Rebecca Wolf

This blog is a chronicle of my daughters' growth - born July 2003 and May 2007. Be sure to check out the Thriving Babies homepage, for videos and instructions on how to use every type of baby carrier. For literacy and homeschooling tips, visit my Rochester-based Learning Center blog at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Attachment Parenting, revisited

When I had my first daughter, I found myself naturally doing "attachment parenting". We wore her in a baby sling or a baby carrier all the time and just included her in everything we did.

Four years later, along comes daughter number two. She is still breastfeeding and we cloth diaper her and we carry her, although not as much as the first. She has a sibling to play with, so she doesn't have to be worn so much. I'm also set up a Montessori room in my house and even though she is only 20 months old, she really engages with the materials for 15-20 minutes at a time. All that has been surprisingly good and wonderful.

Now that my eldest daughter is 5 1/2 years old, I have found myself having to deal with issues of jealousy and limit testing. She was very jealous of the baby for the first several months and I wasn't prepared for it. I wish I could say that I handled it well, but I experimented with corporeal punishment and time-outs, none of which worked for us. The problem with spanking is, once you start, it seems like it takes less and less provocation to use it as "a last resort". I have had to ban myself from using it because it became such a slippery slope. I didn't like the way it made me or my daughter feel.

The one thing that DID seem to work was to just give Arianna more attention. Andrew helped give me time for just the two of us girls. And when she acted out, I took it as a sign that she needed to spend some time with me, instead of being hit or chastised. I could see her self-esteem was positively affected. She just needed reassurance that I still loved her as much as I always did and spending time with her was the best way to demonstrate that.

I'm not sure if I'm an attachment parent anymore. I still cosleep and breastfeed and babywear. But I'm not as militant about it. Now that I have two kids, I understand how sometimes, you just do what you need to do to get through the day with the least amount of psychic damage possible. Sometimes the dishes and the laundry pile up and teeth only get brushed once a day. And sometimes the girls watch a Dora the Explorer video (shock, gasp) so I can make dinner in peace.

I remember my sister-in-law saying you haven't really parented if you only have one. I disagree, but I understand what she was trying to say now. It's a whole different level of parenting and my standards aren't quite the same as they used to be.

And the house is even messier.


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