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Attachment Daddy: Intuitive parenting

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My husband is a lovely writer, and a fabulous daddy, and has been on quite a journey with the attachment fatherhood stuff. I thought it would be WICKED to get his perspective on some of it all for this blogdiggidy. He agreed! What a LEDGE. So here he is, an intro post, on parenting by instinct.

Ramona is coming up 2 years old now.  I can’t actually believe how fast those years have gone.  It seems like only yesterday that I was looking in awe and wonder at Lucy’s growing tummy, trying to get my mind around the fact that a little life is growing in there.  I remember the moments when Ramona’s head crowned, followed by her tiny little body into the arms of the midwife.   While I was busy wide eyed exclaiming that we have a little girl, Lucy’s hands were already reaching back through her legs instinctively for this little life that was now newly apart from her.  “Give her to me.”  A mother and her daughter after a very long labour, that time completely forgotten melting into one another.

So the journey for me began.  My stumbling instinct, and Lucy’s primeval mothering one, together parenting Ramona Lily.
Things are always the hardest when you haven’t done them before, especially when popular culture seems to ever willingly chide your methodology.  My feelings swing from experiencing the beauty of waking with the snuggling cuddles and kisses of my precious child to the jealous desire to have my Lucy to myself, apart from this ever present little limpet.  From feeling Ramona snuggled safely and cosily around me in a sling, to lazily wanting her somewhere else so I can enjoy the cool breeze.  From wanting her to learn that I won’t always be there, to wanting her to know completely that I will.  Unconditionally, without question or hesitation.
My instincts seem buried much further beneath the expected norms of society and upbringing than Lucy’s.  There’s always a book that I should be reading, a documentary or article that I need to check out.  Sometimes I feel like I’m being coached in this strange new art, yet I don’t want that all the time.  Lucy and I talk often about parenting.  I think I am relatively open minded and good at listening as well as talking.
I was talking to a friend yesterday about choosing a home birth (or rather attempting to).  All my hesitations that I previously had had seem now totally ridiculous to me.  Worries no longer there with the benefit of hindsight.  Without a second thought we’d do it all again, with very little, if any, changes.  The doubts I have shelved, by all accounts lost, in the files of time.  Perhaps I’ll feel like that about all our parenting decisions too one day.  Why did I ever doubt?  Why did I ever question?
Ramona is by far one of the loveliest people that I have ever met.  She is (mostly) gentle, loving, engaged and curious, independent and graceful.  She climbs like a monkey, she runs with a bouncing carefreeness that I adore.  Her cuddles are like none others that I have ever experienced.  I am proud and happy of our growing girl.
Oh, nice one Tim. He is going to cover some of the practices of attachment soon. Cosleeping, extended breastfeeding and babywearing. Should be some nice honest stuff to come, I reckon. THANKS TIMPOP! (This is the sweet nothing 6 years of marriage has seen me ending up calling him- and also everyone I love. It is short for Pop-on-off. Sometimes it sounds like I am calling him Polpot so I shouldn’t really do it in public. But I do. An antique dealer actually once said to me: You can’t call him that! HARUMPH.) 
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9 responses »

  1. That just brought a tear to my eye. So lovely to hear an honest opinion that’s not too gushy about attachment parenting. Some of the things I read make me feel bad for not being overjoyed that this little boobygrub does not want to leave my side for a second and really, I would just like to sit, childfree for 10 mins! However, it shows that there are other parents out there just following their gut and their childs needs.

    I really look forward to reading more and will be getting the mister to have a gander.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Tim- nice to hear a little picture of things from your perspective.

    We’ve got a beautiful little monkey, 18 months now, and it certainly has been an adventure parenting in a way that you didn’t think you were going to, and that doesn’t quite fit in with the worlds way of doing things. I love it and it’s great.

    So bit of a personal question, in a very public space, but in terms of getting going with attachment parenting was this: your joint decision, something you fell into by accident, your decision or Lucys decision?

    You mention the ‘jealous desire to have my Lucy to myself’ – who feels that most, you or Lucy, and any ideas why?

    Thanks for the blog-love that you’re getting the thoughts out and keep up the lovely writing 🙂

    Reply
  3. geraldine wilson

    Lucy & Tim, Ramona has the MOST amazing, thoughtful, loving, carefree, contented, happy,clever etc. Lucky Ramona and lucky us to know you and your family. X

    Reply
  4. Hi Caleb, i think your description of the parenting conundrum is a very good one. It sort of sums up the tension that I have felt regularly in terms of decision making.

    The decision to patent in an ‘attached’ way undeniably came from Lucy. She’s very much the thoughtful well read individual where most of my decisions are more based on popular culture and ‘accepted norms’. What I lack in ability to be avante guard I make up in honest reflection and ability to acknowledge an idea more appropriate than my own (most of the time).

    My jealous inclinations are certainly more mine than Lucy’s. We had our first outing together, just the two of us for a whole movie a month or so ago. I felt that I really needed it. Perhaps lucy less so. I don’t know, maybe it’s something to do with the idea that I ascertain my value from others more so than lucy does. So where I was previously the sole apple of her eye, I now share that affection. The s word comes into it too but I won’t mention that to prevent my mother in law fainting. It’s all a bit harder innit.

    On another tack, a bit of a funny feeling was that for the first 4-6 months my love for Ramona seemed to be directed toward making lucy happy and comfortable. It took me a long time to really be able to express that directly to Ramona. Did any other partners feel that?

    Enjoy your monkey of an 18 month old. Genuinely precious.

    Reply
    • Thanks Tim! Sorry for the delay in replying! Busy couple of weeks…

      Yes- I get all that….the tension of pleasing your wife by doing the practical things. Weird dynamic of biting your tongue and feelIng a little displaced, as most other dads I know tend to have evenings with their wife. Well done with the cinema. I feel spoilt- I think I’ve had 3 nights out. Not managed a non family babysitter but working on that- keep that between us though eh!

      I felt pretty privileged to be the one that our monkey would fall asleep on, so thankfully the connection was there early doors. I’d find myself singing away with her, and that would be our moment together. Gave me an incredible connection, as I knew how to soothe. I’m still the main sleeper helper. I didn’t have breasts but I knew how she slept.

      Loved having a chat recently with a child psychologist about the different stages of growth in a child, and although clearly the breast is still just about the favourite toy for our monkey, I do feel like its becoming more of a two person thing (not the breast) but the ‘input’ from a males perspective.

      Been especially interesting reflecting where we’ve both come from in respect to our own parenting styles.

      As for the s word- that made me chuckle!

      My wife knows how to love her, is an incredible mum and I love seeing how confident our bubba is as a result. I’m very proud of all that she has been and is with her, and I know that it is totally what’s best for monkey. Comes at a cost- but really I get it easy. My nips aren’t getting bitten!

      Look forward to meeting at some point downstream good sir… 🙂

      Reply

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