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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?