Joanna, I can sympathise with the needing to be rocked to sleep thing with my 22 month old. For me, he just got too heavy. I tried just lying down with him cuddling me for a few nights and telling him this is how we go to sleep, and he actually barely cried, then fell asleep. Since then he no longer needs to be rocked or fed to sleep, though it does take longer for him to fall asleep now. Maybe when your little one is ready, he will be able to move on - a lot of things I tried with DS's sleep, just didn't work until a few months later, and I had to be SO patient (like trying to nightwean, 4 times!). I really agree with UP but I also think, parents are human and have needs too, and shouldn't be feeling resentful. It's always good to examine your thoughts, like what MarineWife suggested,but if you still really feel you want to change things, I think it's not a bad thing to do.
I'm feeling a little confused about UP and gentle discipline in general, after spending a day in a home daycare setting which I was trying out as a possible place to work. I decided against it after realising the huge ideological differences between me and the lady who runs it, in terms of how children operate and how to best provide for their needs. She was about as behaviourist as they come. Although certain things she did were, in my opinion, really not right (such as labelling a child negatively, repeatedly, in front of her, and roughly removing a child from an activity when she kept doing something 'wrong', almost slapping her hand in the process), a few things she said about her approach did get me thinking that maybe she has a point.
She said children need safety, and they feel safe when they know what's coming next, and when they have boundaries. That we must lead, and they follow. Hence, the day is rigidly organised, and they all go to nap at the exact same time, for the same length of time, all have to wait till everyone's finished eating before they can get up (leading to long periods of being stuck in a high chair, several times a day), etc. They're never asked if they want to do something such as sit in their chair and eat, it's 'Let's sit down', and physically sit them down. Within those boundaries, the children had the freedom to choose whatever toys they wanted and play however they wanted as long as it didn't harm others.
It got me thinking, b/c as a UP parent and a SAHM, trying to go with the flow and meet both my and DS's needs in as balanced a way as poss, requires a great deal of flexibility, and when I try to be more 'set' then it just results in battles between us, ruining our relationship. I don't have much of a routine. Sure, we eat three meals a day and so on (but not always at the same time of day, or in the same place), but every day is quite different. We might go to the park, we might stay in and clean, we might meet a friend, or play in the paddling pool in the garden. ALthough he has a 'bedtime routine', I don't think DS necessarily knows 'what's next' throughout the day. He'll often get up and as soon as we go downstairs, demand to 'go out', and get upset when he can't - b/c some days, I have volunteering commitments in the morning or whatever and have to be somewhere, and others, we can take a slow pace and just mellow into the day.
And it just made me wonder, maybe this explains some of his 'behaviours' (hate that word) like walking around whining (when he's had enough sleep) and asking to breastfeed almost constantly, biting my skirt, and just generally trying to obstruct a lot of things I try to do (no matter how I try to include him). Maybe he feels insecure...When I came home after this day, my son just seemed so 'out of control' and loud and shouty (and he's really a very pleasant, sociable little guy!) compared to these docile creatures at the daycare, and I found myself wondering if I've 'created a monster'...aah the self doubt!
Yet the thought of trying to have my home life like this woman's daycare setting is pretty horrifying, and to me would take most of the joy and spontaneity out of life. I guess, I think safety comes from feeling you're understood (or at least your parents try to understand), valued and loved, not knowing what's going to happen every second of the day. Or so I like to think!
what are other people's thoughts? Sorry so long! Just thinking aloud, really. I find it quite hard to keep my parenting ideals up against the kind of certainty that people like this child-minder display...I found myself speechless to come up with any rational counter-argument to her approaches, when she was explaining them.