Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Irony of Ezzo and AP, Part 3

Back when this was originally to have posted, in April of '09 when BD#3 really was just 3 months old, there was a great post/conversation going on at SortaCrunchy. Still worth going to read!! And now, a whole year and 3 months after beginning this series, I'm prompted to finish up by TulipGirl's 7th Annual Ezzo Week 2010. Go, read, learn, share.

To recap my own mini-series, we sorta did BW with BD#1. Mostly ignored BW with BD#2. Now we're 3 months into life with BD#3. BW hasn't been off the shelf in 2 years (other than to fact check for a couple of blog posts). And life with BD#3 is going just fine without BW thankyouverymuch.

~~~~~~~~~~ 15 months later ~~~~~~~~~~

You know what? I've realized some things over the last 5 years (and 3 kids).


Babies LIKE sleeping with their mommas. They've just come from 9 months of CONSTANT contact. D'oh!! Would you want to go from sleeping snuggled up in a hot-tub to sleeping alone in the dark on an only-warm-if-you're-swaddled slab?? Really? You would??? .... /end sarcasm. *sigh* I need to be nice, don't I??

Seriously, it occurred to me (after we had such success part-time co-sleeping with BD#2) that it really is natural for babies to want to sleep with their mommas. If for no other reason than that it's what they've been doing for the last 9+ months. Why would I want to immediately take that away from my newborn?? He's just been through the "trauma" of complete environment change... wet to dry, warm to cold, dark to light, soft to scratchy, quiet -or at least muffled- to noisy.... Why not give him the gift of co-sleeping?? He's not going to be little for long. Soon enough he'll prefer to sleep on his own where he can flail and squirm to his hearts content, why not let him snuggle for now?

This really hit home to me when I realized how BD#3 clearly (strongly) preferred sleeping with me, on his left side, facing me. (Quite conveniently in the middle of our bed where I didn't have to worry about him rolling out of bed.) Hmmm... like a good Bradley mom, I spend most of my pregnant sleeping hours on my left side. So if he were head down in vitro, why... he'd have been sleeping on his left side too--just like he preferred doing after he was born!! Go figure. ;-)

Little revelations like this just floored me. Things I'd never thought to notice before b/c I was concerned with "getting the baby to sleep by his/herself." Made me wonder what else I'd been missing--'cause there's nothing quite like waking up with a baby blissfully sleeping in your arms after you got plenty of restful sleep too!!


Then there was BD#3's feeding and napping "schedule." For background, my babies don't really "take off" gaining weight til they hit 9-10 lbs. BD#1 came in at 7# 3oz and BD#2 at 8# even, so they both had a bit of gaining to do before they really started packing on the baby fat rolls... err... pounds. (BD#2 had a *bad* reaction to the RotaTeq vaccine which stalled her weight gain drastically, but that's another post for another day.) But BD#3?? He came in at 9# even, and has gained weight to match his linebacker build ever since.

With BD#'s 1&2 I pretty much did the Ezzo recommended eat-wake-sleep cycle, and the BDs took appropriately lengthy naps... 1 1/2 hours or so each time they went down. Not so Mr. BD#3!! Oh no, he was not having any part of a long nap, or any nap at all. He ate well when he woke up, played heartily and cheerfully, and would consent to being laid down in his crib but... no nap ensued.

Since I was already co-sleeping with him at night and my mid-wives recommend resting when the baby rests, I decided to try laying down with him for his naps. Remember, I wasn't just dealing with a newborn. I had a not-quite 4 yob and a just-turned 2 yog to chase also, so I was needing rest!! ;-) Napping with BD#3 worked for about the first month, at least til I got caught up from my pregnancy insomnia & the older two settled into the routines of life with a newborn.

So I tried putting BD#3 down for naps in his own crib again. He'd go down willingly enough (jolly happy baby that he is), but just would NOT go to sleep. So I thought... hmmm... my kids don't gain well until they hit the weight he came in at. And he's past that weight. Bet he just needs to eat more and more often because he's BIGGER. Logical, right? *grins* So I tried nursing him before his naps (thus eat-wake-eat-sleep), and it worked, sort-of. After nursing he'd fall asleep easily enough, but would wake up peevish around the 45 minute mark every time.

Hmmm... :-/ ... One thing I tend to agree with Ezzo on is that babies need sleep. And I don't call a 45-minute cat-nap "sleep." So... what to do? If I tried nursing BD#3 at the 45-minute minute mark, he'd go right back to sleep without bothering to eat so hunger wasn't an issue. But, when I went to lay him down, he'd wake right back up again apparently peeved that I was so obviously planning to leave him alone for his nap. (Smart kid!) So he wouldn't nap alone, but he needed to nap. Clearly we needed an alternative. And, being the big person in the relationship, I figured it was my job to find the alternative. :-)

He needed day-time sleep. I needed to get my work done. Neither were happening because I abjectly refused to let him "cry it out." Not at bedtime especially, but not for nap-times either. Went there and did that with BD#1. NOT interested in going there again. Why go there at all?? (Barbara Curtis has a *great* post that's applicable here.) BD#3 obviously felt he still needed mommy-time while he slept, why not try to accommodate him? *gasp* So.... enter the sling!!!

Me? A "marsupial mom"??

Hubby and I took the Bradley child-birth classes in preparation for the birth of BD#1. Our class instructor for those 12 weeks was a die-hard AP mom. (And I do mean die-hard!) One of the things she encouraged us to consider purchasing was a sling or wrap of some kind; because we all know while babies like to be cuddled, mommas need their hands free!! Being the impressionable good student that I was, I ordered myself a cool MayaWrap. Yeah, we took the Bradley classes before I read Ezzo's BW. :-D

I don't like my personal space intruded upon, and I'm hot-natured. I struggled with the sling with BD#1. Wound up only using it 2 or 3 times total. Ezzo would have approved. *chuckles* Tried again with BD#2. Managed to use the wrap for about a month, but still not consistently. While I did get a bit more comfortable with the idea of a sling, BD#2 was born in late October and all those layers of clothes got bulky and interfered with utilizing my ring sling properly. So by the time BD#3 came along I was more or less determined to conquer the beast (the sling, not my baby) and get my money's worth out of the sling. After all, I was already planning to junk most of the rest of Ezzo's ideas, and the sling cost more than BW, BW2, and ToddlerWise put together. ;-)

But back to my non-napping BD#3. I figured slinging him was worth a shot. So when nap-time came the next day, I popped him in the sling. He let out this *HUGE* sigh, relaxed, laid his head on my shoulder, and went soundly to sleep. Like "Finally Mommy--this is where I belong, right where I used to be." And he looked like it. Or rather I did--look pregnant all over again with BD#3 all snuggled up in my MayaWrap. And the most incredible thing? He slept for 3 hours. Straight. Day after day. And woke up fully rested, contented. Happy and hungry. :-)

Bottom line?

The real "irony of Ezzo and AP" that I've experienced with BD#3? When I did exactly what Ezzo's BW said not to do (i.e.: all that nasty AP stuff: co-sleep, sling, demand feed), BD#3 did the "BW schedule" to a "T." In other words, I got exactly the "results" that BW claims to produce (easy 3 hour day time schedule & early through-the-night sleeping) by doing precisely the opposite of what Ezzo recommends. Ironic, huh??

And all without charts, scheduling hassles (like having to be *home* for BD#1's bedtime), cry-it-out (a.k.a. heart-break for momma), or early loss of milk supply. Woot!!

Thus ends my mini-series (only 15 months late, LOL).

Once again, here are a few informative links from others that I've compiled over the years, assuming 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 and story.
ChewyMom's files
KatieKind's files
Camille's adventures becoming an attachment mom and her research on Ezzo.
Laurie Moody's Case Studies as a GFI lactation contact

Deconstructing the wagon:

On the Parenting of Toddlers: Advice from KatieKind

In clearing out my drafts folder, trying to avoid working on my last "Irony of Ezzo and AP" post that I started last April, I ran across this comment left by KatieKind on an old post from my old blog about grace-based parenting and what it looks like with toddlers. From a mother who's been there and lived to tell about it...

I agree with the commenters above although I think the Shepherding book is too impressed with spanking as a disciplinary tool and I would skip over those parts, especially where he's talking about spanking babies. I don't think parents should ever do that.

I think you already know the answer in your heart, since you have wisely disparaged the mental checklist or one-size-fits-all approach. I know they are incredibly appealing. I remember feeling the exact same way when my older children were toddlers. There's a certain amount of chaos and naughtiness that goes on at those young ages and you wish there was a silver bullet to make them always behave the way they do in their best moments.

I remember being pointed to "How to Really Love Your Child" (Ross Campbell) as a good book on discipline. Taking it home and reading it, I could not see anything helpful in it. I wanted a "But what do you do when..." set of directions. A collection of silver bullets.

Years later I was asked to speak to a church group on Loving Your Children, and I wondered how best to collect my thoughts on that so I reread that book. This time, since my children were grown up or nearly so, I saw the book in a new light. His book distilled the essence of good parenting, and in my opinion, the heart of Christian parenting. It's basically what I would say if someone asked for the most important things I could tell them about parenting.

First comes relationship. All your childrearing happens within the framework of your home's atmosphere and your relationship with your children and husband. So smile at your children when they toddle up to you, make eye contact with them, touch them gently on the shoulder while you're telling them to pick up the blocks. These things build a warm cooperative family environment.

Instead of thinking in terms of "that deserves a punishment," think about the behavior as a sign that the children need to be equipped and taught to make a better decision. If they are whining, show them a better tone of voice. If they are hitting, show them how to negotiate for what they want or take turns.

And then there are the times when the instruction just needs to be enforced calmly, without rancor. You walk in your authority. Say your child doesn't want to leave the nursery when it's time to go home from church. You tell her it's time to go and she acts like she didn't hear you. You did the whole 5 minute notice thing like a good parent and still she won't leave. Well then, you pick her up and leave. You don't need to threaten, you don't need to make a scene, you don't need to give her a mini-lecture. You just be a parent and do what needs to be done. (She's probably a little strung out from being in a small box of a room with 6 children for an hour and a half. Wouldn't you be?)

If the naughtiness is at a particularly high level, think about that behavior as a sign. What's it a sign of? Yes, yes, I know all about sin natures and such. But what's the behavior a sign of? We SIN because our bent is to answer a basic need the wrong way. That's always our tendency. So what's the behavior a wrong answer to? Is the child hungry? Is he tired? Is he over-stimulated? Is he feeling misunderstood or overlooked? Have you been dragging the kids from pillar to post on errands and they really need to get home and back into their own routine and their own environment?

The fact that we are so much older and wiser than our children means we need to put our greater life experience to work on their behalf. If they could simply tell you, "Don't listen to me, I know I'm being irrational about this, I'm totally exhausted and not thinking straight" like a girlfriend would, things would be different. You have to piece that together from the information you can pick up. Of course if your girlfriend said that to you, you wouldn't "not listen to her." You'd calm her down, encourage her to get some sleep, administer chocolate, whatever. You'd "not listen to her" in terms of not reacting to the drama, but you'd continue to be her friend and try and help her. Same with your kids. They can't tell that they are overly hungry or overly tired. They're just striking out in their misery. We have to see that, and fasttrack the root solution--get their blood sugar back up, or get them down for the badly-needed nap, or get them home to their own environment. Do it gently and mercifully, not angrily and punitively. They're just kids.)

In other situations, the parental thing to do is set a boundary and then unemotionally enforce it. "I know you don't like your carseat, honey. Up you go. I know you hate it. Let's get that buckle fastened. Ok. Here's your juice." [Child is feeling uncooperative and inconsolable and bats it away.] "Oh--you don't want your juice? You can tell me with your words. I'll put it away." [Matter-of-factly put the juice cup away. You don't need to be pulled into the drama here. These are just feelings being handled immaturely. Toddlers are, by definition, immature. Now, as you get yourself settled in the car, change the subject, help your child not dwell on what's not negotiable.] "Who will we see at the store? Will we see Mr. Steven there?"

A squall about getting into a dreaded carseat doesn't need to be punished. They outgrow that kind of stuff. You just handle it. Think about all the stuff you hate to do...God doesn't punish us for hating to face that mountain of laundry. But by our ages, we have strategies for getting through it. Young children don't have strategies yet.

So there's some thoughts for you.

And phenomenal thoughts they were too. Thanks again, KatieKind!!! The Lord knew I needed to re-read them this morning. :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All ready to go!

Some 12 hours after getting set up, the backing, batting, and top are all sandwiched and ready for pin-basting.

By the time I got done basting the quilt, re-assembling the church's fellowship hall, and dragging everything back into our house; it was 2 AM this morning. Merely 15.5 hours after first arriving at church.