Zen toddler is potty learning right now. It’s going pretty well, occasional mishap notwithstanding (‘Mummy, I did an accident!’, announced with delighted glee).
One day, I popped to the kitchen to make toast one day. When I came back she had pulled her pants down, sat on the potty, and done a wee. I was so proud I had a tear in my eye. I was proud. And a little bit sad. Where did my ever-so little first-born go? This is the start of the letting go. And while I am more proud of her than I could ever have imagined possible, there’s a little pang.
Zen toddler and me, we’re closely attached. In the whole of her first year, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I was away from her for more than an hour. We did (and still do) co-sleep, we did (and still do) breastfeed. We share baths, we eat all of our meals together, and, barring around 12 hours of Montessori childcare a week, we’re together all of the time (with zen baby now boosting our ranks). But I’m beginning to wonder what happens as she gets older, becomes more independent?
Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to hold her back, keep her tethered with the proverbial apron strings. Every forward leap she takes leaves me awestruck. Sometimes, I can’t believe that this hilarious little person ricocheting around the house like a stung wasp is the same little bundle of red-faced potential that I pushed into the world less than three years ago. But there’s going to come an age when she can dress herself, when she sleeps in her own bed all night because snuggling in between your parents is just lame. One day, she might even self-wean (not banking on that one happening anytime soon ;-/). How do we stay closely attached when we’re not together all day long, when I’m not the major influence in her life, when she doesn’t need me to do quite so much for her anymore?
Truthfully, I don’t have the answers. This is the first time I’ve done any of this. In this, as in so many areas, zen baby will have the advantage of not being the test-case. But this time, first-time round, I don’t know what I’m doing. So far I’ve parented entirely on instinct, but I have no instinctive inclinations for this.
So, how do you keep them close while letting them go? Share your stories, experiences, and tips, because I could really use some ideas.
Visit Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- "Keep Them Close and Let Them Go: Fostering Healthy Attachment As They Grow" — Helen at Zen Mummy wonders how to maintain a healthy attachment as our children become more independent.
- "Honesty (With Your Children) is the Best Policy" — Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children shares how honesty with her children is helping to build an authentic relationship which will last through the teen years and beyond.
- "Fostering Healthy Attachment?" — Momma Jorje discusses how she is building a foundation of attachment with her children and how she hopes it serves them in their lives as they grow into adults.
- Beyond Bookend Parenting — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting describes their efforts to maintain their toddler's attachment to her working parent through play and routines throughout the day.
- Have You "Huggled" Today? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how "huggles" work like magic in her home.
- Your Childhood=Your Child's Childhood? — Amy at A Secure Base examines the research about how our attachment experience can shape our attachment with our children.
- List-Making Activities to Celebrate Family Connections — Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares some family list-making activities that will help you reflect on what you love about your family and can spark ideas for future family fun.
- How To Keep in Touch With Distant Grandparents — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers several tips to foster connection with relatives who live far away.
- Beyond Bonding: The Power of Positioning in Babywearing — Steffany, a babywearing educator, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains how optimal positioning in quality carriers can help babies' physical growth, brain development, and overall attachment.
- Playing Follow the Leader — Zoie at TouchstoneZ has learned that the more she meets her children where they are rather than where she would like them to be, the greater the elasticity of their bonds are.
- The Evolution of Attachment: Parenting Without a Roadmap — Sheila at A Living Family reflects on her family's recent generation of mothers and shares how she is working to make an evolutionary leap towards forming healthy attachment.
- Facilitating Sibling Connection — Laura at Authentic Parenting gives a set of pointers on how to facilitate sibling bonding.
- The Farm in my Bed — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses fostering children's healthy attachment to "lovies" and comfort objects..
- My Early Morning Shadow Valerie at Momma in Progress shares a few ways she maintains a strong connection with her almost six-year-old daughter.