Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Family Bed

Now that we are parenting our second child, Jeremy and I are being reaffirmed that we fall into a certain camp of parents. This camp goes by many names: Crunchy Moms (c'mon, really? That makes it sound like we don't wash our hair.) Granola Parents, or simply good ol' fashioned Hippies. Now Jeremy and I never decided we "wanted to be" Hippie Parents; we don't parent according to a certain hippie ideology. We just decided each issue as it came our way. Some decisions we made based on principle, and some were just based on practice, but they still landed us in the hippie camp.

We made one parenting decision based solely on principle. That is that we "sling" or "wear" our babies more often than not. Sure the car seat-carriers are great, you can take your baby from the house, to the car, to the stroller, back to the car, to the shopping cart, to the car, and back home. Pretty soon the better part of the day is gone and your baby hasn't gotten any actual physical contact from you. Weren't there babies in Romanian orphanages dying because they never got held? Yes I'm being extreme, but don't worry, this is the only parenting practice of ours based solely on hippie principle.

Consider these next few practices of ours. With #1 I breastfed for the first year until he could drink cow milk, made homemade baby food until he moved on to table foods, and we even cloth diapered on and off. Now, while I do see some of the beneficial hippie principles behind these parenting practices, that wasn't the driving force behind it. I call it parenting by practice, as in--It's just what we do ok? As in--Although I "plan" on breastfeeding all my children, I don't want to be a member of the La Leche League. (I actually don't really like those guys. They do a lot of good, but also a lot of bad because they are too stuck on their "principles" to be helpful in certain individual situations.) As it is, if you wanted to pin down our motivation behind breastfeeding, homemaking baby food, and cloth diapering, it's probably economic--we don't want to have to pay for that stuff.

There is one parenting practice of ours based solely on practice, and that is the family bed. I know there are arguments for, and arguments against, but I don't want to hear it. The point is--I'm tired dang-it! I want to be able to sleep at night, and with newborns the best sleep for us has come in the family bed. So then, why is this topic on my brain today? It's because the apartment we're renting this summer has a queen-sized bed. (We have a double bed at home.) All I know is the queen sized bed is REALLY nice. The bed isn't that comfy, but the size is great. At home our three-year-old is no longer sleeping with us, but this summer things are so crazy and mixed up that he's been coming into bed with us in the middle of the night again. Well, 4 bodies in bed is a LOT easier in a queen-sized bed. Who knows--When we get back home this fall, we may have to knock out a wall in our little house to get a bigger bed!


John and Becky Bowler said...

Jeanett you crack me up!!! How are the boys doing?

John and Becky Bowler said...

I do know how to spell you name...Jeanette!!! (look at comment above)

Wayland said...

So my memory was sparked with a comment a Japanese man told us all while over there. He told us Americans that we were crazy for sending our small children into a separate room to sleep all by themselves. Japanese apparently sleep with their children for the first couple years of their lives so that they can care and nurture them. They feel that they can create a better bond between their children by doing this.

Robin and Larry said...

Hi Jeanette,
I am so excited that you have a blog... now I can see those beautiful grandkids of Karen's.

Mom said...

You're probably just making up for all the sadness you felt when we wouldn't let you sleep with us!! But you had VERY busy legs and arms and I could NOT sleep with you in our bed! :)

Michelle said...

Jeanette!! This is Michelle (remember me from Santa Barbara?) and I just have to say I think you are freakin' awesome. You're not really a hippie parent (unless you wanna be) If you want to go by the title AP (Attachment Parenting). That's what I do anyway, but you've probably heard all about Dr. Sears' Attachment Parenting. I never set out to have a family bed either, but I do get way more sleep this way and we really like it. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Sheffer's said...

Hi Jeanette! This is Heather Gillespie, your old violin teacher! I found you blog hopping today, and I agree with you about getting sleep. With our 2 boys being 13 months apart (they're now 3 and 2), we have done many things to just get some sleep and get through each stage. I say, whatever works for your family is what you should do. We're lucky in that we have a king size bed, though. :) Are you in Kansas? We live in the KC area. Check out our blog


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