Friday, June 26, 2009

What kind of Parent are You?

When children were little more than a glimmer in our eye, and we were in college, I convinced Ryan to sign up for a 400-level (read: hard) psychology class. The topic? Children. and their psyche.

I love psychology. I do not love psychology classes. More importantly, psychology classes do not love me. My performance on tests and my overall course grade were, well, lack-luster. And that's putting it nicely. But oh, what I'd give for a chance to take that course over again.

Having children really changes things, doesn't it?

Over the course of that semester, we learned about parenting styles. We learned about infant development. We analyzed, we studied... and I don't remember a darned bit of it.

What I *do* remember, is thinking "I'll use that method when I'm a mom.," or, "oh--that's certainly not something I'm willing to do as a mom."

I always thought I'd be able to cope with the 'cry it out' method of sleep training. Sure, I wasn't going to totally abandon my baby, leaving him to lay alone all.night.long., but I also wasn't going to hover and soothe and rock and shush all.night.long. either! I would cope, we would make it through the rough time, and then sleep beautifully through the night.

Enter Camden. Our sweet, peaceful little boy.

With every fiber of my being, I detest letting him lay by himself to cry. I hate it so much that I've never really successfully carried the plan out. (No--I don't have a problem with the idea, and if it's your preferred method, then take it and run with it! It's just not for us.)

Here are some things you should know about me, in case you don't already: I've got a hippy-dippy side. Ryan does too, even though he maybe hasn't quite come to terms with the fact. We're a breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, Planet-Save detergent kind of family. We're happy this way. It works well for us.

But that side doesn't lend itself to the 'cry it out' method at all. It doesn't bode with Ferberizing, and it most certainly means I'll never purchase Baby Wise. Again--more power to you if these things suit your family. I'm not here to pass judgment.

Like it or not, though, our little guy needs a bit of assistance in the nighttime sleep department. His schedule is awesome, thanks to a dear friend and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Truth be told, we sleep quite well at night, but he's just all too happy to nurse several times during the night.

As he grows and begins to squirm more in his sleep, we've found it necessary to move his crib in along side our bed in a 'sidecar' arrangement. This way, he's got his own space and we have ours, but he's still there at a convenient arms length.

Next, the (slightly daunting) challenge of breaking him from waking as often to 'snack,' if you will, which is really just his way of seeking comfort. I don't mind his nighttime habits, and truth be told, neither of us really even wake up when he nurses, but I know it is in his best interest to go for longer stretches at night, and to begin a gradual transition toward his own bed, in his own room.

We've been just shy of two weeks now with the 'sidecar' arrangement, and so far, things are working out nicely. Camden has maintained his usual 6:30 bedtime, may wake once or twice in the evening hours (one of the things I'd like to remedy) and then sleeps on his own until around 3:00 in the morning. At that point, I'm just too darned sleepy to do anything but bring him back into our bed... but that's ok for right now.

I picked up another book last week, called The No-Cry Sleep Solution, and I'm excited to read it and begin implementing the plan. The author, Elizabeth Pantley, is pro-co-sleeping. This matters because she offers suggestions for co-sleeping families, which is something of a gray area in a lot of other books.

Elizabeth promises to give a number of ideas "so that you can gradually, and lovingly, help your baby learn to fall asleep without this very powerful sleep aid."

I'm all in. Gradual? Loving? It sounds so much more pleasant than the cry-it-out method, doesn't it? Perhaps not as simple, (and by simple, I think I mean *quick*) but more fitting for our little family.

Why am I telling you this? Accountability, maybe. If I tell the world about my intentions, I might stick to them more, right? ...that, and I've got a habit of telling you just about everything anyway.

...and because I want to know the answer to one little question: what's your parenting style??


mgsprincess said...

Our method is the if your not hungry, and your diaper isclean...cry it out parents..:)And we probably start it a lot longer than most would like. Both our girls woke up once at 6 weeks to eat..then slept through the night by four months. I like my sleep way too much!

Jessica said...

We are breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, and cosleeping. I agree with you totally on crying it out Christina. I can't handle hearing her sad sad cries. Luckily she has been sleeping 5+ hours at night since she was about 6 weeks old. I have used a pacifier when I originally didn't want to. It helped her calm down so much to go to sleep. I too am a bit more hippie-ish than my husband but he usually goes along with what I want to do. I want to get an organic mattress and sidecar our crib in the near future to get some space back in our bed. I also want to try baby led weaning when the time comes.

Beka's Blog said...

I think it depends on the child and their personality. Does that make me a sucker? Probably. My 7 years old would still sleep with us if I let him! And I do occasionally. I tried the Ferber method with him and it didn't go so well. Worked like a charm with my now almost 5 year old. But she has regressed. She is mimicking a lot of big brother's habits. And the 8 month old...well he co-sleeps. I don't sleep as well as I would like but you can't beat co-sleepinh when you are nursing. He too wakes for snacks as you say. I did put him in his crib twice yesterday for naps while he was wide awake and both times he fell asleep on his own! Is that progress or just a tease? Hmmm...

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