Friday, February 6, 2009

Factory Direct Settings

My sister Stacey has been annoyed that I don't post as often as I used to. One reason I haven't been posting is that I'm somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of returning to work (although excited too) and especially by the amount of items on my To Do List. I'm also not feeling too inspired to post - I'm sure you are all sick of reading about sleeping and scheduling of two infants as I am of obsessing about it. New obsession is wondering if Penny may have sleep apnea but that is for another post.

Yesterday I had a friend over for a playdate with her daughter and we were discussing baby advice books. She is annoyed that she read Dr. Sears and tried his attachment parenting and wished she picked up Weissbluth earlier. But despite her efforts her daughter Georgie won't adhere to Weissbluth when it comes to napping and sleeping at night. She speculates that all kids have some "factory direct settings" that no amount of parenting books will change.

On some level I guess I agree - Ned is just a more cuddly baby than Penny. Penny is showing signs of independence that Ned doesn't bother with so long as his needs are met (which he demands in a very loud voice (whining or crying)). But I also worked super-super hard at sleep training and do it every day.* I always think of myself as "hard-ass" with the kids about sleep and routines and Husband backs me and encourages me to be that way (let a kid cry if necessary). Is my friend convincing herself that Georgie gets wound up if she lets her cry (such that a nap isn't possible) because she can't take the crying (which I agree is really, really hard - especially in a 1 bedroom apartment)? Or is Georgie really that way - that no amount of crying will make a difference?

When do you try to teach your kids - a "learned" response verses a personality trait you can't control? Do our kids really have "factory direct settings"?

*Example: Just today Ned tried to get up after 45 mins of his AM nap but I let him cry (on and off) for about 25 mins until he finally fell asleep (and was in his crib for almost 2 hrs total by the time he really woke up). And Penny woke up at 5 am and didn't go back to sleep until 5:45 am (until 6:30 am when I woke her for her meds - Mommy, Esq. never got back to sleep).


Liz Jimenez said...

As with almost everything, I think it's a bit of both. I think some kids have easier temperaments, or are naturally easier sleepers, or whatever. But I also agree that it's sometimes what you, as the parent, create/encourage/reinforce. I'm also (obviously) a hard-ass on the sleep front. And you know what? My kids still sleep really differently. Rebecca is a little more restless, and seems OK on a little less sleep. Daniel sleeps like a rock, and is cranky if his sister wakes him up before he's ready. A bit of both...

Monica Marino said...

Hard to say. Fiona clearly had Weisbluth factory settings- or maybe she's just hardwired to be anal and routine-oriented like her mother. And then again, I strongly encouraged a routine and a schedule because I know kids love it, so is it a chicken and egg thing?

LauraC said...

I am actually in the factory settings camp bc my kids are so different. I am a routine person and a strict sleep training person. I am firm about boundaries and limits and discipline. Yet when Nate and Alex ever do anything the same, I am shocked.

The eating thing is a great example. We follow Satter's advice of continually providing fresh and diverse foods. Alex is picky, always has been. Nate is not picky, never has been.

Sleep is also a good example. Nate is a night owl. He needs about 30 minutes of dark and quiet to wind down before sleeping. He also needs a solid 2 hour nap. Alex is an early riser, falls asleep in an instant, and is fully awake after an hour nap. Any and all attempts to get him to nap longer have failed.

I think it's easier to see as they get older and develop bigger personalities. I think you can go so far with setting limits and boundaries and for the rest, the kids will show you who they are.

(I wonder is your sister will keep up the same leve of blogging when she has a newborn and a job? It will be interesting to see. )

Krissy said...

One of the perks of being a mom to multiples...we get to think about this stuff all the time!

F and J are very different from each other. And yet, consistent. The personality traits they had as newborns (even their sleep positions) are still the same, almost 2 years later.

I find it to be completely fascinating. I parent my two alike as much as I can parent a boy and girl, yet I often think of the saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." That about sums it up for me!

Anonymous said...

IMHO, not every parenting method will work with every kid. That's why there's 900 different parenting books out there. If only there were one true way... One ring to rule them all! LOL

Anonymous said...

To me it seems that parenting books are meant to validate what you are inclined to do anyway.

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful comments, all!