An honest take on life and parenthood

Velcro baby

on May 11, 2012

I never made the time to read parenting guidebooks before or during my pregnancy, and there certainly was no time after the Pooh arrived. I just make it up as I go.

One of my biggest challenges is Velcro baby. Yes, you heard it right. Velcro baby.

You see, my daughter is EXTREMELY attached to me. Could it have been the breastfeeding? Is it the fact that she is the first and only child? Is it because I stayed at home with her for the first 20 months of her life? Is it because I wore her in a Baby Bjorn constantly until she was 18 months old? Is this simply nature at work? Or is it her particular personality?

I have no clue.

Tactful friends, who are more experienced mothers, observe the Pooh’s extreme clinginess and gently suggest that she needs to go to school, or that she needs to go to some two hour preschool programs for socialization. So I tried a few times. The first time, I took her to the YMCA and dropped her off at the babysitting center. I went downstairs to take a very cool dance kickboxing class. Five minutes after the class started, a representative from the babysitting center called me out and told me to come and get the Pooh, who was inconsolable.

Eventually, I was able to get away for an hour or so, but the thought that she was sad and miserable and afraid just broke my heart.

I guess it takes two to tango.

But I will admit, I am not always so patient with Velcro Pooh. For instance, when my hands are full and she can walk up the sidewalk to the door perfectly well. Or when there is another pair of willing arms and hands to carry her, but no one else will do. Or when I just want to chill and sit alone, without having to navigate around a toddler’s punkinhead to eat my pasta. You know, simple things like that.

Some days, she just wants me to hold her and hold her. Coincidentally, they tend to be days when I am trying to do a gazillion things, feel totally behind and stressed out, and the last thing I want to do is stop everything and pick her up.

I fight it, and it’s bad. She cries, I feel angry, and then I feel badly.

You know what the best solution seems to be?

Roll with it. Yes, just roll with it. In the end, I have discovered that it is far easier to just leave all that crap I have to do and put it aside, and just pick her up and calm her down. It forces me to slow down, and in the end, most, if not all of it, is as urgent as I like to think it is.

This is a major mind shift for me. I am used to challenge, and spelunking on even when hail falls around me. But perhaps the Pooh was sent to me to force me to reconsider some of my approaches to life.

And even if not, she won’t be little forever.

So I pick her up and smell her hair, and give her a kiss. I shelve my frustration and tell myself to take it out later when I have time. It falls out to hit me on the head occasionally, believe me, but I think at the end of my life, I will be happy that I put down my to-do list and picked up my daughter.

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