When I was pregnant with my first child LeLe, Mr. Cereal and I spent a lot of time talking about how we were going to parent and what was important to us as parents. My focus was very much on making sure LeLe felt loved and safe all the time. I didn’t necessarily have that when I was growing up, and I never want her or her little brother Little Bug to feel that way. Mr. Cereal’s upbringing was similar, but he kind of let me steer how we would parent. I think for him, as long as LeLe and Little Bug are safe and happy, he is on board.
My semi-attachment approach basically involves us baby-wearing when possible or practical, bed-sharing and lots and lots of cuddles and time with LeLe and Little Bug. I work from home two half days a week and this has allowed me to spend quite a lot of extra time with the babies. I can usually get some work done while they are sleeping or otherwise occupied by one of their toys or activity centers, and when they need me I am right there.
The baby wearing has been pretty good most of the time. LeLe HATED the ergo for the first 2 months of her life, but Little Bug took to being worn like a champ. LeLe has decided riding on our backs in backpack style is actually really fun, so we are able to wear her a lot more than we used to. She is a sweaty little person so we both have to be dressed appropriately, otherwise we both end up soaking wet. They both seem to like it a lot now though, especially in the grocery store. Plus I think they both like to be snuggled up against me or Mr. Cereal. Baby wearing makes walks a lot easier, especially if we are bringing the dog, or on quick outings where I would prefer not to have to unload the giant double stroller we have.
Bed-sharing was never my intention when I was pregnant with LeLe. I had a small baby corral thingy that sat between my and Mr. Cereal’s pillows at night, but she seriously hated it. I finally pulled her out of it when she was about 6 days old, laid her in the bed with me and she proceeded to stop crying and fussing and went straight to sleep. We haven’t looked back since. We have a king size bed so for the first year and a half of LeLe’s life she slept in between us. With the addition of Little Bug, we side-cared LeLe’s crib (which she had never actually slept in until Little Bug was born) to my side of the bed. Now she sleeps in that, but is still able to slide into bed with me and Little Bug sleeps in the middle between me and Mr. Cereal. I usually put Little Bug’s feet against my stomach and he sleeps at a bit of an angle to insure that his head doesn’t get anywhere near any blankets. It is working for us and I love that most nights I end up with LeLe on one side of me and Little Bug on the other. It really maximizes my cuddling opportunities and it makes me worry less. I really can’t imagine what it will be like when we transition them to their own room.
The cuddles. I can’t get enough of their cuddling and loving. When I was a kid, hugs were kind of rare and so were any kind of reassurances through touch. It was tough on me because I really craved the personal time and affection from my parents but it just wasn’t there, partly because they were busy with my siblings and partly because I don’t think that they realized that I needed that kind of attention. With LeLe and Little Bug, I want them to think that hugging and kisses (with mom and dad and immediate family members) is normal and fun. I will never get enough hugs from my kids and I will never get tired of kisses from them. Most importantly, LeLe and Little Bug will know how much Mr. Cereal and I love them their entire lives. This has already had an impact on LeLe as she is a champion hugger and doles them out to me and Mr. Cereal frequently.
I’m calling this semi-attachment because I am not wearing them constantly and I think it is good for them to be by themselves sometimes and learn how to play alone. I also want to make sure that they don’t feel smothered by us. I think it is a fine line between being overbearing and suffocating and being loving and making sure that they are happy. My ultimate goal as a parent is to make sure that LeLe and Little Bug’s lives are good. Not spoiled or overindulged, but happy and content. I think as they grow older we will have to shift our ways of doing semi-attachment, but I am confident that this is the right way for us to raise them right now.