Sunday, May 31, 2009

They grow up so fast...

...so why are we so tempted to make our kids older than they are? I really truly and honestly don't understand why we, as a society, are so determined to make our kids 'independent' so fast. I hear all the time about mother's letting their 4 week old cry because it's good for them. Or they are bound and determined that little Suzie should sleep in her OWN crib through the night the SECOND she comes home from the hospital. Suzie needs to be totally off the bottle at exactly one year old, she needs to have 4 teeth by her 9 month birthday and she should be eating table food with a spoon and fork by no later than 10 months. Now, I'm all for letting your child grow at a natural rate, but come on people! If little Suzie is still waking up every three hours to be fed when she's 4 months old, what's the big deal? Give the kid a bottle! If she wants to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy, let her snuggle! If she likes to be carried in a wrap or a sling, carry her in a wrap or a sling.

Just imagine, if you will, what it must be like to be a baby. You have absolutely no means of communication, other than crying. So, you cry when you're hungry, when you need your diaper changed, when you're scared, when you're lonely, if you're too hot, too cold, etc. Now, imagine it's the middle of the night, you wake up in a big giant crib in a pitch black room and you're hungry! So, you cry! Well, Mom and Dad have decided that you're old enough to sleep through the night with out a bottle, so they let you cry. You cry and cry and cry begging and begging for a bottle, or even just a little comfort. Nobody comes. So, you're all alone in this big crib, in the dark, now you're hungry, wet, and scared. Nobody comes. You finally cry enough to tucker yourself out and you fall asleep. In the next room, Mom and Dad are congratulating themselves on a job well done! After all, Suzie only cried for an hour this time!

I co-slept with my daughter till she was 4 months old and she slept in our room till she was 6 months old. I got up in the middle of the night with her until she started sleeping through the night at 9 months old. She had a bottle before bed (not in the crib, but while I was holding her) until she was 17 months old. It didn't hurt her at all! In fact, she's well advanced for her age. Adelae speaks in complete sentences, knows all her colors and her letters (upper and lower case). She is a thoughtful and affectionate little girl. She loves to play with other kids, big and small, and loves to share her toys. She listens well (for a two year old!) and very rarely throws real temper tantrums. Everyone tells me what a joy she is to be around. She is spoiled rotten, but not in the material sense of the word. She knows if she ever needs her Daddy or I, we will drop what we are doing in a heartbeat to take care of her. I firmly believe that my mothering techniques made her the wonderful little girl she is today. And if that makes me a bad mom in your eyes, well...so be it.

I'm not saying that children who are made to cry it out can't be wonderful human beings. I'm just confused as to why people subscribe to this method of 'teaching' their children so early in the child's life. Why are we so afraid to 'spoil' our kids?

1 comment:

A. said...

It's true - we do try to make our children grow up too fast. There is no such thing as a timeline for babies; every baby is different, every baby develops at his/her own rate - and there's nothing wrong with that. There's also nothing wrong with some extra cuddling.

We did want Baby B. to sleep in his crib after two+ months of sleeping with us, but we didn't force it, or abandon him in his crib. We did try different aids for our own sanity, but we let things progress as naturally as possible. The most important thing for him to know what that we love him and will always be there for him.

A stranger told us at a garage sale this weekend to enjoy these days - not to spend so much time trying to force B. to talk and walk because once he does our focus will switch to getting him to sit down and be quiet. That's sad.