Thursday, February 5, 2009

7 Quick Takes on Postpartum Parenting

I'm thankful for Jen's "7 Quick Takes" this week. As you can tell, I haven't had much time to post. My life is just crazy. I 'm coming to terms with that.

1. There's no time like the postpartum, hormonally crazy period to start overanalyzing your parenting. Even though things are getting much better as Calvin and Hobbes re-adjust, we still have plenty of meltdowns and fights these days, for which I blame myself and find multiple ways that I am a failure of a parent. Fun.

2. Sometime around the New Year I had a freak-out moment about Calvin's education for next year. Since he only turns five at the beginning of August and we will probably homeschool overseas, I planned to keep him in the Chinese preschool two days a week and not do kindergarten. Then I decided he needed more structure and opportunities than I was able to give him and started frantically researching school options way too late. Wasn't it much simpler when we could just rely on a good public school system and not have to plan before they were born where they would go? Anyway, I am still looking into the possibility of a four day, half day Pre-K school. Or just sending him to Chinese school more days a week. Or just keeping him home every day and providing a more stable routine for him...any suggestions from those of you who have spirited, emotionally difficult children?

3. Realizing that a week after we add a third child to the house may not be the best time to make decisions, I am also considering what to do with Hobbes and basically freaking out about the entire schooling future of my children before it is even time to worry about it. When did a three-year-old's education become such a serious thing? Should I even be sending him to school?

4. In an effort to pull back and realize that I am my child's first and best teacher, I have been trying to have some fun with my kids this week. I bought them a set of real, kid-sized cooking utensils for Christmas, and Calvin is obsessed with reading the recipe cards and asking to cook things. I let them "cook" dinner tonight (with some help), and it was fantastic! They ate it all since they chose and cooked it, including the asparagus. Moments like that make me think that it would be better to just have them home all the time.

5. Then we have moments where a simple suggestion that Calvin needs to obey turns into an emotional meltdown, screaming, anger, and tears. We had one of those Wednesday morning. He was okay by the time I dropped him off at school, but then Hobbes asked if I had packed something in his bag for show and tell. I hadn't, of course, and I left crying, wondering if I was ever going to get this parenting thing figured out. On these days, I wonder if time away from each other would be the best thing for the two of us and if a loving, engaging school environment on most mornings would help Calvin to learn to manage his emotions more.

6. The baby, who still has no pseudonym for this blog (Come on, readers!), is definitely suffering from reflux. I hate the idea of giving him meds, but I also hate to see him in pain. Anyone dealt with this before? I have cut dairy out of my diet and am giving him the meds until that has time to take effect. I am also giving him probiotics. If you have other suggestions, I am open to them.

7. Despite the emotional upheaval in my life and the fussiness of the baby, I am really enjoying this third boy. He seems to be so sweet and such a good-tempered little guy. Oh, and he sleeps like Calvin and Hobbes never did! He often goes for five of six hour stretches at night. Sweet sleep! He is beautiful...but he often has a serious look on his face, a furrowed brow like Calvin had as a newborn...


wheelsonthebus said...

i have a spirited emotionally difficult child turning 5 in september. we're trying to figure out the same thing you are...

Becky H. said...

The public school system hasn't gone anywhere, you know. If you view it as a mission field, it can be the very crucible on which his faith is formed - as well as an opportunity for you to invite non-beleivers into your life in a natural way.

Jesus made it pretty clear that if you take light out of a place, it will become dark. The only way to help the school system is not to denounce it but to infuse it with a little light.

TwoSquareMeals said...

Emily, It's hard to know if more time with mommy or more time away is best for kids like Calvin and Z...Let me know what you decide.

Becky, I definitely didn't mean to imply that we were keeping Calvin out of public schools for reasons of faith. I am a big proponent of public schools for the most part. I had a great public school experience, and my mom is a public school teacher. I am just critical of the quality of education in our local public schools. The system doesn't allow teachers to just teach and do it well so that it benefits every child. And public school is definitely a bad choice for our Calvin. When in China, I will be sending both boys to state-run schools part time, so I certainly don't object to being light in a dark place!

tipper said...

You are such a thoughtful Mother!! My girls are much older than your boys-but I still panic about their education. We have a wonderful pre-k through 8th grade school 5 minutes from our house. The enrollment is under 250 students for the entire school. But 2 years from now comes high school-and I'm panicking about high school options. So the mothering thing-it continues!

evenshine said...

As to the blog name for the New One...I've been racking my brains but can't think of anything from C&H that would work- if you had a girl you could go with Susie, but "Zombie Snowmen" just doesn't ring with cuteness.

Em the luddite said...

I still think Moe would work fine. Baby Moe sounds cute.

Or you could always pick a philosopher/theologian that goes with his personality. Merton would work.

Nickname unavailable said...

hi friend,
it's certainly different caring for a newborn when you have 2 older kids to make decisions for! i pray for peace and guidance for you... it looks like you have lots of good options before you. the only thing i would add is that i think with all the choices we have now --that weren't available when we were younger-- comes a lie that an actual "best" decision for our kids is out there. thoughtfulness is good but then just pick something and go with it, ya know? and then enjoy watching out for God's blessings and challenges there.

as for the reflux, i'm so sorry that's on the list for you. nathan had that as you might remember. i think you're doing all the best things... you might now just have to wait until his little digestive system is a bit more developped in a few months. and buy up all the laundry detergent you see on sale- b/c lots of laundry might be in your future for a bit! love ya!

this is rach btw... my blogger sig is messed up for some reason.