please read the whole thing before judging.
|I have to say, very frequently I consider dropping off the MDC boards altogether because I can't believe how many people do CIO or "modified" CIO or "not really" CIO. I just don't get it.
Oh, I hope everyone realizes...
that I can be a bit of a drama queen when it comes to expressing myself... and I do NOT strive to be PC and to not offend. I say things very straight. If I haven't come to a point of realization, you are not going to see me pretending to, and rather than feel like I am encountering subtle forms of censorship and pressures to conform to a set of rules, that there is an understanding that different ways of parenting can work with different parent/child relationships, cultural backgrounds, etc.
Should I back out of my enrollment in these discussions because I am evolving? Or should you (because you're offended by some stages of my or other parents' evolution)?
Misfit, I do understand what you are saying, and I think you finish on a positive tone. But some things that you casually interject, sound a little censoring and intolerant in this regard. And yes... USAmma, it's true... sometimes in desperate situations, you have to make the choice between your own needs and your childs'. It's not "adverserial", it's just that way with you and everyone in the world, and it's about preserving your sanity as well as, generally, looking at the lesser of 2 evils. Haven't you ever gone to pee while your newborn was crying or in the middle of a 2 hour nursing marathon (and yes, if you are slinging mama, maybe you just haven't figured out the walking/nursing thing yet at that point!)? Haven't you ever run to snarf down a bagel or drink some water in peace after not eating or drinking all day (while bf!) because you're so busy with your baby, and left them crying for a minute because you are SO DARN HUNGRY and if you were carrying them, you wouldn't have a hand free, or if they are older, they'd be grabbing your food and glass?? Haven't you ever heard your baby crying in their carseat when you can't stop, on the freeway? Well then, welcome to the club... you've experienced the unmet needs of your baby, and you've had to delay them in order to perform the, at that particular moment, higher task of taking care of your basic physical needs. I think sometimes people forget how all-consuming a baby is, and how at times there really is not enough support in our culture, to have enough energy to do everything. It's not a question of ignoring your child's needs, it's just a question of taking care of yourself and the basic things that need doing.
I don't think that in general, once a child is no longer a tiny baby, it's a good idea, either, to bring them up with the idea that the world totally revolves around their every whim. Needs, yes. And no, I don't think they should be brought up in some kind of ascetic law and order kind of way... but they definitely need to understand the difference between whims and needs, AFTER a certain age.
The problem really is that sometimes I don't always read her right at first, I think. Sometimes she really genuinely needs me and wants me to be near her, and is sad I am leaving the room. Other times, I think she is more just mad at everything. She is not a "sobbing baby". She just kind of whines and is mad and tired-sounding, or lets out a few cranky yells, and then falls asleep. It's not a dragged-on thing. Also, soemtimes she just babbles by herself peacefully and doesn't cry, before sleeping, which also is why I started doing this (leaving her by herself sometimes to nap if she is not sleeping with me there). I think she is sometimes just blowing off steam, and this is why I think you can't call every single case of a baby making unhappy sounds outside of the sanctuary of your arms, "CIO", although I used that term because the distinction is so fine. At age one, they are developing their own personality to some extent, and sometimes that involves just needing some space to vent and talk to themselves, I think... but it's up to the sensitive parent to hear when it's not venting, and more needing you. I am willing to hear any arguments to the contrary, however. If I hear any sadness, loneliness, urgency etc in her voice I always go right back in and hold her, nurse her etc. If she really can't sleep, I don't usually press the point unless it's for my own ulterior motive (to get a nap myself).
I totally hear what you are saying, Misfit, about the spiritual connex between parent and child, and I've read many books also about how to connect your energy to your childs'. I practiced baby massage on her until she got to not like it any more, every single day, no matter how many hrs I worked. Now I do whatever she lets me do, but she gets restless. I do some baby yoga too on her, I really focus on her energy while I am nursing, and also, when I have to send her off to daycare or pump milk, I imagine all my love and energy going into the food I prepare for her lunch and the milk I am expressing, so that she will feel it in my absence. I really do try to focus on what she's going through, which is why sometimes when she makes a transition from one stage to another, I am slow to respond and adjust, but it doesn't mean I don't care or am not trying.
Like for example, why don't I just get to bed earlier, myself? I have issues myself falling asleep! So why is it so surprising she is connected to that part of my energy and emulating it? I am a notorious insomniac/night person, and I always HATED naps. Maybe I need to work on my own self-discipline to try to sleep earlier... although I work evenings, so it is tough to wind down. If I were more of a morning person and more rested, I'd appreciate her vitality more in the AM's.
I think the whole issue of CIO is a label, and yes, I put it on my thread to get attention and because I am not thrilled about this un-ideal solution, but it's not always a clearcut issue with an older baby like some are suggesting.
Regarding spending time with dd. The reason I work is because I HAVE TO. I got pregnant 1 month after my wedding to a non-US citizen, he did not even have his green card or working papers yet, and due to GWB's wonderful homeland security shutdowns of INS offices nationwide and delaying immigrations, I ended up working like a dog, on my feet, through most of my pregnancy. I would love nothing more than to be a SAHM and believe me... I tried everything to make it work. But my dh didn't want me to do that, since it would involve going on welfare, something neither of us could agree to. I tried even doing consulting work at home but that did not work out, and I was even less able to focus on my dd because of the stress of earning enough $ for the rent each month, dealing with annoying clients, etc. So my compromise, was working in a very AP-friendly store 4 days a wk (evening shifts), 2 on wkends, so at the very least, she'd spend only 2 short days in daycare and the rest with her dad... and when the boss isn't in, dh sometimes brings her in the eves to be slung on the job for a few hrs!
Of course, my relationship with my dh is severely sacrificed, and we never really had much time to enjoy each other at all... but we both are happy to put her needs first at this crucial time.
The reasons I keep the house clean are, a... we live in a very tiny urban apartment that gets messy immediately, and she is of the age where the house needs to be totally clean and childproofed, as well as vermin free... and our neighborhood has a mouse problem that affected us a lot. I really hate dirt and am very squeamish about mice, esp with a baby. So at the very least, I have to make sure the house is basically presentable. Also, I just think it is better for children to grow up in a reasonably clean and neat home. My house was a pigsty for the first 6 wks postpartum. I totally let it go and focused on dd. However, she had an AWFUL sleep problem. It didn't get better until we stayed at a hotel one night during my sister's wedding at dd's 5th wk. She slept SO WELL... and so did we, in that nice clean room. After that I just went crazy cleaning the house (and yes, dd did cry during some of that time) but in the long haul, as soon as the house was clean, she seemed much happier and slept much better.
I really think that cleanliness isn't just peripheral, some kind of "martha stewart" thing only the so-called "perfect wives/moms" should do. I think that children should not grow up in a mess, myself. I don't think it's healthy, energetically, or physically (messes cause lost items, attract negative and stagnant energy, clutter the mind, and create frustration). However, I agree that it shouldn't be mutually exclusive to caring for your child.. you should find ways to involve them in it, so they will learn to take pride in their surroundings and to also see your work as important, not learn that their entertainment and sensory gratification is the center of the universe. Work can be entertaining and playful, too. I often involve dd when I clean, by giving her pots and pans to bang, or a laundry basket full of odd items to dump out, some tubes and things to dump in the tub while I am cleaning the bathroom, etc. Or I sling her and explain what we're doing. I'd love to get a back carrier so when she wants to be carried, I can get more done and have her close to me.
Also, I am not just a mom, I am a wife, and I take pride and pleasure in caring for my dh, whether or not I am working outside. I would rather he gets used to a good example of what he would get even more of if I didn't work, rather than just be frustrated along with me at the mess and nothing to eat, etc. I am nourished by his energy if he is satisfied and happy at home. Even if I am not able to live my ideal life of being a SAHM/SAHW, I would like my dd to see, in the time I have to show her, how to do it, to set a good example for her of how women can make the world a nice and livable place. And I don't want to make the mistake many women make of putting their husbands last. If he's happy, I am too, I am rewarded, and so is our baby in my renewed strength. If he is neglected, we all suffer, and he is less likely to nurture me. It's sort of a paradox I've learned along the way... that rather than argue with dh about the housework, it's much easier to just take that responsibility myself, let him do a few "guy" things himself regularly as his jobs, and when I need more help, just ask... I always get it. I also don't mind the compliments, it's the thanks and appreciation that matters the most to me.
And there is no expectations for me, either, which is important! I need to feel like I'm doing this myself.
BTW, misfit... yes, sometimes with dh, I do the equivalent of CIO when he gets cranky!! He does not express himself by crying because he has other more sophisticated means of expressing himself, but I don't always respond to every single one of his whims if he is just being fussy and unpleasable. If he truly needs something - food, love, some coffee, a hug, my company, he's got it. But don't we ALL have times - young and old - when we really, genuinely, don't know what is best for us and are just bossing our loved ones around? I guess that's what I mean by "manipulative"... I realize that's a hot button word on this forum, probably. Of course, of course... I know babies aren't manipulative in the sense that adults are... they have needs they are expressing, etc etc. But there are times my baby, me, and just about everyone I know as well, is just fussing because they are so offbalance in some way (mad, tired, hormonal, low blood sugar, etc) that they would be more benefitted, rather than engaging in a demanding energetic/emotional exchange or using your energy to further exacerbate this imbalance, by just spending some time alone.
What I really worry about is how she is forced to CIO when I leave her at daycare. There is just no way under the sun to make that a totally painless transition for a baby, and there is no way to stop those tears until I am out of sight. Then she usually has fun... but still, her crying is with me all day, no matter how resilient she is. Also, there is no way for me to control how her crying is handled when I am not there. That bothers me. Even dh does let her CIO sometimes, and he is not as subtle in his perceptions as I am. Sometimes he insists she is just "being cranky"
and then I realize that actually she is hungry, tired, etc. He, like many men, think too logically about things... she took 2 naps today, how can she possibly be tired? Well, don't you ever have days you are just pooped for no reason??
I used to say that over my dead body, would I ever put any child of mine in daycare. So please, do not attack me for doing what I have to do to support my family right now. As it is, we are barely surviving, although I hope that with our next child, things will be different (they get better a little each month as my dh gains new skills and work opp's) and I can stay home with them. Fortunately my 1st child is someone with a very strong and sunny personality, and seems to be growing into the type of child who knows exactly what she wants and isn't easily deterred by negativity... even my own. I had a really stressful pregnancy, always worried about money, working day and night, worried about dh's immigration status, and having a hard time adjusting just to married life at first (didn't have much time to!). But she is just like a ray of sun... totally unbothered by my ups and downs.
I think that actually may be an important point, though, the issue of her seeing not enough of me. I know it is true, and I think sometimes she tries to force herself to not take naps, so she can maximize my presence. Or maybe she is even afraid that if she takes a nap, I'll be gone (not that I ever leave her without saying goodbye!). That is all possible. What can I do about it? She isn't old enough to understand the concepts of time and goings/comings yet.
I guess I am going to have to think about this all more, and try to intuit what would help more and support what her needs are. Maybe just letting her decide when she wants to nap, more or less? Even if she is exhausted, if she is still playing, let her "play it out" rather than CIO?? or maybe doing something really stimulating as some suggest, like splashing in a tub or going out on a swingset, etc.