Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sound Sleeping

I successfully extracted myself from bed this morning - YAY! An unsuccessful extraction is when everyone in the bedroom awakens WITH me, or BEFORE me. I say "everyone" because it is a rare night that we sleep alone. Hence, the gigantica king-sized bed.

We didn't start out with a family bed. We started out with a crying baby in a crib and two frightened, anxious, and sleep-deprived (and OK -sometimes crying) parents in a bed down the hall. 16 years ago everyone in our circle of influence said it was "bad" to have a baby in bed with you. "You'll NEVER get them out!" they said. As new parents, our reaction to that was, "Oh my gosh! How horrible!" We didn't stop to think of the ridiculousness of that statement. And I did, indeed, have a friend who had given in and brought her baby to bed and she was, indeed, having a horrible time getting him out. It appeared that the worst had happened to her - he would be sleeping with her for the rest of her life. This was the topic of much discussion. Of course, he wasn't even two, yet. But everyone knows that our habits and behaviors are set in stone at the age of two, so you can understand her distress, right? The fact that he was still in a diaper didn't have everyone fretting that he would wear one to college. That particular concern wouldn't set in for another 6 months or so:).

By the time our 3rd was born several things had changed.

1) We had moved into a smaller house and the baby didn't have a nursery.

2) We had basically quit trusting parenting experts

3) We tried to do what would get the most people in the house the most amount of sleep

4) **This is the most important** We knew people who were supportive of co-sleeping and allowed them to be our new sphere of influence.

Result??? A happy baby who never cried at night, a rested set of parents, siblings who slept undisturbed. Shouldn't this kinda sorta be the desired outcome of a successful night of family slumbering? Here is a pic of Camille holding a friend's new baby, Galileo. If you ask Camille what to do when a baby cries, she says, "Pick him up!" What one earth else would you do?

Why do babies cry at night? Here is my opinion (and I do not claim to be an expert - this is my opinion as a mommy).

Because they are alone. Because child development experts say over and over again that a unique baby worldview contains the "out of sight, out of my world" phenomena. What this means is that if you move a ball out of Baby's line of vision, Baby believes the ball is "gone for good" until you put it back where she can see it. So, let's say you put Baby in a crib, turn out the light, and walk away. What does Baby think? That you have simply gone away. That there is a possibility that you, the source of food, safety, and comfort, are gone. GONE. So when babies are alone, they truly believe they might be dying. Their survival instinct says, "Cry! Make some noise! You are helpless!" And so the baby cries to attract attention to herself. Maybe another protector will find her and she'll be saved. This is why babies cry when we leave the room and stop crying when we come back in. When we come back in, they are so thrilled to see us because they literally did not know if we were coming back, or not. They are neurologically unable to know this. When we go back out again, their entire future, in their eyes, is bleak and possibly hopeless. They are helpless beings who know they are helpless. It is true that babies can be "trained" to sleep on their own. They either develop the ability to understand that gone does not mean gone, or they simply give up. I'm not sure which it is.

Here's a beautiful quote about co-sleeping:
This generation of mothers labors under (the) dubious pronouncement that babies sleep best in isolation. Every infant knows better. His protest at nocturnal solitude contains the wisdom of millennia. --Thomas Lewis, M.D., A General Theory of Love

For information regarding the safety and benefits of co-sleeping, go to http//

I do not think that every family needs to function the same way. I do not believe every parent needs/wants/can sleep with their children. There are many many wonderful human beings walking around who were allowed to cry in their cribs and who do not suffer ill effects. Obviously, what is really important is that children feel loved and valued and there are many ways to show love and value. Most people do what they feel is best for their children. Most people love their children every bit as much as I love mine. For me, listening to a baby cry is very hard. I literally suffer "fight or flight" feelings. So bringing a baby into my bed is the much easier choice. I do not have what it takes to train a baby.

I think it is spectacular today that young parents have so many choices and so many avenues for gaining support for their choices. If your doctor doesn't support co-sleeping or thinks it is a bad idea, you can just go home and inquire on the Internet about attachment-friendly doctors. I feel it is my role to not hide my parenting from the mainstream. When people see that mothers do wear their babies, they do breastfeed toddlers (and beyond), they do allow freedom of expression from their children - then they might question "truths" they are told about what it means to be a good parent. They just might say, "Hey, there are choices here. There seems to be many ways to put a baby to sleep, or feed a baby, or transport a baby....I will do what is best for me and my family. If what I feel is best is not what those in my circle believe is best, I will expand my circle."

Well, I am off of my soapbox for awhile. And since I have a hungry, whining kid running around who is obviously not getting his needs met, I will not be winning any Mother of the Year awards anytime, soon. THAT is for sure.

Last night we had homemade pizzas for dinner - using homemade tomato paste, of course! They were beautiful. Here is the recipe for the crust, which has no white flour in it at all.

This makes 4 pizzas - so reduce the recipe according to your needs.

4 cups of warm water
3 packs of yeast
8 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of wheat germ
4 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons of honey
Mix yeast and warm water, let sit for 15 minutes. Mix together flour and wheat germ and salt. Make a well in the center and add honey and water/yeast. Stir and then mix together with your hands. Let rise about 30 minutes and then split into 4 equal portions and spread out on pizza pans. Spread sauce and vegetables/meat on crust and bake for 15 minutes at 350. Remove pizzas and add cheese (and tomatoes if you want them). Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Add fresh basil leaves and slice.

This was a disappointing find in the dryer, this morning. No money. Just a feather and a Lincoln log.
Sardine Mama


  1. my mom can vouch that i was one of those kids that never left the bed. i think i've grown out of it though....

  2. I think you've grown out of it :). At least I hope you have, seeing as how you are about to turn 16 and all. Thanks for scaring all of the new moms, though! That was fun!