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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

over parenting...

I think with the arrival of baby #2 coming at warp speed, I cannot help but think back to my parenting skills with Hadlea. I was definitely one of 'those people' that thought they knew the ways of the parenting land before I even had a child. I knew what they should be eating, drinking, learning, etc... or I sure thought so! Man... what a hard headed, picky, stubborn and sassy willed child will do to your 'knowledge' ...and self-esteem!

I swore Hadlea would NEVER drink pop. IF she got juice it would always be watered down. She MIGHT get candy on a VERY rare occasion. She would NEVER sleep in our bed as a baby. She WOULD have a strict routine bed schedule. She would NOT be staying at any one's house until she was old enough to tell me what she did while there.

I had another thing coming! The sleepless nights will make you sleep anywhere with your child just to get some rest. I can honestly say Hadlea never 'slept' all night in our bed, but she did lay with us when she wouldn't sleep.
Another thing that opened my eyes to my 'before parenting' thoughts was I had a friend that said she 'over parented'! I know I looked at her very strange. She continued on saying she couldn't just 'play' with her kids because she always worried about the mess or things being unorganized. She was ALWAYS stressed trying to make the very best decision for them. She just couldn't LIVE in the moment. She hated to go to parties because other people allowed their kids to drink pop, eat junk food and candy. She didn't allow her kids to do that so it only upset her kids and ended up with them crying at the party.

There is a little girl we know that is only allowed to eat what her parents send for her. So if there is a birthday or holiday party, she cannot eat what the other kids do. At Hadlea's school parties, we are only allowed to bring fruits, cheeses, crackers, etc. They do allow cookies or cupcakes at each event, but only one parent will bring them so there is not TONS of junk food. The sweet girl that cannot eat this is ALWAYS very sad. I just CANNOT imagine that being my child. I just want to sneak that kid a freaking cookie!

All of this really got me thinking... Would a 'small' drink of pop kill my child? Would a small piece of candy kill my child every few days? And of course that is NO! We hardly give Hadlea any candy at home. Unless someone is at our house or we go somewhere for someone to give her candy, she doesn't get it but on rare occasion. We don't keep pop at our house unless we are having company, so she wouldn't be drinking that at home.

I also know that a little pop and candy are probably better than the fast food that we eat. And man, I do LOVE Chick-fil-A... and so does Hadlea.

I just think there is a middle ground. I think most of us grew up probably drinking and eating whatever we wanted because our parents probably had no idea how bad some of the stuff was back then... and we totally survived. I remember going to my Granny and Grandads and my cousin, Malisa, and brother, Jake, and I would get Dr Pepper in little tiny classes for breakfast. We had tea parties with sweet tea and Dr Pepper. Those are some of the greatest memories I have with Malisa... and since she is no longer with us, I don't get to make any other memories. Would I remember having ALL of those tea parties with water... probably so... but since it was something we didn't get to do at home, it made it all that more special.

I guess my point to all of these thoughts are... I hope I can live somewhere in the middle. I want a healthy, happy child... and I want them both to be able to make the right decisions as they get older when I am not there to make the decisions for them. But at the same time, I want them to enjoy something sweet and unhealthy on occasion. I know I couldn't live without it in my life! ...why should they have to?!

Coming off the holidays and spending alot of time with family and friends, I kind of felt like Hadlea had eaten alot of junk. I started offering her better choices and praising her for making the right ones. Like... "Would you like juice or water to drink?" If she said water, I would always say, "Great choice. You make me so proud!" {And if she chose juice, I would just water it down.} Recently, she has been choosing nothing but water. It could be a phase, but  I will continue to praise her hoping she will continue to make the best decisions. Same with snacks, food, etc.

At dinner the other night, she chose water. She said, "What are you having to drink?" I said, "Water". She said, "Great choice momma. I am so proud of you!" ...and wouldn't you know... she does pay attention to me sometimes after all! :-)

Now... Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Close Friends... this does NOT mean you get to start offering her whatever you want! What she gets now is far more than I ever thought she would get, but I think I stressed so much about it when she was super little that I have learned with time that there has to be a middle ground... or a ground that is going to give me a little stress relief! I would honestly be most happy if you never offered her anything but a cup of water and an apple... but I am being realistic after all! :-)

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