My Children’s Parenting Theories

'Mother and Child'  Henry Essenhigh Corke (1883-1919); Autochrome  Collection of National Media Museum

"Bitch, you move and I wake up screaming. Don't you test me."

A lovely encounter with parenting/sleep consultant Natalie Nevares (stay tuned for my full profile on Natalie and her company, Mommywise on Mommy Poppins) in the ever-enchanting Brooklyn Botanic Gardens cherry tree esplanade this afternoon reminded me of how silly it is to worry about the kinds of things I have been worrying about lately — nap schedules and the like.

Her non-dogmatic approach (she believes in something called “not feeling guilty or judging other mothers”…?) was so liberating! And this meeting just couldn’t have come at a better time for me. A few offhand comments from better sleep-trainers than I and a bad sleep week around here had me feeling like a mess. (Cue tape to yesterday, as Alton didn’t nap. Harper: “What’s wrong, Mama?” Me: “Oh, I’m just feeling frustrated because no one is napping around here.” Harper, rubbing my back: “Maybe you could drink some water? Or count to ten?”) But Natalie wisely pointed out that everyone was actually fine and in fact getting sleep and that if the baby wasn’t on a nap schedule, so what? If we did some co-sleeping, and everyone was happy, then so what? If I threw Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child out the window, so what?

Now, I am all for this “whatever works” parenting technique. Unfortunately, my babies seem to come with their own built-in eating and sleeping manifestos, and they are quite dogmatic indeed.

Their parenting beliefs are as follows:

1. Babies will sleep in cribs if you really make a big deal about it, but would prefer not to. Have you ever felt a crib mattress? They are hard as shit. No thanks. Please, bring us into bed and snuggle up. Pillows, blankets, warm bodies, yes please. What’s this called? Co-sleeping? Whatever, yes, we believe in that. Prepare to nurse, lady.

2. This leads to our next major belief: nursing on demand. Is this seriously even a question? Is there seriously any other option? Babies need to be nursed every 2 hours until breast milk can be replaced with bunny crackers. This is a physical need; do not listen to anyone who says otherwise.

3. Strollers are ok if we can sit up and look at interesting things. If you ask us to lie down in strollers we will be forced to express our displeasure at high volumes. For the most part, though, we believe babies should be carried or worn or whatever you want to call it. Pretty much all the time. What’s that? It’s 110 degrees out and we are glued together with sweat? Fine with us. Beco time. Bring it.

I guess they believe in Attachment Parenting Theory? I just hope they’ve done the research and chosen the right one

9 responses to “My Children’s Parenting Theories

  1. More, please. That’s my only comment on this post. I love it and wish for a follow-up post as brilliant as its predecessor/s. Thank you.

  2. Please throw that book out the window. I have such a love/hate relationship with that book. And Alice is NOT sleeping through the night. I caved. And today I’m feeding her mid-nap and putting her back to bed. AWESOME.

  3. I love this too. My friend Michelle (Mommy Theorist) sent this to me. What a small connected world we live in. She thought I would like it and I do. I am a little bit of a nap nazi but it does not help because a nazi feels bad about themselves too. After an hour and a half of a failing nap, I was screaming at Isaiah. My husband walked in and said, “He won’t sleep if you yell at him.” That sleep habits book made me crazy! (I should take some blame.)

    • I saw your cameo in a mommy theorist post! WTF! Funny! And yeah I’ve been there, yelling “you have to relax and sleep!!” So giving up the nap has totally (weirdly!) been a big relief. Sad but true.

  4. Wow, how did I miss this? Thanks for the kind words and I’m so glad that I was able to relieve you of some guilt and worries that you were doing anything “wrong”. I hope all is well but suspect you may have some new sleep challenges, which always pop up just when you start to feel like you had the whole thing under control. Call me if you need some talking off the ledge! 🙂

  5. Of course, call me anytime, Mama! You get a lifetime of free advice for your mutual support. Oh but one caveat, I’m abandoning my family and going to a small island off the coast of Mexico with a childless girlfriend next week. I’ll be gone from 10/6-12, so let’s grab a coffee or make a phone date before I leave!

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