Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Parenting

Sometimes I worry. Any of you who really know me will find this shocking I know, ha,ha. What I'm about to say may sound crazy. Maybe more crazy than my usual even, maybe not. When I was pregnant with the boys, I remember having many a night where I would lay in bed worrying about what the future held for them. I obviously worried about both of my babes but more so with Alex because of the known medical issues and challenges we were told he would face. Outside of the "regular" list of worries I had, I also worried about how the boys would relate to each other. A couple of the big ones included: Will Alex wonder why he was born having to work harder at being mobile then his twin, will he feel left out or left behind of activities that Nicholas will so effortlessly be able to do? Will he wonder why he has to deal with more health issues in addition to the mobility stuff? Will he resent his brother that he doesn't have to deal with any of that? These are questions I obviously still wonder about and only time will tell.

No, that's not really the crazy part. I think any one would get why my mind asks those questions from time to time. The crazy part is something I didn't really give much thought to until the last couple of months, the flip side. Will/does Nicholas get jealous of all the attention seemingly lavished on Alex? I mean I can't help but wonder sometimes how things might look from Nicholas's vantage point. Does/will he think that Alex gets more attention? We do have some pretty fabulous people who come several days a week just to "play" with Alex. Alex gets cool looking "boots", different types of play toys (i.e. equipment) just for Alex, etc. It may look like Mommy does a lot more one on one time with Alex as I am doing his daily stretches, exercises, as well as playing to entice Alex into a few more minutes in the stander. Nicholas also sees me taking Alex out for extra appointments and is just now getting to that age of him minus mommy = separation and oh by the way, he does not like separation so much right now. IS he thinking that he's somehow being left out of something special? If not now, will he feel that way as he gets older? Will he end up having resentments because of this?

I'm trying to be conscious of my time and energy with both of my boys. There is no such thing in parenting or life for that matter as fair and equal. You do the best you can in any situation. I try to spend some extra one on one time with Nicholas when Daddy's home or when Nana is over. Nicholas is a mommy's boy (for now at least) and I LOVE that. He gravitates towards me the way Alex throws himself at his Daddy (or Nana) the second he/she walks in the room. I actually love that too, the unique bond they share with each of us. Anyway, my hope is that I can be the best parent I can be to BOTH of my boys.

Mark and I have always said we wanted to treat and raise the boys the same. We don't want to "baby" Alex because of his disability. On the contrary, we want to give him the tools (therapies, exercises, equipment, etc.) to be just as independent as his brother some day and many days we ask ourselves are we pushing Alex too hard, not hard enough? Are we requiring the same from him as from Nicholas? Heck we even ask ourselves if we are not encouraging Nicholas enough on the mobility front because what if subconsciously we don't want him to get too far "ahead" of Alex? Oh the second guessing. I was a much better parent years before I became one. I've had quite a bit of experience with children. I worked in day care for several years and did private nannying for years through college. Gosh I remember how I used to just know I would NEVER do this or I would ALWAYS do x,y,z for my child, the exact opposite of whatever example I was seeing at the time. Ofcourse now having my own children, the light bulb has come on and I realize its never as easy as you assume it to be.

Funny now that you can look back and see that in every stage in life, you're the "expert" until you are the one actually submerged into the role. Then reality hits and you realize that you don't know half as much as you thought you did. Or at least thats what I"M finding. oh well. I guess if you didn't have that bit of blind confidence, you wouldn't take that next leap. and the next leap? Its always worth taking. Even if you are a bit blind while doing it.

In all of this worrying about what kind of time and energy I can give to each of my boys, I can't forget ofcourse that its not just about my time and attention (or Daddy"s) that matters solely to the boys individually but what they bring to each other. They might not have our attention all to themselves but they are sooooo fortunate to have a built in play mate and pal 24/7 which most of the time they seem pretty happy about. Its nothing short of awesome watching as they purposefully try to get each other's attention now, make each other laugh by doing a goofy face or squeal or trying to play hide and seek or chase each other.


video

Like any parent, I want my boys to be the best of friends. I think about how I can help teach them, raise them to look out for one another, support each other and cheer each other on. I know, I know, they are so little still and I know that I can't control every thing (although I may forget that in the next moment ha,ha) but I do believe I have a strong role to influence them.


I know their relationship began a long time ago but I am in awe of how it transforms from little newborn babies that curled up together to nap but didn't truly see each other or interact 

here after growing three more months in the NICU
snuggling at home
not a care in the world, Nicholas making a good arm rest

to now banging on their crib with fierce determination to wake up their brother because hey, its time to play. and when awake always checking to see what the other one is up to. I can't wait to watch how their friendship develops.






They are quite simply my double blessings. If they can feel even a fraction of what my heart can barely contain for them, how tremendously they are loved, I will know I am doing an okay job at this parent gig.

3 comments:

caryanne said...

I SO get this post Holli!

Especially the whole "does it bother Daniel that Ben seems to get so much attention?" And of course, the answer is yes. Unfortunately. We try to be as fair as possible, but Ben just gets more of my time due to the numerous appointments he has.

One morning as I was packing up the diaper bag, Daniel asks me very casually "where are you taking Ben today Mommy?" It broke my heart.

Last summer, I put Ben in a week of Conductive Education (an alternative therapy). It's a few hours away from home so we had to go and stay in a hotel for the week. I thought it would be "fairer" to bring Daniel (and the babysitter) with us so that Daniel could have a week away from home too. As it turns out, he hated seeing Ben leave with me everyday for what he thought was FUN.

WE're going again in a few weeks and this time Daniel and the babysitter will stay behind...we will be "out of sight, out of mind". WHich should be easier on him.

We also did therapeutic riding for Ben this summer. It was in the evening so teh whole family went. And Daniel was pretty OK with just exploring the farm while Ben got to ride. During our 2nd session, we got a really great instructor who actually would let Daniel have a quick 5-minute ride each night after Ben was done. He was overjoyed! Again, it broke Mommy's heart just a little.

It's a rough road we're on. Rewarding but rough. And yes, Nicholas will be jealous of Alex at times (and vice versa of course) and that's just par for the course.

Great post. (and sorry for the very long comment)

Jill said...

I get this too!! Right now, Rach and Cor think that all babies have therapists and lots of appointments. I am always worrying about when the girls are going to realize that all of King's 'special' things are NOT things that they did as babies as well. It's a bit different, obviously, because your boys are the same age, but it is always there. One day, they're going to realize he's got other things going on. Hopefully, I'll know what to do about it then.

And, yeah, I should just go back in time and ask my 25 year old self what to do because she knew EVERYTHING about parenting!! ;)

cfallone said...

Holli, are you reading my mind? I can relate so well to you and your struggles! I try so hard to divide my attention equally between the four kids but it is impossible! I try to remind myself that "fair" is not equal and I truly believe that as the children get older, they will be better people for it...more understanding, compassionate. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. I think, as long as we shower them ALL with lots of love and they know that they are loved EQUALLY, they will get it.

I think the difficult part is that both our children with special needs are cognitively aware and twins. Although, these are both very good things, they come with the complication of "why me" and not the other. Maybe faith and love will be what gets Alex and Mia through that but I'm sure the road is going to be heart wrenching for us moms :)

Hang in there and sleep at night would ya !!! (ha, ha)