Imagine my surprise when reading this blog entry about how to write with a distinct voice when I serendipitously stumbled across the Attachment Parenting Blog. I'd like to consider myself an attachment parenting advocate, though I admit to not being as knowledgeable as I should be. I mostly follow my wife's lead and, with guidelines we've established, I operate on instinct. I've written elsewhere about our family bed.
What I have found as a relatively quiet AP advocate is that much of Western culture pushes against this practice. Dave Taylor, author of the Attachment Parenting Blog, has provided his definition of AP here, and in it he also describes the social pressure to create independent children as young as possible.
I admit to having moments when I really want my boys to be more independent, but on the whole, I like the idea of really building a connected family that has unconditional love. I know independence will come. It already is for all of them. The twins play on their own more and more every day. They spend time across the street at their friends' house. Our youngest has always had a bit of an independent streak, running away down the street as far as he can get before we can sprint and catch him. He will be independent without any societal help.
Soon after the twins were born, I was looking in this Montessori catalog at all their cool wooden toys. I noticed they had a small corral-like structure for babies to sleep in. They don't believe in cribs because they are really cages. That stuck with me. They really are like cages. Some might argue that they are for the child's own good, but are they? What do they do? What message do they send? I wondered that when our twins would wake and cry to get out. I remember hating when they woke up because it felt like they nearly always cried to have someone get them.
Our youngest seldom cries when he wakes in our bed. Certainly he calls for someone to get him, but he seldom cries. I know all kids are different, but I'd like to believe their is a connection. Our youngest wakes every morning surrounded by those he loves. And he revels in it. Despite the hour, it's always joyful to have a tiny someone repeatedly call your name with a face-wide grin. It beats any alarm clock I've seen. And I'd like to believe this is the foundation for a lifetime of good sleep and strong familial bonds.
M crawls into bed next to me nearly every night. Though he didn't have the same experience as our youngest, I believe this is his opportunity to forge a similar sleeping bond. At least I hope so. When he wakes with the rest of us, he's always happy and ready to go, excited to start the day.
So one of my goals this summer is to learn more about AP and how I can be the best parent I can and help form the strongest family unit that I can. For me, that is far more important than how to write with a distinct voice.