Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaack.

Ok so many people have encouraged me this week to take up blogging again even though I was rather lazy about it the first go around. So if you read this - leave a comment and let me know. Also ask me question, give me topics, and tell me what you want to hear about. I have opinions and advice on pretty much every subject so throw it out there.
Today I'd like to ramble a bit about parenting.
Becoming a parent is mindblowing and crazy and nothing you can say can describe it. When I was pregnant with my first I felt my heart crack open and every hurt, every love, every emotion was always right at the surface. It was scary and intense and I didn't know how to cope. Becoming a mother without my mother meant I needed to mourn the loss of her all over again at a deeper and sadder level. For the first time I understood what I had truly lost. What I was to her, what she could have been to my children. I saw how much support other new mothers got from their parents and cried for myself. This took me a year to process and changed who I am. In a good way - eventually.
I decided early on that I would try to parent by instinct and not by research. I figured if you went against your instincts and always looked for answers in books you were screwed. Now this doesnt mean I havent read any parenting books and I have read a million studies on every parenting topic (it just sort of happened ) but I take them all as opinons/ideas and put my instincts first.
One of the major parenting topics of the first year is sleep. Its all consuming if you let it be. Everyone asks you about it. Constantly. I asked myelf during pregnancy where my instincts thought the baby should sleep. Without a doubt, anywhere but next to me in bed felt wrong. (for me) I just couldnt imagine a human baby was supposed to be 20 feet down the hall for half the hours in the day. Turns out research backs up this instinct. Babies who sleep with their mamas breathe better, regulate their temperature better, grow better, and cry less. Also as a committed breastfeeder it made my life MUCH easier to just put my nipple in a baby's mouth and go back to sleep. I can't imagine how tired mothers must be if they get up, walk down the hall, sit up while feeding and then have to take baby back to the crib. Not for me thanks. I also nurse my babies to sleep. Its easy, it works for both of us, feels beautiful, and makes bedtime enjoyable.
BUT around 9 months old with Lyric I started to question all this. Everyone else I knew had babies who slept by themselves for 12 hours a night. Lyric was still in with us nursing a few times a night. They had all done some sleep-training involving babies crying it out alone. They all swore by it. At some point I caved and took all the laundry out of the crib down the hall (it was the best laundry basket ever.) I put Lyric in the crib and let her cry. I stood outside the door crying myself. It is entirely against your instincts to let a baby scream for you and not respond. The next night I left the house while she cried because I couldnt stand it. That night we had a good long talk and BAby DAddy said he thought if I couldn't stand the idea of it then we shouldnt be doing it. We didnt like the idea of teaching our child she couldnt rely on us for 12 hours a night and that she shouldnt communicate her fears and discomforts because they would be ignored. Back in our bed she came. She was just over 3 when she moved out for good. She is still welcome at anytime but almost never comes in. I feel like it was 3 years very well invested. SHe is now a child who has no negative associations with bedtime. She goes to bed and to sleep quickly and easily and on her own. She sleeps 12-13 hours straight every night. I am still friends with people who did early cry-it-out sleep training and for the most part they now have 4 year olds who are worse sleepers than when they were babies. They fight bedtime. They are scared of the dark, of monsters, of other things. They wake most night sand come into their parents rooms and beds. They don't quite know how to fix it and are told it is normal for their age. I know this post comes across as arrogant but it feels very validating to have gone against norms and be judged often for it and have it work out so well. Kaliya is now 18 months old, still nursed to sleep, still co-seeping and I am fine with it. I do look at it as an investment and love that my babies trust me to be there for them day or night.

Ok thats today's thoughts. If you want something more interesting tomorrow please suggest a topic or ask me a question. Have a nice sleep :)


ali said...

Yay, I'm glad your back! I love how you write. I don't have any ideas for you though, but please write often!

Gem said...

Thanks Ali!

Renee said...

Thanks Gemma, I needed to read that tonight :) I'd love to hear about being in the circus!

Crystal said...

Well you know I'm reading ;)

Alisha said...


Kelly said...

Yay! I am excited to read whatever you have to say.

I am having lots of sleep problems with Judith lately. We can talk about it Thursday though.

Stephen Wright said...

I hope that someday, I will be even half as good a parent as you are Gemma! Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the blogging world... about:



Totally cute blog...:)

Gem said...

Hey anonymous thanks for your comments! I'd LOVE to write about breastfeeding - is there anything you'd like to hear about??? I have lots of thoughts (and experience) on tantrums too. Hmmmmm Obama eh??? Not really my interest area.

Gem said...

Care to disclose your identity???