a pen one day and a permanent marker another day, stood on a stool in the living room and peed on a box of baby wipes immediately after sitting on the potty for 20 minutes, threw all the blankets off my bed onto the floor within 5 minutes of me making the bed, took all of the clothes out of his dresser and threw them down the hall.  This is what I mean by "busy".  I had friends who would call me when they were trying to squash baby-hungry feelings to hear what Ian had done or said lately;  they always hung up THANKING THEIR LUCKY STARS much more content with their baby-less situation.

Ian was VERY hard to motivate;  he wasn't interested in earning candies/stickers/toys, he did not care if dinner, going to the park, watching his favorite TV show, or playing with his favorite toys was dependent on him putting his clothes away, picking up his toys, cleaning up a mess he had made, etc.  It was about this time that I started collecting, and reading, parenting books:  The Difficult ChildThe Strong-Willed Child, Raising Your High Spirited Child (Those were nice for letting me know that it WAS NOT my imagination;  my child really was a challenge.), Dare to Discipline,  The Power of Positive Parenting, Love and Logic (I really like the Love and Logic idea, but it took some time to be able to come up with logical consequences for everything, and they did not cover what you are supposed to do when you give your child choices "A" and "B" and the child picks "Q", or what you are supposed to do when your child is seemingly unaffected by any consequence.), Bringing Up Boys (I believe it was this book that clued me in to the fact that it is a MIRACLE that any boy lives to see adulthood) get the idea.  I was so discouraged because I felt like Ian was constantly fighting me and didn't actually like me very much;  he seemed much more attached to my mother than to me.

It was around this time that I remembered a little essay(?) I had read once called Welcome to Holland.  (Go read it;  it's short.....)  When I had first read it, I had thought that it was a great way to explain coming to terms with something you weren't quite expecting.  But as I lived each day with Ian, I thought, "Expecting to go to Italy and ending up in Holland is one thing, but how are you supposed to survive adjust when you are expecting to go to Italy and your plane is hijacked by terrorists and you end up in war-torn Ir@q?" 

David turned out to be a sweet, happy baby (I'm sure it helped that he was latching on correctly so he wasn't hungry all the time!).  He did the nightly scream for months, and he didn't sleep through the night for a year either, but he liked to be held and snuggled, and would also be content sitting in his swing or playing with some toys.

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