5 Things I’d NEVER Do

As a younger version of myself, I was highly opinionated and judgmental of those around me.  I had black and white views of how the world should operate and was very certain about how I would handle my future.  I had plans for everything and knew how it would all play out.  As life unfolds, I’m learning how the circumstances of our lives help mold and shape us.   I strongly believe that God uses these circumstances in our lives to help us open our minds and hearts. As my friend and fellow quad mom Becky says, “He really does like to throw us curveballs sometimes doesn’t He?”  I have to chuckle at myself when I compile a list of some of my “I’d NEVER…”

1. Get a Yorkie

George and I are undoubtedly dog lovers, and we’ve always preferred the company of small dogs.  I think it’s partially because I’m small and I’m totally overwhelmed by dogs my size or larger.  Shortly after we were married, I convinced George we needed a puppy in our family.  One Sunday afternoon, we grazed the Sunday paper (back then Craigslist wasn’t the rage) seeking a small puppy in our price range.  We were on a shoestring budget so our choices were slim, but we knew we wanted a small dog that was NOT a Yorkie.  Why?  Yorkies look absolutely precious, but are notoriously difficult to train, have copious amounts of energy, and are destructive despite small stature.   We left phone messages on approximately six answering machines (yes, before voice mail), and only one breeder returned our call.  Thus, our Peke a Poo, Sasha, joined our family.  Sasha was our baby and we treated her as such.

As the years passed, we began talk of starting a family and were heartbroken when plans failed repeatedly.  I desperately wanted to hit “snooze” on my biological clock.   Then one day, my sister called telling me she was trying to help a friend re home a Yorkie puppy.  At that time, I desperately needed to fill a void.  I needed to nurture someone and Sasha was not a puppy anymore.  Without hesitation, I agreed to foster this puppy.  I knew full well she’d steal our hearts and would find a forever home at our house, but told George we were “fostering” her.  The night Lily was delivered to our house, she was in a pink leopard bag wearing a pink tutu dress.  I could have sworn this puppy once belonged to Paris HIlton.  At first, Lily was the worst puppy ever.  She was a Tasmanian devil of sorts.  She destroyed house plants, gnawed a hole in our carpet, and urinated on EVERYTHING.  However, I was determined to train this puppy to be an honorable family member.  I poured my energy into training her, and it was exactly what I needed then.  It took me nearly nine months, but I achieved the impossible.  I potty trained a Yorkie puppy among other obedience commands.  Lily is a fantastic dog who loves her family dearly, quads included.  Lily made me eat my words and, we have a Yorkie in our family.

This is the pink dress Lily was wearing the night we got her.

This is the pink dress Lily was wearing the night we got her.

Even though she was a Holy Terror, Lily really did melt our hearts.  She was a four month old, two pound puppy with a big heart.

Even though she was a Holy Terror, Lily really did melt our hearts. She was a four month old, two pound puppy with a big heart.

Lily is the kind of dog who lets Sydney rub her belly (with supervision).

Now, Lily is the kind of dog who lets Sydney rub her belly (with supervision).

2. Drive a van

Even with hopes of a family, I always retorted I would NEVER drive a van.  Who needs a van when there is an array of trendy SUVs to choose from?  I figured I’d become an SUV driving soccer mom like everyone else in our suburban community.  I mean literally, “Suburban” community.  Practically everyone drives a Suburban, or something similar.  Plans changed the day we discovered that four babies were in our immediate future.   The Honda Accord nor the Jeep Liberty we owned could capacitate four infant seats.  When we set out to purchase a family vehicle, we were limited to seven passenger models and SUVs in our price range just weren’t big enough.  To my chagrin, the van really isn’t that bad.  It’s not as chic as some other options, but it has wonderful amenities that are family friendly, namely the automatic doors.  When loading/ unloading four babies it really doesn’t matter so much what the people mover looks like, it’s all about practicality.  And, the van gets the job done.  Thus, I drive a van.

Here;s the van we bought to hold the quads.  I think we should keep it until they are old enough to drive it.

Here’s the van we bought to hold the quads. I think we should keep it until they are old enough to drive it.

2-IMG_5070 1-IMG_5069

3. Have more than two children

If you’ve ever seen a few episodes of Super Nanny, you probably noticed all of the families have three or more children.  Why? Because when the children outnumber the parents, things often go awry.  George and I always planned on having two children.  We wanted our children to have a sibling, but planned on having a 1:1 parent/ child ratio.  Obviously, that’s not what happened.  Instead of having a 1:1 parent/ child ratio, we’ve learned that 1:1: hand/ child ratio works perfectly in our house.  Each day with the quads is a new one and we realize we can handle more than we ever anticipated.  As it turns out, more than two children is just right for us.

A few years ago, I couldn't fathom a life filled with four children.  Now I can't imagine what life would be without them.  They fill our lives with so much joy.

A few years ago, I couldn’t fathom a life filled with four children. Now I can’t imagine what life would be without them. They fill our lives with so much joy.

4. Speak publicly (on my own accord)

Public speaking tops my list of things I’d rather not.  The thought of public speaking spurs on enough anxiety for sweat to begin dripping and my stomach to start knotting.  Yet, I’ve done my share of public speaking thanks to graduate school and my profession.  I’ve never wanted to public speak, but have done it out of sheer necessity, hating every loathsome second.  Amazingly, I spoke at a public event a few weeks age because I wanted to and I felt good about it.  Because of my passion for helping every baby thrive, I agreed to speak at the Infant Mortality Summit kick off event.  Public speaking is still not my forte, but on the right topic, I feel capable.

Here I am public speaking and feeling confident about it.

Here I am public speaking and feeling confident about it.

5. Take shortcuts with my children

When I was an aspiring parent, I had all sorts of grandiose ideas about what I would or would not do.  I’m sure every parent was like this prior to becoming a parent.  In my days of daydreaming, I scoffed at “taking shortcuts” with my kids because I was setting out to be Super Mom of course.  Even when I was expecting quads, I had no plans of bottle propping.  It’s frowned upon by all the experts as it poses a choking hazard.  I also headed the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding television exposure in infants.  They suggest NO television until after age two.  I really wanted to follow the “rules”, being the rule-bound person I am.  However, when the reality of caring four four infants hit me, I learned quickly that my adherence to rules had to change and flexibility was key.  I work feverishly to do my best for my children, but some shortcuts literally preserve my sanity.  So, I caved and I bottle propped and let the babies watch some limited television during the day.

One evening, the quads enjoyed an Elmo movie in their new tent given to us from a friend.

One evening, the quads enjoyed an Elmo movie in their new tent given to us from a friend.

Instead of saying, “Id never”, I now say, “I don’t plan to….but you never know”, and I allow God’s will to open my eyes to new possibilities every day.

What was on your list of “I’d NEVER…” that you found yourself doing?

hugs!

Amber

9 thoughts on “5 Things I’d NEVER Do

  1. Your kids are precious!!!
    They are not strapped into their car seats correctly, though 😦 The straps must come from BELOW their shoulders when they are rear-facing. Also, I am glad to see that they are rear-facing (great job!!!!) and they should continue to do so until 4 years old (I know it seems like a long time but once you know why, it makes a lot of sense. The spinal vertebra do not start to harden until around 3-6 years old so their spinal cords are at risk for stretching too far aka internal decapitation if you get into a wreck and they are forward facing before 4 years old). Here is a wonderful group which can answer all of your car seat questions https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarSeatsForTheLittles/ I am not a car seat tech, just a mom that has learned a lot from this group.
    Cheers!

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    • Thanks for popping by our blog and sharing your thoughts! Ironically, this is an old photograph from when the babies were younger and still in infant seats. I have a post coming up in the next week or so about Why Parenting is like Religion and Politics, that mentions car seat particulars.

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  2. I’m pretty sure no one would shun you for taking some time to yourself while your FOUR little ones watch some decent TV/movie. We followed the TV rule and a lot of other rules, but… we only have ONE, so, I can’t judge… and I seriously hope nobody else does, either! I enjoyed your post, keep it up!

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    • Thank you for understanding how our situation differs from others. I started letting them watch baby Einstein just to occupy three while I bathed one because I had to do it all myself. I have a post coming up later this week about how parents should respect each other, even when opinions differ. Sounds like you are on the same page about that notion.

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  3. I too was a “I will never drive a mini van” kind of girl. I even remember having this conversation with my fil many years ago. Once I got my van though I ate my own dust because I loved it. Now look at me…I drive a 10 passenger van!! I also said I would NEVER let my kids play at the playgrounds at the mall. Um yup some days momma needs to get out of the house and isn’t it convenient that all malls have places to get coffee. As the kids get older you just learn to be more flexible with your “I will never’s” because some days you just need to get through the day.

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    • I think all parents learn to let go of their nevers, but with multiples we learn it faster. Sometimes it’s about survival! Mall play areas may be germ filled, but they are climate controlled and kids love them! Plus, good coffee makes a mall visit even better 🙂

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  4. I said I’d never do cry it out. We didn’t when they were young, but around 10 months or so at nap times it was like they chose to do cry it out. Rocking didn’t stop them, music didn’t help, nothing I did made them stop crying. So they cried for a bit and fell asleep just fine. They’re 21 months now and they don’t seem damaged or to hate me 🙂 I still say it was their choice though.

    And I was all high and mighty about my guys not watching tv, but then I caved on a really bad day and put on a baby Einstein video and they were mesmerized. Sometimes mama needs a break or a way to stop the toddlers from killing each other and Elmo takes over for a bit!!

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    • Gah! I meant to put follow baby wise/ schedule/ CIO, and couldn’t remember my 5th never. Lol! Pre quads at home, I thought CIO seemed harsh. Then reality hit and we couldn’t soothe four at once if we wanted too! We didn’t leave them to cry for extended time periods, but they did CIO.
      And when you have multiple toddlers, Elmo and baby Einstein are magical. They mesmerize babies so mama can breathe a moment. So happy you relate 🙂

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