I know every child is different, but I only have one. So it took me until recently to accept a couple of things about Hugo:
1. He had a hard time separating from me long enough for me to shower or pee pretty much from birth up until maybe a week ago.
2. He’s not a good sleeper.
It makes me feel good to admit these things because there’s nothing wrong with a baby being really attached to his mom experiencing some separation anxiety and not every person sleeps heavily for long hours. Hopefully Hugo will be a morning person later in life when he’s expected to function and be brilliant first thing after waking up.
For me, attachment parenting has meant being available to give Hugo love when he wants it, because his wants and needs are the same in this regard. I followed my instincts, breastfed on demand and still bring Hugo into our bed when he wakes up in the middle of the night.
Even from the beginning with co-sleeping I wished he would sleep in his crib longer to give his dad and me some privacy and let me stretch out a bit. We had a turning point when Hugo was about four months old when I decided I was going to nip this co-sleeping thing in the bud before he got too comfortable. I jumped up when he awoke in the bassinet and nursed him back to sleep, placing him carefully back down. Zero to 10 minutes passed – repeat these steps six times before giving up and plopping back into bed with Hugo next to me.
Our bed’s feeling pretty small lately and I have hopes that Hugo’s big boy bed (coming soon) will help him sleep in his room longer. Or maybe even all night! Maybe we’ll put stickers on a calendar as an incentive like my parents did with me. When I was 6.
Happy, Independent Go
I found a day care center that made me feel comfortable in September when I went back to work full time. Hugo went two days a week and cried his eyes out when I dropped him off every single day. His teachers assured me that he was relaxed and interested in everything, generally having a great time most of the day until five minutes before I picked him up when he would start crying again.
It did gradually get better over the months. I would arrive to find him playing happily instead of clinging to his teacher. But the real turning point came about a week ago. Hugo’s been going to school five days a week since the new year and finally stopped dreading it in the morning. He stopped crying when it was time to put on his coat, strap into the car seat, and even when I said good bye.
This week, he started running up the walk to school by himself instead of being carried. He doesn’t even seem to be attached to a particular caregiver though he loves his teacher. And it feels really good when I drive to work!
And now when he sees me in my robe at night, he’ll say “Mommy, are you taking a shower? Bye!” with a happy wave. I thought it would never happen.