My Baby is Attached, So What?!
I sit here typing this with a nine month old clinging to my leg because 1) she wants to be close to me and 2) she desperately wants to see the computer because she is nosy as heck. May I add that she is currently whining and fake coughing because I'm typing and not paying attention to her. She has a million toys scattered about throughout my living room, yet she chooses to be here clinging to me. Turns out I am much cooler than any talking puppy dog and any peekaboo board book.
Am I happy about it? Not necessarily. Did I intentionally make her this way? Heck no. Do I need for others to remind me she is attached or "spoiled?" Hell no.
As the mother I don't mind occasionally making jokes myself about her constant state of attachment, and I don't even mind the occasional comments about my extra eighteen pounds of body weight clinging to my to hip from others. But sometimes, sometimes it's just annoying.
Sometimes I feel like everyone is saying, "you did it wrong, your kid likes you too much." I know that's not what they really mean, but sometimes all of the comments and jokes make me feel like I'm supposed to undo everything I've done just to make her different. My child is NOT the only one like this and I firmly believe that she will outgrow it. Eventually.
I have done everything with my child that feels natural to me. Even though I read and "research" a lot, all of the decisions that I have made have been my parenting goals since day one; prior to any books. I just do what feels natural; I do what I want to do and not what anyone or any book tells me to do.
I have done everything that I believe is right. And when the time comes for a second baby, I'll do it all over again. Looking back, there is not anything that I'd really change. Chances are that I'll do everything the same with baby number two and that baby will be totally different. Each baby is different and I just believe mine came with an extra set of Diva-ish hormones. And I use the word Diva-ish as she sits here and throws a tantrum because yet again I am not paying attention to her. Oh the turmoil. Let's add in the fact though that she is cutting a tooth and did this around seven months when she was teething. Maybe we can blame the Diva behaviors on teething?
Mothers don't always need to be reminded about just how "spoiled" their child is. I have actually said a silent little prayer to myself before going places that my baby would be "good." I have even had pep talks with her before that sound something like, "Let's socialize with everyone today and show them your silly personality. Let's not cling to mama the whole time, okay." I have done this simply because I don't want to hear about how attached she is or how spoiled she is. I don't want to walk away feeling like I did something to intentionally make her this way and/or I don't want others to think that if they choose to breastfeed, stay at home, etc... with their baby that this is what will happen. And I especially don't want to walk away feeling like I did something wrong.
(Don't worry folks, I'm not throwing invisible daggers at your backs after you joke about her state of attachment- I know it's just harmless comments)
But guess what folks, she's just a baby. She's going to whine, she's going to cry and throw tantrums and she's even going to stomp her little feet. She's going to cling to me for comfort in unfamiliar situations and she's going to choose me over unfamiliar faces. She's just a baby.
And me, I'm just a mommy. I'm just a mommy whose doing what she feels is best and if that has made my kid extra attached, then oh well. One day I will look back at these days and miss them. My clingy, attached daughter will be out and about with her teenage girlfriends and she may choose them over me. I'll be back at work in some meaningless job that I'll likely hate, wishing that I could go back to the days of having a job that I loved. I'll yearn to get back these days of my extra body weight that never leaves my side. I'll likely even yearn for the days of nursing and the nights of frequent, sleep deprived wakings full of cuddles and kisses.
I'll look back and be grateful at the bond that we had and will likely always have. Just like no one can pry her little fingers from my stretched out shirt, no one can break the bond between mommy and baby.
I think, I'm doing alright. I mean, I'm so cool my kid doesn't want to leave my side.
And while sometimes I want to just scream, at the end of the day, I have the unconditional love of the clingiest baby ever. That's enough to make me realize that I HAVE done everything right.
How did you or how do you handle this situation?
Thanks for reading, Sasha
**Side note: Since it may come up in questions, no I do not intentionally practice the Attachment Parenting concept. I was completely unaware of such a thing until a few months back, and yes, it turns out that I do most of the things associated with this natural way of parenting. The concept in my opinion is pretty brilliant -- the more attached they are now, the more independent they will be later. However as stated above, I do what I want to do and what feels natural to me (which all AP is really anyway). I do not let a book or any doctor necessarily influence my decisions. These are just my the things that I want to do and always pictured doing. To each their own...