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#1 of 74 Old 01-23-2012, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering if others might feel the way I do.... I am the proud momma to  crazy boys, 5 and 18 months. My brother had a child last week, which is very exciting to me, my brother and I were very close growing up and still are. At only one week old, this child already has a schedule, nursing every two hours - there is endless talk by my sister in law about getting him on a schedule and I have no doubt that in a few months time, he will be napping at set times, sleeping through the night ( as of now, they have to wake him to feed!..) She has even been out without him a few times, which blows my mind. I was a basket case with my first born, so busy concentrating on his every mewl and hiccup that, I swear I never put him down at all. He was always in a sling or in my arms, plus he was a high need babby, screaming when we went out, only slept on me etc. etc,

 

Even though I initially balked at the idea of putting a newborn on a schedule ( when I was there the baby was sucking at her arm, but she wanted to wait 'til it was 'time' to feed him, but eventually relented, when he upped his protests ) and I can't imagine not nursing on demand, I am lately secretly sort of envious of parents who commit to and successfully maintain schedules. My two boys are mowglis, playing all day, grazing on plates of this and that ( neither one would even stay in a high chair!! ) shouting, and laughing and generally getting into everything. My house is in a state of chaos, I am ok with a mess, but 12 games/toys out at once becomes hazardous! Rules, as you can imagine, are kept to a minimum. Now that my son is in 2 day a week homelearning program, this lack of parameters is glaringly obvious. he speaks his mind and questions authority in a mighty way - he is a choosy listener to put it mildly.

 

Anyone else with this sort of free-wheeling existence ever wonder how much easier it would be if there were more rules? I ache for some time to myself... my babe goes to sleep at 11 or 1 o clock, wakes up at 8 or 9, after waking a bazillion times each night - we co-sleep. Is it to late for me to establish a schedule? I made a conscious choice against a scheduled life, it doesn't suit me, but it seems I may have sacrificed a lot for this, and maybe done it too casually. Maybe kids need some concrete expectations..? Maybe not all kids rollerskate the hallways, capes flying, upon waking, with mum stuffing the odd mouthful of oatmeal into their mouths as they whiz by..? I used to be proud of their non-conformity, but now I wonder if I really missed the boat and that maybe things evolved that way for the sake of a little familial sanity? Thoughts please!!

 

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#2 of 74 Old 01-23-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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I think that is the pitfall to AP parenting.  I fell into your thought process too with my first born. Schedules aren't evil.. you can  have them without being strict and baby-wise about them.  Nursing a newborn on-demand doesn't need to evolve into 1am bedtimes for a 4 yr old.  We don't have a schedule that we adhere to daily.  Instead we have a general structure to our day.  Kids need structure... they need to know what is going to happen next and what is expected of them.   Rules don't have to mean policing a child's every move you can have a few clear expectations everyone follows.  Not rules just for the sake of having rules.  Our household rules are to be respectful of others and their belongings.  This rule applies to adults and children.   All rules center around that rule.  I had a really hard time transitioning from meeting my newborns every need immediately to recognizing I was trying to meet every whim of my toddler. It took me a long time to realize my toddler was throwing a fit about not getting what they wanted not that I was making them CIO.  It is not too late to change.  There may be some protesting at first but really kids need structure, boundaries, and clear expectations.  They are not mentally and emotionally capable to handle controlling everything in their lives.  I feel AP parenting  is child centered parenting.  In the infant days we need to respond lovingly and immediatiately to our babies, as the child grows we teach them lovingly how to cope with disappointments and frustrations while modeling right behavior through gentle discipline. It is not allowing our children to think they can do what they want when they want to without a care for those around them.  With all things it is a balance and finding that balance can be difficult.


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#3 of 74 Old 01-23-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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We have a similar dichotomy between us and my dh's brother and his wife.  I don't think she's nearly as set on the whole scheduling thing as your SIL, but by the time we met the baby when she was 7 or 8 mos old, she was so unbelievably scheduled it was over the top!  SIL was saying that she didn't want to schedule but it was the only way she could make life work.  She was in a very different situation than me, since she worked a pretty demanding full time job.  She was very sad about the fact that her daughter was usually asleep 45 minutes after they got home from picking her up at day care.  Recently, I gotta say, I was a little freaked by the prospect of SIL seeing where we live because it is a PIT compared to their house with no real grown up stuff in it, furniture all from thrift stores and garage sales, etc.  We only have one car.  We're pretty shabbily dressed.  lol  I think that she and I have both seen each other's grass as being greener at times.

 

When I'm feeling insecure and thinking of our differences, I see our dichotomy more as them being "grown ups" and us being 40 and still borrowing money from parents here and there and constantly having to hold our breath till the next paycheck.  They have two brand new looking SUV's and we bought a ten year old volvo but were so happy to be able to not have a car payment.  I am so embarrassed by how we live sometimes.  BUT when I'm feeling solid in my decisions I am so thankful that I've been able to spend all of this time with my kids.  I kinda think that even if we never catch up in the collecting of stuff and always have a slightly too-small house, our lives will have been a lot more satisfying for us and the kids this way. I hope!

 

As for the craziness of the kids growing up without proper meals at the table and lack of chore charts and whatnot.  I don't think I could live any other way.  My kids have always been happiest going to bed between 11 and 1 am, too.  I have mostly thrived off of it.  We'll see though in a few years.  I'm thinking it's either gonna bite us in the ass when they're teenagers, or it'll be great because they'll be strong and confident and happy.  I sure hope that goes the right way.  lol.gif

 

ETA:  I know most of what I say doesn't have a lot to do with how you're feeling, but I guess I see it as just a different side of the same coin.  Our siblings are doing things the way you're supposed to do them and we are not, which leads to insecurity about our chosen path.

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#4 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The 'emotional capability' part really resounds for me... I think DS1 is carving a little more structure than I provide. Part of it is heartfelt philosophy, part of it - sometimes- is pure, crazy fatigue... And it feels weird to me to do things I don't like myself.

 

Yes, rubidoux, I'm sure we seem like ferals to many!! ( Like our parents, lol....) Your SIL must be heartbroken to only see her LO for an hour, that would kill me. And chore charts.. the very thought! Yikes. And well, * ahem * I will admit that my 5 year old is nowhere near tidy. I remember someone in my AP-ish playgroup years ago showing secret delight when her high needs toddler went to daycare that he tidies up after himself!! I mean, it seems like a petty thing to emphasize, but.. whoa, the difference an organized house makes on the psyche. Many a day I have been volcanically grouchy - barely able to not be snappy- and I've realized it's a combination of feeling tired and pathetic and incapable because my house was closing in on squalor.

 

jnet, trying to see what you mean about your toddler throwing fits because he wasn't getting what he wanted.. how did you change that? My five year old is no toddler, but he masterminds ways to get exactly what he wants, relentlessly.... What's really bothering me right now is how he often says how much he hates his brother. After DS2 was born, we can't be exactly the same, lifestyle-wise, and he seems acutely aware ot it. It is so weird... I love my DS2 so much, but there is that sorrow there at losing something so intense and 100% committed  with DS1. I wonder is the things that bother me bother others....? I can't get the expectations thing to work! I lay down rules and DS1 is unmoved. Removing privileges doesn't hold much weight, he needs utter devotion then he is happy.  Of course I feel like a terrible person that I can't provide it, but reading your post I link what I notice; that he does seem more content when he knows what is going to happen. He should not have to meltdown before I start bedtime! The impossible balance... I need to find a way.


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#5 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 03:03 AM
 
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I too wish I had given more structure and discipline- I have a chaotic household and no one is thriving really- not ds not dd and not me.

They need it and I am trying to provide it- but it is just not in my makeup so it's a struggle.  I too don't want to make them do things I would not want to do- clean their rooms- tho right now their rooms are wasted space since they can't even barely get in them.

Ugh. I wish I had listened more to someone.


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#6 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 05:44 AM
 
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I think you need to let go of the idea that he has to be happy all of the time.  That is not how life works.  Imagine what is going to happen when he gets older and thinks everything has to be the way he likes it.  My kids still whine and throw fits I just respond differently.  I don't look at is as trying to make him happy, I look at it as trying to make him deal with not getting his way.  For example.. my five year old wants to play wii all day.  I told him he could play one more race.  The Race was over and I said it is time to turn it off.   He gets upset.  I say you can either turn it off or I can.  He normally choses for him to do it.  If he is upset I simply say I think it is fun to play wii too.  I don't like when it is time to turn it off but we need to go do something else now.  We can't play wii all day, but it would be fun if we could.  What else do you want to do.  If he is calm we go do something else.. if he is throwing a fit I simply say calmly I am sorry you can't play right now.. what else do you want to do... if it continues I say i am not changing my mind let me know when you are ready to do something else.  and then I walk away.  He can be upset I can help him deal with that and we move on.   That is gentle parenting.  I used to give into him bc I didn't want the battle but he learned I don't stick by what I say and then pushes harder the next time I say no.  I at times repeat over and over "I am not going to change my mind"  It is also a reminder for me that I can not change my mind.  Now it isn't always my way.. we negociate how much longer he can do something, or how many more minutes, I try to make where it is just how it is not that it is what i say bc I am the boss.  

 

Also I won't worry too much about him saying he hates his brother.  He is probably saying it bc he knows he gets a reaction from you.  Have you tried just responding with okay. Even if he doesn't particularly like his sibling, he is allowed to feel that way.  Having siblings is hard for kids, especially at first.  DS loves DD but yet I hear frequently I hate Emmy.  I just say those are not nice words and you are just angry at her.. or whatever it might be.  I only repsond that way bc DD knows what he is saying and I don't want her to feel bad about what he said.  When he says he hates me or DH I say that is okay you can be angry at me, sometimes I get angry too.

 

I read an article here a while back about why kids need structure.  It was from a women who traveled to a different country and looked at how we treat kids versus how other countries do.  I will have to look around for it.  But it was essentially that we give children too much control and choices.  Some control is for kids, but they need boundaries as well. It helps them to feel secure. I will check to see if I can find that article.. it really helped me change my prespective on the importance of boundaries.


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#7 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 05:54 AM
 
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Though I find some of the things she talk about a little OTT and eye rolly... I think the concept of being too child centered is an interesting one.   Hope you find it useful.

 

http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/whosInControl.html


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#8 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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It sounds like you are unhappy with the way things are going now and that your kids are needing a little more structure in their lives.  If you can't live the way you are living then it is definitely time for a change. There is nothing wrong with implementing a routine and some basic family rules into your lives.  It won't make you any less AP, but it will make you and your family much happier.  There is nothing wrong with not wanting to live in chaos. I know I would go crazy with no routine.  We are a busy family and I run a dog bakery out of my kitchen.  Without a routine and rules everything would just explode on me. I too can't feel comfortable when my house is in total chaos.  Start simple.  Come up with a workable routine and write it down for yourself.  Start with the basics - meal times, nap time, bedtime routine.  Come up with a few family rules like meals are eaten at the table or toys need to be picked up before bed.  Your kids will know what to expect, your house will be more orderly and you will feel more relaxed. There is nothing wrong with saying you need to sit at the table and eat your oatmeal before you put on your cape and roller skate down the hallway. smile.gif  There is nothing wrong with a bedtime routine and regular bedtime.  That would give you a little time to spend on yourself or with your dp.  That can make a huge difference in your life. What's really great is when kids go to bed about the same time at every night, they get up around the same time in the morning.  When you can have a basic idea of when to expect them, you can sneak in a cup of coffee or tea and collect their thought before they come crashing down the stairs.  What's great about kids is that they are people and people adapt.  I'm not saying that they won't give you a hard time when you make changes, but in the end everyone is going to be much happier.

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#9 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but I wanted to say that each child is different, thereby requiring different parenting.  I was AP from the get-go, and have three kids.  My first two fell into their own schedule very easily, and my life was fairly simple despite nursing on demand. Everything else had a loose schedule. They followed my cues on bedtimes, nap times etc. We didn't do CIO, but we also let them chat, babble etc to go to sleep without having to be right there.  They easily went into their own space when I tried, so these two made AP very natural and fulfilling for me.

 

Then I had my third...LOL.   He was never put down, was attached to me pretty much 24 hours a day from birth. He rarely napped, and even when he did, it was only on me.  He set his own schedule too, and his schedule was that he had none.

 

It just may be easier for your SIL. She may just have what people call an "easy baby". Good for her. However, that doesn't mean that if you did the same, it would have been as easy for you.

 

 

RE: scheduling the boys now, I don't see any reason why you can't. They will follow your cues. Do it slowly, and gently.  They're a little older now, no longer requiring physical attention constantly.  You sound like a fantastic mom, to be so in tune to your sons' needs, and I am sure you won't fail them. Give it a try. Don't expect overnight miracles, but I am sure it'll happen. Most children like to know what comes next in the day. You might find that the more you seek and end to chaos, the easier it becomes. :)


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#10 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zach's mom, thanks for the concrete tips, it can be that easy.. Something dawned on me that I likely would never care to admit, when I was reading your post - that I sort of stop trying getting him ( DS2) to sleep at a reasonable hour, as this extended our bedtime routine to about 2 hours, which is really hard to achieve with a toddler banging on the door and wailing "Mummmmmmmm" broken -heartedly.  My DH will do whatever it takes to distract him, but it's hard. I am really trying to protect his bedtime.. The problem with me is that DS2 is very strong willed and I am a natural caver, trying to be stronger. When I say bedtime, lately, it is met with far less opposition, 'cause the boy is exhausted, which is why he's not enjoying school, and why my parenting skills are flailing...etc. etc. Routine has to happen so that we can function, so that I can always be the mama I want to be. It is so daunting, but then I make things bigger than they are. Thanks for giving me even a rudimentary pic of what a normal day looks like.

 

My mum asked me " How many times did you try to keep him in a high chair?" for example...Four to five times, he - both of them - screamed or sat for one minute - then I sort of gave up, after trying a couple of different types of chairs hoping one of them would magically transform them into babies ( at the time ) that would sit and nibble contentedly while I cleaned the kitchen, ate something from a sitting position etc. etc. Good metaphor for the way I am... Free spirit or ultrawimp/ milksop?

 

Off to check out the continuum concept...


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#11 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Alphagetti, sounds like we have the same babe... a practically supernatural aversion to sleep, though my DS2 was good for the first 7 or 8 months. Now, I feel like he will never sleep, which makes it hard - but not impossible- to close in on a routine that works for us. After 4 nights on a few broken hours of sleep, I'm like " Sure, play with the bag of flour! Empty the cutlery drawer, looks like fun.."  Thanks for the words of encouragement.


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#12 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupena View Post After 4 nights on a few broken hours of sleep, I'm like " Sure, play with the bag of flour! Empty the cutlery drawer, looks like fun.." 



I am both LOL and totally relating to what you're saying....


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#13 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jnet24 View Post

I think that is the pitfall to AP parenting.  I fell into your thought process too with my first born. Schedules aren't evil.. you can  have them without being strict and baby-wise about them.  Nursing a newborn on-demand doesn't need to evolve into 1am bedtimes for a 4 yr old.  We don't have a schedule that we adhere to daily.  Instead we have a general structure to our day.  Kids need structure... they need to know what is going to happen next and what is expected of them.   Rules don't have to mean policing a child's every move you can have a few clear expectations everyone follows.  Not rules just for the sake of having rules.  Our household rules are to be respectful of others and their belongings.  This rule applies to adults and children.   All rules center around that rule.  I had a really hard time transitioning from meeting my newborns every need immediately to recognizing I was trying to meet every whim of my toddler. It took me a long time to realize my toddler was throwing a fit about not getting what they wanted not that I was making them CIO.  It is not too late to change.  There may be some protesting at first but really kids need structure, boundaries, and clear expectations.  They are not mentally and emotionally capable to handle controlling everything in their lives.  I feel AP parenting  is child centered parenting.  In the infant days we need to respond lovingly and immediatiately to our babies, as the child grows we teach them lovingly how to cope with disappointments and frustrations while modeling right behavior through gentle discipline. It is not allowing our children to think they can do what they want when they want to without a care for those around them.  With all things it is a balance and finding that balance can be difficult.



wow, great post, I totally agree with this!

 

My 7 y/o is a very pleasant, helpful and polite kid. It was a long journey from the co-sleeping, on demand nursing, CLW child. I believe this is mainly because we value self-discipline over discipline by a parent, and try (mostly successfully) to give them tools to become responsible kids.

 

My kids thrive on routines (not schedules); but it takes time and age-appropriate expectations. I can't ask my 2 y/o to get dressed in the morning or brush her teeth by herself. But my 7 y/o knows this is something he needs to do every morning before going to school. I can't ask him to make his lunch bag, but I can certainly ask him to help me, so he'll be able to do it by himself in a couple of years.

 


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#14 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Zach'smom View Post

It sounds like you are unhappy with the way things are going now and that your kids are needing a little more structure in their lives.  If you can't live the way you are living then it is definitely time for a change. There is nothing wrong with implementing a routine and some basic family rules into your lives.


I agree with this. My kids are now teens and what worked when they were babies didn't work when they were young children, and what worked when they were young children wouldn't work now. Every so often, we've had to make a conscious and deliberate shift.

 

It doesn't mean that what was happening before was *wrong* in any way, just that it is no longer appropriate. I'm sure that for some families, those transitions happen gradually and naturally. But for us, they have not. My DH and I have thought through what needed to change and then presented it to the kids. And  then stuck with it (making minor tweaks as needed).

 

Never leaving a baby to cry and BF on demand are wonderful things, but those same underlying principals of treating the child's desires in the moment and current feeling being the most important things in the world are not appropriate parenting past the infant stage.

 

A little structure is a good thing. We've gradually become VERY structured. It's wasn't because my ideal was structure or that was what come naturally to me, but rather, it's what the kids needed to thrive.


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#15 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 06:44 PM
 
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I agree with Linda that now your kids are past the infant stage, it's an good time to revisit how you've structured the house and the routine. I'll also say that my child with least internal regulation is the child who benefits the most from a routine/schedule. Our 7 year old would happily stay up until midnight or later reading or writing. That doesn't work for our family. So, she's got to go to bed earlier, and we've got to be fairly consistent about bedtime, even on days off. Yes, in some ways, it's giving up 'freedom'. But what dd gains by that is energy (both mental and physical) to be able to play more creatively, interact with us more calmly and enjoy life more without emotional overload.

 

What 1 or 2 things do you think would work to help  you feel better? Things that leap to mind are: Sleep routines for all of you, and maybe something like respectful speech with your 5 year old (or whatever else you put the highest priority on).

 

Reading between the lines, OP, are you reluctant to have your children cry? As someone else noted, you can't spare your children from all frustration and negative emotion. They need to experience the full range of emotion, positive and negative, so they develop skills to cope with them. I don't blame you for not using the high-chair as a child containment device when your kids were unhappy with it. We used a high chair, but it was only during meal times. The high chair was a way for the babies to be up and able to interact with us while we ate. We only used it at that time, and we started about 5-6 months. Maybe my kids were particularly mellow, but they never complained while we were eating. When they were done, they could get down. But I would not then play with them (a want) until I was done. I needed that time to eat. I get really really cranky when I'm overhungry. Were they frustrated that I didn't drop everything? Sure. Did they live? Yep. Do we still have a good relationship? Yes.

 

One of my concerns, OP, is that you seem to be prioritizing your children's wants (e.g., your 5 year old's desire to see you during the baby's bedtime routine) with your needs (the need to get the baby down so you can all be well rested). That may be making you so tired that you can't then attend to your children's legitimate needs. It's a hard shift to make, since when they're infants, want = need. But that's not true for a toddler or a 5 year old anymore. Maybe it's time for you to do some soul-searching and figure out what you need and want right now.  Sometimes as a parent, you do need to attend to your child's needs before your own. But you don't need to attend to your child's wants before your own needs. Your wants and the children's wants should be on par.

 

One more anecdote: When dd was 19 months, we tried to night wean her. She reverse cycled because she hated the bottle, and I work out of the home. She was home with dh during the day, but she would not take a bottle from him. I was OK with her reverse cycling at 6 months when I went back to work because she needed that food. We co-slept, and I survived feeding her 4+ times a night. By the time she hit 19 months though, she had a good range of foods she was eating and did not need to nurse all night. We'd also switched from having her co-sleep all night to starting her out in her bed and bringing her in when she woke at 1-2 am.

 

I knew I couldn't do the night weaning as she'd see/smell me and want to nurse. So, every night for 10-12 days, dh got up with her in the night and comforted her while she cried. Her protests never dwindled, and if anything, they got louder. I knew that she simply wasn't ready to night wean and we brought her back to bed with us. However, we did achieve reducing the number of times she nursed. She went from nursing pretty much constantly to nursing when she came into bed and again at 6 am.

 

I've got two points here: First, if you try to change something and give a good try, it's OK to say "it's not the right time to do this, we'll try later" (I did eventually nightwean at 3.) The other point comes from my dd. Dd remembers that time. She describes being in her crib and screaming and having daddy come pick her up. The overriding emotion she connects with that memory is not one of being abandoned or afraid. She describes being MAD. "I was really mad. I wanted YOU. I didn't want Daddy." Our daughter experienced a powerful emotion, had someone there to help her (but not remove it), and survived. She doesn't hold it against us and I don't think this is something she'll need to bring up in therapy.


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#16 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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This is a great thread.  I am going to keep re reading it.


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#17 of 74 Old 01-24-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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I reread your posts Lupena and I wanted to tell you that you are a good mom.  We get so caught up into doing everything the right way that we forget that the right way is always changing.  Like a PP said each child is different, and you know each situation is different and the day may be different too.  You are not giving yourself enough credit.  You are not a failure as a mom bc your child went to bed late.  Imagine how the world would be like if  that was the worst thing any mom ever did. You are allowing your child to explore their world be creative and energetic.  Raising free thinkers and leaders. Those are all qualities we want our children to have. You love you children, you are looking for support, and really everyone's parenting falls short of perfection. But at least you are striving to do the best for your child.  Give yourself more credit.


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#18 of 74 Old 01-25-2012, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, I feel honored by such beautiful, deeply considered responses! I keep finding new, huge,  things to consider.

 

It has really brought up so many feelings I think I have been suppressing, like the fear that I am not doing things 'right' whereas before I was sure there was not a right or a wrong. I have this ongoing sense of being in limbo, like I am waiting for the perfect conditions to assert themselves so that I can 'fix' things. But perfect conditions are shaped by us, if I could improve the ( lack of ) routine and follow through, I know things would improve in many ways. Maybe the baby would even sleep.. All the PP that said that we need to change, that dynamics change and we need to adapt are so right. Maybe I am just in some kind of stasis, mourning the way we were, instead of having the sense to adapt to the now. I feel like I am just getting through the now, a way I never thought I would ever feel.

 

Quote:

"Reading between the lines, OP, are you reluctant to have your children cry? As someone else noted, you can't spare your children from all frustration and negative emotion. They need to experience the full range of emotion, positive and negative, so they develop skills to cope with them."

 

Oh, yes... I think I certainly am!!!  And am starting to suspect that I have cheated DS1 somehow, as he shouts/screams for his way so often, and the barrage is so constant, that in order to have certain things happen (i.e. bedtime. broccoli!! ) I have resorted to matching his intensity because I am at a loss at what to do to even make a legitimate stand.

 

Clumsy metaphor... something as simple as putting a baby to sleep; one night (and only one night!) my one year old child fell asleep beside me without nursing down, bouncing, rocking... anything. I felt like jumping out of bed and screaming in triumph that had never happened to me before, ever! And I am not clueless, I have read and agreed with ideas like those in books like" The aware baby." that 'prescribe' the supported outpouring of emotion for settled happy kids, but still - I could not accomplish that one thing, other than that one time. Instead I am putting babe to sleep for hours repeated nursings, furious bouncing in his kanoe, until I am a bag on nerves. I am in awe of the practical/capable- a mother who can put her baby to sleep without nursing (or other devices.) who seem to have magical powers.

 

At the crux of this, as so many of you have so adeptly pointed out is that, is this still working for me? Has it ever worked? Yes, when I had one child, and for about a year, year and a half when I was being beautifully broken in, an utter love-slave, but now? Resounding no...And I feel huge guilt, like I have changed my expectations unfairly, that I would do anything to not be a bully or a meanie..But in reality this wishy-washiness doesn't help anyone. My 5 year old is beyond entitled, and it is probably making him a little lost, confused when his ‘needs’ are not met by others, hurt when they regard him with disapproval, which kills me. I feel selfish for being grouchy at times, but that discontent comes from not having a moment to paint, to clean, to be.

 

Case in point, the other day when we were visiting my mum's DS1 was having his normal fit over leaving and my mum - who is a huge advocate of my son's and understands him on many levels - got frustrated and threw up her hands and made some disparaging remarks. My son just melted down, threw stuff, started screaming, ran away.. I followed and instead of the usual ongoing/ amping up tantrum (NOOOOO... I'm NOT leaving!! ) He just sort of melted into my arms and I whispered that his 'popo' loves him, she loves you no matter what... and my mum came in and held him and whispered to him and he left so nicely, quiet as a lamb, maybe the easiest 'leaving' ever. Using this as a metaphor ( again! )  I guess, but he freaks out when it seems anyone dislikes/ disapproves of anything he does, he turns into a Tasmanian devil. I have being trying to understand/decipher this for so long... but I think it's me - never saying no -  except when I'm pushed to the brink, or exhausted (and only since DS2 arrived) when I do it in all the wrong ways. Poor little man, how crappy must it feel to have such huge feelings and not know how to cope? I've always told him getting mad is ok, but certain reactions hitting ( brother, dad...) are not, and all the talking hasn't had any tangible effect. I think lack of routine consequence must be near the heart of it. And I used to roll my eyes to myself when people talked about it.

 

Thanks everyone for your words of support... I am so prioritizing my child's wants ( Lynn S6 ) and I am afraid of his reactions, afraid of making him mad, afraid that I stole something vital from him when I had DS2, afraid that he will be compared unfavorably to mellow happy DS2, sad that I can't give him all I used to... which makes me resentful. It has been so hard to adjust to this lack of sleep and constant placating that I have to do; I have allowed all this wildness to stand in for something that requires more work and would be better for us as a family. And bring me back to the normal, slightly frantic but joyful and optimistic person that I am supposed to be.

 

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#19 of 74 Old 01-25-2012, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I'm so long-winded.. coming close to realization..!

 

Oh, and Jnet 24, you hit the nail on the head too - I often feel like a pathetic idiot of a mother that I can't get my kids to sleep or get them to sit down to eat, but maybe I should remember to be proud of the bigger things, the stories I tell them, the love I give them, even the craziness sometimes... I have to remind myself, this wasn't all accidental.

 

Let me know if you find that article, I would love to see it!

 

Most of us here don't raise " Yessir, no sir, three bags full sir..." kinds of kids, and that can be difficult, occasionally crazy, and still - important.


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#20 of 74 Old 01-25-2012, 04:41 AM
 
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Whatever boat you are in Lupena- I am in it too- I am about to jump ship and start doing things different. My kids are 6 and 8 so there is a lot of unlearning to do... but I am going to do what the one mother suggested focus on one change at a time.


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#21 of 74 Old 01-25-2012, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Me too!


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#22 of 74 Old 01-25-2012, 11:53 PM
 
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Don't be too hard on yourself! Five is a very good age to learn that mom has needs that sometimes trump yours. You haven't short-changed your son. You've recognized that he needs to learn some new skills, and I'm sure you'll figure out a way to help him do that.

 

It may help you to focus on the positive too -- what has your son gained by gaining a brother? What have you done right? What have your kids gained by having a very relaxed home?

 

None of us are perfect parents. I yell at my kids too often. I get grumpy and tired. Our house is cluttered. Actually, right now is the longest period we've managed to keep the main living area looking decent. And you want to know why? My kids are older! Not only are they finally past the stage of pulling every toy off the shelf, they're actually real help in cleaning up. When I told dd to clean up the clutter in the living room the other night, she did. When I ordered ds to scrub the floor during chore time he did. And he got most of the bad spots clean. Our dishes get done much more regularly because ds empties the dishwasher (after we remind him). It's so much easier to do dishes if you don't first have to empty the dishwasher. When my kids were 1 and 4 (and 2 and 5, and probably 3 and 6), I used to joke that we didn't need a burglar alarm. We had toys strewn across the floor that would trip up just about anyone! My point is: It gets better.

 

And I can't emphasize enough how important an individual child's temperament is. If I'd only had ds, life would have been grand. He slept long stretches, was very regular in his schedule by about 6 months, is pretty calm generally. He had a few tantrums, but not much. He's rather stubborn in his own quiet way, but was amenable to reason at a very early age.

 

Then we had dd. The child is 7 and she still doesn't have a sleep schedule! She still wakes at 1 or 2 every morning and comes into our room to sleep (we had to kick her out of our bed at age 4 because she got too big and she would always try to kick OUR covers off when she got hot). To say that she's intense at times is an understatement. She's highly dramatic and very emotional. She still has meltdowns regularly. For example, last week, she hit her brother because the basketball game he was watching on TV went into overtime, and she'd been promised to be able to watch her show when he was done. She was frustrated that she had to wait. She'd already hit her brother once, and I'd told her that if she hit him again, she was done with TV. She lost her TV privileges. What did she do? Stomp, scream, rage and tell me "My brother is ruining my life!" She takes a lot more energy to parent than ds does, that's for sure. She's a long way from being able to regulate her emotions consistently, especially if she's tired or hungry. How much of that is our parenting? How much of it is genetics? (I have memories of hurling toys across my bedroom when having a tantrum, and I must have been 5 or 6.)

 

There isn't one "right" way to parent. And the rotten thing is, once you've figured out a way that works for you, your kids change! And when your kids change, darn it, you have to change what you do too. And then you enter into a period of disequilibrium where you feel incompetent again for awhile until you figure out how to make it work.

 

So, you're in a period of change. You sound like a very caring, attuned mother. You can take constructive criticism, reflect on what's going on and see the need to change. Those are some pretty strong skills that will see you through.

 

(And just remember, even scheduled babies grow up to be toddlers and 3 year olds!)

 

 

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#23 of 74 Old 01-26-2012, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Lynn! Your DD sound so much like my guy... he is rarely never intense. I feel crazily blessed to have him, but he is always a handful, everything he wants must be done when he wants it, or massive gut-wrenching  negotiations ensue. I know it's confounded by DH, who has to be told continuosly not to use the word 'no' with him, whether it's 'practical' or not. It doesn't work. Watching him and other kids, including DS2 I figure he's the equivalent of ten kids. But I wouldn't change him.

 

Like you said, if DS2 was my only child, by life would be far different. It's nice to hear about things resolving with your kids,, a bit more order is majorly called for, thanks for the good words.


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#24 of 74 Old 01-26-2012, 11:51 AM
 
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I know how you feel about never getting any sleep and wondering if you could have done something differently.  But, my first had night terrors and cried for 3 hours every night for many months.  She wouldn't let me put her down for the first several months of her life and she didn't nap on her own until she was 10 months old.  I think she had GERD, but I am not going to pump her full of drugs, if holding her upright solves the problem.  If I let her cry at all she would go into hysterics and throw up.  For awhile there any car ride over 10 minutes would result in hysterical crying and throwing up.

 

  I admit, I don't like crying, but I think it is ridiculous to suggest that is why I pick up my baby.  (I have done a lot of reading on this subject and know Althea Solter's theories about the need to cry, but that doesn't change night terrors.  I have 3 kids and only the 1st had night terrors, but they all wake to nurse at night).

 

She was my first baby, but not the first baby I ever took care of, so I knew it was not ME... but her (and maybe my genes!).

 

I watched my infant brother when I was 22 years old. And lived at home with my parents and him.

He was a natural scheduler.  He would fall asleep at 7 PM no matter where he was.  When he was over 6 months old and eating, if we had a late diner, he was asleep in his high chair.   He woke at 5:30, had a bottle (he was adopted) and then went back to sleep for a couple of hours when he was first born.  Then up and play and eat and back to sleep.  He was a wonderful sleeper.  I would rock him to sleep with a bottle for naps.  (After the first couple of months my dd HATED being rocked and neither of my boys would allow me to rock them to sleep either).  My little adopted brother slept in a bassinet near my parents at first, but later easily adjusted to the crib (they did put him to bed with a bottle though).  My dd would not sleep unless she was up against my breast.

 

I didn't do anything to "put" my brother on a schedule, he did it himself.   My mom was afraid he was going to have sleep problems because I had had sleep problems as a baby and child.  He never had any sleep problems, nor did he have a stubborn temperament at all.

 

8 years later I had my first born girl.  Full of sleep problems, night terrors and, surprise, surprise, a stubborn temperament - just like me.  Come to find out, dh was a super clingy baby.  So, I got the best of all worlds with my dd.  But you know, it's not natural to use a clock and "time" (some bizarro man-made construct) and cribs to raise a baby.  (i mean it was called crib death for a reason).   And all the years in the early 1900's where parents were told to ignore their infants and leave them in cribs is what led to WWII.  The Germans really believed they were doing the right thing when the beat the sh** out of their kids to get them to behave.  That really worked out well for creating the Nazi Youth Groups where young people, who where angry and detached could find something to attach themselves too - the Nazi group, and some "other's" to beat-up on - Jews, Gays, mentally and/or physically disabled people, etc...  

 

I don't want to raise a child that is disconnected and angry.   I would love to have a schedule and maybe we could have had a loose one with my other 2 kids, but my first dd continues to be stubborn and have sleep issues, so that make is hard to keep a schedule for the others.  What am I gonna do?  beat her down?  That seems to be what the culture expects.

 

This culture is just a blink in time and I will not be a slave to it.  :D 

 

I agree that you should do what you need to do to make yourself feel better, but it isn't always about trying to CONTROL another person.  Sometimes it is about learning to accept that you can not control things.  People who were raised by controlling parents find this more difficult to accept (especially because their controlling parents think they are nuts for not controlling their baby).   I just wish everyone would sympathize/help  people with hn babies rather than acting like they have some better way of parenting, just because their babies are more easy going.

 

Best wishes, good luck!

 

Andee

 

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#25 of 74 Old 01-26-2012, 04:44 PM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread, but want to throw something out there.

 

OP - I know this is really about thinking through your approach, and wondering if the loose, flexible thing is working. (I'm there, too - I thrive on loose and flexible. DD1 thrives on loose and flexible. DS1 thrived on loose and flexible. DS2...doesn't. We're really trying to figure out how to structure things.) It's hard to know exactly what to do.

 

But, I also want to bring up the subject of temperament. I know a woman who had a baby, and had him on schedule, and touted the benefits of it to everyone. I met her and her son when he was about five. He was quiet, well behaved, and did very well on the highly structured, scheduled regime she'd had in place since he was a newborn. Then, she had some more kids. She's not the type to eat humble pie, but she could wolf down an whole oven's worth. She did the schedule again...and her kids were/are borderline feral. They're kind of out of control, hate being scheduled and structured, and are just...I can't describe them. I think they're great kids, but they're not, in any way, evidence of the overwhelming awesomeness of structure and schedules. She knocked herself out for years to make sure things were structured and scheduled, and it didn' work. It simply didn't work with the temperments of her other kids. They're quite a bit older than her son was when I met him, and they've never been anything like he was.

 

If I were going by her first, I'd be thinking, "wow - that's obviously the way to go". If I were going by her others, I'd assume structure and schedules just create backlash and chaos.

 

It depends, at least in part, on the child(ren) in question.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post


But, I also want to bring up the subject of temperament....... She knocked herself out for years to make sure things were structured and scheduled, and it didn' work. It simply didn't work with the temperments of her other kids. They're quite a bit older than her son was when I met him, and they've never been anything like he was.

 

If I were going by her first, I'd be thinking, "wow - that's obviously the way to go". If I were going by her others, I'd assume structure and schedules just create backlash and chaos.

 

It depends, at least in part, on the child(ren) in question.


Agreed.

 

I also think that going by what some one SAYS they are going to do is really different than watching how things play out over the years. Most parents start off with one plan and end up tweaking if not changing it altogether. Or do one thing for one child and something different for another.

 

What your relatives are PLANNING on doing and what they END up doing may be different things. I knew a lot more about parenting before I had any kids. bag.gif And then our first DD was such an easy baby, we just thought we were great parents and that our *style* produced happy, easy babies. I thought she was happy because I was such a great mom.

 

Then we had a second child who screamed for about a year. No matter what we did. So, obviously, it didn't have anything to do with me. Some babies are just easier than others. shrug.gif

 

May be they will do everything they plan on, but may be not. And may be it will all work for this kid, but not the next. Or may be it will work out just peachy for every child they have, but even in that unlikely scenario, it doesn't really matter. It only matters if what you are currently doing is working out for you and your kids.

 

You can relax on the comparisons and just be happy for them than that have a new baby and that everything is going fine. That's a lot right there to be happy about.


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#27 of 74 Old 01-27-2012, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so enjoying this dialogue, it is very liberating! It is so good to hear so many PP's defending all of our - kids and parents - right to uniqueness. No matter how many times we consider how easy this or that might be if only our kid's complied, it seems so wise and necessary to remember we cannot quash them into whatever suits us best, even if we had that inclination.

 

I would never want to change my kids, though I definitely would enjoy the predictability of certain things, like sleep - who doesn't want that?

 

My DS 1 always went to sleep late -from 11 to 12 most nights and some people seemed horrified by this, others would laugh conspiratorially, happy to hear there were others like them out there. He would sleep his full 10 hours and we didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn, so it wasn't a big issue. I am a night owl and an all-over-the-place person, so having a strict regiment is something I can truly say I could never apply myself to. I love doing unscheduled things. Spontaneity makes up many of my fondest memories, and my sons - taking buses to unknown neighbourhoods, unplanned ferry-rides, our much talked about- midnight walks ( we used to go when DS1 couldn't sleep.. ) Sure, some things are more difficult - we can not sleep over at relatives at all, but that is not a serious loss. I do worry that he is tired long before he goes to sleep and subject to meltdowns, but ( like PP One Love was talking about ) I myself stay up way past any sensible hour when I'm in a zombie-state to, as does my mum, my husband.... I do admit to the odd push and pull, when I see how co-operative some 'scheduled' kids are, but cribs and fully-planned days are anathema to me, even before I had kids. I am very comforted by the thought that this is them, not just me... from others in the same boat! I mean, I have thought about it, known it, lived it, but - again- it is is so nice to hear it staunchly defended by so many PP's !!!

 

I'm fairly comfy with chaos, though a little order would probably be beneficial to everyone's needs. I have to make the balance ours, and nobody else's... It's so weird when you're a person that is kind of proud of being different and are suddenly shaken by the status quo you've always questioned.  I def. want to honor keep my ( largely unshakable...!) conviction that kids DO bring a whole lot with them, and try my best to be intuitive and understand what level of order/routine they need to thrive.

 

So, maybe haven't missed the boat... different trip altogether?

 

Can't wait to re-read all this wisdom...

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#28 of 74 Old 01-27-2012, 04:47 AM
 
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I think you can get down on yourself all you like, but if you have two children and one of them is just five and the other is an infant, it doesn't really matter what parenting philosophy you follow. It doesn't even matter whether you were incredibly disciplined with DS1 all the way through. You have a kid who is an age when many children find it hard to give up attention, and an infant who, no matter what people say about schedules, needs a lot of attention. If you were strict and tough and a martinet, you'd still be facing this. If you were a Continuum Concept parent, you'd be facing this. It's just the way it goes for many families!

 

Now, if you don't like your older child's manners, for the sake of not losing your mind, it would be good to teach him. Love might mean never having to say you're sorry, but attachment parenting does NOT mean never having to say please and thank you! It really is not a problem whether the child sat in a high chair or whether you made him. No one has to sit in a high chair in adulthood, but everyone has to learn how to come to a meal with others and how to leave it. Manners are a skill, like reciting the alphabet, that you start when the child is little and that progress to more interesting lessons as they get older. You can still be an attached mom and teach these skills. 

 

I realize that I have it much easier than you on this one, because I have one child. Do you also realize that I have it easier, that the dynamics of two children are tougher until you and the kids get the hang of it? Don't let your sister-in-law's example discourage you--she has one, tiny baby. Your SIL is talking endlessly about getting him on a schedule because she's sleep-deprived. I think you know that! 

 

 


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#29 of 74 Old 01-27-2012, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, of course they need some social skills, otherwise- as I often say to my 5YO, there would be chaos everywhere! But, yes, Cap. Optimism I agree, no matter what I'd be facing some challenge.

 

But, when DS1 was an infant I never gave a thought to schedules and I was mega-sleep deprived. I catered to every whim, lifted at every pre-mewl... He was only happy sleeping on me, I was crazy happy if he slept at all. And keeping track of nursing, BM's naptimes? No way, he was always nursing. What I wondered, in a moment of weakness, was; does an ordered existence in the beginning mold a more content, happier, ultimately easier babe? I heard a lot of valuable testimony that maybe it does not.

 

Plus, if SIL  has an easy babe, or a crazy babe ( which I think is unlikely..) it will be loved, mightily, by all of us. 

 

Sure, I will have some envy if he goes to bed at 7 o'clock and sleeps 'til 8! I always joke to mothers about it " They sleep how long? Wow, you're a lucky mama.." Makes them feel good about it, however long it lasts, helps me make light of it!

 

Now I'm figuring out that maybe my fellas, no matter what may never follow that schedule, and I could never enforce something so far from their inclination. But I can inch it back, and encourage the gentle routine that may help them flourish?


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#30 of 74 Old 01-27-2012, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lupena View Post

 

But, when DS1 was an infant I never gave a thought to schedules and I was mega-sleep deprived. I catered to every whim, lifted at every pre-mewl... He was only happy sleeping on me, I was crazy happy if he slept at all. And keeping track of nursing, BM's naptimes? No way, he was always nursing. What I wondered, in a moment of weakness, was; does an ordered existence in the beginning mold a more content, happier, ultimately easier babe? I heard a lot of valuable testimony that maybe it does not.

 

 

I didn't really answer this question. I will tell you that ds1's infancy was much as you describe (except that I had to go back to work when he was very little, but my MIL and sister alternated childcare, and my ex was home quite a lot - they all handled him the same way I did...except that they gave him bottles of breastmilk, of course - but they held and cuddled him while he ate). He's almost 19, and he's honestly probably the most emotionally well adjusted person I know. I know - I'm his mom, and I'd think he's awesome, anyway, but I've had a lot of other people comment on it. He's a very well adjusted young man. I don't think the lack of schedules and structure hurt him any. :)


Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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