As a P.E.T. kid and instructor of the Gordon model myself, I was really looking forward to having a baby. But I also felt quite a lot of pressure—people were waiting for me (to fail…?) to finally do with my own kid what I have been teaching for years. Apparently, when you teach something, people assume you know everything about the topic, and you’ll always do everything right. Uhhh…
So I prepared a lot. I have many years of experience of using my Gordon skills with kids, but it’s quite different doing it with your own child, with a baby, 24/7. Moreover, the part where we teach and learn about how to use the P.E.T. skills with infants is like a blurry picture, because we can’t really practice it in training. So I read the P.E.T. book chapter over and over again, and braced myself.
What I do now, with my two-month old baby girl is a lot of Active Listening – and I always say my decoding and my action out loud, of course with appropriate nonverbal and behavioral tools. And I enjoy how it really works all the time!
Yesterday I almost had a situation like the one in the P.E.T. book, where the mom’s decoding is false, but she doesn’t realize it and gets mad. So baby Rosie fell asleep in the car, but woke up as we got home. I knew she was tired and needed to sleep so I did everything to help her sleep again—I held her, rocked her, sang songs, I even put her in the baby carrier where she usually falls asleep in a minute and walked around outside, but she was still crying after all this. I kept on talking to her ‘Yes, I hear you are tired, you need some sleep. Here I will try to help you sleep. Let’s walk a bit, maybe that’ll help you calm down…’ and so on. I started to become clueless—why doesn’t she sleep??
And then I was like, ’I sure know you are tired, but if you are still crying, there must be something else bothering you. Let’s do the checklist!’
I realized, my decoding may be right and wrong at the same time. So I went back to point zero and I started the checklist: if she was cold, etc. when I got to changing her diaper, then I saw, Aha! That’s what was bothering you! That must have been very uncomfortable! Let’s change it quickly.’
After that she calmed down immediately and after a few minutes easily fell asleep.
I felt very successful, because even though I knew she was tired and I was right, I was able to realize there was something else too.
These are those situations, when I love that I have the P.E.T. toolkit!