Parenthood: expectations and reality

This year it’s 4 years ago our twins were born which means I am a parent for 4 years already and somehow I feel like making up a balance sheet of my expectations. See, before you become a parent you have all these ideas about what will be hard and what may not be so hard. So let’s make up a balance…

Things that were as hard as expected:

  • breastfeeding. You just delivered a baby and you want your body back. But no, now they need your breasts. Not easy, often painful, it can take forever (especially with premature babies) and you feel like a cow. And yes, you feel some sort of satisfaction that you can do this for your child, but again… it’s not easy.
  • dealing with tantrums. I always pitied people that had to deal with children throwing a tantrum and I still do. It just happens and it’s shit. And sometimes it takes hours to get them to snap out of it.
  • planning everything. Spontaneous outings are not in the cards anymore. At least not together. Babysits needs to be booked in advance. Sometimes you just want to go and I miss that. I have been told it comes back though, so there is hope. ( Just about 10 years to go and counting down)

Things that were harder than expected:

  • giving birth. O yes that was so much worse than I could ever have imagined. I am not bad at dealing with pain, but this much pain is utterly ridiculous. I continue to be amazed that the human race is still around.
  • interrupted sleep. Don’t get me wrong. The first year was fine. I expected it, I understood it and I dealt with it. Twin parents don’t get to sleep right? But in year 2 and 3 I started to feel and see the consequences. Always tired, often grumpy, no energy for anything. My skin turned grey, less elastic (read: more wrinkles and pimples) and I seemed to look older than I am. Four years later my body is still trying to make up for lost sleep.

Things that went better than expected:

  • Potty training. I was really worried about wet floors and beds, piles of laundry, endless trying and everything. But honestly, when you have had years of nappy changing, cleaning bottoms and exploded poopy nappies, this is such a welcome change.
  • Actual parenting. Set aside the tantrums; kids are fun. It’s a joy to show and teach them new stuff, it’s fantastic to see them develop and to be a witness of how fast they grow and learn. Little humans are simply amazing and they make me happy every day.

Things I did not think about beforehand at all but are worth mentioning:

  • School is back. Every day (from 2,5 years old in Belgium) you have to take your children to school. I was done, I did my 20 years of education. I never wanted to see a school in my life again. But it’s just like I’ve started school again. Every day for at least 10 years until they can go by themselves. Be on time, rush rush, don’t be late. And now I need to set the example! And I am not even at the (helping-with-)homework-phase,  but oooo I am dreading it.
  • You can’t stop weird things from happening. For instance: When a child (your child) decides he wants to lick a pole on the tram he does that. You could not even phantom anyone doing that, but they will. And you will be taken by surprise. And will be completely disgusted. They also may pick up random garbage in the street to show you or to take home (and throw a tantrum when you say no).

 

What were your expectations of parenthood? And how do you look at them now? 🙂 🙂

Moving house II

The last month was hard. The boys did not react well to all the changes. We had taken all possible precautions to make the move a smooth transition.
– The boys helped with packing (and loved it.)
– We explained what was going to happen many times (and they understood and were excited.)
– We took them to the new house several times before we moved. (they were really looking forward to it.)
– We let them help with little things in the new house (tearing of wallpaper is their favourite.)
– We moved some toys already to show them how moving worked (mom, can we keep this?)
– We read stories about moving (which they loved.)
– We showed them the empty old house after moving (and had them run around to their delight.)
– We explored the new neighbourhood together (they love all the new shops.)

And those things all worked: they absolutely love the new house. They could not be happier that we have stairs now and they love their new big bedroom, the garden and their play area.
BUT…  their behaviour was horrible most of the time. They got upset about everything, said no to anything you would suggest, started throwing their toys around a lot, screamed so much I feel I got deaf, not even to mention the spitting and crying uncontrollably when we said NO to them. It was a nightmare, we did not recognise our boys anymore.

Sadly there was no solution, all the above mentioned things did not work against the endless tantrums they threw. Even the always working solution of taking them apart and giving them love, hugs and special attention would not stop these moods.

And being twins, the tantrum of one caused the other one to get upset too, even if he was playing nicely before.So it really never ended.
The only solution was time. We suffered for weeks and weeks. Now it finally seems to get better. We are still not there but at least there are some hours in the day they are tantrum-free. Let’s hope this phase is over soon. Mommy and Daddy feel like they aged forty years in four weeks.

A strange Monday morning

I had the most interesting experience yesterday morning. It was the first day of school after the holidays and something very strange happened. The boys were eager to get up, go to the toilet, get dressed and eat their breakfast. Everything ran so smoothly I even had time to read a story. They brushed their teeth, put on their jackets and sat down in the buggy before I was ready to leave. That’s how happy they were to go and see their teacher again.

Why is this strange you may ask? If you have (had) toddlers, you already know the answer. This sounds like a surreal fairy tale. Toddlers are not known to not make a fuss. My boys are famous for their episodes about what to wear. They pick out their own clothes, they decide which shoes to wear and which jacket. If what they want to wear happens to be in the laundry… you can imagine the drama!
They also must refuse their breakfast at least 87 times before they take an unwilling bite. They also feel the need to run away every morning before I manage to get them to brush their teeth and make it a habit to take off their shoes right before we leave, because they decided on other shoes. So yes, it was a strange Monday indeed.

I am happy to report though that everything was back to normal this morning. I had to chase them down to get them in the buggy, both upset that there was no time for me to read a story. I had to rush to get to school on time and stuffed the last bites of their breakfast sandwiches in their mouths at school and had to drag them to their classroom, before they realised they actually like being there. Sigh. I wish toddlers would understand cause and effect already.