Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Own “Sermon on the Mound”

"Don't judge, so that you won't be judged” ... Matthew 7:1

I am so fortunate to belong to one of the coolest groups of women I know called TriState Multiples. We are women who all have triplets or quads. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be able to talk with other triplet moms who “get it”, “been there, done that”, and a whole bunch of other clichés that are applicable.

TSM has helped me through some very rough times as I evolved as a triplet mommy … bedrest, the NICU, breast feeding, sleep deprivation, developmental milestones, RSV, starting solids, dropping the bottle, discipline, playdates, potty training, etc, etc, etc.

Every question I posed to the group was answered with thoughtfulness and great advice. No matter how stupid my question … and I asked some whoppers! … people gracious responded to my requests with their perspective and ideas.

The great thing was that I got different advice for each question … and I would pick and choose what would work for me and the situation I was in.

Because we all have different parenting techniques.

I don’t know if I have one technique that defines me … I’m a mutt, a hodgepodge of methods. I’ve found some great guidance from Raising Godly Tomatoes, Attachment Parenting, Happiest Baby/Toddler on the Block, and of course, from my fellow triplet moms.

I also pay it forward by answering questions posed by other members of the club. I expect those triplet moms to take what I suggest in the same manner that I give in … with the intent to help and guide, but not to state that my way is the absolute way.

Recently, a triplet mom posed a question about how to stop one of her triplets from biting.

And I posted this response:
“This will NOT be for everyone, but it worked like magic for us.

Hayden started biting and nothing could stop him -- time out, denying treats, Dan even swatted him through pants and a diaper when he bit Noel so hard he broke the skin and made him bleed.
(Yes … we do swat butts when safety is involved like biting or running into the street.)

What finally worked? Tabasco.

I put one, tiny drop on my fingertip and rub it on his bottom lip outer gum, and then put him in time-out. It took only two times and Hayden has not bitten anyone since. In fact, when I was "pretending" to eat Tanner's toes the other day, Hayden came over and said, "No bite, Mommy! Hot mouth and time out for TWO minutes!"

Again, this may not be for everyone, but it worked when nothing else did for us.”

Is it controversial what I posted? Maybe. Is it primitive? Yep. Did it work? Hallelujah, yes.

Did I expect a different, new triplet mom to post this in response:
“That’s horrendous!”

Ummmm … Hells no!

My first inclination when I got this response to my post was, “Meh … she has one month old triplets and is probably sleep deprived. She didn’t really mean to say horrendous – she must have meant to say different – ingenious – interesting.”

After all, a couple of my triplet moms said on my Facebook wall recently, I practically have a fan club of triplet moms. (Thank you, Julie and Trish – that was very sweet to say.)

But then I thought if I were a new mom reading my post, I might have though the same thing as this new mom. I remember bashing my mom when I was a new parent and she told me the story of how she stopped my biting.

Flashback with me to a time 30 years ago to an Air Force base preschool far, far away in Plattsburgh, New York.

There was a boy who kept sticking his finger in my mouth. I told him that if he kept doing it, I was going to bite him. He kept doing it, soooooo … I bit him.

Yes, I was defending myself because ewwwwwww!!! – he was sticking his finger in my mouth!

But, I had been warned before about biting, I still bit him and therefore my parents had to follow through and punish me … by washing my mouth out with soap and then making me sit on the top of the stairs for five minutes with the soap still in my mouth.

I have vivid memories of screaming from the top of the stairs. “You’re killing me!”

What I don’t have memories of are my parents downstairs agonizing over the fact that they HAD to follow through with the soap or else their words would never really have consequences.

Is it controversial what they did? Maybe. Is it primitive? Yep. Did it work? I never bit again.

It was kinda preachy for me to say that my parents were wrong to do what they did because I hadn't experienced what she was speaking about.

Matthew 7:1 works both ways. The new triplet mom shouldn’t judge me on what I suggested, but I shouldn’t judge her on her response either.

I forgot the "support" part of the support group concept … we are there to support and help each other, not to judge each other because it is not what we would do or want to hear.

It’s a universal lesson that is so hard to understand: We all need to be careful not to judge without first understanding.


Debbie said...

LOL - very nice post! I love the idea to keep them from biting. I never thought of that and I have had huge biters in the past.

Hogue Family said...

This is Beautiful! I hope it works on 5 year olds too... I sometimes think Kyra is a direct descendent of Jaws but perhaps a little bit of Tabasco or soap will make her realize she's not and when she gets mad at her sister she better get daddy or mommy before having a taste of Chloe :o)