So, I have this friend named Rixa, well, I’m not sure she is really still my friend, and we never were really that close, although I do remember going to a coed kickboxing class when the four of us were newly-married, at the Smith Fieldhouse at BYU. And then there was the time they slept on our floor when we lived in the Bronx. Eric, Rixa’s husband, was interviewing for grad school, I think.
Anyway, they’re super-cool and super-interesting, intelligent and incisive people (see why I hesitate to claim a friendship?–these people work in France every summer, for crying out loud). Before Christmas last year, I spent some time googling people I wanted to send a card too, and Rixa & Eric were easily found (If I might boast, we did receive a reciprocal card).
Eric is teaching and writing (did I mention Dick sold out to the technical communication world 3 years ago?) and Rixa is now a PhD candidate in American Studies (did I mention I dropped out of the MA program I was in in Cairo and have since spent way too much time reading trashy novels?).
One thing I do know is a bit about raising kids, at least to the ripe old age of 6 1/2. Now, I admit that we eat at Chick-fil-A twice a month and Sally says that she hates me sometimes, and Susan is addicted to Elmo’s Potty Time (more on that later), and Spot is (still!) not crawling or sitting yet. But we’re all here, aren’t we?
For the past couple of months I’ve been furtively (lurkatively?) reading Rixa’s blog: The True Face of Birth: Raw, Powerful, Ecstatic. Rixa’s dissertation is on UC (unassisted childbirth) and, despite Dick’s feeling that the recent unassisted birth of Zari (2 1/2 weeks after Spot) was an academically-motivated gimmick, I find her views completely compelling.
I’m even thinking of not having an epidural next time (gasp!). On the one hand I want to cheer, tears streaming down my face: Go Rixa! Suck the marrow out of life (for me). And on the other, I want to run screaming to the nearest staph-ridden maternity ward.
But I digress. I’ll add Rixa’s blog to my blogroll, and encourage all women to at least give her views some thought. It can’t hurt to think more deeply and more critically about our assumptions. Mothers of boys (you know who you are), I wish, I wish I could have expressed my reservations on circumcision to you as eloquently as Rixa does. And all her advocacy of breastfeeding is spot-on (but she is on notice; if I see any hint of nursing past age 2, I warn you…).
There are, however, two points (so far) on which I feel like banging my head against the wall (which seems to me about as productive as the practices in question). The first is EC. I had to google “EC” with “parenting” to find out what it is. It’s Elimination Communication. It’s where you “pee” or “potty” a baby (starting as early as one week basically) over a receptacle and thus… Actually, I’m not sure what the ultimate goal is–fewer diaper changes, earlier potty-training, environmental less-impacting-ness, cleanliness-in-pottyness-is-next-to-godliness, ?
I looked on a few message boards, and the most intriguing thread to me was written by parents who were disenchanted with ECing because, as one parent feared, the practice had convinced her 3 1/2-year-old son that his mother was responsible for his Es. That is, he felt no need to get to a potty when he had to go; he waited for his mother to take him to the place and make the right sound, which led to many accidents. Other parents concurred with their own experiences.
The other practice is co-sleeping. I think I’ve made my feelings on that pretty well known. These two practices intersect in Rixa’s latest post (actually, in her comment responding to my comment–in which I blame co-sleeping for…well, everything up to and including the apocalypse).
Rixa thinks her daughter’s recent relapse into waking every hour during the night is due not to the co-sleeping but to her needing to be “peed” in the early hours of the morning. That’s right, this 5 1/2-month-old baby can’t get back to sleep at night until Mom takes her over to the potty and makes the noise and lets the baby relieve herself.
Apparently, it is more important to control a baby’s elimination than to allow her to get a good night’s sleep. I find it odd that this extremely regimented form of potty-training would be desirable and yet sleep-training is anathema. I understand that co-sleeping may be filling an emotional need in both mother and child (though I don’t know how to prove it either way with regards to the child), but it seems to me that, perhaps, EC and CS may be getting in the way of a very important physical need: the need for sleep.
It’s not surprising (to me) that sleep deprivation is a torture technique and that sleep is necessary for cognitive development and physical growth. I read about a study recently (can’t find it, still looking, just trust me, ok?) that said that one extra hour’s worth of sleep a night brought as much added happiness as an extra $60,000 a year. How on earth would you compare something like that? Maybe I dreamed that study up. I certainly try to get as much dream time as possible. (except when I’m blogging, of course).