Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This-a-Way or That-a-Way

I had a college professor once who said she couldn't stand it when someone said, "I like kids." Being one of those people who said that, I was somewhat offended.  However, I had to admit she had a point.  Her problem with the statement was that, to her, it was the same as saying, "I like people."  Not all kids are the same, so how can you make such a broad sweeping statement that you like them?  True True.  I still hold, however, that there is a creativity, innocence, and care-free attitude in many children that would lead to that statement.

I have found, after reading articles, books, etc. that there are many people who claim to know about babies.  And they all (for the most part) have a vast amount of experience with many babies to lead them to make their claims.  However, the stark contrast in opinions on what to do, how to do it, when to do it is pretty intriguing.  There are opinions so opposite on one topic that I almost feel there are democrats and republicans of the baby rearing world.  One camp says, "Hold the baby all the time; it makes the baby feel secure and cared for."  While the other camp says, "No, that will spoil the child and you will have more problems later on.  The child needs some independence."  Each side has its own reasons for doing things that way, and both reasons hold a lot of value.

Yet, to say, "do this with babies; it works" is to me one of the most ridiculous things a person can say.  Most of the sources that I'm starting to take information from now are the ones that admit all babies are different!
For example, take this picture of Gordon Lee and his buddy Jericho (same age).
These are their personalities in a nutshell. Gordon Lee--"Where's the action? I want to be in it!" Jericho-- "Life is good.  I think I'll nap."  My baby has a very outgoing personality and will talk to, smile at, and be held by almost anyone.  Jericho is a bit more reserved and much calmer.  These are just their personalities that were hard-wired into them before they were even born.
So something that works for our neighbor's baby might not work for ours.  And I've been reluctant to listen to advice from any source who claims to just "know" about babies.  While they may have many things in common, they will not react to the same thing.  If you have been or are a teacher, you know this just from the students in your classroom.

As for my baby, I'm finding myself somewhat in the middle of the polar opposite points of view.  I'm still figuring out a plan for getting him to nap better.  As I have said plenty of times before, I moved him into his own bassinet at night now.  The first night I was nervous because I thought he wouldn't sleep well.  But I was totally wrong.  He slept great!  It's funny because at the beginning he used to sleep better in the bed, but after about 2-3 months, he started sleeping better on his own.  I suppose it is easier when you don't have somebody else next to you squirming or moving in their sleep while you are trying to sleep.  I had thought that his poor napping habits may have been from being too used to sleeping with me.
However, after over a month of sleeping great on his own at night, he is still not napping well at all.  If I let him cry, he just wakes himself up so much that he can't go back to sleep at all.  Then, I have an overly-tired and very cranky baby to deal with.  While some people say keeping at this method for a couple of days will pay off, I just don't think it is working with him.  I've also read advice to lay him down when he is sleepy but not yet asleep so that he learns to go to sleep on his own.  When I do that, he just wakes up immediately and I can spend hours trying to get him to fall back asleep.  
So far, the best routine for getting him to nap has been to put him in as dark of a room as I possibly can during the day.  The sun rises by my bedroom window in the morning and I noticed he won't sleep more than 1-2 hours once the sun comes up (this is with dark blackout curtains on the windows).  I've started going back and forth between laying him down in his bedroom and our bedroom depending on which room is the darkest and when, which is where he will nap for the longest.  He has a fan and white noise machine going. I can't turn the house into a cave, though.  Another thing that has helped has been a mobile.  I purchased one for his crib because I noticed that when he looked at his teddy bear mobile at night, it was some kind of "reassurance" to him that helped him go back to sleep when his eyes opened.  We are only on day 2 of the crib mobile.  He really seems to enjoy looking at it, so I hope that will help him there also.
Other than that, I've been trying to go into his room before he wakes up too much to help him settle back into a nap.  I KNOW he knows how to get himself back to sleep because I hear him doing it at night.  Now, it's just a matter of figuring out how to get him to do it during the day.

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