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Do Over Day

Apparently, February 26, 2009 is the inaugural Do Over Day in Canada. It is a day to  redeem your wrongs and celebrate what you've done right in life. So tell me, dear readers, in the world of parenting:

  • What did you get right that you are proud of?

  • What did you do wrong that you wish you could redo?

I'm going to have to mull over my answer a bit and I also don't want to cloud your creative thought process with mine, so please fill those comment boxes with your answers and I'll update the post by the end of the day on Thursday with mine.

What I got right

I think that most of what I got right can be rolled into parenting according to my instincts and in line with the attachment parenting philosophy while still striving to maintain balance in my life.

My do over

I'd like to do over our approach to languages. We are a multilingual home. I speak German with my husband and we had decided I would speak English to the kids and my husband would speak German to them. Unfortunately, because virtually everyone other than my husband speaks English to the kids (me, my family, our friends, etc.) and because television is predominantly in English (we do have a lot of German DVDs too) our kids both speak predominantly English and it is harder and harder for my husband to speak any German to them because they always answer in English and either don't understand or pretend not to understand a lot of the time when he speaks German. As my do over, I wish that both of us had spoken German with the kids from the start and just relied on them picking up their English from other people. I think then we would have had a fighting chance. I'm still thinking of trying to do the switch and starting to speak German at home (except when my mom is here, so she doesn't feel left out...don't worry mom!) in the hope that things turn themselves around.

Most of my other do overs, I had a chance to do over with our second child. That includes a natural birth (had an epidural the first time), being knowledgeable about breastfeeding to avoid problematic interventions at the start (thankfully I overcame those problems), and babywearing right from the start (I wasn't aware of anything other than the Snugli for the first 3 months with my first baby, but my second one was in a ring sling within an hour of birth).
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Reader Comments (23)

I wish I could take back every time I've lost my patience and yelled at the kids. :(

I also wish I could take back the time when my firstborn was a baby and I stupidly followed CIO advice for 2 nights to try to get her to sleep in her own room. (Over 3.5 years later, she's still co-sleeping us, and I absolutely love it!)

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril ~ EnchantedDandelions

@April - You forgot to include the things you did right! That's part of the deal....celebrate them!

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I am not always very good at sharing the work with my children. I am too impatient and so I have a habit of just doing things for them instead of helping the do it and learn from it.
My eldest dh just told me that for him the thing I did right was I listened to him tell me that he needed more of his own space. He turns 11 next month and has had a room of his own for a little over a month.

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterbabyREADY

I also wish I could take back the times I've lost patience and yelled. My mother was a yeller and I never wanted to be that way, but I find it happening more than I want it to, although I do work at it and catch myself sometimes before I do it.

I'm proud of how well-behaved she is. We worked hard to learn her cues and know when she's at her best and we very rarely have a meltdown in public, she says "bless you" when people sneeze, and is generally a polite kid. I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but I'm pretty proud of it. :-)

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara

What I would like to do over - I would like to take back some of my moments of impatience and my raised voice. But the biggest thing, which isn't something that I really did, would be a chance to do-over my daughter's premature birth and stay in the NICU. That continues to affect us today, and she's 4 years old.

What have I done right? I'm proud that in spite of a very rough start I breastfed my daughter for nearly 3 years. And I'm proud that I was able to listen to my own voice and follow the parenting path that felt right for me.

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I love the idea of "Do Over Day!"
My kids are still pretty young but I do have a do-over: I wish I had tried a dairy elimination diet when I was nursing my first child. He was colicy... after doing dairy-elimination for my daughter, I saw a HUGE difference!

As for doing right: I'm glad I stuck to my guns on "no TV prior to age 2". It really helped us form a fun dynamic of playing with our son and created better time-usage habits for the whole family.

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

My only child, a girl is 14 months old right now.

I wish I had taken the time to include my hubby more on the day-to-day parenting. He would come home from work, and I would be like, "Oh...it's like this....". But ah-ha! I have learned that co-parenting is the healthiest/easiest/bestest (I made up a word...woOt!!) most rewarding experience both for our daughter and our relationship.

I am very proud that early on I realized that our baby was a "high-needs" infant and learned right away to trust my instincts and follow my intuition. What's that? You want to nurse 32 times today?!? GREAT!! And you say that your crib is lonely? No worries dear, we sold it and you get to sleep with us! I'm sorry... putting you down caused you to go into some sort of infantile panic attack?!?! No problem!!! I have a sling! :) Attachment parenting truly has brought out a wonderful side of myself and is raising a spunky, independent, well mannered, respectful, loving, sensitive soul.

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMandi

I'd do potty-training over. In hindsight, even though my wife and I did what all the books, research, and professional training told us to do, we put too much pressure on the boys. They figured it out when they were ready, and not a day sooner. And before that day, I must admit that I lost my patience a few times....

I know I did something right, because both boys know they're loved. They definitely feel secure in their relationships at home, which I think has given them some confidence in other areas.

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFamily Anatomy

This is brilliant!

Thing's I've done right include going to LLL when I was only 4 months pregnant and learning about breastfeeding early. And I think our homebirth was something wonderful- especially letting Margaret take 43 weeks to gestate and being patient with my long labor. I'm glad I was patient at those times.

Things I'd like to re-do include all the times I'm at the computer or at the Wii or knitting and she wants my attention. I should be giving her my time instead.

February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I am proud of how sweet my son is, nursing for 26 months and counting, and that I am able to ignore those who tell me I am ruining my child with AP.

I wish I could "do-over" the times I get frustrated or angry and the first six to nine months (I felt so lost!).

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Done right: slinging, co-sleeping, sticking with breastfeeding...

Do differently: birth, oh god yes the birth. Next time it will be a homebirth all the way.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuth Moss

Oh gosh, I could go on an on and on about this one. There are so many things that I wish I could change. I wish I could take back all of the times that I've lost my patience and continue to work on not being a "yeller" - a bad habit that I picked up from my mom. I also shamefully tried CIO a few times when I was still figuring out my parenting style. I would do anything to take that back. The look of terror on her face as I checked on her still haunts me!

As for things to celebrate? My daughter will be two next month and is still breast feeding (and I'm 23 weeks pregnant) and co-sleeping. I always respond to her when she cries and am working on being more patient. Oh, and one more, she's SO close to being potty trained!!! Very few, slightly wet diapers during the day, and absolutely no soiled ones. Woo Hoo! :)

As for things that I've done

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRhyah

Son number 3 is the embodiment of the things we did right. He benefited from the learning we did from sons 1 and 2.

All were exclusively breastfed and he and Son 2 were born at home, but on top of that he has benefited from the sling, constant contact, and co-sleeping. All those things we did right.

What I do wrong is lose my temper, too often, too rapidly.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob A

Well, seeing that every night as I nurse DS to sleep I think of all I wish I could have changed in his first 6 weeks, this will be easy to pick the do overs! Celebrating the good stuff will be much harder

Do Overs
- not put him down in the swing so much those first two weeks, I could have held him more
- found his tongue tie earlier
- found his reflux earlier, or listened to DH when he said something didn't seem right, even though the doc said he was fine
- not used the sound of a vacuum to soothe him
- never would have stopped swaddling
- bedtime routine at 2weeks
- when I loose my temper and get mad or frustrated with him and his sleep issues

- I DID find his TT
- I've worn him from the beginning, though sometimes I wish I could more
- fall in love with cosleeping
- ensure he gets the best food we can afford
- EBF & Pumping for almost 8mo

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

do over:
trying to protect my ds from my dh's lack of patience by doing everything all the time especially in the beginning
not finding a sitter we could trust outside the family until just recently
becoming overly identified as a "mama" and losing touch with a better balance in my life.

did well:
ignored naysayers and met the needs of my spirited ds which is helping him grow up at his pace in his way to be a wonderful boy!
all the ap stuff, cosleeping, bwing, ebfing, so worth it!
my homebirth with dd.
really, believing that i am a good mama.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrobin

I read this yesterday and thought about it all last evening. Oh, the things I would do over. The times I lost my patience and yelled when I should have taken a deep breath. The food battles with my poor eating, very picky toddler. The fact that I barely remember my daughter's development at all during the time that her brother was a newborn.

But then I talked to my friend who recently battled cardio myopathy, and who will need a defibrilator placed in her heart in the next few weeks. She is so scared of leaving her three kids alone without a mommy! Instead of ruminating on the past, she thinks constantly in the present, making sure that her priorities are in line and that she is making the most of each moment.

So I decided to "let go" the things I wanted to do over and to focus on things that I can change in the future. I'm actually really glad that I read this. I don't want to feel guilty anymore about my poor parenting moments, so I'm going to channel that negative energy into some positive energy instead.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Thinking about it, my do-overs are few. My one big thing is that I wish dh had gotten into the habit of putting dd to bed at least once a week, so that she had the ability to fall asleep with her daddy, as well as her mommy.

I'm proud of the fact that despite doing everything I could do, and never being able to pump enough for dd at daycare, I am still able to breastfeed my daughter at 22 months. I attribute much of that success to co-sleeping, which is something we still do.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSiMoNe

Do-over: All the times I snapped "mommy just wants FIVE MINUTES to herself!" or "I'm almost done, just wait!" or any other such thing (generally while sitting in front of the computer - and, irony of ironies, perusing various parenting sites and forums).

Done right: Babywearing. There are lots of things I'm glad I did, but those first several months with him cuddled so close are some of the fondest memories I have. Nine months in...nine months out.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

Thank you everyone for your responses. Lots of wonderful ideas and I am glad to see so many of you recognizing and celebrating all of the things that you did right!

I just updated the post with my answers to the questions.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

My wife has spoken only French to our kids from the day Son 1 arrived, nearly 6 years ago. Of course, they only speak English back, but for their grandparents they do make the effort and it's great to see them improving with each visit to France. It helps that there are a few French families around, and that she is a stay-at-home-mum, so has maximum chance to give them their French input!
Keep up the German, I say!

February 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob A

wow -- what a huge huge huge question.

I want to start by encouraging you to speak german to your children!! I strongly believe that it CAN be done - and that your children will appreciate your efforts forever! having said that, I KNOW it's difficult. I KNOW.

Do over?
I'm realizing daily that my children ARE way more anglophone than bilingual and it bugs me to no end. I DO speak french to them - but not 100% of the time. Most of our books are english so i'm reading mostly english to them (the ones we have in french are mostly horrible translations that I can't stand so i'm not picking them often, I need to invest in brilliant french books) Over the last week or so I feel like i can SEE the day they tell me "not french maman" :( tv. is not a problem since they're not exposed to it. they understand everything in french -- but they're not using it much. I'm also *stuck* on this subject because we have schooling decisions to make and I am adamant then go to french school. (like it was a make or break point of our relationship - it's THAT huge for me) BUT the options here are hard to swallow - so i'm not sure, and I've been trying to remind myself that language will not make them 'better people' good parenting, good choices and good opportunities will. It's hard.

Pertaining to parenting and not my children per se - i lose patience way too fast when people act like i'm just "trying to be better than them/supermom" if they find out that "we eat homemade as much as possible" or "that i never bought baby food - it was all homemade" "that they never got forumala" or "that we cloth diaper" or "that my children don't watch tv" or "that i get to stay home with them everyday". I feel like i just want to YELL that I'm doing what WE feel is best for OUR FAMILY/SITUATION and that it bugs me that I have to pretend that we do things we don't. I don't offer these things to "show off" ever - i wish the people making assumptions of how everybody parents would just stop - then they wouldn't make me feel horrible!ha. I just need to learn to not allow it to get to me :)

Did right?
That I parent from my gut -- and I KNOW that this happened mostly because i didn't get pregnant when we first started trying. Seems crazy -- but the waiting and reading that I got to do in this wait time made me realize that there's a whole world beyond mainstream -- and one I belong to. I'm not a conformist 'just because' but I think I could have easily slipped into that crowd had I had children when I was younger (i don't mean all young people - i just mean ME and how I WAS). For me that would have been painful parenting. I am thankful that I've had the opportunity to watch my friends learn & grow as parents before I started my journey - because I gained from their growing pains. (not to say I didn't have any of course!!)

Also that being stubborn has been working to my advantage mostly. I've stuck to things that were important to me because they're important to me. I don't pay attention to advice that doesn't work for us - and I'm not shy to share that with those offering. "Sorry, that doesn't work for our family" or "We've chosen ___ for our family". See - I say that's a "good thing" and above I complain about it -- the neg. of it is the "Attitude" i get from some people that think i'm trying to show off when it's got nothing to do with it. But i'm not going to sit there and smile + nod while somebody tells me that my problem is that I haven't allowed them to CIO for example. "that just doesn't work for our family" is a much better response!! I also feel that by answering that instead of nodding it's educating them that maybe, just maybe -- there's more than ONE WAY to parent.

That we co-sleep even though it wasn't our goal. I was very pro co-sleeping, just didnt' think it was for our family - but it's been wonderful/necessary!

great post Annie -- sorry for the crazy long response. Now, go speak german to your children ;)

February 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

My boyfriend is half French, half American, but he was raised in France until he was about 8. His father spoke English to him, and his mother spoke French, but his schooling was all in French. He has lived in the US for about 10 years now (between age 8 and 14 he traveled around with his parents, who were in the foreign service), and so he is 100% bilingual - he can switch back and forth within the same sentence, and often does. It's a skill I envy.

We have discussed that if we get married, and if we have kids, that he will try and teach them French, and that he will speak to them in French and I will speak to them in English. Even if they don't end up speaking it fluently, the early-childhood exposure will be a huge boon to their language-learning abilities later on (this has been proven in study after study, and as a language teacher, I can tell you that it is definitely true). So, even if your children don't end up speaking German very well, they will still be far ahead of their peers when it comes to languages.

March 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

[...] Hope asks whether it is wrong to openly support breastfeeding.  In her comment on my post for Do Over Day, Annie @ Imagination in Parenting, said: Pertaining to parenting and not my children per se - i [...]

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