Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baby Whisperer: Know Your Baby

Kaitlyn is angelic to the core
When your baby is first born, he basically sleeps all the time. Once they start to wake up and become more alert (get over the phyically draining process of being born), their true personalities start to show. Brayden started out really quite easy, then got harder until I finally started Babywise. Kaitlyn started out ridiculously easy, and stayed that way. I spent the first three months of her life paranoid that any day she would snap out of it and become a real terror. My husband told me to chill out and just enjoy it for what it was. I took that advise, and I am glad I did!

All babies have their own personalities. I have written a post on the importance of knowing who your child is as an individual (see Get To Know Your Child's Personality: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/get-to-know-your-childs-personality.html). In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg says babies differ in the way they sleep, eat, respond to stimulation, and need to be soothed. She also says this personality emerges between days 3-5 and give you a good idea of who your baby is and will be.

I have found this to be true. With Brayden, things were overall hard because I was getting to know him and also getting to know how to take care of a baby. With Kaitlyn, I pretty much fell automatically into caring for a newborn mode (except for a comical moment when I was first dressing her; I waited for her to push her arm through like Brayden did, then I realized she had no idea what I was doing and lacked the physical ability and coordination to do that). One thing I realized, though, was that she was a very different person. Her likes and dislikes were very different from Brayden's. Here are some comparisons for illustrative purposes:
  • Sleep: Kaitlyn needed more sleep than Brayden did. She had shorter waketimes and longer naps. She has always been that way. She was born knowing how to sleep easily; Brayden required much learning. This has continued into the older ages. She loves to sleep, Brayden hates it. I tell Kaitlyn it is nap time, and she quickly goes to her bed. She is excited. I tell Brayden it is naptime and half the time he tries to talk me out of a nap. I explain to him this is how life has always been for him; he takes a nap every day. The days he doesn't try to negotiate, he is visibly disappointed that naptime has once again entered his life.
  • Eat: Brayden started out having some trouble nursing (I am sure a combination of me and him since I had no clue what I was doing). I called Kaitlyn a champion nurser. Brayden loved baby food and ate a TON of it. We never had trouble with him eating what he needed to. Kaitlyn hated baby food, tolerated it at best. She would take one bite and insist she was done. Both have turned out to be good eaters of normal food, though.
  • Stimulation: Brayden has always hated to be naked. He still does. He has always disliked baths. As a baby, he screamed at bathtime. As he got older, he would enjoy himself in the tub once he was there, but he still does not look forward to baths. He gets upset because I insist he takes a bath. Kaitlyn doesn't mind being naked. She has always loved baths. At her current age, she gets upset because I don't let her take 5 baths a day and limit it to 1. I just can't win :) Brayden was never afraid of the sound of power tools or the vacuum; Kaitlyn still cries at the sound of the vacuum. Brayden hated the sound of lots of people inside talking loudly. Kaitlyn loves it.
  • Soothed: When Brayden was upset, he did not want to be held to calm down. He needed to really be alone. As a newborn, we would have to lay him on the bed and hold his arms down. He hated to be swaddled. Now at age 3, sometimes he does want to crawl in my lap and be soothed, but he often only requires you to address the problem quickly and he is on his way. If he is really upset, he will go sit himself somewhere alone "so he can calm down" in his words. Kaitlyn has always been instantly soothed by being held. She loved to be swaddled as a newborn. Physical contact is her thing. A hug and a kiss fixes all.
So they are different. They are different people, and even as newborns wanted things done differently. I had expected newborn life to be very similar, but they were totally different. Sure, they have their similarities, but they are very different people. They come with their own unique personalities.
Hogg has created a personality profile test for babies. This is one of the most interesting and beneficial things in this book. She says babies fall into one of five tempermental types: Angel, Textbook, Touchy, Spirited, and Grumpy.
A good friend of mine and I often wonder what our kids would be like without Babywise. We wonder what their personalities would be like without the influence of Babywise in their lives. Hogg says temperment is an influence, not a life sentence. I agree with that. There is a debate of nature vs. nurture in the phsycological world. I believe there is a bit of both from the perspective of how the world looks at it, but mostly nurture from the way I look at it. That is a whole post on its own. Just know that what you do does have an influence on the temperment of your child, for better or worse.
I took the quiz for each of my children (found on page 25). I took it twice for Brayden; once for him pre-Babywise, and once for him post-Babywise. Brayden pre-Babywise was a Touchy baby. Brayden after I started Babywise with him was a Textbook baby. He was a dramatic difference also. Here were his numbers.
Pre-Babywise
  • Angel baby: 1
  • Textbook baby: 4
  • Touchy Baby: 7
  • Spirited Baby: 4
  • Grumpy Baby: 3
Post Babywise
  • Angel baby: 8
  • Textbook baby: 12
  • Touchy Baby: 0
  • Spirited Baby: 0
  • Grumpy Baby: 0
Dramatic difference.
Kaitlyn was an Angel baby. Here are her numbers:
  • Angel baby: 17
  • Textbook baby: 3
  • Touchy Baby: 0
  • Spirited Baby: 0
  • Grumpy Baby: 0
I think Kaitlyn would be an angel baby with or without Babywise. Now for a summary of each temperament:
  • Angel baby: Good as gold. Easy to read cues. Flexible and portable. Eats, sleeps, and plays easily and usually doesn't cry when she wakes up. Soothes herself easily and easily puts herself to sleep.
  • Textbook baby: Predictable. Fairly easy to handle. Reaches milestones on schedule. Growth spurts on schedule. Can play alone for short periods from a young age. Smiles when smiled at. Has normal cranky periods, but easy to calm. Not hard to get him to sleep.
  • Touch baby: Ultrasensitive. Noises bother him. Cries for no reason at times. Fussy after too much stimulation. Loves to suck. Can have difficulty going to sleep. A change in schedule can really throw them off. Love structure and predictability.
  • Spirited Baby: Born knowing what she likes and doesn't like and makes it well-known. Vocal and aggressive. Screams when she wakes. Doesn't like dirty diapers. Body language is jerky. Needs swaddling. If she starts to cry without interruption, it leads to more crying until she is in a rage. Grabs toys from other babies when she gets the chance and has the ability.
  • Grumpy Baby: Old soul. Seems to be mad at the world. Whimpers in the morning. Doesn't smile a lot. Fusses to go to sleep at night. Hates baths. Hates to be changed. Hate to be swaddled and let you know it.
While Brayden turned into a textbook baby while applying Babywise, I often see moments of his touchiness. He has those tendencies, but with Babywise principles he is able to be more accepting of things like being naked for baths. He doesn't love it, but he does it without a meltdown like he did as a newborn. He also learned to put himself to sleep easily and play on his own.

You can't apply blanket statements to people, and the same is true for babies. You can't treat two babies the same. They are individuals. That is a trick especially for second, third, etc. time parents. You try to apply the same tricks to the new baby you used in the past. It just most likely will not work that way. You have to adjust your approach. Your two kids are no more the same person than you and your spouse are the same person. Hogg suggests you treat your children with respect and common sense.

With empathy and understanding, you can make your child's life and your life easier. You can "help him build on his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses" (page 37). We all have weaknesses and strengths. We can all benefit from working on these items to become the best people we can be.

Related Posts:
Reader Comments:
  • melissa said...
    What a great post, Val. I loved using Baby Whisperer to type my babies too. Both of mine were textbook. It's funny, because before you even started posting on Baby Whisperer I would read your blog and think - Kaitlyn, now that is a total Angel baby. Its funny though, I'll bet if you ask non-BW people they would tell you both of your kids are Angel babies. I know my family thought both mine were. I explained that all BW kids sleep well!
    August 1, 2008 7:04 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Melissa,That is funny. I have always called Kaitlyn my little angel. My friend and I always wonder what our kids would be like without Babywise. I kind of think Kaitlyn would have been an angel either way. It makes me glad she didn't come first because if so I likely wouldn't have turned to BW.
    August 3, 2008 4:17 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Action: Find Your Child's Currency

Last week I started to notice Brayden was getting a little too attached to the television. He wasn't getting more TV than usual, but he was desiring it more than usual. I was concerned over this because he was even wanting to watch TV over playing outside, which is an absolute first in his life.

Around the same time, he had a breakdown. He was not obeying well and started crying. I told him he needed to stop crying. I explained that if he did not stop and obey Mommy, he would lose his TV privileges for three days. Three days is a long time, but I was wanting some major detox for him and this opportunity presented itself :). He didn't stop crying and the TV was not allowed on for three days. He has been good as gold ever since.

I attribute this to a couple of things. One is that the TV can really contribute to behavior problems. All he watches is PBS, but it is easily addictive for him. So less TV is good for him (see this post for more TV thoughts: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/television.html). Another is that since he likes television so much, it is his "currency." It is something that works well to take away as a privilege if needed.

I have since shortened his daily TV time. As a note, I have discovered one reason he was preferring TV over going outside. Our normal outside time is after lunch. Around here, it has gotten to be too hot right after lunch in the last couple of weeks. So I evaluated the schedule and have changed our outside time to right after breakfast. He is loving it now. That is another post topic all together!

Something to take from this is to know what works for your children when it comes to discipline. Also, don't be afraid to do what works. If taking a favorite toy away is what works, do it if needed. Everyone has currency.

See these posts for more on discipline:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poll Results: What was/is baby's approximate optimal waketime length for ages 4-5 Months? (waketime length includes feeding time)?

Results:

50-60 minutes: 9 votes (6%)
60-70 minutes: 14 votes (9%)
70-80 minutes: 14 votes (9%)
80-90 minutes: 36 votes (24%)
1.5-1.75 hours: 29 votes (19%)
1.75-2 hours: 35 votes (23%)
2 hours or more: 12 votes (8%)

Total of 149 votes

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dropping the 4th Feeding {Bottle or Breast}

image source
Many moms are unsure when they should drop that 4th liquid feeding. Frankly, I am unsure exactly when I did it with Brayden. I know some moms who have dropped it around 9-10 months, even while nursing. Others are beyond 18 months when they drop the 4th feeding.

I personally for sure keep 4 liquid feedings while I am nursing. While I think I can maintain a supply with 3 feedings later in the year, I just feel better about 4. Brayden was around 18 months when we dropped the 4th liquid feeding. I think we did it around the same time we dropped his morning nap since his bedtime moved up by an hour. I think Brayden needed that 4th feeding for a longer time because he just has a fast metabolism and needed that extra feeding in the day. He also would not drink more than 6 ounces per feeding, and I wanted 24 ounces of milk in him per day.

As Brayden got older, he would drink more than 6 ounces sometimes. I would give him however many ounces he needed to get to 24.

Kaitlyn is 15 months old, and we are apparently in the middle of dropping the 4th feeding. It is a weaning process for us. I am not doing it on purpose, but some days she has it, and others she doesn't. I don't count ounces with her like I did Brayden. I currently give her about 10 ounces at each meal (but she rarely drinks that much at a meal). When she was 12 months old, she drank different amounts at each feeding. Some it was 3 ounces. Others 8. As she has gotten older, she has been able to take in more ounces per meal and therefore needs that final liquid feeding less.

So with Kaitlyn, I give her 10 ounces at each meal (three times a day). Then sometimes I give her the 4th, also with 10 ounces, if she seems to need it. I can't really describe it other than I just know when she does. Part of it is that I am a more seasoned mom now and better at reading my children. Part of it is that Kaitlyn is an excellent communicator.

Kaitlyn can handle the way I do this. She monitors herself. She has also always been a small girl, usually in the 20% percentile. I am not concerned about her eating too much. She also is a random drinker. Some meals she drinks 10 ounces--others she drinks one ounce. It isn't the same feeding, either. I know there are some kids who will eat everything you put in front of them. Some kids will drink more than they need. Do what works for your child.

You can drop that 4th feeding if your child gets the liquid he needs in 3 feedings. You would also want to make sure if you give more ounces per meal that your child still eats the solid food well. You can drop it if your child continues to grow well and sleep well when you do so. I think with the 4th feeding, it is something you will just kind of know when it is the right time. Remember, if you do drop the feeding and it turns out your child isn't ready for it, you can always add it back in (thought it might be harder to do that if you are still nursing). Trust your Mommy intuition!

You can see more on dropping feedings in general on this post: Dropping Feedings

Friday, July 25, 2008

Baby Whisperer: A New Baby is Hard

image source
One of my favorite things about the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is that the author, Tracy Hogg, is very candid about how difficult life is with a new baby. I remember talking to my mom when Brayden was about a week old.



"Why didn't anyone tell me how hard it would be to have a baby?"
"I think we did, dear."
"I don't think you said how hard it would be."
"I think you just didn't believe us."

Much of what is written in baby advice books is written by men. No offense to men, but I don't think they really get just how difficult it is. Moms have been pregnant FOREVER, and now have raging hormones. Mom is expected to care for this newborn 24/7 and yet her body is in a condition where she should be resting. In most cases, Dad soon goes back to work and interacts with other talking humans while mom stays home for the majority of every day for at least 6 weeks. This alone is a confining experience. Babies are hard.

Not to say they aren't worth it. Often the things in life that require the most work bring us the greatest pleasure, joy, and happiness. We love those little babies with everything we have. But that doesn't mean it is all easy. It is an adjustment. The good news is that with future babies, it isn't the same shock to your system. You have proper expectations and can smooth out most of the wrinkles that popped up the first time.

Since Hogg has been there, done that with two of her own, and along side many parents, she knows the reality of how hard it is. She doesn't skirt around it. It is hard. More good news is the difficulty doesn't last forever. Tracy has some advice for making the transition as easy as possible for the whole family (page 18). I have also included some of my tips.


  • Be as organized as possible before you leave for the hospital.
  • Put your diapers out (or open the package). Get your diaper changing station prepared.
  • Open packaging on all items.
  • Have sheets on crib and/or bassinet
  • Have baby's clothes washed and put away.
  • Have meals frozen and easy meals planned out. If your husband has specialties, have ingredients on hand for him to make these. Have a good supply of non-perishable items on hand.
  • Don't take too much to the hospital. You have more to take home than you brought to the hospital, plus the more you pack to take there, the more you have to unpack when you get home.
  • Write thank you notes that you can before baby arrives. You will have a lot less time after baby.
  • Get the baby book up to date before baby arrives if you keep one. There are a lot of pages you can fill out before baby is born.
  • Have an idea of what you want your schedule to be when you get home. Keep in mind that Babywise says to basically do a pattern rather than a schedule for the first week. For most of you reading this, your next child will not be your first. Think out how you want to work the two schedules together. Do you want to feed baby before older child gets up in the morning, or after. Or maybe at the same time. Try to get a schedule set up that gives you time to yourself. A newborn will not nap as long as a toddler in the afternoon, but you can definitely line up two naps together. You can also line up independent play with a nap. You will definitely need to adjust this schedule based on your individual baby. With Kaitlyn, I made several schedule possibilities. One was to get her up 30 minutes before Brayden, and one was to get her up 30 minutes after. In the end, I started her 30 minutes after him because she was more of one to sleep in.
  • Set managable goals for yourself. The hard thing is that you don't really know what is realistic and managable at first, so you also need to have patience. When Kaitlyn was a newborn, I first put only one thing on my to do list for each day. I found that doable.
  • If you are one who is going to go crazy over a dirty house, try to keep up on it up to the point of baby being born. Have the bathrooms clean, the floors vacuumed and mopped, everything dusted, etc. If you can't do it yourself, enlist your spouse or someone to do it. Then things can slide for a longer period of time after baby arrives :)
  • Try to think up a cleaning schedule for your home that will work for you. When Kaitlyn was born I went from having one major cleaning day a week to having certain tasks assigned to each day. Monday is laundry day. Tuesday is dusting. Wednesday is pick up absolutely everything and put it where it goes. Thursday is sweep. Friday is bathrooms. Saturday is vacuum and mop. Figure out what works for you so you can stay happy.
  • Have your clothes ready. I store a lot of my "normal" clothes while I am pregnant so I can fit my maternity clothes in my closet. Have your normal clothes and transition clothes ready to wear if you use them relatively soon from returning home.
  • Learn to say no. I always say that after you have a baby, everyone wants a piece of you and the baby. It is understandable, and it is wonderful to have support from family and friends. But learn to say no when you need to. You don't have to visit everyone within a 100 mile radius within the first few months of your baby's arrival. Your house doesn't need to be an all-night truck stop. You can let family and friends know times and days they can visit. If you are too tired to talk on the phone, turn it off or unplug it. People should be understanding of the situation.
  • Ask for and accept help. If someone offers to bring you a meal, accept it. If the tub really needs to be cleaned, ask your husband to do it.
  • Give yourself time to heal. Take naps and rest. Realize what your body has been through. You will be able to be a better mother to your children if you allow your body to heal before you try to jump back into life. I think many moms try to run back into life after their second child. I know I did. With Brayden, I allowed myself lots of time to heal and basically rested for the first 6 weeks (as much as I do). It helps that I had over 50 stitches after his large head--that was a good motivating factor for me to let myself heal. I also was adjusting to life with a new baby. I was in completely new territory. After Kaitlyn, I felt great. I had about two stitches after her, and only because she got caught on some of the scar tissue left behind from Brayden. By the time I left the hospital, I was walking like a normal person. I felt great. I found myself at the park two weeks later and trying to continue on with life the way it was before Kaitlyn arrived. It just wasn't a smart move. Nothing bad happened, but I could just feel that day at the park that I had taken things too fast. I wasn't allowing our family to adjust to new life. It wasn't going to be the way it was before. We had a new member of the family. I hope to be better about this the next time around. Something I was much better with after Kaitlyn than Brayden was taking naps. I made sure to take a nap every day for the first four weeks. Then I took a nap on an "as needed" basis. I think this helped me to be a better mom and it definitely helped me to be patient with my little 22 month old son.
  • Communicate with your spouse. I have talked about this in the past. See Put Your Marriage First : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/06/put-your-marriage-first.html and Uniting as Parents : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/06/uniting-as-parents.html
So bringing home a new baby is hard. It is an adjustment. Everyone needs time to adjust and get used to this new life. Hopefully these tips can make the new adjustment easier on everyone involved. Please share your own tips if you have anything to add.



Related Posts:
Reader Comments:
  • Micah, Amy & Nicolae said...
    I loved reading this post. I was all over the place 3 days after giving birth to my son. I am truly freaking out about my second baby coming (my son will be only 16months old). I think I have already chosen to do too much in telling my in-laws we will meet them for Christmas for almost a week, only 2-3 weeks after my due date of Dec 3. I'm really praying my husband will pick up some slack since that has been a MAJOR issue for us since our son was born. I definitely plan on taking the rest of the suggestions to heart this time around. Amy
    July 25, 2008 9:49 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Amy, Wow! You are nice to go for a week that soon afterward. Good luck! I for sure would not do that ;). I hope you have a better time this go around.
    July 28, 2008 11:28 AM
  • ProudMum said...
    wow, I wish I cud have such article or book before I was pregnant so that exactly what to expect. Its really hard and only Allah can give mothers reward, no one else cant. Thats why HE said heaven lies beneath feet of mother.
    July 25, 2008 10:33 AM
  • The Brace Family said...
    hi there! getting ready to have #2 and loved reading this our children will be almost the same apart...23 months.
    July 25, 2008 11:03 AM

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Motherhood: Some Uplifting Words (again)

I did this post a while back, but I recently tweaked it a bit and posted it on growingkids.org. It is worth repeating, so here it is with some updates.

I attended a church conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this past April and one talk really stood out to me –and stood out to all mothers I talked to. It was presented by one of our church Elders, M. Russell Ballard and I wish to share some highlights from his message entitled Daughters of God.

“While women live in homes under many different circumstances—married, single, widowed, or divorced, some with children and some without—all are beloved of God, and He has a plan for His righteous daughters to receive the highest blessings of eternity.”

“… I surely know that there is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.”

“There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family.”

“I am impressed by countless mothers who have learned how important it is to focus on the things that can only be done in a particular season of life. If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one-fourth of a parent’s life. And the most formative time of all, the early years in a child’s life, represents less than one-tenth of a parent’s normal life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers as equal partners. I am grateful that today many fathers are more involved in the lives of their children. But I believe that the instincts and the intense nurturing involvement of mothers with their children will always be a major key to their well-being.”


“We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood and of putting children first can be difficult. Through my own four-generation experience in our family, and through discussions with mothers of young children throughout the Church, I know something of a mother’s emotions that accompany her commitment to be at home with young children. There are moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration. Mothers may feel they receive little or no appreciation for the choice they have made. Sometimes even husbands seem to have no idea of the demands upon their wives.”

“We want you to be happy and successful in your families and to have the validation and support you need and deserve. So today, let me ask and briefly answer four questions. While my answers may seem extremely simple, if the simple things are being tended to, a mother’s life can be most rewarding.”

QUESTION 1: What can you do, as a young mother, to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?
  • First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction. Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”(Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11).
  • Second, don’t overschedule yourselves or your children. We live in a world that is filled with options. If we are not careful, we will find every minute jammed with social events, classes, exercise time, book clubs, scrapbooking, Church callings, music, sports, the Internet, and our favorite TV shows. One mother told me of a time that her children had 29 scheduled commitments every week: music lessons, Scouts, dance, Little League, day camps, soccer, art, and so forth. She felt like a taxi driver. Finally, she called a family meeting and announced, “Something has to go; we have no time to ourselves and no time for each other.” Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together.
  • Third, even as you try to cut out the extra commitments, sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children. Avoid any kind of substance abuse, mistakenly thinking that it will help you accomplish more. And don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the time-wasting, mind-numbing things like television soap operas or surfing the Internet. Turn to the Lord in faith, and you will know what to do and how to do it.
  • Fourth, pray, study, and teach the gospel. Pray deeply about your children and about your role as a mother. Parents can offer a unique and wonderful kind of prayer because they are praying to the Eternal Parent of us all. There is great power in a prayer that essentially says, “We are steward-parents over Thy children, Father; please help us to raise them as Thou wouldst want them raised.”

QUESTION 2: What more can a husband do to support his wife, the mother of their children?

  • First, show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day. Notice things and say thank you—often. Schedule some evenings together, just the two of you.
  • Second, have a regular time to talk with your wife about each child’s needs and what you can do to help.
  • Third, give your wife a “day away” now and then. Just take over the household and give your wife a break from her daily responsibilities. Taking over for a while will greatly enhance your appreciation of what your wife does.
  • Fourth, come home from work and take an active role with your family. Don’t put work, friends, or sports ahead of listening to, playing with, and teaching your children.

This is a summary of the talk. All “bold” have been added by me, as well as the bullets. To read the talk in its entirety, follow this link: http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-851-37,00.html

I hope these words can offer you comfort and ideas for improving your happiness in your mothering. I have long recognized that one of the biggest challenges of life is to be content with where you are. “The grass is always greener on the other side.” When Brayden (my oldest, now 3) was a baby, I would always think things like, “once he is sleeping through the night, things will be good” “once he is crawling, we will all be much happier” (he was extremely active) and “once he is walking, it will be much easier.” While all of those things were true, I was looking to the future too much and therefore missing the present. Each stage of your child’s life has its perks and its difficulties. Some stages are easier than others in general, but none is without its challenges. One I learned to truly be happy with where Brayden was, I was much happier.

I am personally not a huge fan of the newborn stage. I know for some that is their favorite. Not me. I am more of a toddler person. I love the fun of toddlerhood. I love it once the baby reaches one year old. With Kaitlyn (now 15 months), I really strived to enjoy her newborn months. Newborns are cuddly and so small. They don’t talk back. They are comparatively easy to make happy. Those first smiles and giggles fill your heart to overflowing. I truly enjoyed those sweet newborn moments; however, I can still see room for improvement in my heart. When we have our third child, I will strive enjoy those tender moments even more.

There are always things to get done. You will always have projects and chores waiting for you. There are countless jobs that are never truly done. Cleaning can always be done more deeply, and once you get it cleaned to perfection it takes a matter of moments for it to start to get dirty again. Remember that while cleanliness is a good thing, your children will remember and care more about the memories made with you than how clean your house was. Yes, you want it sanitary, but sometimes things can wait. This is a challenge for me. I find myself often putting my children off so I can finish cleaning something. When I seize that moment to play with them, we have such fun, and the dishes always do get done. Enjoy your children and enjoy your position as a mother of your sweet little ones.

Motherhood is hard. Applying Babywise principles to your family can be stressful at times. You worry that you are doing something wrong when your child isn’t “textbook.” You fuss over the schedule. Try to relax. Remember that your schedule is to serve you and your family. I always tell moms to work on things, but don’t let it consume you. Don’t put so much stock in how many hours straight your 14 week old is sleeping in the night. Work on things always, but also accept where things are at so that you don’t let these precious moments pass you by. Through these simple words of counsel as shared by Elder Ballard, you can enjoy your time with your children and get the most out of these years you have with them. Take care of yourself. Take care of your family. Enjoy each moment. Focus on the things that can’t afford to be put off. Prioritize your goals each day.

As I look over this counsel, I see how easy it is to apply it because of the principles of Babywise. Independent playtime can help give you time to do things around the house, and also to follow your own hobbies and interests. Knowing the schedule of your children gives mom the opportunity to leave the house and not stress about the state of her children—as much J (sorry Dads, but we often take some time to chill out, no matter how much we trust you). Couch time offers mom and dad a time to talk about the needs of the children each day. You can enjoy motherhood. To talk to moms whose children are all grown and gone, they always counsel to enjoy your children because before you know it, they are grown and gone. Let’s learn from these women and receive full joy from our position as mothers.

Here is a link to my original post:

Motherhood: Some Uplifting Words : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/04/motherhood-some-uplifting-words.html

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baby Whisperer: Skills of a Good Parent

In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg gives some advice for how to be a good parent. Here are some tips along with some of my own commentary. These tips are found on page 11.

  • Be respectful of your baby. Treat your baby with respect and like a human, not a doll.
  • Know your baby as an individual. Even as a newborn, you can know a lot about the personality of your baby. Also, know the baby you have, not the baby you dreamed you would have.
  • Talk with, not at, your baby. This is often something that parents feel silly about. It requires silence and wait time. Any teacher knows this concept. When you ask a question, you need to be silent and allow those you asked time to process the question and respond. Talking with your baby rather than at your baby is easier once your baby becomes more interactive.
  • Listen to your baby and meet his needs. Slow down and learn to listen to your baby.
  • Offer dependability, structure, and predictability. This is something most Babywise parents do.

Related Posts:

Reader Comments:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What was/is baby's approximate optimal waketime length for ages 3-4 Months? (waketime length includes feeding time)?

Results:

50-60 minutes: 14 votes (8%)
60-70 minutes: 45 votes (28%)
70-80 minutes: 32 votes (20%)
80-90 minutes: 39 votes (24%)
90-100 minutes: 20 votes (12%)
1 hour 45 minutes or longer: 7 votes (4%)

Total of 157 votes

Monday, July 21, 2008

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

I finished reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer over this past weekend. This book was written by Tracy Hogg. I must admit that when I started the book, I was highly skeptical that I would like it. I don't know what ever gave me the impression, but I thought I would find it absurd. My husband was really turned off by the title. He didn't tell me until I was done reading it, but he said his impression was that it would be kind of "hocus pocus."

As it turns out, I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it to you. I checked it out from the library, but do plan to purchase it after reading it. This is a book for mothers of newborns and meshes well with Babywise (BW). The book outlines Hogg's plan she has dubbed E.A.S.Y. Her routine is Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (you time while baby sleeps). Here is a summary of the books contents:
  • Introduction of Tracy Hogg and background on her. This chapter outlines the reasons she is "the baby whisperer"
  • Proper expectations for the baby you gave birth to and you. This chapter gives you a personality profile to get to know your child better. It also really lets you know what life is really like once you bring that baby home from the hospital. This is one reason I highly recommend this book to BW moms. Reading BW, you get all pumped up and ready to implement this simple plan. When baby comes and the work with it, you start to get discouraged. Hogg is very candid about life with a newborn. It is hard. It is a major adjustment. Any mom who is slightly OCD like myself will greatly benefit from reading this and learning to give proper priorities to life with a newborn.
  • Explanation of the E.A.S.Y plan. This goes through her structured routine plan and the importance of structure in a baby's life.
  • Explanation of S.L.O.W. Hogg is a proponent of babies as individuals who are very human. This chapter helps mom and dad learn to respect baby's feelings and understand how baby communicates with them.
  • Eating. This chapter goes over breast vs. bottle feeding and other eating issues. This is a chapter that really irritated me as I read it. I get the impression that she thinks breastfeeding is best for the baby, but she doesn't want to offend any bottle-feeding mothers out there. She really down-plays the benefits of breastfeeding in this chapter.
  • Activities with baby. Diapering, dressing, playing, bathing, massaging.
  • Sleep. This chapter goes over sleep patterns and practices. This is another chapter that brought me confusion. She says she never lets a baby cry, but also that you might have to let a baby cry...
  • You. The importance of rejuvenating yourself, sharing responsibilities, and getting support.
  • A chapter on adoption, surrogacy, multiple births, preemies, and babies born with health issues.
  • Three Day Magic. This chapter outlines the ways parents contribute to problems with their child's difficulties and how to change those patterns.
  • Final thoughts.
Although I don't agree with everything in the book, I found this book to be informative, interesting, candid, realistic, and beneficial. If you are pregnant, I definitely recommend this to you. If you have a baby 0-6 months in age, I also definitely recommend this to you. 6-9 months, you might get some benefit. 9-12 months...slight chance. 1 year or older....it is interesting reading, but isn't likely going to do anything for you at this point. If you plan to have children in the future, though, I would recommend this book.
I will write more this week on individual facets of the book.
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Reader Comments:
  • Jamie said...
    The title is a bit weird, isn't it? The book really does mesh well with BabyWise in a lot of ways though. These were the two main books I read before bringing my son home and I think they helped me a great deal. The routines and the structure really helped. :)
    July 21, 2008 2:29 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Jamie. It is good to get other opinions of BW moms on this book. I think this can be a great book for any mom who is prone to hyperschedule. It can help her chill out a bit :)
    July 23, 2008 3:21 PM
  • mmonfore said...
    This book and Babywise are the two books I recommend to friends (or give as gifts at baby showers). I love many parts of the book. It seems to offer more detailed advice but does really mesh with BW. It sort of fills in the gaps. One part that I particularly love is the section on baby's body language. It was so right on with my LO and helped me understand him better. And one difference with this book compared to BW is that it recommends the eat/awake/sleep routine but not on a set schedule. So for those who don't like to be looking at the clock all day, it's a good book. And I do love the discussion of personality types. I think both of my kids are "textbook". My LO is borderline "angel". Hogg has a book for toddlers but I didn't find it as helpful. This is definitely her claim to fame.
    July 21, 2008 10:39 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Maureen,I also like the personality types. I have some thoughts I am going to discuss in an upcoming post. The body language part was very interesting also. I plan to try that out with the next baby.
    July 23, 2008 3:23 PM
  • Cristine said...
    I read "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems" and BW when my baby was born, and both were essential for me! I also give them both to friends who are pregnant. This second book by Tracy gives a summary of E.A.S.Y and talks about every problem a mom might face (with routine, feeding, solids, sleep, etc). I think it's a better option for mom's of older babies too.I also got confused by the sleep thing...I didn't know if I should do CIO or use her method of tapping the baby's back saying shh. I did CIO, which worked, but now that my baby is 6 months, if I have to do something, I rather do her Pick Up, Put Down method (4 months and older) instead of CIO.
    July 22, 2008 4:56 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Cristine,Thanks! I will have to read that one next.
    July 23, 2008 3:24 PM
  • The Traveling Turtle said...
    I also read the Hogg book and used it as a wonderful referance tool. It was very informative in areas that BW was vague. Both are wonderful to have on hand. Although - the part about losing trust from your child if you let them CIO was a little odd. It scared me to death at first and I refused to let my daughter cry. Her outline for what you had to do to build the trust back was a little frightening. I ended up doing stricktly BW after 5 weeks and used her book as a back up tool. Thank you so much for this wonderful website! July 22, 2008 9:29 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Traveling Turtle, I also thought that part about losing trust weird. I found myself worrying about it, then telling myself to snap out of it. Both of my kids did CIO and both are perfectly fine :) You do bring up an excellent point that you need to pick one book to follow and use others as bonuses when they are in agreeance with each other. You can't serve two masters :)
    July 23, 2008 3:27 PM
  • Rachel Stellaaa said...
    I also liked "The Bsby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems" (the second book). It had some really good helpful tips and was similar to BW except for the CIO and "trust issues" (which made me nervous at first but no longer do because I have found them to not be true). I think reading multiple books can be really helpful as long as you are just pick and choose what works best for you.
    July 22, 2008 11:47 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Rachel, Thanks for your added benefit. I am all for reading lots of books :)
    July 23, 2008 9:47 PM
  • melissa said...
    I love the Hogg books too. I found the discussion on temperments of babies particularly interesting. I think many moms aren't 100% comfortable with the whole CIO thing, so Hogg's suggestions may be valuable, e.g. shushing, patting, etc.
    July 23, 2008 11:19 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Melissa,mmmm-hmmmm. I agree--the temperment is one of the best things abotu the book. And her non-CIO solution is a good one for moms who don't want to do CIO.
    July 23, 2008 9:54 PM

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pooping in the Potty

When we did our first attempt at potty training, Brayden did well with the peeing and struggled with the pooping. He has always been a private pooper. He has always been the kid to poop during solo playtime. If he didn't have solo playtime, there was no pooping that day. I am one who also needs consistency and isolation to be able to be regular, so I totally get that. If I were to travel to a country where you had to go to the bathroom somewhere other than the toilets I am used to, it would take me along time to be able to do it.

The first time we tried potty training this past January, the lack pooping was such a problem for us that it started to interfere with his peeing and his eating. When you are backed up, you will stop eating, and often times vomit. For those reasons (and others), I decided he just wasn't ready yet. We gave it a few months and tried again, this time with success.

Our second go around, he still had pooping difficulty. He still took days between pooping. His accidents were few, but if it had been days without pooping, I would put a diaper on him and let him poop in it. I didn't want him getting uncomfortably backed up or constipated. I knew I had to give it some time. I learned I had to leave him alone in the room while he pooped, even if he said he wanted me there. If I left the room, he usually had success. If I stayed, he didn't. He only had success with me in the room one time.

Now Brayden poops without problem. He wears underwear 100% of the time and I can't even remember the last time he had an accident. He is getting better about pooping when we aren't home. He still has room for improvement; he only poops every other day right now (I am sure one day he is going to be mortified that I shared this information :) ). But things are good. He is quickly learning.

Here are some tips on helping your child past pooping problems:
  • Figure out what works for him. Does he need to be alone? Does he need to read a book? Books did not work for Brayden. You can observe what he did while pooping in the diaper. For Brayden, he would drive a car. That often helped him when he struggled. Most of the time, though, he needed zero distractions. Figure out what works for your child.
  • A comfort item to help him relax. This might be a book. This might be a favorite stuffed animal or toy. I would try to not let that be you for long-term, but if he needs you at first, be there for him.
  • Patience. He needs to figure this out. He needs to learn how to get it out. Give him time.
  • Don't let him get too blocked up. They can get sick and/or constipated. This will not help him work toward success. That is why I put a diaper on Brayden every so often so he could get it out. Do gauge your child. I saw improvement over time and needed the diaper less. If you try it and things don't improve, it might not be the right option for you.
  • Evaluate. Be sure this is a skill your child can accomplish right now. If not, back off.
  • Patience again. Pottywise says that learning to pee and learning to poop are two different skills. If pooping is really hard for your child, focus on the pee for now. Don't be discouraged by the lack of pooping success. Move on to poop once you think he is ready.
  • Be really excited. When your child does have success, be so very excited.
  • Proper rewards. Offer different rewards for pooping that give more motivation. For Brayden at this point, he only gets rewards for pooping. Everything else is just what he does.
  • Remove your negative emotions. Don't show your disappointment when there are accidents, and better yet, remove disappointment. You have to discipline yourself and remove your emotional investment from the situation. Don't let whether or not he poops be the make or break for whether or not you are a good parent.
  • Don't pressure. Telling someone who has a hard time pooping to hurry or to just do it does not make it any better for them. They need space, time, and patience.

Good luck! This is not an easy difficulty to fix, it mostly just takes time and experience from your child. It will come.

See these posts for more on our potty training experiences:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Parent vs. Friend: Childwise

Childwise Principle #3: Parent now, be friends later. Another big fad right now in parenting is the idea to be your child's friend rather than their parent. I can't even guess how many times I have seen parents on TV talking about how they allow their teens to drink at home so the parent can at least monitor what is going on. I know one mom of six who lives down the street from me who is quite proud of the fact that her children and children's friends call her a "cool mom." Her oldest son recently shot a hole in the door of their truck with a shotgun. Can you guess what happened to him? "Don't do it again." That's all. No loss of any sort of privilege. Not even a discussion of being careful with the gun or where he can and can't shoot guns. This boy is 17 years old. The parents then laugh as they tell the story and shrug their shoulders as they say, "Boys will be boys."

These parents are striving for friendship before parentship. Sure, we all want our kids to like us. We want to remain "cool" forever. Maybe some people don't see the harm in this. I know there are thousands of parents out there who truly think it is best to be friends and not parents. Here is the innate, logical reason that is wrong: Your child has one set of parents. You and your spouse (or sometimes just you) are the only parents your child will ever have. Ever. Your child might have relationships with leaders and teachers that can be parent-like, but that still doesn't put those people in the position of parent. Your child has aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Don't shortchange your child or those people by expecting them to take the role of parent so you can be friend. Children need those other family relationships. They are all unique and contribute to your child. The job of a grandparent is largely to spoil the grandchildren. Grandparents and grandchildren have a special bond and relationship that can't exist if grandparents are forced to become parents. The same for aunts and uncles. My sister always laughs about how she is going to be the cool aunt my kids go running to when they are mad at me.

Your child will have lots of friends. For her entire life, she will have various friends who come in and out of her life. She will never lose the opportunity for making new friends. But you are the only shot she has at parents. Think of your own past and the many friends you have had come and go. Chances are you have a handful of friends who have been there for a long time, but many friendships fade with distance. The same is hopefully not true for your parents. Your parents are their unconditionally. Your parents love you and stick by you. Don't take that relationship away from your children.

Another problem with trying to be friends rather than parents to your children is that to do so, you must sacrifice your authority (see page 54 in On Becoming Childwise). Your children need you to lead them down the best moral paths. Your children need you to share your experience and wisdom with them--even if it annoys them. Your children will receive the information and instructions you give better if they respect you.

The day will come that you can be friends with your children. They will mature and move away from needing your leadership and authority (see Leadership and Authority: Childwise). Again, the work now brings the reward later. Take real note of that and come to know of the truth of it. Look around you and observe the laws of nature. I believe laws of nature follow the laws of the Lord. You cannot reap rewards you did not sow.

Take planting a garden. The more work you put into it, the more you get out. Sure, you can just plant seeds and see what happens. You can put a variety of levels of effort into it. We plant a rather large garden. Last year was our first year in this house where we could plant a garden. Kaitlyn was also a newborn. My husband prepared the garden plot himself, planted the seeds himself, watered himself, and weeded himself. Soon the weeds started to take over because he really couldn't keep up himself. We got some good food out of it, but not as good as we could have if there had been more work put into it (not that my husband didn't work as hard as he could; it was just too much for one person). After I had healed and Kaitlyn was stabilized, I was able to devote time to the garden, though not enough. The harvest came and we could hardly keep up with the weeds and the produce.

This year has been vastly different. We have both been able to put a lot of time into it. I can also work on it in the day. Brayden is old enough he really helps. The garden looks beautiful and is producing well. We are able to store our excess for winter use and/or share with the neighbors--whereas last year a lot went to waste. We put a lot more effort into it from the beginning, and it has made the harvest much, much easier. I hope this analogy rings true to you. It rings true across all plants. The better you care for young, tender plants, the stronger they will be as they grow. If you have no experience with plants, try to apply it to things you do have experience with. Sports? While some people have natural talent for a sport, you still need to put time and effort into practicing before you are really good. Work comes first. Musical instruments? Again, practice, practice, practice. Do you cook? How much better have you gotten over time and with practice. Maybe your thing is education. When you put the effort in to your education, were you amazed at how learning started to become easier? Concepts that would have been impossible two years earlier were now relatively simple? Or at least doable?

I know we live in times of instant gratification. In many ways, we were not raised in an era of patiently waiting. We have had easy credit, microwave ovens, and constant entertainment. If waiting is hard for you, first acknowledge that weakness and then work on it. When you feel yourself impatient with all of the work and the few rewards you are seeing at the moment, try to pull in your analogy and remember that effort must come first.

Related Posts:

Reader Comments/Thank Yous:

  • Christie said...
    Very much enjoyed this post...I look forward to your posts every day, they are such a blessing!In Christ, Christie
    July 18, 2008 5:11 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Christie!
    July 21, 2008 4:59 PM
  • Don & Denise Sullivan said...
    Great post. My hubby used to be a Youth Minister and the thing that saddened us the most is when parents stopped parenting once their kids became teens...thinking they either needed to be their friends or that they needed their independence. These kids were practically crying out for mom or dad to guide them. My best friend had parents who could've cared less what she did as a teen and it made her angry that they didn't care enough to protect her and tell her "no" at times.
    July 19, 2008 12:21 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    So true, Denise. That is common with youth. Thanks for sharing that.
    July 21, 2008 5:05 PM

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Leadership and Authority: Childwise

Childwise Principle #2: Use the strength of your leadership early on and the strength of your relationship later (On Becoming Childwise, page 50).

A current "fad" in parenting is to let the child set the pace. Let the child decide what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. What he wants to eat and when and where he wants to eat it. Who he needs to listen to and when he needs to listen. Parents don't want to suppress their children. They want them to explore and blossom. In order to allow their children to reach that potential, they remove their own parental leadership and authority form the picture.

It isn't as though these parents are wishing bad things for their children. They want the best for the children and think this free exploration and lack of parental direction is the way to get there. It really isn't.

"Authority is a necessary positive" (On Becoming Childwise, page 46). This reminds me of the idea of agency and consequences. There are many laws that surround us. We have laws of our land (government). We have moral laws. We have religious laws. We have personal laws. The current fad is that any an all laws inflicted upon your children are going to hinder your children. But at some point, your child is going to have to accept authority. Your child is going to have to obey the laws of the land. Your 17 year old will not be well-received if he insists to the cop that he is infringing upon his potential for writing him a speeding ticket. There are laws, and there are consequences for those laws. Good consequences and bad consequences.

Take a law that says you may not drive your vehicle while intoxicated. Some people might find that a violation of their personal rights. In reality it frees them. If they follow that law, they will not have the risk of killing others in an accident. They are free from that awful consequence. They are also free from fines and jail time that might come if caught. You do your children no favors to remove consequences and authority figures from their lives. The consequences, big or small, will get them some day.

Authority is a difficult thing. Many people abuse authority once they receive it. It is easy to get a big head and feel very important once you are in a position of authority. And as I have talked about, some people really shy away from authority. It is a lot of responsibility. You can't always be the nice guy when you are in a position of authority. Just take a look at the position of the President of the United States. I honestly don't understand why anyone would seek that job. No matter your party affiliation, in our modern times you are likely to be greatly disliked (if not hated) by at least 50% of the population in the US, not to mention the rest of the world. Positions of authority are often lonely.

Just as it is inappropriate to refuse to have any authority over your children, it is inappropriate to insist upon too much authority. I think that most followers of Babywise principles are going to lean more toward this side of the spectrum than the other. Few if any Babywise moms are going to have a complete lack of leadership and authority over their children. So for most of us, we really need to watch ourselves and our use of authority. We might not allow appropriate freedoms at the appropriate times. We might hover and discipline every little mis-step and overreact to accidents.

However, there are some facets of the lack of authority parents we can find among ourselves. One thing I think is easy for any modern parent to do is overindulge. Our current generation of parents do not want their children to want. We want to provide every great toy out there. We want our children to experience every activity and have every advantage. I know my husband and I can be guilty of this at times. This is exhibiting a lack of authority and leadership.

Another thing is sometimes we choose to not discipline and tolerate disobedience. We first let little things slide. It can be exhausting to keep up on it all. Sometimes it is easier to just look the other way.

We also might work really hard to make sure our children are never sad or disappointed. This is along the lines of overindulgence. We want to keep our word to our children (which is a good thing) but will sometimes do it at the expense of other children. Take my good friend. The other day she was at the park with her three children and her sister's kids. Her two year old was very sick. But she had promised her sister's kids they would go to the park that day and didn't want to disappoint. Sometimes in life, circumstances come up that are beyond our control that prevent us from doing things we might like to. This happens. Don't be afraid for your children to learn that. It will happen as adults, so they need to learn to deal with those emotions.

This topic is discussed in Chapter Three of On Becoming Childwise. It states that parents have the right to insist upon conformity and compliance, and especially in these three areas:


  • Morality
  • Health and Safety
  • Life Skills

Morality
Through morality, you teach your child things like how to share. If your child does something wrong (intentionally or unintentionally), you lead, guide, encourage, correct and right those wrongs.

Health and Safety
You insist upon vegetables being eaten. You make sure he brushes his teeth. You don't leave the driveway until he is all buckled in. You make sure he takes a bath. You don't allow him to play with or on dangerous things. You insist upon conformity and compliance in these areas.

Life Skills
You teach your child how to help around the house. You insist he cleans up his toys when he is done playing with them. If he is involved in lessons of any kind, you make sure he practices as necessary. You teach your child to be responsible and respectful to those he is in contact with. His future wife will thank you :) My husband's mother had three daughters and one son. Many moms likely would have had the daughters do all the cleaning and let her son go do "guy" stuff. Not her. She insisted he clean also. She says he was her best cleaner. He learned how to do it all. While he still has his things that can get to me if I let them, he is an amazing help around the house. She taught him well how to work in the house, his father taught him well how to work outside the house (in the yard, garage, and at work), and his mom enforced his piano practicing every day for many, many years (which I love as a singer). He doesn't regret any of that, and neither do I.

How to Use Authority/Leadership Properly
So now we are all aware that we need to use it, but not abuse it. How do you do that? Childwise Principle #2: Use the strength of your leadership early on and the strength of your relationship later (On Becoming Childwise, page 50). With your younger children, you lead by the power of your authority. With older children, you lead by the power of your influence (Childwise, page 50). If you are doing things correctly, as your child gets older, you should need to use your parental authority less. Note that the authority doesn't decrease, just the coercive use of the authority.

Look back over the life of your child thus far. As a newborn, you decided everything. You decided what activities were done and when. As your child has gotten older, more decisions have been made by him. "The decreased need for parental authority is proportionate to the increased amounts of age-appropriate, self-imposed controls" (Childwise, page 51). As your child demonstrates the ability to be responsible and handle these freedoms, you grant them.

Are the principles of Babywise and up time consuming? Yes. Implementing the principles require a lot of work and discipline on the part of the parents. With the Babywise program, a lot of work is put in the early years. One mom recently put it that the more work you put in the beginning, the less work you have in the future. As you look back over the life of your pre-schooler to this point, you will find it to be true. I look at something like independent play with Brayden. A lot of work to get started. But now he has it and loves it. It is no work for me. At this point he practically puts himself in independent play. He cleans up 70-90% of his toys all on his own each day (sometimes even 100%). He looks at the clock and knows when it is time to start and time to stop.

As you put the effort in now, you can really enjoy your child as he gets older. You can be friends and not warring generals. I will write more on the idea of friend vs. parent tomorrow. Just know that your effort now is all worth it. It brings huge rewards in the future. The work does pay off.

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