Monday, August 2, 2010

When Dada Knows Best

I think it was on the Today show that I recently heard someone talk about the importance of the differences between moms and dads. They said that moms and dads have different styles of parenting and just do things differently. Both ways of doing things are needed for your child so let each other be what your child needs you each to be instead of trying to get your spouse to parent how you want him/her to parent.

This has stuck with me because there are times when my husband does things with our son that I wouldn't do and that even bother me a bit. And I remind myself that Ephraim needs a dad as much as he needs a mom. So let Dad be Dad and trust that your differences will shape Ephraim into the man he needs to become.

But this week I have found proof of the value in Dada being different from Mama.

Ephraim is sort of a hyper-aroused, hyper alert kid. I hope he grows out of it! He is a goer and a doer and he never wants to go to sleep. Everything is so stimulating for him that he literally can't close his eyes until the moment he crashes asleep.

As you can imagine, this is a source of frustration for Chris and I while we rock and sing and pat and forty minutes later, we look down to see wide-eyed Ephraim just staring at the picture on the wall.

So Chris has come up with a solution that Mama never would've tried on my own. Often he will firmly hold Ephraim down in his crib or on Chris's chest while Ephraim yells and squirms. He will do this until the child gives up and goes to sleep. I sit in the other room listening to the yells and think, "I just can't do that." This week, Chris started wrapping an arm firmly around Ephraim (so he can't toss and turn) and holding another hand firmly over his eyes to force him to close them. So far this strategy has been putting Ephraim to sleep in five minutes flat.

So today I gave it a whirl. It was hard for me to restrain and keep firmly holding him in place while he yelled and squirmed and seemed so unhappy with me. But I did it and five minutes later, he was out. Tonight, I laid him in the crib after he'd fallen asleep, and he pretty much always wakes back up when you lay him in the crib so you have to soothe him back to sleep, which is what happened tonight. But tonight he was laying there energetically kicking his leg, which he often does and you look at him thinking, "Child, that's keeping you awake", but what can you do? So I thought of Chris and I sort of laid both my arms firmly over his body, restraining his legs and back, not allowing him to move an inch, and I sang to him. And he crashed asleep.

I'm grateful Chris and I are different and that God made it that way so that we can both give our son the different things he needs. Even if it's a straight jacket to help him fall asleep.

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