I hear a lot about the “monster” created by co-sleeping, which we have done with each of you.
The thing about monsters is that they are imaginary. And if you can imagine yourself a monster you can imagine a sword that slays that monster. The same thing applies to the “monsters” that we have created in each of you. Well. Not so much with the sword, but the general idea that there are solutions.
Statements about monsters come from people with a different toolset and different expectations about how things should be done. A one year old that still expects to co-sleep is a “monster” to them because a one year old can stand up in the crib and use words to explain “sad!” “scared!’ “mommy hold me please?” They can tell us all the sad things that a younger baby can’t yet vocalize. And when a baby cannot vocalize we can dismiss the cries more easily. People that sleep train to “avoid monsters” likely lack a toolset that would allow them to gently and patiently deal with transitioning a child to their own bed at two, or three, or five or whenever they choose. I choose to transition each of you when it can be done with gentleness and with words instead of screams or forceful repetition.
Isaac moved to his own bed at two and a half. He learned to fall asleep without us in the room at three and a half. Alexander moved into the lower bunk in “the boys room” at around 26 months and made the decision to fall asleep in the lower bunk without us holding him all on his own before we were going to start suggesting it. We still sit in their room until he has fallen asleep, simply because we believe in giving him time at each step along the way. That’s where security and trust come from. Not pushing a child who is choosing his own pace for independence ahead of your expectations.
There are ways to create clingy needy children, if that’s what everyone means by “monsters”. But being a consistent loving parent who is there to parent each of you as you need it.. Is not that way. Pushing you away when you temporarily regress.. Pushing you away when you still have need.. Pushing you ahead of your comfort zone rather than gently leading you.. Those are the ways to turn you into a clingy erratic emotionally unstable “monster”.
With each of you we have set up a bed for you to take naps in during the day sometime after a year. With each of you we have snuggled up with you in your new bed while you have fallen asleep. With each of you we have stayed for you for as long as you have needed. With Isaac who had a hard time falling asleep with us in the room but who wanted us there anyway we patience stretched and taught relaxation techniques. We’d talk about “And you melt into your bed as your feet get relaxed and sleeeepy.” and we’d work our way up to his knees and his belly and his shoulders and his head and his neck and his eyes as we’d talk about how he would melt into his mattress and his pillow and his breathing would become deep and slow because he was sleeeepy and he was in the safest warmest place in the whole wide world- a snuggly bed at night. We’d go to walk the dog and if he stayed in bed while we walked the dog we’d snuggle for 10 minutes before the next chore. The chores grew a bit longer and eventually when Isaac was ready we’d just check in to tuck him in one last time before we went to sleep ourselves.
Not keeping promises creates monsters. Not being there creates monsters. Dismissing fears creates monsters. Not being there when a child has a nightmare or needs a drink of water or wants to be tucked back in after they’ve gotten up to use the bathroom.. Creates monsters.
As we’ve told you time and time again: There are no monsters in this house. Monsters are pretend. If you can pretend a monster you can pretend the thing that can get rid of the monster. It all comes from the same place.
So. One day you may be told that you are “creating a monster” in your child. You’re not. You’re taking it slow and easy out of love. Do not heed calls to be less patient than you wish to be. That is where the monsters live, deeply rooted in false fears that cause us to ignore those who we love.
Don’t create monsters when you could be loving your children instead.
- Behavior Toolkit
- Breastfeeding Basics
- Breastfeeding Toolkit
- Empathy Toolkit
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- Get Geeky
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- Healthy Supply
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- Letters to a Daughter
- Letters to My Sons
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- The Experience
- The Mommy Wars
- Why Your Toddler isn’t Misbehaving (Understanding Age Appropriate Behavior)
- You are Getting Warmer… Nope! Cold! Freezing Cold! (The Game of “Finding What Helps Your Child Sleep Independently)
- Sleep Baby, Sleep. (Coping with Teething and Regression)
- Surrender Without Expectations
- A Blacksmith, An Electrician, and a Plumber. Parenting Toolkits and Why Your Tools Might Not Be Mine
- sarah on Why I Abandoned Advocacy for Support (Peace in a Time of Mommy Wars)
- kiplingsqueenbee on Why I Abandoned Advocacy for Support (Peace in a Time of Mommy Wars)
- Mary on Old Enough to Ask, Not Old Enough to Wean
- Jasmin Escobedo on You are Getting Warmer… Nope! Cold! Freezing Cold! (The Game of “Finding What Helps Your Child Sleep Independently)
- shauna on I Am Not a Human Pacifier
Quotables“Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~Thomas Edison