Just When You Got It…Everything Changes

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The final chapter in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems is titled “Just When You Think You’ve Got It…Everything Changes!” Isn’t that so true in parenting? “After all, this is the only job on earth in which not only do the requirements keep changing, but so does the “the product” ” (page 366).

Oh, this is so true. From the very beginning, one of the most difficult things to pinpoint is waketime length. It changes constantly with those little newborns. By the time you figure it out, it is different tomorrow! As they get older, it does settle down and stay consistent for longer periods. But in doing my weekly summaries with McKenna, I have noticed it does change little by little over time. I guess you just get better at recognizing their individual sleep cues and don’t even think so much about exact waketime length anymore.

How about sleeping? You spend several months working on sleeping skills, and around 3 or so months, things seem to really click for most babies. Then the rolling starts. Then the sitting up, the crawling, the talking…these disruptions bring along with them complete havoc to all you have worked for!

Or your baby finally starts to sleep through the night and you go on vacations, your baby gets sick, or she gets some new teeth in…setting you back several weeks.

And swaddling? Forget swaddling. You finally get the swaddle down perfectly and either A) the weather changes requiring a new blanket or B)your baby grows ten times stronger and breaks out of it with ease.

How about dressing your baby? You get just the right balance of clothing on him and the seasons change.

Introducing solids adds additional time to feedings. As soon as you both get in a groove, she starts blowing raspberries at meals.

You then have this sweet little thing who will sit and play on her own, perfectly content. Then she learns how to crawl and wants to explore the whole house.

The toddler years are a roller coaster with food. As soon as you tell your friend what a great eater you have, she will go on a hunger strike. Did you think corn was her favorite vegetable? Surely you were mistaken. She HATES corn.

Just when your life settles down, your preschooler gets a new mission. He must define all boundaries all over again. What can he get away with? How good are his negotiating skills?

You get my point.

Hogg points out that parenting is like climbing a mountain. You work really hard up steep portions. Then you get to plateaus that are relatively easy (this is the moment you will think, “man, I am a good parent. Things are so easy)–but you will soon come to another steep portion–and this part will be much harder to climb. If you want to make it to the top, you must press forward and keep going.

This idea is so true. Babies are hard, yes. But your only worries are eating and sleeping. You don’t have to worry about teaching letters, numbers, manners, and morals! Older children bring along eating and sleeping worries…and just add many more things to the list for you to worry about.

With this post, I don’t want to discourage you. I am hoping you read this in good humor. Let’s laugh at ourselves and our situations. It is inevitable; the difficult moments will come. I have always been one to say that during difficult times you can either laugh or cry. Laughing is more fun–and it makes the whole thing more bearable.

I also hope that as you read this you will see that difficult times are normal. Perfectly normal. You will experience sleep difficulties. You will have food issues. You will have discipline problems. You just will. Over and over. It is part of the package. Expect and accept it. These things don’t mean you are a bad parent or your child is a bad child. It just means you are moving ahead.

The view from the top is beautiful, and you will have a much healthier (though worn out) heart and body when you get there. Keep trudging! You can do it!


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Linds
    February 25, 2010 / 5:18 PM

    I talk with my best friend about this ALL the time. I think this was probably my biggest letdown with parenting; I knew things would be hard, but I never realized it would be CONSTANTLY hard. I am slowly learning to laugh and roll with the punches, but it definitely has been an adjustment for me in learning to constantly change (I hate change, so perhaps that's why I find this so difficult!)

  2. Redheads
    February 25, 2010 / 7:29 PM

    I needed this so much today! Thank you! I know I am supposed to be laughing, but I am crying actually. But it is not crying from despair like it was last night, but rather tears of relief to know that I am not doing a bad job with my LO. She has recently recovered from a bad illness, but she is now acting up badly and protesting sleep. I think I will decide to laugh instead of cry now. She will learn to STTN again, she did it fine for most of her 13 months of life, and a couple of disrupted nights due to illness are not going to set us back. Thanks again.Amy

  3. Ben & Jenny
    February 25, 2010 / 9:25 PM

    GREAT post! This goes under "favorites"–Thank you!

  4. Val
    February 26, 2010 / 3:02 AM

    Raising newborn twins, I would sit there at 2am and dream about when they would finally be toddlers and life would be so much easier. We'd talk about the weather together, stroll along in the zoo, walk hand and hand through the park. What in the world was I thinking. Newborns, way easier!

  5. Herina
    February 26, 2010 / 3:58 AM

    Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.Green Tea Diet

  6. Nicola
    February 26, 2010 / 1:39 PM

    This is too true!We try to hang on to the way things are when they are going right and then almost overnight they change and we have to roll with the punches. Mothering certainly isn't easy, but man, it is rewarding! We have been entrusted with these little lives and raising the next generation for Greater Things! May God give us all the grace, energy, patience and wisdom and humour to keep going!

  7. Kristy Shreve Powers
    February 26, 2010 / 2:08 PM

    Yes!! I think one of the main reasons I find two children to be about the same difficulty as one is that I already know this! I expect these phases and changes. The other reason is Babywise–I'm so grateful for it!I told my DH that when Nick is going through developmental leaps and teething, it's like trying my very best at work and having my boss yell at me a few times a day, every day. But I say it with a sense of humor. 😉

  8. jenn
    February 26, 2010 / 9:42 PM

    I am going through this with my newborn. He is one month old, for the first 3 weeks and 6 days, he was on a wonderful 3 hour eating schedule and sleeping 5 hours a night. Then on his 4 week "birthday" he decided he wants nothing to do with an eating schedule, and wants to eat anywhere from every 1.5 hours to every 3.5 hours. And now it seems my 30-40 minute breastfeeding time with him is only going to satisfy him sometimes. So much for my "routine!" I thought I had him pinned, too.

  9. Aunt Kristen
    March 1, 2010 / 3:48 PM

    I need some advice if anyone can help. My LO is 6 weeks, we have had to supplement with formula so the pediatrician insisted that I move to a 4 hr. schedule. This was not a big deal when we first started sleep training because it would take him atleast an hour to get to sleep. Now that he is getting to sleep quicker, I am fearful he will wake from naps earlier. His awake time is only 45min to an hour. How do I not get ahead or off schedule if he is waking early??? Please Help -Thanks

  10. AvonLadyJerrica
    March 10, 2010 / 1:21 PM

    What a great post! Our little bundle is 2.5 months now, and we're finding this to definitely be true. But thank god for Baby Wise! At least we know how to be flexible and get her back on a schedule fairly quickly. I agree that we just have to laugh about it and roll with the punches…otherwise, we'd all go insane!

  11. Plowmanators
    March 13, 2010 / 12:15 AM

    You are welcome everyone!

  12. Plowmanators
    March 13, 2010 / 12:15 AM

    Linds…lol…CONSTANTLY hard. So true.

  13. Plowmanators
    March 13, 2010 / 12:17 AM

    Val, you really made me laugh out loud. And it is scary to think newborn twins are way easier 😉

  14. Plowmanators
    March 13, 2010 / 12:18 AM

    Nicola, very true. It is very rewarding.

  15. Plowmanators
    March 14, 2010 / 12:15 AM

    Aunt Kristen,See the post "eat/wake/sleep cycle."I would give it a try. McKenna had short waketimes and long naps for a long time. If that is what your baby needs, go for it! If your baby can't quite do 4 hours, try out 3.5.

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