I came across a post on Facebook from What To Expect. They were asking how you deal with making your child give up their “lovey.” This really bothers me. I have been noticing over the past 8 1/2 months that all of this parenting advice is heavily focused on how to make your child do this or that. “Make your child sleep through the night” “Make your child give up their lovey” “Make your child behave better” “Follow this fool proof method to make your child ______” “What you’re doing wrong when it comes to _____” etc etc etc. It goes on and on and there is probably an article for every single situation imaginable.

Why do we have to force or make our children do things like this? Why can’t we let nature take its course a bit? Jackson normally sleeps through the night. I did not try any method. I did not force him to do things. I just got up with him each time he woke until he started just sleeping through the night. He just did it on his own. Two nights ago he woke up around 11:30pm. I went in there I tried to rub him and give him his binky. It didn’t work. I tried to rock him. It calmed him until I went to put him in bed. So then I nursed him. That worked. It is what he needed and wanted at the  moment. He then rolled on his side and cuddled with his blue elephant with his binky in his mouth. These things are what he needed to feel safe and comfortable enough to sleep. Last night he did not wake up in the middle of the night at all. He obviously needed me that particular night. If I were following some ridiculous method I would have deprived him of that need.

Why do we have to focus on how we can CHANGE what these babies need to feel comfort? Why is there such a focus on the parents controlling what makes a baby happy? Why can’t we just adjust to what actually makes the baby happy? Especially when they are babies and toddlers.

I understand down the road my teenage son is going to want to do something that I disagree with, like perhaps staying out all night. Then we can have a rational conversation. I can explain my views on it and while he may claim to hate me and that I am awful, he is capable of later understanding why I did what I did. As babies and toddlers they will never rationalize the situation. All they feel is that someone they trust took away something they need to feel safe.

I had a “lovey.” I never called it that and I never recall my parents calling it that. It was my doll. I named her baby. I had her well into my adolescence. The only reason I stopped sleeping with her was because my brother and I got into a tug of war over her. It resulted in my well loved doll being decapitated. She had been sewn and repaired countless times. This time I just didn’t ask my mom to fix her. I have to point out, my brother and I have a 7 year age difference. He was old enough at this point to fight me for a toy. So I had to at least be around 9. My parents never made me feel silly for having my doll. There was never any pressure to give her away. It was never even mentioned. Why should it be? Why can’t  I have a favorite toy? I was ready at that point to move on. I just didn’t ask for her to be repaired. I came to terms with it on my own time.

Much like me Jackson seems to come to terms with things on his own. I don’t plan to force him to do things. At lunch time lately he refuses to eat much of his food. I have chicken in it. He seems to not care for chicken. We are working on it slowly. I get a few bites in and he pushes my hand away. He always nurses first. He is getting his nutrition from that. So if he really refuses it I let it go and we move on. If he were starving he would eat it. I don’t want him to feel that eating is a stressful thing. Eventually he will enjoy chicken. It is a big difference from fruits and veggies. Today I am giving him a break. No chicken with lunch.

There is little point trying to conquer a baby. I think it is awful. I wont force chicken down his throat in an all out lunch time war, just like I won’t take away his blue elephant and I likely wont make a big deal about his binky. There is limited amount of time in life to just be little. I am going to let him be little.