Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: a state of flux
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My dd was unvaxed (until age 2), no CIO not even a second, worn almost constantly, slept mostly on me, blah blah blah blah blah.
She was calm as a baby in some respects, fussy in others. No, she did not cry a lot, but I went to extreme measures to keep her from crying. I often stood in the bathroom with all of the water sources running full blast, while rocking her vigorously, for over an hour. Because if I stopped rocking or turned off the water she would wail. To put her to sleep took hours of walking her in the sling. If I stopped she would cry. But I was determined to be AP Superwoman so I did actually manage it so she didn't cry so much!
And when she turned about 6 months, the sleep thing continued to be hard (actually it got progressively worse over the next year) but her disposition became so sunny, she was such a happy and alert baby, and seemed quite calm in almost every situation.
As a young toddler she was very normal. On the go, but not overly so. Other than the sleep, no issues besides the normal developmental ones.
Now she is a 2.5 yo and I'd say the same. She has her little fussy quirks. She is somewhat high-needs. But she is not the most hyper or UN-calm kid I know who is her age, by a long shot. I don't know how better to describe it; just in the middle I guess, temperament-wise. She is very chatty and interested in the world. She also is defiant and throws tantrums sometimes, and we still have a real hard time at night with bedtime although she finally (hallelujah) sleeps through.
I have no idea whether anything I did contributed to her personality, or what. My feeling is that her temperament is somewhat high-needs but not seriously high-needs, and that she is securely attached and happy, and that parenting has obviously contributed to this. But parenting cannot obviate crying or tantrums or difficult behavior; I think almost every kid (excepting kids born with serene temperaments who are just sort of immune to difficult behavior - I'm told they exist) has periods of difficult behavior and developmentally normal frustration, defiance, crying (for an infant), whatever.
All we can do is try to understand why it happens and help our kids make the most of their temperaments. I'm not sure stopping all crying should be the overall goal with infants, actually, although it was a major focus of my day. I just couldn't bear to hear her cry. Perhaps it was the right thing; I just don't see how it would have been feasible if I had had to work or had had another child...I refuse to believe that parents of 2 or more are somehow shortchanging #2, #3 etc. if they can't prevent all of their crying the way they might have been able to for #1. I think babies are more resilient than that.
I also want to say that AP practices have helped foster an amazing bond between my dd, my dh and I. I am SO glad I "found AP". Yet, there are things I would do differently, not as AP, if I had them to do over. I would not cling to co-sleeping when it obviously wasn't working for anyone. I would nightwean sooner. I would learn how to swaddle a baby properly; that might have helped her sleep better in the early days!! And, most of all, I would TRY not to beat myself up so much for not being a perfect mama.