Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Anonymous Letter-Writer: REVEAL YOURSELF!!

I recieved the following letter the other day in the mail:

I stumbled onto your blog about a year ago. I have a couple questions for you.

Why is Anja still on the bottle. She's way past that.

Also, you have created her sleeping problems. Why is she able to get to your bed in the middle of the night? If she couldn't get out of bed, she would go back to sleep. It's normal to wake up during the night. Everyone does it. She needs to learn to get herself back to sleep. She may cry but she'll learn that it's not acceptable to wake everyone up because she's awake She should be put to bed awake. (even at naptime) She's way past being driven to get her to go to sleep. It may take several nights of crying by both you and Anja but she needs to learn.

No greeting, no signature, no return address and no city stamp on the envelope, though it had been through the post office. (Does that mean it's local?) Hm. Now I realize that some people would respond to this note charitably, maybe assuming that they had good intentions when writing this. But I just can't bring myself to respond that way.

So, Captain Anonymous, in response to your "couple questions" I have a few of my own for you:

First of all: How creepy can you be?!? Why did you have to send me a letter in the mail rather than make a comment on my blog? I mean, REALLY! Did you go to stalker school or something?? It isn't as if your thoughts were too lengthy for a blog comment. It isn't as if you were trying to befriend me. You CAN make comments on my blog anonymously, you know. You are a creepy, creepy person.
Second: Um, helloooooo. I don't think I need to be told that things aren't quite right around here regarding nighttime routines. How stupid do you think I am? I read the handouts they give at the doctors office; I've read sleeping books and parenting books and pamphlets and websites. I am perfectly aware that my daughter's sleep habits are not normal for a baby her age. Thanks for your [bizarre style of] concern, though.

Third: Have you considered a hobby? Maybe whittling, piano, or Tae-Kwon-Do? Something that doesn't involve writing weird anonymous letters to authors of random blogs you read. You are criticizing me because my daughter's sleep habits are abnormal? If you want an example of "not normal" take a look at your own recreational activities.

And finally: Who the heck are you?!? Do we know each other? Are you an old school mate? Someone from my musician days? A friend from a past life? Do you live in my town? Or are you a complete stranger as well as a complete lunatic?

I am not upset by your letter. I'm mildly freaked out that someone tracked me down from my blog and sent me a hand-written letter (in pencil! Who even uses pencil past 4th grade?!) I'm also not sorry for responding here with mean sarcasm. I think you deserve it after sending out such accusations and unwanted advice to someone whose shoes you've not walked in, and not even having the courage to sign your name at the bottom.

But I'll answer your silly questions. Anja is still on the bottle because we want her to be. Her "bot bot" is a comfort to her. Had Greta not come along when she did, Anja would probably still be breastfeeding (I'm sure you have your problems with that too.) Sleep is a difficult thing for Anja, and it always has been. I know that she is well past typical bottle age, but if having a bottle before going to sleep makes falling asleep more of a comforting experience and less of a frustrating one, then we're willing to let her have that habit.

Thanks for rubbing it in, but I'm well aware that I created her sleeping habits. Maybe when you have a baby who is screaming inconsolably night after night for the first four months of her life, and then you discover that riding in the car miraculously puts her to sleep in only a few minutes, maybe then you'll understand where our habits began. (And maybe when that happens to you I'll web-stalk you and send you mean letters!)

As for sleeping in her own bed, I'm pretty sure I've been clear about our sleeping arrangement on my blog over the past 18 months. We had intended to have The Baby's room downstairs, but of course, she started out sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom, upstairs. By the time she outgrew her bassinet, we not only were used to having her upstairs, but we didn't feel comfortable having her so far away from us. It's not like her bedroom would just be down the hall... it would be downstairs and at the opposite end of the house. If we had a fire, we would likely not be able to get to her in that room. So we set up a bed for her in our bedroom, right next to ours. For a long time she did stay in her own bed, and I would just spend half of my night in that bed with her. But eventually she learned that our bed is really a lot more comfortable, and it must be awfully nice to be able to snuggle up between the two people you love most in the world and fall asleep. A lot of nights she still does stay in her own bed. But we do often invite her into ours, especially when it's cold. I do not think that everyone should be in the practice of The Family Bed. I also don't think people should criticize it too harshly. I think it works for some people and not for others, and it's a family decision that isn't anyone else's place to judge.

Aside from that, Anja is at a funny age. She is really still a baby, but she is such a little person that it's hard sometimes not to think of her as just a regular little kid. But still... she's only 18 months old (not even!) and she can't be reasoned with. We can't tell her to count sheep. We can't explain to her the importance of sleep, or of sleeping in her own bed. We tried countless different methods to try to teach her how to sleep, and nothing worked. Until she's a little older and able to be talked to as a person and not just taught as a baby, I'm afraid we've missed our chance. And until then, we have chosen to put Anja's sleep as a daily fact higher on our priority list than whether Anja stays in her own bed all night. Of course she's too old to be driven to sleep! But a drive in the car puts her to sleep in minutes, and that is more important to us these days than whether she falls asleep by herself, in her own bed. We'll have plenty of time to work on technicalities later. For now, as long as she's getting an adequate amount of sleep, we are happy.

And one more thing, Creepy McCreep: I am very happy with the choices we've made so far. Believe it or not, I enjoy my babies, and I like snuggling them to sleep. Before Greta was born I LOOOOOOVED my afternoon naps with Anja. And I love having my whole little family in one room together at night. When Greta wakes up and decides she'd like to have an hour or so of wakeful time, I love walking around the bedroom with her and being able to see my whole little family all at once. Often Anja is snuggled underneath Martin's arm and I can't tell you how many times I've been so tempted to run and get my camera, and the only thing that stops me is that I know it would wake both of them up. I think our current sleeping situation is good for our family. Everything about it might change in a few years. Who knows if and when it will not be the right setup for us anymore. But for now, it's perfect, and who are you to criticize it?

Besides, what Martin and I have always said anyway is that if Anja were a good sleeper on top of everything else, she would be the absolute image of perfection, and nobody is that lucky.


LauraSuz said...

You go girl! (I'm writing this at 2:27am because my baby won't go to sleep...Mary Grace says hi)

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Are you kidding me? I am in shock. Except for the fact that writing this is a complete contradiction, I'd say I was speechless. Do you think it was a pathetic attempt at a joke? I mean, surely, this isn't serious! I think we should form a task force of young mothers, find out who this stalker is, get a group of strong men to go with us, track her down, and hurl dirty diapers at her. Or squirt breast milk at her or something....


Joey said...


Sarah said...

Annie, you rock! You gave the perfect response to this creep-o. Now will he have the courage to reveal himself???

Mary Sheiko said...

Wow, Annie, that is really creepy and, well, RUDE! Things like this are why I made my blog invitation only!

Anonymous said...

Dear Annie,

I, too, stumbled upon your blog some time ago and SO admire you and what you are doing! More than likely, this person has no kids. Those are always the folks who know what you should be doing with YOUR kids. You are doing a wonderful job!!!

Beth F said...

Annie! Creepy! I am so sorry that someone would do this. I mean really, do they not have anything better to do with their time? Talk about a boring life.

I am all for throwing diapers at the person when they are caught. I will save some special ones from my two diaper wearers, let them sit for a day or two, then send them to you. (In a sealed bag of course, b/c you are not the one who should have to smell them!)


Joshua Facemyer said...

Um...I think it's great that you responded as you did, because it just happens too much that unjustified, super-critical people are not dealt with appropriately - as in, put in their place. I think our world needs more of that, and, except possibly your internal attitude (you'd be the only judge of that, though, I'm not making a judgement by saying this, of course), it IS a charitable thing to chastise when necessary so that people learn what they're doing wrong.

Anonymous said...

HOORAY FOR YOU, ANNIE! I would love to know who that yucky creep I could strangle her/him.
Anja came by her love of her bot-bot's in her genes! And you are so wise to choose your battles...this one is simply not worth will solve itself in time. And believe me, some day you would give a million dollars for one hour of having your little family all together in that one room in the middle of the night.

Anne said...

Wow. This brings me back to the days of the accusatory anonymous comments on my blog!! I wonder if it's the same person!

If someone thinks this issue is SO important to find your address and mail you a letter, you'd think he/she would also think it's important enough to stand behind his/her opinion by signing his/her name.

Just weird.

Anonymous said...

Annie: You forgot to mention that the person sent it to Annie HATKE at our address...not yours! I think that is even stranger.

Beth F said...

Wait, it came to your parents' house? Now that is just freaky. You should scan it so that we can try to figure out the handwriting.

Anna said...

Annie, your children and you are perfectly normal!!!!!!!!

Julia still nurses in our bed at night. People all over the world share beds with their children. I think they far outnumber people who meddle from reading blogs. What normal people do is confront their differences with their friends and neighbors IN PERSON.

great response,

Solidarity, babe,


Anna said...

p.s. the letter writer forgot to mention that you don't wear gloves and a face mask when holding your children either. I think that is so irresponsible.

Beth F said...

What? With Swine Flu going around, you aren't wearing a mask and gloves? Shame shame shame!?!


Maryanne said...

OH MY GOSH!!!! That is so insane! And incredibly creepy!!!!! I loved your responses to that ridiculous letter. I think that you and Martin are doing a fantastic job with your beautiful children. I myself went through lots of criticism when Zeke would not sleep through the night (though not in an anonymous scary way like this!). Some opinions need to be kept quiet - especially UNSOLICITED opinions!

Elisabeth said...

OK, THAT makes me want to stop blogging all together. Super weird and creepy. I think I might be done blogging... now if I weren't so addicted to facebook....
I think the person SHOULD reveal themself... but then again, if he/she was too much of a coward to say it to your face the first time, I highly doubt that will ever happen.

Anonymous said...

I too came across your Blog a while ago and really enjoy reading about your little family. Glad to see that you stood up for yourself. Babies don't come with instructions and you are doing what you think is the right thing and that is what being a parent is all about. I for one applaud you that Anja still has her bottle, she obviously needs it. Keep doing what you're doing and you will be just fine.

Anna May said...

Wow! I've been quite busy the last few days, and hadn't read your blog. I come here and read this. My honest comment can't be printed. But, whomever it is, needs a life.

Clare said...

thats so creepy Annie! My guess is someone maybe from your high school who knows your parents address? Really, really weird. I doubt they have any children and think they should go have 2 within 2 years and then cast stones with their name attached.

My doctor said if Anastasia was still nursing or on a bottle/pacifier it would probably be better for her ears! So there RUDE anonymous stalker. It is compltetly counter-intuitive to allow a child to scream themselves to sleep... and doesn't work with most babies anyway. Good job Annie. You tell them.

lkirch23 said...

Wow, Annie! I'm surprised someone had the nerve to send an actual letter like this. Although I have yet to have children, I don't think you have to explain yourself to anyone -- especially not a coward who doesn't sign their name (and writes in pencil!!). Only you and Martin know what is best for your children, and like you said, unless this person has walked in your shoes, he/she does not know what your children need.

Great response, though. And never doubt what you are doing! I have loved reading your and Martin's journey through the ups and downs as parents. You are doing fantastic!!

Joannie said...

Wow, that's FREAKY. Could it be someone who knows you through your music? (That would be why they called you Annie Hatke?)

But the real question is-- why does this person care enough about YOUR parenting skills to write you a letter and pay to mail it? weird.

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie!
Luke cannot get over "Creepy McCreepy". Um, yeah, obviously, this person missed the boat when it comes to the joys of parenting. I have been checking your blog from time to time since you sent me the link after Greta's birth. I love it! And I actually was feeling some comfort when reading it because I found that we can relate pretty well. I don't think I will advertise how long my babies have/had a bottle (breastfeeding became non-existent once I became preggo again, haha. So we substituted with a watered down "ba" to get them by until they wean. Yes, it seemed like it she had to have the bottle for a long time, but now that she has been off it for months, it was not that long in retrospect). Anyway, I do not want an anonymous letter myself! So, I am going to message you, Annie, about next week. God bless you!

Angela said...

I am a regular reader of Anne's blog, and came across your blog a while back through a link from hers. I enjoy checking in from time to time on your beautiful family. It's obvious to me that you are doing a wonderful job of raising your family! Keep up the good work!

Lady Caitie in the Pretty City said...

Dear Annie "Hatke" -
LOL Oh my gosh, Laura just told me about this and I had to read it for myself. Ugh! That gives me the willies!
You handled it perfectly! I laughed out loud so many times; hilarious!
The thing is, we won't always agree with how people do things but what Creepy Magee did is shitty! You are an amazing mom and woman and don't let any lame-o stalker tell you any differently!
P.S. I know people.. I'm just saying, we could find out who this weirdo is and settle this by tomorrow. LOL

TusaRebecca said...

Annie, I was showing Lacy pictures of the girls last night and saw the post. What a whacko! Lacy and I both agree that you can do what you want. As long as you're happy and it works for you, who gives a rat's a$$ what you do. I agree...if Anja slept when you wanted her to she'd be too perfect. How boring would it be to have a utter perfection? Then you'd have to worry about saithood and paperwork and that would be so much pressure on you as a parent. Go Anja...sleep when you want to sleep! P.S. I bet the stalker doesn't look half as cute as you and Martin when you guys are walking around down town with your perfect little family and the dog. Everyone knows you're the cutest family in all of Lafayette!

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