Bipolar Parenting


I have a bit of a case of what I refer to as bipolar parenting. I am in no way bipolar and do not wish to make light of what I imagine would be a difficult disease to live with, but it’s the best way I can think to describe this parenting style. I am either neurotically obsessed about something, researching to death all the ways BPA can harm my child or why television and electronics rot their brain, contributes to obesity, actually does nothing for their language development and stifles their imagination or I refuse to even think about, concern myself with or address any risk factors associated with say wearing synthetic clothing, giving acetametaphene or ib profen to an infant or educating myself on potty training techniques. (But I do really want one of these biodegradable potty training toilets). I’m not sure if this stems from some form of a survival tactic, as in if I approach everything this way I think I will eventually be living out the lyrics to Spanish Pipedream (preferably sung by the Avett Brothers) ” Blow up your t.v., throw away your paper, go to the country, build you a home, plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try an find Jesus on your own”

While on some level that sounds like a really great idea, nice little house in the country, organic gardening, some part of me just isn’t there yet oh and I still need a job. The part of me that still occasionally buys polyester and refuses to acknowledge or pay for things like organic cotton unless on sale or educate myself on the pros and cons of each.The same part of me that simultaneously loathes plastic toys but makes an exception for Legos because certain pros outweigh certain cons. The same part that refuses to educate myself on actual parenting styles so that I have options and tactics for things like discipline, other than skimming the occasional articles I come across on the internet or that one of the many parenting websites emails me and catches my attention. Yet, I did my first flip in parenting approaches, not necessarily on purpose the other day, and the result has me leaning toward reaching the neurotic again, packing it up and moving to the country. When Brecken was born I debated. endlessly. researched. endlessly. and asked. annoyingly. what everyone and anyone’s take on vaccinations were. I knew people who did, who didn’t, did some, changed the distribution, you name it I probably had heard of it done. For personal and what I chalk up to medical reasons including I knew my children would be around unvaccinated children and that certain diseases were again on the rise (pertussis) among the benefits of vaccines I felt outweighing the cons, I ultimately opted to vaccinate Brecken with all typical childhood vaccinations. I did however request a very specific schedule to limit the amount of vaccines that entered his body at a given time, delaying some vaccines over others. This worked well and other than a few extra trips to the clinic for shots we didn’t have any problems.

Then along comes Pippa and where that horrible second child syndrome comes in, the idea that “eh well the 1st one lived through it” bad mama parenting. I didn’t even give it a second thought really, I was too swept up in all that was parenting two children under 2, work, life etc. I vaguely thought of it at her 2/4 month appointments but in neither case did she really have that many vaccines and she made her way through each perfectly fine. Then Monday was her six month appointment. Pippa’s a little on the small side, nothing concerning more just a fact, she’s a little slight which may or may not have played a factor into what happened. When it was time for vaccines they told me she would get 3 shots and an oral and I remember vaguely thinking whoa that’s kind of a lot for a small tot to handle but then I had Brecken pulling at my leg and Pippa crying and I let it go. She was in a foul mood the rest of the day and felt a little warm. I gave her a Tylenol/ib profen rotation (Note another thing I am strongly resisting the urge to think about/medicating my six month old) which didn’t seem to be doing much good. She woke up about 2 a.m. burning up, for whatever reason fevers really freak me out in babies, so I was none to happy to find her temp was 101.3. Really!!!!! 3 months ago this would have required a trip to the E.R. Was she really that much more developed? Her poor little body must be seriously working to fight something. I gave her some more Tylenol and got very little sleep. The doctor’s office assured me this could be a normal reaction and should clear up in a few days. If not to come in. It took about 2 days for the fever to wear off which was just enough time to really beat myself up about not staying true to what I really believed and slacking on my parenting. While you might be saying, she could just as well got a fever if you had spread them out, I know that, but I will never know if that’s true because I didn’t and that’s what bothers me. On some level, I failed her. While ultimately it won’t be the first or the last time, it has made me realize how easy it is to sort of sink into this comfort zone of parenting for round 2 and just because she wasn’t first in line doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve just as much neurotic obsession as the other =)


Vaccine-in-leg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just to remind us all how much shots suck, really don’t you just cringe looking at this!!!


One response »

  1. I’m sorry to hear Pippa had such a rough go with her 6 month shots. They’re no fun. I think as parents we all get neurotic about our own hot button or other issues from time to time. It means we care and want only what is best for our kids. Don’t be too hard on yourself about the fever.

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