Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005: Four years ago today Zuzana and Tony were married at Blessed Kateri Church in Santa Clarita, California. Today we are celebrating both our four year wedding anniversary and also our first Thanksgiving as a family of three. Check out our Thanksgiving Photos.
They say parenting is one of the greatest challenges a couple can face. But itâ€™s not the first time itâ€™s been done, and there is a fairly reliable blueprint. God knows what it takes to make us happy, because he made us and knows our nature. He also knows what it takes to raise children in such as way that they will have a solid foundation upon which to build their lives. Why re-invent the wheel? As it says in the book of Proverbs: â€œTrain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from itâ€ (Prov 22:6).
In preparation for parenting, we took a class from a couple we know, Alan and Buffy Fitch, called â€œGrowing Kids Godâ€™s Way,â€ developed by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo (http://www.gfi.org). Itâ€™s been recently updated and re-titled â€œLet the Children Comeâ€, with a secular version called â€œOn Becoming Babywiseâ€.
Volume one of the Let the Children Come series is called â€œAlong the Infant Wayâ€ and lays out basic strategies for feeding and sleeping. But the basis of the entire series is the notion that parenting should be family-centered, not child- centered. Itâ€™s an important distinction. Child- centered parenting makes the child the first priority of the family unit, but children have a built-in need to know that the marriage between their parents is safe and sound. A childâ€™s sense of security and safety depends of the stability of his parentsâ€™ marriage, upon which his well-being depends. When parents make the child the center, instead of their marriage, his sense of security is subtly jeopardized and unconscious feelings of insecurity can creep in and manifest themselves in various forms of attention- getting behavior.
The first area that parents need to think about when an infant enters their world is that of feeding. The Ezzoâ€™s discuss various feeding philosophies, from demand feeding and attachment parenting, to schedule feeding and the teachings of Dr. Spock (not the Vulcan from Star Trek). They advocate a method called Parent Directed Feeding (PDF), which employs a flexible schedule that is subject to the assessment of the childâ€™s hunger cues by parents. Basically, the idea is to give the child a full meal every 2 Â½ to 3 Â½ hours, depending on whether he exhibits manifestations of hunger in that timeframe. With the stabilization of the childâ€™s metabolism, and the establishment of a wake – sleep cycle, most children whose parents use this method are able to sleep though the night by around 8 weeks of age.
Since our son, Kerrigan, is just 2 and a half weeks old, we have yet to see him start to sleep through the night. But we have already started to feed him on a flexible three hour routine, providing some wake-time play activities between feeding and nap time. Weâ€™ll let you know how things turn out, so stay tuned!