My daughter is kicking me from inside my uterus this morning. She did so most of last night, too, and I am grateful. She’s been quiet in there for a couple days. Not motionless, call the doctor quiet. Just lazy. Her vigorous kicking and punching are welcome signs. The fact that my other daughter kicked me on the outside most of last night inspires fewer feelings of gratitude.
Spring break was going to be the time that we trained V to sleep in her “big girl bed,” and gave up the Accidental Family Bed arrangement we’ve had since she was a few weeks old. And by “we were going to train her,” I mean I was going to train her while Odie drank beers in the living room in front of the computer. That hasn’t happened. The first part. The second part has absolutely happened.
Doesn’t look like she’ll be sleeping in her own bed anytime soon. It is easy to foresee a future where I have the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper with my infant on one side of me, and my two year-old on the other. At least the infant won’t be able to kick me from the co-sleeper.
V is cutting some teeth, so we’ve had some rough nights. It’s mean to spring something like this on a child when she’s sick or teething. Which is always. Last night, she cried on and off for over an hour, saying “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!! GIVE IT BACK TO ME! THAT’S NOT YOURS!” repeatedly. I told her she was just dreaming, to which my little contrarian replied, still in her sleep, “No, I am NOT dreaming.”
Clearly the dream she was NOT having was about her every waking moment. The whole world has become black and white to her. There is “mine” and “yours.” She and I do not always agree into which category things fall. I’m learning to be patient, instead of taking things from her and activating her well-developed indignance over injustice, asking her “Can I have a turn?” which will usually prompt her to say, “No! It’s MY turn. It’s NOT your turn.” After which she will almost immediately hand the object to me and declare, “Okay, now it’s Mommy’s turn.” Thanks be unto her day care teachers for teaching her how to share.
After a night like last night, a kicking and thrashing night, I chastise myself for being weak and lazy and not doing the sleep training. It doesn’t feel right to me now. The timing of it has nothing to do with her readiness nor her desire to sleep alone. Though I take a lot of criticism for it (nearly all of it behind my back), I am a child-led parent. I believe that my daughter will let me know when she is ready for her milestones. She always has before. Okay, maybe I nudged her a little with the weaning, but I couldn’t take the pain of nursing through pregnancy anymore. She gave it up easily, if you don’t count the ONE night she cried on and off for hours. I have to force myself to block out the memory of her reaching for my breast and screaming, “Please, Mommy, PLEASE!” It hurt me so much. If I dwell on it, I’ll start drinking in the afternoons.
Likewise, suddenly transplanting my 23 month-old who sleeps between Mommy and Daddy every night to her own bed across the room seems out of the blue. I think we need to talk about it some more. She needs to be prepared. Heck, maybe she’ll even ASK to sleep in her bed. I’ve heard of this happening. I don’t know if it’s mommy folklore or not. Either way, I know she’ll sleep in her own bed someday. All children eventually do.
My main motivation has been the upcoming birth of her little sister. And I don’t mean the change to having another child. I mean the fact that I will go to a hospital, be away from her for a night (at least one), and she will have to sleep without me. Every morning when I get on the freeway to take my daughter to day care, I pass by the hospital where I will give birth in three months. The night will come where I will have to leave my baby to have my other baby. It will be the first of what I presume will be thousands of times I will have to put the needs of one child before the needs of the other out of necessity. The other thousands will just be because I want to create sibling rivalry that will drive one child to relentlessly succeed and the other to seek therapy.
Life will make us ready. That baby is going to be born, and V will have to deal with it. She didn’t nap without her head on my chest until she had to, and she did brilliantly. She didn’t have a working mommy until she did, and she adjusted. Now she doesn’t even say goodbye to me when I drop her off at day care. Odie and I will be as nurturing and loving as we can be, but the time will come when we have to turn V over to the care of her aunt or her Mimi (stepgrandma), give her big kisses and trust her to dig into her inner well of strength for like a day.
Because once we get home from the hospital with that new baby, it’s all smooth sailing from there, am I right?
This post pretty much represents everything I think is wrong with parents today:
1. You end up with an “accidental family bed” because you’re too lazy or too scared of your own kid to do the hard work for a night or two of teaching them the critical skill of putting themselves to sleep.
2. You come up with stupid excuses like teething or neediness to avoid it even though you know to your core it’s time to get her out of your bed.
3. You claim that your reason for not doing it is because you’re a child-centered parent (and–oh the martyrdom! You’re criticized for it behind your back!), and yet you choose to ship your child off to day care when you’re home by yourself all week.
You are both self-righteous and a victim all at the same time. It’s maddening.
That’s certainly one way to look at it.
And you could say that I’m shipping my kid off to day care while I’m home by myself all week, OR you could say I’m teaching my child the critical skill of social interaction and how to be without her mommy.
Liz, do you have children? An honest question.
Do what you what, and raise V however you want. My children never slept with me and still drove me crazy. If I was you I would make sure her big girl bed was big enough for you. That way when things get crazy in your bed, you have somewhere to get some rest. That is the most important thing. My husband snored for years and I slpet in the nursery in the guest bed many nights, and umpteen years later, we all survived.
Backbone is a good thing for a child to have, it makes them leaders not followers. But it is very hard to take when everything is an argument.
People should NEVER judge other people because that comes back to you 10 fold. So there Liz! Raise yours your way & we raise ours our way and guess what, they all do what they want in the end. Who cares what Liz thinks is wrong with parents today? I don’t because I think there is a lot wrong with the whole world today and if you do the best you can, than other people should not judge.
Keep venting, I find it amusing and many times close to home. Screw those who do not enjoy your writing and sense of humor! I can’t wait for Pringles to arrive. Even though you will have less time to blog, it is going to be even funnier! 🙂
I hope you are right. I can definitely live with my life getting funnier.
Okay… child-led parenting will lead to nightmare teenagers. And before anyone criticizes me – I am a mother to two little girls and I have watched my older sister do the child-led (which I believe is more guilt-led as a result of mothers having to – or choosing to – put their children into daycare and feeling guilty for “abandoning” their children for what is, let’s face it, the greater part of their childhood). Her daughters are now pre-teen and LOOK OUT WORLD – they think everything revolves around them. I had both of my daughters in my bed with me until they were 9 months old. I transitioned them into travel cribs in my room for several months after, and then into their own rooms. I started my oldest in a toddler bed at 18 months. My youngest was born when my oldest was 22 months old exactly. I nursed my oldest through my entire pregnancy, and continued to nurse her until she was almost 3. I am still nursing my youngest and will continue to do so until she self-weans. I say all of this to say that I am an “attachment” parent, but you have to be the one to create and enforce the boundries. Don’t let guilt be a driving factor in your parenting – you will end up regretting it later when it is too late to undo all the damage that is done by it.
A commenter accused me of letting guilt motivate my parenting decisions, but I certainly don’t. I believe you about your friend’s kids, but correlation is not causation. You can’t say what caused her particular daughters to be nightmares. Dr. Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon, the leading experts on attachment parenting, write that The Family Bed creates secure, independent children and adults. ALL teenagers are nightmares. Even the good ones. They’re like toddlers on hormone therapy. We enforce all kinds of boundaries with our daughter, but we also share sleep with her. The family bed happened because I was nursing my newborn and I was so sleep deprived from that plus postpartum anxiety, that I started nursing her in bed and just falling asleep while doing it. The result was, I got more sleep and was a better mom during the day. V naps great at day care. Two hours a day, all by herself. I am sure we will be able to transition her to do the same at home. Just not this week.
As a parent, is there any way to NOT end up regretting the decisions we made? We are GOING TO screw up our kids. It’s just a matter of how, and to what extent.
Sorry, I should have been more clear in my response. I am NOT against the family bed. I am against “child-led” parenting. Sure, some things can be child-led (weaning from the breast, when they’re ready for solids, when they’re ready for potty training), but 100% child-led parenting will lead to problems down the road. And my nieces aren’t teenagers, they are pre-teen, ie 8-10ish years old. You are obviously free to raise your children how ever you see fit, I was just offering a bit of unsolicited advice and an observation from another point of view.
I don’t believe that all things should be child-led either. If that were true, my daughter would eat nothing but cereal bars and watch “The Wonder Pets” from dusk to dawn. She’d also spend some of her leisure time kicking me in the face and would never get a clean diaper.
I’m impressed with people who do the “family bed,” because I just couldn’t it 🙂 Not having uninterrupted, quality sleep time…that would be hard.
My boys occasionally slept with us when they were infants, mostly because I loved the cuddling. But really they went straight from bassinette to crib with no detours. My husband and I didn’t even consider giving up our space, and sometimes I feel a little guilty about that.
However, both kids have turned out to be excellent sleepers. At 5 and 20 months, they rarely wake up at night. And I gotta admit, it’s nice knowing that my mom job is over at 7:30 every night.
Good luck with whatever you do, Mrs. Odie. I agree that every mom should do what’s best for her own child, no matter what other people think.
I have one question: Will your parenting style in any way lead to a destructive, lying, non-community oriented, murdering adult? I would say ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am not a co-sleeper, but a co-sneaker (if they can be really quiet they can “sneak” in during the night on occasion). I “think” all of us just want to raise productive, positive, motivated adults. Okay so yes, we will all make mistakes, some of our parenting styles will lead to difficult teenagers but they grow out of it (and I agree how can a teenager not be difficult, someone share that secret now, I have 2). Call me a know-it-all, but I don’t think either co-sleeping (accidental or not) /separate sleeping or child led/parent led parenting will create a monster adult. It’s just not that serious.
Liz, please chill a bit. Maybe you are having a rough day and feel the need to over react to a minor issue that wont effect you at all? I hope tomorrow is better.
On a lighter note… congrats on the “inside” daughter kicking! I remember when my kids would “slow down” and I would panic (I do that often 😉
I would hardly call you a martyr. ALL mothers are criticized behind their backs by someone or another for their parenting style. Any woman would have to be a complete idiot to think that everyone she knows is secretly praising her parenting and wouldn’t do anything different. I’m just sayin’.
Hey – if you can’t ‘spoil’ (insert winky-face emoticon) the dog/kid/cat, what’s the point of having them?! They’re yours to enjoy – for a little while – and you just go on and raise that kid as you see fit. She and her little sister will be just fine.
I hope you guys are alright. This is the longest you have gone without posting since I started following you (only for two months). NOT that I am making demands or anything crazy like that ;-), I am just a good Jew and the least little thing makes me worry…lol.
We’re good. Just… well, it’s been a busy week.