Friday, July 15, 2011

Babywise is a Blessing

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I first heard about Babywise from a friend when my son, Kye, was three weeks old. At first read through I didn't think much of it and believed that life on a schedule wasn't for me. I'm a go-go-go type person who always thought my baby would be fitting into my life and I wouldn't be revolving my life around the child. I quickly realized that in order to have the freedom I desired, you must also have structure. I got "hardcore" into Babywise (thanks mostly to this very blog!) when my son was 6 weeks old and he was sleeping through the night two weeks later. I immediately loved the life of a scheduled baby. I loved knowing when he'd be ready to eat, when he'd be sleeping, etc. Having a schedule allowed me to plan for other things, for our family to continue traveling as often as we always had, and for us to ENJOY life. We were never left guessing what Kye needed or if he was hungry etc. He knew what to expect and so did we. I cannot imagine my life as a mom without Babywise!!!

We have only gone off schedule for one day Kye's entire life (he's now almost 2 1/2 years old). We went on a short vacation and thought we'd just throw the schedule out of the window for a day and be like so many other parents we'd always met. Phhh...that NEVER happened again. It was stressful for us, it was stressful for Kye. Sure, we may miss out on some things (especially during that first year since the baby needs a strict schedule so much more then) and may have to leave places early or turn down invitations for events - but we have an extremely well-behaved, sleep-loving, smart, healthy, social child and it's all worth it.

I did not know anyone in my circle of friends or family who had followed Babywise as closely as I decided to follow it. It was very difficult, and sometimes lonely for me. It was especially hard when family would complain about Kye's schedule and would almost make fun of me for it. We have strict rules for people when they watch our son and made it clear that we wouldn't be okay with those "rules" being broken (stick to the schedule, don't pick up if crying at night, etc). It honestly took him being about a year old for everyone to FINALLY see that Babywise is a wonderful parenting tool.

I have enjoyed each of the -wise series and am now reading (and re-reading) Toddlerwise (When Kye was 18 months old I followed Pottywise and now have a completely day and night trained child!). Toddlerwise has been a life safer for my sons recent tantrums. Whenever I face a parenting difficulty I consult whatever -wise book my sons age fits into and I figure out what I'm doing wrong. I personally believe that most parenting struggles are the result of parenting outside the funnel and I've found that re-reading the books gets me back on track to where I need to be!

We are pregnant with our second baby (due in Dec) and I've been SO nervous about having two schedules, nursing while managing a toddler, and how to run a household with two children. I went back over my Babywise book and was so relieved to see how beautifully a newborns and toddlers schedules match up. It's such a blessing to have a little peak into the future and know (once we get settled, of course!) that the transition to having two children won't be a stressful one.

I always think back on the preface portion of Babywise where it talks about people making comments on how lucky you are to have such a content baby or good sleeper or some other trait that has nothing to do with luck. Whenever people comment on Kye's great behavior, self motivation, independence, or great social skills I always credit Babywise. Through Babywise I have found my God-given talent. I always heard that everyone has a special talent and I never knew what mine was, my pride and passion is now being a mother. I love that I have a guide book to follow (and a blog and google group to consult!) that lets me know, without a doubt, that I'm doing the very best for my child. It's so true that Babywise isn't just an "infant-management concept" but it really IS a "mind-set for responsible parenthood."

I know many people have listed their favorite topics from Babywise and it's very difficult for me to narrow them down to just a few. Recently in our home having our son always answer with a "yes ma'am" (we're Southern, we say ma'am haha) has made a radical difference in his obedience. When I tell him to say "yes ma'am" he'll say it without hesitation and follow whatever command I've given him right away. Long-term I think independent playtime is one of the most important aspects to raising a Babywise child. We started early with my son and he never had clingy issues. Until we slacked on it! We lived with my mom for 4 months while we built our home and I chose to take a break from room-time (he was at 40 min a day of room-time at that point) since it would be difficult to manage with an extra person in the house. Six months later we're now back on track with it and the differences in him are night and day. Without that independent time, he became very attached to me, struggled when I left him with family, and cried constantly throughout Bible Class since I wasn't there with him. My #1 parenting regret (so far!) is ever taking that independent playtime break, and it'll never be happening again.

I love that my experiences with Babywise have been able to help other moms around me and whenever I find out someone is expecting I always ship them a copy of it. It saddens me that majority of parents out there toss the ideas aside, or even worse criticize them, as the entire series is perfectly in line with what God desires for our families. I'm so thankful for Babywise, for this blog, and the Babywise community. While I cherish the times I have with my son, I also look forward to seeing the wonderful man he will one day become thanks to this wonderful gift!

Emily

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