When I first had Jackie, I had seen many of my brothers and sisters be parents, and I had a good bunch of babysitting experience. I knew how to change a diaper, and I knew the basics of child care. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed if only for the immunity benefits, but there are a whole bunch more benefits that come from breast feeding. My sister-in-law gave me The Baby Book by William Sears.
It was so full of good, practical advice that it made me look into attachment parenting. I was already working hard to breastfeed, and my friend Crissy showed me this awesome pattern for sewing a tube sling and baby wearing just made sense. Also, I had heard that you can spoil a baby by always responding to their cries right on time. This book rapidly changed those fears, and I felt good about holding Jackie anytime she cried, and I felt relieved to have medical permission to co-sleep if I chose to. I started only basing my parenting on just what felt right and what was natural, and that's how I found Elimination Communication. People have been parenting for a long time without diapers, and it made sense to me that babies wouldn't want to sit in their own pee any more than an adult or a dog does. So, my parenting style became all about communication and working to talk with my kids.
Once kids get to be two, some of the attachment parenting ideas like baby wearing (although once in awhile Ben still likes and wants to get in the sling) and for me breastfeeding have become obsolete. We still cuddle a lot, and touch is really important to my parenting, but at the same time, I have tried to figure out how to parent an older child as naturally as possible.
Children naturally hit and kick each other or get angry when someone takes a toy. There has to be a way to teach them that certain behaviors are not acceptable. I have thought about this long and hard, and for me, choices come with consequences in life. Every choice comes with consequences either positive or negative. I want my kids to see this as the natural way of things. If you put the bobby pin in the wall outlet, you will get shocked. As a mom, I try to let my kids get natural consequences as much as possible, but in this case, I will take my kid away and try to give him/her a safer consequence.
In my most recent bout with Jackie this week, I have thought a lot about consequences and freedom. Sometimes, it seems like we think that freedom means that we get to make all the choices we want and there are no consequences. Consequence free choices=freedom in some way. However, there is no consequence free choice. Freedom is the right to choose. Once we choose, we have to deal with whatever outcome happens from that choice. For me, this is imperative to my ideals of natural parenting. If Jackie chooses to break rules just because I'm not around, the consequence of that choice is that I need to be around all the time to help her stay safe. (Thus, we had to have a leash time.) If she chooses the other side and chooses to follow the rules, her consequence is that she gets more time to decide which good toys to play with, and she seems to have a much better time. (She really didn't like the leash time. My activities weren't fun for her.) I guess, for me, this is where politics ties into my parenting style. If we make certain choices in our government, we lose certain freedoms. If people are allowed to make certain choices, then other people aren't ever allowed to have any choices in life.
There are certain choices right now that everyone is faced with. Please weigh the consequences carefully. There are things that we want, but my question is: what are we giving up to have those options? If we give up our military funding for other programs, when we need our soldiers to keep us free, where will they be? And where will we be? We'll lose all of our freedom. We won't have the right to make very many choices at all. I guess that's why parenting and politics go together for me. The very most fundamental in my own parenting style is that choices and consequences go together, and I guess, it's just how I see everything in life.