Resisting Temptation

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This post was inspired during an exchange between my husband and myself at approximately 3:45 am. The scene was something like this:

Aaron wakes up with a wet diaper, crying. I pick him up, change him and just about calm him down when Brady starts whimpering.
Daddy: “let’s get him up and give him a bottle, that way he’ll sleep in in the morning.”
Mommy: “No.”
Daddy (dripping with sarcasm): “Right, because that would just be too easy.”

Exactly my point. It would be too easy. Tonight. But what about tomorrow night? And the night after?

When you have children, often there is some discussion amongst the parents about how to handle various situations: crying in the middle of the night, feeding issues, discipline, etc. Plans are made and a consensus is (hopefully) reached. You vow to be consistent and stand your ground.

However, into every parent’s life, a lack of sleep will creep, or impatience, or a bad day, or even just plain laziness. It is in these times that is more important than ever to stick by each other and keep the one who is tempted to take the “easy” road on track.

With a singleton child, you can recover from these lapses a little easier. Two of you to one of them – the parental suffering can be minimized slightly. But with multiples, not only are the parents (often) equally exhausted, but there are more “trouble” times to go around. And let’s not forget, when you are dealing with multiples, you are not only setting the tone for one child, your actions/reactions to situations are actually setting the tone for both.

Would I like to occasionally give in at 3:45 and give the attention-starved, crying baby a bottle? Yes, I would. Especially on a work night. But then what happens when he wakes up the next night? And his brother too.

And then what happens when they get a bit older and they decide they “can’t like” what I’ve made them for dinner (a phase we are just exiting with our 3-year old). If we are tired of hearing this and finally cave to one and give him something else, doesn’t that encourage them BOTH to pull the same stunt the next night? 

How long can the “easy” route actually be considered “easy”?

I guess my point is that with multiples, Mommy and Daddy really need to work together to help each other through these moments of parenting weakness. Sticking to your guns is hard enough with one.  Double (or triple) that and you need reinforcements. Always remember that you are a team. 

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6 thoughts on “Resisting Temptation”

  1. This is our current problem. My boys are four months old and its hard to stick to my guns because I keep doubting my choice of “gun.” For every theory on healthy sleeping I read, I find six criticisms of it. And each thing I try only kind of works, and only for a few weeks. And when I just “listen to my gut,” like my yoga friends with only one baby suggest, no one sleeps at all ever. I am listening to one twin scream right now and I have no idea how to deal. Any advice?

  2. Amen, sister. It’s SO important for everyone to be on the same page, especially when it comes to things like sleeping through the night and overnight bottles. M and I had been really on the same page for the Ferber thing, and it was going well. And then Rebecca started not taking very much of her bedtime bottle, so M got worried that she wasn’t eating enough to get through the night, and when she woke up, he fed her. Needless to say, she quickly picked up on this pattern and we ended up needing to re-Ferberize. Now we’re back on track with each other, especially since we’ve seen the consequences of taking the “easy” way out!

  3. Fantastic advice! Mom and dad sticking together on all matters concerning discipline is extremely important. As a parent of triplets now in college (can’t believe we made it this far), learning to stick together while the kids are young will be imperative once the kids get older. If kids think they can divide and conquer (the parents) and get what they want, believe me, they will!

    What worked for us is my husband and I used to have “meetings” on how we would handle specific situations. I remember our first was when our kids were in high chairs, and they liked to throw their food from the chair. I guess we were entertaining when we jumped up and said, “No!” because they would just keep doing it.

    Just one comment on the child that doesn’t like what is served to the family and wants something else, my reply would always be, “I’m not a short order cook! You eat what I make.”

  4. Very good advice. When Alex was up crying for two hours the other night for no reason (night terrors, we think?) I was mentally dreaming for binkies again even though we got rid of them months ago. Jon said – you are completely insane. Sometimes you need someone to tell you those kinds of things.

  5. Our house rule was that things we said to each other at 3am didn’t count. It’s not anyone’s best hour, and you snip and snap and have stupid suggestions that in the morning just seem ridiculous. They just don’t count!

  6. Being on the same page is important, although at our house, we were are on the opposite page, frequently tempted by the lure of letting them cry and other sleep training methods which we chose long ago to avoid. Our method is to lay out a game plan every night before we go to bed. This helps avoid any middle of the night conflicts because the decisions were discussed and made while we were still sane and coherent.

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