the accidental attachment parent

This is me. I am the accidental one. I never intended to be a baby wearer, a co-sleeper an extended part of my baby but that is what has happened.

My first two children now seven and nine didn’t do any of these things, they slept in cots in their own rooms, they travelled about in a pram quite contentedly and in fact were quite independent from me – happy to go off and play, amuse themselves etc. Then we get to baby three. He’s an entirely different little personality, he is a complete attachment child. He can’t sleep unless he’s in our bed, he’s only content if he can see us, he detests being put into a pram, cot, play pen where he isn’t with us and so I’ve morphed into an attachment parent.

But thinking about things, is attachment parenting how it’s supposed to be? Is it right to put a tiny baby into a barred cot in a separate room from his mother or father? Is it right to put a baby into cots, playpens, prams etc so you can  get on with whatever it is you wanted to do? Is it right to send him to a nursery from a very young age to be cared for by a stranger.

If left to nature is attachment parenting not how things would be? Would the young sleep with the parents, travel around by being carried and held, observe the world from the arms of mum and dad?

Or… Is it because this is baby number three and our last baby that we’ve been so much more laid back and wanted the easy option? In the night when the baby has cried I honestly have not been able to be bothered sitting up in a chair rocking him back to sleep for what could be hours on end. I’ve wanted to sleep, I’ve wanted to be comfy in my bed and so have popped him in with me. I can’t be bothered listening to tantrums and unnecessary crying because he’s bored or wants to do something with me instead of on his own and so he is always kept happy by being with us and 99% of the time he is really happy and laid back in a way I don’t remember the other two being.

Also because we’ve had two other children we feel no pressure to be checking child development books to see if we are establishing all the “correct” behaviours and milestones at the correct times. Or is it simply that we’ve created a rod for our own back by being lazy and relaxed as many people like to tell me, daily.

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toddler raising – sleeping

I’m going to write today about sleep. I haven’t been paid by a government body, I haven’t studied a degree in childhood development, nor am I a psychologist, but what I do know all about is sleep, or the lack of it.

I have nine years experience in the sleep behaviour of babies and small children and so I bestow upon you my conclusions.

  • a child will sleep if it wants to
  • if it makes you feel better by all means conduct a little bedtime routine, milky drinks, warm baths, the addition of lavender oil to your evening. Every little helps…
  • it’s best if you don’t try desperately to get your child to sleep as much as everybody else’s child seems to, that way you avoid feeling like a failure and getting annoyed at lack of any progress.
  • co-sleeping is fine in my book and if it means you get some as opposed to no sleep, then buy a bigger bed and go with the flow.
  • try not to become obsessed in the pursuit of a perfect nights sleep, it does not exist.
  • TV personalities, baby book writers do not know you or your child and your child will not be reading the sleep manual and so won’t know he is supposed to follow it.
  • always expect to get no sleep and then any bit of sleep you do get can be seen as a massive bonus.
  • remember it won’t last forever…. or maybe it will – that’s just the chance you take when you make babies…
  • I take comfort in the fact that my ‘non-sleeping through the whole night children’ will be survivors, they won’t get eaten by a bear in the cave at night because one of them is always on guard to warn the others…. I think maybe we are not supposed to sleep all night, just in little bursts, I think it’s a survival response leftover from the days of errr caves…..

You may also like my tips on toddler tantrums or money saving.

As ever, no need to thank me.

toddler raising – tantrums

There’s no waiting until the second year of life before starting the toddler tantrum phase. I am in possession of a seasoned professional tantrum thrower and all before the terrible twos have yet commenced.

So here is my list (although by no means exhaustive) of tantrum triggers.

  • the removal from their person of small hard round chokeable items, think marbles, think small coin, think gob stopper. A mum should know that the toddler is just wondering what those items are and will not ever put them in his mouth….
  • the assumption that although they’ve thrown food all over the kitchen floor/wall/door that they have actually finished eating. A mum should know that the toddler is merely spreading their food out to look at it better….
  • a tantrum of epic proportion will occur if you look out of the window see the force 10 gale blowing horizontal rain of skin piercing force and then try to place toddler well wrapped into a warm pushchair under a rain cover. A mum  should know that the toddler wishes to experience all-weather phenomena at a snail’s pace whilst insisting on holding onto an umbrella and standing for a lifetime in every puddle.
  • taking a toddler who has turned wrinkly from a bath will cause glass shattering screams, flailing arms and legs and generally result in a soaking of yourself and the bathroom. A mum should know that the toddler should be left in the bath several years until all the water has evaporated.

It is also unwise to

  • turn off Mr Bloom’s Nursery
  • not be able to produce an episode of Small Potatoes at very short notice
  • allow your toddler to get even the slightest bit hungry
  • hurry him
  • speak on the telephone
  • attempt to go into a supermarket

As ever, there is no need to thank me.

toddler raising

As this is toddler number three I’m raising you’d think I’d have learned that it is entirely unnecessary to buy them any toys at all. Whilst that lovely red wooden bus with peg people does look sweet and conjures images of an Enid Blyton childhood, nobody will every play with it and it will be despatched box fresh more than likely via the medium of eBay, along with the pirate ship, the garage, the population of a small country of Little People and the endless variety of jigsaws, stacking toys and the dullest of all the shape sorters.

So here it is toddler raising tip number one –  save yourself hundreds and hundreds of pounds and simply provide them with a swing lid kitchen bin, a series of magazines you haven’t yet read, a packet of drinking straws, various sizes of tupperware lids, potatoes, fridge magnets, plug socket safety covers, a permanent felt tip pen and wardrobes full of freshly ironed clothes for them to empty out all over the floor at frequent intervals.

It really is all they need, no need to thank me.