Confessions of a Former AP Critic . . . Long and Honest
by Denise, Andrew's Mom
Hi, my name is Denise, and I was a former AP critic - without ever hearing the term AP in my life!
I would see moms breastfeeding in public and think, "how gross". I would see a toddler misbehaving in a store or restaurant and think "wow, why doesn't that mom smack that kid?" I would hear my aunt talk about sleeping with her son and think (and say) "that's terrible! You'll never get him out of there. He needs to learn to sleep by himself".
Then, I got pregnant.
Suddenly, I was reading a TON of material on raising a baby, feeding a baby, teaching a baby/toddler. I was watching my sister (and mom) discipline her kids by spanking, yelling, etc. I was watching my sister's kids hit each other when they get upset, try to hit my sister when they got upset, and couldn't understand why my sister didn't (and still doesn't) see the correlation!
I still wasn't going to breastfeed, something my mom and sister never did ("and our kids turned out fine") and co-sleeping was absolutely out of the question.
Then, I had my son.
My precious, 10 lb 4oz bouncing baby boy. I had, somewhere in my last trimester, heard enough about breastfeeding to at least give it a shot, understanding that my body isn't just for me anymore; it's for my baby. Still, we were not going to sleep with our son.
Then, we brought our son home.
That first night, I tried to put him in his "baby hammock" that I ordered from Australia, but everything felt so much cozier with him in bed with us. I know he slept much better, and so did we.
During my pregnancy here on StorkNet, I would lurk on the AP boards and think you were all nuts, radicals that let their child dictate their lives. Somewhere along the lines, I realized that I felt that way because of the way I was raised; that CIO is OF COURSE the way to get a good night's sleep. The more I lurked, the more everything I read made more and more sense - especially after I had Andrew. To hear him cry even a little during the day to be picked up, changed position for a new view almost killed me; I can't imagine putting him in a giant nursery and closing the door on his screams.
So, now I have to find ways to "defend" our parenting style to my mom and sister. Usually, they will throw my old beliefs in my face and I respond with "well that was before I had a baby, what did I know?" Other times, my reply is weak on my part with "That's what our pediatrician told us to do," (complete lie every time).
I would like to apologize to each and every AP person out there for ever thinking you were nuts or radical. And, as for having your child dictate your life, I'm with you and wouldn't have it any other way.
I almost laugh when my sister and mom give me "that look" when I go to pick up my crying son. I know what they're thinking, and that's fine.
I didn't go through nine (ten) months of pregnancy and 10 hours of labor to push out a whopping 10 lb kid to make him suffer because it would be more convenient for me. I didn't do all that to come home and listen to my baby cry because I was too busy cleaning the house to play. Sometimes, when I find myself wavering on the crying, I think, "Well, when he's a teenager, he'll choose to have nothing to do with me, so for right now, he can have me all he wants."
That's the end of my confession. We co-sleep, I breastfeed on demand, I let my son tell me what to do with our day, we will not hit, spank or scream at my son when the time comes and we will never let him CIO - for any reason.
Thank you all for helping me learn this parenting style, which feels so natural. If I didn't have you all for support, it would be very hard to go against the "family grain" so to speak.