Sunday, August 2, 2009

Memories From the Past - Independence

I was just shy of 23 years old when my son was born. Lucas was born the day after my birthday in the year 1988. Motherhood is one of those things that when you are young think will be easy. Big ain't no bowl of cherries.

Not only was I young in age, I was also very immature. I knew absolutely nothing about raising kids. I was driven by instinct only.

Unfortunately, sometimes I chose to listen to others instead of listening to my most of us do at one point or another.

Back in the 80's pushing independence in children was the norm and very common. I had never heard of co-sleeping or attachment parenting until I had my second child 12 years later. Even though my instincts told me to keep my son close by my side, Dr. Spock, my pediatrician, and my seasoned parent friends told me different. Guess who I chose to listen to???

In the end my son suffered those consequences. Even though my husband at the time and I felt quite comfy having him sleep in the bed with us I decided to do as the books and professionals suggested I do and teach him to be "independent" by sleeping alone in his bed in his room WAY on the other side of our run down trailer in which we lived.

Over the years I have learned that some babies are easy and never fuss or fret about sleeping independently. My kids have never been those type of kids. No matter what method I used to try to coerce them to sleep independent of me, they would cry for hours before finally passing out in exhaustion.

One week in particular when my son was about 8 months old I was trying to get him to sleep independently...per our society standards. I would put him in his bed and he would cry. I would go in there and pat and soothe him....just like the books said to do. I tried this particular method....I don't remember what is was technically called, for a whole week without any progress. I was exhausted and so was he. I began to wonder what in the hell kind of battle am I fighting here???

Each night of that week was torture for both of us. What I really wanted to do was snatch him out of the bed and comfort and love him beside me in my bed. Unfortunately that week I never listened to my inner voice. For a whole week after I put my son in his crib he would cry to the point of vomiting every night as he stood up holding onto the rails of his crib. As I stood outside of his bedroom door, I cried too. After a couple of hours he would finally pass out from sheer exhaustion.

I inevitably would go to bed with a heavy soul and a guilt ridden conscience along with that gut feeling that it was not what I was suppose to be doing.

The next week I took him in for his check up. Hmmmm....guess what?? I found out that he had double ear infections in both ears that had obviously been there festering for a while. Ironically, the same "professional" that had told me to put my child in the bed at night and let him cry was the same one that scolded me for letting my son go so long with severe ear infections in both ears.

Live and learn. From that day on my son slept in the same bed as my then husband and I. He finally decided on his own to sleep in his bed at the age of 5.

My 8 year old daughter on the other hand seems to have no intention of ever sleeping in her own bed.

What kind of monster have I created???


  1. My last child would go from bed to bed until she found someone willing to let her snuggle close. Her son is the same way now. What is a good nights sleep worth?

  2. Time, that is all you need to remember, time :-)

  3. Our daughter just never slept -- generally she was as wide awake at 2 a.m. as she was at 2 p.m. But we survived it, she survived it, and we are still close and like each other as she approaches her 28th year. No, she's not still living at home -- she lives with her boyfriend in the next town over. We see her several times a week. Life is good. We've moved from a parent/child relationship to just being good friends.

  4. My children were much the same way. Our youngest, who has asthma didn't sleep alone until she was ten! When she got too big for our bed, she slept beside it in her sleeping bag. She always had to hold my hand. Now she is very independent. Graduated from college and on her own. It doesn't last forever. I tell my daughter to follow her instincts and forget the latest theory. They all prove wrong in the end. Mother's know best!

  5. Kathryn slept with me until she was 6 yes ols. one day she just out of the blue said "I want to sleep in my own bed." Shocked me but there she was in her oen bed. Now the last few weeks she has wanted to be close to me again. Not sure what is going on but if she wants to snuggle I will be here for her needs.