August 30, 2005
As a new mom I felt rather lost and amazingly overwhelmed when my first child made her loud appearance. I too often found myself influenced by other mothers and by so-called "experts." I think it was partly because I was an only child and didn't have that much experience with children. I had done some babysitting (thank goodness), but not a whole lot. I wanted so much, though, to do the right things for my baby, and I talked to my mom and other mothers, read books, and seached and searched.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, a former pastor and his wife, whom I admired very much (they took the Prep class from the Ezzos themselves, by the way), loaned me their Preparation for Parenting manual and tapes. They gave them to me during a Christian conference my husband and I were attending, and while I carried them with me another mother saw them and commented with enthusiasm about how much she enjoyed Prep for Parenting. I thought, wow, it must be really good!
I put off listening to the tapes and reading the manual, and I ended up only listening to a short portion of a tape in the days before my baby's birth (there have to be some positives about being a procrastinator, right?!), so they didn't really influence me the first couple of months. My mom, however, had given me an easy-to-read book about babycare that was more "balanced" and supportive of things like the family bed, if you wanted to do that, and it encouraged cue-feeding. Also, the lactation consultants at our hospital encouraged those things.
After struggling the first week trying to figure out how, the first two months I fed mostly on-cue and often -- very often. And after wondering how in the world to get enough sleep while still nursing my baby at night as much as she needed, we began sleeping together in the family bed. At the two month visit to the doctor, the doctor told me my baby was doing well and to keep up whaytever I had been doing. Regretfully, other influnces seeped -- or flooded? -- in, and I did not keep it up.
Since I felt I should at least read the Prep for Parenting manual that went with the tapes before giving it back to our pastor and his wife, at around that time I finally read through much of it (I can't remember if I finished it completely -- that was about nine years ago), and jotted down a little list of things I had learned from it. I also read Dr. Spock's book on babycare.
One idea I drew from both was the importance of a baby learning to sleep through the night in their own bed. Also, according to the Prep book "routine" was crucial, and Dr. Spock said that babies naturally start getting on their own schedule by around three months, and my daughter at 2 1/2 months hadn't the slightest resemblance of one yet, so I began to think that she might need a little help from me.
At around that time, a friend had a baby shower for me. My baby tended to be a fussy baby -- aka high needs -- and both nighttime and new situations tended to bring out more fussiness, so she was fussy that night.
I tried to nurse her in a private, quiet, and dark place to minimize distractions and to hopefully help her to be more calm and content. While I was in the quiet room trying to do that, a lady visited me to keep me company -- and to offer her services to help me get my baby on a schedule. She suggested that she could come to my house and after I nursed my baby, I could leave (so I wouldn't have to hear her cry), and she would stay with my baby while she cried, and then I could come back in a few hourse and nurse her again... etc.
The help she offered clearly felt wrong, but hearing her words fed my insecurities as a new mom. The combination of her offer and reading what the Ezzos and Dr. Spock had written influenced me to choose to let my baby cry-it-out and to begin to put her on a schedule.
The night I chose to try and "teach" my daughter to sleep in her crib for a longer stretch of time at night was a night my husband was working the night shift. I remembering laying in the room next to her bedroom reading Prep for Parenting and hearing her cry and cry and cry and cry. I don't remember for how long, but it was for over 45 minutes. I did not visit her during that time for fear that I would cause her to cry longer by doing so. :*(
It did "work," and she started sleeping through the night until around 4:30 am when her daddy left for work, and then I brought her into bed with me. I tried to let her cry-it-out for her naps, too, but she got too upset and praise God my mommy-heart would not let me do that, too.
I began trying to get her on a schedule. It was hard to do because at first she could barely go 1 1/2 hours between feeds, but I bounced her, danced with her, and sang to her to help her learn to go longer between feeds. By six months she was finally going three hours between feeds. I forgot to take into account growth spurts, though. We both felt stressed with my efforts to keep us on the schedule.
The start of a big change came when one night while exercising at the gym. When I went to the gym when our baby was little, my husband stayed home and watched her. While I enjoyed cardio exercise and weight training (I used to be in a lot better shape way back pre-baby than I am now. ;)) at the gym, usually my little baby was back home crying. She was held and cared for, but she missed her mommy.
That night before getting on the tread mill I grabbed a parenting magazine to read. I came across an article by Dr. William Sears where he talked about something I had never heard of before, something called attachment parenting. From then on a slow change in the way we parented our daughter began that would bless our lives, and the lives of many others, immeasurably.
I felt eager to learn more about attachment parenting, and when I got on the Internet when she was eight months old I entered the words "attachment parenting" into a search engine and a whole new world opened, and we began trodding in earnest down the attachment parenting road. I began nursing on cue, feeling good about sleeping with my baby, learning about gentle discipline, and I stopped worrying about holding my baby too much.
Those were just the tip of the iceberg of changes that took place. The biggest changes took place in my heart. I felt truly free for the first time... free to listen to my baby and meet her needs without reserve and free to listen to my heart and my God-given mothering intuition. :) It's a journey with bumps and sometimes potholes LOL, but we're try to keep our eyes on the goal and our focus on God and following His will, knowing that He will bless our efforts and knowing that His grace is sufficient through it all.
August 29, 2005
New articles added recently
Barbara Curtis, Christian mommy of 12 and author of several books, has graciously let me add a couple more articles of her's to our website, and there's a good chance more of her articles will be more added to our site in the future.
She's a former Montessori teacher, and the flavor of that perspective can be seen in her writings. I didn't really know anything about the Montessori method until I read her book Small Beginnings: First Steps to Prepare Your Toddler for Lifelong Learning, and I felt impressed with it after reading it. In this book she shares ideas that help moms teach their little ones in a fun way that enriches the whole family's life. It's very uplifting and can help parents enjoy their little ones even more. Actually, it's been years since I've read it, and my little guy is almost one, so I think I'll be pulling my copy out soon!
She's also written a book about teaching children to read called Ready, Set, Read!, and I've heard good reviews about it, though I haven't read all of it yet.
I'd like to read her other books, and if anyone reading this would like to share a review of any of her books, please do! :D
Here are the articles by Barbara Curtis that were added to our site last night:
Whose Way, After All? - This is an article that shares her concerns about the Ezzos.
No More Chore Wars: How to Get Your Kids to Help at Home - In this article she shares her thoughts about why doing chores helps our children and tips to help encourage them to do them. At the end she includes a list of suggested "chores" that our children can do at various ages and also encouraging Bible verses.
I encourage you to share your thoughts on these articles or anything I've written here. I'd love to know what you think.
[edited Aug 30 at 4:10am to fix the links to the articles since I had them backwards and entitled them incorrectly (I had done it by memory the first time) *blush* ]
Please note! If you are coming to this page to view new updates to the website, please note that we update our blog often and invite you to visit the main blog page.
August 04, 2005
How Do You Explain Spanking?...
How do you explain spanking to a child who has never been spanked and who has never seen another child being spanked?
My four year old daughter had just taken her bath tonight, and she came into the room with blackberry juice all over her little hands. She walked over to me and sweetly told me she was being very careful not to get her shirt dirty.
I gave a startled look at her messy hands and reminded her she wasn't supposed to eat berries after she took her bath, and I quickly got up and asked her to wash herself off.
My mother was visiting here tonight, so she helped her granddaughter wash her hands off at the kitchen sink. While my mom washed her, she told her that her mother (my grandma) also had made rules about what her and her siblings could do after they took their bath. She explained that one rule was that they weren't allowed to go outside and play after their baths.
She shared the story about the time when she was a little girl, and she remembered her and her four other siblings following their brother outside and playing. It was the only time she remembers being spanked by her mother.
Their mother got a switch (and what is that? -- a small branch from a tree), and she spanked each of them on their bottom as they went through the door coming inside.
But it dawned on me, would my little girl know what a spanking is? When asked she said she did not. My mom explained that it was when a parent spanks their child to help teach them. But still, then, what is a spank? It's when they hit their child in order to help teach them something (one reason among others).
My daughter didn't really respond other than to say, "Oh," so I'm not sure what she really thought or if she really understood. My son explained that mama would not spank her. Praise God for His grace. Praise God for gently teaching me that I do not have to spank/hit -- that I should not spank/hit -- my children in order to help them learn, or for any other reason.