Tag Archives: Co-Sleeping

My Big Plan – Part 2

7 Nov

I want to be more specific on the being a better parent part of my plan.

I believe I have excellent intentions when it comes to being a parent. I believe I have an open mind when it comes to seeking out new and improved ways of being there for my kids. I believe I am accepting of the parenting choices that others make. I know I love my kids in a way I can’t actually put into words.

However all the good intentions and love int the world do not a perfect mother make. I get mad, frustrated, irritated and sad and I can sometimes take it out on my kids. I yell, I shut down and sometimes I even withhold my attention out of spite. Ugh. I’m so disgusted with myself right now.

I have been reading about positive parenting. The idea of using positive reinforcement versus negative consequences has always been a good idea in my head but the truth is I haven’t been putting it to practice all that well. Bad Sarah!

The goal moving forward is to really use this positive thing, like really. Not just think about it, but you know…do it. I read these two posts:

http://www.authenticparenting.info/2011/10/practicing-punishment-free-parenting.html

http://www.authenticparenting.info/2011/10/four-alternatives-to-punishment.html

And realized it is who I feel I am as a Mom and so I need to really work at doing it. For the last week or so when Logan has been upset about something and behaved in a less than desirable fashion I have gotten down to his level and asked him how he was feeling and why he did what he did. He often has an answer for me. We talk about a better way to handle it next time and we hug. After we are both smiling and feeling better. I don’t want to punish them when they do things I don’t want them to. I want them to be able to recognize their emotions and deal with them in a positive way. So my hope is that if each time they get a bad feeling running through them I am there for them they will learn that it is OK to have those feelings and we can learn together the best way to deal with them. They are people. I often find it hard to wrap my head around this thought. I know it’s obvious. but when I really think about all of the emotions and thoughts that are going through them all the time I think WHOA. And then I think as if I expect them to just know how to cope with all of this. Well adjusted adults have a hard time dealing with all of that stuff. At the end of the day I think if I can treat them the way I want to be treated. With love, understanding and support than I think I will be doing a good job.

I am not going to use yelling, threatening, withholding, time outs or removal of privileges. This feels right for me. It’s not easy because I have been doing these things so far but I believe the change will be SO worth it. It’s really not easy because popular beliefs in regards to parenting include these things. It’s hard to be different with an audience who doesn’t see it your way.

When Logan and Bella were babies I knew right away that I wanted to be a parent who followed most of the ideals of attachment parenting. I co-slept(sleep), I nurse, I kept them close, rarely put them down. Let them lead the way when it came to when they ate, slept, learned new skills, moved onto solid foods. I now need to work at doing the toddler and preschooler equivalent. I need to let them lead the way. Follow their cues and be in tune with how they are feeling and what they are needing.

When Logan was new and I was at a doctors appointment feeling overwhelmed and in tears my doctor said, “All he needs is love and those dumb things” (pointing to my boobs) and that helped me to trust in myself to do the right thing. As they grow and change it’s still pretty much the best advice I have heard. All they need is love. What comes from the love I have for them is my drive to do the best for them that I can.

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I Don`t Know What Is

12 May

It is overwhelming and in my opinion a touch unfair how many books, shows, magazines, websites and who knows what else out there telling us how to parent our children. And the people? It seems everyone person I come across can tell me what I am doing wrong. What I am doing right almost never comes up. Granted, some advice is obviously needed. And there has been many occasions where I have gone looking for help on websites, in books and in my monthly subscription to Today`s Parent. When I was feeling uncertain about what to do regarding feeding schedules, when to expect teeth to break through, basically things that are more medical and often related to milestones.

So what is all this `help`accomplishing? Well, in my experience it has thrown so much guilt and shame at me I wanted to curl up in a corner. Parenting is tough, and scary. And the aim of all of the advice is supposed to be to make this a bit easier. But it is simply too much. Have you read Today`s Parent? There are contradicting articles in the same issue. They are displaying different opinions and options but to a parent who is just trying to find the `right`answer it is confusing and frustrating. So here is the big secret that I have learned so far and I want everyone to know and I would love to scream up from some elevated position. You have to do what is best for you and your family! There are a million ways to approach the many situations you will come across in your journey as a parent, people will try to tell you the `right`way. But what it comes down to is what is going to work out best for your family. There have been a few situations so far in my parenting life where I made an against the common thread decision and got a considerable amount of negative feedback from people in my life and read that I was doing the wrong thing in those books and magazines. It still upsets me, and I have spent so much time defending my position that any time these things come up I get my back up and go immediately into defensive and often argumentative mode.

The first came before I even gave birth and my almost due over sized pregnant self was quick to anger and not impressed when no one in my life wanted to agree with me.

The following, and everything I write, is obviously my opinion. And as such is not intended to tell anyone how to do anything. I do not really care and certainly do not judge the choices anyone else makes. What I say is in regards to the choices I have made and nothing more. See above advice if you don`t believe me. You have to do what is best for you and your family!

So, this first situation. It might be slightly awkward to discuss and it doesn`t come up much in mainstream conversation. But that`s silly it`s a real decision that people are faced with. Circumcision. There I said it. In both of my pregnancies to did not choose to discover what the sex of my baby was. I didn`t care. And so the the topic of circumcision was not a decision that was always on my mind. In fact I had not even considered it. It seemed to me that everyone I knew was circumcised and I was under the impression that it is just something you do. A part of having a boy was having that procedure done. So Scott and I have have said to each other yeah if we have a boy we will have it done, and that would have been the extent of the talking on the matter. Until one of my appointments with Dr. Bos. I don’t even know how or why it came up but he asked me, “If you have a boy will you have him circumcised?“ Yeah, with a bit of a shrug, as in isn`t that obvious? was my response. Why? His next question. I suddenly felt stupid because I didn`t have a real answer. Well, doesn`t everyone? I thought it was just something you did. Would you have a girl circumcised? NO! Of course not that`s horrific (my opinion). Then why do it to a boy? Unless I had religious reasons Dr. Bos informed me, there was no medical reason to have the procedure done. He then informed me of the risk, like with any procedure, of infection or error. And did I know that it was a procedure you have to make an appointment for at a later date? They no longer do it while you`re still in the hospital after the baby is born. And you have to pay. A few hundred dollars is what I have heard. The information I have gathered is that there is only one doctor locally who will perform this procedure and I have yet to hear good feedback from parents who have taken their boys to him. So now I had new information and I felt silly for making the assumption that I would just do that to my little boy. If as a grown man he really hated his foreskin he could opt to go through the (yes I know very painful, but it would be his choice) procedure to have it removed. If however, I had it chopped off for him and later in life he wished I hadn`t he`s S.O.L. I came home so Scott with this new choice, he was not impressed. It came up at family gatherings. Nobody was on my side. Everyone had a horror story of someone who knew someone who didn`t have it done and experienced complications requiring they have it done later on. And oh I did not know how much it would hurt my little boy if he had to have it done when he was older and more aware. HELLO people!!! It hurts when they are babies too. Have you seen those baby shaped molds they strap an infant into in order to perform the circumcision? Jeez. If you haven`t I invite you to find the episode of Penn & Teller`s Bullshit on this topic. When I heard the baby cry on that episode I almost threw up. And it wasn`t even my baby! I don`t know the kid. But I do have babies and the thought of them crying that way was physically painful for me. Despite the fighting and the disagreements we did not have it done. And I often come across someone who has had a bad experience having it done, or read a new article on why you shouldn`t I feel very relieved that I stood my ground and protected my little boy. From something I almost just did because everyone does.

If anyone is offended or put off I am sorry you feel that way. This is a place where I intend to express my thoughts and feelings. They are in no way meant to hurt anyones feelings I am just trying to be honest.

My second parenthood battle was brought up in a small way before Logan was born but was not a full out fight until I held him in my arms. At one of our prenatal classes we were learning about where baby should sleep. You know there is advice out there from every angle. The main opinion though is that baby’s crib should be in Mom and Dads room and baby should sleep there for at least the first six months. If for some reason Mom and Dad do not have a giant bedroom many experts suggest putting a mattress on the floor for Mom or Dad to sleep on in baby’s room so that baby can sleep in their crib but have a parent close at hand. Yes I think this is ridiculous. One mom to be in my class said there was no way she was going to have baby sleep in the same room because every little noise that baby made would keep her up all night, a monitor was all she needed. I was horrified but each to their own. My plan involved one of those side car style bassinets that attach to the parent bed and keep baby at the same level but in their own space, I was afraid of crushing him or her. Logan was born, and on our first night in the hospital he laid beside me on the bed. My fear of squishing my baby in my sleep had disappeared and the thought of him being anywhere other than at my side was not acceptable. By my side is where he stayed. A family bed, co-sleeping, whatever you want o call it Logan slept with us. He nursed until almost 18 months and when he woke in the night all I had to do was make sure there was easy access to boob. And we both barely even woke up. More sleep equals happier Mommy and baby. I heard though, oh boy did I hear it. It`s not normal. He is going to be a big baby. He needs to learn to be independent. He`s going to have to sleep on his own eventually. One little tidbit even implied that inappropriate feelings may occur since Logan and I are the opposite sex. Wow, did people ever hate that I had my baby in my bed with me. And after months of me bearing my teeth every time someone told me it was wrong they started asking, in what they thought was a nonchalant way, if he was still in our bed. I stopped talking about it. I didn`t bring it or anything that could imply that he was in our bed up. I felt ashamed. The way people had been treating me in this choice had caused me to pull back and not even try to deal with it anymore. Logan had croup around 17 months of age and was admitted to the hospital. They were going to put him in a crib so I had to request a full sized bed that I could sleep with him in. The nurse that took of us overnight was young and very sweet. She repeatedly brought me reports of all the other nurses who disapproved of me laying in bed with my son. She said she didn’t care but they were saying it was dangerous. It had been my experience that when he was sick I could respond much quicker if he needed me because I was right there and so especially while he was sick I would stay with him. The nurse came in at one point and said she had done some research and found that co-sleeping was only dangerous under certain circumstances. If the parent was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially tired or was a smoker. Some other things as well, but you get the idea. If a parent was going to be less responsive than it wasn’t safe. Obvious right? And yet people, even many nurses hear or read a portion of research which says it may not be safe and jump on anyone who sleeps with their kids without looking at the full picture. During my pregnancy with Bella my emotions intensified and this was when I was able to come to terms with it and be at peace with the choice I had made. All along I knew I was right, doing the right thing for my family and I finally fully felt that way. I had sought out and enjoyed some articles that supported my view. I loved one which talked about people in less developed countries who always had shared beds. It was a normal way of life, and those little boys were hunting wild boar at four years of age. And that article brought me to the conclusion that before we in developed countries were in these multi room houses that we also slept with our kids. It was normal even for us at one point but then it became cool to have several bedrooms in our homes and so we kicked our kids out of our warm beds and left them in the dark of their own. And you know what else I realized? That someday my child was not going to want to snuggle with me. Some day he would be too big and way too cool to lay down beside his Mom and fall asleep. So damn everyone else I was going to enjoy every moment that I could. When Bella was born and we spent our first night in the hospital she snuggled up on me nursing regularly. Around ten o’clock that night or night nurse came in and offered to take her from me. No thank you. “Well I’m not comfortable with you falling asleep while she is on you like that”. I really wanted to throw something at her or at least scream in her face but I had to deal with her ALL night so I smiled and said no I’m good thanks. Every 45 minutes she came back in and offered to take her, and every time I made Bella was at least laying on my boob if not actually nursing so that I could say she was feeding. Did I sleep that night? Hell no! I should have thought, that was the point of me being there, recovering from surgery and rest is a big part of that. Guess who my night nurse was on night two? Yup the same one. She even tried to tell me Bella shouldn’t have been nursing as much as she was. Actually we are supposed to have as much skin to skin contact as possible and she can nurse every second if she wants she is brand new you stupid b*tch. I’m still a touch angry at this woman. We survived, Bella now sleeps every night beside me, stretched out and taking up more bed than her little body should allow. And Logan like his own bed in his room these days. He often wakes around 3 AM (which is new for us, in our bed both kids sleep on average a solid ten hours at least) and Scott goes to see him and ends up spending the rest of the night in Logan’s room. We have found a sleeping arrangement that works well for us and we enjoy it. I hope that everyone is able to find something that works for them and they can stick with it without flack from anyone.

The last point I am going to touch on is not really a fight. Most people would actually agree with me on this one and the medical advice supports me as well. Breastfeeding. Logan did it until he was 18 months and would have longer but my milk dried up because of my pregnancy with Bella. It was tough and he and I cried together at night when he would try and try to nurse and get nothing from me. And now Bella nurses, not as enthusiastically as her brother but a very regular part of her day. I`m not going to go on and on like my other two points. You pretty much know why nursing is important and if you are a parent I am sure you have heard the `breast is best“quote that is thrown in your face constantly. And it`s not easy. I will never say it is. It is a battle full of pain and self doubt. Before I left the hospital I was bleeding, Logan spit up blood once and when I freaked the nurse reassured me that it was my blood coming out of his mouth and there was nothing to worry about, it happens. My irritation on this topic involves lots of nameless people who scowl and glare at me when I nurse my baby in public. Those can`t you go into the bathroom or something comments that send me flying off the handle. No, I cannot go into the bathroom or something, are you going into the bathroom to eat? Not even two months ago we were at the wellness center in the family change room after our weekly swim and Bella was nursing. We were sitting on a bench amongst the lockers and we were both fully clothed. There was barely any boob exposure. A little boy came up and asked me what she was doing. Eating was my answer. What is she eating? A fair question but before I could come up with an answer that might make sense to him his mother grabbed his wrist, glared at me and yanked him away. They need privacy she barked at him. Are you mother effing kidding me? Oh right I forgot nursing my child was basically porn and I was evil for doing it in public. Jeez people. Let`s be serious. Was she not just swimming with him? Did she make him close his eyes while she got changed so he wouldn`t see anything inappropriate? The kid might have been four. Re-freaking-diculous. He saw some side boob, oh my god call a therapist he is damaged for life!

Breathe…I have to remind myself. I get so annoyed sometimes….

So the point of all of this rambling is this. I don’t know what is a … a perfect parent. I don’t know what it is to do everything `right`.

When I became pregnant did I know what I was getting my self into? H-E double hockey stick NO! Did I know I was going to be a part of a two parent team who had to pin a 16 month old down and pry his eye lid open just to squeeze some gunk into it that was going to make it hurt even more than it already did? (damn you pink eye) No! There are some things about this whole having kids thing that SUCK! When I know that I have to put them through something unpleasant that is going to be good for them, and I have to hold them down as they cry it makes me sick to my stomach. But there is so much good stuff it doesn`t even matter. Am I perfect? Heck no! Have I made all the right choices? Not likely. Am I really good at being a parent? I think so. Why? Because I love it, and I love my kids. When Logan was new and I was crying in my doctors office because I was exhausted and overwhelmed he told me, “ All he needs is love and those dumb things (pointing at my boobs)“ and that made me feel better. It gets more complex than that as time goes on and they grow but the basics remain in place. Love your children and let your experience and knowledge of them and what works for your family guide you though all the tough decisions you have to make. You are going to make mistakes. That`s OK. Do what you can to come back from them. The fact that you worry about weather or not you are doing the right thing says to me that you are a good parent. If you are walking around thinking you have all the answers and you are infallible I fear what the future holds for you.

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