I thought i was giving him an uncommon name, but lo and behold, it became very popular in his generation. Dylan was/is my experimental model. The one I made many mistakes with, like circumcising, when I KNEW it wasn't right, but let myself be intimidated by some asshole doctor. Shortly after that the AAP proclaimed circumcision unnecessary and insurance no longer paid for it.
I knew I would breastfeed, without any role models or encouragement from family. I dont know where that came from. It was a struggle sometimes and La Leche League was my savior. In the beginning i was discrete in public. But some months down the road i didnt care who saw or where i was, including standing at the podium in front of a traffic court judge. He didnt say a word about it. Legally, he couldnt. So thats one thing i did right.
I had the crib ready when he was born. He slept next to us in a cradle for a few months. Then everyone said hes old enough for the crib now. I tried it briefly. It just didnt make sense for my helpless child to be all alone in another room, crying, when he belonged here with us in the safety and warmth of our bed. The crib was out the door. No regrets. He slept in our room for the next 9-10 years, going from our bed to a side bed, to his own room in a natural progression on his own schedule. Now as a teen its harder for us to get such close proximity and im grateful for our family bed memories.
We are one of very few cultures or creatures in the world who banish their children some distance away to sleep alone and it makes no sense to me.
I was a working mom with Dylan, but stayed home for the first 5 months. Then he was in home care, one caretaker. It was the best i could do. Then day care at 3yo where he cried when i left him. Big regret. "Oh, after you leave he's just fine" they all said. Yeah, what choice does he have. SO that only lasted a few months. I couldnt take it any more. I didnt want someone else raising my child all day. I quit my job. Life was so good then. We had our whole days ahead of us to explore together and I felt such peace. Until he started Kindergarten in 1998...
His new brother was a week old. He went full days and I missed him terribly, felt it was too long a day for a 5 yo, kept him home every chance i got. I was called before the principal because of absences and his not knowing all the alphabet(!). They suggested he may have to repeat. Well, honey that was all the nudge i needed. I dont even know where I came upon the idea to homeschool but we jumped into it with relief. We found freedom once again.
I regret even the few times i spanked Dylan. I cried, he didnt. I learned to ignore the voices playing in my head from how i was parented and i followed my heart. I read a LOT about peaceful parenting ( http://www.consensual-living.com). "When you know better, you do better."
We tried a few teaching methods, all briefly, not too much harm done. But ultimately we just played, danced, built legos, raised bunnies, wrestled, got a used Sega, cooked, went to parks, homeschool groups. We did do math and spelling on a somewhat regular basis in the beginning without too much resentment, but it grew worse so that went by the wayside also.
Hello Unschooling! I read everything i could find on it. The first was "Better Late than Early" by the Moore's, then John Holt and others. It confirmed all our beliefs about learning in freedom without coercion (www.unschooling.com)
It carried over into our everyday lives. Our home is now a democracy and not a dictatorship.
Dylan has warmth, kindness, integrity, a great sense of humor. He is a good friend, people seem to like him, but he doesnt mind being alone either. He doesnt seem to mind helping out and sometimes offers.