Friday, May 31, 2013


Tonight, as I went to bed, I flipped on our baby monitor for the 1612th time. I remember the anxiety this thing gave me as I attentively jumped at every sound with my first born. Now, I wonder why I even turn it on. George has not required assistance in the middle of the night for a year, or more, with perhaps one exception. Perhaps. Our children made it very easy for us to avoid having little ones take over our bed at night. We never had to make the tough call of coldly letting our baby "cry it out" versus the opposite attachment parent style of avoiding any "distress". Unless one of them is in a bizarre mood or significantly ill, rocking them to sleep is not an option. They refuse. They each have a lovie, and it's enough for them...after the bedtime routine that is. Curtis will let me lay beside him and snuggle while he dozes off, and that's as close as we get to sleeping together. Honestly, with my current job and our lifestyle, sleeping in separate beds all night is likely the only thing that would work. If the kids want a sane and happy mom. Subconsciously, we must train them for this routine from day one.

Matt and I discussed only a few parenting methods prior to the birth of our first child. How we would do bedtime, or no sleeping in the bed was not one of those things. Like most things in life, he and I are naturally in tune, on the same page, in sync. We did say, no "tit for tat". Meaning, none of that, I changed the diaper last so it's your turn this time. Basically, it should be understood that you are expected to do 50% of the work, equal shares. And we decided, that even if you disagree with the ruling, you uphold the other parent's decision 100%. We speculated that we should not threaten to give or take away things we are not really willing to give or take away. In other words, we vowed to keep our word to our children. We never discussed time out, or spanking, or any punishment methods. We never discussed candy or soda or toys, or any particular reward system. We just trusted one another to make the appropriate call.

The kids are still so very young. The true testament to our parenting will come years upon years down the road. When they are adults. If they can manage themselves independently, perhaps even support a family of their own, I will know we have done well. But for now, I judge our parenting off the little things, and I think we're on track. If my strong-willed, energetic, oldest can be trusted in restaurants and stores, that's an accomplishment. Three boys flawlessly sleeping through the night is a win. Kids that enjoy fruit and veggies, get rewarded with cookies and ice cream, everyone's happy, and healthy. Never having to exit a public arena due to a toddler meltdown is HUGE (though I more attribute it to my ability to identify good and bad times to be in public, thus avoiding the potential situation all-together). Seamlessly transitioning from breast to bottle and bottle to cup, another crisis averted.

I think our lack of set, hard and fast rules helped us to where we are today. Instead of just reacting to a situation with a simple rule, we adjust to every nuance. We allow the boys freedom, while still teaching them limits. We encourage independence, innovation, flexibility. It's true, kids, toddlers especially, do need some routines, some knowns, some rituals to rely on, and those things are present, too. Mostly, this consistency is present in having two parents that are absolutely obsessed and in love with each child, independently, as well as with each other. We recognize the different personalities in each child, and adjust the "rules", ever so slightly for that kid's needs. We enjoy our children. Our home is an ever evolving one. It will never be perfect, but it will always be happy. Warm. Insane. Chaotic. And exactly how we made it.

So, when I turn on the monitor tomorrow night, for the 1613th time, I will do so with pride. And with the confidence that all my boys are soundly, comfortably, and happily sleeping, alone. Without a fear in the world. Because their parents have made them feel nothing but safe and loved.

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