When I was pregnant, M 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 Arlie felt loved and safe all the time. I didn’t have that when I was growing up and I never want Arlie to feel that way. M’s was similar, but he kind of let me steer how we would parent. I think for him, as long as Arlie is safe and happy, he is on board.
My semi-attachment approach basically involves me baby-wearing when possible or practical, bed-sharing and lots and lots of cuddles and time with Arlie. I work from home two half days a week and this has allowed me to spend quite a lot of extra time with Arlie. I can usually get some work done while she is sleeping or otherwise occupied by one of her toys or activity centers, and when she needs me I am right there.
The baby wearing has been ok. She HATED the ergo for the first 2 months of her life. We are slowly getting her into it and she has been doing pretty well when we are at a store or taking a walk. She is a sweaty little baby so we both have to be dressed appropriately, otherwise we both end up soaking wet. Not ideal, I know… Anyway, she seems to like it a lot now, especially in the grocery store. I don’t think she was a huge fan of people getting close to her when she was riding in the cart, and the ergo is a great solution to that. Plus I think we both like to be snuggled up against each other.
Bed-sharing was never my intention when I was pregnant and I had a small baby corral thingy that sat between my and M’s pillows at night, but Arlie seriously hated it. I finally pulled her out of it when she was about 6 days old and 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. M and I have a king size bed so Arlie has a strip down the middle that is for her. I generally fall asleep with her feet against or resting on my stomach. She sleeps better when she is touching me, which means that I sleep better too. Feeding her in the middle of the night is easier for me and I like having the contact with her, especially now that I am back at work and my time with her is limited.
The cuddles. I can’t get enough of her cuddling and loving. When I was a kid, hugs were rare and so were any kind of compliments. It was tough on me because I really craved the personal time and affection from my parents but it just wasn’t there. With Arlie, I want her 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 Arlie. I will NEVER get tired of kisses from Arlie. Most importantly, Arlie will know for her entire life how much M and I love her.
I’m calling this semi-attachment because I am not wearing her constantly and I think it is good for her to be by herself sometimes and learn how to play alone. I also want to make sure that she doesn’t feel smothered by us. I think it is a fine line between being overbearing and weird and being loving and making sure that Arlie is happy. My ultimate goal as a parent is to make sure that Arlie’s life is good. Not spoiled or overindulged, but happy and content.