So after writing the last post I have been doing some self reflecting, some soul searching if you will. And the thought that keeps popping into my head? What the hell I was thinking? Why would a parent voluntarily listen to, and endure the screams of her child for hours, night after night? All of the angst and pain could have so easily been avoided. All I had to do was walk into her room, pick her up, and hug her up against me. But I didn't. And I'm trying to figure out the reasons why.
I know that I always worried about spoiling each one of my children. I, as a child, was the complete opposite of spoiled. My parents did not play, and I knew that at a very young age. But it worked for me. I was content, understood my boundaries and limits, and always knew what was expected of me. I saw kids who were spoiled and got anything that they wanted. Ultimately, they didn't seem happy, had trouble making friends, and made their parents miserable.
At the time of our self soothing phase, I was beginning to wonder if we jumped too quickly when Jordan cried. Adam and I talked about how to handle it. If we let her go when she was complaining and crying because she wanted her pacifier, she worked herself up into a frenzy. If we gave into the crying, then my fear was that we were spoiling her. Can you spoil such a young baby? I knew that toddlers threw tantrums, and that you sometimes needed to let them cry it out. We were not sure what to do about a six month old. My instinct was to do everything for Jordan so that things were easier for her. Help her to get the toy in her mouth, come over immediately when she cried. I tried to fight against those initial feelings because I figured that spoiling her would only be doing her a disservice later in life.
But after all this pondering and self doubt, I asked myself if I would have done it differently, if given the chance to do it all over again. And the ridiculously confusing answer to that is: No. Most likely I would have done things the same way...and I have no idea why. Am I stubborn and see it as a battle of wills that had to be won by the parent? (Adam would probably answer yes to that question). Do I really think that self soothing is necessary, and that children who are rocked to sleep every night are at a disadvantage? I'm not sure.
So the question is, and I probably have asked myself similar questions a million times while raising all three of our kids: do I think that the hours of crying "damaged" Jordan? I'm pretty confident that they didn't help her to feel secure and comfortable, but I'm not sure if they actually changed her brain chemistry to the point that she needs to be medicated today. I sure hope not.
What I'm beginning to understand since starting this blog, is that its purpose may be different than I had first imagined it to be. Actually, I'm not even sure if I ever really knew what its initial purpose was. But I think it is becoming more clear to me now.
Due to the feedback that I have received so far, something has been made vividly apparent to me. Although Adam and I rate pretty damn high in the worry department, we are not the only parents who do worry, and who have questioned their past actions and decisions.
Isn't it reassuring to know that not only the worry, the guilt, and the self doubt, but also the joy, the wonder, and the love, are shared among us?
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