Its occurred to me that sweet Rosebud gets much less of the spotlight on this blog. I assure you, though, that she gets no less of the spotlight in our lives. It’s just that she’s easier. Parenting her is purely instinctual – it requires very little processing, tracking, or working through which is what I do a lot of on here with the parenting of Sprout. I would describe parenting her with the same words I’ve used to describe my marriage: warm and easy. Of course that’s not to say in any way that I prefer parenting her to Sprout because anyone who knows me knows I love a good challenge. Recently* a lovely reader asked that I blog a bit about how we are raising Rosebud and I’m happy to oblige.
A and I are attac.hement parents through and through. This didn’t come about because we read a bunch of books and compared parenting models. It simply happened when we looked in her eyes followed our hearts. The night 6 week old Rosebud was dropped at our doorstep, I had no idea what attach.ement parenting was – in fact, I probably had opinions contrary to the philosophy. But when we were entrusted with a tiny, sick, FTT (failure to thr.ive) newborn who had already been through more caregivers than most know in a lifetime, it was clear what we needed to do. Gosh, just writing that sentence makes the tears well up in the back of my eyes.
The first thing we did was respond. To her every sound or look or need. This was so that she could learn to trust – and to communicate. We also kept her close. For weeks she was no more than 5 feet from either A or I at all times. We wore her (love the e.rgo and m.ai tai if you are looking for recs), coslept (bedsharing is against foster regulations), and moved that bouncy chair from room to room to room as we went about our day. And we employed lots of positive touch – cuddles, baby massages, baths, and plenty of skin to skin.
I was bonded instantly…I’d say it took her a couple weeks. But once it happened, it was amazing. She started gaining weight (so much she dropped the FTT title within the first month), sleeping better, crying less, she lost her stiffness and tolerated sensory experiences with ease. We were hooked on attachem.ent parenting.
Now we are much less survival oriented and instead focused on supporting learning, discovering, and exploring in her own pace, in her own way. The more attached she becomes, the more independent and fearless she is (oh my word is that baby fearless!). We do our best to modify our environment for safety and success so that she can feel secure to explore without a hovering mommy. We are very much believers in the mon.tessori method and see our role as cheerleaders and gentle guides. Just as with Sprout, we have no interest in confining or controlling Rosebud, though we won’t miss an opportunity to teach if one arises. Similarly, we make every effort not to short-change her abilities either. She feeds herself whenever possible (and for this reason she usually eats naked), she uses the toilet (though not with any regularity), and does a million other things that makes my mom ask “Are you really going to let her xxx?!” Yes mom, she’s fine. Afterall, whats a little extra cleaning in exchange for learning and building confidence?
We don’t kid ourselves into taking credit for even an iota of the amazing spirit she is, but this methodology allows us to be the type of parents we want to be. It just clicks for us. Perhaps it does for you as well?
*And by recently I mean close to a month ago…sorry about that!