Monday, December 20, 2010

Get Recentered

I am fortunate to subscribe to a number of great parenting blogs and also fortunate to have friends online and "in real life" who have great perspectives and interesting viewpoints to share.

I had a friend repost something about our society's treatment of babies and how it really is ridiculous that we mothers carry this baby inside of us and nurture him/her, only to be encouraged to put him in the carseat and leave him there, or put him down in a bouncer, certainly NOT pick him up right when he cries because we'll spoil him, and not to dare have him in our bed, and better to just put him in a crib in a separate room. Um...huh? I feel like these various baby contraptions can have their place, because babies do like to get down and play and hang out a little bit, but they also need LOTS of close contact with people. Mother in particular although I know that in our house Daddy has that certain kind of magic, particularly with The Boy. You know, the kind where you pick up a baby or small child and they instantly release all tension and relax right into you, because they trust you. Oh, and we definitely have a babies-allowed policy in our bed. They're snuggly.

But what that actually reminded me of was this post called "Why Not" from the wonderful woman over at Authentic Parenting. Why would we want to condition our little babies to spend so much time alone, and learn to self-soothe? To prepare them for what? Why, similarly, do we say "no" to our children in situations where there's no real reason for it? The author references a "false sense of scarcity." Not to say that real scarcity isn't a problem, but that preparing a child for the world in which "nothing comes for free" when they're not really at a point where they need to learn that lesson is a little foolish. I admit that I'm guilty of this sometimes, and I plan to think twice about it. Not so much enforcing a sense of false scarcity, but that sometimes I say "Well, when he is in school, he won't be able to do that" or "when you're not the one here, he doesn't have that option." There's no point in "preparing" for hardships that may or may not come, and if they do come, they may not be hardships after all. Better to just let them enjoy what they like now and do things the way we like instead of trying to create problems where none exist, just for the sake of "learning." Learning what?

My lighthearted example is that The Boy frequently asks us to draw letters and numbers and pictures for him, rather than drawing it himself. I keep thinking that when he starts preschool, he won't be able to ask his teachers to do that for him. But I've noticed that he really does do it himself sometimes, and when he wants us to do it, he watches us intently, studying each part of the process, and knows how to write just from watching us. He can do most letters and most numbers, with some backwardness but if he says that something is a G, you can tell that, yes, it is. And that's pretty good. I don't know that he would ask the teachers to draw things for him, and even if he does, the worst that could happen is that the teacher says no and moves on to something else. He might be "over" that by the time he starts school and will have moved on to writing it himself just to show he knows how.

But anyhow, I've read a few others, reminding me about positivity and affection and all that other stuff that is of paramount importance to me, and it is refreshing to shake off some of the baggage.

Oh, and I also mentioned our potty struggles to the physical therapist today, who shrugged her shoulders and said that it's The Boy's job to finish the process, and he will, soon, when he darn well feels like it. And that also feels better to me, because another professional whose opinion I value has said that.

Speaking of positive and recentered...Meatball is up and cranky.


Jennifer - Mommy to 2 said...

Parenting is hard because so many people have an opinion on what we are doing. I feel so conflicted sometimes even when I know I'm doing what is best or what I want for my family. I was told (indirectly) that I hold my baby too much. I don't think I do and what is "too much." Seriously...let me do it my way. I feel like if I spank I'm horrible for "hitting" by one group and if I don't spank I'm not disciplining. I feel like even justifying my comment that I don't "spank," but will "pop" my daughter on occasion (usually when danger is involved), but mostly we do timeout or stern-talking. I just want to do what is best for us and personally...I LOVE snuggling my babies.

The potty training thing... When i was almost ready to give up and asked advice from experienced Moms it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I got "my child potty trained him/herself," "My 1st was trained in 3 days, but my 2nd took 3 whole months!!" My daughter is mostly there. I realized when she would hide from us when she went in her panties or pull up that we needed to back off. She knew we were getting upset, so she'd try to hide it from us. We backed off a bit and that helped. I still don't know what to do about public toilets. Any advice? lol

mamapoekie said...

Thank you for picking up my article and putting so much thought to it.
It is very funny that in countries where scarcity is real and pressing, children are not taught this. They are allowed to be free with all their senses and feelings.