June 9, 2010

Thanks, I think

          I remember when I was pregnant. Every women I knew it seemed - and many I didn't - wanted to share their labor and delivery horror stories. And I thought, "Why would somebody do that? That is SO not helpful."

          Apparently, motherhood is the same way. My daughter is currently 17 months old and in the climbing stage. She climbs or attempts to climb on everything and anything. Seriously. She even tries to climb up walls. And I am frazzled from the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed. 
          I can't relax or turn my back for a second. It's exhausting. Not to mention I am able to accomplish absolutely nothing now. I can't even brush my teeth w/out her trying to stand on top of the toilet tank. (And let's not even discuss trying to actually go to the bathroom!)
          As so many moms today do, I posted my frustration on Facebook and Twitter yesterday. I wrote: "DD is actually attempting to climb up the wall of my bedroom. OMG, when does this stage/obsession end?!" Here are some of the comments I received:
  • I think 25 is a pretty safe bet 
  • My son went from chairs to walls and doors to people
  • If she's anything like my monkey: never.
  • Ours hasn't ended yet. My (7 year old) daughter climbs door frames, trees, ledges, retaining walls, etc etc!!  
  • After she falls a few times it will sink in 
          Then I added, "Maybe my question should be, when will I stop freaking out about it? I am so frazzled all day long." 
  • Give her a safe "climbing" period every day. Do you have a swing set/jungle gym? Maybe just some good park time every day... Ideally it would tire her out and give her her climbing fix for the day! (The most appreciated comment, although it would probably never work with my daughter)
  • You'll stop freaking out after she pulls every towel bar and curtain rod out of the wall and decides that running is a far better way to make mommy scream in panic
          Oooh! I can't wait for THAT! Thanks, I think. I know my friends had the best of intentions. But they didn't quite offer the encouragement I was hoping for. 
          Here's the thing. I wasn't actually looking for a dose of reality. I know the answer to my own question. I just wanted somebody to commiserate with me to make me feel better. A little dose of, "Been there, dealt with that. You'll get through it." I know it is normal behavior and plenty of other moms have experienced it. I'm aware it's going to go on for a long time and I just need to suck it up and deal. Nobody needs to tell me that.
          I have nothing against honesty. I adore it, actually. I am one of those candid, tell-it-like-it-is kind of people. I don't sugar coat things, and if you don't really want to know what I think, you shouldn't ask. I'm also the world's worst liar. Can't do it to save my life. And I don't want people to sugar coat things or lie to me.
          I do think there are times when "sharing" is helpful, and times when it is not. At least for me. I often love for other moms to dispense their advice, stories, experiences, fears, frustrations, etc. I ask for it directly all the time. There is an amazing camaraderie among moms, and it helps many of us get through the day. 
          But sometimes, all I want is for someone to offer a simple, "Hang in there, girl!" (Pun intended.) Of course, I can't expect people to know what I am looking for from them on a given day. Any more than I can stop my daughter's climbing obsession. Can I?
          And for the record, my husband has come up with the best suggestion so far, I think. He said, "Why don't we just cover her in bubble wrap every morning?" Sure, that'll work!


  1. I'm so with you right now. My youngest son is almost 17 months. He climbs up on tables, end tables, backs of couches, splashes in the toilet...well, you know the rest. My other sons are 3 and 5, so this is not my first rodeo. It's one of the most difficult stages, imo, bc as you said, you really can't turn your back (but let's face it, sometimes you have to!) and it makes for some very long days! It will get easier--I swear!

  2. Now see? That is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you - for real! ;)

  3. LOL! Bubblewrap or make your house interior like a padded cell. LOL!
    Don't worry. Been there. It's exhausting! But it does end. Eventually...
    Hang in there!

  4. I'm pretty sure you've given me a glimpse of my future...see my latest post at Everyday Mom. I suppose I should stop complaining? And get
    used to it? :) - Granola Mama

  5. @ Jennifer - Thanks!

    @ Kelli - Sorry if I scared you. Better to be prepared, right? You'll do fine. I'll check out your blog post shortly. Getting ready to take the wee one to story time at the library...

  6. You know how guys like to brag and show off their scars? It's nothing compared to moms.

    We're even worse at frightening off the young upstarts and relating our tales of bravery and horror. We're also shameless one-up-ers. (You think YOUR kid's got climbing problems??) It's not being malicious, and it's not being flippant either, it's just how the club works sometimes.

    Potentially Moms could use their famed wisdom and empathy to unite and help other new moms and let them know they're not alone; that all things pass; that every problem is approachable.

    For some reason though, we just think it's more fun to pick on the new girls. *shrug* I don't get it either.

    (btw: my 4-year-old finally stopped climbing. We're on to biting now)

  7. @ Monica - I'm a very old, "new" girl. LOL Had my first @ 40. And in many ways, I think my age serves me well as a mom. Chasing the toddler around the house? Not so much! LOL

  8. I feel for you! Those first few sentences reminds me of when I was pregnant the first time, and yes, heard all the horror stories. One woman even told me, in great detail, how her son had broken her ribs when he was born. Not what a new mom wants to hear! But what I hated to hear more than anything, (still do actually, and mine are 11 and almost 13 now), is "You just wait." God, I hate that phrase!

    Some days it may not seem like it, but you will get through it, move on to scarier things, get through that, repeat.... :)

  9. Oh, these are good times. My daughter is a delight. Yes, I am exhausted, but I will get through it. I'm not in any hurry to get to the scarier things, either. ;)

  10. The days are long but the years are short. Hang on in there. One day you will get a whole shower uninterrupted. No, really.

  11. Hang in there, my fellow mommy! I saw the picture of your little monkey the other day - I bet her adorable smile makes it all the better... even when she is climbing the walls and making you crazy. Motherhood is so frightening, ahem, fun!

  12. Oh, yes, I know this feeling so well: both the exhaustion from chasing a wild climber and the need to vent without getting advice. I know I do it too. A friend tells me about her baby and I start talking about my own. I wonder why we do it? Are we so self-confident that we're convinced our way is the best way? More likely, I suppose, we're grasping at straws ourselves and hope to give some credence to our approach simply by hearing it said out loud.

    Good luck with your sweet little climber!

  13. @ Claire - "The days are long but the years are short." I like that! It is so true! And do you promise about the shower? LOL

    @ Jennifer - It is both frightening and fun. But more the latter than anything. I'm having a ball, I really am.

    @ Kristen - That is an interesting thought. I know I question myself all the time. Credence is something we're looking for, isn't it?

  14. I think Twitter tends to be venue for the flip response, so you *do* have to couch your plea appropriately. But then, @muffintopmommy is one of my fave Tweeple. So there you are! (And the teens might be emotional, but there's nothing so liberating as when you don't have to have someone watching them all the time!)

  15. My third is the craziest. He's the one who will land us in the ER, for sure. My friend found her third on top of the upright piano. No joke. It's insanity, truly. And you do just hang in there, and some days it's easier to deal with and some days it's really freaking hard. I hope tomorrow is easier. :)


  16. Don’t you imagine that all moms, when holding someone else’s newborn, fight the urge to say (some fail & say it anyway!), “Honey - you’ve no idea what you’re in for.” It’s not meant to be condescending, not means to scare – it’s more a recognition that a woman’s life will never be the same because of this child’s life. And they don’t know what she’s in for any more than she does!!!! Most of the time it takes another person slightly removed from the situation to offer the glimmer that whatever stage it happens to be, that it too, will pass (usually with a dose of love & humor like your husband).

    It’s hard for moms to appreciate the loneliness of another’s situation – even when they’ve been through it, often because they’re in an equally isolated-feeling place themselves.

  17. I can't offer much because my son (25 months) is in the climbing stage himself which I NEVER experienced with my daughter. BUT, I can say that he's gotten way better because I've made it very clear to him that it's NOT OK and I "punish" him when he does it. He knows now it's wrong and he'll have consequences for his actions so he doesn't do it as much. He still tests and doesn't show much fear but if he knows mommy will be upset, he'll stop before he gets to high up on something! Good luck... each step is a stage and he will grow out of it. i don't know many 15 year olds who climb on the fridge, do you? :)

  18. @ Jeffe - I am SO not looking forward to having a teenage girl in the house. I didn't even like them when I was one! LOL So I think I'll take this stage over that. ;)

    @ Elizabeth - I wrote this last night, and today actually was easier. Because we were out and about and busy with activities. I think keeping her engaged in other things helps. And if I can provide safe and fun climbing opportunities - like at the baby gym or park - that's great. But when we're home, she's gonna climb on everything she can.

    @ Amy- It can feel very lonely when you are home with your child(ren) day after day. I think that is why so many moms blog and reach out to each other online. There really is a community out there.

    @ Becca - Discipline has not worked w/my daughter - yet. Whenever we do she laughs at us. So we're struggling with that. I've even let her fall a few times, when I was sure she wouldn't get hurt. I thought that might teach her a lesson. Nope. I have tried to convey that there is climbing she can do (on to the ottoman, for example) and climbing she can't do (on to the top of the toilet tank). I know climbing is something she is supposed to do, so I don't want to squash it completely. But I want her to learn what is dangerous.

  19. Hi, Elizabeth! The others have covered this so well, but I must add that you must purchase plenty of "monkey" glue (my dad swears by this stuff...it'll bond two cement trucks together if necessary) and lots and lots of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Oh, and don't forget about Goo Gone! Seriously, this multi-purpose cleaner will take anything out of clothes, hair (like, gum!) and even remove fingernail polish from carpet. WHEW! I hope this rant about various adhesives/cleaners helps in some way.:)

  20. Luke laughs at us with most discipline too. It's awful. He doesn't take us seriously when we shout no at him. Again, never had that issue with Hannah who I guess didn't like to upset us. I have stopped using words with luke to discipline him. I just remove him from what he's climbing on over and over and over and each time put him in his crib (where he doesn't want to be during non sleep times). It's his time out. And I leave him there for longer increments of a minute until he stops his behavior. Does it work every time? No. But it's a start. And at this point, I'm ok with squashing his desire to climb. I don't think I'm teaching him not to climb at all, ever. I'm just teaching him not to climb up the walls of the house. And again, it certainly doesn't work all the time!

  21. @ Tory - I think I should write that all down. LOL

    @ Becca - Well at least I am not the only one whose child laughs at me. ;) Actually, my friend's DD screams and hits whenever they try to discipline her. Yikes!

  22. It really is scary, isn't it? Both of my kids were climbers (and still are), and I seriously considered building a padded room onto the house and just keeping them in there.

    But I'm getting through it. Just like you will. In the meantime, the bubble wrap idea really does sound good.

  23. Been there, dealt with that, and yes, you WILL get through it :)

    I have never understood why we moms do that to each other...bring out all the worst possible scenarios, whether it's with pregnancy, childbirth, toddlerhood....you're right, it isn't helpful at all! I had a conversation at a maternity clothes store with a woman who was pregnant with her first and had literally been scared speechless by horror stories. When I said I was having my second, she said, "Oh thank God! So it's not so bad that you weren't willing to do it twice?" Poor thing, she was terrified!

    You do get to a point when you realize that you have to kind of pick those battles, and as much as we want to think that we are in control as parents, there simply is no reasoning with a two year old. I have to keep telling myself that the qualities in my boys that drive me crazy now, will serve them well later in life.

    For myself, I've had to redefine what the phrase "a clean house" means. My grandmother always used to say that you can tell the difference between today's dirt and yesterday's dirt, and I cling to that.

    Stick with the discipline; it will sink in. Choose your rules, for things/behaviors you find unacceptable (safety of course, and manners, whatever your non-negotiables are) and just stick to your guns on those....everything else will come. I will agree wholeheartedly with Claire...the days are long but the years are short.

    Hang in there! She's a happy and healthy little girl, you're doing great :)

  24. @ Billy - Glad to get a Dad's perspective, and to know it freaks you guys out, too. ;) My hubby only sees DD awake for a short time each day during the week. So he doesn't deal w/the climbing as much as I do. I'm not even sure he believes me when I tell him the stuff she has climbed on by the end of the day. LOL

    @ Some Suburban Mom - Great advice, and you are so right. My hubby even said the other day, "Gotta pick your battles. Some are worth fighting, some aren't." I think we are still navigating and determining which for us are worth it. You don't really figure that all out ahead of time. And I'm sure you modify the list as you go.

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