I have been reading up on the RIE parenting philosophy and especially on www.janetlansbury.com. From what I have absorbed so far, it’s about treating babies and toddlers with respect and trust, as though they are unique human beings capable of understanding and reciprocating. RIE philosophy involves talking to babies/ toddlers (in everyday normal language) to help them understand what has happened and what is going to happen to them/ around them, and to help babies/ toddlers explore the world on their own (in their own speed) without using directed play, gadgets or sophisticated toys.
Yesterday, I happened to read http://www.janetlansbury.com/2014/11/the-evolution-of-a-diaper-change-2/ and decided to do start to preempt my toddler in EVERYTHING I do, especially before and during her bedtime diaper change.
Bedtime diaper changes have been really annoying recently – my toddler will get really resistant and start kicking at me. It is a literal battle every night and I would end up so frustrated and angry after that. So last night, I decided to start telling her what I would be doing with her, before it actually happens.
So basically I started to get very talkative last night. While she was tinkering with her toy, I told her that we would need to change her wet diaper very soon, and that during the diaper change, she would need to lie down on the bed while I clean her nicely.
When it was time, I told her that her diaper was wet and it was time to change. I told her to follow me into the room. So I stood up and started walking. Without another word, she followed me into the room with her toy. Hmm, this is rare, I thought. She would usually not cooperate and I would have to end up picking her up and carrying her into the room.
Once we got into the room, I told her that I would pick up her up and lie down on the bed. So I picked her up and laid her on the bed. Again, no resistance at all! She just allowed me to pick her up while she went on tinkering with her toy. Amazing!!
The amazement continued while I continued to tell her what I would be doing. I took out her wet diaper and wiped her clean with wet wipes. NO KICKING AT ALL. Apply cream – NO KICKING. Apply tummy oil – NO KICKING.
Once everything was done, it was time for her to get down to the floor to get into her diaper pants. She immediately responded as usual and got down from the bed. Getting into her diaper pants was another challenge as she would start to turn around, do other things and just not put her legs through the diaper pants. But last night, she immediately lifted her legs and put them through the diaper pant really nicely and smoothly. I was just totally awed and went “Yes that’s right, that’s really nice work!”.
The last part STILL did not go smoothly though i.e. the part where I had to pull out the inner gathers of the diaper pants to make sure the pee won’t leak. I had to lie her back down again to do that and she did not want that at all. Maybe tonight I will try to lie her down even when wearing the pants for her using the guide here – lesser movement involved on her part..
After we are done with the diaper change, she stood there while I told her about bedtime. She has been very restless during bedtime and she would take nearly 2 hours to fall asleep. I told her firmly that when it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep, and she has to put her head on the pillow and close her eyes, not talk and play. And during this whole time, she has this very seriously burdened look, as if to say “Sigh, mom this is going to be hard, but I’m listening.” I was so amused by it! (but last night she still took nearly 2 hours to sleep…=_=)
But overall I was still very enlightened by this experience. Telling babies beforehand we will be doing with them, really helps in preparing them and ensuring a smooth day! I will do this every night and see how much more things will improve 🙂