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December 20, 2005 / allyo

Unexpected Allies

So many parenting issues these days are polarized to the point that, should you decide to swim outside the mainstream, after time you automatically assume the defensive whenever certain topics are raised. Feeding method (breast vs bottle), SAHM vs. WOHM, and sleep – where, when, and how have been big ones for us.

What’s interesting to me is how differently these topics are viewed by those a generation or two removed. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve found support for some of our practices in surprising places. Co-sleeping, from my grandma. Breastfeeding in public, from my mother-in-law. (It’s a little disconcerting, if not exceedingly pleasant, to hear a somewhat frumpy, grey-haired, appliqued-sweatshirt wearing almost 60-something woman say defiantly, "I always fed my babies wherever and whenever they were hungry." Our relationship had reached the easy, somewhat understanding stage by the time Jamie was born, but at that moment, she was elevated to BFF status.) And my mom, once learning about the science behind it, and given the opportunity to actually see me nurse, is a staunch supporter of breastfeeding, including extended breastfeeding. (She was never given the opportunity herself, as I was born when formula was king and shots were given after delivery to dry up the mother’s milk.)

And last weekend at my aunt’s Christmas party, somehow the topic of sleep came up and I had to sheepishly admit that due to molars and other complications, we’re not sleeping through the night. At 14 months. In this day and age, that’s an admission of failure. I was talking to a friend of the family who is a few years younger than me. Her mom was at the table as well, so  I glanced at her and said, "I bet that’s a distant memory for you, huh?" She grimaced and replied, "Not really, I hated the molars." Taking a chance I said that I figured by the time his two-year molars came in, we’d all be sleeping well at last, and she nodded and said I’d make it, but it really stunk.

Wow. No judgment. What a nice, unexpected little gift. It made my (somewhat sleepless) night.


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