Saturday, 11 February 2012

Instinctual Parenting

Don’t let his sad look fool you. “Puppy” is quite happy in his FuzziBunz.
In addition to wearing cloth diapers, Puppy has also been carried in a wrap style carrier, swaddled and breastfed. All of this has been done by my 5 and a half year old son of his own devices (imagination). Well, I put the FuzziBunz on the stuffed dog, but he asked for a diaper and a busted snap FB was all I had.
What this shows though is how much of an impact our choice in parenting styles can have on our children and possibly how they choose to parent. In the classic monkey see monkey do style my children are following in my steps (and sometimes right on my heels). I certainly hope they pick up a few tricks from me and they won’t be saying to their spouses “can you believe my mother did............”. I also hope that they make their choices informed and not just because it is the status quo. 
We seem to be in a social shift where parenting is concerned. Old ideas and new products are both beginning to co-exist in harmony. Some of these seemingly new parenting ideas are old school and I mean ooooooollllldddd school. Some are cultural and are making their way into more mainstream society. 
Just for the record and to put it out there here are a few of the things that I do:
Breastfeed (because it is FREE)
Baby Wear (because it works for us)
Co-Sleep (its called survival people)
Cloth Diaper (because it is cute and the investment pays off down the road)
Delay Vaccination (because I forget to make appointments and get behind)
Swaddle (because it works for Evelyn)
Use a Stroller (having 3 kids means carting around lots of crap)
Baby Led Weaning (I’m too lazy to feed with a spoon all the time)
Purees (because I like puddings and yogurt and applesauce too)
Homeschool (because that is what our lifestyle and feelings dictate)
In addition to those things I am trying to become more aware of preservatives and additives in food as well as chemicals in household products. In a way I am trying to green us up a little bit but it has more to do with health than the environment. I am also learning more about alternative medicine which I believe has many advantages however I am not opposed to some good old big pharma when it is called for. 
For how I choose to do things there are a variety of terms but none of them seem to fit quite right. Some of these things are termed as “attachment parenting” (AP) however there is sometimes confusion between a physical attachment being required in order to form an emotional attachment. I don’t like to say “natural parenting” either as that can bring up the green parenting movement as well. 
In most cases any of these schisms within the style itself are created by narrow-mindedness. The formula feeding mother looked down upon by the AP crowd or the disposable diapering parent being rejected by the green group. It takes many different folks to make the world go around and not one person can do everything. I don’t have to ban vaccines to be a natural parent and I don’t have to ditch the stroller to be an attachment parent. Don’t even get me started on the hairsplitting terms in the pregnancy and birthing world. Oy vey. 
Perhaps what I will call it is Instinctual Parenting. The things we do that feel most right to us as mothers. The things that our babies guide us to do as what is best for them. Using our instincts, common sense right? I may have some smart aleck reasons for why I do what I do but at the core it is all about instinct. 
Tough thing is though that many of these common sense and instinctual ways of parenting have been taken from mothers and turned into parenting philosophies. A revered professional  or celebrity  will write a book about said common sense. Saying this way is right and that way is wrong. Then before you know it you have bestseller written all over it and mums everywhere questioning if their choice is the right choice. Ferber, Sears and Spock anyone? 
Read all the books you want but be willing to pick and choose. Don’t pigeon hole yourself. I’ve always been a middle road and moderation kind of gal so why should my parenting style be any different. Sometimes a situation calls for one way or another. I have to be adaptable. I have to use my instincts. Then when you have more than one you are thrown another curveball because what worked on your first may not work on your second (eg. the boys were neither swaddled or had soothers but baby girl can’t get enough of either).
Whatever parenting choices a person makes though please keep in mind that the choices you make today can affect the choices your children make tomorrow (both figuratively and literally). I can only hope that I am raising understanding and supportive fathers and strong and confident mothers. 
Viktor doesn’t breastfeed Puppy anymore, apparently he is eating real food now. Whether that is a point in his development (realizing he can’t breastfeed) or just seeing that Evelyn is feeding less and eating more, I don’t know. Either way I could only assume that Puppy is going the baby led weaning route mixed with some purees. For now Puppy also co-sleeps.  I think Puppy will be co sleeping for a while yet. No word though on the potty training but once puppy doesn’t need that FuzziBunz anymore I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I doubt it will be covered by warranty. I’m sure by that point though Evelyn will have a doll or two in need of a cloth diaper. 

Until next time, regardless of how you parent, be happy and confident in the choices you have made. I know I am. 

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