Surprise! You’re an Attachment Parent!

7

10 September 2012 by thaliakr

Childrens Feet ( ordered )

Children’s Feet (ordered) (Photo credit: Christopher Hawkins)

Elizabeth berates Darcy for professing to love her ‘against your will, against your reason, and even against your character’. I sometimes feel the same about attachment parenting.

Before we had SBJ, I had no inclination towards attachment parenting, and thought (as far as I gave it any thought at all) that it was probably a martyrish recipe for exhaustion. Maybe it is.

But neither my husband nor I accurately predicted how we would feel when he arrived. The father-to-be had always enjoyed playing with toddlers and big kids but thought he would find a baby fairly uninteresting until the second year. I thought I wanted to balance the needs of the whole family, and the baby would not be the centre of the universe all the time. We would give limits! We would go out without him regularly! We would teach healthy discipline from day one! Ah, well.

I still don’t know how it happened, really. But SBJ is nine months old, now. He’s breastfed on demand, eats finger food and he sleeps either in our bed or on a mattress on the floor beside it (so he can crawl off – a Montessori idea I saw online). We take him with us wherever we go, pretty much. He’s been to a million pubs, cafes, restaurants. He’s been to the gym and to libraries and galleries and shops with us. And we’re doing all of that because we really like it. (And him!)

I’m not ready to sign on the dotted line, or to try and persuade anyone of the science of attachment parenting, or even to suggest to anyone else that they consider it. And I’m definitely not criticising anyone raising their babies differently. We just like how we’re parenting at the moment, as we stumble along with a mix of intuition and internet research, and notice that it mostly fits the categories.

The biggest surprise is that SBJ is good company. I don’t mean everyone will find themselves mightily entertained by his quick wit and charming anecdotes, but as far as we’re concerned, he’s just good to hang out with. Aren’t we lucky.

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7 thoughts on “Surprise! You’re an Attachment Parent!

  1. Rebekah Noakes says:

    Totally hearing you! Isaiah is nearly 1, still breast-fed on demand including once most nights, doesnt cry to sleep for more than 10 min and spends quite a bit of the day climbing on mummy (or daddy when mummy is at work). He’s never been left without a parent for more than 3 hours and eats about 1/2 his food with his fingers. I’m very firm on some things he’s not allowed to do (like whack the glass cabinet door, climb down the stairs, play in the toilet or touch the computer) but try to keep the “NO!”s to a minimum. I have NO IDEA what I’m doing and am constantly concerned that I might be “making a rod for my own back” while at the same time feeling really reluctant to be tougher on my sensitive little boy who seems to take so much joy from just being with me. I want to be a parent with a backbone (not a jelly-fish or a scary beetle with an exoskeleton) and I really hope that my parenting will be responsive to what my child needs and that I will be able to discern when discipline is required despite protests!

    • Hey Bekah! Love the image of backbone vs jelly-fish vs exoskeleton :) I have a pretty complex relationship with the ‘discipline’ idea too. SBJ has the same list of forbidden things – basically, don’t break stuff, don’t break yourself, don’t break other people (hm, not in that order). Angela and Jody have said wise things to me about the ‘rod for your back’ idea – might post about it soon!

  2. Angela says:

    You know there are some aspects of attachment parenting, and some aspects of you, that make me not at all surprised.

  3. Caroline says:

    Maybe it was never up to you – maybe you’ve just got an attachment baby. Keep doing whatever works!

  4. […] read this before we sort of morphed into kind of attachment parents, and Gonzalez’ charming attitude and permission-giving air helped me feel ok about where we […]

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