Friday, August 7, 2009

Well, I guess I'm not missing that natural mothering gene after all....

It's hard to admit this but before I had kids, I worried if I would be a good mother. I have friends who have that natural mothering ability...that instinct where they know exactly what to do in every situation. They say the right things, they act the right way, they know exactly what their children need without their children having to even mention a word....I just watch those friends in awe as they interact with their kids, wishing so much that I had that natural ability. Sometimes, I honestly feel like I'm lacking some mothering genes.

Well, I suppose it all makes sense when you consider who I had for a role model. My mom probably meant well but she was one of those people who probably never should have had children. She's even admitted that to me.

So I entered motherhood, flailing and stumbling....and I'm still in that same state of mind most of the time....always looking back at certain situations and wishing I would've reacted differently or handled it better.

Getting to the point here....I took Cole and Bella to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom today. It was their last day of summer break and I wanted their summer to go out with a bang. The day started off really well....we were having a blast.



We rode most of the rides they wanted to go on, they got to pig out on foods they don't normally get to eat (like cotton candy and ice cream). After dinner, they wanted to go on a couple more rides and I didn't want to get stuck in traffic on the drive home, so I figured spending a little more time at the park wouldn't be so bad.

They wanted to go on this teacup ride, which they've never been on before. It was in the kids area and they more than met the height requirement so I didn't have to go on with them (thankfully, because I HATE rides that spin). I kept asking Bella if she was sure she wanted to go on because I just couldn't imagine her enjoying a ride like this but she was adamant...she wanted to go with Cole.

Before they got on the ride, I explained how it worked....to spin the teacup they had to twist the wheel in the middle and to stop spinning, they just needed to stop twisting it. They both understood....cool. They got on the ride and I watched from the sidelines as they both spun wildly around....laughing and waving to me.

Then I noticed the teacup spinning even faster....Cole was smiling...in fact, he was the one twisting the wheel. Bella wasn't smiling anymore but she seemed okay. Then on the next go-round, as they passed me, I could see the look of fright in her eyes. She's one of those kids who when she's scared, you can literally see the look of death in her eyes. Her face was starting to turn red and her eyes were wide with fear.

I yelled out loudly to Cole...."Cole, stop spinning....slow down". Every time they'd go around, I'd desperately try to get his attention but he either couldn't hear me or he was ignoring me (later, he told me he couldn't hear me...I guess I'll never know). Then I saw Bella flopping around in the teacup like a rag doll....her eyes were open but almost glazed and unfocused (from what I could tell as they were passing me by very quickly each time).

I couldn't believe that Cole wasn't seeing any of this....and I couldn't believe the operator of the ride wasn't seeing this. None of the parents standing by me seemed to even notice. Yet, there I was screaming as loud as I could "Cole, stop spinning....Bella's not okay".

I felt like I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I'm always afraid of causing a scene but this time, I couldn't have cared less. Everything continued in slow motion. I kept seeing Bella's body flinging around inside that teacup and her head just kept rolling from side to side....

Instead of panicking (like I normally would have), I ran over to the ride operator (who was maybe 16 yrs old and clueless) and grabbed his hand and pointed to the kids and said, "Please stop the ride....something's wrong with my daughter...she's not well". Right then is when I think he noticed what I was talking about and he immediately stopped the ride and I dropped all my stuff and ran over to the teacup, where she stood up and then collapsed into my arms.

Once in the safety of my arms, she started sobbing and she was shaking uncontrollably. I was relieved that she was sobbing, which meant she was coherent, but obviously very shaken up. Cole still had no clue what was wrong. I took them away from the ride and we went to an area where we could sit down.

That's when I started sobbing....it was kind of a surreal experience. I really don't even remember how we got to the other area where we sat down. I just remember running over to the teacup, grabbing her off the ride, and clutching her to my chest....never wanting to let her go. I was mad at myself for even agreeing to let them go on that ride, knowing in advance that she probably wouldn't have liked it. I kept seeing her frightened little face in my mind....I kept seeing her small body being tossed around in the teacup. I couldn't shake the images from my mind, for some reason.

On the drive home, once they were safe and sound asleep in their booster seats, that's when I realized that perhaps I'm not missing that mothering gene I thought I might have been lacking. As mentioned earlier, I don't like making a scene or seeming like I'm over-reacting. Although when Cole had the surgery for his umbilical hernia and he ended up with Nurse Ratched in the recovery room, I had no problem speaking up on his behalf....but I was prepared to have to advocate for him because of the situation.

But this time, that natural instinct just took over and, without even thinking, I reacted....I got my child off of that ride and out of harm's way (as I saw it....geez, I was imagining her little brain being all bumped around inside her head). I didn't worry what others would think....and while I did feel badly that the other kids on the ride ended up with a much shorter riding time, that was my last priority. My daughter's well-being and safety was the ONLY thing on my mind at that time.

It's kind of hard to explain, I guess. Most people might be thinking, "Well, any mother would have done the same thing....". And yes that may be true but I have always worried that, in a situation like that, I might not react the way I should have.

Upon that realization, I couldn't help but smile....when push comes to shove, I can rest assured now....I am not lacking the mothering gene, as I once had feared.

* One of my blogging buddies, Heather at The Mott Multiples, is having an amazing giveaway....a pair of beautiful earrings!! Like me, Heather has multiple multiples but she has twins, then a singleton and then triplets!! She is one admirable lady! Please take a few minutes and check out her blog and enter her giveaway!

40 comments:

MrsM said...

For every woman you see and think "well she's a natural mother" there is someone looking at you thinking the same thing.

Moms are human too-we all have our strengths and weaknesses in different areas-but as long as we love our kids and do our best we're all good mommies at heart.

Yaya said...

I'm glad she is ok. Good job Mom!

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

Oh the joys of being a mom - the worrying factor! I worried the same thing - to be honest, I really do not like kids and everyone who knows this was so shocked when I told them I wanted kids! But I love my own kids and have learned to tolerate other kids. (but I definitely thought I lacked the mothering gene!)

I used to do the same thing that Bella did. You kind of just pass out for a minute when something is going too fast or around. One time, I passed out on a merry go around, no kidding. I asked my doctor about it and he said that sometimes a person's body will allow them to pass out so they will not have to experience it. Anyways, glad she was okay!!!!

Christina said...

Live and learn. :) So glad she's ok, you did good!!!!

Tami said...

Helene! YOU ARE A WONDERFUL MOM! Never doubt yourself! I can see how you write about them, your fun, witty, caring, loving, and LOVE to play!
What more can you ask for. When in danger you reacted! Because you care and because you love your babies!
My boys are 21.5, 18 and 7 I still worry about the older 2 It NEVER goes away. EVER.

I'm so happy she is OK.

HuGZ

The Mother said...

EVERYBODY enters parenthood stumbling. No one could possibly be actually prepared for it, no matter how many role models and self-help books they have.

Parenting is a fly by the seat of your pants operation. Moms with the thickest seat covers win.

Jen said...

You should never doubt yourself again. You love your kids, that comes through loud and clear here. And b/c of that you will always do what is right for them

Oh and I am so jealous that you got to meet Francesca. How awesome! And 500 followers, how do you do that?

One more question, will you please go to SITScation in Vegas, then I can meet you too. :)

Alicia said...

AWWW...Helene!!!! I'm so glad she is fine!!!!!!! I would be scared too!!!!!! Your poor baby! At first I thought you were going to write that she threw up everywhere!!

Yes, mom skills do kick in when you least expect it!! You handled it just like any of us would!!!!

HUGS!

♥georgie♥ said...

OMGosh that is so scary-and another reason i just cant do rides...I felt like i was right there with you reliving my turn on the tilt-a-whirl...I am so sorry this happened but am glad she is okay...your babies are just precious!

Kristina P. said...

Holy crap! This is why the teacup ride is evil!

Kim said...

When I was a teenager, my family was at my aunt's big 4th of July picnic when my little brother started heading down the hill on his Big Wheel straight for a busy road. My stepmom started racing toward him, SCREAMING HYSTERICALLY at the top of her lungs. At the time I was really embarrassed. Now I totally understand. In retrospect, it was a really dangerous situation and no one else moved but Lightning Mom.

I've got a really loud voice and I'm not afraid to use it. Just ask the employees at Gottschalk's Dept Store. My daughter got separated from me somehow, and after not finding her after a quick circle in the general area, I thought to myself "Who cares what these people think" and just started yelling out my daughter's name. Sure enough, I heard a weak little "Mommy!!" and she came running in tears. So I smacked her good and hard. HA! PUT THE PHONE DOWN! I broke out in tears, too, and gave her a big long hug. Motherhood can be traumatizing.

Mommy24cs said...

Good Job! I think we all look meek and mild but when you get right down to it, we are all mama bears protecting our baby cubs when it comes to their safety. In other words, Don't mess with Mama!

Kimberly said...

I can completely see that happening. My daughters have done a few spinning rides and they always get into a fight. Then at Disneyworld they were too young to go alone and I had to go and one of them after 30 minutes of waiting in line decided to be mad the whole time because Mom had to be on the ride. All for nothing!

Plus at Disney they did the big coasters to my surprise but then did one too many and I had to just sit there and hold Kaitlyn for dear life because I too saw the look of fear - and I was afraid her little body would fly right out of the car. What was I thinking letting her go on those?

But like you I would be afraid to speak up and stop the ride. So glad you did! The mothering gene DOES kick in when it needs to - I am always the mean mom telling big wild boys to get out of the play area that they are too big for. It puts my stomach in knots to do it but I don't want my precious little girls getting crushed!

Theta Mom said...

You're an amazing mom Helene! From everything I read from you, I am ALWAYS thinking the same way! It was a natural instinct for you to run over there in the midst of it all because in your gut, you knew something wasn't right.

It was the teacup ride this time, and next time it will be something else. The point is, you were there for her in a heartbeat and always will be!

~Paisley's Mommy~ said...

I'm so glad she's ok! High-five for you, you handled it like a champ! As a new mommy I constantly worry about the "missing mom gene" too!

Amy said...

What a nice day you had. Mom's are the best and are always there to help when we need them. Great post.

♥georgie♥ said...

I'm back...to say i left you a lil award on my blog....not sure if you do awards BUT just wanted you to know i think....your lovely!

Donna said...

First timer to your blog and you've sucked me for in for like an hours worth of reading, at least! And I'll be back for more for sure! You're better than reading a book, your sense of humor is fantastic! Love it!

You sound like a fantastic mom to me - instincts and all! So very glad everything worked out, I thought for sure she had passed out! How very, very scarey!

The High Family said...

I have always wondered the same thing about my "mothering skills". I didn't have the best example growing up as well...my mother would tell us that "she wishes we were never born"...ummm yea. Somehow I didn't get THAT screwed up in the head with the mental abuse we endured over the years...I can't say the same about my sisters and sadly they are letting history repeat itself with their own children. :(

I am not a perfect mom...I don't think such a thing exists. Really there's no need to be perfect, you just need to be a good mom. And a GOOD MOM is one who stops the spin ride to bring her child to safety. :)

Thanks for sharing this story Helene and remember, you are one AWESOME mommy and we all love you for being who you are! Those precious four are very lucky to have you as their mama! (hugs!)

ps- maybe one day we will jet across the country to meet you! I would LOVE to do a playdate with your kiddies. I am super jealous that you got to meet Francesca too!! Hey you can also come out to PA...we live practically around the corner from J&K+8 (yes that's right the Gosselin's are my neighbors!)...I can give you a personal drive by tour if you like! ;)

Sadia said...

I'm glad you found a positive in what could have been bad, but wasn't. Poor little girl, though.

My husband thinks I panic a lot, but I've told him time and time again that I only have the luxury of panic when he's around!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

This:

she was one of those people who probably never should have had children.

I hear you. Me too. Its a hard hurdle to get over personally and as a mom. But we do. You did... I think I did. Hugs, from someone whos been there, is there

tracy

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog several weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. I hope you don't mind me reading. I am a stay at home mum to a singleton boy and girl/boy twins who are 2. I so relate to so many of the things you have to say. You are an inspiration for me. And you have me in fits of laughter at the same time. I live in Australia so I am very envious of some of the things you guys do, like Disneyland. That is a huge trip from here but really want to take the kids there one day. What a wonderful blog you have and i can't wait to read about the next great adventures. Kind Regards,
Michelle mnktaylor@optusnet.com.au

Cheryl Lage said...

Oh Helene...bless your heart. What a wonderful mother you are. Like you, I often wonder where my "gut instinct" is that we are supposed to have as soon as baby traverses the birth canal (much less, two) but you are right: When necessity mandates, it kicks in. (and the tears do too, after all is well!)

You'll be glad you documented this story later. :)

blueviolet said...

The end of your story shows that you indeed do possess all the characteristics of those people that you thought you didn't have. Mom instincts are incredible and you did just the right thing. How terribly scary but I'm so glad she's ok.

Brooke said...

glad everything was (eventually) okay.

and that there is hope for me...if i ever have kids. i'm not a big fan, so that's something the hubs and i are going to have to work through.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Way to take charge & get that baby off the ride. I'm not a fan of the tea cups either, Bella. And Helene, you know you are a rock star mom!

Jenny said...

How scary! I think all Moms have those doubts. I know I do.

I'm so glad Bella is ok. You know what? The teacup ride was the only ride my Abby would go on last year! She rode in several times in a row.

LaVonne said...

I think those thoughts probably every day. Just might not have the guts to admit it that often ;) But you are right. When push comes to shove we are all ready to do anything for our child when they are in need. Great post! Actually brought tears to my eyes, because I could imagine myself in the story. Blessings to you Helene!

newlyweds said...

Wow that was a scary situation, and see I think you are the epitome of the mothering gene, a pure natural!!

Tess said...

We all find ourselves in this situation and doubt our mothering abilities at one time or another. Glad she was ok!

Kathy B! said...

I'm glad she's okay. That must have been terrifying!

Sadly, my experience with the mothering instinct is that it takes sheer panic to get it to kick in... Hopefully yours will be coaxed out with less trauma next time.

Becca said...

I was right there with you standing in front of that teacup ride while I was reading this.
You can't blame yourself for letting her get on that ride. She wanted to try it.
I guess we all doubt ourselves as mothers. I look at you and clearly see that natural parenting gene.

Creative Junkie said...

Sometimes I'm weirded out by how similar we are. I worried that I'd be an awful mother as well. I didn't feel I had those natural instincts either. My own mother was cold and distant and famous for uttering the phrase "I was never especially fond of children" so it's not like I had any good examples to follow.

Most days, I still wonder if I'm qualified to be a mother but instincts do kick in and I especially feel them whenever one of my kids is in danger of being physically, mentally or emotinoally hurt. I cannot believe how strong the instinct is to protect them.

Mrsbear said...

I can relate, my mom made and still makes some pretty questionable parenting decisions. I think I choose my parenting strategies by being striving for the opposite of everything my mom did. Glad to hear the scary teacup scene did something to boost your mom's ego. Sounds scary. I hate hate hate spinning rides. Put me on a roller coaster and I'm happy. :)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I used to be rather quiet and afraid of confrontation.
Then I had kids.
I will go to bat for them in a heartbeat, and I would probably hurt someone if I needed to for my kids' sake.
I'm glad she's ok and that you got that reassurance you needed.

Tania @ Larger Family Life said...

How terrifying! I'm so glad she's ok.

Paula @ Organizing Tips For Moms said...

It's amazing how in those moments we know what to do-calm and collected. Afterwards we may feel shaken and upset. Way to go Mom! You showed compassion and strength. You are SUPER MOM!

Madison said...

I'm so glad your daughter is okay! Thank goodness! If you actually spend the time worrying that you have the mothering gene, then you probably do. Its the people who wouldn't give it a second thought that may not have it.

Zeemaid said...

awww poor bella. I understand what you mean though because I too don't like to make a scene and am often wondering if I am a good mom but when push comes to shove and they are hurt or scared and you take them in your arms andyou soothe and comfort them.. then you know.

Mama Jenn said...

Oh my gosh!!! I would have freaked too!!! I am having visions in my mind and it is making me feel sick! I am sure glad she is okay!!!

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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