{mommydom} our own little parenting truth

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

our little lady, image (c) domesticartistry
“The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue. It is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.”–‘Lord I Believe’ Jeffrey R. Holland

Everyone knows that when you have a baby your world becomes full of people that want to give you advice and share their opinions. From your mom to complete strangers in the grocery store, everyone has some magic trick to make all your child-rearing woes disappear.

What you don't realize is that after the initial shock of adjusting to your baby is over, you become one of those advice-toting people. Creating a tiny human and taking care of it is a big undertaking, so when we triumph we wish to celebrate. Sometimes that means telling everyone who will listen about your success, and doling out unwarranted parenting advice.

But just like life, there aren't always correct and incorrect answers when it comes to parenting. There are just as many different babies as there are parents taking care of them. Often what works for one little human may not work for another. Some babies respond well to firm structure, others thrive on a more relaxed approach. Some kiddos will easily adapt to whatever schedules and environments they are introduced to, while others will set their own time frames for everything from daily feeding schedules to big developmental milestones like walking and talking.

I've learned that when people give me advice, they often are sharing the best they have of what has worked for them. They are sharing their truth. But that is just what it is, their truth. I used to feel that if something worked well for them, I had to acknowledge that and give it a try. But that didn't work for us and our Baby Boo Bear.

My baby falls into the latter category of independent babies. She has always worked on her own time frame ever since we found out that she was coming. She is sweet and loving, but also very strong willed. 

When we brought her home we quickly found that she set her own schedule. She was so predictable I could set me clock by her. Then as she grew, she would change and progress before I had the chance to think about changing her myself. I learned to look for her cues to see what she needed and the best way to respond to her. She thrived as we listened to each other, her telling me where she was and what she needed, me encouraging her and showing her where to go next. 

That worked great for about a year, until we hit a plateau. We had been transitioning her into sleeping in her nursery all by herself. She slept the first part of the night in her crib and the latter half of the evening with us. (Gasp, I know, co-sleeping is taboo, but I researched it well and have loved it. But that's for a later post). We'd been progressing well for a while, but then we kind of got stuck in the same spot. That is until I had a mommy meltdown one night and ran away to sleep on the couch all by myself. That's when we decided that we needed to buckle down and make it happen.

We proceeded to try every trick we could find and follow every piece of advice people were offering us. We tried letting her cry in her crib while we sat nearby comforting her. We tried going cold turkey from mom snuggles thinking that if she wasn't nursing she wouldn't wake up in the night to eat. We tried bottles with formula and oatmeal and milk and every combination thereof. We did everything, save leave her to cry by herself.

And none of it worked.

She even got worse. More clingy during the day, more attached to nursing, less willing to leave me and play with others. All the wonderful things we had built, her trust and independence, were withering away. I got tired of things not working.

So we stopped trying to get her to do things she wasn't good at and went back to encouraging her in the areas she was good at.

I had noticed earlier when we visited cousins that Boo Bear adored their toddler beds. She would run over and climb and jump and wiggle all over them. So, even though she is only a year old, we got her one. And she loves it. We also reminded ourselves that one of our basic parenting principles was to respond to her when she needed us. So we went back to answering her every time she called. Her confidence and independence returned quickly, along with her happy disposition.

Then one night it happened. 

She slept through the night. (cue choirs of angels singing!) She is now sleeping in her nursery all night, no longer with us, and she's working on sleeping all the through the evening. We let go of others' truth and returned to our own and so I'm so happy we did.

so excited for her new toddler bed! image (c) domesticartistry
Like Elder Holland said so beautifully, it's not the knowing everything that's important, it's having integrity to the truth you do have that is important. As soon as we returned to our own truth, honored our unique relationship with Baby Bear, and just let her be who she was, she began happily progressing again.

And I got right back to noticing how fast she is growing up. My little babe is hardly a babe. She is already a little lady with a mind and talents and challenges all her own. She really is a tiny little person, and even she is happier when she is able to be true to her own self. She really is a beautiful little dear.

“Because if you’re lucky enough to have people in your life that make you happy, that inspire you, that move you, you need to devour each moment…these people are sacred.” – Katie Kacyinsky

So here's to living with integrity to our own hard-won truth and devouring each moment we have with the people we hold sacred.

Love and Hope,

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  1. Love it! Congrats on having a toddler and not a baby! She is adorable!


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