Re-reading a few of my latest posts sure make me think that much of parenting child number one is very much experimental. Not at all accidental, but so very experimental.
Yesterday, Ayo awoke at 07:40am, so I thought it might be a good day to see if he was ready to drop a feeding again. For the past two months or so, we’ve been on a fairly regular 7a – 10a – 1p – 4p – 7p – 8:30p feeding routine. That makes six feedings in a 24hr period. I figure our end goal will look like something like four feedings around 8a – 12p – 4p – 8p, substituting each of those little by little with meals. Currently, at his 8:30pm feeding, Ayo is incredibly tired. He sleeps from that late night feeding right through to 7am in his crib and has done for about three months, with the exception of four nights recovering from jet lag, one experimental night a couple weeks ago and one night spent in New Mexico. So, it didn’t seem crazy to put him to bed earlier last night and try to drop the last feeding again based on his recent intake of solids. After all, he is almost six months old. So, I fed him at 7:40a – 10:40a – 1:40p – 4:45p yesterday and then tried and tried and tried to keep him awake until 7:30p to mesh his old schedule with this new one, dropping both a feeding and a nap. The experiment was a total flop: he woke several times totally famished and I finally fed him at 3am. As a consequence, he hardly slept during his morning nap time. Sleep begets sleep! I don’t think it will be long until he no longer needs four naps and six feedings each day, but we’re still not there yet. Clearly, he isn’t getting many nutrients from the microscopic amount of solids that actually end up in his stomach. So, for now, I’m keeping him at six feedings. We’ll keep following his cues and try to put him to bed a little earlier each night in the meantime. Experiment postponed. Haha!
Our recent language experiment has also been mixed up to this point. While it is no chore to read Ayo five books on most days, I am finding it doesn’t feel very natural to discuss deep or spiritual things to Tall Mountain in French when Ayo is around. Or, if I am trying to catch TM’s attention above the sound of blasting music for example, it’s way harder to catch his attention in a language other than in his native English. So, we’re maintaining the idea of filling the family home with our minority language (French), but only when it is convenient and practical. TM’s French is benefiting from it (“what’s a panier?” or “what is une tronche“), so Ayo’s French must be benefiting from it indirectly too on some level. On my way home from the library yesterday, I thought about how I feel about our current linguistic set-up. I used to really resent this part about living in a monocultural environment. Now, while I still don’t think it is the most favorable situation linguistically for Ayo, I do think we’re doing as much as we feel is enjoyable and natural given our circumstances. Again, I want to be intentional but I really don’t want to take it out of the realm of the enjoyable. Yesterday, reading Ours Brun, Dis-moi to little Mr. flappy hands and squeaks-of-joy was so precious and fun. Other times, I’m simply not in the mood to read to him at all.
I’m sure I will always have an experiment running, so I hope I can be honest with what is and isn’t working and adapt to the changing needs of our family. In this case, we’ll postpone dropping the feeding and adapt our language experiment. Thankfully, we’re not trying to “achieve” a perfect child out of Ayo (by forcing him to bend to a schedule he isn’t ready for or to a regimen of books that just becomes an added weight on us). We’d much rather discern who our son has been made to be, within our unique family system. Everyday, we’re learning more about who Ayo is and what our family is about. So, everyday, we’re adapting to new dynamics. We also want to discern where our family is headed and introduce Ayo to the world in the way we understand it and have a real blast doing so. Adapting to those things, takes the experiments from being achievement and quota driven, to making this journey thoroughly enjoyable and free.