On becoming a parent

June 23, 2009 § 6 Comments

Yesterday, Matt and I rearranged our bedroom to make space for the co-sleeper, which is on it’s way. Yay for a place to put the baby!

I’ve been “cleaning” the bedroom today, more or less. Just trying to get stuff off the floor and out of the room, and organizing things a bit.

We moved the desk and computer in here a few weeks ago to clear up the nursery. More needs to be done in there, but at least there’s room for furniture now. We probably won’t end up getting anything, though, until after the baby comes, since all the furniture I registered for is now showing up unavailable, and the new stuff I picked is as well. So my in-laws said they will wait till they get up here, and we’ll go to see what’s available locally.

There’s no rush– as long as we have some place to put the baby when she’s sleeping, we’re cool. Speaking of sleep, MIL sent a “baby settling program” which consists of a book and several CD’s for “settling” your infant. After reading through it, I find that it does not jive with my personal parenting philosophy. The CD’s might be nice to play though– I’ll try them out. Basically, they are white noise cd’s and continuous sounds and noises intended to recreate the womb. Since I plan to wear my baby, and co-sleep, those kinds of things shouldn’t be necessary, since I WILL be the womb sounds and smells, but I’m willing to try it if all else fails.

I’m really all about the attachment style of parenting, and on top of that, I’m rather crunchy, so being the hippie I always have been, I will continue that theme as a total hippie mom. Attachment parenting is more about intuitive parenting than trying to “schedule” your infant. It involves learning to read your particular baby’s needs, and respond to them in what intuitively feels like the best way– for you and your baby.

This means that I will wear Ella in a baby sling rather than carry her in a child seat everywhere, or park her somewhere until she needs tending; I intend to exclusively breastfeed for as long as she wants (like two or three years– for serious!); and when she does start eating solids, I plan to make all her baby food myself– just like dear old Mom did for me. 🙂 Yes, hippie from the start. I get it honest. I’d like to cloth diaper, but until we know how my moods and such are, we’re gonna keep it simple to begin with. I may switch to cloth after the first couple of months, once I have a groove going, and don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Discipline-wise, this also means that Matt and I are going to try to avoid harsh punitive discipline. I won’t let my child cry it out in an effort to “train” her, or teach her to “self settle.” I believe that it is more important to form a strong bond early in life so that a foundation of real trust and security is laid, allowing for greater independence and freedom later in life. We are still on the fence about spanking, but I am almost 98% certain that we won’t use it. There are many reasons, but the main one is this: Matt and I strongly believe in obeying Christ’s commands to turn the other cheek. If we are commanded not to strike a grown person who is attacking us, why would we strike a helpless small child, who doesn’t know any better? It doesn’t make sense to me. So I’ve been looking into what are called “grace-based disciplinary methods.” Dr William Sears is a good source for those methods.

That’s not to say that we won’t get angry or frustrated or deal with our child in an unfair or harsh manner because we’re tired. I’m just saying we want to be deliberate in how we approach our discipline methods, and think about them first, not just fall into a pattern without a plan as our kids grow. Intentional parenting. 🙂

I know a lot of folks out there are thinking “oh, nice rosy picture you’ve got there, don’t be so unrealistic, or idealistic.” But being the oldest of five, and the daughter of parents who were already halfway there in many of the things I listed above, that’s how I was raised– but stepping it up a notch or two (for instance, I was spanked– but not often.) Top that off with years of working with children infant through teens, and I’ve had a chance to develop my own philosophy of what works and doesn’t when dealing with kids. So I’m not *completely* naive. Granted, I know it’s “different when it’s your kid.” But I think it is important for Matt and me to be as intentional as possible and on the same page before we are faced with unfamiliar circumstances, wondering “What do we do now??”

So anyway, that’s the plan. I’ll save the “Charlotte Mason theories of educational methods for homeschooling” post for a future time. You know, like after she can talk. 😛 Of course, this is my child, so she’ll be speaking full sentences by nine months. 😉

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§ 6 Responses to On becoming a parent

  • frodo_esque says:

    I believe that it is more important to form a strong bond early in life so that a foundation of real trust and security is laid, allowing for greater independence and freedom later in life. This is good, a child needs that strong foundation early on so they have the confidence to move forward. It’s a balance though, you don’t want the bond to be TOO strong, so she fears leaving your side. Of course, having no kids of my own– what do I know!

  • kerewyn says:

    I’m finding your thoughts very interesting, as my sister has fallen pregnant, so I am living vicariously through her experience. She’ll be a totally hippie mom, as she has been spending a good amount of the last 5 years in India studying yoga.
    My mother told me that when I was a baby, she and Dad were quite broke and lived in such a tiny one-bedroom unit that for my first few weeks, my cot was a cardboard box on the dresser!

  • DT says:

    Oh wow… I guess, really, it doesn’t matter where you stick the baby, so long as she can’t get into any trouble! lol. Heck, a comfortable drawer would suffice, I suppose!

  • DT says:

    Yes, it is a balance– one of reading your child’s cues, and at the right stages, encouraging independence, but being there as a touchstone.
    The problem today is that since the 1920’s, when “experts” took over child-rearing theory, parents have been told to force “independence” on their infants, and make them “learn” how to settle themselves, put themselves to sleep, and live on a regimented schedule. It’s completely unnatural, counter-intuitive, and just plain doesn’t work. You end up with a society of disconnected adults with attachment issues, and nasty schoolchildren who bully and shoot each other.
    Globally and historically, children have been worn by the mother in some kind of sling type device, breastfed up to the age of five in some cases, and sleep with the parents for the first few years of life. Obviously, this doesn’t prevent wars, genocides and military coups, but it does lead to more well adjusted adults. 😉
    I don’t intend to undermine my daughter’s independence and her sense of self and adventure. But I certainly don’t want her to start out at a deficit of trust and the ability to make connections and empathize with others! That’s where school shootings start…

  • ladyfaith3 says:

    I am a stay at home/ home school mom of two little girls. We agree on so many things! I do spank my kids but never angry. I just wanted to post that so that later when I have a post about “training” you aren’t surprized or angry with me. I have received some terrible comments on the subject but I know what is right for my family and my husband is in agreement. I am going to visit your tags page and browse your blog 🙂
    nice to meet you!

  • DT says:

    Thanks! And good to meet you too!
    I don’t judge on the spanking thing. It’s only something that Matt and I have begun talking/thinking/praying about since we have been expecting. I’ve always been an advocate of spanking myself, often thinking “That kid needs a good spanking!” and we were both spanked as children, so this is a new twist in my personal philosophy. 😉
    I’ll add you to my filters, because some of the posts are f-locked and filtered, and that way you can follow along better. 😀
    Welcome to my journal!

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