Friday, November 11, 2011

Teach your children well...

I don't speak often of my parenting philosophy. The beliefs I've adopted are mostly because I read about various parenting styles prior to and during my pregnancy and truly felt certain methodologies fit with my "style" and personality.

We, for all intents and purposes, "attachment" parent. What does that mean? Essentially, there are eight tenements to AP and they are as follows: (information from Attachment Parenting International)

Eight Principles of Parenting:
Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
Feed with Love and Respect
Respond with Sensitivity
Use Nurturing Touch
Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
Provide Consistent and Loving Care
Practice Positive Discipline
Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life

I can tell you if you read the information provided on API's website, you will go "Well, I already do that!" In theory, attachment parenting - or parts of it - are what we do every single day as parents. A lot of the beginning foundations are what most miss - and I like to think it has more to do with lack of knowledge than anything else.

I breastfed. I, in fact, breastfed TroubleMaker until he was much older than is typically "normal" by today's Western standard. I was so gungho to breastfeed that I likely sacrificed some of our sanity in ensuring our breastfeeding relationship was successful (pumps, pills & patience, OH MY!). I "wore" him in an Ergo baby carrier (best $100 every spent - it was the #1, must have baby "device" for me). Due to choices that had more to do with my husband's insistence that certain parenting "tools" were a marketing ploy by greedy Corporate America, we carried TroubleMaker every where from birth. We did not have an "infant carseat" and our stroller was a heavy duty jogging stroller that was cumbersome and too much of a pain in the butt to use for simple running into the store for milk shopping trips. We co slept - and again, it was at my husband's insistence. He did not want our newborn baby in a different part of the house. What started as co-sleeping morphed into bed sharing. And yes, we did try to "sleep train" him when he was about 8 months old and it failed. Miserably. I don't know who cried more - TroubleMaker or me? It was at that time that I accepted TroubleMaker as a child who did not sleep and this freed up a lot of my misery and expectation. We cloth diapered - which has nothing to do with AP, but I need to push my environmental agenda where ever I can.... ;)

We had TroubleMaker - it was a decision his father and I made. We sought out what we thought would be the best path forward. We read, we studied, we changed our minds. We've cried, laughed and have learned we can love another person in a way that can likely not ever be truly explained. We are happy - even if we don't always know the right answer or the correct path forward.

Looking back at the past three and a half years, we've done a few things right and a few things we could have done better. Each day is a new lesson and we all learn from one another. We make mistakes and sometimes he gets too much candy and watches too much TV. But he is always loved and always our first priority.

No matter what philosophy you ascribe too, love your child, protect your child and always make time for fun and laughter.

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