Friday, October 19, 2007

Counting my blessings

A friend emailed me today and reminded me that being an attachment parent is about meeting our children's needs, not about doing a laundry list of activities just because they are "AP". While yesterday was very difficult, I don't want anyone to think that we are discouraged or that things around here are bleak.

I think my difficulties lay in not understanding in advance just how emotionally draining building this attachment can be. I read all the books and did all the workshops, but they just can’t prepare you for what being in the thick of it is really like. With the girls attachment was just there, building from day one, when they were too little to express an opinion either way. Now I have to learn how to foster an attachment with an older baby who already has experiences and ideas about things.

Those who are still waiting to bring your children home, please forgive me if I alarmed you. Yesterday was a tough day and my post reflected that, but overall Smiley brings us a lot of joy and laughter and I'm so glad he's a part of our lives. In trying to remember all of our blessings last night, I came up with this list of all the great and wonderful things I love about my son.

~ He usually makes very good eye contact during feedings. We play a lot of peak-a-boo games during feedings and this almost always gets us both laughing.

~ He lifts up his arms to be picked up and squeals with excitement when I walk into the room, wiggling his entire body like a puppy’s tail.

~ He prefers me to any of my coworkers and will only leave me to go to his daddy…he always wants to come back to me.

~ He saves his smiles and laughs for our family. No matter how silly someone is or how funny the faces they make, he will only respond with a dead-pan face and a slightly raised eyebrow. This always makes me giggle!

~ He loves his sisters. Cookie in particularly can excite huge smiles and deep belly laughs. He is always thrilled to see them when we pick them up from school and Cookie will play on the floor with him for half and hour at a time (an eternity for a 3 year old).

~ Diaper changing time is fun time with mom. I always blow raspberries on his belly and tickle him all over. I kiss his face and hands and "chew" on his feet and he loves it all. Now, whenever it's time to get changed, he starts laughing the minute I pull out the changing pad.

~ He loves to eat. Yams are his favorite and he will say "yum, yum" after every bite. He hates spinach and yogurt and will purse his lips up after the first taste and nothing will convince him to open his mouth again.

~ He's learning that I'll feed him regularly. Now when he's hungry, he'll fuss a bit and then wait to see if I'll get me food. He only starts screaming if he thinks I'm not moving fast enough or when mom is being more than usually dense.

~ He still hates the nebulizer but will sit calmly and tolerate it as long as we sing to him; and not just any song, it has to be "Sing a song". He loves to bounce along with the "la, la, la, la, la" part. This gets really old for mom and dad though, 20 minutes a day is a long time to sing the same song over and over again, so we have started amusing ourselves by making up different lyrics

Sing. Sing a song.
Sing it over and over
Until you want to die.
Just once is never enough because now it's really stuck in your head.
Sing. Sing this stupid song...

The girls also find this very funny and we will all sit around as a family singing and making up lyrics while Smiley gets his treatments.

So, as you can see, the good really does out weigh the bad around here. We have our bad days and we have a ways to go before we have a good, strong attachment but I'm confident that it will happen. We are still learning how to meet his needs and are getting to know his personality. If it turns out that he is just not a cuddly kid, that's ok. My oldest is cuddly enough for 10 kids so it all evens out in the end. I just want to be sure we aren’t overlooking his needs because they are disguised by attachment issues.


Jenny and Matt said...

AP is hard stuff - I feel like we'll be forever questioning 'is her behavior because of this or that? attachment or normal behavior?'

Thanks for posting abut the hard stuff, too, (and the good stuff, of course). It's hard for folks to talk about the hard times, so often we don't hear about the struggles other people are having that may be like our own.

D.K. said...

We are having to do AP with our bio baby. It IS very draining, and difficult, not to mention a daily mystery. Tired isn't even a good description of us most days. I think in the end it will make a huge difference for the kids though.