I think there is a wide misconception that being a mom of 3 children makes me (or any parent) an expert at parenting. Let me just shut that down right now. What being a mom of 3 actually means is that I know as much or as little as every other parent but that I am reminded of that 3 times more than a parent of 1 child. Being a mom of 3 means I learn things 3 times, I try 3 different ways of doing things (and, actually, this should be 3 x infinity), I fail 3 times (on average), and I have 3 very different little humans that stare up at me for answers – with most questions that need to be answered in 3 different ways in order to satisfy their different personalities.
Expert, I am not. Experienced, sure.
But really, having 3 kids makes me nothing more than a very tired human who runs on little sleep, enough caffeine daily to knock out a Clydesdale, reassurance that tomorrow is always a new day, and hope that I never screw up big enough to destroy the future of my kids.
I am reminded on a daily basis how different Poppy, Hudson, and Holland are. With their difference in personalities, the way they need to be parented differently, how they hit their milestones differently, and their overall health and growth. Don’t get me wrong; my children are otherwise very healthy and we are so fortunate and grateful for this. However, with that being said, each of them has their own ‘thing’ that we have to deal with whether physically or developmentally. None of them have anything that is life-threatening, thank God. But, they each have something going on that further reminds me that even after 5 years, I am a new mom and I don’t know what I am doing all of the time nor do I know how to handle every situation.
Poppy, for example, didn’t really start talking until roughly 2.5 years old. She had about 10 words up until that point but none of them formed sentences together unless it was “ice please”. I remember countless times expressing concern about this and I was often met with the response that she’s fine, she talks, she has words, and it wasn’t a big concern. She finally starting talking – and though I swear she never stops now – we are dealing with the repercussions of her delayed speech. Poppy has been going to speech therapy for 2 years now through our school district to help her with the issues that she has with unknown sounds, sound confusions, and sound production. She has issues with many letter blends, placement and specifically blends that are multisyllabic. Some of these issues that she has are age-appropriate and others are not. The good news is that we are working on it. We are working to improve her speech and provide her with the help that she needs both at school and at home. Poppy is a very hard worker and wants to succeed which makes teaching her, as well as her desire to learn and improve that much easier. As someone who once has a speech impediment myself, as many others have, I know she will overcome this in time.
With Hudson, as you may recall from a previous post, has been undergoing lots of tests and seeing different specialists to determine the cause of his low-growth in both height and weight. At 2 years old he was diagnosed as “failure to thrive” primarily for his low height and weight – which were hardly on the charts they were so low. After running some tests and seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist, Hudson was put on a gluten-free, dairy-free, high-fat diet with the need for additional Vitamin D supplements. He, and all of us, were on this diet for roughly 2 years. It was daunting at first and then quickly became the only thing my family knew. Neither Hudson nor anyone else was deprived of delicious food or baked goods; I learned to make it all to fit our new diet. While on this new diet he had immediate results which allowed us to potty-train him quickly, he packed on 6lbs and grew 4″. His sleep improved, his temperament improved, and his overall behavior changed drastically as he was no-longer suffering from constant tummy aches. With all of those wonderful things being said, his growth was still not enough and the doctor sent us to a pediatric endocrinologist through Stanford for some additional testing. Hudson had to go back to a full-inclusion diet with no restrictions in order to undergo an additional round of testing and those results were great; he no longer needed to be gluten and dairy free! Wonderful, wonderful news! Unfortunately, with this great news it brought on the concern that if it is not his diet holding him back then what was it. He recently had some additional lab-work done ordered by the endocrinologist to test for hormone levels and thyroid issues. The Doctor feels confident that it was his 2 years of un-diagnosed dietary issues that slowed/halted his growth and because of that he will be behind for a bit but will definitely catch up now that everything has naturally corrected itself. We are waiting on this last set of blood tests but holding out hope that all is well and that the doctor is correct. Thankfully despite his low-growth, Hudson is otherwise a very smart, witty, happy little guy. He is very sweet and sensitive and incredibly analytical. We are so grateful that his growth issues have not had any impact on his development.
Crazy, wild, busy girl Holland definitely doesn’t have an issue with her growth/size! As a matter of fact, people often ask if Holland and Hudson are twins because they’re basically the same size. Last time I checked she was just 1″ short and actually half a pound more than Hudson – despite being almost 2 years younger. With Holland, since she was newborn I had concerns about her feet. If you’re a parent or have been around a lot of babies, you know that all babies feet turn in slightly; this is normal and they straighten out in time. Holland had this, just as Poppy and Hudson, however, hers seemed more exaggerated than the others did. I remember thinking “hmm… her feet don’t seem to be straightening out as quickly…” But with everyone pediatric appointment for her routine check-ups she was fine and the doctor showed no concern. Finally, around her 1st birthday I expressed concern to the pediatrician because her feet were still turned inward, seemed very wide at the base of her toes, and it was a pain in the you-know-what to get shoes on her feet. The doctor referred us to a pediatric orthopedist who recognized Holland’s foot disorder almost immediately; Metatarsus adductus. This is a deformity when the front portion of the foot turns inward. It can be mild, moderate, or extreme depending on the ability to flex or straighten-out the food. The doctor determined that Hollands was mild and although surgery was an option to correct it, we had waited too long so that she was at a difficult age to perform the surgery. He told us that we should keep an eye on it and that it usually corrects itself over time, most often before 10 years old. If she were to have any difficulty with walking, running, or sports then they would suggest surgery and even if she continued to have a very difficult time with shoes. At this point her feet seem no better and no worse than a year ago. With that being said, she also has no problem running, walking, jumping, or kicking a ball. The thought of her undergoing a really intense surgery seems horrible to me and I don’t think her issue is bad enough for that. We’ve been lucky enough to find a few brands of shoes that actually fit her feet because it is otherwise very difficult to get shoes on or to stay on. And, should you ever see Holland out and about and it’s freezing cold but she’s got sandals on – don’t judge, you now know why! We are so fortunate that this foot issue has not stopped her or slowed her down whatsoever. We hold out hope, just like with Poppy and Hudson, that in time this will be an issue of the past and they will grow and flourish in life with no residual issues.
My point in all of this is that there are lessons to be learned here; First-off, everyone is fighting their own battle. No matter how great or how small. Someone may appear completely ‘normal’ but they may have a whole lot going on that you don’t know about. I am referring to my kids’ issues individually as well as a blanket statement regarding myself as a mom dealing with all of this, also. Secondly, all of this just furthers proves that I am not a perfect mom, I don’t entirely know what I am doing, and I learn new things on a constant basis. I may have a few tricks up my sleeve and I may even have some solid advice to give but I am always accepting both in return, too! And lastly and most importantly, you should never judge anyone and no one is perfect.
My kids have taught me so much in the last 5 years and I am certain that I will continue to learn and to grow as a mom and as a person for the rest of my life because of them. 5 years and 3 kids later I still consider myself a new mom – a learning mom. I wonder when – and if – that feeling will ever subside…