Two-Time Parent Doesn't Check Diaper of Crying Baby

Monday, October 06, 2008
How's that for a blog post title? Sadly, it's true.

My mind is alert this morning with news that my friend Miriam is delivering her baby, but physically, I'm dreadfully tired after pulling an all-nighter with Juniper. And how disappointing it was for me to cancel plans I had with a friend this morning, though I know she understands.

I laughed inwardly this summer when I was in New Jersey and watched the seventy-year old mother of my friend hold a four month old baby, who was crying incessantly. She asked me if I thought she needed a diaper change, and I said no, that I'm sure she just wanted her mother, who was away at the time. I remember thinking that it was funny how people assume crying babies must need diaper changes. It seemed like an old-fashioned way of thinking to me.

Well, perhaps this mother needs a little old-fashioned thinking. Juniper was up most of the night, and I didn't get more than an hour of sleep at a time. I'm sure any mother can relate to the torture of having just fallen asleep, only to be awoken once again by a restless baby that just can't sleep. I've always believed that babies cry for a reason, but sometimes it's so hard to figure out what is keeping them awake. I nursed Juniper time and time again to sleep, and never once did it occur to me to check her diaper, because neither one of my babies have ever pooped their diapers in the night, although I've heard from other mothers that their babies do this quite often. Well, poor little Juniper had pooped in her diaper at some point last night (I promise I'll delete this post before you reach middle school, Juni), just a little, and the little girl had raw, chapped cheeks this morning, and this for a girl who's never had a diaper rash (I credit Goo Goo Baby Bum Balm by Wild Carrot). I'm sure her bottom was hurting her last night, preventing her from getting sleep, and I didn't know. In the night, I felt so frustrated that she wouldn't go to sleep, but now that I understand what was causing her discomfort, I feel bad that I misread her restlessness for coming down with a cold or teething.

As mothers, our roles aren't easy. Juniper's need last night was simple, and had I fixed it, I'm sure she would have fallen right back to sleep. I'm noticing, however, that as Samuel grows, his needs are becoming much more complex and more challenging for me to meet. In the midst of my own sleep deprivation, personal weaknesses, and ambitions, it's far from easy to clearly see what my children need on a day-to-day basis. And, like last night's example, sometimes it isn't the meeting of the need that's difficult, it's figuring out what the need is in the first place.

I am the oldest of five children, and I know what it's like to be the one child in the family on whom your parents practice parenting skills. I had it so much more strict than many younger siblings in my family! For starters, I had to wait until I was thirteen to shave my legs, and I was the only one in my family with dark hair! This did not make going to summer camp in shorts fun for me! By the time my Mom got to the third and fourth in line, they were shaving by age eleven.

Recently, Landon and I have been using a new strategy to get Samuel completely potty trained. We've been at this for about five months now, and, though he's been potty trained since the first few days we started this process, the other side of potty training hasn't quite worked out so well. We're now using a treasure box (like what they use for kids at the dentist's office when you don't have any cavities) that is working quite well. He hasn't gone in his pants in over a week now. Looking back over the past five months, though, I see many instances in which I pushed him too hard, injected emotion and stress into the situation, and let my frustration get the better of me. I wish I didn't have to practice on Samuel, but it seems like it's the destiny of every firstborn. Juniper is a completely different personality, so there will be new parenting strategies I'll have to use with her for the first time, but when it comes to the basics, she won't have to go through a lot of the trial and error stuff like Sam has.

I think about nursing school off and on, but I know that I only get one chance at raising these two little kids, Sam and Juniper, and that's the most important thing I'll ever do in this life. My ambitions will always be there, but these years I have with my kids will be foundational to the rest of their life, and I want to get it as close to right as I can.


The Ferriter Family said...

Karli!! I have done the diaper mistake as well...Emma, thank God only had it happenonce...Hopefully Sam will figure out potty training. Parker was so quick, Thomas the trains worked for him. However, Emma will have NOTHING to do with the potty, and she thinks she is funny if she tells me as she goes in her pants. Good luck!!!

Jeremy said...

What a great post Karli. You are such a good mom and we all do those forgetful things! I'm sure now one of the first things you'll check at 1am is her diaper :-).

We could have kept each other company last night because Sawyer was up every 1 to 2 hours as well. I'm blaming it on his molars coming in but I was wiped out this morning.

I really hope this new potty training method works for you! I wish I had some ideas for you but you know how it's going for us... or not going as it were. LOL Still full on diapers and no interest whatsoever. I'm excited to hear how Samuel does with his new treasure chest.

Sarah@mommyinjapan said...

It's hard to think clearly in the middle of the night so don't be too hard on yourself. Next time it'll be something else anyways!

As far as the toilet training, just remember, he will be toilet trained before he graduates from high school. This always helps me put things in perspective!

Claudia said...

You are a very good Mommy Karli!! Much better than I was....because of a lot of different circumstances, but you are right, the first is most likely to get the 'harder-end' of parenting!
I am very sorry for the things that I did wrong with parenting you.
I did not know about the 'shaving' thing and how it bothered you though. AND I certainerly do not remember the other kids getting to by 11 but I can't swear by much of anything in paticiluar.
I love you and I think you are doing an awesome job in parenting. You have nothing to feel bad about.
There is some things ( as far as meeting all the needs of your kids) that the child has to figure out for themselves I think. You can pre-think everything for them.

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