Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tales and Sightings of the Magic Unicorn Baby (Part 1)

Month 17, Day 12

Dear Diary,

Last night was no different than the rest. The darkness that engulfed me and my sensitive tracking equipment was broken only by the familiar screams of the strange yelling beast somewhere in the distance. It was still wiggling in it’s cocoon, it’s shrill cries echoing against cameras, trees, cars, buildings, the ground, air, and my ears alike. Especially my ears. Nothing can bring me to become accustomed to that sound.

17 Months we have been in this urban wilderness trying to witness the birth of the fabled Magic Unicorn Baby, yet it seems like there is no end in sight. We have heard many personal accounts, but they are all anecdotes. We have found nobody with concrete evidence that such creatures even exist.

Sleep comes seldom, and when it does it is broken by the screaming beast just over yonder. I am beginning to doubt my own sanity, but I must persevere. Sometimes I hear strange sounds, almost like words of encouragement, all around me, but I remember that I haven’t slept in almost 17 months and brush it off as just another hallucination. Sometimes I even hear my own mother’s words when she says that I used to be such a beast, and I myself metamorphisized into such a fabled creature as the Magic Unicorn Baby. These times I begin to question what I am seeing and wondering if perhaps my partner has slipped me some hallucinogens into my coffee. Or maybe it’s just the delirium talking.

Many told me that this expedition was for naught, but I can not agree. The truth is out there, I know it, I just have to wait long enough for it to reveal itself. I will find the magic unicorn baby and prove its existence once and for all. I just hope that I find it before the screaming beast decides to wake up and find me. It’s jaws look powerful enough to split a tomato in two, and when it smiles those dimples shake the very foundation of the earth.

It toddles toward me at times and threatens me with it’s teeth until I pick it up. It then forces me to walk around pointing at things yelling “Dat!” as if to say “There. There is your unicorn. Do you not see it? Behind this thing I’m pointing at? No? Because IT IS NOT THERE YOU FOOL! I HAVE CONSUMED THE MAGIC UNICORN BABY AND IT SHALL FOREVERMORE BE BANISHED FROM EXISTENCE! MUUHAHAHAHAHA!”

Like a loyal soldier I do my duty and carry the beast around until it has had it’s fill of mocking my quest and my existence. It bares it’s teeth at me again in a gesture sure to confuse most as innocent and playful.

It goes back to it’s lair and I back to my equipment. I shall continue to watch you, strange beast. One day you may reveal your secrets to the location of the Magic Unicorn Baby. Until then, I shall be here, waiting, and you shall be there, not sleeping. And sometimes smiling, and giggling, and pointing, and playing, and learning, and walking, and jumping, and waving, and kissing, and hugging, and drawing, and growing.

(This post brought to you by sleep-deprived delirium-induced coffee-giddiness.)

Seventeen Months, Tear Free Night Weaning

Dear Daughter,

Seventeen months. Teething. Up every 90 minutes like clockwork wanting to nurse. Nose running. Congested. Feverish. Gentle whispers “Yes, babygirl you want to nurse. We’ll nurse for a minute then you can roll over and try to go back to sleep.” And we nurse. After a little bit I pop you off, you roll over, try to sleep. And often you succeed. Sometimes you hold my finger in a tight little grip. Sometimes you turn your back to me and pull my hand onto your belly. Sometimes you cry out in frustration and pain and roll back towards me. “Okay, not done yet. We’ll nurse a little more. Do you want some water?” Sometimes you’ll take a sip of water. Sometimes you’ll nurse again. But here at seventeen months you’re mostly able to just relax and fall asleep again. You just need to know that if you really need to nurse it’s there. And I need to make sure that I keep that promise to you. If you need to? You can.

This is what night weaning looks like for us right now. Like a step backwards from where we were at 11 months when you slept almost through the night. Like a step forwards in that you’re moving away from needing to nurse to sleep even if you’re waking up more often. (Who wouldn’t wake up with a congested  nose, a cough, and molars so brutal that they’re making your mouth bleed as they come in?)

Talking to you about it is SO important. I talked to you for a few weeks about how you need to nurse and bounce right now, but that as you get bigger you won’t need to anymore and you’ll be able to just roll over and close your eyes and snuggle down and fall asleep. And now I tell you that you can try and see if you’re able to do just that. You understand when I say that we will nurse if you need to nurse. That we are going to pop you off. That you can roll over and snuggle down and fall asleep safe tucked in beside me.

If I didn’t use my words and tell you what we were doing you’d just feel pushed away. You can’t read my mind. And if I tried this before you were able to understand then the effect would be just that. Pushing you away. If your daddy pushed me away wordlessly when I was trying to snuggle then I would feel rejected. If he spoke to me calmly and just said he was really tired, then it would feel very different.

We are taught to control children, to wordlessly wield magical power over them where they can guess exactly what we want and need. We are taught to train them up using conditioning techniques used for the training of pets and circus animals. To be strong, to push through, to out-stubborn.

You have a cold, a stuffy nose, your molars are ripping through your gums leaving them bloody and sore. Of course you are waking up. Of course you want help soothing back to sleep.

I understand this. So I will not try and train you. I will not simply say “no” and listen to your screams while I tough it out.

I’ll try this instead. Whispering in a gentle voice full of love. And if you’re not quite ready yet, that’s okay. Learning doesn’t look like leaping suddenly from a cliff, or slamming on the brakes.

It looks like slow and peaceful stretching.

It looks like you last night in the darkness. Like one minute of nursing before you rolled away from me with your tiny hand wrapped tightly around my finger. It looks like the five minutes passing as your hand slowly fell away and you went to sleep nestled up to my side.

Mama

Harvest Comes Anyway

Some of you might remember when a tree fell on my garden and killed about 75% of my plants.

I wanted to share today’s harvest with you.

Sometimes things seem irreparably broken and you want to just walk away. All the hard work you’ve put in has been crushed. You can’t imagine anything growing where the tree fell or where the heavy trucks ran over your plants as they cut the tree away.

The ground is bare. Stems stick up. Mangled plants everywhere.

But you keep coming back. You keep watering what is left. “I’ll just see what grows”. You plant some new seeds in the barren spots. You trim off the broken bits of the plants as they wither, and you see healthy new plants start to grow.

Then a while after the tree fell and destroyed all your hard work?

You realize that life has a way of replenishing itself. Things have a way of growing back. Oh. And you end up with way more tomatoes than you know what to do with. Because those things grow. like. weeds.

So if your garden’s crushed today and you are wondering what the point is in even trying to maintain what’s left..

Wait it out. Trudge through the heartbreak.

Often harvest comes anyway.

(From September 19) 

Seventeen Months, Sucky Sleep and How Progress Looks Like Regression

Dear Daughter,

You’re seventeen months old. Your sleep is craptacular. I do not enjoy the night wakings at the moment. At all. I’m sleepy. I’m cranky. You’re sleepy. You’re cranky. This stage of the sleep journey feels like nothing more than abysmal failure. All the ways that I get you to sleep are taking longer and not working anymore and you’re waking up a lot because of your teeth.

Some of my friends who were on the Wait it Out journey with me have crossed over to modified sleep training, night weaning, CIO. And their reasons sound a lot like my life right now. I’m tired. Some nights you wake up every hour. I’m tired. I want sleep. I’m tired. Mostly I’m tired.

I also want you to speak a little faster because it’s really a bit grating on my nerves when you whine instead of talking. And the potty training thing is so tempting because you can take off your diaper now and sit on the potty, and you’re using it sometimes when you pee.

I guess the sleep thing feels like it can be forced, like it SHOULD be forced. Like you’re so close I can just train you now and have sleep. SLEEP. Real deep sleep. Uninterrupted. Blissful.

You just went down for a nap. You were nursing and squirming and when I see you through the words of others I think “She’s resisting sleep”. But your eyes were closed. You were pushing away at me and biting down and so I kissed your forehead and rolled you off of me and you closed your eyes and fell asleep.

And at night you are crawling around and laying your head down and RESISTING SLEEP until you find your comfortable spot and fall asleep or try to fall asleep before you whine and want to nurse again. If you weren’t resisting sleep then you’d GO TO SLEEP WHEN I’M TRYING TO PUT YOU TO SLEEP by bouncing you or nursing you.

Right.

This is the transition between me doing it for you and your doing it yourself. You’re resisting when I try to do it for you, because you’re trying to learn how to do it yourself. And you’re going back and forth between trying on your own and accepting my help.

It sucks because it’s out of my control. I could grab control back by saying “Okay, it’s time for her to learn” and refusing to let you come back for comfort once you’ve crawled away on your own. I could just let you scream for a few nights and it would be over. Right now chances are pretty good that since you’re actively trying to fall asleep that you’d do just fine and I could let you scream a few nights and be done.

And have sleep.

Oh the sleep. How I want the sleep.

And you, you want your sleep too. You’re tired. The tiredness that you’re feeling is what’s driving you to learn.

With your brother he went through a period of “NO” before he hit “I DO IT MYSELF” where he learned that he couldn’t just avoid sleep completely. Once he learned that lesson he quickly decided that he would put himself to bed.

You.. You’re different. You want to do it already, and you’re resisting not because you don’t want to go to sleep, but because you want to learn how to do it all on your own. That’s why you pop off and squirm around and put your head down on the pillow and try so hard well before you’re ready. Then you crawl back to nurse. That’s why you squirm around for a minute before you start to fuss, and fuss for a while before you signal, and wake yourself up a lot in the process and need more help to get back to sleep.

Because you’re trying.

And it looks like regression because you used to accept a back patting to help you get back to sleep. Now you get upset by it because YOU WANT TO DO IT YOURSELF. But you can’t just  yet. It looks like regression because you’re waking up between sleep cycles again, but that’s because it’s when you learn best and you’re trying to learn.

I see it. I do. And I’ll keep waiting it out. I do hope that you learn soon. It’s getting a little bit exhausting when you wake me up every hour to practice falling back to sleep.

I’m sleepy. You are too.

This is what learning looks like. Back and forth and back and forth and FULL STEAM BACKWARDS before it’s full steam ahead.

You’re seventeen months. Your brothers wouldn’t sleep independently before two. I see you sleeping independently before then. You’ve already randomly fallen asleep in ways that we have not anticipated or guessed at.

I can wait it out. No rush. Sleep will come. This is yours to learn, your success to own. And just like I’ll be there for you one day when you’re needing guidance to get through a difficult project for school.. I’ll be here for you now. Not to do it for you, but to support you while you work towards your goals.

I’m not going to rush in and finish it for you just because I can see how it might be done a little faster. I see how hard you’re working at this. I trust you, just as you’ve trusted me these past seventeen months. You’re finding that safe and quiet place inside you where your mind can curl up comfy and quiet as it’s time to sleep. I’ll wait and let you find that place peacefully so that you can savor that a-hah moment where it all clicks into place.

I’ve waited this long, I can wait a little longer.

<3 Mama

(FYI the reasons behind the changes that my friends have made are pretty excellent. This letter isn’t about their reasons or their choices. It’s about processing their reasons, seeing if they apply to my life, and considering what if anything I should change/want to change about what I’m doing. If their reasons were terrible I wouldn’t have anything to process for myself. :) )

In the Real World I’ll Want You to Know I’m Here For You

Dear Kids,

Eventually you’ll be going out in the real world more and more. And you’ll discover that sometimes people are really mean. In theory I should teach you to deal with this now by being really mean to you. In reality I’m not going to. Because when you’re out in the real world I’ll want you to know that I’m here for you.

I also want you to know that there are certain basic ways that people treat each other, and that even if you’re out in that real world of ours and people are not being nice or fair or even half-way decent, I want you to know that they’re being WRONG and UNFAIR and that yes.. Sometimes we have to deal with wrong and unfair people. But that we are accountable for our own behavior and that we are big enough to deal with all that wrong unfair stuff while staying internally consistent.

It’s called behaving well.

I could teach you that you’re all on your own and no one gives a damn if you shed a tear. That’s not the lesson I want you to learn. I want you to learn that tears don’t change things, calmly explaining yourself sometimes does. Anger doesn’t change things. Road range doesn’t change things. Fights don’t change things. Listening, understanding and discussing things calmly changes things. And sometimes you’re really gonna be upset and you’re going to cry. Not because you’re trying to change things, but because you’re UPSET. And that’s fine. When you’re upset you find a safe person that loves you and you bawl in their arms.

I’m not going to teach you that “life is unfair” by being unfair to you, because then you just learn all those things that make other people be unfair to each other. You learn that just because you’re bigger you can be a jerk. You learn that it’s okay to “teach your little brother how it feels” by kicking him as hard as you can just like he kicked you. You learn that it’s okay to lie, to steal, to cheat. Because you’re going out into a big crappy world full of jerks that lack a moral compass so you might as well be the grabber and the taker and the bigger and faster one.

I’m not going to be a bully because I don’t want you to be a bully.

Yes, the world out there isn’t very nice. People don’t like to listen. Often people don’t really care.

That’s why you have a family to come home to. A safe place to seek refuge. A person to listen and to try and help you find your way calmly.

I can teach you about the sad and unhappy without roughing you up and making you sad and unhappy.

I can tell you all about the real world. And I can show you how I expect you to behave when you go out into that real world. I can tell you that I expect you not to absorb the bad behavior of others, because then you’re a part of the problem not a part of the solution. I can tell you about all the angry sad people who don’t understand how to be nice because no one ever taught them. But I don’t have to teach you to not be nice when I have the choice to teach you to be better things.

When you’re out in that real world I want you to know the difference between the people that you can trust and those that you cannot. How can I teach you this if I teach you to just never trust at all? If you don’t know what trust feels like? If I try to toughen you up from birth rather than allow you to grow an understanding of how people should be treating you? How can you learn what to look for in friends, in a mate, and in yourself?

I’m not “making you soft”, I’m giving you the chance to learn about trust in a positive way before you have to deal with all the negative.

<3 Mama

Give Yourself the Same Grace You Want to Give Others

Dear Future Self,

You’re really going to be a bitch, aren’t you? I can see it now in how you treat yourself. It’s past noon and you haven’t eaten breakfast let alone lunch. You’re whirling around trying to put away all the laundry that you haven’t been able to put away all week because of out-of-routine extra activities that have been plopped on your plate without consideration that your plate is full.

You’re trying not to fail.

I can see it pretty clearly. You’re thinking of yourself as “lazy” and you’re seeing yourself through everyone else’s eyes. All the times this week that you paused to breathe and hoped to catch up later? You see you didn’t catch up. You regret following the advice of the therapist that you no longer see: Take time to take care of yourself. Bad idea. Who has time to take care of themselves? When you’re taking care of something like a diaper change? The three year old paints the walls. You shouldn’t have done X. You shouldn’t have done Y. You shouldn’t have done Z. Ignore the fact that every time you’ve tried to put away the laundry this week it has been a catastrophe because the kids need extra attention with their big brother back at school. Ignore the fact that you’re tired. Ignore the fact that a friend of yours died in her sleep yesterday morning. Ignore all of that. Lazy.

You’ll be a bitch one day. You see, your children will grow and things will get easier. Not because you’ve somehow gotten it all figured out, but because that is what happens. Children grow and things get easier. You also learn how to be more effective over time because you’re constantly trying new things. Just like kids learn to walk.

You’re looking at how other people get things done with no kids attached, or with kids all grown. You’re judging yourself by the way others can finish a job without getting interrupted fifteen million times in the middle. You’re frustrated because you see other people doing the laundry for one person and having it neatly put away, when there’s a pile of laundry on your bed that is almost the size of your bed. And you have a big freaking huge bed. (That you really wish you could just pass out in.)

One day you’ll be past all of this and you’ll be the same judgy bitch towards others that you’re being towards yourself right now. You’ll walk into the future home of your daughter in law who has JUST ONE CHILD who is still young enough to be worn, and you’ll wonder why there are dishes in the sink because you’ll remember how you figured out how to wash the dishes when you had THREE kids that were small. You won’t remember the crushing impossibility of doing that back when you had just one. How your body felt broken and you needed sleep that never came. How you didn’t know how to use baby carriers without destroying your back. You won’t. You’ll remember when your kids were all grown because that’s when you’ll have it All Figured Out and you’ll be able to be more perfect the way you want yourself to be now.

Stop.

Give yourself the same grace you want to give others.

Recognize how hard you try. How much you get done. How hard it is. How you’re still learning to juggle all of the things that need to get juggled. Recognize that your routine was thrown off by all the things that happened in your life and in the life of your kids just now.

Look at the mess around you. It’s temporary.

Yes. Try hard. But do it with the understanding that you’re learning and that you have a lot on your plate. That this is what life looks like right now. That your therapist is right- you need to take care of yourself too. You need to breathe. Because that is where you get the energy to jump back in to the endlessness.

NEVER FORGET that this stuff is hard. And that when stuff is hard it doesn’t always look like it has been perfectly done. Give yourself grace now so that you can give that grace to others.

This stuff passes.

<3 -Me

Motherless

Dear Kids,

Since you were born two of my mom-friends have passed away, leaving behind young children. Motherless. Adult friends have grieved the loss of their own mothers. My mother’s mother has passed away.  Your father’s best friend passed suddenly and unexpectedly. When someone you love passes away you often sort through their things while you miss them, and try to learn more about them as you can only learn from what was left behind. You crave a message from “beyond” so to speak. Some last few words. Something that you can hold onto for a little bit longer. You wonder why they didn’t leave something behind with you to hold onto.

My letters to you come in part from my seeing that wanting in others.

One day I am going to leave you motherless.

That’s a fear in every mother’s heart. It ranks right up there with the fears around losing a child. One day you’ll be motherless. Hopefully a day way far into a distant future when I’m old and gray and you’ve had a chance to come to terms with mortality and you’re a bit old and gray yourself.  Sometimes it happens sooner, though. And the thought of that makes me cry, because I’ve lost.. And loss hurts.. And Iwant so much to be there for you to teach you that it’s okay to grieve, to question, to mourn and then to move on. I hope to be there for you for a very long time to come.

That’s what mothers hope for. They hope this so very much that often they try and hide from the other possibilities. They try and say to themselves that it’s a long way off. They don’t leave behind letters to tempt fate or to raise questions. They don’t want to think about it just now. Maybe they’ll leave a will which is scary all on its own but at least it carries the calm of being just a responsibility to do, a duck to line up in a row. A checkbox to tick off.

I want to leave behind a letter about being motherless.

I want you to know that if my end was long and hard.. That I was grateful for every moment that I was able to fight to stay with you. That I birthed you, that I passed through that first pain with you, that I fear no pain, that I truly am grateful for every moment. People wonder about that. I don’t want you to. People feel guilty and wonder if their loved one held on and suffered out of obligation. No, sweetheart. If I hold on it is because I want to. Because it is important to me, because I am not ready yet to go. Not because there’s something that you need to worry about or feel guilty about, love.

I want you to know that if my end was quick and I had even a moment to think, my thoughts were not of fear they were of wanting to fight to stay with you. People wonder about that. I don’t want you to.

I want you to know that there was nothing that you could have done or should have done. No guilt. No blame. No matter how or what happened. People wonder about that. I don’t want you to.

I want you to know of all the times I held you in the dark of the night and whispered that I loved you. I want you to know of every day that your little body grew where I loved you dear and held you tight. I want you to feel that love in your body as an indelible part of your soul. Not as something that once was and that passed, but something that grew into you as part of you that you can never lose. You are LOVED. Fiercely. Deeply.

Grief, love.. It means that something important and lovely feels lost. You can’t lose the time that our lives overlapped. The memories that you have and the moments that we spent together are permanent. I will be with you in that way always.  The size of your grief should tell you this. Simple little things aren’t things that we grieve. We grieve the big huge things that etch themselves into our hearts and souls permanently. Because we think that those things can be lost.

They can’t be. They stay exactly where they are. They are not lost. You will simply grow past me and into your own beautiful future, like a vine that grows past the plant. This is okay. It’s okay to outlive me. It’s what I’d want.

I will live as long and as strong as I can, because I want to see you live and grow and etch out your own life. I will live as long and as strong as I can because I want to etch out mine. Because I’m excited and happy for many different types of future that might stretch out in front of us. Because every day is a beautiful blessing that takes place in so many forms.

Death leaves behind many questions. It’s okay to question and to grieve and to be sad and wail and beat the ground and do all of the things to get that sadness out. It’s also okay to find that space to breathe again, to leave me behind in the past after my life has reached its natural end. Ask the questions, seek the answers, but never let yourself question this: YOU ARE DEEPLY LOVED. Not “were”. ARE. Fiercely. Indelibly. Permanently. I gave you this love with every kiss, every hug, every night in the dark when I bounced you to sleep. I gave you this love the first time I held you after you were born. Every time you came home from school. Every time I buckled you into the stroller or the car seat. Every time I nursed you or fed you a spoonful of fo0d.

Death cannot erase love. It can’t. It won’t.

I love you. Permanently. That is simply how a parent loves a child.

<3 Mama

(Rest in peace Bernadette, Milenka, Nora, Tania’s mom, and all other mothers who have felt this deep permanent love.)

The Chance to Choose to Be Powerful is What Builds Independence in Children, Not Being Pushed Away.

I remember as a young child I co-slept and I remember being very very young and making the choice to snuggle up to my father one night when I usually snuggled with my mother. It felt like a powerful choice to choose to favor my father for a while when I was usually very much attached to my mother.  I remember falling asleep in the new and different place and how everything felt and smelled like a different sort of safety and comfort. I remember falling asleep feeling very strong and independent. Snuggled in my daddy’s arms.

When you think of “independence” do you think of being left alone, ignored, having no choice but to figure things out? Or do you think of strong powerful choices that you make to move beyond your comfort level even if it’s by a little bit?

As a young child it was so strong and powerful when I figured out how to lift my butt for diaper changes. As a young child it was so strong and powerful when I figured out how to run and get the band aids when my I scraped my knee- even though I was still crying while I went to get them. As a young child it was strong and powerful to choose to snuggle up to my daddy instead of my mommy that one night so long ago.

It wasn’t strong and powerful when I scraped my knee and needed someone and no one was there and I was scared. It wasn’t strong and powerful when I got lost in the store and didn’t know what to do or who to ask to help me find my mommy.

I’ve seen my daughter make strong and powerful choices for her small and vulnerable size. As an adult they look to me like shifts in her level of dependency. For her they must feel so huge and strong.

Strength grows. Independence grows. Just like little bodies grow.

I will watch with adult-sized patience while your child-sized independence takes its shape. I will wait this out so that you can have that positive empowering experience of choosing to stretch your comfort and choosing to be powerful in all the small and tiny ways that feel so huge to you right now.

A Group and a Tribe

Dear Wait it Out Members,

I’m afraid I’ve gone ahead and confused a lot of you with the recent announcement of migration. I apologize for this. I want to try and clarify what the new structure is.

To answer your questions:

1- I am not deleting one WIO group and moving us all to another WIO group. As I have always said the WIO group is a space that I maintain for its members, not “my” group or a “me” group.  As long as the group has members I will work to maintain the group. It’s an awesome group. I have no intention of walking away from the group or deleting the group. That would not be fair at all to all of the members that have worked hard to build this community and that have shared so much of themselves. I am NOT saying “We’re moving and whoever doesn’t move gets deleted”. If I was going to do that I would simply start deleting members from this group which I founded and which I’ve poured a lot of my time and energy into. I’m not going to do that.

2- The reason for the split is because our group is already split. There are people that want the group to go back to its origins which is a “safe place” where people share toolkits. And there are people that want the group to become more of a “safe place” to speak one’s mind without worrying about breaking some sort of a rule or violating some code of conduct.  The admins of this group mostly come from when the group was younger and had a strong “tribe” feeling, and they (And I)  have been trying hard to restore that tribe feeling.

3- It is not fair to the group to try to “bring it back to what it was”. The group has grown and evolved into something else. It’s an awesome wonderful group where discussion should thrive and people should feel free to speak their minds without worrying about violating some code of conduct. This group has become more and more “This is what the Wait it Out Method is to me and why my implementation of the method feels good and right”. And that’s an awesome lovely thing. It’s GREAT to see so many people so passionate about their definitions of WIO. Not too long ago the group was a timid place where people were just finding that they have the right to wait it out instead of making their babies cry it out. I love the confidence. I don’t want to say that we can’t be loud and proud.

4- In the same vein it’s not fair to tell the large “tribe” within the group that the group has changed and there’s no going back to our roots. It leaves a lot of people “homeless” so to speak. In the beginning I remember helping some members that were very very vulnerable and desperate and not parenting in a very positive way. I helped them fill their toolkits and they became awesome supportive members of the group. I’ve seen comments from new members that would have driven these members away in the early days, and these comments make my heart ache for these lovely members of the tribe that JUST NEEDED SOME NEW TOOLS. That’s what the toolkit approach is. It’s about providing new tools to people that are struggling. It’s not about debating which tools are better or which methods are best. It’s about exploring tools together, finding what works for us and what doesn’t.  I want to be able to tell people “there’s this group where you’ll be safe talking about your flaws. Everyone who is in the group understands that it’s okay to be imperfect. You will be embraced without judgement and people will help you find new tools and a new understanding of your children.”  I can’t do that with the original WIO group anymore.

5- The “Wait it Out Method” is unique. There tend to be two categories of approaching sleep: Sleep training that forces a child to follow a linear path, or not sleep training and just sort of dealing until the child sleeps independently. All in sleep training or all in attachment parenting with nothing in between for those of us seeking a different balance for our kids who don’t seem to do things according to methods. I refuse to say “The original group idea is the only WIO group that should exist.” and kick out people that diverge from that idea. I refuse to say “The new group is the only group that will exist” and let fragile people go without a place to feel safe.

6- Both communities should exist. I want to be members of both of them. I’m strong enough to be a member of the loud and proud group. I desperately want to help others fill their toolkits compassionately, so I need to be in the toolkit group, the tribe. Back to the roots of the group that I started. I want both places to exist. But when they try to exist within the same group it ends up making me sad. I’m sad for the people that can’t speak openly. I’m sad for the people that hold their hurts inside for fear of judgement in what they were told would be a tribe where they would find support and understanding on their journey through parenting.

7- No one has to pick a single group. I plan on being in both groups and being active in both groups.  Both groups are awesome. But they are different. With a different focus. And I think that the two groups should be allowed to define themselves without un-defining each other. I want to be able to say “There’s a safe place” to members looking for a safe place, and I want to say “there’s a place to speak openly” for members that are looking for a place to speak openly.

I understand that I’ve upset some people that feel the group should stay just as it is. I apologize for that. If you have reservations I invite you to email me at sarah@momtomommedia.com to talk about your concerns and to give me a chance to hear them and address them. I take my responsibility as group founder very seriously, and I take none of you for granted.

<3 Sarah

I Enjoy Watching Her First Steps, Her First Words, And First Attempts at Learning to Sleep

She squirms awake, fussing. Sleepy “I’m not ready to wake up” eyes meet mine and even though she’s upset that she can’t resettle herself the way she was trying, she laughs and smiles with relief to see me there and she knows just what to do to get back to sleep. I smile back and hold out my arms to her and she crawls over, wobbly and uncoordinated in that half awake way. She collapses into my arms with another giggle, sighs, and settles in to nurse. And when she is done she flops away from me, spreading out to starfish in the middle of our bed. If her daddy hadn’t already gone off to work she’d roll into him and he’d roll her over to her sidecarred crib and she’d squirm around and settle down into her space. Instead she spreads out next to me, her little mouth twitching into a smile in her sleep.

At six months I couldn’t move away from her when she was sleeping because any movement of mine would rouse her from the deepest sleep. She spent the first ten months of her life mostly seeming to move backwards and needing more and more support to sleep as she became more and more aware of the world. Then at eleven months she started in on learning all the things surrounding sleep.  Slow and gentle. Peaceful and quiet.

Bedtime used to be nursing her to sleep. Then she’d fight nursing so we’d nurse and bounce. Then we’d nurse while bouncing. Sometimes around that six month mark, that nine month mark and that twelve month  mark nothing would work and she’d need to be worn down to sleep, snug in her wrap. Milestones and growth spurts are hard on little ones, and teething too.  Sometimes I’d feel like I was part of a baby-juggling circus act. Sometimes I’d feel so touched out and tired that it would take every ounce of my well-honed adult self soothing skills to calm my own rigid body as I bounced her in the dark and as she would. not. sleep.

Tomorrow she will be seventeen months old.

At bedtime now I say “Moo moo little girl, lay your head on my shoulder it’s time to sleep.” and she lays her head on my shoulder and we snuggle and I rub her back. If she fusses then we stand and we bounce and she melts into my body until she’s relaxed enough to try on her own, then she kicks her legs straight down and I lay her down in her sidecarred crib drowsy but awake. She’ll squirm around a bit with her eyes closed, yawn a few times and fall asleep.

This is how we do “drowsy but awake”. Now at almost seventeen months it works more and more. As a baby that never fit in her toolkit for sleep, but as a toddler it’s becoming one of her favorite tools, and one that she uses more and more in the middle of the night as well.

Last night she slept through, only clambering into my arms at 4:30. Her lithe little toddler body clambering over her daddy, making it obvious that she was not interested in snuggling with him at the moment. She stopped fussing as soon as she found me in the dark. I smiled in amusement at how relieved she was, how instantly she soothed when she knew that she was close. These moments in the dark when I’m not focused on anything else.. They’re when I feel her growth, see her progress. They’re when I can think back on how tiny she used to be, the long newborn nights. They’re when I can feel how big she’s grown. When I’m not distracted by anything, I can see the progress that she has made between the then and the now.

She nursed. Switched sides, nursed, and fell back to sleep. Not a fitful infant sleep, but that deep toddler sleep where you can pick their arms up and drop their arms back to their side and they don’t even move. Where you can kiss their sleeping nose and they twitch and resettle without waking. Her newborn sleep was like those wobbly attempts at holding her head up when she still really needed someone to support it. Now she sleeps like a toddler, needing some help to get there sometimes, but not needing to be supported through every moment.

Her progress isn’t hidden away in another room, it’s right here. I get to watch it, just as I got to watch her learn to crawl and just as I got to see some of her very first steps. I get to watch it just as I get to see her learn to say more words, learn to eat, learn to jump and to run. This sleep thing? It’s a milestone just like any other, and all those little steps along the way are things that I’m delighted to get to see.