Sunday, 22 July 2012

This post has nothing to do with coffee.

I drink a lot of fucking coffee. I don't have many cups -- maybe three a day -- but in each cup there's around 1/2 dozen spoonfuls of coffee. As we all know, 6 spoonfuls of coffee plus 6 spoonfuls of coffee plus 6 spoonfuls of coffee is approximately a lot of fucking coffee.

It's no wonder I'm raising a child that doesn't do sleep.

I hear rumours of children that do do sleep.

People often say: our son's amazing. He sleeps from 9pm until 9am.

People often say: our son's amazing. He falls asleep around 7 and wakes in his mid 30s.

Bug's never slept. She suffered from colic when wee and couldn't sleep unless held upright on our chests. Each night for four months I'd stay awake until 3am at which point I'd wake sleepy Bear so I could get some kip before work.

Bear's days started at 3 am when mine ended.

When the colic cleared, we were left with a decision to make on sleep: either we committed to sleep training, or we didn't. For those new to sleep training, here's a link to a Super Nanny explanation: Controlled Crying.

We didn't start parenting with a particular philosophy in mind. Like most things, I didn't give it any real thought until the day Bug was born, at which point it became quite important. Bear, of course, had thought about it at length and was just waiting for tell-tale signs of me panicking such as little poos dotted around the flat.

When we first started discussing sleep, I wasn't even aware that there were different approaches. I simply --  and some have called it naively -- assumed that if my daughter was upset then I'd go comfort her. It seemed the right thing to do for my child

This became my philosophy to parenting.

It's led to a lot of sleepless nights. It may also have led to a daughter that sparkles with wit, intelligence and adventure. Who really knows? Like everything, for each study you find justifying your parenting you'll find one criticising it.

All would be well, only whenever I tell people I don't do controlled crying they kindly explain to me why I'm wrong, entering territory I like to call 'None Of Your Fucking Business.'

I don't preach about how I raise Bug. If someone's having a tough time with their little person, I never say 'well, it's obviously because you're not doing it like we do.'

But people tell me. They tell me all the fucking time.

Controlled crying: Bug will never sleep without it.

Baby led weaning: she's bound to choke to death trying to swallow a pea that's not been cut up into 95 pieces.

Child care: your relationship can't possibly survive.

Sling wearing: she'll just get use to the hugs.

Seriously. I've been told Bug will get use to hugs if I carry her in the sling. Which makes me think 'what the fuck are you doing to your child if hugs are deemed a bad thing?'

I digress.

Or maybe I don't. Maybe it's all pertinent.

Why do some parents feel it's okay to tell other parents they're getting it wrong?

I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Bye for now.



  1. Good for you! Now I am guilty of giving co trilled tying advice but only to my neighbours who ASKED me for it, then continued with their chaotic high octane activities with their lively little one till 9pm n then argue why won't he go to sleep etc! Mine are teenagers now. They were good babies, good children n good teens. Not perfect! My boy useful creep into our bed almost nightly til 6. I had no problem with it, when his dad used to complain about getting kicked in the night I gently explained that he could do the landing marathon at 3am or he could sleep through. I said it wouldn't last for ever ( inside I was thinking blOody hell, what if this lasts forever! Im glad to say it didn't. And I MISS IT!!!

    Do what feels right for you n tell other peoPle to JOG ON!! first time to your blog. I'll be back!

    1. lol

      Co-trilled trying sounds like a hip parenting technique. All the cool kids are doing it :)

      I don't think there's anything wrong with a bit of advice, regardless of parenting ideals. I've asked for advice lots, especially when Bug was tiny and everything was scary.

      Though there's a big difference between someone saying 'have you tried this...' and someone else saying 'yeah, it's because you're doing it wrong and I'm doing it right as you can tell by taking one look at my utterly perfect children.'

  2. Co trilled trying !!!!!! My phone turned controlled crying into something that sounds like torture! Re your sling, back int black n White days when my daughter was a baby my
    Mother used to joke that I'd have to get her surgically removed from my hip ! My own mother!!

    I miss those days, she's off to uni in Sept!

  3. We have a Gina Ford book, I'm sure she had a similar technique called water-boarding ... I may have made that up?

    I occasionally flick through it just to make sure I've not inadvertently blighted our boys life with any of her philosophies ... so far so good.

    1. Ha. I'm quite certain I've blighted Bug's life in no way whatsoever.

      Of course, in 20 years time her psychiatrist may disagree.

  4. We had one who never slept - no advice in the world helped! I got so sick of friends telling me their babies were sleeping through the night at 3 weeks - I wanted to kill them!!! Ours finally slept through the night at just turned 3 years. He's 16 now and never wants to get up. He was worth every sleepless night :)

    1. Our neighbour's just had a little person. Bear and I bumped into the Dad yesterday.

      'Lots of sleepless nights eh?' I laughed.

      'No,' he replied, 'the little one sleeps really well.'

      We mumbled incoherently and walked off.

      It's surprising how quickly you can go off someone.

  5. You are not alone. Borrowed this from a friends facebook status.

    'Just reflecting on how lost I'd be without all the people who, upon hearing that Andrew still doesn't sleep well ask if we are feeding him enough. Because until receiving their advice Andrew had been getting by on one twiglet per two days. Sometimes less. If only there were a channel for these Samaritans to suggest to the eskimos that they wrap up warm. Think of all the bikini wearing eskimos who could be saved.'

    I've come to realise you get what you are given and some babies don't sleep. All the advice in the world makes no difference.

    1. I like your friend!

      I also love the idea that 'you're get what your given.' That really does simplify things.

      Thanks for reading :)

  6. I have three kids aged 7, 4, and 6 months. Each is distinctly different and so different sleep approaches have worked for each. I also run a home daycare so I don't get much well-meaning assvice anymore. I do get *asked* for advice a fair bit, and I always hesitate to give any, because Every Kid Is Different. What works for one will not work for another.

    I liked this post. I'll be back. :)

    1. Every kid is different. I think it's a simple thing that's easily forgotten. Just after Bug was born I read a few baby manuals -- as you do -- and quickly realised their aim is to craft a single, perfect child.

      I've yet to meet this child.

      Thanks for reading :)

  7. Been there! recently infact! for my motherly woes lol. I hate people who preach and make you feel poo. who are we to judge others. offer advice dont force it!
    Do what works for you, your doing a great job :)

    1. I get the feeling people feel the need to force their parenting on others to somehow justify it to themselves. If that makes any sense...

      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog :)

  8. Our kids are older - 15, 14 & 9. We recently had some acquaintances publicly and vehemently berate us for a parenting decision, a lecture during which I learned that cell phones are apparently a right, not a privilege for a teenager and that teenagers having consequences for their actions results in extreme rebellion and stunting of their maturity. I was mortified and humiliated...and hurt. Until that incident, I considered these people friends. Close friends even.

    Parents know what's best for their own child...and family. Short of abuse, parenting styles are best left undebated. What works for one family will not work at all for another. You know your child. It's hard enough to be a parents without all the in-fighting. Shouldn't we be a unified front in that we love our kids and are doing our best for them?

    By the way, I've heard rum works really well....

    (Just kidding)

  9. I'm with you in that I really don't get why people feel the need to jump in and judge. I also don't get the obsession with getting children to be independent virtually as soon as they're out of the womb! I'm a confirmed breastfeeder, co-sleeper (largely because I have non-sleepers too and I can't be arsed to get out of bed in the night!) and sling wearer, so I'm sure there are loads of people that would tell me I'm doing it all wrong! Thing is, it's what works for us, and I want my kids to learn about being loved and cared for before I force them into independence! Great post x

  10. Love this post! Aww babies...Who'd have em? Oh thats apparently! Well anyhow, I believe it is the luck of the (baby) draw as to whether you get a "sleeper" or not. We had mixed luck. 5 months of screaming colic* and no sleep then things very gradually improved without us doing anything different! Shit just happens, as long as you are in tune with baby that is all you can do. I'm just proud and happy that bubs is now 7 months and still remains completely unscathed by my parenting (still has all her fingers and toes and everything)! I say of all parenting, if you are happy with what you are doing then I'm happy for you. I've got enough on my plate worrying about my own parenting skills without picking at someone else's!

    *Colic - When we told people bubs was Colicky various people told us colic didn't exist. That it was a term used by people with no idea how to comfort/look after their baby properly. That we must be doing something wrong. Cue us feeling like shit parents!