|Mom enough? Not really sure what that means.|
A conversation with my sister made me realize it was time to look into it a little. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: This Time magazine thing is pretty stupid. I mean, we only think it's weird because we have a cultural aversion to seeing a toddler breastfeed. The global, average age to wean a child, is like, 3 years old.
Sister: What they do in sub-Saharan Africa can't really be our litmus, can it?
Me: Who said anything about sub-Saharan Africa? That's a global average.
Sister: What do they do in Sweden? I'll get behind whatever they do in Sweden.
This lead to a search of what the average weaning age is in Sweden, which we still don't have the answer to. Not even sure what that whole Sweden thing is about- but that's neither here nor there. The search somehow brought us to attachmentparenting.org, where they list the eight principles of Attachment Parenting. Right on! I love quizzes. It's the best part of Cosmo. I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper, and got ready to score myself.
Attachment Parenting International's Eight Steps of Attachment Parenting
1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care.
Note to self; all of the women on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, are not Attachment Parenting. I took prenatal vitamins and had a baby shower. Woot! Woot! One point for me!
2. Feed with love and respect.
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs. "Bottle Nursing" adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.
Shoot. I generally like to feed my child while chanting, Eat it, Asshole! Minus one point. Plus a half a point for breastfeeding for eight months.
3. Respond with sensitivity.
Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.
So when another toddler in the park hits him with a ball, I shouldn't shout, take one for the team, Sissy! Minus one point.
4. Use nurturing touch.
Touch meets a baby's needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children.
I'm supposed to be giving my child massages? No one told me that. Why does he get a massage? He doesn't carry me around all day, and do all the housework one-handed. Not fair. Minus one point.
5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally.
Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.
I put him in long sleeve pajamas, set him in his crib with his co-sleeping partner (a.k.a. teddy bear), and dance around the apartment yelling, Freedom! And then I have sex with my husband in our baby-free bed. Minus one point.
6. Provide consistent and loving care.
Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship.
Hahahahaha! We're broke, and can't afford outside caregivers! Massive pointage here! In yo face!
7. Practice positive discipline.
Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft solutions together while keeping everyone's dignity intact.
Ahh. Finally I understand where the no please and thank you thing comes from. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. OK, so when Lucien wants to play with a power cord, and I tell him no, and then he hits me in the head with a truck out of frustration- I should just realize that he has some innate need to play with electricity? Maybe he's the real-live version of Powder. Then we can craft a solution together to deal with his behavior. I'm pretty sure his solution will be pulling on the power cord repeatedly, and hitting me in the head with a truck if I get in the way. I'm going to craft some solution that will keep us both happy here, because obviously keeping his dignity in tact is more important than keeping him alive. Except, I usually opt for keeping him alive- so minus one point.
8. Strive for balance in personal and family life.
It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don't be afraid to say "no". Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself.
Plus one point for knowing how to say No. Plus one point for support network (coffee maker and bottle of wine). Minus six points for all the rest of that shit.
Oooh. Epic fail. Only, not really- because for the love of God, all parents do this stuff. Or we all try to do this stuff anyway. It seems to me, that Attachment Parenting is the new Gluten-free. Lots of people practice it, but only a few feel the need to preach about it at every possible opportunity.
In conclusion, we're all doing our best. And the global average for breastfeeding is three, so can everyone get over that stupid Time cover, already? Oh, also- if anyone thinks of some gimmick that I could execute, that would drive hundreds of thousands of hits to my little blog- will you let me know? I'm so down for that.