Sheryl Jesin


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Lessons my children have taught me

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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When my first son Dylan was born almost three years ago, my life changed profoundly.   While my husband Jake and I were so excited to have a baby and felt ready, nothing could truly prepare us for becoming parents.

As soon as he was born, there were so many things we needed to know – how to change diapers, how to give a baby a bath, how to feed a baby, how to get a baby to sleep.   And of course how to take care of ourselves while taking care of a baby too!

I like to think that Dylan taught us how to be parents.   His personality and his needs made us into the parents that we are today.   We came to practice attachment parenting because it was the best way of meeting Dylan’s needs while also meeting our own.  For example, co-sleeping allowed us to get lots of sleep at night while at the same time meeting Dylan’s need of feeding often at night.   Wearing Dylan in a carrier allowed me to get things done around the house while meeting Dylan’s need of not wanting to nap alone.

Dylan’s strong need during the early months to breastfeed often and to have me close to him at all times really made me question the “mainstream” way of taking care of kids, where babies and children’s needs are often seen as a nuisance that must be managed.  I couldn’t believe that my sweet baby boy was manipulating me with his demands.  Instead, Dylan showed me that a baby’s needs are real – they aren’t just wants – they are necessities!  Dylan taught me that a baby’s cry shouldn’t be ignored just because they have a clean diaper and have been fed.   His cry often meant he needed another snuggle or just wanted to hear my voice or needed to be nursed one more time, perhaps for comfort.   I wouldn’t ignore my husband or mother if they were calling out for me – and I certainly wouldn’t ignore my helpless baby!  The quote from Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hears a Who rang true to me after I became Dylan’s mom: ” A person’s a person no matter how small!”  And in my book any person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

I have the privilege of being a mom again now to a second wonderful son.  It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I feel so zen this time around.  I have Dylan to thank for my calmness and my sense of awe and appreciation.   He taught me that the newborn days are fleeting and that every precious moment has to be savored.  He taught me that I won’t in fact spoil my baby by holding him all the time.  So this time around I’m enjoying my sweet newborn son.  I hold him or sleep right beside him pretty much 24 hours a day.  I’m feeding him on and off all day and all night long and I’m not resenting it!    I know now that you can’t feed a breastfed baby too often and that breastfeeding is a wonderfully convenient mothering tool.

So I thank Dylan, my first born son, for having the persistent, strong personality from day one that taught me to parent him as an attachment parent.   And I thank my sweet innocent second born son, Benjamin, for letting me parent him as an attachment parent right from the first minute of his life – it is so wonderful to be able to enjoy it right from the beginning this time around!!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)


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Natural Parenting Felt Natural

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I do not have a sophisticated reason why we chose natural parenting.  I can’t say that before my son was born, my husband and I spent hours poring over books and reading websites, researching different parenting methods and determining that natural parenting was right for us.

Instead, during my pregnancy, I spent hours poring over pregnancy books – bad pregnancy books even! (although I didn’t know it then).   I read each word of What to Expect While You Are Expecting over and over to the point where I practically knew it by heart.   I knew what was happening to my baby each and every week during my pregnancy, and it fascinated me, and consumed a lot of my thoughts!

I also spent lots of time preparing for Dylan’s arrival by decorating his nursery.  I picked out the perfect crib, the perfect crib bedding (along with a matching bed skirt).  Let’s not forget the perfect curtains, lamp, pictures on the wall, etc.   I spent weeks agonizing over what stroller to buy.  Once the stroller was picked out I then spent weeks deciding which pack ‘n play best matched our room because our baby was going to sleep in it close to our bed for the first few weeks of his life.

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I felt prepared!  We had everything ready.   All we needed was our baby!

After our son was born, I was in for a big surprise.  All my preparation had not prepared me at all.  Dylan couldn’t have cared less about his nursery.   He refused to sleep in his crib or his pack ‘n play.  He wasn’t gently lulled to sleep when we went for walks in his stroller….instead he screamed and wailed until I picked him up.  We had much better luck when he was tucked into my sling.

So I held him a lot, nursed him a lot, slept with him in our bed, and tried to meet his needs as best as I could.  I started to read some good, useful books, such as The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears, and La Leche League’s Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.   I spent some time on some great websites, such as www.kellymom.com and www.askdrsears.com.

The research came after the fact, and supported what came naturally to me and to my husband.  It felt great knowing that there were others out there who were doing things the way we were!   In retrospect, even though we didn’t plan to parent naturally, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


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Stroller Naps

The last few days have been beautiful here in Toronto.  Warm, sunny…totally un-April like.  We have been spending tons and tons of time outdoors.  I always feel rushed on the weekends planning activities…it’s hard to get out of bed and get moving as soon as Dylan wakes up (usually around 7:30), but if we don’t, we run out of time and don’t get to do much before his nap (which is usually around 1 pm).  Spending lazy days at home was OK in the winter, but now that spring is here, I want to be out and about!

Saturday was an amazing day – we spent the whole day out of the house.  We went to Riverdale Farm in the morning, and then out for lunch to Chipotle.  Usually after lunch we rush home for Dylan’s nap. However, it was too nice out to go back home, so Jake and I decided to put Dylan in his stroller, hope that he naps, and explore our city a bit.  

Boy did he ever nap!  He slept from 1-4:15 pm.   Normally at home, Dylan will sleep for an hour – maybe two if I’m really lucky.   More than 3 hours for a nap?  That is unheard of!  I don’t know if it was the fresh air, or the movement, or the noise…whatever it was, it was great!  Jake and I walked and walked and walked.  We went to St. Lawrence Market, Harbourfront, and Queen’s Quay.  It was fantastic!

When Dylan was younger he hated his stroller! He rarely would fall asleep in it.   When we were on the go he spent most of his time snuggled into a sling or the Ergo.  Sometimes, once I had nursed him to sleep in a carrier, I’d be able to transfer him to the stroller.   I accepted the fact that Dylan preferred to be close to me rather than in the stroller, and quite enjoyed babywearing him instead of pushing him.

Nonetheless, I’m happy that we have rediscovered the joy of stroller naps these past few days.  Sunday and Monday were also gorgeous days and Dylan had long, peaceful naps in the stroller as I got some exercise and enjoyed the sunshine.   We are thinking of taking a trip to Europe in May, and it would be great for Dylan to be able to nap in the stroller while we are away.