Thursday, June 26

thought soup

Our internet has been 'down for a week'. Finding the problem in order to fix the damn thing has been a frustrating process of elimination and responsibility shifting but finally we're 'Back On' and the teen bean can function/breathe/live again. Her BF lives in Melbourne and they had both run out of credit on their mobiles with no immediate relief to that crisis to hand due to teen 'pay day' issues and the limited capacity to actually talk to each other on the landline and not just sms; when IM is not available they freak. But, its amazing how anxious I was every day when she came home from school when I had to answer her immediate walk-through-the-door-first-question "is the internet back on?' with a 'no, not yet'. Pathetic on both counts but the kid can actually can sob when she's forced offline for a period of days (i do remember being 13 and 'In Love'). By the end of the week though she was communicating with her sister (gasp), taking time over dinner and sitting and talking with the family in the evening. I'm thinking of orchestrating the same problem frequently just to periodically wean and reorient.

Baby Bean just tugging my heart more each day and in the last few weeks i have been reflecting on my parenting of Maia and Lily in their first few years. i started thinking about it when i found out i was pregnant with bean3 but really challenged myself last week when a friend at bookclub was talking about her feelings of anger toward her 3yo daughter,whom she is tandem feeding with her 8mo baby, when she 'demands' to nurse at the same time as the baby and my initial thoughts about prioritising feelings and whose 'count' more; mums or child and resolving such a dilemma. Its been an interesting journey. I 'grew' the girls at the time in a style which was a little contentious to family and friends but a style which came purely out of my instinct at the time, my knowledge and my emotions; i home birthed, we had a king size family bed for 5 years, i breast fed 'on demand', sling carried etc etc. This style of nurturing has a name now; Attachment Parenting and its this style of parenting that I swore NEVER to do again like I had done it then. I didn't sleep a solid night for 9years and putting the kids 'emotional needs' (i was afraid to let them be alone; i felt like I was abandoning them) always before my own when it came to issues of their emotional growth, i believe led to the demise of my mental health and ultimately my marriage. I alway justified parenting like that as more natural, nurturing, created more familial connection and more content secure kids etc but on reflection i think the girls too were bloody exhausted from this kind of approach- i was looking to these tiny beings for guidance on their sleeping needs! My big failing was to stick them on the boob most times when they cried and sling them so often they slept well in it but never learnt to sleep well out of it. I was one of those mums who couldnt put an awake happy baby down for a sleep (I just didnt know you could do that!)and consequently the girls were 6 and 9 before i could just kiss them goodnight and walk out of their room (mental picture of hand holding or sitting on the bed to help them go to sleep) and they stopped coming into my bed most nights. sure, its lovely to snuggle with your babe in bed but when they're big and there's 4 in the bed , and the odd dog too, you dont get much quality sleep and consequently, parenting becomes a grumpy issue.

This time I have a baby who sleeps like a dream (so far) and is getting better at it with each day and RARELY cries. It's amazing to have never needed to walk the hallways rocking a baby in his time earthside. I FEEL RESTED!!! and therefore happy, and have time for myself, the girls and my husband too. What's the secret?? I read and followed the basic concepts in the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and Happy Sleep. We still co-sleep with baby bean, carry him in a sling, I breast feed often, but I have started to learn to interpret his body language and his chatterings and understand the basics of baby and adult human sleep patterns and cycles so now I have a baby who i can kiss and put into bed and he puts himself to sleep. HOORAY! Now i know this is an investment for the long term mental health of me and my family.

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