I have been away for a long time. I was just thinking about everyone this morning when I woke up, and I had a PM from LizD in my inbox.
Yes, life has indeed been busy. Where to start.....my home day care keeps me hopping, my on-line biz has been buzzing, and my kids keep growing. My oldest dd is in college, my second has been applying to colleges, taking her SATs and such, my oldest ds has been doing better with his school issues (not exactly ADHD, but not exactly NOT ADHD), my 11yo, 8yo and 5yo have the mellowest schedules, Gunnar turned 3yo this month and is still nursing, and has issues that we are trying to work through, and Landen...well Landen did finally get 2 teeth last week. He is still one of my smallest babies, he can still fit into 6-12 month size clothes! :LOL Here is Landen
a couple of weeks ago. He is scooting everywhere, and like to get up on his hands and knees but doesn't do a proper crawl yet. He doesn't eat any table food yet, still just nursing. Last dr visit I think he was 21 pounds, right around 6 1/2 months.
I didn't get to read the entire thread here (430 replies!!!
) , but there were a few things I wanted to respond to.
AP....We co-sleep, I breasfeed my babies until they are ready to wean, I sling my babies, I cloth-diaper, I use gentle discipline, etc., etc.,.....But I don't call myself AP. I am simply a mother, parenting my babies and children the way that is most natural to me. By taking on a label such as AP, I would feel as though I need to do it *right*, or *by the book*, and then I would end up feeling guilty for some reason or another. For example, when Codey and Gunnar were babies, they grew at phenomenal rates. They both weighed 20 pounds by the time they were 8 weeks old. I simply could not physically sling them for long periods of time. I had to use the infant car seat (aka-baby bucket) when I went grocery shopping. At the time, especially when Codey was a baby (he is now 11yo, and it was then that I was first hearing the term "Attachment Parenting"), I felt like an AP failure. I was embarrassed. How insane is that? I felt as though I didn't deserve to have a baby if I couldn't carry them non-stop.
I have parented this way for 19 years. Melisa slept in our room, in our bed many nights. I was still trying to follow the mainstream when I had her, but it didn't feel right. When Kayla was born, 17 years ago, I said screw the mainstream, I am going to do this the way that is right for us, and I am not going to apologizefor it, or feel I have to explain it to anyone. Now, I still parent the way that is best for us, and most of it is what is considered *AP*. But I have my limits.
I am not a martyr, that isn't good for anyone. I take care of myself, which makes me able to take care of my kids. I have basic human needs, and if those needs are not met for myself, how can I help meet those needs for my children? Yes, my children come first, and they are my priority. But what good does it do them, if I go without eating because I am too busy, or sleeping because there is too much to do? I will be unhealthy physically and emotionally. I do things for myself. Not a lot, really. I sew, I enjoy sewing. I learned how to knit. When I really NEED a break, when I NEED to do something for myself, I tell my kids. They understand. Yes, they do understand. My 3yo understands when I say "Mommy needs to finish eating, then I will get your drink." My 14yo ds understands when I say "I need to go take a shower, please keep an eye on the baby." And my older girls understand when I say "Daddy and I need to go out and talk for a while, will you please watch the younger kids for a couple of hours." They see that self-care and self-preservation is important. They know that everything I do is for them. They are what keeps me going.
Babies have needs that are more pressing and demanding than older children. I will drop what I am doing to meet the needs of a baby, whether it be a diaper change, a nursing, or just holding them because they are fussy. A toddler can wait a little longer, I think. Gradually, as they become less egocentric, they can empathize more and consider another person's needs. So, gradually, I am able to do more for myself. In the end, I feel that they learn a lot about treating themselves with respect, which makes it possible to treat other well.
Dh and I have similar *rules*. We do not undermine each other, ever. If we disagree with something the other has done,we talk about it away from the kids. If we decide to alter some direction, we do it together, as a united front. My oldest has been trying to play us off each other lately. She is 19yo, but is still a dependent child living at home, so still has the same rules as everyone else. Curfew, etc. She was not allowed to go out one weekend because she lied to me (she said she finished her chores, which were basically just to make sure the laundry was dried before she left. Instead, she took the wet clothes and hid them in her closet so we wouldn't know. She was grounded for the weekend), and she tried to tell dh that I was wrong, that I was over-reacting, that she really needed to go see her boyfriend. He told her that if her consequences were already given, he wasn't going to change it without talking to me. As it was, the consequences stood, and we told her that we will not respond to her trying to play us against each other.
Our other rules have to do with conflict. When we argue, sometimes it is apparent to our kids that something is up. We do disagree (okay, argue) in front of our kids. But I think it is okay for kids to see their parents disagree. Darren and I never call names, we never swear at each other, and we never attack each other no matter what. We keep our comments to the matter at hand. My kids see this, but they also see us come to resolution as well. Other people may not agree with this, but I feel it is important for kids to realize that A)two people who love each other can get angry at each other and it isn't the end of the world. B)They see how to argue/fight/disagree respectfully. C)They can understand and not be afraid of their own feelings of anger. D)They see human responses to situations that come up in life.
Well, this has gotten pretty long for my first time back in months. Glad to see everyone again.