Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finding Balance

It seems like Cora is developing her coordination. This morning she was sitting beside me, playing with her toys. Her green frog teething toy was halfway hidden under the blanket she was on. She surprised me when she reached down with one hand and lifted the blanket, grabbing the frog with her other hand. I felt so proud!

Later in the morning I began to feed her (this is daddy if you haven't figured so) with the bottle. Cora reached up with one hand and held onto the side of the bottle! She then reached up
with her other hand and daddy let go of the bottle as she fed herself. This is monumental.

This leads us to another point that mommy and I are sorting through (we're coming to the same conclusion). When Cora cries and wants to be picked up, do you pick her up or allow her to cry a little? I understand some discipline styles would argue that she should cry it out so she doesn't learn to control the parent, or to expect to be spoiled. Although I do agree that I don't want Cora to learn to be controlling or spoiled, are those habits that she would learn at 7 months old? Is the concept of defiance something she's even aware of yet? Maybe in minute scales.

We don't want to risk Cora learning that she can't communicate with us, or that she isn't understood. We also don't want her to develop feelings of neglect. It's one thing when she needs to sleep and is cranky from being tired. We'll allow her to cry it out a little. But if she isn't falling asleep, she begins to think "They're not listening!" (in baby language).

I'm not into Dr. Spock and his style of allowing children to self-govern themselves at the age of 8, because it essentially turns into the children governing the parents. Yet, I do want her to have a sense of self and not believe she has to be held all the time. Autonomy is a good thing for her to slowly develop over the course of 18 years. But at 7 months, isn't it more about her learning that we listen and love her? That's the conclusion we've come to.We're not about to hand her the keys to the city gates until she heads to college, yet we do want her to learn self-discipline and self-control.

It's all about balance, isn't it? By the way, Cora isn't a fussy child by any means. There are days when she needs and wants to be held all day. She probably isn't feeling well during those days and can't express it. I'd rather teach her at 7 months that 1) I'll comfort her, and 2) I listen. We'll deal with autonomy vs. dictatorship issues as she reaches age 2.

- Flick

1 comment:

Julie Reynolds said...

You'd be surprised how early they learn the defiance thing. That's one problem we have with Becca at times. Even shortly after she turned 3, she was demonstrating it! One day she took her hearing aids out and threw them on the floor, basically to say "I can't hear you! So I don't have to listen to you!" We laugh about it now, but it wasn't funny then! We'd joked with people that this was something she really could say, but then when she did it, we were shocked! Good luck trying to find the right balance!