Parenting Advice: From Where I Sit Now.

My daughters are adopted.  They came to us at seven months of age.  They had been diagnosed as  having failure to thrive based on failure to double birth weight by age 6 months.  They both had thrush, ear infections in both ears, had been tested for cystic fibrosis and cleared, reflux, a respiratory infection coming on and impacted bowels.  They had ‘flat affect'(didn’t express emotion in facial expressions) and were bald on the backs of their heads, had not rolled over and couldn’t sit up unassisted–as a result of having been left in car seats most of the time.

The pediatrician said to me, “If I adjust for prematurity, and I am not going to.”  And proceeded to tell me what to do to bring their height and weight on the chart.  I did it.  I felt like a hero in an action movie…like a mommy Indiana Jones or better, Luke Skywalker — checking in with Obi-Wan (or Yoda or someone.  Whatever.) and going another round.

I watched them grow.  Put them on their tummies and they shot across the floor like wet soap.  I used cloth diapers(the old-fashioned kind, not your modern handrails and ramps version).  I was the only one who got stuck with a pin.  I stopped buying little bottles of baby food and fed them veggies I mashed with a fork, and rice I cooked and mashed myself with a little formula for richness.  There was no citrus, peanuts, dairy, corn, wheat or shellfish before age 12 months. I had them on a feeding schedule and a sleeping schedule.  At Obi-Wan’s direction, they held a crayon correctly (actually, they grabbed it right the first time and ate it) and drank from a sippy cup before 12 months(Obi-Wan wanted the lid off and I decided not to have the mess).

One was 1/2″ taller and 1lb. heavier at every doctor’s visit.  Until the 14 months visit.  The smaller sister was an inch taller and a pound heavier.  She had gained the difference, plus what her sister gained, plus that much more.  Only time ever.

Mirror image twins, they preferred different hands, but Type A girl, finding a right-handed world, spent several months deciding the right hand would have to do.  She walked first, but rejected it for the infinitely faster, crawling.  Her smaller sister waited a week or two and stood up and walked away.

When they were about 3, something began to happen.  People began to say, “They’re quite tall, aren’t they.”  Yeah.  They went to a bad gym for a few months.  In a 45 minute class, they sat for 35 minutes and then rec’d a backward disciplinary action for not paying attention.  They were 4.  What did they do while they were seated?  Watch the competitive team.  What did they do when they got home?  Whatever they saw the big girls do.  Fortunately, we were no longer able to continue with that program.  Or they might have broken their necks.

They are now taller than I am.  Both are of a healthy weight.  Their standardized test scores are mostly exceptional.  They don’t need braces, even though they sucked their fingers until they were 5 and 9 respectively.

They are stunning.  They don’t really know or see what I see go on around them.  I am protecting them from some of it. (One day I might calm down enough to blog about perverts in Taco Bell, but probably that’s a tale you won’t hear.) I have been asked why they don’t try modeling.  Because it is imperative to raise girls who don’t derive their sense of worth from their appearance.  Modeling at age 14 would be counter intuitive to that purpose and mission.

They are fast. They qualified for AAU Track and Field Junior Nationals.  Had we been able to go, they would have participated in high jump and the 4×100 relay.  Tuesday, Type A came in second to a high school aged guy who is studying to be fast.  I told her to catch him next time, so I could laugh.

They struggled in the summer. There was a girl in their division who was in everyone’s heads.  I told them to imagine there were two chicken legs on a plate in the kitchen.  The three of them are watching tv and I say, “there are two chicken legs.”  Okay, kids, Whose chicken legs are they?

Both said, “Mine.”

I said, “It belongs to who gets there first.”

They beat her*.

Am I bragging?  I don’t know.  I just showed up.  They did the rest.  Mostly, I am keenly aware that I am only good for analogies.

New mom.  Yes, you.  Especially the one that the doctor said, “label, could be label, 40% will label, label, label….but perhaps if you are lucky, only label.”

God chose you to parent this person.  Some days will suck.  You are going to yell.  You are going to cry.  Maybe for days.  You are going to have to forgive them for doing stupid stupid things.  They are going to get hurt and you are going to hate God for a little while because He let it happen.

Then you are going to stand your self up.  Dust yourself off and quit pouting.  You are not going to parent by statistic or by popular vote.  You are going to parent your child.  Your way.  You are going to give your life away.   You are the mom.


I chose to write on Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, prompt 5, Advice to new mothers.

I am sharing my awesome with Jennifer at:

Momma Made It Look Easy


  1. I adore this post. Thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations on raising two wonderful baby girls and helping them become strong young women. I admire your strength. Many people will hear "label label label" and succumb to it like it's destiny. You did not, and that makes you a great mom. As a newbie mom, I really appreciate the advice and encouragement.

  2. Oh my goodness!! What a story! Thank goodness you rescued them, for who knows what would have happened to them otherwise!
    P.S. Love the new look of your blog.

  3. Awesome. Love this advice!

  4. We are a couple of years behind you with our girls! I pray they turn out as strong and confident as your girls sound!! Thanks for sharing!!

  5. I love reading stories that could've ended badly but don't. People can overcome almost anything – thanks for proving it.

  6. You are so amazing and you don't even see it.

  7. I absolutley love this line: "God chose you to parent this person. Some days will suck." Thank you, I needed this reminder today. I think there is a reason I did not read this on Thursday. 🙂

  8. Someone else may have birthed them but you gave them LIFE. Wow. I got chills reading this. Amazing.

    And those last few paragraphs are so powerful. Thanks, from another mom of 3. 🙂

  9. Such an inspiring post!

  10. Those last two paragraphs…so perfect. We are so quick to beat up on ourselves, instead of saying "yep, I screwed up this time, but next time, I'll do better..and if I don't, well, the know I love them!"

    You sound like an awesome mother.

I love it when you sass me. Please leave a comment.

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