Google+ Authentic Parenting: The trial and error child (rerun)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The trial and error child (rerun)

No matter how hard parents try, no matter the amount of books one read, and googles searches one perfoms, no matter the hours of discussion, it seems to me the first child is always somewhat a trial and error child. You can never quite know what you are getting into when you finally get that first little bundle of joy.
I think this is a universal given, but in our culture it is exagerated. Think about it! How many children did you take care of before your first child was born? How many hours have you babysat? How often did you see a newborn?
Many parents have never even touched a newborn before they have their own, fearful they might hurt it, break it or out of pure awkwardness. But when it's your own child, there's nobody else to hand them over, so your going to have to overcome all these feelings anyhow.
It's a pity our contact with other children before we have our own is so limited. It's a result of a lot of societal changes the past hundred years or so, but I won't go into that here.

For us, Attachment Parenting wasn't something we had heard about at all before we had our daughter I only found out such a movement (or cult as I have seen it being reffered too, lol) existed until my daughter was about 10 months old. Yet by then we were already very much attached parents.
Babywearing, breastfeeding and cloth diapering were things I was sure about before getting pregnant, and you can read here how our cosleeping adventure began. Yet cosleeping was a much bigger mountain to climb than the other parenting choices. Every single person we discussed our sleeping situation with tried to kindly offer advice to move our baby out of our bed, into a seperate room. Most of these 'kind' suggestions included some extent of Crying (CIO). And we folded. We tried to put her in her crib several times when she was tiny, but I could never bare the crying, so each time I got her out as soon as she cried. Yet I can't help but wonder how much damage these few moments may have done.
Now we have grown confident (again, after researching, discussing and finally meeting likeminded people - albeit virtually) and we will never make that mistake again. The next child will sleep in our bed until he or she chooses to sleep in his/her own bed.
And there are countless other anecdotes I can tell you in which I have grown through trial and error, and which I won't repeat with a second child. Let's just hope that first child will forgive our erroneous ways and realize this does not make us love them less.

Going down the trip of worrying how much you screwed up and what repercussions it might have, is easy. But frankly, it's quite pointless to beat yourself up over things that can't be undone. It is of far greater importance to keep researching, keep informing yourself, and work at your parenting skills on a daily basis.



  1. It's really cool how you came to attachment parenting by instinct, and it sounds like you responded to her quickly and lovingly even when you were trying the mainstream CIO way.

    We had the opportunity to babysit a baby before we had children, and my husband and I always referred to him as the "practice child" — but only behind the parents' backs, lol. We figured we could get our mistakes out of the way... As it turns out, no, it's still trial and error, as you say, but research and intention and trusting instincts really helps a lot!

  2. Maybe everyone should have a trial baby to babysit... but still, it's not quite the same, because you are not making the big choices.
    I was a monitor on playgrounds one summer and had 20 2,5 to 6 year olds all day for a months, but I didn't learn as much as I did with haveing my own child even a couple of days

  3. You're right, there's no substitute for the real thing and it's a total touch and go, at least it has been for us for the first 5 years. And the two that followed I was much more prepared for. I've learned to just follow my instincts. I really believe that a mom always knows best.

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!!!

    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  4. I wish I could say that my first was my trial and error child but that really isn't true. I mean, she was in so many ways but every single one of them requires so much adjusting of what I think "works." KWIM? And our first was so... easy. I hate that term when speaking of a child. She was just very laid back and easy going. Sleeping anywhere, quickly getting into a routine on her own, sleeping through the night, etc. it just seemed like I was doing traditional parenting with her. But then #2 came a long and my "methods" didn't work, nor did I like them. So we started changing and over the years we found ourselves intentionally moving away from what we thought we wanted to do with our children and into something totally different. We didn't know anything about attachment parenting or gentle parenting and the like until a few years ago but by then we were along those lines anyway and it worked for us. To call us full-fledged attachment parents would be a stretch, we're, uh, just us, lol!

    Been here before you but stopped by from SITS!

    Check out my new blog:

  5. I love this post. I came by AP instinctly. I knew I wanted to cloth diaper get on the "green band wagon". I knew I wanted to breastfeed because it was natural and free. Bedsharing, when my baby had surgery had 3 days old, came on after 5 days in the NICU, I knew she had to be in my bed to make up for lost bonding time. I knew I could never let her cry, it seemed cruel. Now, 16 mths later, BLW, elimination communication, BF, babywearing, bedsharing, and on and on have taken over. Would I do it different? Of course not!!

  6. that's wonderful anonymous! One more happy baby!

  7. I can very much relate, with our first boy we had the same struggles of trying to put him in a crib and not feeling comfortable with him crying. Now I have a fresh start with baby #2 and i'm so glad we are exclusively co-sleeping. I am so much more relaxed, and our new baby boy sleeps so well when he's in our bed! Don't worry so much about the mistakes you may have made in the past, we all make mistakes, but focus on the future of parenting from here on out!

  8. I relate all too well. My oldest son is 8 1/2 and I made so many mistakes with him and my second son, who is now 6. Regret is such a terrible feeling - and wondering now if certain behaviors are a result of my mistakes and ignorance. It might have a lot to do with why I am so passionate now about child development and attachment. Maybe others won't have to make the mistakes I did.


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