Posts Tagged ‘Attachment Parenting’

When You Actually Love the Bedtime Stall Strategy

“Mama – let’s have special time together, OK?”

“OK, sounds great!”

“Let’s snuggle and then you can scratch my back.”

“OK angel, let’s do it.”

“I want you to do five shapes, then five numbers, then five letters.”


“No. How about seven shapes, then seven numbers, then seven letters?”

“How about five?”

“Mmmmm. How about three?”

“Excellent.  Three it is….”

I then proceed to scratch variations of all of the above on her back while she delights in guessing what I’m doing. At age 3 1/2, she’s doing remarkably well at this little game.  She consistently nails most shapes and certain numbers and letters (1, 2, 3, 4 and s, i, m, c, and x).

We’ve been doing this since I started working last week. It’s a bed time routine that feels fun and sweet for both of us and makes up for lost time together during the day.

Last night, it got sweeter. Her going-to-sleep stall strategy was unexpectedly quite brilliant. After a long series of “7 each” letter, number and shape back scratchings and two solid foot rubs, I said, “OK Angel Face, time to say ‘Good Night.'”

“Wait Mama!  I want to scratch your back and rub your feet.”

(Um….ok!)  “OK Sweetie, that sounds nice!”

I was already completely sold and wrapped around her finger when she enthusiastically scratched my back and rubbed my feet for 20 minutes straight. Then her sweetness doubled and I wished we could freeze time and snuggle up together in her twin bid forever.

She asked me to move my body so that my feet were more accessible to her for rubbing. I ended up rather contorted and she saw that my head was starting to fall of the edge of the bed.

“Mama, I need to hold on to you,” she said.  “Because I really love you and I don’t want  you to fall off.”

Call me Butter.  I think I finally left her to sleep at 8:45 tonight.

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Toddler Bedtime | 9 Comments

Why Parenting Support is So Critical

apilogoI read the Attachment Parenting International blog tonight, API Speaks, and the post really shook me up. I encourage you to check it out.

The author writes: “Parents and caregivers are not passive guardians of children in the earliest years; we’re active participants in building their learning foundations and we need support, not blame, in this extraordinarily important role.  In the most simplistic view, spending on education can only be as successful as its antecedent:  early care.”

He draws attention to the tragic recent child abuse case of Lydia Schatz, 7, and her 11 year old sister Zariah, who suffered at the hands of their adopted parents. Lydia died from her beatings.

The article from this family’s local newspaper reported:

“Both girls were allegedly whipped by the their adoptive parents with a quarter-inch plumbing supply line – the instrument suggested by Michael and Debi Pearl, founders of No Greater Joy Ministries and authors of the controversial religious parenting book ‘How to Train Up a Child.'”

I was reminded of a fellow AP Mama in Austin who shared a story a few months ago. She said a repair man came to her home and following his visit sent her a letter admonishing her for the permissive parenting style he observed while in her house.  He went on to highly recommend that she and her husband read this same book.  He claimed he parented 8 or 10 kids….can’t remember exactly….and that he and his wife knew what it took to raise respectful children.

THIS BOOK FLAT OUT RECOMMENDS CHILD ABUSE.  According to reviews that I’ve read, there is a page that actually recommends whipping infants.  Are you kidding me?! (more…)

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Empathetic Parenting | 8 Comments

Nightweaning: Our Cry-With-Daddy Approach

Yes. The time has come for us to nightwean. I’ve reached the end of my emotional and mental capacity to be woken up every two – three hours and have my sweet baby yanking and sucking and grabbing and pinching and it going on and on and on. She is 16 1/2 months.  Not a bad ride for the all-night baby buffet.  And my current intention is to keep nursing her during the day until she’s at least two.

Lots of big changes are happening this month in our home– including me working full-time starting tomorrow (!!!) — so a decent night’s sleep is truly imperative.  There is too much at risk for our family’s financial well-being for me to continue to be the crazy no-sleep lady.

A lot of people in the Attachment Parenting community look to Dr. Jay Gordon for as having the best night-weaning method that aligns with our collective views on night-time parenting and providing consistent, loving care. He is quite clear on not advocating night-weaning at all for babies younger than 12 months and offers tips for the older baby or toddler.

When I tried his gradual approach with my first daughter when she was 17 months, this ended up adding to her distress.  She couldn’t understand that sometimes when she was sleeping, she would get Mama’s milk and sometimes she wouldn’t.

Within a few painful nights of this, we determined we needed to quickly eliminate nursing after first going to sleep at night and not nurse again until morning. I was so worried about this decision because I believed that allowing my baby to cry — even if I was with her — was cruel and could break her trust and harm our attachment.

But we received some great counseling from early parenting expert Carrie Contey, PhD, who suggested, like Dr. Gordon, that for babies there is an significant difference between crying alone and crying with a parent.  I remember feeling so much relief hearing this!

To be able to experience emotions like anger, sadness and disappointment…..and even despair — this is all part of being human. I think that having to feel those feelings alone would be quite terrifying as a baby. Feeling and expressing them fully and loudly in the arms of a loving parent offering sympathy and acknowledgment — that’s different in my book.

When we night-weaned my eldest, I still slept next to her and followed Carrie’s advice to make statements like, “I know you are so sad and so angry and you really want milk.  I’m sorry sweet angel – no more milk at night.”   We had two very difficult nights — with wildly distraught cries similar to those I heard last month when we weaned her binky.

This time, we determined that because I’ve got to be on top of my game in very short order and really need maximum sleep, that Mark would be the one to comfort Izzy in her middle-of-the-night wails for Mama. And instead of following Gordon’s gradual night wean suggestion, we’re going straight to it because we believe it’s less confusing.

God Bless our sweet new housemate, Jeanine.  She offered to stay with some friends last night and tonight so that Sadie and I could sleep downstairs in her room and be shielded from the sound of Baby Izzy’s cries.

I’m relieved that this first full-time job is freelance work which allows me to be at home and take nursing breaks during the day and hopefully make up for the nighttime separation sadness.

Looking for additional ideas and advice on nightweaning?   Kelly Mom offers some great tips too.

Posted in Breastfeeding, Nightweaning | 8 Comments

Practicing Non-Attachment with Attachment Parenting

Daily OM Image

Daily OM Image

Seems like a strange topic and title choice for on article on Attachment, right?  It does feel quite paradoxical! Yet, I believe there’s a distinction in the semantics of “attachment” at play here.

The essence of Attachment Parenting, according to the Attachment Parenting International site is: “…forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children.”

Non-Attachment, traditionally associated with Buddhism, isn’t about severing these precious bonds with our children. And, in my opinion, it’s not about being Buddhist. It’s a nondenominational practice of letting go and a practice that I personally find extremely challenging as a parent.

I know that my best-intention desire to protect, to fix, to guide, and ultimately provide the best possible life I can for my girls puts me in a silly position of believing it’s up to me to do so. I mean really, this is pure illusion on my part as I dream up an idyllic life and attempt to impose that definition onto my children, sweet souls here to experience their own unique life journey.

My friend Lois Goodman, an amazing, loving human being and incredibly gifted Intuitive, has said to me a number of times over the last year or so, “Monica, you’ve got to let go of trying so hard to create the perfect life for your daughters. It’s not healthy and it’s not fair to them.”

In recent months I’ve been tuning in more and more to what this means, discovering how to redefine love and attentive care with non-attachment — and remain Attachment Mama.  I can support my girls to live their own lives, choose their own path and feel empowered to solve their own problems without relinquishing my care and our fabulous bond. And to be clear, in moving toward more awareness around what it means to guide my children toward solving their own problems, I’m not endorsing the idea of teaching babies to “self-soothe” with Cry-It-Out.  Each to their own — but sleep training in this way is not for our family.

The idea of parenting in such a way that you foster independent problem-solving becomes more relevant when the child is a bit older, say two or three years old and you can coach her to resolve conflict on her own with other toddlers.

“When Johnny takes a toy from you that you were enjoying playing with, what can you do?  You can work together to take turns; You can choose something else and come back to that toy later….”  Or “When Sally hits you, what can you do?  You can tell her how it makes you feel; You can protect yourself by walking away; You can let her know you like it when friends give hugs.”  After several conversations and real-life practice, when she comes crying to you down the road about one of these scenarios, you can empower her by asking her what she intends to do to solve the problem.

For me, getting into practicing non-attachment as an AP mama is about getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Two paradoxes in one sentence???! Holy Moses, this article is getting out of hand. But seriously, figuring out how to solve your own problems in life ain’t pretty. It’s a rough road! I know from experience as a mother and a daughter that the parental rescue swoop can relieve a lot of discomfort for both parent and child in the moment. Long term? Not so great.

The Daily OM — which I have loved receiving for several years now — appeared to be written for me today.  The title of today’s inspiration was: “Practicing Non-Attachment: Allowing Our Children To Be“.

“Truly loving our children requires us to set them free and practice nonattachment. Trust and allow.

Posted in Empathetic Parenting, Over Parenting | 2 Comments

Recharging & Fortifying Depleted Mama

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”  Buddha

I fear this is going to come out sounding ridiculously trite and cliche, and I’m saying it anyway.  Health is everything! And like anything in life that we love, it’s so damn easy to take for granted until you don’t have it.  This last round of sick for everyone in the family has me bound and determined to make health our #1 priority.

We’ve been committed to eating mostly vegan (we still eat eggs, fish and butter), and to minimizing our consumption of fried and processed food and refined sugar.  Fans and friends of Rip Esselstyn who convinced us to change our diet six years ago, we believe diet is the #1 foundation for both short-term and long-term health. Check out his Engine 2 Diet web site.  The name comes from his fire station in Austin — all vegan firefighters, thanks to Rip’s influence.

Sleep and regular exercise come next of course — the first of which must remain in its current “lack” state in order for me to stay committed to attachment parenting in the way I’d like.  The second, I have the ability to get on top of and will when we’re all past feeling so crummy.

What I can do is follow what I’m calling the Recharge & Fortify Mama Plan.  It’s a combination of prescriptions from my naturopath and a diet recommendation from my friend, Patrice Sullivan, the most amazing healer and acupuncturist I know.  These women, among others, became concerned when seeing me last  fall following my year of mothering a newborn, toddler and teen, and told me I was extremely depleted and needed to get on top of my health immediately.

I’m doing my best and find it challenging to keep up with everything they’ve suggested while taking care of two small children.  I’m on top of the supplements for the most part and am eating this way 80% of the time — just not juicing yet. Here is everything suggested to me:


Morning:  tea, red clover in tincture for hour or two.  When hungry, fresh juice: veggies plus apple and lemon with 2 tsp spirulina, 1 tsp maca.  Next, miso soup with 1/2 tsp bee pollen, more tea or diluted jar juice. Smoothies fine on a warm day.  Chew juice/smoothies to activate better digestion.

Lunch: vegan meal: combination of beans/legumes, rice, kale, and veggies is ideal; salad with sprouts and seaweeds.  You can make a “pressed” salad while you juice in the am. Mix 1 tbsp goat yogurt and 1 tsp fresh lemon into salad and put a heavy bowl on top to press.  Pressing has the effect of “cooking” the vegetables in the sense of making them more digestible, but preserves the active living enzymes.

Dinner:  80% veggies.  Some almonds, egg or legumes if you feel like it.  Sprouts and seaweed are good too.

* Note:  use soaked beans versus canned, and soaked, raw almonds.

Bed Time: goat yogurt with minerals.

SUPPLEMENTS & HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES  (Am I keeping up with this?  Not entirely…..but I do my best)

Supplements and Homeopathic Remedies

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Posted in AP & Self Care, Nutrition | No Comments


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