Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins, The New Mommy | Posted on 25-04-2011
Tags: attachment parenting, Gina Perkins, needs, new mommie, new mommy, sensitive, whine
Catchy title for the Easter holiday, don’t you think? Clearly, I did. Anyhow, this isn’t going to be about Easter at all, but rather a philosophical discussion that I hope you’ll weigh in on.
My kid is sensitive. She is delicate in emotion, clingy to mom, tender-hearted and compassionate. She prefers being held, and whines when she is not picked up within seconds of her request. I pick her up within seconds of her request. She is the type of kid, who at almost 20 months old, still needs to be rocked to sleep and HAS to be kissed and hugged goodbye (like a handful of times) before leaving her in the care of others. DJ is a kid who needs to be introduced to new people and new things slowly, with a lot of assurance that I am there waiting in the wings should she need a boost of familiarity.
DJ is also fearless, adventurous, a thrill-seeker, and seemingly unfazed by consequences to dangerous stunts. She is quick to explore, happy to play alone and doesn’t often wait for someone to tell her it’s OK for her to follow her impulses. Her favorite things are motorcycles, monkey bars and swings – but only when daddy pushes her. When I push her, she incessantly asks for “more,” meaning higher (which I can’t stomach because I am the only cautious one in this family of three).
When DJ was born, I was flooded with emotion. The overwhelming love was almost unfathomable – except it was happening to me without any control of my own. I embraced motherhood as if it had been long estranged from my life – it was that missing piece. I felt complete. Still do. And while I know that I’m certainly not the only mom to be completely taken and transformed by this great love…..the way I translated this feeling has me wondering – what came first, the chicken or the egg?
There was barely a minute in the first several weeks of DJ’s life when she was apart from my arms. She slept tucked close at my side, she fed from my breasts, and she snuggled against my chest in her Ergo carrier while I did just about everything. I was so in love with this child that I couldn’t bare to be separated from her. The phrase “attachment parenting” was unfamiliar to me, and something that only hippies practiced. I had really negative connotations in my mind whenever I heard someone coin my parenting style as such. However, once I finally decided to arm myself with a defense by understanding what it really meant – I found relief in knowing that there were a ton of other families who were practicing what I was instinctively living.
I realized very early on that DJ had quite a sweet disposition, and I rarely let her cry when she needed me. While we certainly experimented with allowing her to “cry-it-out,” and a variety of other things that “experts” assured would make an independent, self-soothing child – we painfully realized that these methods did not work for our daughter. When her pediatrician assured us that vomiting induced by traumatic cry sessions was a harmless act of trying to get our attention, we opted to allow DJ to have just that – our attention, before the puking became a necessary tool in her tiny arsenal.
So, my question is this…..did my coddling make her sensitive? I mean, is that possible? It’s not like she’s 5 years old still being spoon fed by me…..but, yes, I will admit that I still cook breakfast with an almost-two-year-old swaying from my hip. She enjoys being part of what I do, and if she asks to be held, then I hold her.
While I absolutely want my daughter to be strong and independent (which she absolutely shows signs of inherently being), I also want her to continue relying on me to meet her needs – whether they are physical, or emotional. I am choosing to believe that my daughter was born with an incredible character, harmoniously tying the sweet in with the strong. I am choosing to believe that I have just been attuned to that from the first days of her life, and that the bond we are creating now will be the very thing that keeps DJ feeling safe and confident to tell us the truth as she gets older, to know that she can absolutely ask the tough questions, and that she will never be afraid to come to us with her perceived failures.
I think that DJ is pretty amazing, and I feel that it would be totally arrogant of me to claim responsibility for her attributes. However, if we are to blame for spoiled, bratty, bullying and irresponsible children, then I guess I have to admit that I could be to blame for some of DJ’s annoying habits of whining. In either case, I should be totally clear – I have no regrets. I am just curios as to what others believe…..did the need come before the response, or did the response form the need?