Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Irony of Ezzo and AP, Part 2

While we were expecting BD#2, I ran across EzzoInfo online. The volume and diversity of information on that website was simply overwhelming. Read a bit, rolled my eyes. [How could a parent be so lacking in common sense as to follow Ezzo's suggestions for feeding schedule so rigidly that they wound up with a baby failing to thrive? How?!?!]

Read some more, more eye rolls. [These horror stories of Ezzo parents gone overboard must have been what BD#1's nurse was thinking of when she strongly suggested we NOT try to schedule-feed our newborn. Never mind that he was less than two days old--I wasn't trying to schedule anything that early--Honest!! She must've known (knowing our educational and theological background as she did) that Ezzo would have been on our radar so she attempted a preemptive strike.]

The irony that I found EzzoInfo while looking for the source of an aberrant definition of *grace* is just HUGE to me now; but when I first found EzzoInfo I was mentally consumed with the grace question, so I didn't give the Ezzo issue much thought beyond a couple nights worth of heavy reading. But I tucked away a few questions, and they kept coming up for air. You know how it is when you're pregnant... you get insomnia, your mind wanders, you wonder about things.

So when BD#2 came along and *shock and horrors* did NOT want to sleep by herself, I was at least primed to consider other (non-Ezzo approved) options. :-D Nothing so radical as becoming a full-fledged AP mom mind you ;-) but... more nights than not she fell asleep next to me in bed. She simply would NOT fall asleep by herself. And you know what?? It wasn't that big of a deal. I quickly figured out the only way to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep was to bring her to bed with me for the first part of her night. That way she fell asleep happy that she had her momma, and *we* were happy that she was sleeping (and yes, therefore quiet so we could sleep too, LOL). "Co-sleeping" worked. Definitely not in line with Babywise mandates but we . were . getting . sleep . ALL of us!! :-) Once she was soundly sleeping, I could easily move her to that dreaded bassinet where she slept just fine until time to eat again. No need to keep her in bed with us all night--just til she was asleep. And I thought to myself--is this what Ezzo was railing against?? This???

And so my questions about Ezzo's ideals grew. See, one of the other things I'd read about Ezzo and his child-rearing methodology was how it sets parents up for an adversarial relationship with their young children. [What if the baby doesn't want to go to sleep my herself? Make her do it anyway! Don't parent on emotion and instinct!!] Um... yeah! Add to that the basic selfishness of putting my needs above those of my newborn. Ezzo teaches that the relationship between mom and dad is the most important one, so the children must not be allowed to interfere with it. Good idea in principle. How to play that out in practical terms with a helpless newborn in arms is another story. :-)

Yes, they are helpless. Yes, they do have needs. No, their crying is NOT a form of "manipulation." They're trying to communicate their needs to you. (And if you had half an ounce of common sense you'd realize that denying the baby's need (for comfort) is a really really baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad idea.)

So Ezzo's BabyWise didn't come off the bookshelf after BD#2's arrival... [well, maybe to check a couple of things from EzzoInfo--make sure they weren't misrepresenting what they said about his "methods"--(they weren't).] And I have to say, I think those early weeks of our relationship with BD#2 were the better for it.

To be continued...

But first, once again, here are a few links from others if you're interested in more information on Ezzo...

From the horses mouth:
Growing Kids God's Way

From those who jumped off the wagon:
Jenn's story
TulipGirl's files
ChewyMom's files
KatieKind's files
Camille's adventures becoming an attachment mom and her research on Ezzo.

Deconstructing the wagon:


Anonymous said...

Great post! I too almost fell into the Babywise trap and I have come a LONG way since then. After 2 children, I have discovered that they are so vastly different - and there is no "one size fits all".

But what really hit home to ME was to find out that the Ezzo's moved to Charleston, SC - to the OPPOSITE coast from their 2 daughters and grandchildren. And then, to find out that he has no relationship with his adult daughters. It begs the question - is THAT what I want to model? The parenting of someone whose own children do not have a relationship with them? Uh.... NO! So, it has made me start to re-evaluate the parenting advice I am given, or that I read. I want to know more about the relationship that the advice giver has with their OWN children.

Lori said...

Interesting post... I look forward to seeing more from you on this topic.

I have no idea what to think about BabyWise because I've never had a baby. :) I imagine that, like so many other things, moderation is a principle that Ezzo's followers overlook (and maybe he himself). And whole-hog AP styles probably have their own pitfalls.

The antithesis does run THROUGH, and not around, everything we produce.

I'm glad you're on the trail of antithesis lines in this regard, so that I can bookmark your posts and pick your brain whenever I need to have an opinion on these issues. ;)

...so, uh, anything in your baby books about dealing with adolescents? I can't really find any books on my situation. *coughs*

Susanna said...

Good thoughts. I think way too many people follow one thing completely! I am definitely NOT a full AP and not a full Babywise parent, although I lean more toward scheduling things (including babies) which for me I think is a personality trait, as I don't deal with chaos at all well. I've actually never read Ezzo's books, just listened to advice from my wise sisters who have all read his books (I think) and theirs wasn't straight from the book either ;-) As mom of 5 soon to be 6 little ones, I'd say that each kid is different and we all need to ask wisdom of God and do the best we can.

Anonymous said...

Great couple of posts, I really enjoyed them.

As parents and as Christians we are always learning, and I am enjoying reading your thoughts.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

You know, I have to agree as a parent to #2 (and probably beyond, can't speak to that, however, as I have only two), you definitely take a more "who cares? whatever works!" approach to parenting a newborn.

Thanks to linking to others. Excellent reading.

The Savage said...

Anon-- Yeah, that's why I really prefer to get advice from women I know IRL, whose kids I know (and whose flaws I can see ;-) .

Lori-- You crack me up! Try Tim Kimmel's Grace-Based Parenting for good thoughts on teens. Most of his illustrations are of kids in that age-range.

You know how dogmatic I was on the topic of babies before and after BD#1 was born... (who am I kidding? Still am, LOL). Are you *sure* you want my opinion?? You know how I love to go on & on. Bring coffee...

Sus--Lemmie know when the little one arrives, when you reach another step in the path to really, really outnumbered, LOL. (I know you love it too--and y'all do such a good job with your kids!)

KK-- *blush* Thanks! I love reading your posts on child-raising. (And the roses!!) You've been where the rest of us younger moms are, and lived to tell about it. I'm all ears!!

Megan--Welcome!! I finally made it over to you this afternoon! Looks like I have another link to add to the list. :-)

The rest of you seriously need to go read this post of Megan's about parenting and BabyWise. Good conversation going on over there!!

Abby said...

I've often wondered how the Ezzos really did parent their newborns. The idea that your husband is really more important than your newborn baby speaks volumes on their attitude, and is absolutely a fallen concept!
As parents, we are continuously struggling with our selfish desires, and to have someone come along--with a "Christian" label, no less, and say to us that it's okay to be selfish and actually encouraged, is just mindblowing to me.
I'm no perfect mom, but I get angry when I see some selfish parents who have kids and then don't want to be their sole caregivers, handing them off to nannies and daycares for 75% of the week, then getting angry because the daycares don't "do it right." And Ezzo is promoting the same kind of behavior from even the stay-at-home moms.
It amazes me that even the people in their own church listened to this garbage! (of course, it plays right into their selfish desires, so maybe it sounded good at the time...)