DSM: Allan - routines

CindyK (cindyk@unitz.on.ca)
Mon, 20 Nov 2000 15:20:11 -0500


Shortly after I had my first child almost four years ago, I got the best
advice ever. My local La Leche League leader told me to let my child lead
me. Follow her cues. To this day I am still doing the same. I founded an
attachment parenting support group here and am doing my best to let my
children be who they are. I must admit that it is at times very difficult.
I too struggled with the idea of routines. It was easy with just one child.
She fell asleep at night when she wanted. She slept with us and we just did
what we wanted during the day. I could sleep when she slept if I needed to.
Then, 20 months later, my son arrived. It became much more difficult to
just let things happen. I could no longer sleep when the baby slept because
they NEVER slept at the same time. Bedtime routines became neccessary for
my sanity. Now at the age of four (almost) Katie goes to bed at about the
same time every night. It isn't set in stone. I watch her for signs of
rediness and she's usually ready around 8 these days. She often asks to go
to bed as she is parented to sleep and it's quality one-on-one time. My son
is different. He is two and is in transition from nursing to sleep. He
doesn't nurse anymore and we're working on creating a sleep environment for
him. Right now he just passes out while rocking in my arms or on the floor.
It works for now. As for keeping the floor clean of toys - it just hasn't
happened yet. Every now and then we decide that we will get in the habit of
cleaning up before supper or before bed but it doesn't seem to last long.
Over time, we are slowly getting better. There are fewer and fewer toys to
kick out of the way when we do want to dance! Oh, I also try to make it a
choice as often as I can. For example I will use the desire to dance as an
oportunity to clean up as in "Yes, we will have lots of room to dance if we
clean up a little." If they don't want to that's fine, but we also don't
get to dance. I don't know if that's manipulative or not but compared to
any alternative I can think of, it's the least evil! :)

I haven't been able to completely embrace the idea of letting everything go.
It may come in time or it may never come. I try my best to let my children
guide me and live in the moment. I'm having a ball.

Thank you Allan for your wife's essay. I haven't read it all yet (no time
with the kids) but I've printed it out to read later!

As for Mimsy's list: I found it invaluable! I am looking at setting up a
SVM school here (it seems a natural next step to attachment parenting) and
It opened my eyes to the fact that I will not only be dealing with people
who wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy. Everyone has a different
reason for attending. It's eye opening.

Here's to spreading the word! Keep up the good work everyone!

> When I watch my children experience the utter joy of being alive, truly
> alive without conditioning, I am inspired. When I feel my own intellect
> telling me that they should stop throwing the book, yelling so loud,
> etc., it is my love and respect for them that hears the folly of my
> words and helps me bite my tongue. So yeah, in a sense, I do need to
> wear handcuffs some of the time, even while love is present. The
> conditioning within me has been there for 33 years, and is not going
> away that easily.
> However, when I truly spend quality time with my kids, that is, I am
> truly playing with them, experiencing with them, thinking only about the
> now, our interaction, and our love, my intellect is nowhere in sight.
> The should nots and must nots don't enter my mind; it's an incredibly
> freeing experience; the greatest lesson I have learned as a parent.
> I still have some problems though. For example, in reality life is very
> busy and the kids often outnumber us, both physically and emotionally. A
> little order or routine seems to help us all. When we try to set up
> rules around cleaning up or regular meal times, we are all happier. The
> kids enjoy being home more when the floor is clean and they can find
> their toys and have room to dance, and the routine of meals brings us
> together to talk and share our day. So in my mind these routines make
> sense in an intellectual way but not in a "heart" way. What do you
> think?
> Allan

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