Baby Number 3, Life, parenting

The Discipline Dilemma

My partner and I are not sure how to effectively discipline our daughter. Or rather, we can’t agree.

Matt believes discipline requires physical punishment – ‘I was hit and I turned out great’. I would rather discipline in a more positive manner. Positive discipline does sound a little like an oxymoron, but by that I just mean in a gentle, non-physical way.

Luckily Charlie doesn’t require much discipline just yet, so we have awhile to decide (read: convince the other parent) But our time is running out. 

Personally I believe the yelling, hitting etc is damaging. I don’t even like it when my mother-in-law calls Charlie a ‘ratbag’ although I know she says it affectionately, because I don’t like the negative name-calling. Labelling a child as ‘naughty’ etc can hurt them, in my opinion. This opinion was formed from my own emotionally abusive childhood (I have not written about my childhood before – when I do you’re in for one big, crazy post!). 

I want to gently guide my daughter towards being well-behaved and teach her that certain actions and behaviour are not okay, and why they’re not okay. I believe hitting her, while it may scare her off doing something against the rules, will not teach her why she shouldn’t do it – just to fear the punishment if she does. I also don’t want to call her names or label her as ‘naughty’ etc, because I want her to understand that the problem is not her, but her actions, and she can control her actions to solve the problem.

Matt believes children need to be hit to be correctly disciplined. He was, and I quote, ‘beaten the shit out of’ when he did something wrong; and he agrees with what his parents did. I asked his mother about it and she said they never ‘beat him up’, they simply ‘punished him when he deserved it’ – lady, there is a damn fine line between your “punishment” and child abuse. I know you see a difference, but I don’t see much of one.

So my discipline dilemma is that my partner and I are polar opposites on this subject. I also question whether what I believe is right – what if I end up with an unruly, entitled kid thanks to my gentle disciplining? Normally I am extremely confident in my parenting decisions. Everything I do as a parent is done with a lot of thought, and I fiercely believe what I’m doing is what’s best for my daughter. But here I’m not sure, because my business partner in this whole parenting gig has never been against anything I’ve done before. 

What do you believe when it comes to discipline vs punishment? And what would you do or say to convince your other half your way is the way to go?

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Babyloss, Life

So many 2 year olds.

Quite a few of the children around me have turned 2 lately. It’s a bit hard seeing them happily celebrate their birthdays, because my boys should be here doing that too.  (My personal Facebook status from 2 years ago today).

Thinking back to two years ago – we were all pregnant at the same time. But these beautiful babies got to live and mine did not. I wouldn’t wish this sort of loss onto anyone, but a part of me wonders how is that fair? 

At the same time another part of me rejoices seeing these beautiful children turn two. They look so happy. I am reminded that the world isn’t a horrible place; it’s the place that took my sons from me but also that gave these children life. It’s so lovely to watch these babes grow up, even though it would have been a lot nicer for my boys to be growing up alongside them. 

These 2-year-olds do serve as a sad reminder of what I’m missing out on, but somehow it’s healing to see them all around me.

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Baby Number 3, Life, parenting

Food on every surface.

Parenting is messy. Right now I’m typing this on a keyboard half smeared with peanut butter, and my darling Charlie is trying to help me type with her honey-covered fingers. I used to hate having the tiniest speck dirt on my clothing, now I get dressed every morning with the assumption that I’ll be covered in food by the end of the day. Because I will. By the end of the day there will be food on every damn surface in the house, and especially me. I don’t know how she does it, because her meals are mostly eaten in the high chair, but she’s just talented I guess.

Then there’s the bodily fluids. Those are really fun. I’m not too fazed by any of it any more, but Matt still can’t change a dirty napping without gagging. Today Charlie has a runny nose (courtesy of her father) which means everything is snotty. It’s not even that congested, but then she’ll sneeze all over her clothing, or wipe her face on my leg or the couch. I’ve lost count of the amount of tissues I’ve used today wiping her face. My poor cherub.

The TV always has a line of grubby little handprints across the bottom, where she can reach. The couch is grimy 90% of the time – the other 10% is immediately after I’ve cleaned it, which seems a pretty pointless task but I do it anyway. I’m avoiding the kitchen right now because the floor is sticky; Charlie had an orange quarter this morning that she decided would be more fun to squeeze than digest.

And here’s me, wearing daggy clothes (because I didn’t want raspberry stains on my good ones), food smooshed into my shorts, haven’t managed to shower yet today. But I don’t mind at all. Charlie is healthy and happy, and playing with her is more important than staying clean. 

I wish my house was always clean. Lord knows I spend enough time cleaning it. I stay up late every night clearing away the destruction of the day, and for a few minutes when I get up every morning I have the clean house I dream of. And then Charlie wakes up. She’s so worth the mess though. I don’t even notice the food on every surface when she’s smiling up at me.

 

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Babyloss, Life

How your short lives had an impact.

To commemorate my boys’ birthday the other week, I asked my friends and family to write something about how my boys had impacted upon their lives. The results were interesting. I had some truly lovely messages, but then some people who I thought cared the most didn’t even bother. I suppose they didn’t know what to say, I don’t begrudge them for that, but it was a little saddening. (status from my personal Facebook; 29/1/2016) 

This was one of my favourites, from a fellow babyloss mumma who I’m quite close to:

Your boys have made a huge impact on my life that’s for sure. 

When I look at their pictures, all I see is pure beauty. The most beautiful boys. 

They have such a special part in my heart. I thank them for bringing me and you together. And I forever have a friend who no matter what understands what I feel. I love to think Andrew and Eric found my little Beau and together they get up to naughty things like 2 year Olds should. 

Your boys are so very lucky to have been born into a family full of love. Parents who will always make their memory live on and still talk about them like they were here. Because they are here, they will never leave you. 

My other two favourites came from surprising sources, people whom I don’t often speak to. Here’s one:

…I’ll say that despite never meeting your boys in the physical world, I feel as though I’ve made contact with them through what you’ve shared. Your eloquent expressions have painted them into the lives of others, teaching lessons of compassion and kindness, and of love and gentle heartedness, all through the beautiful woman who is their mother – the heart they touch the most.
So, I’d like to say that, even though I’ve never had the privilege of shaking their hands or ruffling their hair, I met your sons through your love for them, and I’d like to wish them, and the rest of your family, every happiness.

And the other:

I take a big deep breath as I write this to you. I remember where I was, I remember how hard I’d prayed, I remember I felt like a failure, like I hadn’t prayed hard enough when I found out your sons were heaven bound. I cried and wailed, not because I knew you well, because I didn’t, but because my mothers heart went out to you. The birth and death of your sons ignited something in my heart. I didn’t want you to feel alone so I rang, I just wanted you to know that I cared. I cared you had lost so deeply. I still cry today over it and that’s not something I always do. Something about the loss of your boys helped me to dig deeper within myself to treasure every moment. To be grateful for everything. I was so excited when I saw you with Charlotte, knowing full well it wouldn’t fix anything but that you had a precious baby to mother and love. I’m sorry you didn’t get that opportunity with your boys. You are a beautiful mum.

To know that my sons have had even the tiniest impact on other peoples’ lives, especially the lives of those whom I don’t even know particularly well, is such a comfort. 

Their lives were short, but they meant something, and not just to me. 

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Babyloss, Friends, Life

A Different Kind of Birthday.

Last Saturday should have been my boys’ 2nd birthday. It was a very peaceful day. We went to the national park we visited on their first birthday last year, which we also visited when I was heavily pregnant with them.  

It was very different to their first birthday. There weren’t as many tears, for one. Charlie was there, also, instead of in my belly making me anxious (for those not in the know, on our sons’ first birthday I was also 36+4 weeks pregnant with Charlie, the exact gestation we found our boys’ hearts had stopped beating). 

I still find it unbelievable that I didn’t shed a tear at the national park, and I felt kind of guilty for it on the drive home. When we got home, though, my phone came to life with messages from my family and friends. And those messages got the tears flowing. 

The following Monday I checked the mail to find my boys’ had even received birthday cards and one of my friends had named a star after them. I feel so blessed to have friends who honour my boys like that and help me keep their memory alive. Sometimes it feels like a pretty tough job, especially being that I’m surrounded by a select few (ie: my partner’s family) who won’t even say my boys’ names, let alone celebrate their birthday. Thank you to everybody that reminded me it’s a job I’m not doing alone. 

Thank you for remembering my boys.

 

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