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You tell me why I should continue being an ap parent...

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 
Okay, I've been awake since 3am. Again. It's been like this, really since he was born. I went with ap parenting because it seemed to me to be the kindest form of parenting. Child-led. Which, at the time (pre-child), seemed to fit into our personalities anyway. We co-sleep. We nurse and fought to do so as Bay was a preemie and in the hospital for a month at birth and on oxygen, etc.). We don't spank. We don't "talk down too" or "yell". I am a sahm. Baylor is a high needs baby and has been since day 1. He has gotten better, but night is a big issue. I'm working on a week of nursing all freakin' night and I'm freakin' tired as I've not really slept since he was born. He's 22 months folks. I've been thrown off of main stream boards because I'm such an ap advocate. I mean when is the big freakin' pay off here? I'm beginning to think that unless Baylor grows up to be president or something it will not pay off at all and he'll be lucky if I have a grain of sanity left by the time he finally has to get off me and go to school or something. My only source of support is this board, I would like to think. And, for ME, it's really NO support at all. No one seems to want to hear or understand my issues. I get a few web-hugs per post and not much more. I'm sooooo grateful for those mama's who DO reply with advice and please don't think I'm not. But, in general, I feel like Mothering isn't here for me. I'm not a poplular girl at this site. I'm the one doing cartwheels in the outfield or something. I think maybe many of you fear me because ap IS NOT WORKING for our child, for us, and that idea isn't acceptable here. Now I fear my son is to old to be trained or taught any other lessons and I'm destined to die from exhaustion or something. For me this board is usually a slap in the face due to my "shortcomings" as a mother or something. Tell me why I should stay. Tell me why AP should work for us.
post #2 of 102
Ok, I'm thinking this is less about the need to do it "the right AP way" and more about your need to do what works for YOU.

There is nothing saying you can't take the bits and pieces of AP that DO work and leave those that don't, finding a comfortable balance.

Personally, I'm not 100% AP myself, and I would think we're in good company.

SO, what's keeping you anchored to strict AP?
post #3 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenluv
.

SO, what's keeping you anchored to strict AP?
**Maybe the idea that if I "give in" a bit I'll totally fall off the ap wagon, lock my son in his own room w/ a big glass of milk and let him have a good long and well-earned cry! :

Or maybe that I do believe in the core premis of ap'ing! I think it's the best way to parent. I just never thought I'd have this personality-type baby! I WANT to be able to parent this way. My son just doesn't seem to work this way. My husband and I are very ap type people thru and thru.... we've just been given a baby with dictatorship qualities! ugh.
post #4 of 102
Can I assume you've read Raising Your Spirited Child? High needs kids really need lots MORE from their parents than other kids. I know. I have 2. And I did fell like I was going insane until the youngest hit about age 5.

Raising your Spirited Child and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen really helped me a lot.

And I started getting sitters when each kid (I have 3 ) were about 2 1/2 yrs. Once a week during the day so I could have a couple hrs of me time for my ravaged sanity.

Once every 2 mos or so on a Sat late afternoon so dh and I could get away.
post #5 of 102
edamommy, I don't think that there is one way to parent the "right" way for anyone. My ds#2 was the same way your ds is as far as not sleeping and being high needs.

I think 22 months old is old enough to set some limits on nursing if it's making you resentful/run down/touched out/or any other feeling that is negative and counterproductive to your relationship with your son. PM me if you want to talk some more about this.


"
**Maybe the idea that if I "give in" a bit I'll totally fall off the ap wagon, lock my son in his own room w/ a big glass of milk and let him have a good long and well-earned cry! "

I have experienced the all or nothing feelings that you have been going through REPEATEDLY and at different times with all of my children. I have an ideal that I strive for and I also have areas that I plan on never going to (such as spanking), but the rest is a gray area that I muttle through every day just trying to do the best I can. Some days are great and others...well they are not so great.

My babyjust pooped up her back, so I need to go deal with that. :LOL

I will be back.

Oh and off topic, but trying to get you to laugh with me:
"I'm the one doing cartwheels in the outfield or something"
That's a great description.
post #6 of 102
Quote:
Now I fear my son is to old to be trained or taught any other lessons and I'm destined to die from exhaustion or something.
I'd just like to say that it may feel this way sometimes, but "this too shall pass." My ds co-slept and nursed and we thought we'd never get him in his own bed. He is four now and loves sleeping in his own bed. Kids go through a lot of different phases, and it seems like when you just get to the point where you're going to pull all your hair out, they get past it. At least, it seems that way on the other side of the phase. lol

Hope that bit of perspective helps.
post #7 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaryLLL
Can I assume you've read Raising Your Spirited Child? High needs kids really need lots MORE from their parents than other kids. I know. I have 2. And I did fell like I was going insane until the youngest hit about age 5.

Raising your Spirited Child and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen really helped me a lot.

And I started getting sitters when each kid (I have 3 ) were about 2 1/2 yrs. Once a week during the day so I could have a couple hrs of me time for my ravaged sanity.

Once every 2 mos or so on a Sat late afternoon so dh and I could get away.
I've read that book- but he's not a spirited child- he's a HIGH NEEDS CHILD. Two different etities altogether! Dr. Sears wrote a great book on high needs babies/kids and it's been my bible really. I'm afraid if I left him with a sitter they'd NEVER come back!! really! But, we're starting to leave him for bits of time with relatives (they have to come back, right?)
post #8 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Night Owl
I'd just like to say that it may feel this way sometimes, but "this too shall pass." My ds co-slept and nursed and we thought we'd never get him in his own bed. He is four now and loves sleeping in his own bed. Kids go through a lot of different phases, and it seems like when you just get to the point where you're going to pull all your hair out, they get past it. At least, it seems that way on the other side of the phase. lol

Hope that bit of perspective helps.
..."this too shall pass"... so ---- sick----- of ----- hearing----- that!!

sorry.
post #9 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaOui
edamommy, I don't think that there is one way to parent the "right" way for anyone. My ds#2 was the same way your ds is as far as not sleeping and being high needs.

I think 22 months old is old enough to set some limits on nursing if it's making you resentful/run down/touched out/or any other feeling that is negative and counterproductive to your relationship with your son. PM me if you want to talk some more about this.


"
**Maybe the idea that if I "give in" a bit I'll totally fall off the ap wagon, lock my son in his own room w/ a big glass of milk and let him have a good long and well-earned cry! "

I have experienced the all or nothing feelings that you have been going through REPEATEDLY and at different times with all of my children. I have an ideal that I strive for and I also have areas that I plan on never going to (such as spanking), but the rest is a gray area that I muttle through every day just trying to do the best I can. Some days are great and others...well they are not so great.

My babyjust pooped up her back, so I need to go deal with that. :LOL

I will be back.

Oh and off topic, but trying to get you to laugh with me:
"I'm the one doing cartwheels in the outfield or something"
That's a great description.
**Thank you Kerry. I appreciate your words! Yes, I know I should be setting limits. One thing is that I cannot stand the sound of him crying. Maybe because for his first 10 months or so that's all he did. 24 hours a day 7 days a week. really. All day and all night. I would go 3+ days without sleeping and listening to him cry. No one could figure out what his problem was accept that he was collicky and high needs. He finally went to a chiropractor and that really stopped his constant crying.But, due to the fact that I endured those months and months of constant screaming the sound of his crying voice is honestly like getting stabbed repeatidly in the face with a dull knife. So, my quandry is how do I night wean him without enduring the crying.... which he does at the drop of a freaking hat?
post #10 of 102
Hm, I always think of high needs and spirited as being synonyms.

from amazon:

Quote:
The spirited child--often called "difficult" or "strong-willed"--
can easily overwhelm parents, leaving them feeling frustrated and inadequate. Spirited kids are, in fact, simply "more"--by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. Through vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka offers parents emotional support and proven strategies for handling their spirited child. Raising Your Spirited Child will help you:

* Understand your child's--and your own--temperamental traits
* Plan for success with a simple four-step program
* Discover the power of positive--rather than negative--labels
* Cope with tantrums and blowups when they do occur
* Develop strategies for handling mealtimes, bedtimes, holidays, school and many other situations

Filled with personal insight and authorative advice, Raising Your Spirited Child can help make parenting the joy it should be, rather than the trial it can be.
post #11 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaOui
I think 22 months old is old enough to set some limits on nursing if it's making you resentful/run down/touched out/or any other feeling that is negative and counterproductive to your relationship with your son. PM me if you want to talk some more about this.


I agree with this. I can share how I did this with dd1, if it would help you.
post #12 of 102
22 months is still really young, especially with a high needs child. I had one...he is now a wonderful 16 year old. I hear you on the no sleep, the nursing marathons, the high energy and I'll bet he can throw some impressive tantrums. BTDT. It is hard and sometimes people who haven't had a chilld like this can't understand what you are going through.

I didn't do everything just right...I tried...and at some point, if what I was doing wasn't working, I tweaked things a bit. I had to do what worked best for my son and me. I learned he needed more structure and predictablity than I had been providing. He needed to know ahead of time what was coming up next. I learned to go places and do things when HE would be at his most relaxed and well rested. I napped when he napped...and he only took little catnaps. He didn't sleep through the night until he was between 2 1/2 or 3. I tried new things and yes, I made some mistakes. But through being a bit flexible and treating the AP concept as a buffet, I took what worked for my particular child and tailored it to meet his needs.

My second child was completely different. So different. Easy. A breeze after what I had gone through the first time. His tempermant was just different. I will say, though, now at 10 he is making up for lost time.

I would say just look at what you have been doing that is working. Keep that. Look at what isn't working and find out what other options there are that are acceptable to you and your family. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Don't give up. Now here comes the cyber-hug.


P.S. Have you read the books about parenting high needs children? I think Dr. Sears has one. I can't remember. But I do know, I found them very helpful. It helped me to feel like my son wasn't just being hard to deal with, he was really trying hard just to deal with the world, which to him was just overwhelming and overstimulating alot of the time.
post #13 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Marie
I agree with this. I can share how I did this with dd1, if it would help you.

Please share. It certainly will not hurt me even if it doesn't work!
post #14 of 102
I know MamaOui has at least one "spirited" child. I have 2 spiriteds and one spunky.

Middle dd is the most challenging. I hear you on the crying. I used to think APed kids had no need to cry. Ha! she screamed bloody murder multiple times a day for 7 yrs. This shall pass, yes, but a good day with a spirited is like a rough day with a mellow kid. I am glad the chiro helped with the "colic."

She also used to bite me when nursing, for months. I just couldn't get her to learn how not to. But finally, she learned.

When dh and I were finally able to leave her with a sitter, we would end up venting about her for the first 45 mins. We would have to force oursleves to stop venting.

She would be good for the sitter, tho and when she joined girl scouts the leader said she was the best one. AP does pay off. But don't confuse it with permissiveness!

Upside is, she puts just as much energy into positive directions now that she is older. It is a wonder to behold!

She is black and white. When she weaned it was over night. Ditto with potty learning. Very young and no accidents.
post #15 of 102
DaryLLL-A good day with a spirited is like a rough day with a mellow.


And ditto on not confusing AP with permissiveness. My ds#1 needed structure, predictability and boundaries.
post #16 of 102
Well,
When dd1 was about that age I was preg with #2 and REALLY not wanting to nurse all day and night anymore. I went to see the lactation consultant who helped us begin nursing (dd started life in the NICU like your ds).

The ideas she had that worked best for us:

daytime:
begin limit nursing to only a few places (for us our rocking chair or her bed). This was surprisingly helpful. For example, if we were playing outside and she fell or whatever, I would hug and hold her until she stopped crying. All the while she would be asking to nurse. Once she stopped crying I could say, "okay, but we'll have to go inside to the rocking chair. Let's pick up these toys." By then she was calm enough to want to stay outside.

Try to discern why she wanted to nurse and be very diligent about offering alternatives. Is she getting hungry or thirsty? More snacks! Is she needing a snuggle? Read a book together. Is she bored? Get out the playdough.

when it got really bad (for me - the pregnancy made me feel very touched out) I would limit her going to sleep nursing, which could stretch on for....ever by counting or singing a nursery song, after which she was done and I would just lie with her.

During the night:
I tried to be very cognizant of her patterns here. Hard, I know, since you are half asleep yourself. But once I found the pattern I could start cutting out the feedings starting from the middle (of the night). DH had to be on board for this as she didn't want to cuddle with me and NOT nurse. There was definately some crying when I first told her the "mimis need to sleep." It wasn't long before she wasn't nursing between 10 pm and 5 am. I remember thinking that was HEAVEN!

Some additional support: You have really made me remember what those days were like. I feel nostalgic for them now, and it hasn't been that long. DD2 is only 3 and those sleepless nights are all but gone. Also you should know that dd2 has never been as interested in nursing as dd1. She still nurses, but very little compared to her sister - just not her style. All kids are definately different.

This too shall pass.

BTW, love your username!
Good luck and good vibes,
AM
post #17 of 102
Hey,

I don’t really know what to say because I don’t know your ‘story’ or history. I can hear that you’re tired…obviously. And, I don’t think telling an exhausted mother that ‘she should just keep on keepin’ on’ is right. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue.

So, how bad is it? Do you feel like you can no longer function or do you feel that this might get a little better soon. For me, things came in waves. That’s something I try to consider about my parenting choices…parenting is going to have difficult waves regardless of the choices one makes, yk?

I’m curious if you’ve done some other ‘style’ parenting that has been working or how you hope making a change will be helpful. I say this because sometimes I try to make a change, whether this is within “AP” or outside the ‘spectrum’, and often the result has unexpected consequences.

It does sound to me that you can make some changes and still be well within the “AP” spectrum. I, personally, don’t use the label “AP” for my IRL but I get the feeling that this is part of the stress for you.

I think I’ll just post now to see where you want to be going with this. I can’t tell if you’re looking for more advice and/or what kind of encouragement you need right now.
post #18 of 102
Edamommy, I too am a high needs survivor, complete with the constant night nursing. My experience though is that I didn't start out parenting her in an AP manner. I was the baby-sleeps-alone-in-a-crib-all-night type, and subsequently ended up spending many nights in battle with her (which just reinforced my belief that I was a terrible mother and my child hated me). She is 4 1/2 years old now and still does not sleep through the night very often (if she does I usually get so freaked out I end up waking her to make sure she is still breathing). So what I am trying to say is that as hard as it may seem, there is no other way to parent a high needs child while being respectful of those needs. (Unless you want a psycho maniac for a son when he grows up from pent up emotional trauma). I am not 100% AP, I am as AP as my daughter has taught me to be. You say that he just does not work this way, can you explain what you mean by this?

On the issue of sleep: He is (as many others have said) old enough to set limits. For us this meant that I had to stop being the one to put her to bed, Daddy took over this task because if I put her to bed she was used to nursing and would not accept a change in our pattern (many high needs kids do not respond well to change). Many times we would just let her go to sleep in the livingroom with us and then take her to bed (we had a routine for this so that it was still "bedtime"). Daddy also took over the night waking for a while to break the habit of nursing so much at night. He would get up with her and take her downstairs and rock her, cuddle her, whatever he had to do and if she became too upset he would bring her back to me. It was not easy, but by that point I was in crisis and had to make changes to avoid putting her at risk of being harmed by me. Even the thought of how that desperation and rage felt makes my chest tighten like it was just yesterday!

I had never even heard about the term high needs until I came across Dr. Sears book and when I first read the definition I was filled with such relief I almost cried. For 18 months I had felt as though my child hated me and I couldn't figure out why, I felt like I had to be the worst mother in the world. I even used to "joke" that if someone had kidnapped her I would take a nap before calling the police. Even now we joke that if anyone ever kidnapped her they would pay us ransom to take her back. (never in front of her though).

I hope that you have found some comfort in what I have shared with you and that you can find a balance between AP and surviving life with a high needs kid. You are welcome to PM me or e-mail me if you are interested in talking to me more. I myself find comfort in knowing I am not alone in my battles.
post #19 of 102
Im curious why you think high needs and spirited are two different entities. Certainly their lovely list of qualities are very similar.

My now 5 yr old DD was a high needs baby, and my husband left for work at 5:30 and got home at 7, had dinner, checked mail, and went to sleep. At 10 months old, he took a job that had him travelling 5 days a week with some 2-3 week business trips out of the country. I had no parents near me and a church that was too busy to help. No days off, no evenings off, no sitters to give me a break.

She didnt sleep through till she was 20 months old, and not consistently for a week straight until she was 3 1/2.

DD2 slept 6 hrs a night till 10 months old, and has awakened to nurse a minimum of 4x per night, more often something like 5 or 6 times a night, ever since. I tried night weaning her and rocking her back to sleep, but she was still up 2x a night and I was conscious longer when I had to soothe her back to sleep than when I just nursed her. My husband has worked out of town 5 days a week since August of last summer.

I gotcha on sleep deprivation and lack of support from people around you.

Look into Dr. Jay Gordon's nightweaning, it is designed for co-sleeping children. It was something we tried, but ended up being so sleep deprived during the comforting back to sleep phase without nursing that we gave it up too soon to tell if it was working. But it is an option. And may not involve any crying. It is worth a shot, and way better than something like Ferber.

AP is not causing your childs high need. It is part of his personality. Its just going to be harder for you if you think that somehow by changing your overall parenting style, its going to change his personality. He will continue to be high needs/spirited in some aspect his whole life. I can tell I was a high needs baby, because I am a high strung, emotional, high maintenace woman. My parents were not the least bit AP.

And the other posters are right in that you need to find what works for you, and not worry about holding yourself to some totally sold out AP standard. Youre not failing yourself or your baby if you make decisions on what works for you that if the AP police came looking, they would be disappointed. Theres no AP police, and even by doing sleep training, that doesnt negate answering your childs needs, co-sleeping, gentle discipline,, its not like by doing some form of sleep training you're going to turn your back on AP or get kicked out of the AP society. You would not be the first AP mom to use The No Cry Sleep Solution (book) or Dr Jay Gordon's Nighweaning Guide (online) to become a more sane mama.

*HUGS*
post #20 of 102
Hi, Kimberly--
I am holding my spirited/high needs 4 yo on my lap right now . At 22 mo, we were still *seriously* struggling with sleep. Well into the twos, actually. Well, actually, who am I kidding--it took her nearly an hour to fall asleep last night, lol.

Anyway, I can offer a different perspective. I *did* try lots of non-ap things when dd was a young toddler (I had not yet heard of ap, but had been ap-ing from birth instinctively, and then succumbed to social pressure to cio. I have long been back on the "ap-wagon" ).

All I can say is, not ap-ing did not solve any problems. In fact, it made things worse. A child with genuine sleep issues (like my dd) can not be "fixed" thru a good cry. The more detached style of nighttime parenting made dd very anxious, and she would even freak out during bedtime stories cause she knew I was going to leave her

So, I am not really offering any advice here. I do believe that all kids are different and it is ok to try different things--not stick to some ap protocol. I am just saying that it is easy to look at the grass on the other side (non-ap side), and think it must be greener---but in reality that is often just a fantasy. Most of us, in the end, ap because it *is* easier--a need met is a need that is quicker outgrown, yadda yadda yadda. But, some *kids* definitely are tougher than others. ****Way**** tougher.
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