Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 Book 23: On Becoming Baby Wise II

I find it interesting that I read the second book in the Baby Wise series just as a research paper on a 5-year study of the topic of sleep training was released. I find it mildly amusing that with the release of this paper came headlines that were completely opposite. On the same day, my Facebook feed was full of opposing articles and thoughts on the subject. Dear media: I become more and more disenchanted with you and your biases with each opposing side you take.

I am not hear to argue about sleep training or whether you choose the "cry-it-out" method. I think we all find ways to parent that work for us. We need to take more time to try to understand each other than just arguing about so-called facts. 

I read Baby Wise on the recommendation of several parents that I admire. The methods in this book worked for many people I know and I choose to follow this method. The biggest thing I learned from the first book was that having a consistent routine is key. Eat. Play. Sleep. Repeat. It gave me bearings as a new mom. I was able to meet the needs of my child before he got to the crying stage. I also learned that "crying it out" means different things to different people. It is not unloving. You do not ignore your child. You take care of them and meet their needs. You also encourage them to learn how to self-sooth. If you have never tried this method or never tried to understand it, I really don't think you have a place to judge.

I follow a blog called Science of Mom. This woman is a mother who also happens to be a researcher. She has written some great posts on the topic, including The Cry-It-Out Controversy. If you are interested in learning more about the newest study and its claims, please take a moment to read her blog post: The Last Word on Sleep Training.

Now that Jack is 10 months old, I felt the need to get a better understanding of how to adjust his schedule as he begins to require less sleep. My sister suggested that I read the second book in the Baby Wise series: On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, which covers ages 5-15 months. 

I didn't feel like this book was as good as the first. Also, we have chosen some different methods of parenting that don't align with all of the methods outlined in the book. And I think that is OK. I really think parenting is about discovering what works for you. Finding understanding of your child. Learning how to be a good parent. And those things are going to be different for everyone.

The best parts of this book for me where the ideas of routines and what should be happening during the day. How often my little one should be napping and playing and how to meet his needs. This book also discusses the beginnings of discipline. It goes into depth about how discipline is different from punishment. It gives some guides on how you can begin to discipline your child. The recurring theme is Begin as You Mean to Go.

Daniel and I have discussed the discipline thing. At this point, Jack doesn't need true discipline. He doesn't push the limits. We have begun to introduce the word, "No." He has some understanding of this, but we also feel like he is still in a learning and discovery phase. If he doesn't do what we say and continues down the path he is on, we remove him from the situation. I know this will become more of a challenge as Jack grows, but that is a topic for another day.

Another big component of this book is about the difference between "baby proofing" and "home proofing." Baby proofing is when you make everything "safe" in the sense that you rely on locks and gates and anything else you can think of to keep baby from getting into trouble. 
“Home-proofing” your child means setting appropriate limitations on your pretoddler’s mobility, and gradually introducing freedoms when his safety is no longer the primary concern.This is the method we are following.
The book also discusses personality and temperament. This was my favorite part of the book. It made me realize that both Daniel and I have grandfathers who were never a part of our lives. We have no idea what they look like or what kind of temperament's they had. It is kind of weird to have missing puzzle pieces – for our sakes and Jack's. 

The biggest drawback to this book is that it is kind of "preachy" which is unfortunate. There is some good material here but this type of tone can definitely be a turn off. Especially when you are a new parent trying to navigate the waters of how to parent best for your child.

Excerpts from the book (kuddos to you if you have stuck with me this long):
As his body grows, so does his mind, accompanied by an acquired understanding that his actions will generate reactions from Mom and Dad by the cute and not-so-cute things he does. 
 
The first step toward reasoning skills and comprehension is the development of healthy learning patterns and good habits.
 
...parents are society’s representatives and are expected to bring their little ones into reasonable behavioral conformity.
 
You do not want to prevent your child from exploring life, but you do want to provide reasonable guidance in the process. 
 
A baby understands the meaning of words long before he can verbalize them. 
 
When parents focus only on their children’s wrong behavior, then the right behavior they are hoping to instill is left undefined. That eventually translates into a child who learns to avoid what not to do, rather than what he should do...
 
...the purpose of punishment is to set a value on wrong behavior—to make it expensive. Punishment should always be tied to deeds that are morally right and wrong. That is why true “punishment” is not appropriate until a child is old enough to comprehend the meaning of right and wrong. That will not happen until the formation of conscience, which emerges around three years of age. The conclusion? You do not punish a baby.
 
The joy of discovering how something works becomes the motivation that perpetuates a longer attention span and deeper levels of concentration.
 
1. Heredity bestows capacity 2. Environment provides opportunity 3. Personality recognizes capacity and improves opportunity...
 
“A child is born in part, he is made in part, and in part he makes himself.”
 
Heredity, it has been said, determines what your child can do, and environment determines what your child will do. Supervising all three aspects are the caretakers of life—Mom and Dad.

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