Jesus is an attachment parent

I haven’t been in a great space lately. My head is swimming and I’m having a hard time getting coherent thoughts out - especially into blogland. It’s a combination of all sorts of things, but mostly, I think, a lot of growing pains.

This subject, though, is one that took me by surprise. It might be shocking to some of you that it’s been over 2 years since Brad and I have been to church with any regularity. We were part of a church that we loved and moved into an intentional community with people we felt drawn to and then, well … and then we had Gwen. She turned our entire church experience upside down and that, coupled with some other stuff, has left us not attending church regularly. That’s not to say that I don’t think about faith and God much - I do. I think about that stuff a LOT. But, sharing my space with a toddler and a (very busy) baby all day means that when I do think about anything, it’s gone just as quickly as it came.

Again, this subject just keeps coming to the front of my brain … and I thought, “Hey. Maybe I should blog about it.”

So, here I am. And here’s my crazy thought process. Read the rest of this entry »

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My son is huge!

Exhibit A:

Gil, shown in "I Love NY" onesie

Gil, shown in "I love NY" onesie, at 3.5 months

Exhibit B:

Gwen, shown in "I love NY" onesie, at 11 months

I’m telling you. He’s big. Probably already 15 lbs, although I’m not entirely sure. And also, who is the cute baby in that second picture and where did she go? Read the rest of this entry »

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More on Cry-It-Out

As the mommy wars wage on, a new article by the BBC points to science, yet again, to prove that cry-it-out is bad for babies. A quote from the author and mother of two, Dr. Penelope Leach states:

If you do not respond and if you refuse to respond, the baby knows no response is coming … The reason that a baby gives up after half an hour, three-quarters of an hour or an hour is that it has given up and that its expectations have been altered … I’ve heard it said that babies stop crying because they have learned that mummy wants them to go back to sleep. Babies are not capable of that sort of learning.

Now it remains to be seen. Will the proponents of cry-it-out ignore yet more scientific evidence that this method of ’sleep training’ is harmful for babies?

I hope not.

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Trusting kids: sleep

It’s interesting. I never thought I’d ever be thinking this ‘radically’.

With my recent research into home-schooling/unschooling and the ideas floating in my mind and beliefs forming about trusting our kids more completely, we’ve come up against something:

Sleep.

When did I make the shift from fully trusting in Gwen’s newborn sleep intuition to trying to dictate when and where she sleeps? Does this even make sense? Does anyone tell me when to sleep?

When Gwen was first born, I trusted her to sleep when she was tired and wake when she was rested - or, more often than not, hungry! I also trusted her to sleep where she felt safe, which generally meant in my or Brad’s arms. We brought her to bed when we went to bed and she slept snuggled up beside me all night.

It flowed so naturally. There were no struggles - except when she was fighting sleep and wouldn’t give in. But even then it was her struggling with herself, not with us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trusting

I’m doing a  lot of reading/listening/thinking these days about trust. Today, I listened to a podcast at Whatever Whatever Amen: Trusting Children (Part One). This is an excerpt from the podcast, a quote from John Holt’s How Children Learn:

“All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”

Here’s the comment I left on their page:

I’ve just recently started listening to your podcasts. The ‘AP sucks’ one got me hooked :)

So you asked some questions in your podcast, and alluded to some things that I’ve been struggling with. Since realizing that school isn’t really all that necessary (thanks to Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on schools killing creativity for getting that ball rolling!) I’ve realized that although school was easy for me and I (mostly) enjoyed it, I spent most of my schooling making my parents proud. Heck, I went into Biochemistry at University because it made my parents (and guidance counsellor) proud and happy. When I switched into Nursing, I was terrified to tell my parents for fear of their disapproval and even now at 26, married for almost 4 years with two kids, I’m terrified that if I don’t ever “use” my degree and work as a Registered Nurse, I’ll disappoint them (actually, I know I’ll disappoint them. My dad has said it on a number of occasions). So, do I trust myself? Hell no. I’ve been subtly told that I’m untrustworthy and incapable of making decisions for myself my whole life – but I’m darn good at making decisions to make other people happy. It sucks. It sucks second-guessing myself all the time. It sucks having to think “am I making this decision because it’s right for me or because it will make someone happy/proud?” every time I decide something.

I have a hard time knowing who I am and what I like to do. I mean, some things are obvious – I like to knit, I love to read, I’m passionate about environmentalism and breastfeeding, but beyond my hobbies and passions – who am I? I can’t answer that.

Do I trust my kids? Yes and no. I find it easy to trust infants/babies. Really, their needs are so few (and so obvious and so easily met, generally speaking) that it’s hard to argue that they aren’t trustworthy (although some people try *cough* Gary Ezzo *cough*. I trust 100% my son, Gil – he’s 5 weeks old. When he fusses or cries, I nurse him, comfort him, take him to pee/poo or change his diaper if it’s too late. That being said, I find it terribly difficult to trust Gwen, my 21-month-old. There’s a lot of information on attachment parenting babies – not so much on once they become little people! I find it hard not to slip into the “she’s manipulating me” “she’s testing me” “she doesn’t know what she needs” “she should eat more/sleep more/go to bed earlier” “she’s just being dramatic” “what’s wrong with her” “she shouldn’t feel that way” trap. I hate it and I try not to do it, but gosh darnit it’s HARD not to think those things and even harder, once you’ve thought them, to not take action on them.

Learning to trust is hard. We’re currently planning to unschool, and I’m learning every day to give up a little bit more control so that Gwen can learn about her environment, make messes and mistakes, and enjoy her life. I don’t want to pass on my distrust of myself, and I hope that the past 18 months of distrust in her is easily undone. I’m hoping to do things differently with Gil – for example doing baby-led solids (which we ended up at with Gwen anyways because she wouldn’t eat purees), not trying to force him to sleep separate than us, etc. I’m so looking forward to enjoying life with my kids and exposing them to different life experiences (a nutrient-rich environment – I like that analogy) and learning along with them!

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More on Cry-It-Out

Go read this post. It very eloquently explains why we won’t use any cry-it-out techniques at our house.

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Sleep .. or lack thereof.

Interestingly, I’m finding that adding a second child to our family has not, overall, made me nearly as tired as I thought it might.

Mind you, I’m napping when I can and going to bed a LOT earlier these days than I ever have - probably since grade 7 or 8 … maybe even earlier. I was a bit of an insomniac in those grades …

Gil falls asleep sometime between 7 & 8, we normally start Gwen’s bedtime around 8, and after my part is done (pj’s & diaper, nursing if she wants it, and tooth brushing), I head to bed with Gil curled up beside me. If it’s before 9, I might read for a bit, or like one night this week, enjoy a tv show with Brad.

Mostly, though, I’ve realized that I will only need to go to sleep that early for so long … because before too long, Gil will be sleeping well enough that I can ‘enjoy’ my evenings again.

I’m find this excerpt from Conscious Transitions - Motherhood: Layers of Letting Go to be very true of myself, emphasis mine:

But the main difference between my experience this time is so simple: I go to sleep earlier! I put Asher to bed, then I put Everest to bed and fall asleep with him. Most nights, I’m asleep between 8:30 and 9 pm. So even though I’m still woken up several times during the night and am usually awake for the day by 5 am, I feel relatively rested most days.

Here’s the thing: with Everest, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my evening hours in favor of sleep. I would have rather been exhausted than give up my private time or time with my husband at the end of the day. The sacrifices as a new mother were so overwhelmingly numerous that I couldn’t bear to let go of one more thing – especially something so essential as time separate from my child. More shocking than the sleep deprivation was what felt like an almost total obliteration of my separate selfhood. I grieved many things in the first months of new motherhood but at the core of the grief was the loss of self and the loss of the freedom I had before becoming a mother.

With the second child, I’ve already adjusted to having significantly less time to myself and the lack of freedom. I don’t experience it as a loss anymore because there’s an acceptance that this is what life is with young children. And over the last 5 1/2 years, I’ve learned how to find my separateness even when I’m in proximity to my kids.

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Rockin’ the motherin’

Two kids breastfed on demand.

One outing to the Ontario Early Years Centre.

One load of diapers in the washing machine.

One mother and one toddler well fed and watered.

Innumerable diapers changed and bums wiped.

Two afternoon naps coordinated and executed without crying or struggles.

One mom blissfully sleeping for an hour nestled up with the newborn.

Two loads of dishes washed and put away.

One food share divided and put away.

One fridge cleaned out.

One meal (that someone else made, thank goodness!) ready to go on the table.

I guess this is our new normal. I think I’m going to survive.

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So darned true!

Loving this post right now: The Superior Choice.

Um, yep!

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Tandem nursing - the early experiences

Gil is just over two weeks old. Although in some ways it feels like he’s fit right into our little family like he was never missing, in other ways, he is still very new, as are our experiences with him.

Gil has an almost constant need to nurse. Forget every 2 hours. Forget every hour. When this boy is awake, he is stuck like glue to my breast. When he sleeps, he sleeps hard - 1 or 2 hours at a time, minimum.

Gwen seems to be taking this in stride - most of the time, anyways. She seems to realize that “baby” needs mommy and needs to nurse. In fact, two days ago, Gwen was in my room with Gil and I while I was dressing for the day. Gil was propped up on a pillow on the bed looking around and Gwen was watching him. “Mommy. Baby.” She said. In Gwen speak, this means, ‘Mommy, I want you to hold Gil.’ I told her that just as soon as I was ready, I’d pick him up. “Mommy. Baby. Sling.” She said, again. I think I’ve got a novice babywearer on my hands! Read the rest of this entry »

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