Monday, April 10, 2006

Parenting Techniques Rethought

Chance has been a pleasant baby. At first I thought Charlie was fairly I'm realizing how hard he really was! I read books on pregnancy and parenting like crazy before he was born. My favorites were (and still are) Bringing Up Boys (the parents' edition of Wild At Heart in my opinion), and Dare to Discipline. I'm about to read Strong Willed Child, also by James Dobson. I read a few others too, and they all said, if your baby cries, there's something wrong and you need to fix it. I read tons of breastfeeding books that basically said offer your kid food all the time, and keep them as physically close to you as you can. So when Charlie was born and I didn't get to see him for hours, I worried that this would affect our bonding and nursing.

And for that first year, I felt like all I ever did was feed him. Even thru the night. He's 26 months now, and he still only sleeps thru the night about 50% of the time. Finally we decided (well, Chuck decided) it was time to get Charlie into his own bed, a process that took almost a year.

So here I am with another one. And I can't feed him all day. I can't keep him close like I did Charlie. Not without becoming completely exhausted. Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever dies of exhaustion with small children.

Anyhow, there was a book called Babywise that Dobson had said could be bad, so I never read it. Until now. It says that there's child centered parenting (what I did with Charlie), and there's parent directed parenting. Basically, I'm guiding Chance into a routine. I never thought I'd like the idea of a routine, but I've started it with both Charlie and Chance and things really go a lot smoother. Charlie doesn't fight nap time so much anymore. Chance goes to sleep so easily for naps and for bed. The other big change is I don't let him fall asleep eating. I have him stay up for at least 5 or 10 minutes, and then he calms himself to sleep in his crib. It really works. Suddenly I'm actually finding time to take a shower, eat, brush my teeth, even write blog entries!

Then, about 2 weeks ago, Chance started going 6 hours between feedings at night. Last night he went 7! Hallelujah! I'm still trying to think this approach thru, and make sure this is healthy for him in every way. But so far it really seems to be working! This makes me think maybe I shouldn't quit at 2 kids, like I originally thought. This kind of parenting is hard, but not nearly as hard as before...

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