Wednesday, May 23, 2007

At her pace

I am frequently bombarded with ideas about what my children should be doing. Such as, she should be sleeping through the night. She should stop breastfeeding. She should be sleeping on her own.

As much as I try to listen to my instincts and parent from my heart, I can't escape nagging feelings that the reason my daughters aren't doing what they should be is because I'm doing something wrong.

Then I sit back and wait. And take it day by day and I start to realize that not over-analyzing and not pushing and following my daughter's cues is exactly the right thing to do.

Case in point, Miss Eloise. She has been an in-arms napper since about three months old when she promptly stopped sleeping approximately 22 hours a day. She wasn't happy to be laid down alone. No way, no how. Matt and I struggled with this because as much as we didn't want to be tied down with her every time she was sleeping, we also didn't want to have to go through the work of "teaching" her to sleep on her own. So what did we do? Nothing. We kept holding her. And holding her. And grumbling about it. And relishing in it. But mostly not changing it. So in the past few weeks we've started trying to lay her down. If she woke up, we held her or I nursed her, but there was no force involved. And now? Now she takes beautiful long naps on her own. She sleeps in the bed alone on most nights before I come to bed. She has started sleeping on her tummy, which has helped this transformation along, as well. But mostly? Mostly it happened on her schedule. And respected her needs for closeness. And we'll never have those baby days back. We'll never get to linger with her like that again. Maybe when she's sick or needy, but she won't be this tiny little snuggly thing. I know this for a fact, as I've tried to snuggle with Iris and she doesn't fit in my lap very well these days.

I just need to keep trusting my children to do what they do, which is develop at their own pace. They will grow in to who they need to be if I step back and let them do their thing.

8 comments:

  1. Totally! Rosie recently started pottying, and Brute Force mastered the potty, the same way. It's sometimes really hard to be patient enough to do things on their timetable, but it's so worth it when you see them do the thing you really want them to do comfortably, confidently, and with no stress.

    Good for you guys! And hooray for long naps and solo sleeping!

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  2. kuddos mama and daddy and miss eloise. and here's to listening to our babes and not some random "expert." cheers!

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  3. I love this post and it is so beautifully written.

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  4. What an eloquent reminder. I must bookmark this particular post and return to it periodically.
    Thank you.

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  5. I needed to hear those words today! As much as I already knew them, and lecture others about the same...I always seem to forget while we are in the moment!

    My biggest issue at this point is my 4 1/2 yr. old not separating. Not for Sunday School or Preschool. I need him to for my sanity. Patience is wearing thin. Not sure what to do to encourage him, as we have tried everything! I know he will separate one day. Just when he's ready, not ME! Ughh...

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  6. Thank you for posting this. It's exactly what I needed to remind myself of today.

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  7. Wow, I am so glad that this struck a chord with other parents! Thank you all for your nice feedback :)

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  8. Oh yes, I love this post too!

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