Monthly Archives: February 2009

Independence

I’ve heard some well meaning commentary from various people, including my husband, over the past few weeks, some directed at me and some directed at others. While on different aspects of parenting, it just dawned on me that they all sort of have to do with the same thing: mollycoddling versus promoting independence in your child.

There is this theory that abounds in everything from homeschooling, to feeding, to sleeping habits, etc. that if you love your children too much they will never be independent. Now of course, it isn’t said quite like this, but when you break it down that is the basics of it.

On homeschooling:
“Homeschoolers graduate and then they aren’t ready for the world. They then get an education real fast and learn that everybody isn’t as nice as their homeschool friends and parents. Children need to learn to deal with being picked on and mean teachers to get them ready for the way the world really is.”

“Homeschoolers are too dependent on their parents. They don’t learn to socialize properly and expect their parents to hold their hands with them through college and to their first job interview.”

On feeding:
“You’re still breastfeeding?”

“If you breastfeed for too long your child will never learn how to self-soothe and be independent.”

On sleeping:
“Whatever you do, don’t let your child in your bed with you. We did that and we only regret it. It is a bear trying to get them back out.”

“She’s still sleeping in your room?”

“You don’t want her to get too dependent. At some point she needs to become independent and start sleeping in her own room by herself.”

And yet when I look at our nearly five month old baby, “independent” is certainly not the word that comes to mind. She’s completely dependent on us for everything. So why should I be trying to force her into independence? I mean seriously people, she can’t even crawl yet!

Stephen and I definitely agree on the homeschooling thing that teaching your children in a loving environment will only serve to make them more confident and more secure in who they are. I don’t think you really need to be picked on or compete for the attention of one teacher with 50 of your peers in order to become independent and well rounded in your education.

So applying that same concept to other areas of our lives is just making sense to me right now. So what if Jillian is almost five months old and still sleeping in our room and sometimes in our bed? It works for us. For one thing she isn’t sleeping through the night and gets up for at least one feeding. Why in the world would we drag ourselves across our room and down the hall into her bedroom when we can take care of it all just feet (if that) from our bed?

The best piece of advice/commentary I’ve gotten so far is this: “Your job as a parent isn’t to force your child into independence, it is to lovingly guide them gradually.”

I was just reading almost this exact same thing in The Baby Book with regards to nighttime parenting:

“Get under your baby’s covers and imagine how she feels about her cozy quarters. Of course baby won’t want to leave. She fits where she is. Why hurry a baby into independence? A child’s needs that are filled early will eventually go away; a child’s needs that are not filled leave an empy space that can come back later as anxieties. It is not your job to make your child nighttime independent, but rather to create a secure nighttime environment and feeling of rightness that allow your child’s independence to develop naturally. The important fact is that for now you enjoy this arrangement and it’s working for you. When the time comes, your baby will wean from your bed just like all the other weanings.”

I think today’s events just got me thinking about how precious our children really are and what a miracle life is. They are only this small for so long. I don’t think we should get so bent out of shape worrying about whether or not we’re making them independent quickly enough.

“One of the most precious gifts you can give your child is a vivid memory of happy childhood attachments. What a beautiful memory it is for a child to recall how he was parented to sleep in the arms of his mother or father or to recall how he awakened in the mornings surrounded by people he loved rather than in his private room in a wooden cage, peering out through bars.”

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Oh how my heart hurts for my friend…

If you feel inclined today please pray for my friend. Her water broke last night and she went into labor. She’s only 18 weeks along. It’s going to be a tough day for their family.

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I almost forgot a few things.

I’ve made myself a little outline so I don’t forget again.

1) Apartment – Yesterday I went to Thousand Oaks for the day with Bean. Stephen forgot to pack our duffle bag when we were there this weekend so I had to go back and get it because it had two of the four pairs of jeans that fit me in it and Stephen’s thyroid medication. When we were there this weekend we toured the apartment we are going to get and yesterday I signed the lease document. This apartment is so incredibly perfect. It’s actually a 3 bedroom townhome. It is right next to the playground. It has a huge patio/backyard-ish thing where I’m sure I will be able to plant a veggie garden. Bean’s room has all this great built in storage including a bookshelf for her quickly growing library. The kitchen is a great size and the dining room will even accomodate our huge dining table. There is a Whole Foods right behind the apartment complex, several shopping centers are nearby, JoAnn’s is right up the street, Pete’s Coffee is right across the street. I mean it is seriously the best location and apartment ever. I am so happy that we got it and got such a great deal on it.

2) Doggies – Someone from the homeschool group managed to find both our doggies homes with her family members. I am so happy about this. Both dogs are going to great families that I know will love them to pieces. Baxter is staying with us a few more days until his new owners get back from a little vacation. Baxter is so good with Bean. She loves staring at him and grabbing on his ears or skin. He is so good and just lets her do it. He is so gentle too. Check out these somewhat crappy quality pictures I got last night of the cuteness:

 

3) Bean 22 weeks – Bean turned 22 weeks yesterday. Not much new to report, you already know about the solid foods thing. Here are a couple more pictures from last night:

4) Chinese New Year – OK, now this one is quite old, but I realized that I never blogged about my Chinese New Year experience! The morning of our big feast, Ruth and I went to the Chinese market together to get some Chinese treats and ingredients for dumplings. When we got there they were having this huge celebration. They had Chinese dragon dancers, drums and all kinds of stuff. We walked past it all into the store. I noticed in the doorway that there was a string of firecrackers hanging. I was unsure if it was real or all part of the decor. Well a few minutes later when we were perusing the decorations section they started up the drums and dancing again. And then they lit the firecrackers off! It was sooo loud and crazy. Then the dance/drum/Budda line came right through the isles of the Chinese grocery store. It was so much fun! Unfortunately I only had my nearly dead cell phone with me and got the crappiest pictures ever, but here they are anyway:

It was certainly my most eventful and choatic grocery shopping experience ever. 🙂

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Bean dress options for Paula’s wedding

So my little sis is getting married May 30th. Here are some of the dress options I am considering for Bean:


Floral-Print Empire Dress – Old Navy, $14.50


Hand-Smocked Ruffle Dress – Janie and Jack, $68


Smocked Daisy Floral Dress – Janie and Jack, $37


Hand-Embroidered Pintuck Jumper – Janie and Jack, $34


Silk Taffeta Dress – Janie and Jack, $148 (not really considering this one because of the price, yikes!)


Flower knit dress – GAP, $22.50

So, Auntie Paula, what do you think?

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So she’s not six months… shoot me or something

This is the thing. Right around three months Bean started being interested in our food. I didn’t give her food though. I tried some distraction things at first. Like giving her a spoon to play with while we were eating.

When I asked about this on a message board that I occasionally look to for parenting advice I was first told that I should absolutely not even think about even giving her tastes until she was six months. I was also told I would know that she was ready for food when she sat up on her own, grabbed at our food, liked to watch us eat, when she started teething and when the tongue-thrust reflex went away.

Bean met all of these factors about two weeks ago. She isn’t six months old.

About this time I started giving her little tastes of my oatmeal which she loved. And then last week I delved head on into making my own rice cereal and giving her that. I just steamed some brown rice and blended it in my food processor with some breast milk. She was a little put off by the texture at first, so I didn’t push it on her. I would just try a spoonful here and there. By Friday she was eating about 2-3 tablespoonfuls.

She didn’t have any over the weekend because I didn’t feel like bringing the stuff with us to Ruth’s house. I was also still feeling really unsure about my decision. I had made a big batch of the cereal and frozen almost all of it. After this weekend I was just planning on leaving it in the freezer and then trying again in a few weeks when she hit the “proper” age.

Well then today I read the section on infant feeding and nutrition in The Baby Book from the Sears Parenting Library. Based on what I read I felt like I was doing the right thing last week in following Bean’s cues, rather than a timetable. Basically, EVERY baby is different and that is just the way it is.

By the way, I totally recommend this book to any new parents out there. It has so much useful information in it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered something and then been able to find out exactly what I was looking for in this book. They even have dosing charts by weight in the back for common over the counter medications.

In the section on introducing solids there is a chart of when you can introduce certain foods by month and so much other helpful advice.

Here are some of my favorite tidbits:

By her own experience, this wise mother discovered a basic principle of introducing solid foods — feed babies according to their own developmental skills rather than a preset calendar or clock. Babies’ appetites and feeding skills are as individual as their temperaments. Let’s feed them that way.

Consider solid food as an addition to, not a subsitute for, breast milk or formula.

Remember, your initial goal is to introduce baby to the new taste and touch of solids, not to stuff baby. Gradually vary the texture and amount to fit the eating skills and appetite of your baby. Some like solids of thinner consistency and want a larger amount; some do better with thicker solids and smaller amounts. Your baby may take a whole jar one day, but only a teaspoon the next.

Offer solids at the time of the day when your baby seems hungriest, bored, or when you both need a change of pace. Choose a time of the day that is most convenient for you, since a little mess is part of the feeding game.

Controlled studies have shown, however, that infants who are fed solids before bedtime do not sleep through the night any sooner than infants who do not get the before-bed stuffing.

I included that last quote in there because I have been told SO many times that if I either feed Bean rice cereal before bed or give her formula she will sleep through the night. Ha! So there it’s not true all you advice givers out there.

The book even encouraged letting your baby make a mess and explore the food with his/her hands. I just feel like I have such a better perspective on the solids thing after reading that section. I was reinspired to try again with Bean today and just let her have fun with it instead of worrying about her making a mess of her clothes or not eating a certain amount. When I took the “rules” off it was just so much more fun! I didn’t feel like I was forcing her to like it or anything.

I stripped her down to her diaper. Put a little of the rice cereal on the tray for her to play with. I even let her grab onto the spoon and food container while I was feeding her. She had a blast and actually seemed to enjoy the rice cereal more than ever.

Sure, it was a mess, but with my perspective change and the pressure off, it was a fun mess and not a hassle.

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Week Twenty One

Dear Bean,

Today you turned twenty one weeks old.

The world as you know it is rapidly changing. I can’t believe in less than a month we will be embarking on new adventures with you in a new city. It still seems so unreal to me. Your papa and I are running around like crazy chickens trying to pack up our house, sell some of our stuff, figure out our taxes, find a renter, find good homes for the doggies, secure an apartment and so much other stuff.

You don’t seem bothered by it though. You probably don’t even know what’s going on.

We are excited about what this change means for you: better air to breathe and less allergies, fun times with your cousins, and more time with family in general.

Developmentally, you can sit up on your own for the most part. If you are very excited this isn’t a good idea though, as you will usually topple yourself over. You can also scoot quite a bit if we put you on your tummy, but you tend to get frustrated with this.

I don’t think you have slept through the night in the last couple of months which is starting to take its toll on me (I’ve been a bit of a grump). You also already fight naps and this is very frustrating.

I love it in the morning after Papa leaves and we cuddle in bed together. You are so snuggly and sweet. I love it when I say, “Good morning!” and you get all smiley.

You are a very vocal girl. Not in a bad way. You make a lot of screeching noises and really like to test the limits of your vocal chords with happy yells and sounds. We’ve been trying to teach you “Mama” and “Papa”. There have been a couple times where I thought you said “Mama”, but I couldn’t get you to repeat it. Sometimes when we practice it with you, I can really tell you want to say it. You even form your mouth to match ours, but you get shy and get quiet suddenly. It’s OK, I can be patient, you will talk when you are ready.

You really like to do “pony rides” on our knees. Grandma Lori (my mom) is really good at getting you all hyped up when doing this. You like it so much that now whenever we have you straddle our knees you start rocking back and forth even if we aren’t doing a “pony ride”, as if to say, “Hey! Giddyup already!”

Your laughs and smiles can kill the tension in any situation.

You also tend to grab the attention of people wherever we go. Complete strangers see you when we are out and will stop to stare and smile. Yesterday at Trader Joe’s a lady stopped me to tell me you were “the cutest thing” she’d ever seen.

Well, at least I know I’m not biased when I say you are cute.

Love,
Mama

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Bean meets Archie

I love how every time I say that my blogging is going to be sparse I find a million reasons to blog and then wind up blogging like regular.

Oh well.

So today no packing got done. Which is OK because a load of diapers and a load of dishes did get done.

My friend Tiffany came over today and we cut out the pieces for our Olive and Archie dolls. Except she’s only making Olive. So after she left and I finally finished cutting I just kept right on working on Archie. I just finished him and I love him! He’s so cute.

So then I had him meet Bean…

As you can see they are going to be great friends. Sorry for all the crappy photography and overexposed pictures. You know how it goes.

I’ll be finishing Olive up with Tiffany either later this week or next week. So there will be more to follow.

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