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Anonymous for this says
Does anyone have tips for raising a kind, collaborative, and respectful child?
My kid is five. She’s usually very sweet, but sometimes… like, I’ll ask her to help me with simple chores and she’ll say, no thanks, and walk away. She’s used to getting things her way, and she has a low frustration tolerance. Sometimes, I don’t even like her tone of voice when she says, Mom…
I’m not sure how much of all this is age-appropriate behavior, only-child behavior, or poor parenting decisions. I can’t have another child to change the family dynamic. I don’t enjoy conflict, and I don’t really know what to do. I model kindness as much as possible, and I do talk with her about it, but have yet to see much improvement.
I have to do something else right? Otherwise, she’ll develop into a spoiled, selfish, and disrespectful teenager? All suggestions welcome. Thank you in advance.
Mary Moo Cow says
At least she’s saying “thanks” at the end of the no? Only kind of kidding. I was struggling with this myself with my 5 year old; it continues to wax and wane as she’s approaching 6.5 (and if it makes you feel any better, even though it is purely anecdotal, she’s the oldest. She is usually pretty sweet and helpful with her younger sister, but gives us sass and pushback when we ask for help. So I don’t think this is only child behavior.) Consistent chores and holding her to expectations of cleaning up, setting the table when I ask, etc. because we’re all part of the family helped a bit. So did changing my style of parenting: I try not to nag and remember to care less, and when I walk away, the task gets done more often than when I fume and follow her around. I, too, don’t enjoy conflict so I had to consider who was driving the conflict. Once I saw that it was my reaction to her, I began to be able to remember to change my reaction. For her, seeing me held accountable to the same standard was helpful, too: she asked DH why grown up stuff doesn’t get thrown away when they don’t clean up every night so I’ve been more mindful about cleaning up my own stuff because we’re all part of the family. Time helps, too. At 6.5 she just asked, in a despondent sort of way, why her younger sister’s room is neater and younger sister doesn’t have to clean up like she does, and I could see the lightbulb above her head. So, I think most of this is age appropriate. You may also check in with her other caregivers and teachers to reassure you that she won’t be spoiled and selfish: my daughter is apparently a dream student who is helpful and kind. Finally, I sought some help with my therapist who assured me kids are modeling our behavior and hope is not lost.
I really dislike emphasizing controlling kids tone. She sounds normal and fine.
To me, tone is how you show your rudeness in spite of your words. Sarcasm, tone, it’s all the same bad package when it’s your kid and especially when it is your kid doing it at you.
No easy fixes. Sometimes I am just agog how bad people will treat those who they should be closest to. Like kids would never do that to a cool kid at school they wanted to get in with but will treat mom, siblings, etc. just flat-out rotten.
This is totally normal and probably not a reflection of anything you are doing. No one likes doing chores and all kids are somewhat self-absorbed. I mean, preschoolers sometimes get excited about being helpful, but that wears off quickly and never lasts as long as all the work. What she needs to learn is that we all do chores because the work needs to get done and it is part of being a family. I think you need to make it clearer what is optional and what is not. Give her a set list of her jobs and say this is what we expect you to do (don’t ask if she wants to – she doesn’t and that’s fine), praise her lavishly when she does them, and give her some ownership about when exactly she does them – e.g. she doesn’t necessarily have to drop what she’s doing but it needs to be done before lunch. For a 5 year old, you might have her be in charge of things like putting the silverware away, setting the table (silverware and napkins), clearing her own place at the end of every meal, putting her clothes in the hamper every day, etc. Our son is 9 and he does those things plus feeding the cats in the morning, folding and putting away some of his laundry, and sorting his laundry on laundry days. Expect to have to remind her constantly; eventually, it will become more habitual. And I personally think we should not police our kids’ emotions surrounding chores – my son is allowed to be unhappy or complain, he just has to express his emotions appropriately and do the job either way.
PS – the “no thanks” comment made me wonder if you are telling her to do things in the way my extremely polite mother does, e.g. “do you want to clean your room?” Because I grew up this way, I understand that this is her way of saying “clean your room.” But my husband and most normal people do not operate this way, and I think it is not a great way to raise a daughter. So with our son we are much more direct. And then when we visit my parents my mom will say, “Do you want to set the table?” and he cheerfully (and politely) says “no thanks!” And then I have to tell him it isn’t a choice.
Also, I could be way off base here, but is this at all gendered? Like if you had a son, would you be as worried about his level of sweetness? I know it is impossible to tell having only 1 child (I also just have 1, who happens to be male). I’m just kind of reflecting on the lessons I got from my mother about being sweet and helpful and polite and how they haven’t all served me well in the workplace.
I think this is a good point. I remember reading a piece of advice that was something like “never pose something as a choice unless you are legitimately okay with any answer.” So, if you say “can you help set the table?” then you have to be prepared for a “no.” That being said, I get the discomfort with issuing direct orders. I usually get around this by giving a choice like “It’s almost time to set the table. Do you want to do it now or after you finish playing?” I only give them the a real choice when it’s something that I really don’t care one way or another if they do (for example, they like to help put away the dishes about half the time, but half the time they will say “no thank you” when I ask).
My dad always liked to use silly references, and he would often phrase chore assignments Mission Impossible-style. “Your mission, if you choose to accept it …”. He learned pretty quickly to always add a pointed “which you will” to that phrase.
FWIW, I don’t think this is related to being an only child. Part of this is the age. I remember my daughter telling me, “mommy, no thank you” (in the sweetest voice!) to chores around age 5-6. It was both hilarious and infuriating. The thing is, you have to raise your standards. If your daughter balks about being asked in the moment, it may help to just make specific chores part of the daily routine, like brushing your teeth or taking a bath. That’s essentially what I’ve done with toy pickup because it was becoming A Problem. DD is perfectly happy to live with things strewn about, but it makes me nuts. Also consider small rewards. Do chores X,Y,Z, and you get an extra 15 minutes of screen time. Or whatever makes sense and won’t be a headache to enforce.
Talking and kindness is great, but you have to back that up with some accountability and age-appropriate expectations. That will come with conflict at times. I say this with kindness, but you may have to increase YOUR tolerance for feeling uncomfortable when conflicts come up with your kid, because they will. Kids are little boundary pushers; it’s what their brains are designed to do.
One thing that we talk about pretty consistently in our house is that it takes all of us working together to make sure we have a nice, comfortable place to live. We all have to do our part; it’s not just on Mom and Dad. They groan, but over time, I have noticed a difference in their attitudes when asked to do something.
My 5 year old (almost 6) is the same. She’s not an only child so I don’t think it’s that, but sometimes she will say something and I panic that I am just raising an a–hole. She also says “no thank you” to cleaning up, or worse she will say “that’s boring” and just walk away. I do think some of this must be age appropriate.
Some of what I notice helps: modeling and consistency; giving her opportunities to succeed (for ex., she doesn’t like talking to strangers which is fine but sometimes it’s also just rude and I try to encourage her to do it more firmly when I know it will be a successful interaction like getting a bagel herself at her favorite deli, etc.); explaining (over and over) why we do what we do in a way that highlights empathy (i.e., not “you have to say thank you” but “we say thank you to show our appreciation”). Also, we’ve been watching the Kindness Show with Jack on Apple TV and it is GOOD! Maybe I am imagining it but my kids have been nicer to each other all week – literally played together in a nice cooperative way right after the first episode and since (not the norm lately for us!). I generally try to limit what they watch to “nice” TV where characters are kind and cooperative b/c I noticed that when the characters are bratty so are my kids.
Oh, and we read the Munro Leaf books “How to Behave and Why” and “Manners Can Be Fun” – some of the advice or norms are a bit dated but I just skip those.
Maybe I’m biased because I have an only child but I don’t think this is related to being an only. I think it’s very common behavior in this age group, particularly for kids that are just asked to do chores as a one-off thing and not as part of a regular routine. I second the recommendation for regularly-scheduled chores that she’s given ownership of. I also second the gendered aspect of this and that people don’t expect the same kind of sweetness from boys.
So Anon says
I don’t think this is an only-child issue. My youngest can also be like this, and I am also huge on being polite and respectful with my kids. I have found that totally giving them control of a low-stakes chore really helps. It is my daughter’s job to water the plants and straighten her room on the weekend. She has a checklist for straightening her room that walks her through the step. (E.g. 1. Find the trash and throw it away. 2. Put dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper. 3. Take dishes/cups to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher. Etc.) The trick is that she can play Roblox/Minecraft after that is done. So if she does it in 15 minutes, cool. If she decides to do something else, also fine, but no screens until it is done. Same with cleaning the table after dinner. No dessert until her spot is cleaned and she has helped clean up the rest of the dishes. It’s not an ask, it is an expectation. If she says no thank you, that’s fine, no dessert/screens/something else fun.
I think this is normal for any size family and kids of any age. It’s hard to force yourself to do something you don’t want to, especially when you’re still learning about long term thinking.
For the kindness/ helpful part, we talk a lot about how our family is a team, and we all do things to help out the team. For example, Dad buys the groceries. Mom makes the dinner. Kid 1 sets the table. Kid 2 cleans the table. We all work together so we can have a nice meal. Sometimes I don’t want to make dinner. I might ask Dad if he wants to switch with me instead, or I might have to do it anyway. But that work has to be done, by someone on the team, so we can stay healthy. The same is true for cleaning the house or doing laundry or feeding the dog. We all look for ways to help the team. If there’s a job you don’t want to do, you can ask for ways to switch it with another job, or ask if you can wait five minutes, but you still have to help the team and get it done.
Oof, just got a “warn and inform” letter, saying someone tested positive at my son’s nursery. He doesn’t have to self-isolate, but needs a lateral flow test tonight. I’m away so wish my husband luck!
Ugh, and now my husband is anxious that he won’t be able to do it, so will keep him home until I get home tomorrow afternoon? Erm, nope, I’m immunocompromised, if the unlikely event kiddo is positive, I’m staying here.
Tell him you’re not getting on the plane until you get confirmation of a negative result!
Photographic evidence required. I am trying not to be really annoyed with this, my husband is the sole parent 3-4 nights a week, he is perfectly competent…
He has a similar nail clipping hang up so I come back to a child with claws!
Could your husband buckle your son into his carseat and then do the test? He won’t be able to wriggle away as easily.
Yeah, that’s how I do tests for my 3.5yo. He cries for like a minute and then is fine.
Is it the first one your son has had? At this point my nearly 4 year old is completely blase about COVID tests – we just call it a nose tickle and he often gets a lollipop at the end. No muss no fuss. The key is to be calm and funny about it, I think? Also the bribery.
We’ve only done 4 or 5 and the last one was traumatic – my husband was injured so couldn’t come with me, it was in a car park and we had cycled there, my kid decided to try and run, and the woman running the place was completely unhelpful, berating my freaked out child before telling me I could go home and do it and run it back. So I think it’s a mix of kid anxiety and husband anxiety, and I’m hoping they can both pull it together (and not call me!)
He is this incredibly agreeable kid but HATES stuff up his nose though – flu vaccine, saline spray.
I am going to introduce my almost 1 year old to a cup. Favorite straw cups? Used an oxo tot cup with my first and it was fine, but it would shatter if dropped one too many times.
My kid loves metal cups with straws, like Think Baby and the Munchkin one that looks like a cat. They won’t break but make sure they won’t dent the floor.
We use the Munchkin any angle for water and the take n’ toss straw cup for milk. LO didn’t catch on to a straw immediately, so we used the honey bear straw cup for a couple days – she caught on quickly right away with that one. We used the ezpz for an open cup, but that’s just too messy now that she’s discovered that pouring liquids and “fingerpainting” on her tray is a lot of fun.
We tried and failed with a bunch of straw cups (more because of me than the baby, I refused to keep trying with at least two because they were really hard to clean) before we discovered the Dr. Brown’s Milestones straw bottle. So far none of them have broken, and he drops them a lot!
Seconding the Munchkin any angle. And clean the straw with a syringe, game changer. We use that for water, 360 for milk.
Does anyone have a good turkey breast recipe? We are doing a small Thanksgiving so I am thinking of doing that instead of the full turkey, but I have never cooked it before.
I did the NYT’s bacon wrapped turkey breast last year (look for their “one pan, one pot thanksgiving dinner” recipe). It was delicious!
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
Just read this last night: https://www.budgetbytes.com/how-to-make-thanksgiving-dinner-for-two/
So last year I got stuck with boneless skinless turkey breast “tenderloins” rather than one with skin that is a more traditional roast turkey type situation and made the garlic herb roasted turkey breast from a blog called the “Busy Baker”. It’s not good for gravy because you don’t get any drippings to speak of but it was easy, moist and tasty.
For a whole turkey breast, I basically use the Ina Garten roasted chicken recipe. Stuff with a halved lemon, a halved head of garlic, and a bunch of thyme, baste with melted butter, and cook at 325 until it’s 165 degrees. I find a turkey breast much easier to deal with than a whole turkey, and the white meat doesn’t get as dried out because you don’t have to overcook it waiting for the dark meat to get done.
Hive, tell me how you thought through whether to stop at 2 kids or go for 3. I have a 9 month old and just-turned 4 year old. It’s been rough with the pandemic, hubs and I are burned out without an end in sight (until kids can get vaccinated at which point we’ll have some more freedom of movement and not be so homebound, etc.). I want to get rid of all the baby and pregnancy gear we’ve outgrown but my husband wants to hold onto it just in case we change our minds in a couple of years. We have nanny on demand help from MIL and sometimes my mom, but I am so sick of everyone being underfoot in my house all the time! I value my alone time and independence and can’t wait to return to normalcy and adult time with kids getting older, and of course as soon as I get back to that good place I will then have to try for the 3rd if we dare (I am 36 and don’t want to do IVF etc. if I have trouble conceiving). My parents and some friends with 2 said that they regret not having a 3rd but I don’t know if that will be me or not! What do you all think?
My 2 are slightly older than yours by a couple months each. We gave a lot of thought from going from 1 to 2 and I know we’re done. I’ve been donating the baby stuff as soon as my daughter outgrows it, but you can store yours away just for now.
As a former athlete, I’ve always favored man to man defense over zone so that’s how I know we’re good with two.
I would say just wait and see — you don’t have to decide now. I had two under two and it was incredibly overwhelming and we were 90% certain that we were done. We gave away about half our baby stuff. Then, when my youngest was 3.5 (and I was 41!) we decided we actually did want to at least try for another, and I’m just starting my third trimester now. It sounds like right now, you are enjoying the time with two, so why not just keep on doing that and then every six months or so you can re-assess. Maybe you’ll decide you are ready for a third, or maybe you will decide you love your life with two and don’t want to rock that boat. Both seem like great options.
We’re two and through, and even going from 1 to 2 was a big discussion/ordeal in our family. I personally never wanted more than 2, but didn’t want an only if possible (nothing wrong with onlies at all, just personal preference). At the end of the day it’s whatever works for you and your family.
I will say, climate change is a real factor, and keeping family size/consumption on the smaller side is something I think about a lot.
+1 I have real moral issues with reproducing beyond replacement value. It’s not a PC thing to say especially in parts of the US where large families are the norm but from talking to close friends I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.
My kids are the same age as yours, only my 9 month olds are twins. Threes kids is hard. Maybe it’s easier with three of different ages but I’m not sure. I cannot imagine having another. I know your situation is different, but the hard part for me is basically resetting the clock. We’re stuck at home until these babies are 3, when my four year old was just becoming really independent. I wouldn’t trade my life (ask me again at 2AM when I’m up with the babies lol), but I don’t want to do another round of “starting over”. I know that’s selfish and I’m fine with it. Sorry if this sounds like a downer. Our twins are precious: this is just a really hard stage for me. You and your spouse may feel differently about baby life.
Sounds like you are all ready very clear you do not want a third and should tell your husband that.
“I value my alone time and independence and can’t wait to return to normalcy and adult time with kids getting older” makes me think that 2 is good for you!
But, if you have the storage space store it. It’s been an extra hard 18 months and maybe when life is more normal you will change your mind. Or not! It’s also not that hard to get hand me down baby stuff if you give yours all away.
(FWIW I have 3. 2 kids was the goal, and 2nd kid was twins. It’s a lot).
Give away anything you don’t love. With a third, there’s less room in the house so you don’t take out 3/4 of the baby stuff anyway, lol. I had my third this year and honestly bought all new maternity clothes (seasons didn’t line up) and a good amount of new stuff for the baby (my parenting style has turned more minimalist and Montessori, and I’m giving myself permission to get the things I’ve been wanting for six years now) Keep things like carriers or other equipment you would be sad to have to replace.
Also, give yourself a little more time – at least until baby is over a year. Personally, I am loving babyhood with my third way more than with the other two (I am more confident and comfortable in my mothering).
Did you have an original family size in mind before you started having kids? Did it change after 1 kid, or when your first was older, but number 2 was not yet born? This particular season of life with little kids and a pandemic is very very hard, but it isn’t forever. I would try not to make this decision right now given how burnt out and overwhelmed you feel. If you wanted 3 before I think its fine to acknowledge this past 20 months has been really hard and you’re not ready now, but you still want 3 kids.
That said, the fact that a third baby will “reset” the clock is a real factor to consider. At 36 you have a bit of time but not ages of time. If you got pregnant in about a year, when your youngest was approaching 2, you’d have a 2 year old and a 5 almost 6 year old when the third baby was born. The 6 year old would be in full-time school and the 2 year old would potentially be headed to daycare/preschool and getting ready to hopefully potty train soonish so from the perspective of managing on a day to day basis it seems doable, but you’d be adding an infant and waiting 2-3 years to get the same level of independence.
We are definitely 100% done at 2. I thought my family would be no kids or possibly 1 kid, but we are now expecting number 2 in the early spring. The decision to have a second made me realize that while I love being a parent much more than I thought I would, with a 2.5 year old (I can see glimmers of independence and the life we will have) I’m only prepared to reset the clock once. Also, a third kid would put me in my early 40s and DH in his mid-40s and I’m not confident we’d have the energy to do it again as I feel I’m struggling a bit now in my late 30s. I’m also an introvert married to an introvert and we both need a decent amount of alone time to recharge. That was easy enough with 1 kid (shock to the system but not that bad once we got used to it), will be much harder with 2 kids, and, in truth, I can’t really see how it would be possible with 3 kids until they were all in elementary school and I wouldn’t make it that long. It sounds like you might be the same so remember to factor that into the decision making process.
Boston Legal Eagle says
I often think that I’m too tired now to ever be that tired again in a life with a newborn! I didn’t feel that way before baby 1 (didn’t have first hand experience) or even baby 2, but now, I don’t want to go back.
TheElms, I feel so seen! Every word you said resonated but I can’t bring myself to say yet that we are 100% done at 2 even though we are introverts and been hanging on by a thread throughout the pandemic.
It’s the resetting the clock that scares me most. Just when you come up for air and have some bodily autonomy and me-time, you get clotheslined back into babyhood, esp because I don’t have the luxury of time. I am craving the finality/satisfaction/declutter feeling of getting rid of my maternity and infant clothes (even if i I have the storage space), but it’s just an emotional reaction and I fear I might regret getting rid of all this expensive stuff but I want to purge it and pretend I’m done!
With a 9-month-old and a 4-year-old, you are in the thick of it. Give yourself a little more time to think about it. Put the baby stuff out of sight and re-evaluate when you’re getting more sleep and life settles down a bit.
I’m a lot like you: I enjoy my space and my independence. Although part of me wanted a third and thought about having a bigger, bustling family, I sort of knew in my gut that life was going to feel more manageable and enjoyable with two kids. Mine are in elementary school and I haven’t regretted the decision yet. There are a lot of three-kid families in my area, and from a logistics standpoint, I seriously have no idea how working parents are making that work. One of my coworkers has three, and she had to hire someone just to drive her kids to after-school activities. Good on her for finding a solution, but I would prefer to not have to manage yet another piece in the working-parent puzzle. If you have a nanny and family support, having three would be a lot more doable.
You don’t have to decide now! I would get rid of all the baby paraphernalia except for a few things you really loved. For a third kid, you will either mostly want updated stuff or be eager to take hand-me-downs.
My philosophy on the decision whether to have a child, whether it’s the first or a subsequent one, is that no one should have a child unless both parents have a burning desire for (another) one. That’s the main reason why we are one and done. I desperately longed for a child for the first five years of our marriage until we finally had our daughter. After that, I never felt that longing again. My husband wanted one or two or three more kids mainly because he thought we “should” have more than one, and also because he wanted a boy. I sort of kept the door open with “maybe later I will feel differently” until our daughter was six or seven, when my husband admitted that he was done too. You don’t have to make a decision right now. It’s perfectly fine to decide that you are done for now, or to decide not to decide.
It sounds to me like you don’t really want a third, but I don’t think there’s any harm in hanging onto some stuff and seeing if you change your mind down the road. 36 is not really that old especially if you’ve had two successful pregnancies already.
I stopped at one largely for many of the reasons you articulated, and the pandemic has also been a factor. We didn’t feel ready to try again until our kid was 3 but by then we were getting close to the end of the pandemic and I can’t wait to get back to travel, kid activities, going out to restaurants and museums as soon as she’s vaccinated. Having a baby would throw a wrench in that, both because of the logistically difficulty of doing that stuff with a baby, and also because baby wouldn’t be vaccinated against Covid or anything else for at least six months and we’d want to be cautious about their health. I think pandemic or no pandemic that starting over with pregnancy and a newborn would have felt really daunting, but the pandemic has definitely amplified it (at least for me) because our lives have basically been on hold for two years.
I always wanted at least 3 kids, it was just a matter of getting my husband on board. If you don’t already know, you don’t need to rush your decision. “Store things at the store” and you can get baby stuff again if you need it down the road.
I got pregnant with a surprise third kid when I was 40, and we managed/ are managing and I actually think things are a lot of fun now. (So I guess we didn’t really think it through… we are kind of bad planners in life in general.) But… we have a 5 year gap between the first two kids, and I think that helped us a lot in terms of overwhelm.
I am also one of those who finds the baby- age 4 much more enjoyable than the current elementary school age. Let me just say, my nine year old is *never* underfoot. Heck half the time I have no idea where she is and our house is not that big. And sometimes she takes her younger siblings with her… and that’s kind of sweet. We also had super chill babies so the newborn phase with my third was actually kind of… relaxing for me.
I think there is definitely a tension between the number of people one wants around the holiday family table in twenty years and the stress of the newborn/toddler/preschool phase.
Anyhow… if it’s about the stuff, I would suggest that you decide what to do with the stuff, independent of the 3rd child question. Keep it of you have room. Give or lend it away if you don’t. Everything we gave away between kids 2 and 3 we were able to get free or cheap via our neighborhood listserv, or we just realized we didn’t need it.
We were firmly one and done for three years, then some Life Things happened and we decided we wanted to try for another. The second was an early-pandemic baby, born during one of the most stressful times in recent world history. That being said, having a second was so much easier than I thought it would be, which I attribute a lot to the 4+ year age spread between the two. So easy in fact that we decided to go for a third, and now are expecting in the spring. I’d say the amount of time I spent thinking about having each kid decreased proportionally with each child, if that makes sense. There’s so many risks and what ifs, but also so much potential for wonder and fun, and I decided just to embrace the latter for as long as possible.
I agree with the others saying you don’t need to decide on the baby now.
My therapist reminded me multiple times that you can still have another baby even if you give all your stuff away- meaning that you don’t have to make giving away things A BIG DEAL/ a decision on another kid.
My husband wants stuff out of our house immediately after we’re done using it so I’ve been repeating this mantra through babies 2 & 3. In my area we have such a strong secondhand market and I had no problems replacing things I’d sold for the previous baby.
If you need a list of reasons why not to hold onto stuff: gender of 3rd baby may be different, bigger items may go through recall (rock n’ play) or there may be new innovations (mockingbird or Snoo), items may expire (formula, carseats).
I’m a mom of three, with the age gap Bw 2 and 3 being 1 year more than between my first two and the reset issue is real. It wasn’t even the baby’s first 6 months where you expect no sleep, it’s the ongoing night wakings from 1-3 of the kids that really gets me down. Even if one has a good night, that still means there’s a potential for 1 of the other 2 to have a tough night, and two of my kids are not good sleepers. My third was conceived pre-pandemic but given how stressful the Covid situation has been & general life, I’ve definitely ruled out a fourth and probably would have questioned a third.
You got pregnant and had a baby DURING A PANDEMIC. People who wish they had another kid in 2007 or 1983 have no business whatsoever telling you that you will have regrets.
I come at this from a slightly different angle: we met late in life, did the express train date/engagement/marriage/TTC, medically dangerous pregnancy, pandemic baby, other enormously stressful life issues, etc., and now we’re done. We are genuinely thrilled to have the lovely child we have. We’re tapped out, exhausted, and struggling with basic marriage skills that couples usually hone before TTC. (Communication? Gardening? Those things are not supposed to be total train wrecks??)
You have no idea how many people stick their noses into our lives and demand that we procreate more. “Don’t make our mistakes! You’ll regret not having another!” These are people who all dated for a while before getting married, enjoyed many years of DINK married life, and took their time TTC. Nothing wrong with that! However, their regrets – they wished they could trade a few years of DINK life for another kid – are cruelly irrelevant to our lives.
Regrets are free. People who have regrets about not having another kid assume that every other part of their life is fixed in stone – finances, marriage, health, career – when in reality, having a second or third kid would have profound effects on all of those things. Their tradeoffs aren’t remotely similar to the tradeoffs of a woman who was pregnant and raising a newborn during a pandemic. If you’re tapped out, you won’t have regrets.
Chiming late here. I have two (4 and 18 months) and I’m 99% sure we’re done with 2. I’ve been actively giving our baby stuff away, yet occasionally this tiny lingering hesitancy of “are you sure? are you sure?” pops up. I think it’s because I genuinely love being a mom (most of the time!) and it’s weird to imagine being “done” with the pregnancy/newborn/baby stage after looking forward to it for most of my life.
However, recently I was hanging out with my kids on a weekend morning in the living room. The TV was on Netflix Kids and they were drinking their milk in their pajamas and I had my coffee and out of nowhere, I had this sudden intuitive realization that everyone’s here. Before my second was born, I often felt like we were waiting for him to arrive because we’d always wanted two kids. But I’m not feeling like someone’s missing or waiting for anyone to come join the party anymore, if that makes sense. Our family feels complete and I only truly, innately felt that this way somewhat recently. I don’t know if you’ll have that moment or not, but it did make me feel more at peace with stopping at 2.
Hoping to get some insight from parents of preschool to elementary school aged kids. My oldest is 4.5, and generally takes the “sidekick” role in his friendships. He spends a lot of time with one particular girl as they go to school and afterschool together (we also socialize with the family on the weekends every so often). I’ve noticed that she uses her birthday party (literally 5-6 months away) as some sort of leverage with my son – in particular, disinviting him from her birthday party when he does something she doesn’t like. He will ask me if the invite has come in the mail yet and express sadness if she told him that day that he couldn’t come. I’ve tried to make it not a big deal, emphasize how far away it is, etc. When he told his little brother that he couldn’t come to older son’s birthday, I shut it down by saying all family comes to all family birthday parties. But now when my older son is upset, he tells me that I’m disinvited from the girl’s birthday party. Leaving aside the suppressed giggles at being disinvited from a 4 year old’s upcoming birthday (yes please!), I realize that this seems to be taking on oversized importance in my son’s mind. Any advice on navigating these emotional waters? Keep down playing it or address it more directly? Not really something I want to raise with the girl’s mom.
Oof, we haven’t navigated this directly but it does seem like it’s really mean of the little girl and not behaviour I would want my kid to emulate. We went to a birthday party recently with 4 big boys (all in school, and 3/4 are really rambunctious and quite rough) and my son (a year behind, pretty sensitive) and his bestie really left him out because he was really focused on the “cool” big boys. It was hard to watch, and if my kid was doing it, I’d have wanted to know.
Is it at all possible to raise it with the kid’s parent? “Hey, this is a minor thing, but one that’s stressing my kid out a bit. When Sarah and Ben get into a tiff, they threaten to disinvite each other to their birthdays? Can we figure out how to dissuade this brinkmanship?”
I definitely would not make a big deal out of it or mention it to the parents. The sentence “You’re not invited to my birthday party!” is probably uttered at least ten times a day in every preschool classroom in the world. Instead, I’d just explain to my own kid that 1) it’s something some kids say when they are frustrated and doesn’t mean anything about whether you are actually invited to the party and 2) you are not allowed to say it because it hurts people’s feelings.
Yeah don’t mention it to the parents. This is a classic kid insult. My kid gets uninvited and re-invited from parties all the time, it’s just something kids say without putting much thought into it.
+1 We’ve taken away so many opportunities for kids to navigate their own way (no more packs of kids roaming neighborhoods, parents at every play date and birthday party, kids siloed with same age peers all day, etc). This is a perfect opportunity to coach your kid on setting boundaries and then let him work it out
This is such a phase kids go through. I kind of loved when that was the retort for anything where one of them got upset. (me: “eat your vegetables” “I’m NOT eating my carrots, and you’re NOT coming to my birthday party!”) It’s so much better than the slights and insults they use now.
They outgrow it. But at the time, we just tried to emphasize to the disinviter that it hurts people’s feelings when you say things like that, and to the disinvitee that the other kid is just mad right now and sometimes people who are mad say unkind things, and to re-engage when they’ve calmed down.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Yes, we used to get disinvited to our older son’s birthday party all the time. Or be told “you’re NOT my best friend.” I try to suppress my laugh and say things like, that really hurts you when someone says that, huh.
So Anon says
Hahaha! I used to get “you’re not my favorite mommy!” (For clarity – I’m the only mom this kid has.)
Um. Cool. Can I tap in your “favorite” mommy and have her come help?
Both of those are classic preschool insults! It’s so funny because they have no concept of how far off their birthday party actually is, and especially ridiculous when they disinvite the parents who are hosting the party.
This weekend my 3-year-old nephew gave my dog a bear hug and declared that she was his best friend. Then she sniffed him, which scared him because she is three times his size, and he decided that she was not his best friend after all.
Yeah, my almost 4 year old got “uninvited” from her bestie’s birthday party the other day after a minor spat, but now they are best friends again and she’s re-invited. His actual birthday was last month and we attended the party. It’s just the one event kids feel like they have control over so they use it as leverage. It’s totally a phase and I would not read too much into it.
“I don’t think Sally gets to decide by herself who comes to her birthday party. Her parents will invite her friends and you know you are Sally’s friend. You play together all the time.”
Backup: “If you don’t get invited, we’ll just do something else fun that day.”
So I’ll give a slightly different take that may be harder to implement with current restrictions (or not) but worked for us (even through the pandemic). My daughter developed an outsized dependence on one of her friends similar to this, and friend was fine but definitely taking advantage a bit imo of her “powers” (not intentionally but still) and I just tried to create other friendship opportunities for my daughter. If she’d play with someone else at the park I would comment on how fun that was, or what a good friend new person was, and especially if someone did something nice, “that was so kind of X to let you go first on the swings!” My daughter is still friends with her alpha “bestie” but it’s gotten a lot more equal, if that makes sense. I think at this age it’s very easy for kids to pigeon hole themselves — like, “Sally is my best friend! So I do what she says!” and I really try to diversify that “best friend” thing for my kids at this age.
CPA Lady says
I completely agree. This is where, if possible, having multiple places to make friends is great. My kid has church friends, school friends, neighborhood friends (some overlap w school friends) and extra-curricular-activity friends. Plus a group of friends she used to go to daycare with that she sees every once in a while. The more friends the better, so when drama pops up with one particular person, she doesn’t have all her emotional eggs in one basket.
Your kid is young, and while the “youre not invited to my birthday party” is a classic at that age, there will be new and more complicated social situations to navigate as he gets into elementary school and beyond. Multiple friend groups are so key, IMO.
My kid is 17 months old and still drinks from a bottle at home – I need a gauge for how bad (?) it is that we haven’t fully transitioned her to sippy cups. She drinks only from sippy cups at daycare and will take water from a cup at home, but will only take milk from a bottle. We admittedly give into it because it is easy.
No Face says
My youngest drank from a bottle for way too long! I think older than 17 months. It was a pandemic and I just didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with anything, lol.
I finally just packed up all the bottles one day and told her they were all gone. After a few days, she didn’t even notice. She 25 months now and drinks out of open cups almost exclusively.
So anyway, I think you’re fine.
I think my kids dropped the bottle between 18 months and 2 years and they both lived to tell the tale. It’s fine.
FWIW, we dropped it when they finally stopped taking milk at night before bed & i think it’s easier to make that transition together.
We just transitioned ours off bottles at 16 months. It was actually really fast once we committed to it – two days of not much milk but then when he realized he was only getting milk if he drank it from the cup, he started drinking it from the cup.
My hunch is this fine, but I will say to discuss it with kiddo’s dentist and not the pediatrician. Pediatricians give the blanket one year rule, but kiddo’s dentist had a much more nuanced approach and really didn’t care until longer because kiddo was developing well. Same with pacis and other oral habits.
I got 2 quotes to replace my A/C unit, and one is half as much as the other ($6000 versus $11000)! Do I need to get a third quote to see if one is lowballing me or the other is way too high? I would just as soon go with the cheaper one but I don’t want to run into problems later. The cheaper contractor was recommended by my realtor.
Are they recommending the same SEER unit? Just based off my pricing last summer, I would bet the cheaper unit is lower SEER (which is totally fine: just be sure it can handle your square footage). Those quotes are actually in line with what we were quoted to replace duct work as well as the unit. We’re in Houston. Good luck!
Thanks, all. The cheaper one is 14 SEER and the more expensive is 15 SEER. It’s a 1000 square foot apartment, so I don’t think we need extra power or anything like that.
Is there a big difference in the system they’re going to be installing?
Doesn’t hurt to get a third! We replaced our system and it was a bit lower than 10k
I read “doesn’t hurt to get a third!” as a response to the third kid Q and was kind of confused for a second there, lol.
When we got quotes, our guy said a big difference is noise. We ended up getting a B unit (of A, B, C offerings), and in the summer when we are outside in my tiny urban backyard it’s really loud.
Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Same SEER, same speed for the fan (variable speed is better than two-stage or single-stage, but also more expensive). Look at noise ratings. Compare warranties. If you’re not sure, I’ve found the subreddit hvacadvice to be helpful when comparing models.
After I had kids I found modal to be really gross to me to wear without a bra – it clings to an area of my chest I just don’t want it to cling to and looks and feels terrible. It’s a shame because almost all pajamas seem to be made of it these days.
Yes, agree. I strongly prefer cotton poplin – brooks brothers and Jcrew both have really nice options for menswear style Pjs.
I have some from Printfresh that I love!!
Anyone have kids with a big age difference? My kid is 6, I divorced her dad 4 years ago and am getting married in the spring. New partner and I are talking about whether or not to have another one. The cons are that we love having alone time when kid is at her dad’s (we’re both introverts with quiet hobbies), and also money is tight (we make good salaries in a VHCOL area, so we’re comfortable but modest). His parents are elderly and need a lot of care, and we both have busy careers. We’re in our late 30s so if we want to go for it, we need to start trying sometime in 2022 (I’ll be turning 40 in 2023) so kid would be 7 or 8 when baby is born. We’re agreed that we don’t want to go the IVF route, so we would stop trying if it doesn’t work out on its own. I would love to have 2 adult or older kids, but the thought of living through pregnancy through age 4 is… daunting, from a money, logistics, exhaustion and noise perspective.
I’m curious if anyone’s been in this situation and what they decided, how it worked out. I’m also curious about the sibling dynamic. New baby would have to share a bedroom with us or big sister until out of daycare (unless we win the lottery). We haven’t asked potential big sister her opinion — she loooooooves her friends’s younger siblings (especially older babies and toddlers) but hasn’t asked for one.
I myself have not navigated this, but your comment lists almost all cons and the one pro is that you’d like to have two adult or one older kid. How does your fiancé feel about never having a biological child that is his? Obviously not impossible and people do it, but it seems like it would be really hard to have a 10 year old and a 2 year old share a room
I haven’t been in this situation but I think the half-sibling dynamic is very different than the full sibling dynamic. My biggest concern in this situation would be making my kid feel replaced which I think isn’t hard when her parents are divorced and she only spends half her time with you, and younger sibling is there all the time and has her family intact, so to speak. I’d recommend talking to some adults who had younger half siblings. All of the ones I know absolutely hated it, even if as adults they have a good relationship with the half sibs.
I don’t think this is the main issue, but I would not read much at all into your kid loving babies. Loving on friends’ baby siblings and baby cousins is completely different than having a baby sibling, let alone a half sibling. My only child absolutely adores playing with other people’s babies and toddlers (and is so great with them) but does not want a sibling and I do not think she would handle the sibling transition well at all.
This. In general I have not seen it work well when a parent has another kid with a new partner. It tends to alienate the existing children, especially once they hit the teen years.
Agreed, I haven’t seen this work out well amongst my social group—it is just hard to have a cohesive family dynamic.
It’s going to be even worse if the existing kid has to share her room with the new baby. That tells her exactly where she falls in terms of priorities.
Yeah, that seems really tough to me, especially given that it’s going to go on until the younger one is in elementary. A 7 or 8 year old might be excited about having the new baby nearby, but I cannot imagine a 12 or 13 year old being happy about sharing a room with her 5 year old half-sibling.
Fwiw, a very close friend from childhood has half siblings who are 8 and 10 years younger than her and she always loved them and was happy to have them. They’re still close. Id guess lot of factors play into how it goes – everyone’s personalities, feelings about the divorce and remarriage, etc. Not knowing the individuals involved, the one thing that jumps out at me is the room-sharing. I agree with some posters who said that will get tough as your daughter gets older, especially if your younger is a boy.
I’m 7 years younger than my sister. We were close as kids, but not peers (if that makes sense). Everyone referred to her as my second mom. She’s now my best friend.
I’ll provide anecdata based on my very limited experience.
My brother and I are 6 years apart, and best friends. Same Mom/Dad.
DH’s older half-siblings are ~6 and ~10 years older than him, respectfully. They had some closeness as kids (esp him and the one that’s ~6 years older), but once the older siblings were teens and then out of the house, the relationships are far more transactional. I feel like they’re more like not-close cousins than siblings, we see them only on holidays/occasional visits, and it’s not super deep. Lovely people, but that’s the dynamic.
I have stepkids who are 9 and 11, and an 18-month-old. My stepkids love the little guy a lot and really dote on him, but I don’t know what the relationship will be like when everyone is older. I don’t expect him to be close to then the way they’re close to each other.
One of the most important things people told me about this kind of relationship is that you need to make sure that no big family events happen without the older kids. We save anything that’s important for when we have custody (e.g., we wait to celebrate the baby’s birthday until they are with us, we buy the family Christmas tree when they’re with us, we only do big exciting trips with them). It helps underscore that the real life of the family is the life that includes them.
I’m in the midst of this now. My older kiddo is 8, and I’m in my third trimester. So, I don’t how everything is gonna go. Older child is pretty neutral about the new family member. I think it would be a lot tougher if we were going to ask them to share a room. I do worry about older child feeling alienated, but no more than I worry about any number of things. My current spouse and I are very amicable with my former partner (weekly dinners, lots of communication), and former partner is fully on board with being the new baby’s “uncle” and will likely be the baby’s guardian/godfather. My child and their step-parent are also very close. I think both of things make me feel a little better about things.
At the end of the day, we decided to go for it because my spouse and I both really wanted another baby (I wanted a 2nd in my first marriage, but that wasn’t in the cards).
NLD in NYC says
I have two half siblings from my dad’s subsequent marriage. There’s a big age difference (13 and 19 years) so I didn’t spend a lot of time with them growing up (never lived/stayed long-term with my dad). However I’m making a effort to get to know them better as teens/young adults and have grown in closeness over the years. My brother (2 years younger than me) lived with my dad for a bit and he is super close with our youngest siblings. When I was younger, was there moments of jealously (ex. why do they get to live with my dad, etc.)? Yes, but I love them and it’s been amazing to see them grow up. But I agree with the other posters, if you want more kids go for it.
I’ll add a positive comment here! Second marriage, have a 9.5 year old and a 1.5 year old (both girls). Have split custody (a very weird plan) of 9.5 year old, but she’s with me some even on nights she spends with ex — so she’s around me/1.5 year old a whole lot. They share a room – just how the house is situated with only 2 bedrooms (including master) on the upper story. They may not share forever (one or both could move to bedrooms in basement), but for now it works. The baby will go to bed and doesn’t wake up (or wake up much!) when older daughter gets in bed later and reads etc. Baby slept in our room for the first few months but has been room sharing for over a year now.
I can’t speak to how they will get along later, but the relationship they have now could not be sweeter. Of course 9 yo gets annoyed sometimes, but they do play together and genuinely have a good time. Having kids far apart is way different (I assume) than having a newborn and a toddler — there’s not the stress of juggling 2 kids who don’t understand. I don’t think the 9 year old feels replaced at all — it’s totally normal to have siblings! And she frankly didn’t really understand the term “half” sibling nor does she ever call her sister that — she knows they have different dads. Maybe a little sexist – but I think having the same mom makes it “more” sibling like somehow? 9 year old (voluntarily) packs baby diaper bag, reads baby parenting apps, gets out old toys for baby, takes lots of pictures/videos of baby, teaches baby “tricks”…They may grow apart
when they are older but I think many siblings do during various ages/stages.
Bottom line – from a sibling relationship standpoint, I have zero regrets about choosing this route. It wasn’t what I would have planned out originally, but whose life is?!!
For Business Mom Monday poster from yesterday, I’d be tempted to throw some open requisitions in the FB group.
How do you handle pushy in laws that continue to buy clothes for your child after you’ve asked them not to? My MIL, FIL, and SIL LOVE to buy things. We have repeatedly said we have far too many clothes; please do not give us anymore. Yesterday SIL shows up with a sparkly red tutu. I told her daughter will never wear it, but she insisted we keep it “for photos!”
1. my newborn is not a photo prop and
2. we don’t have room for endless outfits!
How to handle this? I don’t want to be rude but also don’t want to encourage more
Let her take a photo and put the tutu in the donation box as soon as she leaves.
This. but also what Anon 11:32 says– toddlers are HARD on clothes.
How old is your child? Once you get to toddler ages, you really can’t have enough clothes because things get dirty so frequently (rolling in mud at daycare, potty training, etc.) You can also send things you don’t like into daycare to be the backup clothes there. If you really don’t have space to store any more clothes, make sure you get a picture of your kid in it and then donate it. I get that this is annoying but on the scale of in-law problems it’s a pretty trivial one.
+1, except don’t send Kid in sparkly tutus to daycare. Pants and onesies only, at least until they’re past toddler. Skirts and tutus get in the way of crawling/ early walking, and several daycares I’ve heard will change kids out of fluffy dresses during meal and playtime so they can actually be a kid.
I had a bin of “fancy clothes” that I would put on Kid right after a bath, snap a pic on the changing table, then change her into regular clothes. The fancy clothes would then get donated. When the clothes-buyer asked about it, I’d say “Oh that? It got spitup/throwup/other items on it and we had to throw it out. Babies, am I right? But if you’re planning on buying anything for her birthday, we could really use some cute pants with reinforced knees. Have you seen the ones with animals on the behinds? I can’t seem to find ones that are good for crawling!” or “By the way, have you ever found some cute tops that snap instead of button? Those buttons are so hard when he’s at this wiggly stage, but I can’t seem to find cute snap tops.” Basically satisfy their urge to shop by pretending I can’t find some specific item that would actually be useful.
I just meant that if space is an issue at her house they could live at daycare in a backup clothes bin and likely never get worn. Although FWIW plenty of kids in my daughter’s infant-toddler class wore frilly things and walked way before my kid who was always in extremely sensible onesies and pants. Kids crawl and walk when they want to, I don’t really think clothing has much to do with it.
I find it’s easier to redirect than stop behavior like this altogether. So I’d ask for clothes a couple of sizes up so you can plan ahead and buy less or maybe lean in and just give them assignments. My mom does this and I can’t stop her so I just give her assignments. “Ski pants for next winter,” etc.
Honestly, just say thanks, keep what you want, and put the rest on a buy nothing group. Send some of it to daycare as backup clothing. They’ll slow down if they don’t see the kid wearing much of it.
Big boy bed says
I posted late in the day yesterday so thought I’d repost with additional info based on the responses. Thank you for those who responded!
When should I transition by son from a toddler bed to a big kid bed (thinking a full or queen)? My son will be 4 in April. He’s still not fully potty trained – sleeps in a night diaper – but he’s very tall (about 3ft 9in). He looks like he barely fits in the toddler bed (sometimes he sleeps diagonal with his feet hanging out of the bed). And he’s been talking about our nice big bed. He likes to cuddle up with us weekend mornings. But he sleeps fine in his bed and has never slept in our bed. Am I hurting his back/growth by not putting him in a normal bed with a good mattress? Or is this something I can wait on until furniture delivery becomes easier? The toddler bed is his crib with one side removed and replaced by a rail. Same firm crib mattress. He has a big room so I’d like to get a full size bed rather than a twin so that it can last him until he moves out. We have a guest room but his could serve as additional guest space if necessary too. We’d bunk him in with his younger brother. What age did others transition to big beds? Thanks.
My daughter is 4 in January, very tall for her age (45″) and still in her crib. It works and she doesn’t look or act uncomfortable, so I see no reason to upgrade. She does ask to sleep in our bed all the time, but I assume that has more to do with our presence than with the physical bed. I’m confused about the dimensions though – a standard crib mattress is 51.5-53″ long. So either your son is way taller than you think he is (and that would be an insaaaaaanely tall 3.5 year old) or he isn’t close to outgrowing the mattress by length. I wouldn’t read too much into the sleeping diagonal thing – kids sleep in funny positions for no reason.
My 2.5 year old went straight from her crib to a queen size bed. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. If he is sleeping fine now, it seems like there is no harm in waiting until furniture delivery becomes easier (not everything is back ordered / delayed FWIW, so you may be able to get a bed relatively soon if you wanted to).
my son will be 4 in a few weeks, he is still in a crib (which is same size as a toddler bed).
we are sticking with it because he seems happy and while he CAN climb out, he doesn’t. he is currently sharing a room w/ big brother and they seem very content. not sure when we will shift him into a real bed…. but it’ll happen someday!
I expect a lot of comments will say they moved them much earlier than this.
There is no right answer and it’s ultimately not consequential! I would say whenever is convenient for you as long as he’s sleeping ok on the toddler mattress. If he’s not there is always the option to order an online mattress and plunk the floor temporarily till you get a bed frame.
It’s been fascinating from this board to see how many people’s kids have full or queen beds- I had never heard of such a thing in my life! Everyone I knew growing up had twins (maybe with a trundle in case you had houseguests).
This is super non consequential! Do it whoever it’s convenient as long as he’s sleeping ok !
I think it’s more than time to upgrade if he doesn’t fit. Just bought my 2 year old an adult mattress and it was pretty easy to order. We have it on the floor for now but that’s a perfectly fine option if you’re stuck waiting for particular a bed frame to ship.
Has anyone struggled with infertility and elected not to pursue fertility treatments? We have one child, born when I was almost 40. We didn’t have any issues in conceiving him, but we’ve been trying for 6 months for a second with no luck. I just turned 41, so I suspect this is just the natural challenge associated with trying to conceive at this age. For a variety of reasons we would not pursue IVF, so is it even worth seeing a fertility specialist when the answer is almost certainly just “you’re old”?
Also, I struggle some with feelings like I don’t “get” to be sad about this given that we’ve not willing to do IVF. The infertility communities out there are full of people who are willing to go through a lot of medical treatments to do this, and I feel out of place sharing about this – or even in real life – with women who have been through multiple rounds of IVF, donor embryos, etc. But for us if we can’t conceive naturally that will be the end, and it is looking unlikely, and I am very sad when I think about that.
We couldn’t afford IVF, but there are fertility treatments short of IVF that you can try.
I guess that I was under the impression that where the issue is age, IVF is really the only thing that has much of a track record of success. Is that not the case?
That was true for me. I sought help when I was 41 after 5-years of secondary infertility, and there were no identified ‘problems’ with DH or I. IUI didn’t make sense for us … even though testing showed I had a high ovarian reserve, my eggs more likely to be of poor quality b/c of my age. When we did IVF, they found 35 eggs, but after testing only 1 was actually viable. IUI would have been a waste of time for us and I’m glad by RE let me skip that step.
This is not necessarily true. I am opting out of IUI or IVF (I get pregnant easily enough I just haven’t kept any recently). I have had pretty extensive testing that didn’t turn up any of the classic issues but under the recommendation of a recurrent loss specialist I have taken four rounds of clomid/letrazole as a sort of Hail Mary Pass to see if I can just drop more eggs to get a decent one that might stick. Egg quality is most likely my issue as I am about to turn 44. He also did a deep dive into immunological and clotting issues to see if there might be an underlying condition that didn’t get picked up by the generic docs. He did find that I am a carrier of two Thrombophilia genes so I will take blood thinners if I get pregnant again. Lastly, I am going to consult with a Greek clinic that specializes in subclinical infections just to rule those out.
Egg quality can be dramatically improved. Age is factor in the processes that lead the egg to maturation in the three months before release. I recommend reading Rebecca Fett’s book, “It Starts With The Egg”.
I’m really sorry. Of course you get to be sad about it. We weren’t in this situation, but had decided before TTC that we wouldn’t pursue IVF or any other interventions if it didn’t happen on it’s own. It’s a reasonable decision and doesn’t take away from the disappointment and sadness if you’re unable to conceive.
I don’t want to give you false hope, but I think there’s still a pretty good chance it could happen. Six months isn’t that long in the fertility scheme of things, and yes your age is a factor but not the only one and given that you conceived quickly less than two years ago, it seems to me like this might just be luck of the draw – sometimes it happens fast, sometimes it takes a while. I would definitely talk to a doctor and see what they say.
I have no firsthand experience here (we have one child, and we did have to do IVF for her), but you sound like one of my best friends. They conceived their first and only child when she was 39, on the second month of trying. They tried again when she was 2-3 years old, for a long time, with no success. They did not pursue IVF (and I never asked why because not my business to ask, although I suspect the fact that her older sister pursued IVF for secondary infertility at a similar age and was unsuccessful may have been an influence).
She (and her husband) were sad. Are still sad. It is a 100% valid emotion, and you’re allowed to feel and express it. No one is “required” to do XYZ in order to be able to say that they couldn’t conceive or carry a very wanted baby and that they’re sad about it.
I will add – in case it is of interest – that we were the fortunate beneficiaries of all of the baby things that they had saved from their first pregnancy, once they ended their trying. She said it was very cathartic for them to be able to pass along their daughter’s things to someone who was “like family” and who would appreciate them. Just wanted to share that in case it helps you later.
Yes. We struggled with secondary infertility. During that period of our lives, we were both very clear that we were not willing to go through heroic measures to have another child. I can’t fully explain it, other than it was a gut reaction of “no thank you; I’m not willing to put my body and mind through that.” DH felt even more strongly about it than I did, actually. Our reasons were very personal, and perhaps we would’ve felt differently if we hadn’t had a kid already. Zero judgment for those who take that path; what I knew is that it didn’t feel right to us.
I felt much like you. Do I even get to be sad if I’m not willing to go through IVF or even other fertility treatments? Yes, absolutely. Does not wanting to do IVF mean that I don’t really want another child? No, I wanted one desperately.
You can, and should, grieve what you thought your family would look like. You can grieve not having the child you really wanted. You can grieve that your older child won’t have a sibling. That’s a normal and healthy thing. Family planning is complicated.
Yes, definitely go. I’m a little younger than you – 36 for my first conceived in the first month trying; started trying for number 2 at 38 and after 6 months wasn’t pregnant. I ended up being diagnosed with secondary infertility with no specific cause. One of the tests that they typically do as part of a fertility workup is an HSG. It alone increases your chances of getting pregnant in the months after its done by anywhere from 15-30%. I was very fortunate in that we had our IVF orders, but I got pregnant after the HSG and before we started IVF.
And yes, as other posters have said you can do IUI rather than IVF. The testing may also reveal another cause of the difficulty you are currently having that could be fixed with medication or surgically, and might not require IVF. You won’t know unless you go.
NLD in NYC says
This. There are a lot of steps before IVF that could be helpful. At the risk of sounding too woo-woo, don’t knock alternative treatments like herbal medicines and/or acupuncture.
I also did acupuncture and I swear it helped even though I have no proof.
I also got pregnant after an HSG. You don’t have to go in whole hog. I would not have pursued IVF. You can go in and try the basic stuff without having to start an involved fertility journey.
Yes and yes. I’m 36, nulliparous. DH and I did zoom couples therapy during the pandemic. It was for communication issues, but we both worked through a lot of sadness over not having bio kids. I would encourage you to maybe look into individual therapy or an infertility group. I’m glad to see the empathetic responses here. Most of my friends are well aware of our struggles and are extremely understanding and kind – everyone has something they’re struggling with. Acquaintances sometimes make me feel like “well you didn’t actually try so why are you sad” which tells me either they haven’t had anything hard happen to them (yet) or they don’t have the emotional maturity to fit into my inner friend circle. And that’s ok. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I think it’s normal to be sad about this for a very long time. My dad died 12 years ago and there are still day where I get extremely sad about it.
We’re there. Almost 35, been TTC our second child for almost 3 years now (one 9w miscarriage for a one in a million reason and one chemical pregnancy). I’m counsel in BigLaw, on partner track. My pregnancy was miserable (HG, multiple ER visits). I have an autoimmune disorder right now that I am trying to manage. Our kid is, kindly, a “spirited” child who requires an inordinate amount of effort (even though we love her dearly). Adding IVF on top of my already crazy life seems like a lot (I am sure I would feel differently if we didn’t already have our daughter). My OB ran all of the baseline tests and everything came back normal, and I just haven’t worked up the enthusiasm to go see the fertility specialist for a full workup, which is the next step. We are still TTC for two and talking about potentially a third (depending if number two is a terror like our first, in which case we will be done), but our view is at this point it will be naturally or we’ll be one and done.
Thank you so much of the compassionate and thoughtful responses. I’ll reach out to the RE and get an appointment scheduled – it’s good to know that there are other things than IVF that might help us. I appreciate it!
I have done a lot short of IVF (which I won’t do) and if none of it works I will grieve so you definitely get to be sad. Like others, I have actually gotten pregnant three times after HSGs, so worth it to me. I have two kids out it. I am almost 44 so egg quality is probably my issue. I have done four rounds of clomid/letrazole as a Hail Mary Pass to drop as many eggs possible and only after six miscarriages did a recurrent loss expert pick up on two thrombophilia genes so I will take blood thinners if I can get pregnant again. I am also doing a consult with a Greek clinic to test for subclinical infections. Lastly, you can improve egg quality because age is a factor in the metabolic processes of egg release which only starts three months before ovulation. I highly recommend Rebecca Fett’s book, It Starts With The Egg.
Sorry the double reply. Not internetting well today!
“Also, I struggle some with feelings like I don’t “get” to be sad about this given that we’ve not willing to do IVF. ”
Reasonable efforts aren’t the same as heroic efforts. If you really do try something and it doesn’t work, you get to be sad, no need to move mountains.
With fertility, there’s almost always “more” that you can do – get married sooner in your relationship, TTC sooner in marriage, more interventions, interventions over and over, adoption, foster care, surrogacy, ad nauseum. So you have different limits and stop at a different point on that chain. That’s fine!
So Anon says
I need to announce a win! I hired a housecleaner today, and I am so excited. She showed up on time, was reasonable and is willing to do extra stuff like change the sheets. I have decided that my mission right now is to make whatever I can incrementally easier – grocery delivery, asking their dad to bring them home 30 minutes later after their weeknight dinners, hiring a housecleaner, ordering more premade meals and just allowing more chicken nuggets and fries for dinner. Also, we are on day 2 of remote learning and they are both in their rooms on zoom (after each teacher hosting a “parent meeting” via zoom at the exact same time, so I walked back and forth between the rooms).
AMAZING! Well done you!
Do you think Baby Shark Live would be fun for a just-turned 4 year old? My daughter was obsessed with the song a year or so ago, less so now, but I still think the live production might be fun for her.
depends why you ask. I would pick the least awful thing to sit through as an adult: kids nutcracker > disney on ice > something like paw patrol live > anything related to baby shark.
Tickets for someone else? SURE!
how cool is she with loud stuff? the few times we’ve tried to take the kids to stage shows it’s just super, super loud (and I’m talking preschool-appropriate, like Sesame Street Live).
Booster for 63 pound 4YO says
I just bought two Chicco My Fits because my child has outgrown her NextFit by shoulder height (the straps are behind her shoulders, supposed to be at or above, thought I had 6 months but whoops, growth spurt). I was super focused on max harness seat height (the MyFit is one of the tallest) and failed to realize that harness mode maxes out at 65 pounds. DD is 63 pounds, so we are one good meal away from exceeding the weight restrictions on the harness. I can’t find any other harness seats that go past 65 pounds. How horrible is it going to be having her use the seat in belt-positioning booster mode? Am I a terrible mom if I fudge the weight on the harness by a few pounds to buy us 6 more months in a harness? WWYD?