Monday, March 9, 2009

Clingy or Cuddly?

I have 2 children that are fairly clingy children.

As a baby Spud always wanted to be held. It was pretty much the only way he would sleep and whenever I put him down, he would wake up and start crying. I hear people talk about how their baby cries all the time unless they are held. That was true of Spud. Except he didn't cry all the time. I held him. I would spend hours with him on my chest surfing the internet or reading books.

At night time, it would take me a long time to get him settled enough to sleep. This was back when I was still very opposed to co-sleeping. So, I would sometimes sit with him for 30-60 minutes after a night time feed until he was in a deep enough sleep that I could put him down. Even then, it was still iffy as to whether he would sleep on his own.

Now when Sweetpea came along, I was a little more prepared for this, and it was a good thing because, if anything, she was more clingy then her brother. I couldn't just let her lie on my chest while sitting around, but I did put her in my wrap from the very start. This left me with free hands to deal with toddler Spud. Spud still wanted his Mommy though. I became very skilled at contorting my body in such a way to be able to breastfeed Sweetpea while still cuddling Spud.

Now there are times where I find this dependance on me exasperating. When I leave the room and Spud bursts into tears. Or I hand Sweetpea off to Daddy and she starts to wimper. Sometimes I feel like my personal space is constantly invaded. Who am I kidding though? When you become a mother, you give up all rights to personal space.

It also goes against my parenting philosophy to just put one of my kids down and let them deal with it or work it out. I realize one argument is they need that to become independant. I side with the other side of the argument. I believe that human touch and contact is a need. When my children want to be held, there is also a need to be held. Because of this, I will do what I can to accomodate that need. If I allow them to learn that I am there for them when they need me, they will gain the confidence to venture further out on their own.

Hence the reason I spend so much time with two children attached to me.

It has gotten gradually better though. Since Sweetpea started crawling, she's liking being put down more. And Spud isn't clingy all the time. Mostly when his teeth are hurting, he's tired, or we're in a new place.

And, I consider the fact that they are going to become more and more independant as they get older. Then the day will come when one of them pulls their hand out of mine while we are walking. Or they'll get embarrassed if I hug them in front of their friends.

Suddenly, the cuddles don't seem so clingy. I don't mind so much that Sweetpea needed to be in the wrap to fall asleep. I find it endearing that Spud grabs my hand to put my arm around him.

It's a oft quoted phrase, but they are only little for a short time. I'm going to take my cuddles when I can.

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