What Kind of Parent am I? 2nd ed.

Two years ago I wrote a post about what kind of parent I was, and a long time blog reader of mine happened upon it this week and asked for an update now that I have 2 kids and am 2 years further into this whole parenting gig. She asked: Are things all the exact same? Different? Has toddlerhood changed any of it? Having two? Get to work, lady! I’m curious.

This is actually something I’ve been thinking about writing about just for posterity, so here goes!

Stella was 4 months old when I wrote this:

I think my parents had an awesome parenting “style,” and I’m sure it has influenced my own choices. Leading by example. Teaching the importance of love and respect. Not getting too shook up about things. Co-sleeping when needed. Spacing of vaccinations (doing most all of them, but on a delayed schedule). Using cloth diapers. Faith and love for God.

So far I think Charlie and I have pretty much stuck to that same basic premise or style of parenting since I wrote that two years ago, and we’ve honestly become even more relaxed about most things since Harvey joined our family. I don’t know if that’s because we are parenting with more experience, because Harvey is a more chill baby, or most likely a combination of those two factors, but it’s been really nice. Parenting a toddler has definitely stretched our levels of patience (the biggest thing we are working on improving on as parents), but for the most part we really are on the same page as pretty laid back parents, which is nice.

Below are a few of the comparisons of how the kids differ or how our parenting of them differs:

Nourishment (Breast milk & Solid Food):

It seems I’m in the middle of the road about all of this. At 26 months old, Stella has definitely eaten her share of Cheetos (my example from my last post of what I was hoping to NOT feed her), but I am a stickler for the most part about buying organic milk, produce, and meat for her, and I cook with very little salt and sugar. She was EBF until 6 months, ate whole, nutritious foods & drank only breast milk until 12 months, and ate VERY healthily (and drank cows milk & breast milk) until about 18 months. Then the infamous toddler pickiness set in, and ya… a few of my hard & fast rules about food went by the wayside when I just wanted her to eat SOMETHING. Now that she’s 28 months old and starting to eat a wider variety of foods again, I need to get better about getting veggies and non-diary protein into her. The child lived on milk, yogurt, cheese, noodles, beans, peanut butter toast, cereal, oatmeal, & fruit for the past year it seems like. *sigh* With Harvey I’m guessing we’ll follow a similar path – I’m hoping to not have to do formula at all with him either, and we plan on doing Baby Led Weaning starting at 6 months with him too. It will be a good reason for me to get back to cooking healthier meals as well!

Sleep:

With Stella, she was tightly swaddled and slept on her back for 6 months (she was never a roller). Harvey made it VERY clear that he didn’t want OR need to be swaddled in order to sleep well, and from the very beginning he has wanted to sleep on his side, so we just let him. He even sleeps partially on his belly at times, and he has such a strong neck (and I’m right next to him) that I’ve never really worried about it. I know they say “back is best” for SIDS reasons, but for some reason I’ve never stressed about SIDS (probably because we’re safely co-sleeping and that is proven to reduce the incidence of it happening), so if my kid wants to sleep on his tummy, so be it. At the same time, when he’s sleeping in the swing and starts fussing, we definitely let him fuss a little longer before going to him, and he often is able to settle back to sleep within a couple of minutes by himself. I’m guessing that’s a big part of the reason that he’s a much better sleeper than his sister was at this age.

Diapers:

We are cloth diapering with Harv, just like we did with Stella. However, we had newborn sized diapers for him, so we started immediately (post meconium poop stage) instead of at 4 weeks old, but since he started sleeping long stretches at night, we switched to disposables at night (which we didn’t do with Stella until she was over a year old I think?). I just don’t feel like dealing with extra inserts and such at night, and I’m fine with using 1 disposable diaper each day. Charlie honestly doesn’t care either way. 🙂

Car Seat:

Harv is awesome in his car seat. He either sleeps or looks around, contentedly sucking on his thumb. That’s a welcome change of pace from his big sister who HOWLED in the car seat for her first year of life. As far as safety goes, this is something I’ll actually be stricter about this time around. Stella’s Nana changed her to forward facing at 1 year old (24#) – and though it drove me nuts, I didn’t say anything. This time I’ve already made it clear that I expect Harvey to be rear facing until at least 2 years old. I just didn’t know as much about car seat safety last time & wasn’t as comfortable asserting my wishes as a parent.

Baby Monitor:

We haven’t even brought it out yet this time. If he’s sleeping upstairs, we just leave the door open and figure we’ll hear him when he wakes up. I think we’ll start using it a little as summer gets into full swing because it will be nice to be outside later into the evening, but it’s funny to me that we haven’t even plugged it in yet this time around!

Faith & Love for God:

We went to church when Stella was little, but once she settled into 2 naps per day, we didn’t really go for a year because it seemed nuts to go to a 10am church service when she normally slept from 9-11am. Last fall we started going consistently again (she sleeps from 12-3 now), and I’m hoping that we’ll keep up with that, even when Harvey is normally supposed to be sleeping at that time. I think it’s important for our family to keep going weekly – it’s just a great time for us to regroup and think about our faith every week, and I love that Stella is getting a little formal education through Sunday School about the basics of our beliefs.

*****

Honestly, this post could go on and on about the nitty gritty of what we have been doing as parents, but all in all, I’d say that we’re in a really comfortable, easy routine as a family of four right now. Harvey has been a blessedly easy baby, Stella has adjusted phenomenally well to being a big sister, and Charlie and I are in a comfortable parenting groove and surrounded by helpful family & friends. For all of the hardship & sadness in our lives lately, I know that when it comes down to it, we truly are blessed.

Next up? Working on our patience with those impressive toddler tantrums. Sheesh! 🙂

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12 comments

  1. mcmissis · · Reply

    Yay! Great post 🙂 I’ve always wondered if we let Gracie sleep on her tummy as an infant if she’d sleep better. But I’m guessing not since she’s 3 1/2, sleeps however the hell she feels like, and still wakes us up once or twice (or more!!!!) every night 🙂 And yes, patience is a tough one with the toddler set. Then sometimes I feel like I’m too patient and it’s turning into ignoring :/

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    1. I cross my fingers every day that my kids will sleep better than Gracie. 🙂

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  2. I have also been wanting to ask you how things have been going with two:) I have a number of “2nd edition” posts in my draft folder because I am also getting that question a lot, especially now that a lot of friends are having or thinking about #2.

    And OMG those tantrums! G hasn’t had an epic one for a couple weeks, but he is WHINING constantly and I hate that more than the tantrums, I think.

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    1. True, “just because you whine doesn’t mean you’ll get it’ is a phrase OFT repeated in this house.

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  3. It’s nice to read an update and how things may or may not have changed now two years later and with another baby in the mix. I like to think I’m a laid back, patient parent, but if I’m being honest…I’m not. The littlest thing that Chloe does, if she were an only child, wouldn’t bother me so much. But if she’s loud, or doing something she knows she’s not supposed to and it affects Drake in some way, I’m harder on her and quick to yell. I hate that about myself and am aware and focusing on getting better each day. I guess my worry is since they are not in daycare or school of any kind to get some instruction, their actions are a direct reflection of JJ and I and our parenting. And although toddlers are sure to misbehave, I want them to know that feet on the table or jumping on the couch for example is not acceptable. I don’t know, I hope that doesn’t seem too harsh to anyone, but it’s those types of things that make me feel like I’m not as laid back as I hoped I’d be.

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    1. Awh Steph, don’t be so hard on yourself. Being a laid back parent doesn’t mean you don’t still set boundaries and rules! Like I said, my patience with Stella is definitely the #1 thing I need to work on. Overall I think we’re pretty consistent parents in what we allow/expect of her though, and the combination of that + her inherent personality makes it easier to yell less often. Like I said though, having rules & expectations is part of your job as a parent IMO – it doesn’t make you uptight!

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    2. mcmissis · · Reply

      Oh, I so did this going from one to two. Looking back, and even moments later, I feel so bad getting too upset about things that affect the baby. Now that we have our third, our second seems sooooo much younger than our first did at that age and it makes me feel even worse for expecting so much of my first back then 😦

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      1. Yes, exactly this. My first is still young – she’s not even 3 yet. As soon as my second came, it was like I forgot my (then 22 month old) was still almost a baby herself and I expected her to know an act like an adult. Weird how that changes when another little person enters the equation and daily I am faced with situations where I still have to remember she is so young and I need to teach her the right ways rather than expect her to know.

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  4. I’m glad you did an update on all this. I was curious as well at how things changed. With Stella on the carseat issue, did she do better once you switched to forward facing? I know with my daughter I switched her to forward facing at about 14 months as soon as she hit the 20 pound requirement on the seat, but because rear facing made her horribly car sick and she would constantly projectile vomit all over the seat and would scream the entire time. After switching, no issues at all. In talking to my family doctor he said that is common with about 1 in 25 babies where they actually do better forward facing because rear facing causes them to feel sick so they will scream all the time or vomit. Just thought that was interesting because I know for me, I’ve had several women flip out at me in store parking lots before because of my horrible parenting because of flipping the carseat around too early in their opinion.

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  5. Baby Hopes · · Reply

    I loved this post!!! It is so great to see your thoughts as you work through these parenting choices with Harvey. We do a lot of the same things with parenting it seems (BLW, co-sleeping, etc.) and a lot of what you said about faith and church hit home. We stopped for about a year as well – largely because if we were there, we were with her in the cry room or nursery anyway. We just started getting back into going the past couple of months, and I’m so grateful for the time to recenter as a family and connect with the community! Thank you for your post!

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  6. Great to hear an update! 🙂 It sounds like you and Charlie are both sticking with a lot of your original parenting techniques/ideas, and even a bit more relaxed now with number two. Oh how I would love to get to the point of Lids eating proper meals and healthy foods… and a vegetable…ever. I have to believe that will happen someday!!! :/ And yeah, toddler tantrums.. oh how they test us.

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  7. So nice to hear your reflections on these things and I found myself nodding my head to most of it, especially the chill baby, the more relaxed parenting, the Cheetos and the picky toddler, and of course the constant challenge of patience. I think it’s so important to reflect on all these areas and once again you’re a great motivator on this front. And i let Freya sleep other tummy beside me too.

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