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   Saturday, November 03, 2007  

Is it possible to be too attached?

Most of you know that I am opposed to the CIO method.  I've always believed that if a child is crying, he needs something.  He may not be hungry or in need of a diaper change.  He may not be ill or injured.  But the need for comfort and human contact is just as valid, in my opinion.

As a result, we have co-slept more often than not.  Even when the lowercase sleeps in his own room, he is allowed to join us in ours at his first waking cry.  My theory on this was that he would always know our love and that if anything ever frightens him or he needs us in any way, we will be there for him.  And even when we can't be there, we want him to know that he can go to others for help.  As adults, we are rarely ever truly on our own.  Problems at work?  There are coworkers to help you.  Sick or injured?  You have a spouse, a roommate, a friend, another relative, a doctor or a nurse.  You don't have to do it on your own.

I've also followed other tenets of attachment parenting.  I carried my son in a sling.  I breastfed as much as I possibly could for the first year of his life despite never producing enough to fully sustain my child.

Two years out, my son and I have an extremely close bond.  He genuinely wants to be with me (more so than Mr. W -- likely because I am at home with him every day).  He wants to read with me, he curls up beside me when he wants to nap.  He likes playing games with us...holding hands whenever we're out in public.  He doesn't run off, preferring instead to never be out of our line of sight -- or rather he doesn't want us out of his.

Once, when he was about 9 months old, we were exhausted and decided that we would try the CIO method.  It was a complete disaster.  He cried so hard that he very nearly vomited -- and he did poop from the force of the sobs.  Another time a few months later, there was a delivery at our door.  It was winter, so I left him upstairs on the other side of the gate while I ran down to the door.  Again, he cried and cried.  And again, the force of his sobs caused him to poop.  (Literally scared the crap out of him)

This morning, he woke before Mr. W and I were ready to be out of bed.  So, Mr. W took him into his room and showed him his trains.  He began to play with them and Mr. W came back to bed.  Of course Mr. W decided that since we were temporarily child free we should uh...take advantage of the situation.  So he closed and locked our door (the little guy can open it, and once I enter "mommy mode" that is all that I can be).

And as soon as the door clicked, he cried.  He banged on the door.  And did I mention the wracking sobs?  I felt trapped.  I was caught between being the mommy or being the wife my husband needed.  So I did what any sane person would do -- looked at my husband and said "You've got 10 minutes.  No more.  Make 'em good."

Less than 10 minutes later, we unlocked the door.  The lowercase threw himself into my arms, still sobbing.  He had cried so hard he had pooped (and I know it was from the tears since he does it at almost exactly the same time of day every day and it wasn't even close to that time yet).  He didn't want to go in his room to get his diaper changed -- I think out of fear I would leave him in there.  I had to hold him for about 15 minutes before he was relaxed enough to stop clinging and get his pants changed.

I'm starting to wonder if I've done this parenting thing wrong -- is my child too attached?  Or is he just in a stage where he needs me more than at other times?  (Please note, he doesn't ALWAYS make himself ill when I am not right beside him -- these are the only 3 instances I can think of)

   [ posted  @ 10:30 AM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (3) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Is it possible to be too attached?":
I don't know. We did CIO, and I'm glad we did because they sleep well at night. During the day, however, my sons sometimes sob when they want my attention and I'm not able to give it to them. I think that's natural. And I do feel like I have to be there for them, just like you. There's no right answer. It will probably work itself out. Believe me, no matter what method of child-rearing you choose, you're never sure it was the "right one." All you can do is go with your instinct, and yours seems to be APish. Go with your gut.
Maybe instead of your AP parenting style making him "too attached" (which I don't think he is, anyway), it just happens to be exactly right for his personality? In other words, he is a kid who needs that closeness and you are giving him exactly what he needs to feel safe and secure? That's what I would tell myself, anyway!

PS I'm sorry the job thing didn't work out for Mr. W--I know there was a lot riding on it.
I did the same with DD (y/o now) and yes eventualy she out grew the need but she does truely believe that her parents love her and will be there no matter what. That said she was probably 7 before she decided she could sleep teh whole night w/o mommy or daddy cuddling her at some point. We still ahve the rule that if you wake up scared or can't sleep you come find mom and or dad. this rule lets her know we are still there for her even if she's a big girl. I too tried CIO *ONCE* She sobbed in her sleep the rest of the night. Never again no matter what. She's a great kid strait A's and ingeneral just plain a wonderful person.

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