Megan at SortaCrunchy wrote about the payoff of attachment parenting recently on her blog. She described traits she is noticing in her daughter as a result of her breastfed, babyworn, gently disciplined upbringing.
I left a comment over there sharing something that happened with my oldest son recently, and thought I would post it here for some more discussion.
The other week me and the kids were eating dinner at a restaurant with some friends – a married couple and their two kids were there. When I was finished with my meal and while the mom ate, I held her toddler. He is 11 months old and going through a hitting stage (very typical for boys at his age!) and while he adores me, he hit me a couple of times.
I took it in stride – my oldest went through a phase like this at this age, and I didn’t freak about it. It was just a little slap to tell me something. I’m not sure if he was trying to get me to focus on him or wanted a change of position…. but before I could figure it out, his Grandmother slapped him on the hand.
My son was so upset by this. In fact he started talking about how wrong it was for her to hit him when he was just a baby and didn’t know what he was doing. I could hear him saying this and the Grandmother started to tell him that she disagreed – that the todder did know exactly what he was doing and that she had to communicate that him hitting me was wrong.
I heard my son use the word “stupid”… he was becoming visibly upset by this whole scene. I went over to him and tried to smoothe things over with him. I didn’t want him to say something disrespectful to the grandmother (who happened to have raised 7 kids herself, plus as an older person I expect him to show her respect), but I wanted to acknowledge his feelings about the matter.
The mom asked her mother to stop - she is not a spanker and didn’t like what her mother did. Then she took my son aside to talk with him about it. She (the mom) was not happy about the slapping and said so openly to her Mom.
I was proud of my son at this moment. I am not here to sit in judgment of the grandmother, but I don’t believe in hitting a baby’s hands to teach him not to hit. And apparently, neither does my son.
This child, who tested me as if my fire with his high need ways, was attached to me – literally – until he was 18 months old. He was fussy and the only time he seemed happy was when he was nursing. So, we nursed. And nursed. And nursed. All night long, most of the day. I discovered babywearing more out of desparation – I did have to go to the bathroom sometimes! or wash dishes! – than out of any philosophy.
This is the chid who did not sleep unless he was on my body. He STILL has issue with sleeping and if he had his way, would still be sleeping near me.
He is also the young man who has no interest in girls, but who has declared that if he ever gets married, his wife WILL breastfeed their baby.
I have pointed out that he wouldn’t be able to force his wife to do anything, and his response? “Well I’ll ask her before we get married!”
This child also cannot bear to hear a child cry. He is his baby sister’s protector and comforter. He can often be seen picking her up and rocking her in the rocking chair when she is having a fussy evening and mom is trying to get dinner on the table. I have several pictures of him wearing her in a sling. I also have shot pictures of him breastfeeding his toys as a toddler – including one particularly cute one with him nursing a dinosaur. LOL!
He is also very in tune with my emotions. If I am having a bad day, he will often surprise me with a cup of hot tea. Or he will make breakfast or offer to brush my hair (I’m a sucker for that!).
I don’t know yet how attachment parenting has made my other kids different, but in my oldest it’s very obvious.
What do you think? What happens when attached kids get older?