Guest Post: Tammie of The Graying Chronicles, on Parenthood

photo credit: Stormtrooper Wallpaper  by eat sith via photopin (license)
photo credit: Stormtrooper Wallpaper by eat sith via photopin (license)

I think radio shows give you a special shout-out if you’re a first-time caller.

Today’s guest post, Tammie of The Graying Chronicles, is a first-time mom. First-time parents get a special shout-out all their own. It often involves stress, second-guessing, and general anxiety. Or in Tammie’s case, it involves a blog.

Tammie’s here today to give a glimpse of what she’s learned on her maiden mom voyage.

I love Tammie’s blog. She tackles parenthood with an understanding of the scope of life it entails, the tears and the laughter. Her writing is lively and honest. She’s been a friend of the CD for quite some time, and it’s an honor to have her here today.

Please give her a warm welcome, and check out The Graying Chronicles, too.

photo credit: giraffe via photopin (license)
photo credit: giraffe via photopin (license)

Parenting has no shortage of guilt and blaming oneself for issues you should have control over, but notably don’t. It’s also one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life. From while they are still in the womb, to infancy and beyond, you would think it would get less terrifying as you move onward. I found that this is a lie!

I had my share of scares while I was pregnant. When I was about 3 months along, there was an episode where I thought that I might be losing my little peanut. I rushed to the doctors, had an ultrasound only to see my little bouncing around like crazy. Then again at around 8 months along, the doctor had to strap a monitor around my belly so she could keep track of my baby’s heart rate for an hour. I remember sitting in a darkened room, alone, crying because I had no idea what was going on or what could be wrong. Thankfully, it ended up being that the baby must have moved positions while the doctor was originally monitoring it’s heart and everything was perfectly fine. Nothing like stopping my heart though.

When she was born, my life changed. She was perfect! Having to have a C-section, I had to stay in the hospital a little bit longer. Then the day I was suppose to go home, her temperature dropped some, so they decided to keep us both another day. Being paranoid and terrified, I was able to milk another day out of the nurses. I remember one of them telling me, “You have to go home Friday.” That drive home was the longest 25 minutes of my life. And maybe it was just me, but it seriously felt like every car on the freeway was aiming for our car. When we got home, I remember putting her in the cradle in the living room, sitting in the kitchen and just crying. I’m sure it was partially from the surge of hormones, but I was also scared to death that I was royally going to screw up this child’s life. What if I did something wrong? I am responsible for a life now. How is this possible? It reminds me of a  comedy skit done by Jim Breuer. What’s funny about this, is that I first saw this stand-up routine on TV was when I was pregnant. I laughed so hard at everything he was saying about parenthood, but little did I know that it was exactly as he said it was. One part stands out and rings truer than anything I had heard before. The very first 45 seconds of this clip is how I feel as a parent, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate.

I will say it again, it is some scary stuff! Let’s fast-forward 5 years later to my daughters well check visit. The doctor is concerned about my daughter’s weight and wants a blood draw done on her to check for pre-diabetes. My heart drops. She is bigger than most 5 year olds, but she isn’t huge. She is also very tall for her age. There is diabetes on both sides of her family, so how could I have let this happen? Yes, I completely blame myself for all of this. It’s hard not to. I am the one that cooks. I am the one that puts the plate in front of her. I am the one that caves and gives in when she refuses to eat anything I originally give her and just make her something I know she will eat, just so that she won’t go to bed without eating dinner. Giving in to her because I am tired of the consistent arguments at the dinner table. Seriously, I despise dinner time in my house. I’ve read articles on how to get your child to be a better and healthier eater. I’ve tried some different techniques, all of which have failed. It’s not easy dealing with a strong willed child, which is what she is. That entire weekend I was on pins and needles, worried about what the results might say. Thankfully, everything seemed to come back okay, but changes definitely need to be made. I don’t think I would ever be able to forgive myself if something happened to her. Yes, I may be a little hard on myself, but in some ways I have to be. My daughter is everything to me. I would go to the ends of the earth for her.

So, I’ve started putting my foot down when it comes to meal time. New rule in this house, which goes for husband too, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” I’ve adopted a friend’s technique, which is still in the early stages and feels like it’s back firing, but I have to give it a chance. Basically, I give her dinner and she has the choice whether she eats it or not and how much. The deal, however, is that if she doesn’t finish her dinner or doesn’t eat it at all, that plate goes into the fridge and if she comes to me later saying she is hungry, she is only allowed to eat what is on that plate from dinner that was placed into the fridge. Seems simple, but she is already testing her limits with it. Tonight, in fact, she went to bed without eating any of her dinner because she decided that she didn’t want it. I reminded her that if she was hungry later that her plate will be in the fridge and she can eat that. She didn’t seem to care much and never said she was hungry. It kills me that she went to bed not eating anything and that she is that stubborn not to eat her dinner. I’m sure she is waiting to see if I will cave, and the old me would have ten folds by now. The new me, although killing me deep down inside and crushing my soul, will not cave and I have to believe that this little game of hers will stop and she will start eating her dinner like she is suppose to. I’m telling you, strong willed children will test you to no end. My husband is much better at these games than me, probably because he is just as stubborn as the child.

parenting quote


  1. Yvonne says:

    Good on you, and stay strong, Tammie.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She’s a good mama.

      1. TammieB says:

        Awe, thanks Eli. 🙂

    2. TammieB says:

      Thanks, Yvonne! 🙂

  2. I could relate from the issues with pregnancy ( my second was high risk) to finally giving birth to a healthy baby right through to headstrong child. And yes adore my husband, but he too is as stubborn as a child. Wonderful guest post 😉

    1. TammieB says:

      Thank you, Janine! And sometimes, those husbands…tough enough having a head strong child. At least I know where she got it from. 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’ll come in handy in high school and buffet lines. Also maybe other parts of life.

      2. TammieB says:

        Head strong and feisty will serve her well later on in life. She will be a force to be reckoned with. Maybe I can get her to look at Presidency later on down the road?

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        That or middle linebacker for my Broncos.

      4. TammieB says:

        I can see her knocking some people out too! 😉

      5. Eli Pacheco says:

        Just stop the run game … that’s all I ask. Oh, and cover the tight end on passing downs.

  3. roweeee says:

    Loved your post and had a good laugh. I can relate to so much of this. My son starts high school next year and that is scary. It only seems like he was born last week and when I think of all the things that high school kids can get up to, I am completely unprepared. My only hope is that he is a late developer and perhaps his love of Minecraft isn’t such a bad thing after all!!
    I hve all sorts of troubles getting my kids to eat and in particular my daughter. Her BMI is in the bottom 1-3% of the population and is a bit scary. We are getting her checked out at the moment. So many other parents are dealing with the opposite problem. A happy balance would be nice.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think the key is just knowing your own kid … the closer you are, I believe the easier it is to navigate transitions such as high school.

      1. roweeee says:

        The trouble ids knowing your kid can also freak you out about these transitions and then there’s also yourself thrown into the mix. This year’s goals for my son include keeping track of his stuff…especially his shoes and giving notes to the teacher at the time. The school is really being supportive with the transition which is great. We’re already had an afternoon with the high school last year and an open night and then the headmaster is coming to our year 6 parent afternoon today. We are in Australia and are at the start of a new school year. I am not good with transitions myself and so this integration between the primary school and the high school is fabulous. I went to a school where primary and high school were altogether so I never went through this transition myself.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        One day at a time!

    2. TammieB says:

      A happy balance would always be nice, wouldn’t it. I’m sure high school will be great for your boy (it goes quickly, doesn’t it?). They find their own way and I’m positive you did a great job raising him, so you will be fine. I completely agree with Eli! Good luck at the doctor’s with your daughter.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s always an adventure. I wouldn’t trade it.

  4. My 4YO son is the same way. He has gone to bed many nights with no dinner in his belly, but I don’t think he’s every been truly hungry. I’ve just recently started allowing him to make his own PBJ if he doesn’t want what we have. But there’s no way I am going to become a short order cook in my own house!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s so hit and miss, Rabia. I’ve made mild chicken wings Grace has turned away, and a pasta and chicken dish loaded with peppers all the kids scarfed down! Who knows what will please them?

    2. TammieB says:

      It was difficult being the short order cook. Angering and difficult. Did it and won’t do it again. Having 2 fickle eaters in the home is tiring. And you’re right, I don’t think my daughter has ever gone to bed “hungry” (she may say different) but like I said, it’s that whole guilt thing. It’s getting a little easier, but still a ways to go.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        My problem is that my kids eat everything in sight.

  5. Every day I say something to this effect: No one told me how hard this Parenting Job was going to be! I mean, maybe they tried, but you truly don’t “get it” until you’re in it. Keep on doing the best you can, and everything will be fine. “The best we can” is all any of the rest of us are doing, too!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s like a round of golf in the British Open – you can’t look at the score, just keep swinging away (and keep the gale winds from ripping off your knickers.)

    2. TammieB says:

      Thank You! I’m learning (slowly) that the “best I can” is all I can do for my daughter. I totally beat myself up, but it’s nice to know that I am not alone. 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I just tell myself at night, “tomorrow I’ll try again.” And I do.

  6. Kim says:

    Our two boys are so different… The younger one eats SO much but is off the BMI chart (as in under it), so he drinks a mix of whole milk and half and half…

    The other boy is super picky. At dinner time, he gets dinner AND one thing I know he’ll eat. He’d rather lose weight and starve than eat something he doesn’t want. He’s got some ginger in him. Who can I blame?! Oh, wait…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have no idea what the ginger eating profile looks like!

      1. Kim says:

        LOL! Silly me, not specifically referring to the stereotypical redheaded stubbornness. As far as a ginger diet, it involves potatoes – of pretty much any variety or preparation. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        You should have a category on your blog called “Gingerology.”

    2. TammieB says:

      Kim, my niece is the same way. That kid can EAT, but is 5 times smaller than my daughter and is the same age. Then you got my kid who is super picky and is over her BMI. Strange, I tell you, strange.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        All I know is that the dad’s job is to eat leftovers and pizza crusts.

  7. Lyn says:

    Tough love…you’re a great Mom, Tammie, and one day, when your daughter has kids of her own, she will thank you. It’s not easy to block out the, “But Mo-ommmmm.”

    1. TammieB says:

      Thank you for that Lyn! You are very sweet. I hope she thanks me when she is older. I know I thank my mom all the time!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        When you become a parent, you gain a whole new appreciation for what your parents did for you.

  8. ksbeth says:

    excellent piece, tammy. funny and real. just like parenthood )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      or real funny, depending on the day.

    2. TammieB says:

      🙂 Thank you for reading it! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Parenthood, I’m learning, is a giant dramedy. Tough and very real at some moments, with bits of comedic punchlines in between.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Who needs reality TV when you have kids?

      2. TammieB says:

        Seriously! Bachelor be damned!

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        Bachelorettes have nothing on three kids hungry at once.

  9. That reminds me of the day my brother visited. He, his wife and their three kids live abroad, so we don’t get to see them a lot.

    So they were at my house for dinner, and one of his kids looked at the plate (I don’t even remember what I made) and said “Daddy, I’m not eating this, can you make some pasta for me?”

    I heard it, my – then – 4 yo heard it, and it hit me. My mom told me once that some nights my poor brother ended up cooking three (!) different things for his picky eating kids, meanwhile his own dinner was getting cold. I was NOT going to play that game!

    Before my brother could say something, I was being the mean auntie: “look, at our house we TRY before we say we don’t like something. And if we still don’t like it, too bad. No special treatment.”

    They wanted to negotiate, and Colin (my son) was all ears, so I had to remain firm.

    It was easy for me because they were going to leave later that night, but I can feel your pain. I just tell myself if they’re really hungry they’ll eat what you give them.

    Hang in there, you’re doing great!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can’t imagine. Outside of leaving some spice off wings or making a plate of chicken nuggets when we have something ‘grown-up,’ these kids will attack their plates like piranhas.

      1. That’s because your kids rock 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        They’re termites and every bit of food we own is wood.

    2. TammieB says:

      Thanks, Tamara! I appreciate that.
      I can just see your boy listening intently to see if you cave to his cousins, waiting to say “Well, you did it for them.” Good for you for you!
      I’m trying to remind myself the same things, “If she’s REALLY hungry she’ll eat what’s on her plate.”
      I do believe this is karma getting me back for how I use to eat as a child. In my defense though, most of our meals were Hamburger Helper based. Can only take so much of that. 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I wonder if kids in renaissance Europe turned their noses up to turkey and potatoes (that’s really what they ate – I looked it up.)

  10. tamaralikecamera says:

    So glad things turned out ok! I would think that any pre-diabetes or diabetes in a five-year-old is NOT your fault, and just terrible luck but I’m happy it wasn’t the case for you.
    That said, I have a five-year-old and meals can be a real struggle with her. Then I have a two-year-old who eats everything. I mean. Everything. Kale. Lentil soup. Beets. Sweet potatoes. Risotto. Seafood. Burgers. The Kitchen Sink.
    It’s mostly daycare menus, though. I don’t even know how to cook kale!

    1. Haha, love that your 2yo eats Kale and the kitchen sink. I often hear about kids who eat everything at daycare. The same things they won’t eat at home. It’s not fair, but at least they get their veggies on our work days, right?

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        He also eats bright blue cupcakes.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Isn’t Kale the official flower (and meat) up there, Tamara?

      1. tamaralikecamera says:

        Not sure it’s still trending!
        When I was pregnant with Scarlet, it was public enemy number one. I couldn’t even look at it. I had trouble watching the show lost because all the greenery on it reminded me of kale.
        When my husband and mother-in-law continued to cook it, every day, I thought about killing them in their sleep! With kale.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        All of this talk about kale makes me want a bratwurst.

    3. TammieB says:

      That is AWESOME that your 2 year old will eat anything! Maybe it’s an older child thing, the picky eating. My younger brother use to eat everything too.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s the balance of the universe.

  11. jodiboys says:

    OMG I totally remember being afraid to leave the hospital with my 1st born. ALSO begging to not go home to my then toddler, with my 2nd child!

    1. TammieB says:

      Being in charge of someone else’s life is terrifying! So many different, and some absurd, scenarios running through your brain. If I ever have a second child, I’m not sure how I will feel bringing that kid home. My daughter probably won’t leave it alone. 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Instant babysitter.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Please tell me that’s in a post somewhere, Jodi! That first ride home from the hospital with my first daughter was so tense. It was raining and of course I never noticed how lightning-fast and out-of-control 45 mph really is.

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