Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Me? Attachment parent? Co-sleeper in Denial?

"I don't believe in attachment parenting," I explained to Rainy. "I envision my two boys clinging to me perpetually."

"You so do believe in attachment parenting, it's what you do, and you're so in co-sleeping denial," she said.

Co-sleeping denial.

I thought about that, at 2 a.m., when my little Bear stretched out his legs into my back. He had started the night falling asleep in our bed with his brother, Turbo, and then, after they fell asleep, Hubby McRed moved them to their bed. Around midnight or 1 a.m., little Bear came crawling into our bed. Usually, within the hour he's followed by Turbo. It's the rare night only one shows up, an even rarer night none show up til morning. They do it so often that it's very common for me to not wake up when they show up, only to find them in the morning, the cause of my aching lower back and drooled-on pillow. One will take my side, and the other will shoo Hubby McRed over and take his side. Usually, it's Turbo on Hubby McRed's side, and there is often a little altercation, whereas Grumpy Hubby McRed tells Turbo to go to his own bed if he doesn't like it and Turbo tells Grumpy Hubby McRed to just scooch OVER.

But we didn't start this way. They were in bassinets by our bed and occasionally in our bed for the first three or four months, then it was the crib. It wasn't until we turned the cribs to toddler beds that suddenly, we had nightly visitors. At first, like all parents defending their territory, we resisted. We would get up, carry them back to their bed, determined to have our own space. I mean, we only have a Queen! But they'd come back. And stealthily. They'd be quiet, and crawl in the center, where at 4 a.m., when we found them, we were just too tired to move. Or, on the edge of the bed, teetering precariously, clutching their little blankies, looking so cute and fragile we'd make room for them, lest they fall and hit their cute little heads.

I concede the point, we're co-sleepers, in denial.

But what about this whole 'attachment parenting' thing?

I found a blog that defined it finally. This blog was a totally random find, but it defined attachment parenting.

Attachment parenting is the backlash against uber-independence in our younger kids. Independence is great, but not for a four year old, not really. There's nothing wrong with keeping our young kids close to us. It's how families were meant to exist: in close proximity, where the young can be protected, nourished and nurtured, where they can feel safe, and the parents can grab them if you know, a sabre-tooth tiger came along, or big huge Vikings with axes... close proximity was key to a family's survival, but it also provided the children the basic needs they have for safety, love, nourishment and security -- the very needs that, when met, create a strong core of self, a foundation where great independence can be built, where they can then, on this foundation of love, safety and security in youth, build their own character, and forge their own lives, and go off merrily knowing that at the center of their being is the strength of their family.

Attatchment parents carry their babies in slings for, like, EVER. Well, I toted Turbo in a sling, while bouncing Bear in his bouncer with my foot. I took turns holding them in my lap when I worked part-time from home, at the computer, and yes, even while 'relaxing' and playing games, they were on my lap, occasionally causing my in-game character to, well, die. So yes, I am a big believer in that. I lugged my boys around forEVER. Ask my friends. Or any of my neighbors, who've seen me carry both boys at the same time. They were always, and still are, close to me. If I sat on the couch, I'd get mobbed by my twins, and my elder was often referred to as Klingon, as in 'Cling-On' for all the times she was also physically attached to me in her younger years.

Attachment parents extend breast-feeding. I didn't, but I would have liked to. But for the most part, I fed them while holding them, and did breast-feed for, oh, well, a bit....

Non-violence toward children -- well, duh.

I also didn't do pre-school. I felt there wasn't a real 'need' for it as long as they were getting social interaction with other children. They got tons of that. Now, they are in pre-kindergarten, and the lack of former pre-school's hasn't affected them in the least. In fact, most parents comment to me on how well my sons play with others, with each other, and how well-mannered and behaved they are (for the most part, they are after all, four year old boys).

When one of our sons are sick, he will spend an extended period in our bed before we move him to his own bed. It's so we can monitor him, his breathing, his fever, and it isn't until we're satisfied that his fever is down, his breathing is regular, and he's able to sleep, that we'll bring him back to his bed. (Of course, he does return to ours, so it's rather silly to move him, but hey..._

As for television? Oh sure! DEFINITELY! But, not a lot. And no commercials. Only mom-approved shows. And lots of trains. I concede more attachment parents probably let their kids watch less television than I do, but we do truly limit our kids television to about an hour a day... I know I know, they don't even need it, and we work on it, but, remember, I'm in denial about my attachment parenting and co-sleeping, so there.

So, yes. I guess Rainy's right.

1 comment:

Sanya said...


You know who is also an attachment parenting person... my mate. He loves having the little dude in our bed, and he loves having the little dude in the carrier or on his lap.

I never saw that coming in a million, trillion years.