Dear Mom and Dad: A Love Letter From Your Baby


Dear Mom and Dad,

We haven’t met yet, but I am the one down here hanging out in the most comfortable place around. And before I make my grand entrance I need to ask you for a few favors.

Accommodating them may mean parenting differently than you were expecting, but I promise it will be worth it.

First, I will be healthier and happier if you breastfeed me. So please nurse me, whenever and however often I want. This is how my tiny little body works. It needs to nurse a lot.

I know this will be hard for you mom, and that for the first couple of months you will wonder if you will ever have a moment to yourself.

But here I am. And this is what I need.

It will get better, I promise.

Next, please do not leave me alone. Ever.

If you try to and I cry, please pick me up. Hold me, nurse me, sing to me, rock me, cuddle me. Do whatever you have to so that I become calmer.

I breathe better when you are holding me. I am safer.

Where I Am Happiest

I do not cry to bother you, I cry because something is wrong. Horribly terribly wrong.

I know it may not seem like that is possible, when my diaper is dry and I have just nursed. But I am so little and my body is growing so quickly. And I only feel right when I am being held, or nursed.

I have been living in nirvana while I was growing in your belly and now I have to wear clothes and I get cold, or hot, or hungry, and I do not understand it. It has never happened to me before.

You will be frustrated, I know. I hear that it is really, really hard.

But, here I am. I am your baby.

Instead of spending your time trying to make me, a little tiny baby ,behave as you want me to, will you use your resources to bring in help? Family, friends, anybody who offers.

Anybody who will support you while you focus on the most important thing in the world; me.

So that you can just spend all of your time making me comfortable.

I know a lot of magazines and people and books will tell you that you will spoil me, or that you need to make time for yourself. But right now, while I am still so little, you have to take care of me. I have to be most important.

If you are able to do these things for me, we will be closer than you ever dreamed possible, and we will be able to relate. Always.

Even when I am 16.

If you wonder if this is true, please go to the source to find out. Do not talk with people who have done it differently, instead talk with those who have made these choices. Look at the science that supports it.

And try to find the science that does not.

As soon as I am born you will start making decisions about how connected we will be. You will decide how much time we will spend together and I will understand what you are telling me.

If we spend all day and all night together, I will know how much you value me.

If you hang out with me on the floor and play, I will know that you think I am fun.

If you smile at me, I will know that you are happy to be my mom.

If you always try to make me comfortable and stop my crying, I will know that you believe what I am telling you.

And that matters to me. And to the world.

And finally; always trust your instincts with me. That is why you have them.

If anybody tries to tell you that you are doing it wrong, but with every part of your being you believe that your choices are just what I need, respectfully ignore those people.

Soon we will meet. I will be confused and scared and lonely and wondering where I am. Comfort me, love me, do what your instincts tell you, and we will all be very, very happy.

Love,

Your Baby

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Removing The Artificial Lid


A Happy Guy

A new friend recently introduced my husband Kris and I to Sandra Dodd, someone I consider to be the ultimate advocate for children and families.  Sandra has encouraged us to know our children more deeply.  She is teaching us how to open ourselves up to seeing who our children are,  instead of trying to make them into who we want them to be.

Sandra Dodd’s writing brought to Kris and my attention that it was he and I who were deciding how our children should spend their time.  Without realizing it, we were molding them into who we thought they should be, instead of watching them develop into who they are.  We were putting limits on self discovery and joy.

For example, Owen has a new found love of superheroes.  Something introduced him to them, and there was no turning back.  He wants to read about, talk about and role play superheroes all of the time.  Each family member is a character (including Sydney, our two year old), and we play the part.  A LOT.  He loves everything about the worlds and is having lots of fun.

Though we have gotten pretty tired of playing, Kris and I have made an important observation from playing Super Heroes so very, very often.  Owen’s smile has grown immeasurably .

And while part of me is sad to write this, there have been times that his smile is so huge, I do not even recognize it.  And it is amazing.

Though we have been trying our best, for Owen’s four years of life we have unintentionally prohibited him from fully expressing himself.  We thought superheroes were too violent, and that books are the ultimate tool to ensure a successful child.

Without realizing it, we have been trying to contain the imagination of a spectacular little boy.  A profound imagination that should be celebrated.

These limits were always in his best interest, or so we thought.  We did not want him to be exposed to things that might be unpleasant, or turn him into a thief or sociopath.  We wanted him to experience things that were bright and educational and formed positive connections.  These are appropriate and honorable goals for parents, surely.

However, in the process we were sending him the message that his dad and I know what he enjoys better than he does.  That the stuff he was interested in was not really all that interesting, and that he should rely on others to choose how his time is spent.  We were conditioning him not to trust his own judgement.  We were capping and containing who Owen is.

But not anymore.

We have taken the lid off, and are letting him go.  We are allowing Owen to explore who he is.  We are encouraging him to try the thing he is curious about.  We are learning to be interested with him. To find new ways of playing superheroes when we are bored with the old ones.

I am grateful to Sandra Dodd for allowing us to learn this now, before our children are older and have learned from us that there are limitations on how much joy they can feel- that feeling that happy needs to be questioned.  I thank her for enlightening us before our children understood that a cap should be placed on their creativity and explorative nature.

Owen is learning a lot from Superheroes.  We are having interesting discussions about ethics and values and are having fun finding new ways to make all sorts of costumes and props.

Mostly though, Owen is learning that his mom and dad think he is one cool dude.  And that the stuff he is interested in is cool too.  It is becoming more evident to Owen that he is important to Kris and I, and can trust us to encourage him to explore what he is curious about.

So really, I do not think the superheroes have anything to do with the size of Owen’s smile.  I think it comes from an artificial lid finally being removed.  From knowing that his mom and dad love everything about him, and want to get to know who he is.

That huge expression of joy is a result of him sinking into the knowledge that he can trust himself to explore what he wants, knowing that Kris and I are here to help in whatever way we can.  And that we are excited to explore this really neat new world with him.

And that it makes him really, really happy.

d

An Amazing Smile.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s Musing.  Pondering Jane’s home is in transition.  Please find more musings, activities and tips at http://www.ponderingjane.com, or subscribe down there on the right.

A Bit About Pondering Jane


I am on a journey more interesting than any of which I have been on before.  I have traveled extensively and internationally and have spent a good deal of time on self improvement.Parenthood though, is teaching me more about myself and the world around me than I imagined possible.

Together with my husband, I am making choices that surprise and enlighten me.  My family is leaving the mainstream behind and creating a life  free of unnecessary resistance.

Am I certain that all of our choices are correct?  Nope.  But Kris and I make each choice based on what is best for our family. And so far, we have trusted our intuition and it has been right on.  Do I think every family has to make the same choices we have? Nope.  But I bet you’d be surprised by the result if you did.  At least we have been.

I am finding my family shift interesting, and I think you might too.  I process things through writing and communicating with other people, so I hope that Pondering Jane will allow me these two personal necessities.

The only thing I ask of you, is to keep an open mind.  I am shocked by some of the decisions we have made.  And ultimately  I am grateful that I gave them a chance instead of dismissing them.  These surprising choices have changed the course of my children’s lives.

I will slowly migrate all of my old Personal Essays and Blog Entries to WordPress.  But for now, you can access them here:  www.ponderingjane.com.

For the next few months Pondering Jane will experience some transition while I determine that best permanent place for us.  Ultimately, the address will return to its original:  www.ponderingjane.com.