Category Archives: real talk

willa’s birth story.

img_2723This post is so overdue, it’s ridiculous.  Our sweet baby Willa is more than 6 weeks old already!  Insert all of the parenting clichés about time flying by here.  But seriously, I can’t even believe it.  I also can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write out her birth story… but here we are!  Finally.

The best way to start this is probably to explain what our “plan” was for baby girl’s arrival.  I use the word “plan” very loosely because based on my first pregnancy, I was aware that things would likely not go exactly the way we wanted them to.  With Crosby, I was induced due to high blood pressure at 38 weeks and then after laboring for a full day, I had an emergency c-section after his heart rate dropped to scary lows, which we found out later was bc his cord was wrapped around his shoulder (ahh, memories…).  This time around, I was hoping for basically the exact opposite labor experience.  Ideally, I wanted to go into labor on my own and deliver via a vbac (vag birth after cesarean).  I wanted to avoid a c-section if possible because of the long and intense recovery it demands, and I also just really wanted to have the experience of delivering my baby this time.  But knowing the likelihood + all the risks of a having vbac, I tried to mentally prepare myself for the high probability of having another c-section.

Cut to my 37-week doctor appointment, when after a relatively healthy pregnancy, my blood pressure was suddenly high.  The nurse took a few readings during that appointment but each time it was high, higher than it should be at that point in pregnancy… so my doctor asked that I monitor it closely at home for a few days and then come back in later that week to check in with her again.  My readings continued to be on the high side throughout the week and again at my next appointment, at which point my doctor said that the baby was better off out than in so I would need to be induced.  Again.  This was the exact same situation that happened with Crosby.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled with this turn of events since I had hoped to go into labor on my own this time… I also didn’t know if it would be possible to have a vbac anymore since many doctors avoid inducing labor when a woman is trying for a vbac.  Casey had come along to my appointment with me so we talked everything over with my doctor, and thankfully she thought that I was still in a good position to at least give an induction/vbac a try before resorting to a c-section again.  So with that in mind, we scheduled my induction for the following week. And then we went home.

You know what’s weird? Scheduling your child’s birth and then attempting to resume normal life for the next few days.  Like, how am I supposed to prepare dinner when I’m having a baby in 3 days?!  It was so hard to focus on anything else.  Crosby kept us in check though.  Having a squirrely toddler to entertain and take care of is about as good of a distraction as you could have in that situation.  And I will say, in some ways it was nice to have a few days to prepare.  My mom and Casey’s parents were able to fly in over the weekend.  They planned to stay at our house and watch Crosby and our dogs while Casey and I were in the hospital.

On Tuesday, October 18th at 7am, Casey and I checked into the hospital.  An hour later I gave birth.  JK, I wish.  What actually happened was kind of a rollercoaster of calamities, but (spoiler alert!) it ended well…

Over the course of my first two hours in the hospital, three different nurses attempted 4 separate IV spots in my arms before one succeeded.  And let me tell you, the bruises I got from the failed attempts were horrifying.  My arms looked like a banana that’s been stuck at the bottom of your backpack for a few days.  Childbirth war wounds!  Once the IV was in, they administered pitocin to get the baby show on the road.  It was after 10am at this point and I was only dilated to 1.5cm so we knew it was going to be a long day.  So I ordered myself some peanut butter toast and Casey watched the Price is Right and we attempted to relax.  (Ha.)

Contractions started slowly but consistently.  At around noon-ish, my doctor came in to manually break my water… which didn’t work the first time because I wasn’t dilated enough.  She left and came back a bit later to try again, still no water breakage.  She left and came back a third time, and thank god it worked (apparently my pregnant body lives by the motto, third time’s a charm)  because I was about to pack it up and head home.  Have you ever had someone try to manually break your water?  Ouchie.  Is all I have to say about that.

At this point it was early afternoon.  I had been advised to not eat anything after breakfast in case I needed to have a c-section, so I watched Casey eat two enormous chicken salad sandwiches that my mom had made and packed for us… and then I bitched at him after I realized he ate all of it.  I mean, the least he could have done was save something for me to eat after I’d GIVEN BIRTH TO OUR CHILD.  Am I right?!  Ugh.  But, I’m over it I swear.  No really, it’s fine.  I’m FINE.

My contractions increased in intensity over the next few hours and by 3pm I threw in the towel and asked for an epidural.  The anesthesiologist hit a nerve when he was putting the baseball bat needle into my back.  Which will go down as one of the weirdest and most unnerving (hey!) feelings I’ll ever experience in my life.  But I was willing to overlook it to feel the sweet loving touch of the epidural.  But…the epidural itself didn’t actually work quite as well as I had remembered from the last time.  Throughout the rest of labor, I kept feeling numb on one side but not the other, and I also was feeling intense contractions in my left buttcheek.  Which really creeped my mom out.  And probably a few of you.  And probably Willa, when she reads this someday.  Sorry everyone!

The next couple of hours were slow, contractions would intensify and then subside.  It’s worth noting at this point that from the time I got to the hospital that morning to sometime around 5pm that evening, I had only dilated to a 4.  AKA not even halfway there.  At this rate, I thought my baby would probably still be born on her Nov 4 due date.

One of the most stressful parts of this experience was that throughout the course of the day and into the evening, my BP was still high.  I think I was given 5 different BP medications throughout the day to try to stabilize it, the result of which made me look and feel like a total junkie.  I couldn’t stop shaking, my eyes were incredibly bloodshot, I was so so cold, and honestly just super miserable.  Finally, later in the evening, one of the medications started to work and my BP lowered to normal.  At which point, baby girl’s heart rate started to drop during contractions.  AGAIN, this was also the exact same situation we’d been in with Crosby’s birth, which ultimately resulted in a c-section. So of course now I was extremely worried about the baby + extremely frustrated that we’d made it this far and I was probably going to have to have another c-section again.  But my nurses and doctor knew what my “plan” was and they kept fighting for me.  I did some position changes, they put an internal monitor on baby’s head and reduced my pitocin and thankfully, her heart rate didn’t stay too low for too long.  It would dip during contractions but come right back up in between, which was a good sign.  So, we kept on.  (We found out after she was born that her heart rate was dropping because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.  My babies like to do somersaults in the womb, apparently.)

The rest of the night is a haze of uncomfortableness, BP medications, and contractions, but somewhere along the way I started to dilate quickly.  And then somehow, I honestly don’t know how, it was midnight and the nurse gave me the best news of my life… it was time to push!  I was so so thrilled.  I kept thinking throughout the whole day as we hit obstacle after obstacle that I was going to end up having a c-section again, so to get to this point was the best feeling ever.  I pushed for about an hour and 45 minutes… and that hour and 45 minutes was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ll ever experience.  It was bizarre because pushing was the part of labor I was looking forward to the least, but it ended up being the extreme high point of the whole experience.  Casey was a champion husband and cheerleader and was equally as amazed with the whole experience as I was.  Seeing our daughter come into the world made all of the chaos and stress of the day disappear.

Willa Rae Thompson was born at 1:55am on Wednesday, October 19th.  She came into the world weighing 6lbs 12oz and was 19.5″ long, with the same head of brown hair that Crosby was born with and the longest arms and fingers, just like her mama.  She has the most beautiful eyes and the sweetest soul I could ever imagine.  I cannot stop kissing her.

Once again, this was not the birth story I imagined.  It was a stressful birth and the recovery was not ideal.  (Shoutout to icicle diapers though, those things are the freaking best!)  But none of it really matters, because in the end I got to hold my healthy baby girl in my arms.  And the next day we got to introduce her to her brother.  He’s pretty smitten with her too… but maybe more smitten with the dinosaurs she got him as a gift.

It’s been over a month and I’m still just as obsessed with sweet Willa as I was the moment she was born.  I cannot even imagine a time when she wasn’t in our world.  Though I faintly remember a time when I slept more than 2 hours at a time…

We love you so much baby girl, and are so very thankful that you are ours.  Thank you for coming to hang out with us, we think you’re going to like it here :)


second time around.

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Lately I’ve been doing a lot of comparing of this pregnancy to my first one.  Probably because now that I’m in the homestretch of this one, I’m realizing how much… less… I’ve done and thought about this time around.

During my first pregnancy, I felt like I was treated (and acted) like a fragile vessel on a magical baby-growing journey.  Pampering, downtime and rest were encouraged.  Everything was new and exciting and a little bit scary, and I had nothing but time to dwell on every little thing that happened.  This time around, I feel like I peed on a stick and then had 3 minutes to celebrate before I had to figure out what to make my toddler for dinner. (Mamas of 2+ kiddos, I salute you.)  It’s not that it’s not as exciting, it truly is, I just haven’t actually had the time to spend focusing on the magical journey that I’m on because I’ve been, you know, busy taking care of my first magical journey.  The good news the second time around is that I have experience on my side, so there’s been way less “IS THIS NORMAL” googling and way more acceptance of what the eff is happening to my body.

So anyways, here are a few examples of the differences I’ve noticed between the two magical journeys I’ve had the immense pleasure of being on…

First pregnancy:  (at 14 weeks along) Look at my teeny tiny baby bump! I must now parade myself belly-first through public places… hoping someone will notice my baby growing skills.
Second pregnancy:  (at 2 weeks along) Holy crap I’m showing already!?! Or is this just residual baby weight from the first time around?  Probably a combo of both.

First pregnancy: Take cute bumpdate photos biweekly.
Second pregnancy: Take 3 total bumpdate photos, which coincide with the only 3 days during my pregnancy where both my hair and makeup are done at the same time.

First pregnancy:  Terrified of labor, but I cannot wait to take my baby home to bask in postpartum bliss!!
Second pregnancy:  Labor shmabor. How am I going to handle postpartum hormones AND 2 small humans?!

First pregnancy: I can’t wait to breastfeed my new baby. What a bonding experience!
Second pregnancy: Nightly pep-talks to psych myself up for breastfeeding/pumping/latching/acid reflux/ouchie nipples.

First pregnancy:  ::reads all the baby books:: I’ve got this ALL figured out. I know exactly what kind of mother I want to be. I know exactly how I’m going to care for, raise and discipline my child.  It can’t be that hard.
Second pregnancy:  ::buys a case of wine:: Let’s just like, try to survive, shall we?

First pregnancy: Research every baby product for hours. Register for every baby product under the sun.
Second pregnancy:  ::buys a case of baby wipes::  K, I’m ready.

First pregnancy: The baby is 13 weeks, 5 days, 6 hours and 47 minutes and is the size of a papaya! The lungs are forming, nerve cells are multiplying, and synapses are forming in the brain.
Second pregnancy: I think I’m in the second trimester? I know I’m due in the fall. Wait, maybe the winter? Definitely this year.

First pregnancy: No caffeine. No soft cheese. No deli meat. etc. etc. etc.
Second pregnancy: “Make it a venti, please.”

First pregnancy: Take a 7-week birth class, prepare a detailed birth plan, curate a birth playlist.
Second pregnancy: Birth plan = try not to crap myself, have baby.

First pregnancy: Shop regularly for cute maternity clothes.
Second pregnancy:  ::adjusts sweatpants::

First pregnancy: Fill out baby book every week, keep an organized file folder of every sonogram and Dr visit report.
Second pregnancy: Accidentally use sonogram as coffee coaster.

First pregnancy: Babymoon! 3 baby showers! Pregnancy photoshoot!
Second pregnancy: High-five myself whenever I get to pee in peace.

***

Anyway, all that said… I have absolutely loved both pregnancies equally, but I do think that this time I’m much more excited about the after. That’s when the real fun starts, am I right?  Shout out to both of my babies who made this post possible.

PS pumping can suck it.

 


thursday things.

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1. You guys.  This is big.  The new Gilmore Girls episodes have an official premiere date of November 25th.  If anyone needs me the day after Thanksgiving, I’ll be glued to the couch, eating leftover turkey sandwiches and hanging with Rory and Lorelei.  Oh, and taking care of a newborn.  NBD.

2. Mothers of small males… help me.  What’s the official rule with swim diapers and swimsuits in public places?  Do little dudes always need a swim diaper on with their swimsuit?  Or only when their swimsuit doesn’t have the meshy part?  I can’t seem to figure it out.

3. Speaking of my adorable small male… I have a love/hate relationship with this age/phase of his life. Am I allowed to say that?  Let me be clear, I love HIM more than anything… but this PHASE is kinda gnarly.  The thing of it is, he’s so fun and sweet and charming!… like, 60% percent of the time.  The other 40%, he’s crying and whining NON.STOP and for no apparent reason.  I think that it’s a combo of his inability to communicate everything he wants to + testing his boundaries and the such, but for the love of mozzarella sticks, it’s so frustrating.  For all of us.  I know it’s tough on him too, and I’m trying so so hard to be patient and talk him through as much as possible.  But for a person with high anxiety (hi!), the constant sound of whining and crying is like taking a cheese grater to my nerves.  We’ve all been practicing taking a lot of deep breaths lately.  Anyway.  Anyone that I mention this to who has older kids is like MWAHAHAHAHA just wait until he’s 2/3! and I’m all like, shove it.  Maybe this will be his most frustrating age?!  Maybe?!!!!?  MAYBE!  Yah, I doubt it too.

4. Ok, thanks for letting me vent.  Now let me talk about how cute my kid is.  If you follow me on instagram, you maybe saw this video.  He’s been saying new words almost daily and it is so so fun.  But my favorite by far is his “ohhhh yesss”!  Which he says with just a slight lisp.  Sometimes when he says it, I think he sounds like an old-timey fortune teller.  It’s truly the greatest and it makes me want to lick his face.  Is…. that weird?

5. Portland friends, where is the best place to get fried chicken?  I’m asking for a friend…

6. I have something kind of crazy to tell you… I love Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook Cravings.  I started following Chrissy on social media a while ago because 1) she’s hilar and 2) she was always talking about and cooking amazing-looking food.  My two criteria for best friendship status.  Then I found out she had a food blog that I started following, and then she came out with Cravings and I gotta say…. it’s awesome.  I’ve made probably 10+ things from it in the last few weeks and we’ve loved (almost) everything.  Homegirl like’s her shiz spicy though, so I learned the hard way to cut back on some of the peppers/hot sauces.

7. Speaking of spicy, and also something I put on instagram…. sometimes I tell Crosby that things are spicy if I don’t want to share them with him.  Don’t you judge me!  I’m pregnant!  It’s the baby’s fault!

8. When we were in Paris I made sure to stop into a few French pharmacies to check out their famous skincare products. I picked up a couple of things but I have to say that the Embryolisse face cream I bought is magnificent.  I’m so in love with it.  I’ve been using it for about a month now and my face feels like Crosby’s ass.  (??!?)   Anyways, I just started to get worried about what I would do once I ran out but a quick google search taught me that it’s sold at Sephora. HA!  Serves me right for thinking I was being all cool and Franch when I bought it.  But I don’t care because now I know I can buy it whenevs!  And so can you!  Though it is much more expensive here than it was in Paris.  Maybe I need to go back and stock up?  Casey?  Thoughts?

9. Have you guys been watching the Bachelorette?  Ugh, I’m so invested this season and it’s kind of driving me nuts.  I love Jojo but…. she’s been making some really questionable decisions.  In my professional opinion, she just sent home the 2 guys that she has the most actual potential with.  The final two are just duddly duds… with beautiful abs.  Also, I’ve loved Chase from Day 1 but I think watching him crack a beer after being dumped was the most hilarious shit ever.  I love him even more now.  Sometimes I feel the urge to do episode recaps here on the blog but then I remember that I still want you guys to like me.

10. What should one do if she finds a gray eyelash?  I’m asking for a friend…


friday things.

1. I’m sure I’ve said this a million times on the blog, but this stage of Crosby is so much fun. His little personality is the very best. Lately whenever I tell him I love him he responds with “doo doo”. Which… when I type it out, it looks… weird. But he says it in this sweet little voice like he thinks he’s telling me he loves me back. It breaks my heart and makes me so happy all at the same time.

2. Speaking of doodoo. You know what I realized the other day? No matter how much I boss around or scold or command my dogs, at the end the of the day, I’m the one that has to pick up their shit. So who really IS the boss in this equation?

3. I was talking to a girlfriend earlier about the physical feeling of relief that I sometimes get when I finally put Crosby to sleep for the night.  Especially if it’s been a doozy of a day.  It’s like as soon as I shut his door for the night, my entire body releases all this tension that I didn’t even know I had.  You know?  …Oh, you don’t know?  I’m just an awful parent who gets a little high from putting her kid to bed?  Ok, bye.

4. Casey and I and a couple of our friends went to see the play Annie on Broadway the other night.  I was obsessed with that movie as a little person, so of course I loved seeing it live.  Casey and our guy friend weren’t quite as enthused, though they did perk up during “hard knock life” and were both like hey, this is a jay-z song! We’re a well cultured bunch.

5. I mentioned this on the Facebooks a few weeks ago, but Casey and I are going to Europe next month! Oui oui bonjour baguette mademoiselle! (They’re going to hate me over there) One of my best friends is getting married in Paris (!!!) so we’ll be spending time there and in Amsterdam. I’m so so excited to go but also nervous to leave Crosby for that long/that far away. I’ve taken a few trips without him over the past year but this one is a bit more significant. I mean, there will be an ocean between us! And probably bays and estuaries and wetlands and other things! I just have to stay focused on the positives. Which are… best friends, baguettes, croissants, and cheese. Now please dear friends, if you’ve been to either of these places, tell me what we should do while we’re there. Please and thank you! S’il vous plait and merci!

6. I know we’re really late to the game here, but we’ve finally started (binge) watching Homeland. Oh man guys, it’s so good! But also… it gives me terrorism/bombing/ugly pantsuits anxiety. (No but really, Claire Danes’ pantsuits are real bad.) Anyway, the Homeland anxiety was really getting to me, to the point that I was having nightmares and had to request that we put it on hold until we come back from our Europe trip. I’m ridiculous.

7. I finally busted out my maternity jeans for the first time last weekend. This pregnancy has me growing outward bound MUCH faster than the first one. But let’s be honest… maternity jeans are so mother-effing comfortable, I’m not too mad about it. Though I have this theory that maternity pants make me look much more pregnant than regular pants. Does anyone else feel this way? Why is that?? Does the belly panel act as a push-up bra for your belly? Or something? Must look into this…

8. Speaking of bras… My boobs have gone up 2 sizes already during this pregnancy.  In case you were curious.

9. And speaking of buns in the oven.  I had a thought the other day when I was figuring out what to make for dinner.  See, we had hotdog buns, but no hotdogs.  And ground beef, but no hamburger buns.  And as I was considering if I should pull a Steve Martin, I wondered, has anyone in this same situation ever just formed their hamburgers into hotdog-like shapes?  It seems like a win/win to me…

10. I’ll just go ahead and stop talking now.

 

 


thursday things.

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1. A couple of weeks ago my friends and I were talking about celebrity crushes, and I realized that mine are apparently not as normal as others.  My list includes guys like Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin James (aka Paul Blart Mall Cop) ((don’t judge me)), Jerry Ferrara, John Krasinski…  I think it’s very safe to say I have a definite “type”, right?  Funny fellas with sweet faces.  I mean listen, don’t get me wrong, I’d definitely Netflix and chill with Channing Tatum if he asked nicely.  (Or not nicely, heyo!)  But in general, I’m much more drawn to dudes who make me laugh and whose faces are adorable.  It’s a wonder I ended up with Casey then… ba-dum-tshh!  I’m JUST KIDDING CASEFACE YOU ARE THE CUTEST FUNNIEST BOY I’VE EVER KNOWN LOVE YOU PICK UP SOME ICE CREAM ON THE WAY HOME PLEASE BYE.

2. Crosby started saying please the other day, which comes out more like “easssse!” and it kind of makes me want to tackle him with hugs.  Manners are so cute, guys.

3. Tip of the day: how to make your store-bought hummus taste better!  You know how store-bought hummus can taste kinda… meh?  Well, the trick is to mix in a couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt, and I promise it’ll taste a bajillion times better.  #hippiestuffs

4. There is literally nothing worse in life than my dog Gus’s breath.  In case you were wondering.

5. Anyone watching Fuller House on Netflix?  We watched a couple of episodes last weekend… and don’t hate me but I kind of liked it?  Even though DJ’s voice drives me apeshit.  She sounds like she’s yelling at a normal speaking volume.  At all times.  And yes, the show is still all kinds of cheese, but I can appreciate that some of the humor is a little less G and a little more PG13.  I mean, Kimmy Gibbler made a joke about dropping acid, so at least there’s that.

6. My whole day basically consists of me counting down the hours until I can take my bra off.

7. Speaking of which, does anyone recommend a good wire-free bra?  Much appreciated.

8. Can you believe the last episode of the Bachelor?!  I really do love sweet vanilla Ben, but homeboy is undoubtedly going to be in a shitload of trouble with whoever he actually asks to marry him on the finale.  Poor girl gets proposed to, and THEN has to find out/watch episodes of her fiance telling another woman that he loves her too?  Ugh.  Ben, you doofus.  Anyways, I’m a big huge fan of Jojo but without question I think he picks Lauren.  The guy turns into that emoji with heart eyes whenever he sees her.  They’re cute.  So #teamjojoforbachelorette !!

9. Realizing I talked about Netflix and TV a lot in today’s post.  Note to self: must get out of the house.  Come ON already, SPRING!

10. WTF is Persicope and should I be using it?  Is it like Snapchat?  Or not at all?  Ugh.  Technology is an annoying beast.  If only it had a sweet face and great sense of humor.


february shmebruary.

I don’t know about you guys but I’m going to hold Punxsutawney Phil accountable as hell for his early spring prediction.  I’ve had juuuuuust about all I can handle from this winter.  It’s been a doozy for sure.  Between illnesses and random doctor visits and dental calamities, I think our family alone is keeping the entire healthcare industry afloat.  I’m serious.  At this point, I think we’re owed some branded can koozies or keychains or something.  Or you know, a clean bill of health or whatever.

Okay, enough complaining.  Complaining is for the weak.  Which I am not.  I mean, just the other day I carried 6 bags of groceries + a toddler from my car to my house without dropping a single thing/person!  That’s skillz, my friends.

OMG this gives me an idea… you know what would be so amazing?  Parenting Olympics!  Right?!  Off the top of my head, I’m thinking… a barefoot Lego obstacle course… a child weightlifting challenge… a timed event to see who can find their missing car keys the fastest… and an automatic win to the parent who has the most clever distract-your-kid-while-you-try-to-shower technique.

So, basically these Olympics are just a typical day at my house.


You know what, guys?  Crosby is almost 1 1/2 years old.  Which is so crazy.  Mostly because I thought he was 1 1/2 a while ago, until Casey corrected me.  Whoops.  I swear, when Cros was a baby I knew exactly how many months/weeks/days old he was.  Nowadays I’m like, eh he’s between 1 and 2ish?  If people guess how old he is, I usually just say yes no matter what and then congratulate them on their age-guessing abilities.  It makes them feel good and I get to avoid having to do math in my head = a win-win.

Anyways, (almost) 1 1/2 is the best!  Crosby is so much freaking fun, I tell him everyday that he’s my best friend and I DON’T EVEN CARE if you think that sounds ridiculous.  He’s seriously the coolest.  But with great coolness, comes even greater holy-shit-stop-freaking-the-fuck-out-ness.  And what I mean by that, is that homeboy has straight up mastered the art of the temper tantrum.  I know, I know, it’s only going to get crazier from here… so for now I’m just testing the waters of how to respond and deal when he’s in the throes of a meltdown.  So far, for us, ignoring it makes it worse, every time.  Pacifier works, most of the time.  Talking him through it helps, every once in a while.  Distractions work, sometimes.  And wine helps, every time.  Ba-dum-tshh!

One of Casey’s go-to tantrum techniques is to start singing.  I’ve mentioned this on the blog before but Casey is a chronic song maker-upper.  You never know when he’s going to just bust out with a ridiculous tune that consists of mostly made up words.  It’s pretty wonderful… for the most part.  I mean, in theory, singing is definitely a clever distraction technique. But realistically, it rarely stops Crosby from crying.  And what’s worse, Casey gets so caught up in his song that he doesn’t even notice.  So what actually happens is that I end up with a screaming toddler on the floor, a husband mindlessly belting out a song about hooshkadoos, then the dogs throw in a few barks for good measure, and my brain explodes all over the rug.


Welp. That seems like as good a place to stop as any.

Have a happy Shmebruary Humpday, ya muggles.


how to train your dragon. i mean, your toddler.

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As a first-time mom of an 18-month-old, I find myself constantly conflicted over which way is the best way to raise my kid.  This wasn’t really an issue back in the early days of his life.  Back when we merely existed in the realm of “survival mode”, with each day passing in a blur of feed, burp, change, (attempt) sleep, swap out breast pads, repeat. As tough as those early days could be, there was very little to think about in regards to the discipline and education of my new baby. But the moment Crosby became a toddler, shit got real, real quick. Now each day brings a new challenge, a new discovery, a new phase, a new gray hair…  And with every teachable moment, I become more and more aware of the responsibility I have to, like, raise a decent human being. So, what’s the solution? What is the magical formula for raising a good kid? What is the right style, the best method, the correct approach?

There are endless theories about the best way to raise your kid… and it can all be so overwhelming. The vast amount of information out there makes me want to hurl myself into a vat of merlot. And I know I can’t be the only one feeling this way. I’ve talked at length with my mom friends about this very topic. So in order to save my fellow parents a great deal of time and energy, I’ve done all the research and come up with the very best way to parent your toddler.

Without further ado, here an easy step-by-step guide to train your toddler.

Don’t ever say “no” to your child, it will only teach them to say it back to you.
But definitely say “no” to your child whenever you need to, it builds character and teaches boundaries.

Speaking of boundaries, it’s best to establish firm rules as early as possible.
But give your child independence, they need their freedom to explore.

Establish the parent/child dynamic right away.  Your child needs to know that you’re the boss, always, otherwise they will become disobedient.
But it’s most important to be their friend, otherwise they will lie about everything for the rest of their lives.

Do point out positive traits in other children, such as sharing and using manners.
But do not ever compare your child to another child, it can cause stress for both you and your child. And it will emotionally scar them for life.

Keep your expectations of your child high, so that they learn to work hard and not to give up.
But also keep your expectations low, so that your child can actually meet them and experience the feeling of pride.
If you keep your expectations somewhere in the middle, your child will be boring. And you don’t want to have a boring child, because no one will like them. Including you.

Don’t fight with your partner in front of your little one, it can cause emotional damage and feelings of instability.
But arguing with your partner in front of your kids is good, because it demonstrates conflict resolution.
But only if you argue with a forced smile on your face.

Feed your child only organic homemade, and ideally homegrown food. No sugar or processed foods otherwise you’re setting them up for a lifetime of obesity.
But you don’t want them to crave sweets and unhealthy foods and get eating disorders later in life, so you should actually give them a good mix of food, no restrictions.*

Don’t ever force your child to eat! This can cause mealtime stress and resistance on their part. And pit stains on your part.
But you must make sure that your child is getting at least 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day. If not, they will shrivel up and die. Don’t stress. Be casual!

When you toddler starts to tantrum, get down on their level and talk them through what’s bothering them. This is how they learn to recognize feelings! If you skip this very important step, your child will never know the difference between happy and sad and it will be all your fault.
But whatever you do, do not give your child any attention when they’re throwing a tantrum. You must absolutely ignore them at all costs. This tactic is especially relevant if your child tantrums while at the supermarket. For some reason. In this case, you must always drag them out out of the store kicking and screaming. Just leave your groceries behind, along with your sanity.

Definitely teach your child to share, otherwise they will become a big fat jerk.
But don’t actually force them to share because it undermines their ability to think for themselves.

Make sure your toddler is learning a new word every day, otherwise they will become a slow learner.
But don’t force them to speak before they’re ready, it could stunt their speech.

Introduce the potty as soon as possible! Your child needs to become comfortable with it before using it.
But do not introduce the potty at all until your child shows signs of readiness or they will have bowel issues.

Get excited about potty-training! Always give praise and celebrate the successes!
But DO NOT make a big deal out of the mishaps. In fact, you shouldn’t show any response at all. Potty-training should be serious.

Rewards for good behavior are a great reinforcement for children.
But don’t ever give rewards because then your child is destined to be a spoiled brat.

Any and all screen time is bad.
But educational, time-moderated screen time can be beneficial for building your child’s social skills.
But only if you’re coviewing. And only at certain times of the day. And only if it’s been at least 2 hours since your child last ate.

Don’t overstimulate your child.
But don’t let them get bored.
Both can cause acne.

Be the perfect parent.
But not too perfect, your child needs to see you mess up sometimes.
But not too much.
But not too little either.

So there you have it. You now have all the tools you need to raise the perfect toddler.  It’s easy, right?

(*thanks for the addition, Laura! :) )