Pesky Post Part 2
I’m finally getting around to writing that long awaited pesky post number two I kept talking about. I hate it when I do that…say I’m going to do something and then never do it. (Like Sludgie!! Remember him!!? Remember how I had a contest and I was going to give away Sludgie pillows as prizes? I have not forgotten. I’m just slow. They are coming soon…)
The thing is, as time passed and I got over my agitation over those other peskies, I started doubting whether I really wanted to share my very personal parenting choices/mistakes with the world wide internet? Do I dare? So far I’ve kept a lot of things to myself because I felt nobody could ever possibly understand why I do the things I do. I don’t even understand the reasons I do things. Motherhood baffles me.
I’ve kind of adopted the “feel good” approach to parenting. If it feels right then it must be right. At least more right than the “feels wrong” approach. I hate saying “If it feels good, do it” because all my growing up years I heard Sunday school teachers preaching the evils of those “happy feelies”. Like we’re all a bunch of hippies smokin’ dope… But I think in the case of parenting, it might not be so evil. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. We’ll see what happens when Baby Bug hits her teens (or her terrible twos) and I’m pulling my hair out.
I do want to share. Firstly, because there are a lot of you wondering whatever happened to that 70’s crib. I get emails all the time asking me. It’s high drama, that 70’s crib. Secondly, I also want to share all my pesky mistakes because from time to time I get emails from other desperate mom’s wondering the same things I’ve wondered and searched the internet for. It makes me happy when I can finally find an answer or at least a blog written by some other harried haggard mother just like me. So I might as well do my part and put my battles out here too.
So here goes. Hold your breath and pray that I don’t commit blog suicide.
Yes, we still have it. Here’s the dealio on the 70’s crib: We have it but we don’t use it. I took the giant suffocating bumper pad out and stuffed it into a box that is now in storage (aka Mom’s garage). The crib is still in our room because from time to time I use it to corral Baby Bug while I put away clean clothes or change the sheets or something. Since she’s hardly ever in it, she thinks it’s fun. Yippee a cage with bars to rattle and little dealybob beads to yank and try to screw off. Don’t worry, she’s not going to swallow them. They are attached very well and I never leave her in there with out watching her closely.
This is another touchy subject. I don’t know if I should officially say I co-sleep with Baby Bug. She goes to bed in her crib at night by herself. But sometimes she wakes up and I get tired of patting her back and trying to get her to go back to sleep by herself so I tuck her into the crook of my arm and cuddle with her on the futon on the floor. It’s great. There is nothing more wonderful than cuddling with your baby and falling asleep with your nose sniffing her freshly washed soft baby head.
The only problem is she likes it too. She likes it better than sleeping in her crib and this sometimes makes it hard for me to put her down at night. If she’s not dead tired, she’ll wake up and cry the minute I put her in her crib. So it’s back to the rocking chair for another twenty minutes of rocking and singing and it gets old after a while. Especially when I want to stay up late and blog or work on a fun project on my laptop. And this brings me to my next bullet point…
I’m a rocking mom. I like rocking my baby to sleep. A lot of people don’t do this and I completely understand why. Because once you do it, you always have to do it. Sometimes I am very jealous of you moms who can just plop your kid in their crib, close the door and get on with your business. Yes, I know they get over the crying very quickly and become happy little nappers BUT I can not do this. I’ve tried. It’s just terrible! The crying! My heart! I have to rock. Rock and sing, rock and sing. That’s what we do.
Every time I start to doubt my choice (because I’m so fed up with the rocking process that can take upwards of a half an hour on bad days) I call up my Aunt who rocked all four of her babies. She is wise and fortifies me. She tells me that it is okay that I want to rock my baby. She tells me that, indeed, they do grow up and grow out of it and someday you miss rocking them. Appreciate the rocking while you have it, she says. So that’s what I’m doing. I doubt myself a lot though. I worry that I’m creating a monster who will never learn to fall asleep by herself. But then again, I worry about everything.
I spoil Baby Bug rotten. I don’t let her eat cookies every day… just maybe every other. I asked Baby Bug’s doctor about letting Baby Bug have a cookie or a muffin now and then and she said a little sugar twice a week is not that big of a deal. So hopefully I’m not raising a raging sugar fiend. I probably am.
I also spoil her in other ways. I give her a lot of attention. My Dad worries about it and tells me I need to watch out for this. But I think you can’t really help it with your first kid. What am I going to do? Put her in a corner with her toys and walk into the other room? I think she’ll learn the hard way just like I did that you can’t always be the center of attention. I learned it when I was 23. And I’m still okay.
What else… I can’t think of anything right now but if I do, I’ll post them. Someday.
Ummm yeah…the whole co-sleeping but not really…we are doing that too. Felix goes to sleep in his bed at the beginning of the night (not with rocking but someone stays in the room with him until he falls asleep) and usually around 1 am he wakes up. I am still breastfeeding so that is partially connected but I am also convinced that he just likes sleeping next to someone. Often he doesn’t even nurse, he just falls asleep. We have tried the crying out thing. Honestly, I just don’t want to lose that sleep listening to him cry it out. I know that he is going to grow out of it and he doesn’t do it every night so why not? Tibo is maybe the most disappointed because I am pulled out of our bed to go sleep with Felix in the guest bed in his room but he understands.
I follow your “if it feels good” philosophy too. Honestly, so many people lecture me about the things I do with Felix but then I talk to other moms and grandmas who did the same thing and their kids sleep through the night, eat normally, graduate from school, have good jobs, and are happy individuals. This is such a short time in their long lives. Lots and lots of love is the most important thing. We’ve got time still to incorporate more structures and rules…we have all the time in the world!
SAJ says: I’m still nursing too… that might have something to do with it. I should have added that as one of my bullet points.
I’m not a parent but I think about all the people I know and how we were all raised differently, we all learned the things we needed to learn at different times, and we all turned out okay. The same will be true for Baby Bug and all your other kids. You & Toby are loving parents: that’s what counts most. Do what you think is best and FORGET about justifying it to anyone else.
OMGoodness. There is no way, in my mind anyway, that you can spoil a child baby bug’s age by paying attention to them. That is the absolute best thing you can do for her, a great ift from you that will last a lifetime. Do you know that they even have studies that show that children who are ignored by adults when they are young are much more likely to grow up pessimistic and deal with depression? Children who are given love and attention by their parents are much more likely to be optimists and mentally healthy.
If you feel bad about co-sleeping get a book by Dr. Sears, or the Good Nights book, don’t remember the author, it’s also supposed to be good for your child, and I promise, because I’ve been there, that someday they will go to sleep on their own and then you will wish they were tiny and wanted to snuggle again. I’ve never even tried the cry it out method because I have memories from early childhood of feeling so very lonely and just wanting my mom and how desolate it felt to be crying and waiting for her to come.
I don’t think you need to be afraid to share about these things, there are a lot of moms out there who do the same.
Ditto what Carrien says. You are a wonderful mother doing a fantastic job. BB is so lucky you are empathetic and so responsive to her needs. Maybe you call tell we also co-sleep (never had a crib) and never CIO either (studies have also shown that CIO is stressful to young ones).
SAJ says: What I’m wondering is if there are any parents who didn’t use the CIO method and wished they did. It’s hard to know because we all justify the choices we make. We have to. They are such difficult choices. So I guess Baby Bug will be an experiment. If I regret that I’ve spoiled her and she never learned to put herself to sleep, I will let you all know. I promise.
I love your blog and your creativity! It inspires me so much. thank you.
now…for the sake of discussion I’ll throw this out – it is a bit contrary though. My apologies in advance if I offend anyone.
I think at some point a child needs to learn how to put themselves to sleep. It is an invaluable skill. The longer you put this off the longer the rocking scenario continues and may even reach new heights and tantrums as toddler hood continues.
The book I read and loved was called “Healthy Child, Healthy Sleep” if you’re interested in checking it out. Yes, it is a different perspective from Dr. Sears but our family loved it and it worked very well for us.
SAJ says: Thank you Sally. I’ve heard of that book, I will check it out. I do appreciate hearing from both sides. I know it’s scary with these subjects because we all feel so vehement about our choices.
i consider myself as having been a young mother… i guess in a way i still am but after having 3 of thoses littles “bugs” before i was 30… eeked in there on the last one (he’s 3 now)… it has a way of making you feel older.. maybe worn down lol.
i have a lot of respect for you in that i was a very artist person but when i became a mother i sort of lost myself in it. i stopped doing all the things that were me. and maybe that was all just the-new-mother-i-dont-know-what-the-heck-i-am-doing syndrone. most days i still feel like that. lol. it took me till my 2nd was about a year old to realise that if you dont do somethign for yourself you are really going to loose it here. i respect your ability to hold onto your self despite motherhood.
you are doign a great job i am sure. after all its the first.. its just there lot in life to be the “starter” child lol.
SAJ says: I was a “starter child” too. :) First borns rule!
My friend is sleep training right now. Doing the cry it out. And she says it only took a few nights for her daughter to “get” it and go to sleep with very little fuss. Myself I am not getting very good quality sleep with the co-sleeping. I am a very light sleeper and every little snuffle ends up waking me up. Pretty soon we’re gonna quit that, but I am still breastfeeding and we are traveling a lot in the next few months, so not gonna do the cry it out anytime soon.
SAJ says: All my friends have done it too, which is probably why it’s such a sensitive subject for me.
Bethany (the NY one)
whatever feels good IS good when it comes to parenting … if it feels good to co-sleep, DO IT! (and i all too well know the sunday school teacher tricks). I did the cry it out w/the first and “pat back to sleep” w/the 2nd but that’s me and what works for us, not everyone else. You’ll deal w/whatever comes as a result, and no worries. Any method has it’s consequences, and you have a very happy/healthy child! You are the best possible person to make decisions for your kid. Here’s to imperfect parenting … the only kind :)
SAJ says: Cheers Bethany, wish you lived closer.
I co-slept with all three of my kids. The two oldest are now teenagers and the youngest is 9. they all sleep in their own beds now, are all independent and well adjusted. If it feels good, do it. Because time flys by in an instant. Your always going to have people judging you no matter what you do. So just ignore them.
SAJ says: See! These are the kinds of arguments that give me hope. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Thanks Sue.
Thank you. Thank you a million times. I am also wrestling internally with so many of these things, afraid to talk about them because people are so judgmental and not afraid to hurt your feelings when you’re already more vulnerable than you’ve ever been. It’s so hard to know if what you’re doing is right for now, let alone what it’s going to cause years down the road. I’m right there with you on every issue you listed and it’s so comforting to know it’s not just me. So thank you for sharing your vulnerability with those of us who truly don’t have a clue what we’re doing :)
SAJ says: You’re welcome. :)
Thank you for sharing! Good to know I’m not the only mom who questions her parenting choices :) It sounds like you have found your groove. Congratulations on still nursing – my biggest parenting regret is that once I weaned, I missed it like crazy and I couldn’t go back.
You don’t need to apologize for making decisions that you feel are right with regard to parenting YOUR child! I worked in college with Dr. James McKenna on mother/baby behavioral sleep and SIDS studies. I respected him, because ultimately, in the end, while he is a co-sleeping supporter, his advice is do whatever feels best and safest for your family… because you’re the parent and you’re the only one who can know what feels right. Besides, we’re one of the FEW cultures in the world who doesn’t sleep with their babies… and of first-world countries, we have one of the highest infant mortality rates. What’s up with that? Too much advice from too many crazy people – just do what feels right.
Our first baby is due in three weeks but I’m also the oldest in a house where there were ALWAYS babies around (youngest is 20 years younger than me). I didn’t realize the firestorm it would cause when I was asked at my shower, “So, do you have the crib all set up and everything?” Of course not! Because we plan to co-sleep! And we’re moving in two months…. why would I set up a crib? Oh, the little old ladies are so worried about us hippie-parents. :-) Someone did give us a baby bathtub, and I told the ladies that if co-sleeping doesn’t work out, we’ll just put the baby to sleep in the tub next to the bed. :-) It horrified them, but I haven’t heard anything since.
SAJ says: Oh deario, those poor ladies are probably praying for you and your cribless baby every night.
You are way, way too hard on yourself. It seems like you are doing a wonderful job. If you don’t want to let your baby cry it out, that is your decision to make. You are the Mommy. You get to be the boss. We let our girls cry it out because the thought of waking up in the middle of the night was too much for me to deal with for years. We made that decision because it fits into our life and our family. You are not just following happy whims, you are making decisions that work for your family. If they didn’t work you would change your decisions. If they happen to make you happy in the process that is great! Eventually every child figures out how to go to sleep and drink from a cup instead of a booby and eat their veggies no matter what method you take.
Oh, and cookies are essential to childhood. The saddest sight I have seen in the last year was on my nephew’s bday when his mom wouldn’t let him have a piece of cake. I just wanted to cry with him.
SAJ says: me too!
you are truly a woman after my own heart. We have had Sweetpea in our bed since day one. I just couldn’t put her down. I aslo deal with the separation thing, I am sure they would be ok without me, for a few minutes anyway. I just love my babes and want to be with them all the time, even if it means I cannot go certain places, if I cant take my babes in I’m not going! Back to the sleep thing. We decided when our son was born that he could sleep in the bassinet in our room. He was so noisy we moved him to the baby room. I couldn’t sleep without seeing him and hearing him so the next day we went out and bought a #$%&^ expensive video monitor. (I also have an extremely wild and creative imagination, especially at night and could hear the undead on the cheapo monitors) So Sprout slept on his own for the first 6 months till he started to teeth and would wake every hour crying. Sweetpea still wakes every few hours as well and I nurse them both, all night long! Now they are both in our bed and I couldn’t be happier, I felt like I was missing out with Sprout what I had had with Sweetpea, awsome baby cuddles. Sweetpea is almost 20 months now and moves like crazy in her sleep (feet in our faces) and doesnt cuddle as much but wants us there. I get repremanded all the time and have even lost friends over this(must not have been real friends!) But I cannot do the cry out thing. I was given that ‘Healthy sleep, Happy child’ book and will never recomend it. The whole crib and crying out thing I found out is a North American trend and in most other countries in the world co-sleeping is the norm. Every one sleeps better. Some of my siblings and I co-slept with my parents, my little sis till she was 3 and we are all fine today. Hopefully our kids will be too! I guess am a feel good parent, and my hat is off to you girl!
SAJ says: Whoa! Nursing two babies! Wow! I never even thought of that. You must have a really big bed and a sound sleeping husband. I want to have another baby, we’ll see how things go if that time comes. But it’s good to know that you all will be supporting me no matter what whacky approach I take. I love you guys.
If these are your worst offenses as a mom, you’re doing pretty darn good! Honestly. You know, looking back, I wish that I had worried less about the rules of parenting and just enjoyed my Emily more. I had the time to do it, so why not? Now that I’m juggling two, and soon three, I don’t have the time to rock Audrey to sleep or spend more time in the evening with one over the other all alone and it makes me sad sometimes.
I truly believe that if your actions are motivated by love, you can’t be doing anything wrong. Sometimes when I have to discipline my girls I remind myself that I love them enough to teach them that life doesn’t always conform to our wants and needs. I try not to be harsh and keep my cool so they don’t confuse my guiding them with my being mad at them.
Quicker than you think, Baby Bug will be going to school and your days won’t be yours’ together alone. Enjoy this freedom while you can :)
SAJ says: I worry about that too! Will there be enough of me to go around if I have another kid?
I forgot to mention that I’m glad you are opening up and sharing these stories with us. I have a parenting experience that I’ve been debating about sharing on my blog also. I’m still a little scared to put it out there but if just one person gets something good out of it, it might be worth it. I’m hoping to be able to get the nerve to write about it tonight when the kids are in bed.
SAJ says: Heh heh, cat’s out of the bag now. We’re all going to be haunting your site waiting for the big reveal. :) You can do it!
I second the too hard on yourself, SAJ. You’re a great mom and doing what feels right is the best way to parent whether that means co-sleeping or CIO for you. E is three weeks older than Bug. We co-sleep, breastfeed, use a sling on occasion, eat organic/natural foods and all the other “hippy” stuff I somehow ended up doing because it felt right. Do you really think that when she’s teenager you’re going to look back and ask yourself why you didn’t move her to a crib sooner? Or why you played with her so much? Yes, it’s more demanding but as long as it works for you and for Bug there is nothing wrong with it.
I’m sorry you don’t know many other AP moms, they are hoot to get in a room together! Drop me a line if you’re ever on the east coast. I know more than a few moms that would make you feel right at home! I met them through http://www.themommiesnetwork.org/ but I’m not sure if you have one in your part of California.
Jennifer, that is awful. Who gets a cake and then doesn’t let the birthday boy eat it? I would cry too!!
SAJ says: Yeah, I guess I’ve always been a hippie mom… even before I had kids. I just want to have long braids with flowers behind my ears and be able to play the guitar. Man, I wish I could play the guitar. Baby Bug would LOVE that.
I don’t think you are just “doing what feels good” – I think, rather, you are following a natural parenting approach. You are given an internal mommy radar and it really is right almost 100% of the time.
My kids can crawl into bed with us, but guess what … by about age 5 they slowly stopped visiting, except if they were sick or had nightmares … in which case I WANT them to come visiting – knowing we are a safe haven.
You aren’t raising a convict, btw. *wink*
We are/were rockers too! And now, at almost three, we have a little ritual wherein I rock her while we both count to 20. It’s very sweet. She did spend a lot of time cuddling with us in the night, and then she just stopped on her own. You just need to stick with what feels right, I think.
As far as cookies go — our girl loves cookies too, but she’s allergic to dairy and wheat, so our options are fewer. There are some great oatmeal animal cookies that I don’t feel bad about because they are so low in sugar. There are some maple ones we like too. Let me know if you want me to send the brand names to you.
You are doing great!
You are a fantastic mom and baby bug is so lucky to have a mom who can spoil her with as much love and attention (and and occasional muffin or cookie) as you are willing and able to give her.
The sleep thing is difficult. I have felt pressure from so many people to do it a certain way. I have read all the books and gone back and forth on the CIO but in the end the babe is back in bed with me and truthfully, I kind of missed having him there. The only thing I can say that I have lacked is consistency. I do think that it probably is best to figure out your sleeping style early on and follow it, within reason. I will say that after being in his crib exclusively for a few months and now having him back in bed with me it takes a little longer for him to settle down because, wow, it is playtime in this big fun bed.
I think the feel good approach is the way to go. I am a big believer in trusting my instincts and it has made for a wonderful 8 moths of parenthood!
SAJ says: consistency is a thorn in my side too…. worry worry worry worry.
It sounds to me like you are a GREAT Mom! You do what works for you. Sleeping with BB won’t cause any permanent damage! We are not “co-sleepers” in general, and used the CIO method for the boys…but have cuddled with the kids if they have bad dreams, etc. We also had a futon on the floor for awhile in Graham’s room. Now that the two boys are together, they don’t need to need us so much anymore :)
Don’t get me started on the sugar. I try to limit it to homemade goods, mostly, but some days I think my kids get too much.
Part of being a loving parent IS questioning if you are on the right track. If you didn’t love them, you wouldn’t care enough to wonder and worry a bit.
I’m going to stop rambling now. Keep up the great work!
I let LittleMan CIO for 2 days, then it was done and over with (it killed me though).
I never understood the excitement som e moms had over the baby crib, seriously it wasnt that bad at all, I would have tried it for my son and I think you did a great job. I also would have left the bumpers you made on, especially now that she is mobile she can roll or crawl out of any daner.
Here’s my theory on babies and sleeping: whatever lets everyone get the most sleep is the right way to do it. The end.
I never imagined I’d co-sleep (wasn’t against it, it just wasn’t on my radar) till I had a baby who wouldn’t sleep any other way. It was a bit of a mental adjustment, but you know what? My daughter didn’t sleep through the night till she was a year old but we were always well-rested because co-sleeping worked for us.
And SAJ, I didn’t rock to sleep, I nursed to sleep, every single time till Annalie was a year, when I decided she was old enough to learn to go to sleep on her own. We had an Amby, and I could sit on the floor with my hand on her back, bouncing the hammock, as she went to sleep. And if she woke up after we were asleep, into the bed she came, till she stopped waking at night of her own accord around 14 months.
Re: your worry about there being enough of you to go around if you have another baby…your second child won’t just have you and Toby, remember. S/he would also have BB as a big sister!
Re: your worry about creating a sugar monster…well of course BB likes sugar, what kid doesn’t–or what adult, for that matter? :-) We’re programmed to like sweet things. But you don’t feed her a steady diet of Oreos and McD’s fries, she eats pasta and fruit and yogurt and veggies, too.
Finally: You are a great mom. You don’t let Baby Bug hit people or steal things. You take Baby Bug to the beach almost every day. You make sure she knows her extended family, and that they all love her. You sit with her in cafes and share muffins with her. You make fun cardboard houses and ATMs with her. You take thousands of photos which show her laughing, reaching for you, exploring her world. You are doing just fine.
Hugs to you and BB.
SAJ says: Thanks Bethany G. I feel all warm and cozy now. I am the best mom EVAH! Just kidding around. But really, thanks. I appreciate all this kindness. Must go shrink head back down to normal size.
As I read this, J is sitting beside me eating a small bag of Kernels popcorn (sugary coated flavoured popcorn). Do I feel guilty? Not one tiny bit. Does he get sugar every day? You bet. Now, this didn’t start until he was probobly two, but with a Dad who loves chocolate and sugar as much as he loves all of us, it was going to be very hard to keep it at bay. I just make sure he has had all of the food groups within the day and then I don’t mind a sugary snack. My kid is happy and healthy and won’t grow up to overindulge because I denied him sugar as a kid.
And you, you are such a wonderful Mom. I can tell you that even though I have never met you in person. How do I know? BB is happy and healthy, smiling all the time, you give her love and affection, attention and fresh air. And even though you think all those things are bad you are not complaining about doing them. I have a friend who is cosleeping and still nursing at 18mos but she complains about it all the time. If you don’t like what you are doing, then my thought is change it. If you like it, there is nothing wrong with it (that is my opinion of course).
J now sleeps in the bed that we put in his room when he was born. I was determined to have a comfy bed to nurse him on and fall asleep if I needed to, without worrying about waking Hubby. I spent many a night cuddled with J, snuggled with him and smelling his wonderful babiness. He still slept part of the night in his crib and part with me, and now at 3.5 he still comes into our room in the morning and falls back asleep with us until it is time to get up. I love it.
CIO, never did it, not even once. If J was to be the only child I ever got to have I never wanted to look back and say why did I spend my nights listening to him cry? We didn’t rock, but cuddled to sleep every night. When he weaned himself at almost 14mos I started reading him stories. This is still our bedtime ritual, we snuggle in his bed, read a story and off he drifts to sleep.
It’s all good, like people always say, they won’t be wearing a diaper in highschool, they also won’t sleep with you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving your child so much you want to do all those wonderful things for her.
I can soooo identify with your pesky post. Our 2 year old was nursed to sleep the first 16 months of his life and rocked to sleep from then on out. I know so many people disagree with this and it’s not something I usually talk about with other mommies. However, I’m like you, if it feels like the right thing to do, can it really be that bad?
The rocking takes a big chunk of our night…time me or my husband (whoever is doing it that night) could be doing housework, working on a project or just being together, but instead it spent rocking…every single night. But you know what, nursing or cuddling my little one to sleep every night is seriously the sweetest and most peaceful experience of my day. It is bliss. It’s especially nice now because I have a very active toddler, but he’s still ready to climb in my arms and cuddle up to fall asleep every night. I honestly think it’s the other moms (with the *lucky* self soothers) that are missing out sometimes.
We’ve tried CIO. It was terrible for us…absolutely terrible. I will not make the same mistake with my 2nd child. Some kids are able to soothe themselves quickly and get the hang of falling asleep on their own. Mine was not. He would cry for hours and would often throw up. I hate thinking that I put him through that, but it was a learning experience for me.
We also used to do the part time co-sleeping. When my son would finally fall asleep, we’d put him in his crib and cross our fingers he’d stay asleep. He’d last a few hours before one of us would have to lay next to him or rock him or bring him to bed with us. We’ve finally given up on that because none of us were sleeping well and he sleeps in bed with us all night. We are all sleeping better and my husband and I no longer have to argue over who’s going to get up with him at night. I never dreamed we’d be a cosleeping family, but it works for us.
Sorry this is sooo long…just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. I think you are an amazing mother and you do so much to stimulate Baby Bug and also give her so much love. Think of all the babies out there that are neglected and ignored all day long. Baby Bug is BLESSED to have you as a mom!!!!
We did the pseudo co-sleeping for about six months, but my husband was simply not having it. I din’t want to CIO either, although in the end I had to. Alliclaus was only sleeping eight hours every 24 at six months. She was severely sleep-deprived and it was affecting her growth.
As far as attention, I don’t think you can spoil a child wit too much attention. You interaction and affection are what a child needs, not simply a thing they want but will throw away later. Be worried about giving her material things – but never about attention.
Just wanted to provide another datapoint for you and your readers. I think it is very important to not characterize every other sleep situation besides cosleeping as “CIO.” After six weeks in a bassinet in our room, we moved our son into his own crib in his nursery. We slept fantastic, as we were not woken by every little snore and sigh, and he seemed to sleep better too, as we did not inadvertently wake him with all of our “new parent panic” We live in a very small house, so if there was a true wailing “I need you mommy/daddy” cry, we could hear it right away… and we were there in a flash, to rub backs, nurse, and rock back to sleep. But we never brought him back to our bed. At two years old, my son is a champion sleeper, with consistent bedtime routine and very little bedtime or middle of the night dramatics.
I guess what I want to emphasize is that you don’t have to choose “one or the other.” Choosing crib does not mean you necessarily choose CIO. For some kids it just works (if you start early and stay consistent…) and there are none of the nightmare scenarios of parents crying outside the door and children vomiting from stress. I think sometimes we parents have to set up false dichotomies to make us feel better about our choices, when the reality lies in much grayer areas.
I guess, IMHO, I would advise you to embrace what you perceive as your “bad mom” qualities of second-guessing, self-doubt, and inconsistency, because they serve as a reminder that you are actually a REALLY (emphasis on the REAL) good mom who actually thinks about her decisions in terms of whether they still make sense in her ever-changing world. If you credit yourself as simply a real mom, you can only smile at the irony of giving your kid m&ms for dessert after eating a well-balanced dinner of free range chicken and organic gingered carrots. It’s like Life: Yeah, it doesn’t all make perfect sense, but boy, it sure tastes GOOD!
Only first or only children get that kind of attention. When you have a second child you’ll just dump them in the crib, close the door and move on. Trust me on this.
OMG you’re not a bad mother. Kudos for you for being aware of your parenting skills. I myself I am not yet a parent, but when I do embark on the joys of motherhood, I have ideas of what kind of parent I will be and how I will parent, what I will and will not do and I am sure that I will rudely awakened when I do exactly the opposite of what I intended. I had a thought earlier tonight on what a bad mother is (well before I read this post, when I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep.) To me, a bad mother is selfish and puts her own needs before her children. I realize this is vague, an example would be sleeping in on a Saturday then reading your book while leaving your children to on their own to have breakfast, get dressed ad entertain themselves quietly so not to disturb their mother. This is the mother that I don’t want to be.
Kathryn has a good point – it’s not always one or the other, there are points in between. We co-slept for ages, then moved her into a cot in our room. At one stage we did a modified CIO (hesitant to even call it that), where we never left her longer than a couple of minutes, but we waited till she was old enough so that we knew she understood what we were saying, and we could recognize that her crying wasn’t “I feel abandoned and scared” but “I’m pissed off that I’m not getting my own way”. She settled into going to bed in her own cot with a few stories reasonably easily (originally I had fed her to sleep). We stopped breast feeding at 2 with no dramas whatsoever, and we moved her into her own bed in her own room at 2 1/2, again with no dramas whatsoever. She’s 3 1/2 now and sometimes she comes into our room at night, but sometimes she’ll wake and when I go to comfort her and invite her into our bed she’ll say she’d prefer to stay in her own bed.
When you have a baby people will always insist you do what they do/did. They’ll tell you not to co-sleep because you’ll NEVER get them out (what does that mean anyway? how many people do you think still have their school-age kids in their bed?). What crap. Babies are different, parents are different, lifestyles are different. People just need to exercise a little more flexibility in their lives when it comes to kids.
The occassional Co-sleeping isn’t an issue – my son slept with me occassionally until about the age of 10/11. Now at the age of 13 he invites me in his room every now and then to lay on his bed and watch tv with him.
Re: rocking I whole heartedly agree with your aunt – appreciate the rock while you can. I rocked my son until he stopped wanting to be rocked – approx age 8/9. I remember the night when you want to do something after the child is asleep and how those are the night that were the most difficult to get them down. My greatest motivation to rocking my child was that I remember begin rocked as a child.
Spoiling – Having just come home from a weekend in Chicago – staying at the Hilton so that my son could get autographs of his favorite Bears players. Waking up at 5 a.m. stand/sit in line for the doors to open at 8 – then stand/sit in line 3 more hours before standing infront of Muhsin Muhammad or Gale Sayers for all of 20 seconds for an autograph – then to get in another line to wait some more for 3 consecutive days. We do this once a year for both the Bears and the White Sox. Some people might consider that being spoiled. I want him to have great memories when he grows up. When he looks back on his life 20 -30 – 40 years from now I want him to have a truck load of memories from his childhood. I think children become spoiled when parents buy/give them things to replace spending time with the children and never saying “no” to them. If you were actually spoiling BB at this point in time you wouldn’t have your many many trick the baby games.
From this side of the monitor you appear to be a great parent – Keep up the great work!!
A friend down the street swears by Babywise. I took a look at that book, it horrified me.
I won’t reinvent the wheel, everyone here has already added great words of support. So I’ll just say this…
You’re doing right by the Bug. She knows she’s loved, and that you’re there for her, always. You can’t do better than that, really!
Co-sleeping: love it, hate it. It would be nice to get the boy out of our bed, but I miss him when he’s in his crib.
He’s not interested in rocking, but I nurse him to sleep every night. Sometimes I hate it, esp when I want to be doing something else, but I agree with you and your aunt–I’m trying to enjoy it while I can and a great big PHOOEY! to anyone who doesn’t understand.
I don’t think it is possible to give a baby too much attention. I guess anything is possible, but isn’t that what babies need? Grown ups to show them how to grow up?
Wow, did ya get all that?
Things work out one way or another and who knows who’s right and who’s wrong.
You are doing fine and you have a wonderful bond with your Baby Bug.
SAj, it sounds like you are an awesome mom and i really don’t think that paying attention to and loving a one year old baby could be considered ‘spoiling’ her! i have a 3 month old, my first, and i worry every day that i’m doing something that will “ruin” him…in reality, i think we moms have SO much information being forced down our throats that we drive ourselves insane trying to digest it all. every book says something different and contradictory to the other and it is very easy to start feeling like we’re doing everything wrong. the only book i will recommend is “Healthy Sleep, Happy Child” (i know there was someone else on here who already mentioned it and some else knocked it – see? we moms are all different! but it is a “kinder, gentler” approach to solving most sleep problems – so if you want some guidance, it may help. good luck and go give BB a cookie!
We co-sleep. Isabelle has never slept in her crib. Not a single day. I don’t feel guilty about it at all. She sleeps better. I sleep better. I wouldn’t want to do it any differently. :)
I don’t believe in crying it out. I think it’s sad. I wouldn’t even do it if it only took 2 days. That’s already too much crying for me. I want her to know that when she’s scared I’m there for her, that she can trust me not to leave her lonely and afraid. It may work for other people. But that’s just not us.
I say do what works for you!
I want to respond to every comment but I’m fading fast. I just want to thank every one for participating in this discussion. It’s given me a lot to think about and even more importantly, I realize that as long as my baby is happy then I must be doing alright. I guess worrying and second guessing is just part of the job.
Thanks everybody. :)
I rocked my babies to sleep. I remember all the little tests I had to see if he was really asleep. I loved rocking them, and wouldn’t change it for the world. My kids are now 8 and 10 and they go to bed all by themselves, no rocking required. So atleast you won’t have to do it forever.
We co-slept with my first also, and didn’t do it with the second. I’ll admit that it was much easier not doing it with the second. I’m with you on just doing what feels right. None of those so called experts know you or your child, so you have to follow your instincts.
And those days of rocking… what I wouldn’t give to go back and do it one more time. To feel their little body in the crook of my arm to be able to smell their yummy heads, and just staring at their little face as long as I want. I’m tearing up just thinking of it. Whatever you do, just remember that it goes way to fast, so just enjoy it. Enjoy it all.
The important thing to remember is that every BABY is different. It’s not the method that is right or wrong, it’s the combination of your personality, your baby’s personality, and the method. The method that you use is the method that works for you. If it stops working, or you realize that it is creating a problem, then you can change it. It’s more important to pay attention to the results than to worry about the process. The results are what matter, right? And really, you can’t predict the future and there is no “RIGHT” way of doing anything–because we are all individuals. Look at all the different ways people like to sleep as adults; none of them are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ it’s more about compatible or incompatible, you know?
My point is, you can’t predict how certain things will affect baby bug in the future. All you can do is choose what works best for you now, and be aware of your child and willing to change things if they are no longer the best FOR HER. Parenting is an evolving thing, not a static one, so it’s most important to be aware and discerning in the moment–because that’s where you live.