Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. It comes from everywhere. Inside. Your memories, dreams, baggage. Articles. Stories. What you see with other parents and kids. What others say to you.
Generally, I’ve tried to roll as a parent with instinct. I have not read a lot of parenting guidance. But sometimes all the other pressures drive me to research something or tweak things. Or at least to just stress about what my instincts are telling me.
Aria loves to be close to me. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve judged myself for this. I did, after all, nurse her in bed from 3 months to 9 months. I didn’t wean her until 18 months. 80% of the time I pick her up and hold her when she asks me to. I never really weaned — I traded nursing her to sleep with holding her hand to sleep. Plus, I’m a working mom and I’m not there for a huge chunk of the weekday.
Plus, something I’d like to think I’ve done right is help Aria be pretty detached from things. My friend Jennie suggested before Aria was born that I never buy something she asks for at the store. I let her hold it play with things, then I always make her give them back to the cashier. She does this without even a minor fuss. This plays out in all sorts of settings, stores and not. The only downside is she just won’t get attached to any toy or blanket or anything. I’m even trying to model teddy bear cuddling! To no avail. I’m her comfort toy for now.
I’d been trying to fix this, mostly by making tweaks to the nighttime routine and feeling guilt at various daytime clingy activities. I also did some productive things like getting her to sit in her own chair for meals and forcing more non-being-carried periods.
Then about a week ago something clicked and I just relaxed (A true mental shift + I also did a few things to better manage my Addison’s condition with DH being deployed for a few weeks).
I love holding my daughter as much as she likes being held. I love laughing and being silly as we’re looking at each other as she’s in my arms. I love morning cuddles. It’s tender when she touches my face in wonder and comfort that I’m there.
I have to remember I was the same way at her age. I spilled hot gravy on myself at 18 months. As I got treated for the terrible burns, they said the only thing I needed to be calm was to be in mom’s arms.
My brother found my mom’s journal recently. There was a small little quote that really touched my heart. It was something like, “Jessica is so cuddly. And I love it!”
Moral of the story.
Yeah. I get lots of cuddles. It’s awesome. Be jealous!
And she’s finally sleeping better 😉