Thursday, November 16, 2006

The dark side of attachment parenting*

Don't get me wrong, the joyfully shrieking little boy crawling into the kitchen to see if he can open the trash can yet is adorable. He is tremendously cute.

But we've already arrived at the dark side. Only six months in. (Yes, he's seven months old now, but it's not brand new.) There is the special scream reserved for when I have the nerve to eat bonbons go to the bathroom, particularly first thing in the morning. There is the open-jawed whine-and-lurch-in-Ema's-direction when someone undesirable (sometimes even Taxman) is holding him. There is the full-out wail of desperation if I walk out the front door--or even out of his line of sight to the kitchen--in his presence. Apparently the circus trash chute will just have to wait until he's sleeping.

Oh, and then there is the sleeping. It's true, pride really does goeth before the fall. I was so thrilled that he could put himself to sleep, sucking on his thumb. He didn't need to nurse to sleep. Anyone could put him down. For a brief few weeks he even slept in a crib!

Then it all fell apart. First he wouldn't sleep in the crib. Fine, I wouldn't either; those mattresses are like sleeping on plywood without padding. So he got used to our bed. Fine, he's got good taste. (I love our bed. As badly as I sleep in it, it's never because of discomfort due to the bed.)

But then...AM started crawling. Obnoxiously early in his life. Five-and-three-quarter months old. He's now very fast. He could be off the bed and on his head in approximately 1.9 seconds. Recognizing this startling fact, we started to put him to sleep on the floor for naps and at the beginning of the night. The quilt-on-the-floor works for naps, sort of--about half the time he naps in our bed or on the couch because I am there too. But at night lately, exhausted and supremely cranky because we have been actively preventing the third nap, he nurses sweetly to sleep in my lap as I slouch on the couch watching television. At some point later, I decide that I really should take care of the dishes/laundry/Shabbat meal prep/freelance work that!actually!pays!money! So I lay him gently on his little quilt, with his head touching the pillow (shut up!), cover him with an afghan, and sneak away. Five to twenty minutes later, we hear his little palms hitting the hardwood in the hall. Wide awake and cheerful. He's easy to get back to sleep (if you mean by easy that my breasts are not required), if I lie down with him. And then don't leave, or the entire process will repeat. And repeat.

As much as I shouldn't protest having to go to bed at 9 pm, I have a life, you know?

Last week's freelance assignment is finished, but we're having six guests over for Shabbat dinner. It's brisket**, which is pretty low maintenance as entrees go, but there's also the soup and the side dishes and the two desserts.

I guess we'll see what happens tonight. At 7:45 I am running like hell going out to my book club. Both kids will be awake when that happens. Both will be extremely unhappy to see me go. There's milk in the fridge for AM, although he hasn't had a bottle since my last book club night. Eh, there's always mashed banana.

*No, I'm not a ped0phile, nor training one, for nursing my toddler, as some of the comments to the articles on the recent Delta-airlines-nursing-mother-flap would have you believe.
**Believe it or not, this requires its own post. Forthcoming.


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Anonymous said...

Hi Tired Ema,
I have a 3 month old, and also haven't slept through the night since he was born. I know it's still early but I'm starting to see the 'dark side' of attachment parenting too. I love the bond we have, but I wonder, is it worth keeping this method?
Would love to hear your experience.
Many Thanks