Friday, January 25, 2008

message in a trash can

It has often struck me, when dealing with small children, how much they understand versus how much they can express. For example, I read an account in a Mothering magazine article about baby sign language in which a very young child - 14 months, I think? - woke up in the night in pain, and was able to sign to her parents, "Ears hurt. Need medicine." Now, there is no way the average 14-month-old could express that verbally, which goes to show the advantage of teaching your baby sign language. But think of how much more they want to express that they can't even sign. That they wouldn't know how to express even if they could? Suddenly tantrums become much more understandable.

Well, today I had another lesson from my son in which I learned that an almost-7-year-old still can't express everything either. When we woke up this morning, dh and I were snuggling in bed after Samuel got up to get a banana. When he returned, he wanted to be in the middle (as usual) and we said no, because we were in the middle of a conversation and it's hard to talk around a wiggly little boy. He left the room, and I could tell by his body language that he was upset. He came back into the room a few minutes later to tell us what he was feeling. Of course, he chose the most direct method, which was to bring in the trash can from his bedroom, set it next to us, and hurry back out without a word. (Insert Napoleon Dynamite: "Well, what would you do in a situation like that??? Gosh.") I called him back in and asked him to explain and he couldn't. He was clearly upset, but couldn't say a thing about why. I tried to see if there was some deep meaning in the trash can, but he just said he didn't know. I can only guess that it was the first thing in his room that he laid eyes on that wouldn't seem like a gift if he brought it to us. When I asked if he was upset because we wouldn't let him be in the middle, he said yes, that was it, and I was also able to determine that he thought we didn't want him with us at all, and we got it all cleared up just fine. I tried once more to have him decipher the trash can, and he was still clueless.

Most children probably won't bring you a trash can. But they might throw a tantrum, talk back, throw a toy, hit a sibling, or otherwise act out. There's always a reason, we just have to find it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

okay, one more

Just had to link to these two posts.

First, some of the statements that I have seen attributed to Dr. Popcak over the last few days have been quite shocking. This should set the record straight.

Second, it bears repeating, AP is more than breastfeeding and babywearing. Really.

Please pray...

... for Jonathan and his family.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Yay, Jane Austen!

I got to watch the first in the Jane Austen series on Masterpiece Theater last night, even though I had to go hide in the back bedroom of my in-laws to do it since we were visiting there and they were watching some Lonesome Dove prequel miniseries. (I got the better end of that deal, IMO!) Last night's movie was Persuasion, and I really liked it, although it was not nearly as faithful to the book as the other version I have seen. Samuel was in the room with me, coloring, and he looked up just in time to see the scene where Mary Musgrove's son is injured, and again when Louisa takes her fall. With just those two bits to go on, he told me, "This movie is all about sickness and death!" I explained to him that neither one died, and that it was actually about love, but I don't think he believed me. I just finished reading Northanger Abbey (which I found very funny), so I am ready for next week! I am hoping to finish each book that I haven't read yet before it airs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

if you need a good mommy laugh...

Read about this mom's "relaxing morning" here.

Another hilarious post: lots of people complain about their mother-in-laws (I am pretty blessed in this area, so you'll not hear such talk from me), but have you ever thought about what it would be like to be one? Actually, I have had some very similar conversations to this with my friends!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ah, co-sleeping

Disclaimer: this just happened to come up right before bedtime tonight, and is not meant to throw fuel on the AP debate fire in any way. It was so funny that I have left my family in bed to run into the next room and blog it, which probably isn't very AP since my son doesn't like falling asleep without me, and.... yep, he just got up to come in here and ask what on earth I am doing and when I am coming back to bed.

Anyway, dh has been plagued by bad dreams ever since I have known him. Not the being-chased-down-a-long-hallway-by-icky-monsters kind, but just finding himself in stressful situations. The result is that he is rarely well-rested. We were talking about how we need to make more of an effort to pray before bed for the blessing of restful sleep (which you'd think we'd have figured out a long time ago, and we have thought of it, but never made it a habit since we're always too tired at bedtime to remember it!) Dh joked, in light of the AP discussion, "It's all because my mom didn't do extended breastfeeding." We laughed, and then I said, "Actually, I have seen research that says children who co-sleep have less nightmares." We asked Samuel if he ever had bad dreams, and he told us that he has only had one (which we knew about) in his whole life. Now, that's impressive, to have had only one bad dream ever in almost 7 years. Especially when I remember how many bad dreams I had by the time I was his age. There was the one where I went into our living room to find a swingset, only to discover a lion under it. Oh, and the one where our next-door neighbor was a witch and chased me because she wanted to eat me with her breakfast cereal. (Really.)

Oh, right, I said this would be a funny post. (It's late.) Anyway, after confirming Samuel's lack of nightmares, dh told him that he must have a lot of funny dreams instead, because we often find him laughing in his sleep. Samuel replied, "I must be telling jokes or something. Ooh, or drinking beer!"

(And, no, we have never let him have beer. However, he is convinced that it must be wickedly good, or daddy would let him have some.)

final thoughts on AP

... well, you know, until it comes up again. :)

First, if you haven't read through the comments on my
last AP post, please do - some wonderful words of wisdom there. Thanks, ladies!

Anyway, this whole thing reminded me of a mom I know who didn't co-sleep and spanked occasionally... but was otherwise very AP. However, she described herself as an AP failure, talked of all the guilt she had because she couldn't "do" AP... I remember thinking that she was just as AP as I am! I've been thinking about how AP is so much more than breastfeeding and babywearing - it is a philosophy, a relationship, not a set of rules! - and how all but the most dedicated Babywise parents probably do at least a little AP. And, even those of us who are very dedicated to AP probably all fall short at times - I know I do. Even we don't do every little "AP" bit all the time. So why toss out the whole philosophy just because you don't like co-sleeping (for example)? There is ample research to show that co-sleeping is best for your baby... but if you can't do it, you can't do it. It won't change the fact that co-sleeping may objectively be what's best, but if you are doing your best, why feel guilty and/or defensive? Having a family is about give and take, and there are times when you just can't do what's best for everybody. Why not just admit that? We all have our gifts and our limitations. No one is a perfect parent, but that doesn't mean that you aren't a good parent. Even if you are already a good parent, though, why not see if there is room for improvement? Why not see if making your life a little more AP is possible for you right now?

The best thing to come out of this whole discussion for me has been the discovery of the
Heart, Mind, & Strength blog (how did I not know about this???), and this post really sums up my feelings on the subject.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

geometrically correct

After dinner, dh pulled out the last of his Terry's Dark Chocolate Orange that I got him for Christmas. There were 3 slices left, so Samuel pronounced, "One for each of us! Fair and triangle." Before I could say, "Don't you mean fair and square," he explained, "Because there are three of us." Can't argue with that!


I put my blog address in our family Christmas letter this year, so if any new family or friends are reading this, welcome! I think I said the same thing last year, but last year our Christmas cards never made it off our computer and onto actual paper into the mailbox. (Oops.) Anyway, feel free to leave a comment and say hi!

it's fun to be out in the snow!

the needs of children

So, I've not kept up with any blogs since about the last time I posted on my own - busy with Christmas and all - so I just now came across the debate between Danielle Bean and Gregory Popcak. I have previously written about how much I love Popcak, so you can guess my feelings on this latest discussion. There are so many things that I want to say about Attachment Parenting and how it relates to the Catholic faith... but right now the main thing sticking out at me is that I think many people have a real misunderstanding of what children, especially infants, need. Most would agree that they need their basic physical needs met: food, warmth, cleanliness, etc. But so many people stop there. Just because an infant (or a toddler or young child) cannot express all of their emotional and developmental needs does not mean that they don't have any. They do have REAL NEEDS - and it is just as important to meet these needs as it is to feed them, even though the effects of not meeting them may not be as immediately evident. Popcak's Parenting with Grace is of course a great resource here, as are the books by the Sears. Another great one is Our Babies, Ourselves by Meredith Small. This book was incredibly fascinating to me - all about what babies are biologically designed to do and need, and how traditional cultures respond versus how modern cultures react. My only quibble is that she talks in the framework of how we have "evolved" to be this and that, just mentally substitute that we were created to be how we are, and you'll be all set. :)