Wednesday, March 23, 2011
In her book The Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg refers to actions by parents like Matt and me as "accidental parenting." I think the term is unfair and inaccurate. I would define "accidental parenting" with the quote by the stars of MTV's Teen Mom who tell their parents, "it was an accident." Contrarily, Matt and I knew exactly what we were doing that steamy night last January (fine, it wasn't steamy, a girl can dream).
Anyway, Hogg (who died in 2004, long before MTV and Gloucester High and US Weekly glorified teen motherhood) uses this term to describe actions parents take that they think are best for their baby, but ultimately cause unhealthy habits. Running into the baby's room 20 times a night to replace the pacifier, picking the baby up every time he wakes mid-nap, and letting him snack all day and night long are a few examples in the book. And oops, we did them all (on purpose...we are purposeful parents). It shouldn't have been a surprise that he wasn't sleeping at night, but it sure was frustrating. So we called in our own baby whipererer (auntie erin, mother of 4, heart of steel) who helped us develop a plan of attack. Email me if you want the full plan, but the gist of it was let him cry, don't feed him at night, and don't go in his room. She even convinced me that when he cried, he was saying, "Mom, give me a chance to put myself to sleep." Sleep deprived, I believed her.
It took a few nights and wasn't nearly as traumatic as I expected, and now, we have a 7:30pm-7:30am night sleeper. And, the pacifier is a thing of the past. Now that the baby is sleeping, and we're sleeping, there's only one thing to do...start working on #2. And then claim it was an accident.