Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Aware Baby / Aletha Solter - not a book review

This book had a great impact on me and I am glad I heard about it.. I don't always agree with the author's ideas or it doesn't always work for us, but still I thing it was a great read for me.

The one major thing I've learnt from this book, is that Butterfly is allowed to cry. Now I am not talking here (and for the rest of this post) about a young baby crying because he wants to eat or sleep or whatever his need might be. No, not the crying that is for us adults to fulfill a need in a helpless infant, more the cry that is "just" an emotion or else. Because if the baby is crying because he is hungry, there is nothing else than to feed him. But a baby who is crying because he is frustrated or sad or whatever, we usually try to calm the baby down, to stop him from crying. But then what are we doing? We are teaching baby that negative emotions are bad, that we have to keep them for ourselves, not show them. And then, don't we adults need an outlet sometimes? We can have a bad day and blog about it, we can phone a friend and cry to her on the phone about the rough day we are having or even hit a pillow or something. A baby can't, all he can do is cry. And like we wouldn't want someone to stop us in the middle of our rant and say to us - there there. nothing to rant about, here take a cookie, probably the baby doesn't like when we do that to him.. And the cookie.. unrelated to this book because even before reading it I knew it is wrong to try and calm a crying baby with food as I do not want food issues, don't want her to associate being sad etc with eating, but my mother would always tell me to give her something to eat when Butterfly was crying, because that sure will calm her down. Most likely, but then I'll be teaching her the above...And why is crying such a bad thing in our eyes? My mother doesn't stand it when Butterfly cries, "oh, stop that noise" she tells me.Why can't we embrace the crying baby, let her know it is totally okay to feel sad? So my key word to my mother when Butterfly cries when she's around..) is that Butterfly is allowed to cry!

But then, according to Solter, you are not supposed to let the baby/toddler cry alone. You should be there with him, hug him and let him know you are there for him. I love that in theory but my daughter? She has a big DO NOT HUG ME sign on her when crying or even do not touch me. So I sit back and try to show her I am there for her. And then I do want her to stop crying (because I do want to continue with trying to go to sleep, for eg. and maybe I am being a bad mother not trying to calm her down..) but want her to let it all out. Yes, I would call these sessions CIO (cry it out) as I want her to get it all out, but a very big difference from the common CIO procedure of which I won't say another word besides that I am totally against (because I know some of you readers do/did use it). I don't remember when we last had a big crying session, which I don't know if that's good or bad..
Another problem is that many if these cries are caused by me. I mean I am the straw and it's the frustration of the hard day or whatever, but it is still me not allowing her that extra cup of milk or whatever. It's not easy also being the trigger and also letting her cry about it. That's not to say that I never calm her down when she cries, I just try and not prevent her from crying because it would make me feel better. I also taught her that when she falls and hurts herself, she comes to me for a kiss and not me to her. I know it sounds cruel because what mother would not run to their child when they fall and cry with them.. But seeing my sister hover over her child even on the slightest fall and not giving them a chance to learn how they are feeling, well I believe my child should have the right to have the first responds. Maybe it didn't hurt her? Maybe it wasn't as painful as it looked from the side? Butterfly when falling - gives a little whine or a little cry, comes to me and shows me where it hurts and is back to happy girl after she gets the kiss. (that is if she cries/whines, because many times she will be just fine.). But I think I've digressed..
So while I do like the idea of letting her crying when she needs to, it is not always easy to follow.


Another thing I've learnt from her and from positive parenting blogs I read, is about praise and how it is not always such a good thing (encouragement is better) but I think this post is long enough and I'm sure I'll go into it in another post I hope to write some day, so that will be it for now.


P.S
CD2! 

3 comments:

Tiara said...

I totally agree about the crying...I never tell Elena to stop crying, I tell her to "let it all out" I don't want her to think she shouldn't cry or that crying is bad. Even if she's having a tantrum, I don't tell her to stop I just tell her to let me know when she's done then I leave her (safely of course) & comfort & snuggle her when she's ready. I find she has fewer major meltdowns.

Little One said...

It's so true about the crying. My mom said once to SR "are you a baby?" and I told my mom that I don't want her to say that bc everyone needs to cry and asking if she is a baby is a put down.

Love the p.s.

FruitFish said...

yay cd2 :)
I'm a big crier so I can understand the need to do so and am glad you let her do so.