It is easy for a person who has a compliant, well-behaved child to believe that it is due to awesome parenting. By that logic, a person who has a willful, defiant, or rambunctious child is obviously inept at parenting.
I don’t have the luxury of such strait forward thinking. Even before the birth of my first child, it was pretty clear that he was different from other children. I went with a church youth group to see the Harlem Globetrotters. I was supposed to be taking my young half-brother, but he had gotten sick at the last minute. I went to get him a t-shirt and not, as some might think, because I enjoy athletics of any kind. It was a very uncomfortable experience. With every cheer of the crowd, my child exploded in utero into a psychotic octopus.
A month or so later I stopped by a kickoff to summer event in the gymnasium of my church. There was a newborn baby there. She was two or three weeks old and just sleeping so very peacefully in spite of the giggles, squeals and crowd noises echoing around the room. I walked up to the mom and asked if babies calm down once they’re born. She gave me a puzzled look and told me that no, she had always been about that active. I tried to politely visit a moment before I fled the room so that the queasiness of sea sickness, not pregnancy morning sickness could pass. My precious little embryo was bouncing around like a kangaroo drinking Red Bull.
My favorite pregnancy activity with Onen was just sitting on the couch watching my stomach undulate like the ground in an 8.4 earthquake. He would fling himself to the left, then to the right, then back to the left. Flop. Flop, flop, flop. Flop! Some mothers get to do kick counts where they pick a time when the baby is active and then they count until they get 10 kicks. As long as there are 10 kicks in an hour the baby is fine. I got 18 full body flops in about 2 minutes.
He did not calm down after birth. Other moms get to lay their little ones on a blanket or in their car seats as they visited with family and friends. I had to hold mine with his head up so he could inspect everything, or nurse him to calm him down. The more people in the room the more active and busy he would grow. If I tried to calm him, shush him or try to encourage him to nap, he would scream until his face turned blue. I am a quick learner and I soon realized that attending a social function was pointless if I was going to spend the whole time fighting this tiny person.
So if you see me at a social function, and you see that Onen is running around doing whatever he wants and eating whatever he choses to eat, it is not that I don’t care. It is not that I never work with him to teach him proper behavior or good nutrition. It is that I know that he cannot handle much interference aka mothering from me when he is already so overstimulated. If you see Tia running around now too, that is habit.
My parenting goal is not to have well behaved children. My goal is to have a son and a daughter who are, as adults, happy, productive, Godly men and women. The way to achieve this with such a one as Onen is, in my belief, quite different than the way to achieve this with a relatively compliant, calm child.