Friday, February 21, 2014

To Roscoe,

Roscoe, there is nothing about you that isn't strong willed or passionate or determined. And sometimes (even though you are just a three-year-old), that is just the recipe for a brokenhearted mama. I want so desperately to point you to Christ, but I feel like every day I am a failure. 

Today was by far the worst day I've ever had dealing with your tantrums. Your dad is on a trip right now. He's been gone for 5 days and we still have a little over 2 days until he comes home. I'm definitely feeling the weight of his presence missing here in this house.  (Why and how does it affect you so much?)

Your tantrums, incessant whining, and fits have been going on consistently (meaning daily, or every other day at minimum) for over a year now, and I'm so ready for them to end. On one hand, I know that I will look back and miss the day that you were so small. But, on the other hand, I want so desperately for you to be past this phase of determined defiance and anger. 

I haven't written much of anything in this journal for the last year because honestly, I didn't know what to write. This past year of your life has been such a hard time for both me and your dad. But I'm confident that if God can get your heart, He can channel your passions and intensity for Him. But if you don't choose to follow Him, these traits of yours will destroy you. 

I love you, Roscoe. I pray you know this. I pray that despite my shortcomings as a mom, as a human, that you know my deep and undying love for you, my boy, the one I longed for and dreamed of years before you were given to me. 

It hurts to see your face contort in anger directed at me (typically when you aren't getting your way), but when I see you do that, it's like looking at a reflection of myself. Oh, how often do I do that to God, Roscoe? You frustrate the hell out of me and push me to the end of my rope and point me to Christ all at the same time. You are my grace gift from The Father. 

I am both eager and anxious to watch you grow up. I can only return you to the hands of God and pray that he pursues you long and hard enough for you to come to Him. You have no other hope but this. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

When imagination and reality disagree

Wow. The demands that come with being the mother of 2 under age 2 are higher than I ever imagined. I often think back to the time when I was a senior in college, taking 18 credit hours, working 35+ hours a week, driving 45 minutes to school/work then 45 minutes back home, and still finding the time to work out a minimum of 1 hour a day all while planning a wedding (and ending the day with 30 minutes-1 hour of letter writing to my fiancé with whom I couldn't speak).

Now I tend to 2 children and attempt to make coming home a desirable thing for my husband. 

And sometimes I feel that a successful day is being able to say I got the laundry from the washer to the dryer before the mildew sets in.

So blogging? That's about 10th in the list of things I feel the need or desire to get around to. 

Roscoe is days away from being closer to his 3rd birthday than he is to his 2nd, and Everett is throwing me more curve balls as a baby than I ever expected a 2nd child to be capable of. 

At 6 months old, Everett gets up at least twice a night and naps for an average of 30 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day. That's an hour and a half total of napping time a day, if I'm lucky. And it rarely coincides with Roscoe's sleep.  With the chiropractic visits the past couple weeks, we've seen an increase in Everett's napping, but it still isn't predictable. Today he napped for 1 hour and 15 minutes on his own, and I honestly barely knew how to handle myself. I was shocked. 

I am tired. I would have never imagined that this life I live now could be more exhausting than the life I lived 6 years ago. 

So, I'm here. But I don't write. Because from 7 am-9 pm, and sometimes still in those wee morning hours, there are 2 little tiny boys who constantly need me and my attention. And there is a house to keep clean. There are mundane daily chores. And when nothing requires my attention, there are books to read through and talk about with friends. 

And there are so many things I would rather do than all of these. But somehow I'm content to not be able to do them. Because this is the gift of motherhood that has been handed to me. And it looks different in my reality than it looked in my imagination. But I am thankful. And I am blessed. And despite the fact that I feel like I have an overly precocious 2 year old and a baby who will never allow me more than a 4 hour stretch of sleep, I am lifting my hands in praise to the Father who gives good gifts, even if they don't look like what I want them to look like. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Everett Leon Grant's birth story

You can find Roscoe's birth story here.  These 2 stories are night and day.  I can't believe how different this experience was.

The people of the story (so I don't have to keep clarifying every time a new name comes up) are me (haha, obviously), Mark (my husband), Elizabeth (my midwife), Jenn (Elizabeth's apprentice), Chanelle (Elizabeth's apprentice), and Brandy (the birth photographer).

Contractions and "warm up pains" had been going on for 2 and a half weeks before I actually went into active labor.  Jenn sent me a text the evening of February 2nd to check on me, and I told her of how I had been feeling in general, and that I was starting to let go of the "I don't want to go into labor in the middle of the night" mentality.  Up until that evening, every time we put Roscoe to bed and started heading that way ourselves, I was begging Everett not to come until the next day.  I valued my sleep so much, and there's this little part of me that felt "bad" for having to call the team in while they were sleeping.  (I know guys, that's ridiculous.  But it's how I felt.)  This was Jenn's response to that: "Tell him it's safe to come out.  Tell him how much you'll love on him when he gets here.  Tell him how ready you are to meet him.  Switch your desires to wanting him to decide to come in perfect timing.  And most moms give birth at night.  You did!  Maybe a bit of sabotaging going on?  Subconsciously...  You will sleep.  You will get a good stretch after the birth.  The body needs to birth when it can solely focus on birth.  For most of us that's the middle of the night.  Be okay with that.  Welcome it."

(Love her...)

So, February 2nd, around 8 pm, I had the feeling things were going to pick up.  (Mark says he felt that the time had come around 6 pm that same night.)  He put Roscoe to bed at 8 and went to the gym to get a workout in before things got going strong.  While he was gone, I worked through contractions that were getting longer and stronger.  There was still no rhyme or reason to the timing of them.  But I could tell a difference between these and the ones that I had previously been experiencing.  These seemed to surge through my whole body, and I had to breathe out slowly while I rolled back and forth on the exercise ball to get through them.

At 9:35 pm I sent a message to Elizabeth.  Here is the conversation:
Me: Contractions that come are a lot stronger now.  Kind of feel them surging through my whole body.  Starting to take more concentration to get through them.
Elizabeth: Allright!  I'm ready when you are.  Don't wait too long to call!
Me: Ok.  So many false alarms over the past couple weeks, it's hard to judge when to call.  Guess that's where Mark comes in to help discern....  So used to things starting and stopping.
Elizabeth:  Yes, when you are in that zone where you need to have him call instead of you it would be good to call.  Also if these different contractions last a minute or longer.
Me: Ok, be in touch...

Mark and I decided to try to go to bed to get some rest.  I was able to rest through a couple contractions, but then around midnight one hit me so hard that (almost in one swift motion) I immediately transitioned from lying down to an on-all-fours position to rock through it.  I went into a child's pose position after that one and that was the moment that I realized that this was not a "false alarm."  My labor was starting/picking up/let's start the timer folks because he's coming out.

I got out of bed because the worst feeling when I'm in labor is having to lie down.  It goes against everything I feel I feel helps to work through the contractions.  So I started pulling out towels and supplies for the birth, setting everything up in the kitchen.  Mark came out of the room and pulled out the birth pool and did his part to help get my "birth zone" prepared.  We moved around in what (through my eyes) felt like a dance, silent and unified in preparing the house for the arrival of our second son.

February 3rd, 12:56 am:
Me: The contractions are lasting a minute on average, sometimes a little longer.
Elizabeth: They are coming regularly and you are working through?
Me: Yes.  Sometimes spaced 5 minutes, sometimes 3, sometimes there may be an 8 minute gap.  But each that comes is strong, and I have to work through every one.
Relying on your judgment at the moment for when to come.  I don't want to jump the gun, but also realize with his positioning that things could move quicker than I am thinking they will.
Elizabeth: Ok.  I will mosey in that direction if you are comfortable with that.  We probably have a little time but I would rather come and sleep in the other room than come too late.
Me: Sounds good.

(Roscoe was posterior at birth, causing crazy please-let-me-die-or-at-least-never-have-a-baby-again back labor.  At the time, Everett was *believed to be* more anterior, with his head in the correct position and his spine facing my left side.  So we were expecting a much faster labor, not just because it was my 2nd, but also because of the positioning.  That's the explanation behind the text above.)

Elizabeth arrived around 2 am and listened to Everett's heart as I had a contraction.  She observed me working through contractions and decided she'd start setting things up.  So I sent a message to Brandy at 2:25 to head over and that was the last time I communicated with anyone by phone.  I was officially in the zone.  Elizabeth called her apprentices and told them it was probably a good time to come.  When I heard her make that call I thought "What?  Surely it's not time for everyone to come over...  Isn't it so early?"  I was remembering how things felt so slow with Roscoe, and even though I knew this one was likely to be faster, there was this small part of me that was in disbelief that it was really time!

The rest is a blur for me.  And it happened so quickly.  They filled up the birth pool and I was waiting to be checked to see if I could get in.  That's really the only reason I wanted to have my cervix checked this time.  With Roscoe, each time I was checked seemed to mess with my mind.  I would think I was further along than I was and would get down when I heard the small number.  Elizabeth understood this and I felt that she was on the same page with me.  So up until this point, I hadn't been checked, even though I'd been having contractions for weeks.  I was just trusting my body to do what it was designed to do, knowing that I didn't HAVE to know how dilated I was for things to progress.  Yes, there was a curiosity there, but the curiosity didn't win over my decision to trust my body.  And I loved having the support of everyone on this.

So, as I'm waiting to be checked to see if I could go into the pool (if you get in the water too early, it can slow your labor), Elizabeth approached me and said "you can get in whenever you want."

In my mind:
Huh?  Seriously?  No checking?!
Oh, she knows what she's doing.  Don't question her decisions....

So I headed back to the room to change out of my dress and into a tank top that wouldn't bother me in the water.  (I wouldn't have cared about the clothes situation if I didn't want to be able to show the bulk of the pictures Brandy was taking.  Because the majority of the pictures we have from Roscoe's birth are..... uh..... not viewable by anyone but us.)  This is a funny memory in my mind.... I was in the room changing my dress/tank top and was trying to get a bathing suit bottom on (again, for pictures' sake).... But I couldn't lift my foot off the ground to put it on because every time I tried it sent sharp pains all through me.  And I would basically bring on a contraction.  As I struggled with this for a minute it hit me: good grief, you're about to birth a human.  It's gotta come off anyway.  Screw it, modesty.... I'll just keep the torso G-rated.

So in the pool I went.  It.  Felt.  So.  Good.

If you ever have the opportunity to try a natural labor, choose the water birth!  You won't regret it!

From here on out, my perspective of the birth is quite possibly not reality.  What seemed to me to be a few minutes was possibly only seconds, or what I felt was dragging on for eternity was, according to what Mark tells me, very quick.  I find it funny how labor looks totally different through the woman's eyes and the eyes of the witnesses.  I feel like I was loud, Mark says I labored quietly for the most part, until towards the end when they had to close Roscoe's door so I wouldn't wake him.

Elizabeth, Chanelle, and Brandy pretty much stayed in the kitchen while Mark and I were in the living room.  At one point, the contractions had been coming so much closer together, and I was curious how far down he had descended.  (For so many hours of my first labor, Roscoe was about an inch or two inside.)  So after a contraction, I reached to see if I could feel his head.  He wasn't *right there* but he felt a lot further down than I expected him to be.  I called out to Elizabeth to tell her this, thinking maybe she'd come to check me and let me know how I was doing.  Instead she said "ok, we'll come get ready."  The faith she had in just watching me and letting my body do what it was doing without any interference was so empowering.

Elizabeth on far left, Chanelle in middle, Mark, me.
There came a point sometime around the time of this picture where I was worried Jenn wasn't going to make it.  It was so important to me that she be there, so I was starting to get worried.  Mark, as he always does, calmed me.  I don't remember if he used words or if I even mentioned my distress over Jenn not being there yet, but just Mark's touch through each contraction reaffirmed me that all was going to be ok, whether she made it or not.

One of my favorite pictures

At some point in here, Elizabeth told me she'd be happy to check me whenever I wanted her to.  So I said sure, why not... She checked, and delivered the WONDERFUL news that I was at 9 cm.  9 CM!!!!!!! I'll take it!!!  The one and only time for this pregnancy, delivery that I was checked, I was at a 9.  I was elated.  And so thankful that we had decided to just let me be and labor without knowing.

Jenn did arrive, by the way, and I was relieved.  Time to get the baby out.

Top to bottom: Mark, Jenn, Elizabeth, me, Chanelle's hand on right :)
Oh, I'm a touchy-feely, touch me-feel me kinda person when laboring.  Some women want hands off.  No, I need love and affirmation through touch.  Please look at my birth team above.  Elizabeth, Jenn, and Chanelle are all touching me, holding my arms, hands, legs.

Elizabeth and Mark had swapped places during my pushy stage (once they could see baby), so that Mark could catch Everett.

Every laboring woman hits the "I can't do this anymore" point, signaling that it's almost over.  I hit it sometime around this picture, feeling completely defeated and unable, and they all looked me in the eye and affirmed that all was going well and I could do it, it wasn't long til he'd be here.

I pushed for what felt like an hour, Mark says it wasn't long at all.  Sorry I don't have that time period.  I forgot what he told me.  Maybe 15-20 minutes?  Less than 30 for sure.  Compared to my 3 hours with the first...

Elizabeth told Mark that once the head came out, he was to let him remain face down and wait for the rest of the body.  But we were in for a surprise... Ev's head came out and was facing up!  Dadgum posterior babies!  I'd had another!  He started the labor with his spine to my left, and we expected him to rotate forward, but instead he rotated back.  This explains why once I got in the pool, I was having a little more difficulty relaxing through some of the contractions.  Some that came were almost impossible to relax through because they were making my back hurt (but not nearly as badly as the first time).

I do have a picture of his head being born, but it's not quite G-rated enough for Mark and I to be comfortable posting it online. :)  But it is fascinating.

My water had still not broken when his head was birthed.  Which is awesome to me because I remember having a dream where he was born in the sac of water.  I was so excited about having had a dream that had partially come true.  (Only partially though because it broke as his shoulders came out.)

Mark tells me that they all got a laugh from when I decided to take a break once his head was out.  In my memory, I was thinking oh good, his head is out, that means we really are at the end.  I'll just relax and wait patiently for the next contraction to bring him all the way. But instead of saying that, he says I propped my arms up on the edge of the pool and said "oh good, I think i'll just stop here."  And they were all thinking "uhhh, no honey, you still got a little work to do."

With the next contraction, I pushed Everett out of my body into Mark's hands, where he immediately gave him to me.

We sat in the pool a few minutes, then they helped me out and we waited for what felt like an ETERNITY for the placenta to deliver.  (I hate hate hate hate hate delivering the placenta.  Seriously.... Looking back on it both times, it's what I hate the most.)  Everett caught right on to nursing, then we hung out on the couch for a bit and Elizabeth examined Everett and me.  Everything looked great.  At one point I looked up and there were multiple people drinking coffee just hanging out while we all enjoyed the euphoria of new life.  

I got a shower immediately after and then they put me to bed while they cleaned up.  I have one specific memory after I went to bed of Elizabeth coming in to our room, sitting on the edge of the bed just chatting with me.  Such a special memory.

Elizabeth, Jenn, and Chanelle cleaned up completely (including stating a load of laundry), and let themselves out all after Mark, Everett, and I had gone to bed (Roscoe had already gone back to bed).

Everett Leon Grant, born right on his due date (imagine that).  5 am February 3rd.  9 lbs 6 oz, 22.5 inches.

About to be weighed.  Clearly not a fan.

Checking everything out.

14.5 inch noggin!

Elizabeth delivered both our boys <3 

An alert, drug-free baby.

Meeting his little brother.  He was confused and dazed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I have so much to say...

.....including a birth story to finish writing. I need to hurry on that because all the little details are starting to leave me.

But my days are spent guiltlessly holding Everett. I can't seem to see the importance of getting to the computer to type up a post (this I'm typing from my phone. Not a birth story though. Too long for that!)

I remember the fear of "spoiling" my first because of too much love and attention (holding him too much, according to popular opinion). Worried what other people thought. Concerned over whether my parenting style would be accepted or critiqued.

At the moment, I couldn't care less what people thought. So far this time around, relying on reading my baby and following his cues has left me feeling better rested and confident.

"You can't spoil a baby with love" is something a family friend told me when I was waffling over whether or not to hold a crying Roscoe who wasn't settling in to the schedule I wanted him on.

And I'm not on a schedule. So I figure that's why I won't pressure my infants into one either. Eating, playing, sleeping... We're figuring it out together one day at a time. And it's much less stressful for me right now than it was 2 years ago.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

a summary of the past 2 weeks

I had said in my last post that I would keep updates coming.  My bad for not actually POSTING the updates.  I have kept a somewhat ongoing diary of each day on my phone though.  And here it is.  Clearly, you can see how each day is a battle... physically and mentally.

January 16-- had (what Elizabeth later identified as) some mild contractions when I laid down for bed at the end of the day.  She said this was likely to happen off and on, and that i needed to let her know if it got to the point where I had to work through each one.

January 17th-- felt heavier and like I was carrying lower than normal all day, was very busy and on my feet a lot.  Got a nap, but around 8:45 had to lie down, and the same dull back pain and abdominal cramps from the night before came back.  Nothing that must keep my concentration, but hard to ignore too because I feel like it's signaling that things are going to get rolling in the next few days.  Feeling pissy and emotional.  Want to cry because things aren't getting done and I'm not allowed to do them.  If everything were ready my mind might let my body do its thing, but I feel like these last minute details are what's keeping me from going into active labor.

January 18th-- some mild contractions in the afternoon.  Barely noticeable, but there.  These beginning contractions are way different than what I remember.  A lot more tolerable than anything I ever had with Roscoe.

January 19th--  5 am woke up to go to the bathroom and started contracting again when I laid back down.  They've been coming and going in waves now for an hour.  I was preparing mentally to have the baby tomorrow, maybe I'm wrong?

January 21st-- first contraction since late lunch yesterday came around 2:40.  It was the first decent one yet that required any sort of thought to get through.  More around 10 pm.  Had 3 contractions in the span of 20 minutes.  Expressed reaching the point of getting frustrated with contractions that didn't seem to be going anywhere.  Mark told me that he thinks my biggest enemy in labor is my mind.  I tend to agree.  Working now on relaxing and letting my body do its thing.

January 23rd-- Felt like today was it.  When nothing happened by the end of the day I was feeling very down.  Becoming weary of daily contractions that "aren't doing anything."  Whether or not they are dilating me, I know these contractions are beneficial and warming my body up.  But my emotions have a hard time accepting it.  It's definitely a battle between my heart and my mind.
It's one thing to know that a due date is not an expiration date, it's another thing entirely to be aware of that but experiencing contractions from 37.5 weeks.
The contractions picked up today more than ever.  More of them more often, but still irregular.  Almost 11 pm now and I'm hoping to get a decent amount of rest tonight.  Although I feel contractions may interrupt that sleep.

January 24th-- Doesn't this baby know his due date is still over a week away?  It's fine for him to be "overdue."  But there's really no need to fake me out with so many on-off-on-off contractions.  Mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting.

January 26th-- Right now I'm good.  Nothing on the physical front.  I think I've reconciled in my mind that I'm ok with this lasting another week.  My due date still isn't til a week from tomorrow.  And I never imagined that I'd last that long, but that doesn't mean he'll come early.  And I know it'll be a challenge once he's here, and nothing will be the same again (even though I'm excited about that).  So right now I'm enjoying time with Roscoe while he's still my only little boy.  And resting as much as possible.

January 28th-- After a couple days of nothing and being ok with that, at 11 pm as I tried to start relaxing to sleep, I got a few contractions.  Just going to breathe, hopefully go to sleep.

January 30th-- not gonna lie, compared to the previous birth, these contractions feel good.  They feel like everything I had expected but didn't get to experience with Roscoe.  "It's a good pain," "they feel like they're accomplishing something," "it's uncomfortable and painful, but you can breathe through them."  Right now as they come I'm just relaxing and enjoying the fact that they're warming my body up for the real thing.  Elizabeth encouraged me yesterday to just ignore them until I couldn't possible anymore.  I'm in a lot better spirits today than I was a week ago with still being pregnant.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Don't fear the normal

There have been so many things about this pregnancy that are different than Roscoe's.  The first time, everything was so new to me and I knew that I wanted a natural birth, but didn't know exactly what that looked like.  And that made me want to keep it all to myself--the whole experience.  I didn't want to broadcast what was happening as it happened to me because I didn't know anything about it experience wise.  That's why, if you knew me then, one day I was pregnant and then *bam* there were pictures of Roscoe online.  Only a handful of people knew that I was in labor when I was in labor.  The biggest reason for that was because I wanted privacy, worried that the stress of everyone pressuring me about how things were going would only cause my body to slow down.  Maybe I was right.  Maybe I was wrong.  Who knows.  It was a complicated birth regardless, and whether or not having it all to ourselves helped or hurt the process isn't worth trying to figure out now.  It happened.  And I apologize if my selfishness for the kind of birth I wanted left you hurt or offended that you didn't know the details of what was happening when.

This time, however.....

I have a totally different approach.  There are so many women who fear birth.  I did at one time.  And I honestly feel that our culture is to blame for that.  We've taken something so natural to the essence of women and created a monster out of it.  A big, ugly looking, scary, "it's-gonna-eat-me-if-i-get-near-it" monster.  It shouldn't be that way! And with this labor and birthing experience, I'm hoping to share my experience and journey in an attempt to normalize labor and childbirth.  I know the circle of people that read this is a small one, but if it can positively affect even one person, then I'll be happy.  

So as I experience these first twinges of labor pains, I want to talk about it, normalize it.... Let people know what I'm going through so they can see what a natural birth looks like.  And not be scared of it.  The way the woman's body was designed is so fascinating.  And we're constantly told lies about our bodies prior to birth.  One of the most common I hear from people is "my pelvic bones are too small to birth, my doctor told me I have the smallest ones he's ever seen."  And I'm not mocking women who have believed this lie.  If I had a doctor tell me the same thing, I'd believe it too.  Why wouldn't you?  They're supposed to know everything about birth...  Here's the thing.  At this moment, my pelvic bones are probably too small to pass a child through.  Maybe, maybe not.  But at the beginning of pregnancy? Definitely!  No woman's body is ready to give birth when the doctor usually tells her that her pelvic bones are too small.  That's the amazing part of the design.  During childbirth, my body will release a wonderful array of hormones responsible for different things.  One of them (I'm not my midwife, I can't tell you the name of it) basically allows the bones in my body to unhinge themselves and separate/stretch out to make room for the baby to pass through the birth canal.  The tailbone even swings out (it's normally curved inward slightly) to make room.  That's the one my midwife was concerned about before Roscoe, because I had a tailbone injury a year or so prior to his birth.  But a few visits to the chiropractor insured that everything was ok... (Yes, I could feel the pain in my tailbone during birth, but it wasn't enough to keep me from birthing.)

So the one time I've given birth?  Man, Roscoe's labor was hard.  He wasn't in the correct position.  Every second of every contraction was the most terrible thing I've ever experienced.  Back labor is no joke.  And anyone who has been through it can testify to the severity of that kind of pain.

What if that happens again?  Well, that's gonna suck.... But I wouldn't trade the natural birth for anything, after having been through it once already.  So he wasn't in the right position..... He was still born.  It still worked out.  Even though I "didn't know what I was doing" and had no way of knowing what was ahead of me when labor started, my body still handled it.  There's crazy ridiculous insane strength and courage inside of every woman to give birth, but as a whole, we're too scared to trust our bodies and instincts to try it, mainly because we believe the lies that we're told about birth.

Sure, this time around I'm hoping for a correctly positioned baby, to facilitate a calmer, more peaceful birth than the first.  Who wouldn't hope for that?

But regardless, I'm not going to allow myself to fear the process.  I'm made for this.  And if you're the average woman, you are too.  I'm not a super hero because I birth my children at home.  But I am blessed to know about the birthing process, and that's what I want other women to have.  Knowledge.  I know too many sad stories of women who just didn't know their options, and consequently didn't get the chance to let their bodies work naturally.

So in the coming days I hope to make more posts about what's going on with my body and what I'm experiencing pre-labor-wise.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Is so much whining normal?

Often in this house it feels like all I'm listening to is a constant stream of toddler whines. Sure, there are happy moments and times of laughter, but those fussy, whiney cries of discontent can so quickly drown out all the happy noises. It's exhausting.

I'm trying to find the balance between being strictly authoritative and leading by being calm. Both ways can achieve accurately communicating that that's not how we express ourselves in this house, but they're totally different approaches. The first feels to me like a stiff and intolerant method. Roscoe gets whiney, and I turn into an order-barking porcupine. "You stop that whining right now." Bam. That's it. No wiggle room, no discussion. The second method looks more like: roscoe gets whiney, and I approach him lovingly, gently; put him on my lap and calmly (firmly, yes, but serenely) convey that we don't whine our words. That he is welcome to always tell me how he feels, what he is thinking, but without whining. We as his parents are always here to listen and talk things through. There is no "porcupine" feeling here. I am being completely approachable, nothing to fear.

I believe both methods have their right place. When I say I want to calmly, lovingly instruct him, I'm not saying that I let him walk all over me. Yes, I am the parent and he is the child. I get that. I know there are times when the firm "put the foot down, don't stand for anything else" approach is necessary, but should that be the case every. single. time.? Can't we communicate and instruct our children without barking orders all day long?

Does any of this make sense? I've heard that every child responds to different methods of teaching and correction differently, I'm just trying to figure out how mine is wired in this area. And it's a challenge, considering he's a toddler who can't yet communicate with words, only whining--the very thing I'm trying to correct.