In bringing up my gals, I've followed closely the ideals of attachment and natural parenting. I birthed them both gently and naturally at home, and held them skin-to-skin from their first breaths. I breastfed them on demand. We co-slept. I responded to their every cry and whimper. I wore them in a sling until my back nearly broke.
As my girls grew, I began feeding them healthy, whole foods; organic whenever possible. As their cries turned into words, I encouraged gentle communications. As they began to explore their world, I surrounded them with natural-material playthings and helped them to engage in imaginative play.
They each grew quickly from infant to toddler to little girl. I've adjusted and continued on my natural parenting path. I limit and monitor screen time. I strive to ensure they have lots of outdoor time with physical activity. We regularly commune with nature on walking trails and at the beach. We hug and snuggle a LOT. I keep a wealth of art supplies and musical instruments on hand for them to express their creativity. We work together in our vegetable and butterfly gardens. We read stories and poetry out loud every day and night. We work side-by-side in the kitchen to roll out cookies and toast up granola. I continually strive for mutual respect and, as the parent, I try and lead by positive example in all I do.
My parenting ideals have expanded beyond our home, too. We belong to a community of like- minded families that support one another and share the same basic values and ideals. Our children have played together since birth. As families, we've celebrated together, cried together and grown together. My girls have developed real relationships with both the other kids and the adults of this community. They know they are surrounded by people who support them unconditionally. We are a strong village and my girls are experiencing a deep sense of belonging to a community.
On every level, every day, almost every move I make is calculated to ensure my children know in a deep and real way that they are loved and safe. Their needs and desires are always heard, and most always met.
At ages 7 and 4, my girls are officially attached. So. Very. Attached.
In fact, I'm beginning to suffocate a bit from their close attachment. Lately, I've felt a growing desire to push them away a little. To create some space around us - some breathing room. I feel my children struggling with this too. They squabble with one another. They struggle more with unstructured time. And they NEVER stop demanding someone's attention.
So I've been asking myself, what's the next step in our journey together? I know it is my childrens' natural developmental work to detatch from their parents. And I wonder, at what point - and how- do I help facilitate this gradual process? I believe all the things I've done with them to-date have set the foundation for them to have confidence in themselves and their world so they can start peeking out at it and taking their first solitary steps within it. But how do I foster this independence while holding them close? How do I safely create more space for both them and myself without pushing them away?
We are all a bit on edge, feeling the pull of something new and different on the horizon. I'm looking now for ways to move forward on this new path...
If you've walked it already, I'd love to hear your thoughts.