Monday, April 25, 2011

Trust me, I'm an expert

I decided today, that after parenting not one, but two very fussy babies (one quite fussy, one UNSPEAKABLY fussy), I am An Expert. At least as much as the Baby Whisperer and the jackhole that wrote Babywise. (Um. Y'all know I already thought I was smarter than them even before Gracie was born. But like, now I KNOW.)

And you know, as a Very Important and Also Smart Expert, my biggest problem with those books, and I'm sure plenty of others, is the whole stupid idea of forming bad habits. They tell you not to do things like co-sleep or hold your baby all the time or feed on demand or anything like that because you will form bad habits and it might be okay now but one day? Oh, you will PAY.

Katie was two months old today. We've handled her reeeally differently from Gracie. With Gracie, we lived in perpetual fear of forming bad habits. We did everything in our power to avoid it, and stressed endlessly over how much we held her, how much attention we gave her to stop her from crying, the amount of time she spent in the swing. Katie? Partly out of necessity and partly from experience, we just hold her all the time. It's what she needs right now. We WOULD put her in the swing except she hates it with a fiery passion, so we don't, but we WOULD. She sleeps in my bed every night. That one, I'm working on fixing, and guess what? Last night, she slept in her cradle until 4am. I mean, no, she woke up twice, but when I put her back in the cradle, there was no vortex that opened up out of her head to suck in the entire room. She didn't kill me with death rays from her eyes. And she also, um, slept. Not every night has gone as smoothly, and tonight probably won't either, if I have to place a bet (she's been EXTRA ticked off today). But how is that different from Gracie? Only in one way: neither Stephen nor I want to jump off the roof and die. We're as rested as we can be with a baby and a toddler (and for Stephen, with a job that requires him to be up all night and attempt to sleep during the day). We can see straight and operate motor vehicles safely and again, I cannot stress this enough: we do not wish we were dead. In terms of Katie's behavior, though? She is in *exactly* the same place Gracie was at this age. So much for bad habits.

But let's just say I'm wrong (which I'm not, trust me, but let's just SAY I'm wrong). Let's say I'm forming all kinds of terrible habits with Katie that I will have to fix one day. You tell me: would you rather work on things like sleeping independently and nap schedules and eating every three hours and not being held all the time when you're ALSO torn and bruised and swollen in one location or another from pushing out a baby and riding the Postpartum Hormone Roller Coaster and your entire life has been flipped upside down by the addition of another human being? Or a few months later when you're physically healed and your hormones have stopped beating you up and you feel like maybe one day your life will feel normal again?


And I'm pointing this out for free on my blog. And you'll never get bedbugs from my blog.


Jessica said...

I hate Babywise - and most parenting books - they seem to be tools to tell mothers how inept we are. Of course, they all think that my co-sleeping into toddlerhood will somehow cause my children to be codependent homosexual pansies. Eff them.

You have to do what works for your family - and it may be different with each kid. I'm looking forward to the day with Grace & Griffin have a super fussy baby of their own. Ok, so not REALLY looking forward to it since holyhellwe'llbeGRANDMAS, but you know what I mean.

Donna said...

I'm not going to read the link to the bookbugs, even though I keep hearing about this and am SO CURIOUS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT, because I cannot know this. Can not. I'm already the librarian who's allergic to books. I cannot be the librarian who's also afraid of books. Anyway, when are we going to co-share the night nanny?

Crabby Apple Seed: said...

oh my god, I am SOOO going to need to work "codependent homosexual pansies" into conversation VERY VERY SOON.

And seriously, I can't be convinced that co-sleeping has one single bad effect on kids. Parents? Sure. And it's not for everyone, I'm not even sure it's for me, and I'm getting very ready for Katie to be in her own bed, but that's for MY sanity (which ALSO matters, quite a bit), not for her.

And ITA it's different for different kids- Gracie just had to CIO, as much as I hated it, and now she is a great sleeper, and a secure, independent kid (God help me...) I don't know what will work for Katie, but I already feel like CIO is probably NOT going to be it.

Anyway, yeah. I agree with you. Parenting books mostly suck.

Crabby Apple Seed: said...

oh, and hee, Donna, no worries- it's just that used books can carry book bugs because people keep them next to their beds. But you can microwave them and kill the bugs! I got the link from Megan's blog, I should have linked to her instead of a random website.

we can share the night nanny as soon as we both move to EP:)

Rae said...

Last night as we were trying to figure out what to do with an inconsolable Jerry. Robbin asked if we should take him to bed with us. I told him I was worried about bad habits. The night before Jerry and I slept in the guest bed and had napped together that day. He then said, "Have you read Kathy's blog tonight?"

Hasn't Babywise been condemned by the AAP? Jessica is right; like almost every other family decision you do what works for the family. I know cosleeping isn't the right answer for me long term; but occasionally while Jerry is still healing it is just right.

rebekah said...

Bad habits can be broken, but we just call them survival. It is so much more important. We held Harriet (her nickname online) from day one about 23 hours a day. She slept with us until one day at 17 months she just decided she was done.

I got to sleep with her on this trip and I can say I miss it, but I know it's not for everyone, parent or child, but try to remember how fast it goes and know that it can be changed.

I personally found things much easier to change at 2.5/nearly 3 than I ever did before, because she can really understand. I was very ill from Oct-Feb and we developed a ton of bad habits, but we've actually broken nearly all of them now. Nearly without tears.

Max's Mommy said...

You know - Max NEVER slept in our bed, and that's the way I generally prefer it. HOWEVER, on occasions where we HAVE to sleep in the same bed - hotels or whatever - it's horrible, because Max can't sleep well - he tosses and rolls and kicks and climbs on me, and I can't sleep and it's just miserable.

Crabby Apple Seed: said...

Heather, Gracie hated sleeping in our bed, too. I started bringing her in the bed with me to nurse when she started her charming little "waking up for the day at 4:30 am" habit, and even then, she didn't sleep, she just ate a lot and I got to stay horizontal a little bit longer. Katie loooooves co-sleeping. I have mixed feelings on it. it IS really snuggly and warm and awesome and I get a lot more sleep than I would if I made her sleep in the cradle (and seriously, what's the difference between BOTH of us sleeping in my bed and her sleeping in my arms while I sit up in the glider all night???), but I'm also really ready to have my own space back in the bed, and also for her to have a bedtime so I can get stuff done around the house.

And Rae, I think it's hilarious that this exact subject came up the same day I posted this.

Megan M said...

We didn't co-sleep when the kids were babies, but I don't think there has been a night in the past two months when I have woken up with either Lilli or Abigail snuggled up next to me....I figure in a few years they are not going to want to sleep with us, and how can you start the morning on the wrong foot when you wake up to little chubby cheeks of happiness.