Saturday, January 23, 2016

If You Don't Have Children, You Shouldn't Give Parenting Advice

We’ve all been through this scenario. A friend, that hasn’t carried a child, given birth, or tried to keep said child alive gives us advice on how we should parent our child. Normally I give this person a sweet fake smile and move on with my day. Normally this person is not one of my friends or family members. Yesterday it was a family member and the more I think about the interaction the angrier I become. I should let it go and chalk it up to stupid people saying stupid things, but I can’t.

The Baby is a very particular child. When he doesn’t like something or is displeased he makes this sound “ah.” No big deal right? The withering glare and the short one syllable was cute at first. I understand that he doesn’t have a vocabulary yet so he had to find a way to show his displeasure. The older he gets the more serious he is when he makes this sound. Don’t let the sound fool you, he means serious business and it’s normally said loudly followed by the glare. Now, I’m at the point where I need to get this under control.

Normal babies don’t do things like this right? But of course every baby is different and for mine, this is what he does. I try to let it slide but being yelled at by an 18 month old is rather demoralizing. I was regaling a family member with our very scary ER visit the other night where the baby’s fever spiked and we took him in. He was diagnosed with acute pneumonia so I’m glad we went in but there were some unpleasant experiences in the ER.

The Baby HATES new people. He feels secure in his small circle of people he knows and isn’t looking to branch out. As soon as someone touched him in the ER he began wailing. Like someone was cutting off a limb when in reality it was a sticker on his toe. He got so upset by all the new people that he cried until he puked all over me and my mother. I ended up wearing some pretty sweet paper scrubs in lieu of the vomit drenched clothing. Believe me, I was one stylin’ momma. Anyway, during this ER visit a chest X-ray was taken and a very nice paramedic came in with a stuffed moose to try to calm the baby down. What this gentleman didn’t know is only a certain kind of Teddy Bear is allowed in The Baby’s world. I seriously have purchased 6 of these bears in varying sizes to avoid the inevitable loss of a favorite object. When the paramedic handed the moose to The Baby he went “ah” and threw the moose to the floor. Luckily the paramedic did not see this or I would have had to crawl under the hospital bed to hide my shame.

When the X-ray results were read they determined it was pneumonia, gave us antibiotics, and sent us on our way. As I told this story to a family member, who by the way does not have any children, she said “does he get disciplined for acting that way? You better get that under control before he gets older” and she used a very judgy tone that got under my skin. He is 18 months old. What would you like me to do? Lock him in a room until he thinks about what he’s done? Toddlers don’t understand reason and logic. Because if they did they’d be pleasant wonderful creatures that never acted out. He doesn’t know he’s being naughty he’s just expressing how he feels. I didn’t say anything, but word to the wise, if you don’t have children it’s a good idea not to give parenting advice to someone who does have children. And yes I’m aware I should get this under control. Her evaluation of the situation was not incorrect but for her to deliver it was insulting. I’m not an idiot and I obviously have a little more experience parenting children than she does, 

Anyway, believe me or don’t believe me. If you don’t have children and are doling out parenting advice to your friends or family that do have children, we’re all rolling our eyes inside. And we cannot wait for you to have a headstrong child with less than ideal character traits. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever try to do and the entire time you think you are failing. We don't need others judging every decision we make as parents. We don't need advice on our wild child and how to tame them. I actually like that The Baby is so headstrong. He drives me crazy some days but I know that he will always know what he wants and no one will stop him. And I mean no one! He challenges me daily and though some of you are thanking your lucky stars he isn't yours, I'm thanking my lucky stars he is mine. 

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