Drop It Like a Bad Habit...

9:47 PM

I've been thinking a lot lately about the parenting habits I have adopted, and wondering if I am instilling bad habits in Jane and Emma.  How does one really KNOW?

I read in The Happiest Baby on the Block that "During the first few months, trying to get your attention is the furthest thing from your crying baby's mind..." and that "Training your baby not to be manipulative will become an important lesson during the second six months of [her] life."  Well, crap.  I'm living that second six months, and I'm not sure that I've taken steps to start teaching them not to be manipulative.

Look into my eyes...you will give me what I want....

Is this really something that parents need to worry about?  As the mother of twins, I find that when one baby cries, I pick her up (especially if it's Emma, with her cyanotic breath-holding spells).  I don't want one upsetting the other.  But is she just being manipulative?  REALLY?!  Is this where kids learn it???

As a high school teacher, I see a LOT of manipulation going on in the teen world.  Kids manipulate their parents, their teachers, their friends, to get them to bend and sway to their whims and wants.  And this is not a trend: I remember teens being manipulative when I was a teen a hundred years ago.  Is BabyDom where we teach this bad habit?

I bought an adorable onesie for the girls that says, "I'm not spoiled I just get what I want."  It's funny, but it's TRUE!  Here's my concern -- am I teaching them to get WHATEVER THEY WANT???  When Jane wants to be picked up, I pick her up.  When Emma cries her heart-wrenching AWAHAHAHAAA cry, I give her a toy, or a bottle, or a diaper change, or a nap, or whatever I decipher from her cries that she may be looking for (usually she just wants to be held -- bad news for my pregnancy-onset carpel tunnel).  

Really, Jane?  Want to cry?  Ok, here's every toy we own.  Have at it.

Furthermore, I worry daily that I'm not doing enough to stimulate them mentally and physically.  We live in a tiny apartment, and being that it's winter, we are limited to Exersaucers, activity mats, and galloping around the house until Mama feels like passing out.  We have a small repertoire of trinkets for them to play with, but really not enough space to accommodate a plethora of toys.  Many times, when they seem bored with the same old playthings and saucers, we end up sticking them in their bouncy seats for some "toony time".  NOW I'm worried that I'm teaching them to be couch potatoes.  

This is the moment that inspired me to buy a second Exersaucer.  My kids share as well as I do.

But I really don't know what else to do when I'm home alone with them, covered in puke, and can't walk away to change my clothes or go pee.  

M-I-C-K-E-Y...this song is on repeeeeeattt...

Here's my question:  How do you balance?!  How do you ensure that your children are not learning to be manipulative, but are manipulating enough to get smart and strong?  How do you put an end to the bad habits?  How do you know WHAT is a bad habit?

I'd really love to hear from you!  In the meantime, I'll be over here, picking up my kids and giving them whatever they want.


Happy Humpday!


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