Friday, January 17, 2014

Adjusting Attachment Parenting for 2

Both boys are home sick today. It's the first day since Leo was born that I've been the primary caretaker for both boys all day long. So far, so good. I've actually enjoyed the morning, and now both boys are taking an afternoon nap--at the same time! Just call me super mom.

One of the hardest adjustments for me as a mother of 2 has been watching my relationship with Cameron evolve. I tend toward attachment parenting, and it's not so easy with 2 attachees. In the good old days as an only child, Cameron enjoyed nursing, bed sharing, baby wearing, and copious amounts of one-on-one time with me. Now he sleeps in his own bed (can I get a hallelujah?!), holds hands and walks like a big boy, and goes to preschool plus lunch and nap for 6 hours every week day. I deem all of these things necessary in order to maintain my career on a part-time basis and establish a quality bond with my new nursling.

Let's talk about that new nursling. Leo has enjoyed at least a good 2 hours in his Ergo carrier today already, and I lost track of how many times he's nursed. But he also cried by himself this morning. He shows an obvious need for a nap around 8:30 or 9 in the morning, and when Cameron is home it's too noisy for Leo to fall asleep. So I do my best to settle him, and then put him down in his co-sleeper with the door shut to allow him to fall all the way asleep. He doesn't get the luxury of falling asleep for every nap on my lap like his big brother did. If we did that, either he would never fall all the way asleep or Cameron would self destruct downstairs while I tend to Leo upstairs behind closed doors. Cameron is a 2-year-old boy. He doesn't sit quietly.

Mommy guilt is alive and well in my psyche. I miss my one-on-one time with Cameron. I cringe when baby Leo cries alone. Despite my misgivings, our setup is getting easier and more sane with time. I'm so proud of Cameron for his growing independence and his ability to entertain himself when I'm unavailable to play. When Leo stops crying upstairs, and especially when he doesn't cry at all, I pat myself on the back for recognizing his need for sleep, and then I proceed to enjoy a few precious moments alone with Cameron.

What I can't wait for is the day when Leo and Cameron develop an attachment to each other. Already my heart melts when Cameron holds Leo, when both boys lie down in one bed together, and when Cameron imitates my soothing skills in an attempt to stop baby Leo's crying. There are a lot of needs flying around this house lately. My hope is that my boys grow up confident in themselves and their needs, and rooted in unconditional love.



Do you have more than one child? How did you adjust your parenting style to best meet everyone's needs?