Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dear Swee'pea:

You are seven months old today. As I write this you are cozily asleep in the sling. It's relatively recent that I've started using the sling (a couple of weeks maybe) but you seem to love it and we've settled into a bit of a routine. For your first nap of the day, I settle you into the sling and sit down at the computer to post to my blog.

You, poor thing, are the child of an addicted mother. It's obvious to anyone who looks; I've been posting everyday at least, sometimes a few times a day. But I've been much happier since I gave in to the addiction and I think you have too. We no longer spend every nap trying to get you to sleep in the crib for 10-minute intervals, up and down the stairs and up and down from my arms to the crib and back again.

Last night you fell asleep around 8 p.m. and I put you down in our bed to sleep for the first time in the evening. Usually one of us just holds you, asleep, until we go to bed. This was the first time in probably a month your dad and I have both been home while you slept without one of us holding you. This is our choice though. We could choose to sleep train you but we don't think it would work for us. Not because it wouldn't get results but because the results wouldn't be worth the agony of listening to your cries. I guess we've decided to follow our gut, which insists that we comfort you when you cry and attend to you immediately. It seems we've become accidental attachment parents and I read the attachment parenting books now to feel ok about going against conventional parenting guidelines and sleep experts.

I am prone to doubts about this approach. Maybe we are just being selfish not getting you into a routine and not forcing you to sleep independently. It's so much easier to hold you while we read books, watch tv and surf the web than it is to try to get you to sleep in your crib. But then I think that if babies were meant to be independent they would come out walking. It feels right to hold and cuddle you lots and it seems to be working for us. I guess this is our grand experiment. Of course there's now way to measure the results because if you turn out to be an amazing person (and I'm sure you will), I'm not sure we can really take credit for that.

A few times you have woken up in the middle of night, apparently wanting to play. You did it again last night and it was probably 15-20 minutes before you stopped crawling and rolling around and went back to sleep with your head on my shoulder. I hope this doesn't go on for too long. By spending so long talking about your sleep am I falling prey to the faulty idea that a good baby = a good sleeper?

Anyways, if you ever read this, I'm sure you won't be interested in our sleeping arrangement unless you have a baby of your own. So what else is going on in your life? You just cut your first two teeth in the last week and they are growing in. It didn't seem to bother you too much; you were a bit more sensitive than usual and your sleep was disrupted but that was it. You have probably also had your first illness, although it almost wasn't noticeable. You only had a mild fever one night and a diaper rash with a more subtle rash on your arms and legs. You still have a rash but it seems to be improving, and your spirits seem to have returned to their normally high levels.

You still smile pretty much all the time and you charm the pants off anyone you meet. Most strangers comment that you are a very happy soul and I wonder if this is just what people say when a baby smiles at them or is your unique essence showing through? Some also say that you are an old soul and I have always thought this from our very first look. You were so calm when they brought you, already swaddled, over to me. I could only touch you with my lips because the rest of me was numb from the surgery but you seemed ok with that.

You are making new sounds, and have uncovered a new fascination for the cat, Stevie. Every time she comes around, you can't help but gaze at this strange creature and try to touch her. But she mostly runs away, shy. She's been sick and we were thinking about putting her down but since you seem to like her so much, we will try to keep her well. I think she realizes you may be a good person to befriend because she's been coming around you more in the last week or so. I've been trying to teach you the concept of gentleness, around the cat, around my face and hair, and around other babies. You have't really figured it out yet but I don't think it will be long. You just don't seem to understand yet that your eager sqeezing can cause others pain.

Your dad and I remain intensely in love with you and feel great joy in everything you do and are.

Love Mum

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Gary James said...

That's nice, sincerely :)

I like the idea of writing to your kids. Having no kids to write to I wrote a letter to my younger self. However, as I was unable to go back in time and deliver it, I was doomed to buy Soul Provider and declare Michael Bolton the 'next big thing!'


cinnamon gurl said...

Vanilla Ice was my stupid young thing. I even tried to shave stripes into my eyebrows. Ahh... the things Ezra has to look forward to.

Violet said...

If I were to start writing to my daughter (now almost 13 months), each one would have the same boring paragraph at the beginning "I wish you would nap better, stop waking at night and sleep in until at least 6am..."

It's good to find a philosophy to help guide you in your decision-making. I tend to waver between the many variants of the sleep-train/routine school, with lots of the accidental attachment parenting you mentioned; basically I pick the bits that sound right to me and omit the rest!