Another Monday Mish-Mash: Groundhogs, Mormon Stuff, & Co-Sleeping

First, let’s just get it out of the way:

IMG_1108 Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  I can’t take it.  I can’t take EXTRA winter.  I may just have to slit my wrists long-ways.

Maybe were he not so under-employed these days, Mr. Fill would have been amenable to emerging in the front yard, which has a nice big shadow from the house, rather than the backyard which is bathed in morning light and peed-on snow (the dogs, people, not the husband and kids, and certainly not me).  But Mr. Fill was being all crotchety and hell-bent on maintaining his groundhoged integrity.

“It’s ^&*#&#@ sunny everywhere out there!” he said.  “I’m not going to hide the *#&#!*@ truth behind some artificially manufactured &$*%!@ shadow!”

He is so lovely that way.  Talk about raining on my parade (or my mental health).

Now for the Mormon Monday portion of today’s mish mash:

I have been asked to speak in church this coming Sunday.  They were sure to point out that I would be the first speaker this time, not the last, necessitating that stay within my 10 minute time limit, so I’m not sure if they appreciated my 30-minute clean up talk the last time or were irritated by it.  Generally they appreciate clean up speakers who can fill time as needed because that saves them from having to improvise, but maybe these guys like to improvise for the last 20 minutes of church.  Who knows?

Anyway, I’ve been asked to speak for 10 minutes about the importance of love at home.  I pretty much have it all written in my head already, but I’m curious to hear from you, my non-LDS readers.  If you were asked to talk about the importance of love at home, what would you say?  Clog my comments, I don’t mind.

Okay, so not actually very Mormon-Mondayish since I’m asking for your thoughts rather than sharing some with you.  Maybe I’ll post the talk after I’ve actually put it down on paper.

Now for Something Completely Different

I keep thinking I’m going to unsubscribe from the adoption Yahoo groups, but I haven’t.  I don’t know why.  I mean, I skim through the daily digests, I never comment on any of them, and I generally find them either boring or contentious, yet I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe.  I guess it is because they have been helpful in the past and I don’t want to miss out in case something pertinent or helpful comes up again in the future.

So, bottom line, I just skim and delete and move on with my day.

But recently?  Recently there has been a discussion about co-sleeping.  I haven’t read the entire thread, but I’ve read enough to once again be amazed at how quick people are to be critical of something with which they have no personal experience.

As a mother of five, I have co-slept with some of my children and not with others.  I have watched and listened and tried to be in tune with each of their needs, as well as my own needs, and made the decision based on that.  The children who did co-sleep with us were out of our bed by the time they were two years old, or sooner.

To cart blanche say that co-sleeping leads to kids being in their parents’ bed for the next five years, or next ten years, or whatever, is to give advice based on faulty logic.  If one person has co-slept and their child is still in their bed eight years later, that does not mean every child will be.

And?  Quite frankly, co-sleeping does not cause older children to regularly sleep in their parents’ bed.  Spineless parenting or the desire to have that older child in your bed do.

When babies are babies they don’t understand much about the world around them and we, even as parents, can’t explain it to them.  They don’t have the skills necessary to understand what we are saying.  So if one of my babies needs the extra comfort of being in bed with me, I let them sleep in bed with me.  But by the time they are two?  All of my kids have had a pretty good mastery of the English language (at least on a receptive level) by the time they were two, so I could say, “Sorry, I know you want to be in my bed, but you don’t need to be in my bed any more.  I will still be here, and I will get you out of your bed in the morning.  You will be fine here in your bed.”

Do they like hearing that?  Are they “ready” to hear that?  No.  But they are “ready enough.”

Are any of us ever “ready” for the life lessons that bring growth?  No, not really.  They are usually painful and something we want to avoid no matter how old we are.  But when they come, we are generally “ready enough” to somehow get through them.

I am not saying everyone should co-sleep.  I don’t believe that is the case, nor do I care what you or the next mom decides to do.  I do, however, take umbrage at the idea that, just because one mother can’t get her school-aged child out of her bed, all co-sleeping families are setting themselves up for that type of situation.

If you want your kid in bed that long, fine.  More power to you, I guess.

If you think your baby would be better off sleeping in your bed now but you are worried about him/her still being there a decade from now?  Grow a pair and be the parent.  If it is best for your baby now, and you want to co-sleep now, do it now.  But in a year or two or three?  When you know the child doesn’t need to be there, and can understand what you are saying to him/her, even if s/he doesn’t like what s/he is hearing?   Be the parent.  Tell the child the way it is going to be and then make. it. be. that. way.  It really isn’t that difficult.

Our society has been T. Barry Brazalton-ized.  Remember the Pampers commercials he used to do?  “Let it be your child’s decision!” or whatever it was he used to say.  The commercial was for a new XXXXXL sized diapers, so it was really beneficial for the Pampers people to have us all believe that it’s okay for five-year-olds to still be running around in diapers while they try to “decide” they are “ready.”

You know what?  Potty training, like other growth experiences, is often something the child is “ready enough” to do, but won’t want to do.  We do it anyway.  Had I let some of my kids “decide” when they were “ready” they would still be in diapers.  Let’s face it, is is much more convenient for a child to just wet his/her pants than it is to stop what s/he is doing and run to the bathroom. 

There is a difference, of course, between signs of “readiness” and a kid deciding s/he is “ready.”  Signs of readiness indicate a child is ready to learn the art of being potty-trained, whether they want to or not.  A child deciding s/he is ready means you don’t make them learn until they want to learn, which, quite frankly, is insane.  The same applies to co-sleeping.  There are signs of readiness, which does not mean a child thinks s/he is actually ready to leave the parental bed.  But, just like the mother bird, we push them out of the nest anyway.  That is how they learn to fly, or sleep on their own.

So, to sum up, please don’t take co-sleeping advice from people who know someone who know someone who know someone who has a 15-year-old kid still sleeping in their bed all because they co-slept when the child was a baby.

Do what you feel is best for you and your baby now.  And?  While you’re at it?  Grow a spine for later.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt hates Phullabaloney Fill.

8 thoughts on “Another Monday Mish-Mash: Groundhogs, Mormon Stuff, & Co-Sleeping

  1. LOL… you’ve nailed the phrase that makes me want to wrap my head in duct tape every time I read it: “You child will NEVER leave your bed/wean/learn to fall asleep/insert myth from “expert” parenting book here”. Funny stuff! I love co-sleeping, all four of mine did (and my last still is)… and I amused myself one day by taking a pic of my 15 year old in bed eating chips with me sleeping on the other side, just to post to message boards with the exclamation, “YOU’RE RIGHT!!! THEY REALLY DON’T EVER LEAVE!!!”… I crack myself up.

    Anyways, thanks for the great reading, it’s nice to know there ARE other sane mothers out there!

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  2. Fill! I was just thinking about him after seeing that other groundhog. He’s got nothing on Fill though. ;p

    Omygoodness. That topic was an annoying thorn in my side for SO LONG! I can’t begin to remember how many times people thought my daughter would be in our bed FOREVER. Like she would end up being 40 and still co-sleeping with us. Puh-leeeeze; that’s such an unrealistic assessment. You’re right about having a spine about it all once they’re out; that’s all it takes. Now she’s nearly 5 and our rule is once she’s in bed she doesn’t come into ours until the sun is up (unless she’s sick or something, but that’s different). It works. She’ll wait until morning and jump in and announce, “it’s morning day!” Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay; it has to work for both the parents and child.

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  3. I’m going to have to hurt that groundhog.

    SOB. SIX MORE WEEKS???? I can’t take it!

    Co-sleeping? I know that we have both experienced the bone-numbing exhaustion of a sleepless baby/toddler. In the end, everybody needs to sleep. And if everybody is sleeping if the baby is in the bed, than, one does what one has to do. My children are 9 and 6. I sleep with one or the other of them about once a month, usually when they are sick or have had a bad dream. But, when Gabe was a baby, if it would have made him sleep, I would have done a whole lot more of it.

    The importance of love in the home…without it, it’s not much of a home. I think that children know when their parents don’t love eachother. I also think that love can really be a choice that married people make – they can choose to remember the reasons they fell in love with their spouse in the first place, or they can choose to focus on the fact that monogamy can be boring, and find reasons to fall out of love. (I’m not talking about people who abuse/hit eachother, or have a spouse who has developed an addiction to something – that’s different) – but, I do think, in most marriages, if people focus on remembering why they love the other person, focus on maintaing phhysical contact (not just sex but, small things, too, like kissing hello and goodbye). Marriage is hard. Spending a little time remembering what makes the person you love happy, and doing those things, can (sometimes) keep people in love. And I think, when there isn’t any love in a home, everyone is unhappy, and children, who learn by example, won’t know what a loving relationship looks like. Just my two cents, I guess.

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  4. The thought of co-sleeping makes me queasy. Not because I disagree with it, but because I am a light sleeper & my kids are noisy & they kick a lot. As bad as it might sound, I’m sort of enjoying having the whole bed to myself now that J’s gone during the week. I need to find some silver lining, right?

    I agree with your assessment on the Brazelton influence. My kids have choices, but not on everything. I did miss the window for potty training with E. He was ready at 20 months but that coincided with our summer of death (lots of funerals & trips back home) & I wasn’t really up for the challenge. G would still be in diapers if it were up to him. He’d live life in just his underwear if it were his choice.

    I don’t know if you watch The Office but in last night’s episode Jim said something about the way he feels about Pam & Pam’s dad decided to leave her mom because he’s never felt that way. Jim was all flowery & gushy & very typical of the fireworks & swooning tv expects us to have. I cringed. It was a nice moment but it’s not realistic. I love my husband with wild abandon but I don’t need fireworks to make it seem like ‘real’ love. We work hard to make time together a priority & we hug & kiss in front of the kids (something my parents never did). But marriage can be really hard. Priorities don’t always mesh but our kids will always know we are committed to each other. I think it’s a good sign that even though we’re currently living apart, the kids have never questioned if it’s for a divorce or because we’re mad at each other. E’s seen a few of his classmates families fall apart so it’s not a new concept to him but he’s not worried so I’ll take that as a compliment.

    That was way longer than I thought it would be. Sorry for hijacking your blog.

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  5. I forgot. Does Phil do real estate speculation? I could use an idea of when the house might sell. Spring or Summer? Soon or Never? A glimmer of hope would be nice but maybe he’s not in the mood…

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  6. I obviously totally agree with you and almost posted such on my blog but decided to reply in line with the original. And you know a part of me wonders why we have to make such a big deal out of the whole sleep thing anyway? I mean if everyone is sleeping, who cares where?!?! Obviously there are exceptions but geez. When I was a nanny and had just had my first baby I decided after months of agony for both of us to let him sleep with me so we could both get some much needed shuteye. My boss, a family doctor, told me that I was insane for starting such a bad habit. I asked him how many patients he treated that were still in their parents bed as teenagers and of course he had none. That was the end of that conversation. Anyway, what I’m saying is that I totally agree with you.

    I wish I had some thoughts about love in the home for you but I think you are well positioned to speak of such things, for sure. I’d like to hear what you end up saying!

    We are totally celebrating Fill’s shadow today, my friend! Nothing like a longer winter in Texas! sorry!

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  7. What a great post, even if it is all over the place! As for Phil and winter – I can’t believe we still have so much winter left ahead of us. I mean honestly, here, it’ll be (likely) longer than 6 weeks anyhow but I am SO OVER IT.

    The Yahoo groups – I have gone “special notices only” on almost everything. Most I just couldn’t quite bring myself to unsub to, but I couldn’t keep up (nor did I have an interest in all of them) with the daily digests anymore. So this way I can easily change it or read messages online, but get to skip the drama. Sounds like the current topic would be getting me riled up!

    You know my opinion on co-sleeping. It’s only in great thanks to many bloggers, including you and Nicki, that I’ve finally become confident in our co-sleeping. Nobody IRL is supportive or gets it. I used to be one of those – until I started learning about attachment and adoption, I thought people who co-slept were making a big mistake. Obviously now I feel quite differently. I’m a better mom because of co-sleeping, because I am NOT a good mom when I lose hours and hours of sleep a night because I’m trying to force the issue of the baby in the crib. If it works for someone great, if it doesn’t, fine, but just because I do it doesn’t mean I’m an incompetent, pushover mom and just “need to let her cry a little” (not that the subject riles me up or anything!).

    Totally agree with you about the spine issue – I hope don’t become one of those spineless parents! And you crack me up with the potty training topic, I remember years ago working in daycares and most kids PT’d around 2. Jump to the last couple of years and reconnecting with the world of kids that age, and I can’t believe how late kids go now. Hmmm – what would be the difference, uh, a change in parental approaches (meaning kid-led rather than parent-led if that makes sense).

    Watch, my kid will sleep with me until she’s 18 and will still be in diapers when she’s in 1st grade, and you can feel free to chastise me when it happens.

    Sorry so long!

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  8. I am with you on co-sleeping. It has served us well. The first six months Ben was with us, he was TERRIFIED and claustrophobic about sleeping with us. And we lost power during an ice storm and really needed him to sleep with us so we’d know he wasn’t getting too cold and he panicked. Now he will ask from time to time to sleep with us. So far, I have never told him no. It is a step on our attachment process, and seeing as I have a “big boy” he will be done with cuddling all too soon anyway so I want to keep him cuddled on my lap as long as possible. And when people judge me about it I just laugh.

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