Thursday, December 23, 2010


My son has been teething, which has left us with some long nights in my house.  For a baby who has slept through the night since six weeks, and parents that got spoiled by that, it was a little difficult to adjust.  I eventually just put Josh in bed with us and let him cuddle Mommy and Daddy.  That and some baby Motrin seemed to do the trick, and now that the pesky tooth has popped through, we're back to sleeping peacefully.

But while this was going on, my husband mentioned on his facebook page that we were up off and on all night with a sobbing baby.  A few people oh-so-helpfully replied that we should just let Josh "cry it out."

I had never heard of this.  After researching the links and reading the books these people(who cannot possibly be mothers) sent me, I wish I never had.  I will not be posting links to these sites or mentioning books by name, but in short, proponants suggested:

*Letting your baby cry for as long as it takes to fall asleep, after making sure their "needs" are met.  By this, I presume they mean physical needs, and completely ignored the baby's emotional and psychological needs to cuddle and be secure.

*Not worrying if baby cries so hard he vomits.  One "reputable" website assured worried parents this was "normal."

*Babies should not be fed at night after a certain age/weight, and ignored when they cry, because they are just trying to manipulate the parents.

My reasonable reaction to the above claims is: where is CPS when you need them?

So here and now, I say....I will never let Josh cry it out.  Josh sometimes gets a little fussy and wants to lay down and put himself to sleep, so I put him in the playpen and he's usually asleep after a minute or two.  If he isn't, I pick him up and cuddle him to sleep--which feeling my precious son's head on my shoulder, holding him in my arms, is a beautiful thing that I don't take for granted.  If he wakes up in the night, he knows that Mommy is going to come in and change his diaper, snuggle him back to sleep if he needs it,  feed him if he needs it.  Josh knows that when he cries, Mommy or Daddy or Grandma or an aunt is going to come get him, love him, and meet his needs.
I am a child centered Mom.  Parenting isn't about me or my schedule.  Josh has his own schedule--he wakes up, plays for a while, starts crying when he wants Mom, eats, plays, sleeps, plays, eats, plays all afternoon, eats again, plays, eats, and goes to bed for the night.  My schedule for Josh would be: wakes up, eats, plays, takes a nap, eats, plays, takes another nap, eat again, playtime some more, bath and bed.  Josh isn't interested in all those naptimes, he's good with 20 minutes in the morning.  But it's not about me. It's about what my son needs.
I am not really an attachment parenting guru, either.  I didn't feel a great deal of sadness when I realized breastfeeding wasn't working out for us.  Actually, all I felt was a lot of relief that somebody else could do this, too, without me slaving over a pump.  I didn't wear Josh in a sling; I tried a few times, but he hated it.  Not enough space to move around, I think.

In the end, parenting comes down to what is best for a particular child.  I have a lot of thoughts on what I hope our home and parenting looks like--homeschooling, lots of togetherness, lots of enjoying each other, lots of books and music and academia.  But I may have a child who doesn't particularly fit the homeschool mode.  Josh may need to attend public school at some point before high school(I don't think anyone can provide a full homeschooled high school education complete with electives, science labs, upper math and foreign languages, so we plan to send our kids to school in those years).  He may not be interested in music.  I may have a child at some point who needs to be homeschooled and a child at the same time who needs to attend school.  Our life may not look like what I have planned, and that's okay.
Because it is not about me, my wishes, goals, dreams and hopes for my children.
It's about Joshua.  And what Joshua needs, however different from my plans his dreams turn out to be. 

But for now, Josh is a very happy, healthy, secure little boy who gets snuggled in the night, and any time during the day that he'll be still long enough.  He knows that when he cries, someone will be there to pick him up and take care of whatever he needs.
Joshua knows, even at six and a half months old, that he is loved.
What more could a parent want?