French Parenting

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It was 2014 and we had been married less than 6 months. I taught RPM (spin) Friday nights at 5:30 and my biggest fear (I’m sure every female instructors fear!) was to start my period on the bike in the middle of teaching! Have I mentioned I over share? Anyway, around the time I was supposed to start I’d always prepare. Well this Friday I didn’t. Didn’t even think about it till I got home and thought holy moly that was lucky…wait I feel like I was supposed to start. We had plans to go out with our friend Tyler for drinks and he was at our house waiting for us to get ready to go. I thought “no big deal take a test before we go that way you can drink in peace”.

I took a pregnancy test. Two lines. I called to Pat to come to the bathroom (super weird request when you’re still trying to keep the romance alive). With a shaky voice I ask him how many lines he see’s. “Two. wait what does that mean?” Me: “umm I’m pregnant” We stand there while time stops waiting for a reaction out of us until finally Pat looks at me, “we’re…happy..right?” Me: “yes… right? aren’t we?” Pat: “yes”. After making the decision we were excited and happy about this we also agreed not to tell anyone until we were really sure! Poor Tyler sitting in our living room having no clue whats going on but strangely apart of our story.

Right away we started worrying. We got books, people bought us books, there were real books and kindle books until my eyes crossed.  So much information I felt like I was drowning in reading material. Which sounded like the dream until it was happening and the information was slowly but surely choking the life out me. All of these American books were great.  However, there was just so much information and all of it contradicted itself. “Attachment parenting: constantly being attached to your child and sleep with them in your bed and wear them during the day.” Then there would be a book that suggested exactly the opposite. “baby should never be in your bed. Or even allowed in your room, let them cry it out”. Well which is it?

Reminds me of the show Last Man Standing when they are talking about parenting and the mom says “No one gives you a book on how to raise a kid” and the son-in-law comes back with “there are literally thousands of book on that”. True.

Finally my sister-in-law suggested a book on French parenting. Open to any suggestion and on the verge of panicking I bought the book. Mind Blown! From the first chapter I was hooked! I couldn’t put it down and was so excited. Finally something that sounded like it fit our lifestyle. Fitting the baby into OUR life instead of turning our lives upside down to accommodate the baby. Having a frame-work of rules but then freedom within that frame for them to grow. Getting baby to sleep through the night at 4 weeks old. Sign me up!

It got to the point where I would say things and my husband would automatically come back with “we aren’t French”. But we are now sweet heart! At least we tried to be. I feel like we sleep trained the French way and it went really well. They do what they call “The Pause”. When they wake up and make noise you pause before going to get them. Give them a chance to go back to sleep on their own. Easier said than done. Especially when you are sleep deprived and wondering if its real crying or if that sound is permanently going on in your head.

Rylan is 2 years old and I learned the hard lesson of  nothing ever goes as planned. So while I started with great intentions that famous quote going around rings true as ever.

“We were the best parents in the world, till we became parents”.

I don’t know who said it but they are a genius.  We all think we have it figured out and know what’s going to work but the truth is we don’t. Not even close. Are we raising Rylan French? ummm depends on the day, who you ask, and how much sleep I’ve gotten in the last week. I have moments where I throw a tantrum and scream that we are going back to being French! Then I’m reminded that we are not French, we were never French and our daughter is perfectly fine. Damn that husband and his voice of reason.

That being said this parenting crap is hard and I wish each and every one of you good luck.  Its kinda like the Hunger Games out there. So to all the moms that find their way here. I’m with ya! May the odds be ever in your favor!

 

 

 

Its a scrape

Text from Pat: “Wow! She skinned her knee a little and its mayhem, I want mommy, I want mommy!  hope you are on your way home soon”

I wasn’t. I had to teach another class and wouldn’t be home for an hour and a half. Thank goodness my phone was on airplane mode and I wouldn’t get that text till I was in fact, on my way home. I wouldn’t have been able to think of anything else.

When I got home they were waiting for me outside. She wasn’t crying but still had sparkling eyes from the massive amounts of tears that had occurred before I got there. It breaks my heart so much when she’s hurting, whether its her feelings or the scrape on her knee, I just want to make it better. That being said I had to laugh out loud when my husband handed her to me and she had made her little legs like statues not moving her legs from the bent knee position and legs open for me to put her on my hip. it was like she was petrified and she kept a VERY close eye on that knee the whole time. She did not laugh with me!

It was a scrape. Not even real blood just red from the fall on dirt. She did not walk on it all night and while I did milk it with her for a little bit (letting her sit in our room with her iPad until bed time) finally it went from adorable to either concerning or we need to tough love it. By some miracle we got her to sleep and I was thinking we were in the clear. She would wake up in the morning and not even know it’s there! She’d climb out of her “big girl bed” and slam the door like always before running down the hall to our room stuffed animals and blankets in tow.

Nope. Woke up calling for me telling me her knee hurt and I had to carry her. Only it comes out “knee hurt mama I want to hooold you” (super whinny). Which by the way goes back and forth between being adorable and incredibly annoying. Yes I called my kid annoying. Anyone who hasn’t said that before is a liar. Or heavily medicated (no judgment just a fact). I carried her out to the living room and she still wouldn’t put any weight on it. I told her she had to stand, not even walk, just stand up or we’d have to go to the doctor. She stood on her other leg and then sits down and says “Doctor George come here then”. No sweetie the doctor is not coming to our house.

I called the doctor and made an apt. Yes for a scrape. I wasn’t worried about the scrape but was pretty concerned that more than 12 hours later she still wouldn’t even consider putting weight on her leg without a total meltdown.  I didn’t want to be the mom that says “you’re fine, walk it off” and find out she has a shattered knee cap! We scheduled it for the afternoon so that we would give her some time to walk on it. Finally she did! Slowly and very dramatically she began to stand and put weight on her foot. It literally looked like when Bambi first started to walk. Wobbly and then falling for no apparent reason. But through this I learned a few things. 1) My child may have a career as an actress. 2) Do not panic and call the doctor for a scrape. 3) milking it doesn’t help anyone! 4) Last but not least do not laugh a toddler who thinks they are dying. They will not lighten up and laugh, it only makes it worse. Much, much worse.

The list could go on and on but the truth is I will probably milk it again for her next time it happens because she’s my baby and that’s what we do. My mom milked it for me and I turned out fine-ish. It was just an “ah-ha” moment that we are going into the next chapter of dramatic ouchies, don’t look at it flip outs, and I can do it myselfs. Every growing chapter has been my favorite and I’m sure this next one will be no different. Hard? Yes. Scary? Absolutely! Fun and adventurous? Looking forward to it.

Heat Stress

IMG_5751As a human there is always a million things to worry about. That is just part of life. But when you are responsible for the life of another living creature its a whole new ball game. I experienced it first when getting a puppy. As a child you think it’s all fun and games,throwing balls, and cuddles. But that first time it sprints away from you towards traffic and you suddenly can’t remember how to breathe, it hits you. You are responsible.

Take that feeling and multiply it by about a trillion when you have a baby. I remember after my very unplanned c-section being exhausted and having a baby that wouldn’t stop crying, and wondering what the heck we had gotten ourselves into! We were terrified and that was in the hospital with a whole team of nurses and doctors available at the push of a button.

Then it got so much worse! No complications, the baby was healthy but the doctor and nurse came and said we’d be able to leave that afternoon.  Umm.. leave? No. It can’t be that easy. I don’t know what I’m doing yet. You people are just going to let me take home this extremely fragile human life and trust that I’m competent to take care of it?! All that flashes through my head is Robin on How I Met Your Mother freaking out over the easily accessible “self destruct button” on the top of their heads!

Of course everything was fine. We really are responsible parents and people for the most part. But thank goodness we had her in the winter! I mean there’s cold and flu season to worry about but that was the most of my concerns as you usually stay home a lot with a new born. It’s also manageable if you keep everyone far away and a bottle of Purell by the door. And in the bathroom. And the living room coffee table. We were one step away from spraying people with Lysol as they walked through the door.

I didn’t realize how scared of summer months I was until today. Having a toddler makes most things terrifying. However, its been 112 degrees outside and this morning it was only high 90’s so it felt good to be in the shaded back yard. We have a plastic play ground that was gifted to us with two slides and some tunnels to climb through that’s been neglected over the entire winter and covered in leaves, dirt, and spider webs. Before use it  would need a pressure washer and to be honest at trip to the dump is in its future. So naturally my 2 1/2 year old wants to play with it. Only it.

Literally 3 minutes and here’s where my head went. Spiders, other bugs that bite, leaf pile and snakes, heat stroke, sun burn, other animals that could be hiding (unlikely since I can see all of it), any spray the pest guy has used, and fumes from the cars driving by our busy road. Super dramatic I’m aware but still that’s how my mind work. In general summer scares me and I also worry about pools, lakes, rivers, and any real body of water where there could be a life changing accident. Things I don’t worry about at much in my beloved winter.

I don’t think my fears will ever go away. But with the help of my tribe all around me I’m learning to relax. I have no secret formula for this (if you do PLEASE message me! Reward offered!) other than having faith. Faith that everything will be okay and that God is watching out for us. Faith that insect repellent and sunscreen are made well and will do their job. Faith that my husband and I are doing a good job and will keep an eye out and protect her the best we can. Enjoying the activities that summer bring is helpful and thinking of all the amazing memories she’ll have when she’s older helps. Also not wanting to project my hatred of summer on to her is important. Although I can’t help smile when we are driving and she says “go away sun!” when its on her face. I laugh out loud when we go outside and she says “I don’t yike this heat go away sun”. The pluviophile mama is proud!

Accidents will happen no matter what time of year all I can do is try to control the anxiety that gets so much worse in the summer.

Pluviophile in 110 Degree weather

 

It’s the end of June and start of the heat waves and while everyone else is excited and already enjoying the sun I’m still in mourning over the winter ending.

Everyone thinks fun and freedom when they think of summer while I’m over here thinking of my make up melting off, my car seat burning my bum, and the struggle of not being able to find clothes that simultaneously cover my body and are light enough to not give me heat stroke.

It’s not all bad. I do see the appeal to summer. Its not that I hate the sun. Wait… I kind of do! Its more that I just love the rain! I love when it’s not raining but overcast and you can cuddle up on the couch and read, or open a window and get that cold breeze and fresh clean smelling air come through the house. I love that you can bake without dying.  I love how it feels like the world is getting a shower and everything is green and pretty.  Of course there’s a whole new list for when its snows! Mostly I love that I can always put a layer on or cover up when its cold out. Summer you can only take off so much before people start getting offended or someone calling the cops.

That being said I am learning to love the sun and all brightness that comes with it. I have my 2-year-old daughter and living in the mountains to thank for that. You can’t stay inside forever with a toddler (not without burning down the house or getting a drinking problem). So I’m learning to love things that make her face light up. Sitting outside and eating a popsicle, splashing in the pool and watching her “go all the way under” when she hold her nose and dips her chin in,  and the smell of good sunscreen.

I have to mentally prepare myself to get excited and find the things in summer that make me happy. So we are going to spend a lot of time at the lake, pool, and at friends houses with air conditioning! I’m totally up for suggestions as I’m new at this and am sure there are summer people who have amazing ideas! I’d love to hear them.

So while I mourn the loss of my clean rain smell, I smile and think of my friend on the golf course saying “don’t you just love the smell of hot dirt?”…. umm no. But the thought and smell make me smile and its a start.