We have been reading the Wizard of Oz. It is an annotated version edited by Michael Patrick Hearn, and his notes are terrific.
One little sidebar I enjoyed, referring to L. Frank Baum: He went by several professional names: "Louis F. Baum," actor and playwright; "L.F. Baum," newspaper editor; and "L. Frank Baum," children's book writer.
Sometime I go by Joseph. And sometimes I go by Josef. It is a whim that I have practiced for well over a decade, with no intention to quit. Sometimes I wear red shoes and sometimes I wear blue shoes. And sometimes it is a ph-day and sometimes it is an f-day.
My nephew Torsten. Eight months older than Magdelana. A fiery Germanic-Swede with a mighty roar. And a kind heart. I have demanded for a very long time that before we start playing, he must give me a massive monster hug.
And now, if I forget, he will remind me, with his firm little arms.
A parent-to-be was recently talking about her plans for their child's sleeping habits. I am aware of there being different approaches to instilling good sleep patterns early on. I have no judgments to pass.
There are apparently many different "schools of parenting." We have cobbled together our own School of Childrening, and it is not to say that it is the Best Period, rather, that it is the Best For Us. And a tiny, gigantic cornerstone of Our School is that sometimes things like perfect schedules get trumped by other stuff. As a film editor and writer, I respect the inviolable rules of structure that allow the best stories to be created. I also understand that those rules can occasionally be broken, after they are understood and respected.
A Really Good Movie About Structure written by Charlie Kaufman.
So despite our desire to provide our infants with a good sense of (sleep) structure early on, what is more important to us is that our children always feel loved, respected, and protected. And because there is no two-way verbal communication to communicate those feelings, the only way to really convey them tangibly is through crying (him) or tactile soothing, better known as snuggling (us). It is not that there is anything wrong with taking a tough approach to sleep discipline ("We're just gonna let him cry it out.") It's that as a parent, there is a constantly shifting priority list, and that priority list does not contain easily divisible columns of "Good/Bad." Rather, it filled with a multiplicity of things to worry about.
But you can't worry about everything equally. You gotta choose what's most important. Everybody has something at the top of their list. Doesn't mean everything else is not important. Just means that different parents have different ideas of what is at the very top of that list.
Some parents worry about their children learning the virtues of sleep discipline and regularity early on. That is good.
I worry slightly more about making sure our children know they are loved, day and night. And if they are crying, and want to be held, well, that's the side we will err on. And it is good for us.
We are a snuggly family.
Note, on the subject of sleeping: I recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. I am reluctant to push 'how-to' books on parenting to people, but this is a great way to both bond with your child early on, and help her sleep better at the same time.