Saturday, April 4, 2009


Of wisdom, that is.

Start as you mean to go

Progress is a spiral

In my short 17 1/2 weeks as a parent, these are two major parenting themes that I have come to really believe in. I definitely can't take credit for these - I've read them several places. It is no secret that I am a big fan of Babywise, and the Chronicles of a Babywise Mom blog has helped me a lot. Also, I've just read The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems and I really like it. Many of her ideas are quite similar to Babywise.

Time allows you to reflect and I really feel that these principles, in a large part, guided us to the happy and rested Girl we have today.

As a first-time parent it is definitely challenging to figure things out with no point of reference. I tried, to the best of my ability, to really mull over "major" decisions. Where would our child sleep? Crib or bassinet? Our room or hers? Start as you mean to go. My end goal was to have her sleep well, in her crib, in her room. We started there. Use a pacifier or not? Put it back in her mouth a million times or not? I felt that a pacifier was a good thing for her and replacing it once seemed reasonable. I did not want to find myself in the habit of replacing it over and over until she could do it herself. So we didn't.

This will have many more applications moving forward with starting solids and feeding behaviors. It is important to have a long-term view .... what is the ultimate goal? Start working on behaviors that will get you there.

It may be hard to admit, but any behavior your baby has that you don't like is a direct reflection of your parenting. (How about that for guilt!) Babies aren't born with "bad" behaviors - they learn them. Guess who teaches them? This is not to say that parents teach bad habits intentionally - it is a side effect of the learning process as a new parent. It does; however, mean that it is your job to un-teach those behaviors. (To clarify: I am talking babies here, I don't know crap about older kids. And, I'm not talking temperment - some babies are easier than others, but they all can learn habits, good and bad).

To that point, Progress is a spiral. This was especially helpful in our sleep training with the Girl. I didn't expect miracles and I knew it would take time to form the new habits we wanted. Just when you had one good night, the next night or two would be challenging. Again - take the big picture view. You are always moving in the right direction and spiraling toward the goal (not spiraling out of control!). Some days you are closer to your goal, and some days you are farther away, but you are always making progress and will eventually get there.

Easier said than done sometimes.

Now, though, we have a daughter who is an excellent sleeper at 17 weeks. (Ten hours last night - Hallelujah!). I have confidence that our early decisions resulted in the desired outcome over time.

As someone who likes things to be predictable, I have now grudgingly admitted that we need to move her schedule around again. The 3-hour schedule isn't ideal for a 4-month-old, so I hope my planning again gets us to the new desired goal. The only predictable thing about parenting is that it always changes.

Stay tuned ...

1 comment:

Bets said...

As a teacher, I try to set the bar VERY HIGH when it comes to my students' behavior, because they way they act OUTSIDE of my classroom reflects on how I am as a teacher!

I think you are on the right page!