Thursday, October 08, 2009

Motherhood Challenges

Things have just really been busy around here. I've had at least 3 different blog posts I've wanted to make about my thoughts on some different issues... But time has gotten away from me (as usual!). I'll do what I can here.

Nursery again. While she did really well a few times, she has now full-on entered the "Stranger Anxiety" stage. I attempted to taker her in one week, and she clung to me and cried hard - so of course I did not even try letting her go then (calming her down from that took at least 5-10 minutes). Jonathan and I thought that maybe if he took her she wouldn't do that (she has a strong momma preference!). No, she did that to him. He still let her go (I could never have done that!). But the end result was, when we'd waited the amount of time I felt comfortable with, and checked on her, she was beside herself. (Which meant, I became beside myself!) We agreed nursery is not working now. We are praying about this again, for wisdom to know what is right for her. Jonathan wants to read an article or book on separation anxiety, and I do as well. I feel very conflicted about this, because my mothering instinct tells me one thing (nursery is not something she needs), yet I do want wisdom for how to help her and what will be best for her. I have appreciated all your input and advice, so can I solicit you all for any books/articles you may have read about this?

For example, sleep training is something everyone seems to have an opinion on. Everyone does it differently. If we didn't have a conviction when she was little of how we were to do it, I'd be lost, probably trying bits of this and that, never really sure what was right for our daughter, and being in general confused (rather like how I feel about nursery). Yet, we knew what we thought would be good for her and our family, and we read books that helped enable us to pursue that goal, and feel comfortable with it. I know I need that here!

Using the Toilet!
Elyana is constantly surprising me. Ever since we got home from Labor Day in NC, I decided to try Elimination Communication (EC) with her. I read a little bit about it, and a few people's stories of their implementation. I decided I needed to get her used to the toilet and what it was for. I also had noticed she always went #2 in the morning (usually after the 2nd nursing). So I started giving her naked time on a waterproof sheet on the floor for ~20 minutes. I'd watch her and see her start to go - and then I'd rush her to the toilet. I'd giver her a "cue" word/noise to create an association. Well, a month later and now anytime she will cue me when she's needing to go! I have to be attentive, because otherwise I can think "Aww, how cute, she's grunting" and miss it (it's not obvious unless you know to look for her cue)! This week, three days in a row now, she has "cued" me intentionally, before she even starts going (she cued twice on Tuesday, which is unusual to go twice, so I'm glad I listened to her)! Just today, I was really proud of her, because I was in the kitchen loading a few dishes as she played in the next room for a few minutes. 5 minutes of this (maybe) and she crawled in and came over near to me. Usually she just wants to be with me, so I think nothing of it. Then I noticed she sits down from a crawl, and starts her noises. Takes me a few seconds to put it together, so I take her to the toilet. Sure enough, as I get her set, she starts going! I am so proud of her!! Jonathan's watched this a few times now, and he said, "Wow, it's obvious she prefers this." And I realized he's right - she prefers to go on a toilet than in her diaper. The fact that she has a preference and can accomplish that amazes me. It also makes my heart so glad that we are "communicating" like this. No fussing here!

On communication, I have been working on the sign language, still plugging along. I do not see much recognition of the signs we use (sticking with 4 basic ones), nor is she repeating them back, but consistency and perseverance seem key. I shall plug away as long as I need to. I hope to see the light come on around 9-10 months old, as others have. :)

I will freely admit that this past weekend I definitely struggled a lot with my relating to Jonathan. At one point I felt like "all we do is fight over child-raising..." (which is such an exaggeration). We disagree so infrequently over anything (months at a time) that when we do I feel like it's the end of the world! I was getting incredibly discouraged at our differences and my attitude was so dishonoring to Jonathan (because I felt I was right). We of course talked it through, and by the next morning, my heart was much more aligned and at peace. We still have to come to an agreement, but I know the Lord will provide wisdom. I just have to do my part in reverencing Jonathan as commanded, and speaking my mind in an honoring way. I have so much growth that needs to happen in this area! At least I finally understood the marital challenges people talk about when raising children.

Trip Home!
We leave Friday for 10 days in NC!!! I am so excited to see our families again! What a great time it will be! We also get to take Elyana to the State Fair! I haven't been with Jonathan in a few years, and now we get to take our daughter. I don't know how long she'll last, but with a stroller, my wrap, and many arms to hold her, I'm hoping it's for a few hours! She's at a great age for enjoying it. I am excited because both my sister Crystal, and my brother and his wife will be in town (usually you miss seeing someone). I am bringing my kettlebell because as my sister Karen pointed out, it's compact! And since muscle = metabolism, I need to keep the weights up. (Also, I realized my last post might sound like I've got my pre-baby figure back.... yeah, not yet!!! I just happen to be able to wear my small jeans again, but still need my abs back. I don't know how long that'll take, so I'm still working out consistently and trying my best to eat clean!)


Catherine said...

I think it's the hardest to respect and honor someone when you feel that you clearly know more than they do on the subject. I have experienced this a lot with the horses. I have a tendency to ignore or overrule my parents thoughts and opinions because I know so much more than they do about horses. But a lot of times their input is very wise and insightful and I have a tendency to be too protective anyway. :)

Susannah Forshey said...

So, in reference to separation anxiety, I had limited experience with this, but when Violet did express anxiety just the 2 times it happened, I clued in right away, and (thanks to my naturally protective nature, I guess), I quit leaving her places, and just kept her with me always. She was over it in about a month. But, I was pretty consistent in keeping her with me at ALL times during the "separation anxiety era" and she grew through it, thank the Lord, and became eventually confident enough to be left with strangers in nursery again. My other experience with this phenomenon is from the opposite end. I kept a child who had severe separation anxiety. His mother continued to work and leave him with me, even when I told her the child was beside himself with fear at being left. He spent many unhappy hours at my house, screaming pitifully whenever I could not hold him tightly to my chest, grabbing at my ankles when I walked past him. His was an extreme case, but very clearly defined. He did *not* improve a whit until his mother quit work, stayed at home with him, and gave him plenty of love and attention, long hours per day. He recovered from it fairly quickly once she quit working. Now that he's grown past it, he can be left pretty easily at my house or someone else's. My opinion on the matter is that the quickest cure for this insecurity is to lavish your presence on the child until he works his way through the stage. Just my opinion, tho. I haven't pursued any research on the topic myself.

Carolyn said...

If its any comfort to you, Seth and I used to have a lot of disagreements about child rearing when Wesley was younger, but we don't as often now. With your first, you are both trying to figure out how you want to raise your kids. Over time, I think both Seth and I have moved towards each other in our practices. It helped to talk about the disagreements outside of the heat of the moment, and to talk not just about the result we wished for but our motives and any applicable biblical reasoning. Another thing that has really helped us is understanding our different roles. At first, I think we felt like "being on the same page" meant we had to think and do things exactly the same. But just like God gave us different roles in marriage, we have different parenting roles, too. God created me to have a sensitive, nurturing heart and keen instincts. He created Seth to be less emotional and able to be a firm disciplinarian and command our chidren's respect. Hopefully we can learn from each other while still leaving room for each to operate in our unique roles. (And like I said, we have really adopted each other's approach much more. Seth is WAY more of a softie now with our babes, and I am much quicker to discipline as they get older.)

Wow, sorry that was so long!