Diaper Duty

Erin and her son Lincoln

Diaper Duty - Join Erin on the journey of a lifetime.  Along with her first born, Lincoln, (born in 2010), Erin is learning the "art of being a baby mama"




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Oh Crap! Am I raising a brat?

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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A few weeks ago, I surprised Lincoln with a trip to Monster Golf, an indoor, monster-themed mini golf course that also has a few arcade games.

Lincoln LOVES playing games, however, I had zero cash on me that day, and I wasn’t taking him to play games. I was taking him to golf, the activity he’d talked about doing for at least a week. So, I didn't stop and get any cash.

I "warned" Lincoln in the car I had no cash for him to play any games there and that we were going to play golf, not games. I actually told him in the car on the way there, in the car in the parking lot, walking into the place, during our golf game, and right when we were done and would be passing the games on the way out. He never did ask, I just kept tell him "Now remember, mommy has no money for games. We won’t be playing any arcade games." To which he’d reply, "OK, mommy." "Well good," I thought, "he gets it."

Nope.

On the way out he told me he wanted to play this game and that game and on and on. I reminded him I didn’t have any money, but NOW it was a problem. He left with a sad face, and the whole way home he said "I really wish I could have played those games." He didn’t throw a tantrum or anything. He just repeated in a soft, kind of depressing voice that he wanted to play those games. I told him that we played golf and that should be enough for him that day. What I really wanted to do was remind him how he should be grateful he got to play Monster Golf. I wanted to remind him that he'd been talking about it all week and that I spent money for us to play together, and he should be happy with that...AND GET OVER THE GAMES!

Tuesday, we went to Chuck E Cheese's with some of his friends. He had an awesome time! We stayed until 8:30 p.m., and when we arrived at home, he told me he wanted to watch three of his shows. I told him three way too many for that time of night, and he could do two after his bath.

He. Freaked. Out.

What the heck?! I took that opportunity to tell him that a lot of kids his age were in bed at this time and that he should remember we spent a lot of time at Chuck E Cheese's.

He just kept crying. I was PO’d. How dare he, right?! COME ON!

With a stern voice I told him he was getting a bath and going to bed. NO SHOWS. I told him how watching TV, going to Chuck E Cheese's, and other things he gets to do are privileges, and we don't have to let him do that stuff. I told him about how other kids don’t do this or that and how he needs to learn how to be grateful (a term I didn’t know how to explain to a four year old). He was upset for a good hour. Then he fell asleep.

Frustrated and sad I thought, “Oh crap! Am I raising a brat?”

I preach to him to say thank you and please and religiously hold tight to my instructions that he can’t do x until he does y, and he does this?

It is clear gratitude needs to be taught at our house and that TV time and other activities shouldn’t be so willy-nilly. They should be earned more than given, but Linc is a good boy usually. To me, he does earn these special trips. It's just never said. Like, I never say "you were a good boy yesterday so you get to go today" and if he's not good, I don't take him.

What do you do with your kids to teach gratitude? Have you had this problem and were able to fix it? Is he just being a four year old? Should I be more diligent and say he earned this because of that? I don't really want to start matching things tit for tat and have him expect something every time he does something good. I want him to just be and do good!

 

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When didn't you listen?

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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I was talking to a new dad today who told me that he wasn’t enjoying waking his son to eat if he slept longer than three hours.

“You what now?” I asked.

“We wake him up to eat. You know? You have to wake them up so they don’t starve or something,” he said.

“Oh yeah,” I said remembering I was also told to do this with both my kids.

I didn’t, though. Did you? I just didn’t see right to me. They were both big babies, and I figured they’d let me know when they were hungry.

I told this guy that I didn’t do that with either kid. He looked at me half with surprise and half with a look like he had to call his wife immediately and tell her they actually didn’t have to do that.

<This is where I write my standard “do what’s best for your family and I will to” disclaimer.>

It’s funny, though. We’re told to do this when years ago new parent weren’t. Also, I’ve experienced many changes in what I’m “supposed” to do with eight-month-old Reagan that I was told not to do with Lincoln, 4, when he was a baby (and vice versa). There are foods I’m told Reagan can eat now, like eggs, that I was told (by the same doctor) Lincoln shouldn’t until after he was one. Our parents were told things that we’d be put to shame for doing, and I’m sure that goes back for generations.

What were you told differently throughout your pregnancies or from kid to kid? What were you told that you didn’t follow?

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Air travel with the littles

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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We are excitedly planning a trip to Texas (from Pittsburgh) to see our friends later this year. After talking my husband out of driving there and in to taking a plane, I talked myself right in to a panic attack.

A plane? With two little kids? A PLANE???!!!

Can I do this? Can I do an airport and a plane ride with a four-year-old and a baby?

I don’t really ever assume how the kids will act. Those unpredictable little things surprise me every time I make an assumption about how they’ll act.

“Lincoln will LOVE walking around the air show!”

Nope.

“Reagan will sleep the whole movie.”

Nada.

Sooooo. I don’t do that. I can’t. I just have to be prepared for anything.

Luckily, we’ve never had a meltdown or an issue that couldn’t resolve itself quickly (yet). I’m so lucky on that front, but I just want to make sure it’s a fun trip on the plane (and not bother the other passengers).

Any tips for air travel with little ones?

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Guns next door: Talking about it

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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We have new neighbors, and they are super nice. I was so excited to meet them and their adorable little girl, who is six, and was extra excited Lincoln would have a nice kid to play with right next door. We don’t live in a neighborhood so this was a special thing for us.

I wasn’t so excited while taking a tour of their house to see they owned guns. Being COMPLETELY ignorant of all things guns, I did what most ignorant people do and immediately thought the worst. I let 20/20 programs and news reports about some kid or kids who were looking/playing with their parents’ guns and…you know...freak me out. (Please don't tell me I'm "what's wrong with America." I admitted ignorance, and I'm asking for guidance here.)

I’m not proud of my internal freak out which I was lucky only produced an obvious “oooooh you have guns” verbal response, but I couldn’t help it. What was I going to do about this? What was appropriate? What could I do to educate myself to handle this properly?

What I should have done was ask more questions, but all I could think of to do was basically threaten to take away every toy Lincoln loves if he ever went over there without Adam or I and the same threat went for if he ever went in their basement where the six or so shot guns/riffle thingies (see, I know nothing) were in a glass cabinet. He didn’t see the cabinet when we were over, and I didn’t tell him there were guns there. The kid loves playing with his Nerf and water guns, and I could only imagine mentioning there were guns over there would spark his interest no matter how dangerous we’d tell him real guns were.

I can probably assume the cabinet is locked. I can probably assume their daughter doesn’t know where the key is. I can probably assume they’re not loaded. I don’t like to assume. I need to know. If I knew more, I think I’d be more comfortable.

What should I do? How should I approach the subject with Linc and the neighbors? I had hoped Linc could go over there and safely play and was even hoping to take them up on their offer of free babysitting once in a while. Is it wrong to ask them questions and let them know I'm concerned? Also, this reminds me I have to talk to Linc in general about guns and what to do if he sees one. How have you approached this subject?

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Talking about death with the kids

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Our family is dealing with something right now that will lead to the loss of a close family member. There are a lot of unknowns with which come a lot of conversations.

Lincoln knows what dying is. He knows who people are – grandpa, grandma, “my dad,” “your mom.” It’s been kind of a challenge to figure out how to talk about this situation with my husband without perking Linc’s interests. Since talking in another room frequently isn’t an option, we’ve started spelling things and code naming things.

My husband asked yesterday, “when the time comes, what do you think we should do with the kids? Should we bring them in for a visit?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m not really sure.”

I know what I’d want for myself, but I’m not really sure how a four-year-old would react. Would he always remember his loved one like that? Would he talk years later about how he remembered that day and how negatively it affected him? Maybe it would be a positive thing? Not sure. Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with it.

The first close person I lost was my grandma in my early twenties. She had dementia for years and wasn’t the sassy lady I remember from when I was little. I mourned for that lady in my teens. The person I lost when I was older was just a poor lady with dementia who didn’t know me or my mom. My hardest hit (so far) was the loss of my grandfather a few years later. That one sucked. It came in twos for me – a few days after my grandma died, my step-grandma died and a few days after my grandfather died, my step-grandfather went. However, I never saw any other them suffer (except my grandma who was in hospice care for a little bit). They didn’t suffer. I’m lucky that I can remember them as smiling, active people who just died one day.

This situation will not be like that. It’ll probably be long. It’ll definitely be painful. There will probably be many goodbyes thinking the time has come only to have it pass by.

So, what do we do with Lincoln? Should he visit now when this person still looks and acts “normal”? Should we wait? Should we tell him anything when we ourselves don’t know much? How do you explain that he will lose someone soon, but you don’t really know if soon is next week or next year?

I worry this will take something from his childhood. I’m not ready for him to experience a death of someone this close to him and feel that loss. I’m not ready to explain death and dying and illness like this. He’s so little. I want his little head filled with rainbows and butterflies (OK, matchbox cars and baseballs) for as long as possible.

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