"How Can You Have Too Many Children? That's Like Saying You Have Too Many Flowers" ~ Mother Teresa

A Peek Into Our Hectic, Crazy & Loving Family of Eleven


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Evolution Of My Parenting...

Now that Madeline is getting ready to graduate (YIKES!) I've been doing alot of thinking. MY BABY IS GRADUATING. My baby is at the age Aaron and I were when we were dating. My baby will be 18 next month.

When I got pregnant with Madeline, Aaron and I were just dating. Madly in love, and talked of marriage and kids and all that, but not there yet. We didn't even get engaged until she was 6 months old. Within 7 months, I had a baby, a husband and all of my hopes and dreams answered. I was 19. I was the luckiest girl in the world. I never really thought about parenting. I knew you fed a baby, changed her, loved her and took care of her. But PARENTING was not something that I thought about. I was focused on being a MOM. So poor Madeline became our learning tool.

I breastfed Madeline. For about 9 weeks. Everytime I would nurse her, within minutes she would be screaming. I turned to my mom for help. My mom said it was something I was eating so I cut out all dairy. It continued. I quit. Bottles and formula. SOY formula. Everything inside of me said this wasn't right, but, I still did it. NOW I KNOW DIFFERENT. The problem was over-active letdown. When Madeline ate, the milk let down so fast, she ate too fast, causing a stomach ache. All I had to do was to redirect gravity and lay down to nurse her and it would have been fine. Guilt much? Yep. Madeline was also fully vaccinated. I mean, who doesn't vaccinate their kids? That would be irresponsible. Right? Man, the government brainwashing DOES work. Until you get older and wiser.

Along comes baby #2, less than 2 years later. Joseph. Oh, he was a needy little thing. Always wanted Mommy. Always on the boob. So much in fact that he was weaned by about 7 months. Bottle for Joey (and he loved that damn bottle. Had it until he was 3!) And he had to be held. All the time. So, we venture to Portland and discover a Moby wrap. The answer to our prayers. But once we got home, it was not as easy as it looked. I thought I had him all wrapped up so good. I go to show my mom how it looked. Thinking I was all smart and cool, I bend forward and say "Look, I can even have both hands now WHILE I carry him". Well, obviously, he wasn't in real good. He kinda fell out of the wrap. Well, not all the way out, but enough that is scared the hell out of me. I never wore him again. Vaccinated? Yep. (Even after he had a reaction of inconsolable crying after a round of vax's. Duh me! )Circumcised? Yep. This is my biggest guilt. BIGGEST. So big in fact, I can't really even go there yet. Maybe someday I can blog about it, but for now, the guilt is too fresh still. Almost 16 years later.

Almost 4 years later. (Yep, it took us 4 years after Joey, I told you he was needy) Baby #3. Sweet little Noah. The.best.baby.ever. Calm, sweet, quiet, perfect. Breastfed for almost a year. (see, I'm getting longer and longer here ) Noah too, full vaxed and circumcised. He was an amazing little boy. In fact, he was so amazing, that.....

Baby #4 is in the works. Again, less than 2 years later, Miss Juliette is here. Good baby. A little babywearing going on when she was a bit older (the backpack and Bjorn thing) breastfed for 14 months! I was so proud of that. Again, fully vaxed. ( I'm a slow learner it seems)

I am getting to a point here. As I'm having these babies, and raising them, I'm learning. With each baby. Learning a new trick. It seems that things change so much, even with what you know now, it will be different tomorrow, or next week or next year. When Madeline was born, babies slept on their tummies. Now, the tummy sleeping could be deadly. EVERYTHING CHANGES.

Mommy-hood is full of guilt. If I could list all my guilts on a piece of paper, it would probably go around the world. Twice. You live and learn. You do and learn. You try and fail, just to succeed the next time 'round. Raising a child is kind of like that.

A full 6 years later, Annabel is born. This is almost the turning point for me. I grew up. I wasn't just wanting to be a Mommy. I wanted to PARENT. I wanted to learn from the things that I regretted with the older 4 kids (babywearing, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc. etc.) I researched things. I questioned things. I thought for myself and my baby. I learned to trust my instincts.

Annabel changed the way I Mommied. I became a parent. She was fussy, I wore her. All the time. She was breastfed. For 18 months. She was very selectively vaccinated, only getting a select few and very spaced out. She has yet to get her MMR's. I'm not sure when/if we'll do those until they separate them. She wore cloth diapers. She slept with us, still does.

Along comes Delilah. Same thing. Breastfeeding, cloth diapers, no vax's, co sleeping. I finally felt like I was doing it all right. Just the way I wanted.

Then, WHAM! Triplets. What?!! That thought lasted only a minute. Why change everything I've worked so hard to learn and do? Why? Because having multiples changes the rules. Tests you more. Stretches you farther, physically and emotionally than you ever thought possible.

Babywearing? ?Do-able, but not easily. By the time you strap a baby on your back, another is hungry.

Cloth diapering? A must with 3. Not only are disposables expensive, that's alot of diapers for the landfills. No thanks.

Breastfeeding? A challenge. I learned that I am much more stubborn than I thought. At 5 months old, these babies are exclusively breastfed. No bottles. No formula. Just boobs.

Vaccinations? No thank you. My babies are preemies, and you want me to shoot them up with what??!!! I'll pass.

And had these babies been boys? No circumcising here. If they were born with skin there, WHY do we feel the need to take it off? Really?

Co sleeping? The more the merrier!

So, my parenting/mommy-hood has come full circle. I always knew what I wanted and where I wanted to be from the beginning, it just took me 18 years to get here. And I'm hoping, that in my journey, that my older kids didn't suffer too much while I was learning.

So to Amy who posted this on my Facebook:

"Nicole, I wish I had met you before I had my kids. I feel like I walked into everything so blind. Things would have been so different."

You do your best with the knowledge that you have at that time. I can't change 18, 16, or even 12 years ago, but I can learn from it. Whether it be mistakes, or successes, you take it with you and remember it. And learn from it. Soon, you'll see an evolution in your life too. It may not be how you expect or what you think it will be, but it will happen.
Wait and see.......


  1. Thank you Nicole, I needed to hear that. What a perfect blog to end a great day! Im such a sap. Im sitting here crying. lol. There are things I can still change, but as for the past. I can only educate my children for their future in parenting now. I figure that is how I will make up for what I didnt know. I will make sure that they do know. :)

  2. I have changed my parenting in the nearly 7 years since I had my first wee girl, you do change how you see the world and how you want your children to be in some ways, but other things stay inherently the same. I have breastfed each for longer, and am hoping to get miss nearly 5 months to at least 14 months like her brother. I have become a babywearer.. my first I used a front pack, number two a commercial sling, number 3 and 4 I have made my own sling and am loving it

  3. I am normally just a reader, but had to comment today lol!I SO agree with you on every point! When we had our first almost 16 yrs ago we did all the same things you did...we had both just turned 17 got married when our baby was 9 months and thought all was wonderful...now almost 16 yrs later...MANY mistakes and 6 babies...we are at a complete change around! I feel like we parent the same way! Great job Mama! We live, we learn, we grow!

  4. Wonderfully written post! Thank you for sharing this.
    Now a question about co-sleeping, if you don't mind sharing, could you share the logistics of co-sleeping with 5 children. How does it work? I just have one baby, but I'm trying to think ahead, lol.

  5. Lucy, right now, I am still sleeping with the triplets in the family room while my husband sleeps with the toddlers upstairs. But, this weekend the trio and I are moving upstairs! The 4 year old is going to (hopefully) stay in her new big girl bunk bed. Same with the 2 year old, but we know she wont stay all night. lol. We've rigged our crib so that it "sidecars" ours. So Ill be able to nurse the babies and lay them back down in the sidecar.


  6. Hi,
    Congratulations on all of your children. Do you mind if I ask you about the loss you mentioned during your daughter Delilah's pregnancy? You mentioned in one post that you lost a twin at about 12 weeks(?) due to a cord accident. How did you discover the cause? We lost an identical twin at 14 weeks gest during second-to-last preg and just lost our baby boy at 15 weeks due to double nuchal cord. We found that out when I delivered him at 16 weeks. I'm just wondering how they were able to tell you about the twin you lost. When I delivered our daughter at full term the twin was just a blob although she looked like a tiny baby until about 30 weeks or so from the u/s that we had done (all million of them)
    May I also ask if you took any meds that got you twins and triplets? Obviously the identical twins were just a fluke for me, but we are now needing to use clomid and I am popping off lots of eggs. We think our baby boy started off as two, but only one developed past the 6th week. We'll find out if we're pregnant by this coming weekend.

  7. Hi. :)

    Delilah's pregnact was actually a triplet pregnacy also. We lost the identical twins. The were mono/mono and wrapped their cord around each other. Delilah was in her own sac and survived. To a full 40 weeks thankfully. They were able to see the cord entanglment on the US. We were going to a Perinatologist for level 3 US's. By the time Delilah was born, the only evidence of the twins were on the placenta (I didnt deliver them, they just reabsorbed into my body)

    I was not taking anything. Just luck :). My older kids like to say that the twins we lost during Lilah's pregnancy were given back to us this time. I guess it was just meant to be :)

    Good luck! Keep me posted!