My love/hate relationship with parenting books

I have a love/hate relationship with parenting books.  I love them because when I pick one up I am hopeful it will hold the solution to whatever problem I am facing at the moment that seems so overwhelming.  And I despise them because they have a way of making you feel like a failure when the advice doesn’t work.  (Also, who has time to read an entire book.  I wound up skimming most of the book, and read in depth the sections that I really needed.  I think all parenting books need to come with pamphlets, with the main points of the whole book in bullet-point sections.)

I’ve consulted with the professionals in the book on a couple different issues: Sleep, introducing solids, getting the girls to sleep all night, and how to manage misbehaviors.  Oh yeah, and how to get them to sleep through the night.

Sleep

The book says: Put your child down from day1 sleepy, but awake.  That way, they can learn to soothe themselves to sleep.

My experience: Hahahahahaha!!  Our transfers to the crib would go something like this: YES! Baby is almost asleep.  Shhh….tiptoe to the crib.  Put her down.  No, don’t open your eyes.  Oh, please don’t scrunch your face like that, because that scrunchy face is followed by a cry.  No, don’t scream.  Please don’t scream.  You’re going to wake up your sister!!  Okay, okay.  Baby wins.

Wouldn’t it be nice if baby’s sleep came natural?  But when we put our newborn down, they didn’t go to sleep.  They cry.  And you can’t let a newborn “cry-it-out.”  It’s just plain cruel.

Reality: When the babies started crying, and it was 2 AM I just held that baby or let them comfort nurse to let them sleep, which in turn meant that I could get at least a few minutes of sleep.

The book says: Feed the baby on a schedule, and have naps at set times.

Our experience: This worked after awhile.  I finally got the girls on the same schedule when the girls were five months old.  Katherine liked to sleep for 2-3 hours at a time.  Layla?  No more than 90 minutes.

Reality: The babies were the bosses for awhile and ran the show.

Introducing Solids

The book says: Introduce solids at six months.  Start with rice cereal mixed with formula or breast milk.  Then move on to pureed vegetables.  Just keep trying every day at the same time.

Our experience: Our girls didn’t like anything until about fourteen months, unless it was a cracker.  Or cheese!  Katherine just simply refused to open her mouth for the spoon, and would occasionally eat finger foods.  Layla was the opposite.  She had trouble chewing finger foods, and sometimes she would let us feed her with the spoon.  Other days, it would have been easier to try and spoon feed an alligator.

Reality: The girls ate solids when they were ready.

Breastfeeding

The book says: Don’t introduce bottles too early or it can create “nipple-confusion.”

My experience: My girls used bottles for awhile, then because of painful latching while they were nursing I decided to stop bottle feeding for awhile.  Wrong choice.  They decided they didn’t want bottles after that.

Reality: For the sake of sanity, bottles would have been nice to be able to offer.

Some people swear by certain parenting books.  And to them, I say “Congratulations! Great!  Fantastic! I’m happy for you!”  But for the others who scratch their head after all the tips in the parenting books fail, I understand.  And in the end, regardless of if the books work or don’t, we as parents typically find what works for our children and for our own families.  We modify, adapt and make something work.  Of course, maybe if I actually read the whole book instead of reading only the first half and then skimming the second half, maybe I would have a higher success rate!


Cute/Funny things my children did this week

I love the stage my twins are in right now.  They are learning so much, they love to imitate, and they are learning how to interact with others.  These past couple weeks they have done a few things that I thought would be fun to share with you.

A helping hand

For Christmas the girls each got a little pink “car” to ride on.  It has a handle on the back so it can be pushed, or the girls can get on the car and use their feet to propel it.  Before this week they hadn’t really paid a whole lot of attention to them.  And then they realized they could chase each other in them.  Pretty soon I heard giggles up and down our hallway where Layla went first and Katherine following close behind.

When they were done chasing each other, they went to move onto the next toy.  Now, Katherine hasn’t mastered getting off the cart gracefully and will ask for help.  I was getting ready to go over to help the other day, when I saw Layla go over and give Katherine her hand to help her out.  Katherine stood up with the help of Layla, and then told Layla “thank you.”  The girls kept right on playing.  It melted my heart to see one girl helping the other one out.

I need Mommy!

The girls are starting to put words into phrases.  Most of them are two words together.  But recently Katherine put together a phrase of her own.  I first heard it when she ran out of food and I didn’t notice right away, and she very urgently told me, “I need more!”  (emphasis on the word more).

Then, a few days later I left my girls with a friend for a few hours.  I walked into the house and started talking.  Katherine heard me from another room and started running for me saying “Mommy, Mommy,” followed by a very clear “I NEED MOMMY!”

I have to admit that was one of my favorite moments of being a mommy so far.

Bottoms Up

Bottoms

Bottoms up!

Eloy always checks on the girls before he heads to bed.  It has been his thing since the first day they came home.  Two nights ago Eloy came into our bedroom laughing and waved at me to come into the girls’ room.  “Get in here and look at your girl.”

I walked in and saw Katherine first.  Nothing new there.  She was sleeping peacefully. Then I looked at Layla.  She was sleeping on her tummy, bottom in the air.  With her diaper off.  :-O  Now, I have found her after nap time with her diaper half un-strapped and down around her knees (with poop!) but this was a first.  She had never before taken her diaper off before she fell asleep.  We rolled her onto her back and put her diaper back on.  She just looked at us with sleepy eyes that said, “Mom and Dad, what are you doing in my room at night waking me up.”

Now, for a while, she will be sleeping in onesies and pants!

“I love you!”

The girls can now say “I love you” and it melts my heart every time.  The “L’s” sound more like soft “Y’s” making it even more adorable.  Tonight we put the girls down for bed as usual.  I heard Layla kind of singing in her crib.  And then I heard Katherine say “Layla! Layla!  I love you!”

If these girls get any more lovable, I’m not sure my heart can take it.

I love you

“Bleep! #@*%” “QUARTER!”

Coin Jar
I’ll be honest with you. Before college I never used many cuss words. And then, without the parents around to give me that “glare” if I used a naughty word, I slipped into the habit of using more “colorful language.”

Then, after being married a couple of years my husband and I found out we were pregnant (yay!). One of the things we decided to battle before the kids arrived was our bad language that we didn’t want our kids to pick up on.

Our initial attempts went something like this:

3 months to due date

Me:D#*@ it! I can’t find my shoes.

Eloy: What happened to not cussing?

Me: S@$! We still have a while. Who cares.

3 months after girls were born

Eloy: Why the h*@^ can’t you go to sleep? It’s 3 in the morning!! Please go to sleep!

Me: What happened to not cussing?

Eloy: They can’t understand us yet.

Me: No, but it won’t be long!

And then our new solution

Every time we said a bad word, we would tell each other “quarter,” which we were supposed to then owe into a college fund for the girls. For the next 6 months we used that cue all the time. Unfortunately, we never got a jar out. Otherwise we might have had a pretty good start on the college fund by now.
Quarters