Friday, October 25, 2013

Field Notes

Sleeping on the go!
I've been a devoted follower of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child since before Lil' D was born. I like the organized schedule that it provides and I definitely related to the idea that not sleeping leads to bad behavior (hello my high school years!).

But while on vacation visiting friends and family across the state of Virginia I realized that life works out just fine when you don't freak out about sleeping every day.

Some days were better than others. Some days Lil' D did not sleep very well and was grumpy, some days she took two, 3 hour naps. Some days we pushed her to her limits because we had to and others we kept more or less to the schedule.

And she was fine.

Babies are most certainly shape shifters. One week to another may mean jammies no longer fit and the pacifier is too small. They don't like to eat the same way or sleep the same way. And you start all over. Again.

It's like a gigantic game of Clue.

Is she hungry/wet//tired and needs a bottle/change/pacifier in the library/conservatory/ballroom?
(That's right, my baby sleeps in the ballroom and takes her meals in the library)

I thought I would be the anti-attachment parent. I love rules and structure as much as the next independent, Type-A nutcase. I thought we would be crying it out until the cows come home (and say MOO! (of course) and everyone sleeps all night long)

And while I sometimes really do miss my own agenda I also love the idea of a baby and child having an unstructured day to take in life. To enjoy, create, and explore in their own time and in their own space. There are only, what, 3 years or so when you can just take the day as it comes (if you are lucky) and there only, what, 11 years or so when your child actually wants to be with you?

So I'm learning that parents are shape shifters too.

What has become important to me is that I want Lil' D to feel loved. To have the space to be creative and to feel confident to do what makes her happy and to become the person that she is meant to be.

And, of course, I still care about manners. I am from Alabama and all.

A sleep schedule seems like such a small part of this equation.

This post for some reason made me feel better about my choice to go in most of the time when she is crying.

But one final note: I also admire an independent spirit so if it really DOES seem like she relies too much on me to sleep, then that's a conversation for the future me, when I'm probably a totally different shape.

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