Hmmmm, in a foul mood and probably should not be writing when I'm like this. But here goes, and btw this is NOT aimed at anyone who might even possibly be reading this, so if you are reading this, please don't think I mean you!
What is on my mind today is people, especially jerky ones, who do not have children or have not had children in 50 years or so, who want to give me advice about how to raise mine. I do not like this. They may shove it. I shall let them chose where.
Children are annoying, this is just a fact of life. Anyone who has had children knows this. There's no way to escape it. Grown people are annoying too, and have bad days, and get tired and cranky. The only difference is, children do not have the self-control that grown-ups should have by now developed, and yet, grown-ups (mostly the ones who are cranky and annoying themselves!) seem to think that when a small child is tired and cranky, their parents should somehow beat it out of them.
Before I had children, I had all kinds of therories myself. I was gonna discipline my children this way or that way and they were gonna be perfect and respectful and sweet and behave and sit still like little happy robots. Then I had my first one, and Brenna made it quite clear to me that I, as her mother, had NO control over her mood, her thoughts, her feelings, and for a long time, her behavior.
It seems that the most judgement comes from people at my place of woship, and this can be very distressing to me. No one outside of my immediate family knows exactly what I go through to get there twice a week. The hours of preparation, trying to schedule feedings and naps and baths and getting dressed so that everyone arrives there on time, relatively clean, and if all goes well, not starving and not exhausted. By the time we get there, I always feel as if I have just run a mini-marathon. I'm tired, my back is KILLING me, (I've had bad back problems for years, and believe me, they're exacerbated by carrying around giant babies!) Most of the time it's a complete fight for me to make myself get there and have everyone in my family ready and dressed. Thank goodness for all the kindhearted people there who say things like "I don't know how you do it!" "You're my hero!" "You don't know how encouraging it is for me to see you here, when I'm tired and don't feel like coming, I tell myself I have to because if you can do it with twins, I have no excuse." People who say things like that make me fight even harder to be there. There are also the people who take the babies for me and help me with them, so that I can pay attention while I'm there for at least a few minutes. To all these people, I say a huge thank you!
However, once I get there and sit down, I usually have about 20 to 30 minutes of good behavior out of the twins, on a good day. That is about their limit for sitting still and quietly. They are not quite a year old, and being able to sit quietly for 30 minutes is pretty good for that age, if you ask me, and this is my third and fourth child, so I do have a little experience with such things. Now after about the 30 minute mark, they're growing restless. They want to have a snack, or get down and crawl/walk, or they're desperate to go to sleep, and they won't sleep with someone holding them. This is where things start to get dicey.
The whining starts, and the fussing. I hand them a baby book or something to try to keep them quiet, and they throw it or scream out. I give them the scary mommy face and tell them to hush, they scream again. Now that they're almost a year old, I take them into the back sometimes and pop their behind, telling them very sternly to hush, and be quiet, and as soon as the crying stops, I go back to my seat. But invariably, when my butt hits the chair, they begin crying again. At this point, what exactly am I supposed to do? I can't keep sitting there, because they are disturbing everyone with their crying. But when I get up to take them out, they are happy they're getting to get up, which is exactly what they wanted, and they immediately get quiet.
I try taking them out where no one can hear them crying and making them sit still on my lap, but they wriggle and fight and throw themselves backwards off my lap. They are not quite one, for goodness sake, they want to be moving around. And I'm 41 and have a bad back, and by the time all this is going on, I'm exhausted, sweating, and my back muscles feel like they're on fire. When I can't physically do it anymore, I put them down. Then they're happy. They babble and they walk/crawl, and they drink their milk and have a little snack, and then (usually) they're happy. I KNOW that it's not optimal for them to be having fun in the back, because now they'll always request to go back there instead of sitting still. I'm AWARE of this. But dadgummit, what am I supposed to do when I've got no fight left in me?
Then I have to hear the comments. "They really have got you trained, don't they?" "Have you noticed that as soon as you get up to take them out, they get quiet?"
YES, I HAVE NOTICED. AND YES, I AM EMBARRASSED BY IT. But what exactly would you recommend that I do? I try the popping and returning to the seat, so far, since they are still BABIES, it hasn't worked. So should I just continue to sit there and let them cry at the seat? Do the people complaining not mind if I just sit there while the babies cry in their ear? Should I not put them down in the back and let them toddle around? Well, that sounds great, but my spine is about to snap in half, so that's not quite physically possible for me. Should I not feed them a snack or give them milk? They are not quite one, have tiny tummies, and need to eat many times a day. They are BABIES, not tiny adults. And if I make them stay hungry, trust me, they will NOT be any quieter. As an experienced mother, I know that this is a phase. Brenna and Dalton put me through the same thing, but they no longer cry to get up and go to the back or ask for snacks during the meeting. This does not last forever, it's a thing that happens with babies, and one has to find a way to get through it.
Funny thing is, it's almost always the people who have no children, or had their children long, loooonnnnggg ago who have all the criticism. I would actually not mind advice from say, a person who also raised 4 children, or a person who raised their kids later in life and knows what it's like to be older and trying to do this parenting stuff with a body that's falling apart. Or a person who had twins and knows how it feels to be outnumbered by babies, and the battle that goes on just to be able to GET there, much less keep them quiet. But it's never those people. Those are the people who pat my back and say "good job, I don't know how you do it."
So to the others, the ones with the smug looks and the whispers and the snide remarks and the criticism: I love you as my brother or sister, and yet, you can feel free to shove it. I'll let you decide where. Have a great afternoon! :)