Thursday, November 18, 2010

Parenting Philosophy

I am not 'hard on' my kids. Some might say that I am too soft, even. I was thinking about this a while ago as Ben was crying in his bed.

Naptime came late today after the MOMS club business meeting and Kate's ECFE class. For both of those things Ben was put into (very competent and caring) childcare. When we got home, they had lunch and a little downtime before scooting off to nap.

I put Ben down first. We read a book and sang songs before I laid him down awake but drowsy, our usual routine. Then, I brought Kate in to bed. She needed a new pull-up and then story and songs. It was while I was singing that I heard Ben making noise in my room. Not crying, but fussing.

I went downstairs and turned on the monitors and Ben was still fussing. I started loading the dishwasher. He began crying. Kept crying.

Maybe he needed milk? I got his cup, filled it, and went upstairs with the intention of handing it to him and walking away. Which I did, honest! But, as I was closing the door he sounded so sad and the crying is, at this point, unusual. I went back in. He was so happy to be picked up! I took him over to my bed and (holding him like a newborn taking a bottle) I gave him his milk. Mmm, his bliss was contagious! I sang and rocked back and forth and his eyes slowly closed. Why not? Why deprive him and me the joy of closeness and security?

Like I said, I am soft for my kids. I don't let them get away with everything or have everything. They cry when I say no but I stay firm. Kate is three and Ben is one. There is plenty of time to learn that life can be cruel and people can be hateful and mean. I want them to learn that I will be there for them to offer comfort and love (and snuggles) when they want them.

If the crying and fussing continue, he will have to cry it out but today is not that day. Today is a day to enjoy the weight of a sleeping one year old in my lap. To feel his body go limp in my arms, the feel of his little hand holding tight onto mine but slowly relaxing. Maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place if all children could be held in their mothers loving arms a bit more often.