Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Too Much, Too Soon

It's no secret that things have been a little crazy around here lately. The girls have been sick, and Nora has been sleepless -- which means that Michael and I haven't been sleeping, either. It's been fun for all!

In the middle of all that fun, I decided that it would be a great time to break up with Nora's swaddling blanket. She'd gone without it while we were in the throes of illness, so I figured -- why go back? I honestly didn't anticipate that it would be that big of a deal. But when Nora's naps started lasting about 30 minutes and her nighttime sleep became terrible, I realized what a horrible idea that whole cold turkey thing was. And did I mention that we also tried to quit this thing during a growth spurt?

Since I've said we tried to cease usage of the swaddler, you would be correct in assuming that it has made a triumphant return. Nora honey, you can stay swaddled 'till you're two, if it means we'll all get some sleep. (But I know you'll want out of it sooner than that!)

Anyway, this whole swaddle experience has gotten me thinking about how often we try to do too much, too soon. Nora wasn't ready to grow out of the swaddle, and it led to frustration and tears (and not just for the little one). Nora was completely unprepared to handle that new-found freedom. While coming out of the swaddle blanket will eventually be a necessary milestone, it was too much freedom, too soon.

I've been rereading some selections from Babywise lately (think what you will about the book, it's worked for us), and the author talks about parenting with appropriate freedoms. I'm paraphrasing here, but as children grow, they need appropriate freedoms to become more independent. With feeding as an example, it is appropriate for a nine-month-old to feed herself Cheerios with her fingers; give her a spoon, though, and it becomes a tool for inappropriate behaviors since she isn't ready to use it. The spoon is thrown, banged, or used to shovel O's off her high chair tray -- but isn't used for eating. It's too much freedom too soon.

I'm so guilty of doing too much too soon with myself, too. I had these great intentions of jumping back into "normal" in January, and heaped all kinds of responsibility onto my proverbial plate. I dove headfirst into a Bible study that's already proven to be more commitment than I can reasonably handle. I thought it would be great to start doing some freelance work, and I'm already behind on a deadline. And did I mention that I thought it would be great to start some formal "preschool" with Phoebs in January? I don't think I need to tell you how that worked out.

All of those expectations I had of myself are great things -- and things that I still plan to do. But it was too much (maybe only a little), too soon (maybe just a few weeks too early). And instead of being good additions to my life, they simply became new frustrations.

Change is happening almost daily with the girls. New schedules, new milestones, new freedoms to come. Phoebe is almost two, so that means we're headed down the path of potty training, big girl beds, and more. I'm having to remind myself all the time that I'd rather do a little bit at the right time, than too much, too soon.


Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Hear, hear! I'm sure sometimes I take it too far and forget to try new things, but I figure "we'll get there eventually!"

Carolynn said...

I totally know about the whole swaddle issue. I think we left and went back to the miracle blanket a few times. Just when I thought we kicked it, we'd need it again. I agree...sleep is WAY more important than kicking "props"! Thank you for being so transparent! Love you muchly!

Liz said...

Gavin couldn't give up the miracle blanket till 6.5 months, and we only gave it up because he was escaping from it and I worried he'd get tangled in it...I still miss the deep sleep he got while swaddled..sigh.

The Sinks said...

Neat perspective... we are also having swaddle blanket ponderings. Jackson has been sleeping poorly the past couple of nights, and we can't tell if it's the fact that he is swaddled and frustrated about it, or something else.