Thursday, January 15, 2009

Embracing the terrific two's


Now that June is almost 2 1/2 we definitely have our moments of grace and beauty alternating with moments of whining, screaming and tears. My efforts this winter to put the "stay-at-home" back into "stay-at-home-mom" have brought some success. Much of that success is due to a few good mommy friends, some who live in my neighborhood and allow me to stay home while still having contact with humans (though the deer are charming, the chickens are obnoxious at best). I have made some amazing discoveries recently which must first be prefaced with the knowledge that Matt and I loosely practice Attachment Parenting (AP). Attachment Parenting International defines it simply as this: "The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others."-API We all practice some part of this gentle approach, some embrace it more than others. I won't expose you to the "8 Principles" right now- perhaps a blog for another day.


So, yesterday June was having a difficult morning, lots of tears, recovering from being sick, generally having a hard time. And I had an agenda. Must clean the kitchen (disaster!), sweep and pick up the main living spaces. *sigh* Do I plop her in front of another Dora video (I really try not to do that, but it happens!) or do I get creative? Tori is creative, if nothing else. So, I put her in the sling, on my back, put on some worship music and got to work washing dishes. She loved it! I loved it. The counterweight eased the discomfort of leaning over the sink. Now, hang on, here's the really genius part. I gave her a little hand-held massager that I put in Matt's stocking this year. "Here, honey- push the silver button. Ooooh...yes! Put it on mommy's neck! This is fun!" It was one of the more pleasurable house-keeping mornings I've had.


Another great discovery I made is that it's ok to do what feels right for your family. This may sound simple, but oh, friends, it is not! June and I still practice breastfeeding. It allows us a few moments out of the day to stop, connect and relax for a moment. Breastfeeding a toddler is an incredibly sweet thing. Nevertheless, I recently decided that I needed to wean June. I realized later, of course, that this was primarily pressure from "the world" and even myself not wanting to seem "weird" or "undisciplined" to non-AP friends. The truth is that it works for us. The other truth is that my friends are amazing and lovely. I always assumed that my friends fell into two categories: 1) stop breastfeeding as soon as possible or 2) let the child decide when you stop. After days of tears and emotional instability (on my part!) and confusion, sadness and lethargy (on June's part), I decided this was a ridiculous endeavor. And my amazing friends offered their support through the process, regardless of their own parenting practices. It turns out that none of my friends live on extreme ends of my spectrum. Thank God for diversity in our friendships and our lives. Without those threads of different colors, our lives would weave one boring tapestry.


Who needs New Year's resolutions with moments like these? Yet this year I've committed to be intentional with my time, connect to each moment as I am in it, and always be available to the person who is standing right in front of me. Even if I'm looking in a mirror. Through it all I will anchor to real HOPE rather than myself or others and will worship my Creator, regardless of my circumstance.