Thursday, September 8, 2011

On not having an AP poster child

I used to be an expert on how babies should be. I knew that all babies who were raised the attachment parenting way never cried (they never needed to!), breastfed easily, coslept without a fuss for baby or parents, developed ahead of the pack, and became energetic, independent toddlers and preschoolers as they moved out of babyhood.

And then I actually had a child, and my expertise faltered.

Mikko as a baby challenged all my expectations for how attachment babies should behave. He cried more than not. He demanded constant motion. I had read in The Continuum Concept, and had bought into the idea, that babies who are worn are limp and content. We wore and carried Mikko everywhere — we had to. But he was shrieky and convulsive.

I also had this defense all ready to give to relatives who questioned our unusual insistence on cosleeping, breastfeeding past infancy, and unschooling — that giving our baby a base of attachment would make him that much more independent. Um … yeah … still waiting for that to happen.

It's not that perfect AP babies don't exist. If I'd had Alrik first, I would have believed the hype I'd told myself. Alrik is the so-called "good" baby (meaning he's convenient, meaning he's generally quiet in public, meaning he sleeps through the night already). If I'd had him first, I'd have pointed to him as being that way because of how we parented him. "He's so easygoing," I'd have been able to gloat, "because he knows we're here to meet all his needs!" Having had a non-easygoing child first, who was raised exactly the same way (or, to be honest, with even more responsiveness, because our poor second child sometimes has to play second fiddle…), I know now it's just not always so.

Now, I've said to friends, and I firmly believe, that Mikko would not have been better off if we'd been non-attachment-minded. I truly do think he'd have been even fussier as a baby, even more hesitant as a child. Breastfeeding and babywearing him in his colicky phases kept us all going until he could outlive them…and now that he's a child with a lot of social anxiety, being less patient and less nurturing would only force him into coping mechanisms that could ultimately do him lasting harm.

So don't think I'm taking back my support of attachment parenting. If anything, I love it all the more as I glimpse what could have been my child's fate if I'd had a different parenting plan in mind.

What I want to do is remove some of the parenting pride — and guilt — we subscribe to. When our babies are easy, when they go to sleep as we wish them to, when they grow and develop on our schedule, we tend to praise our own regimen, whether it's crying-it-out or high responsiveness. If our babies are not fitting into the convenient boxes we've made, people tend to look for what we as parents are doing "wrong," and we feel that judgment.

Maybe we should let it all go.

As I've blogged, I've been privileged and humbled to talk with parents riddled with guilt because cosleeping didn't work for them (no one was getting enough sleep), or because their plan for breastfeeding failed (for medical or support reasons), or whose babies or backs didn't take to babywearing. I've heard parents' stories of children who defy their best efforts at gentle discipline (not that they give up, but just the frustration of it), and of older kids who turn to paths that feel or truly are highly dangerous and disappointing.

Our kids are who they are. We can enhance how comfortable they feel in this world by respecting their needs, by trying to meet them, by acting and reacting in love. But we can't control them, either as wee infants or as strong-minded tots or as maturing tweens and teens. Our parenting is not the sum of their parts. They own their own souls and their own paths, and we can only come alongside them.

This is what I'm learning, daily, from parenting two very different, but very dear, boys.

What surprises have touched you? How have your kids challenged your parenting assumptions?


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

We already know Kieran and Mikko are a lot alike. One thing I've always carried guilt about is the whole "kids who are securely attached are more independent." Yeah. Right. At least for Kieran. I don't know how he could be any more securely attached, but due to other factors (sensory issues, personality), he's simply taken longer than other kids his age to become more independent. I know it's not us, but I still feel that nagging guilt.
At any rate - yay for not having AP (or any other kind of) poster children :)

Isil Simsek said...
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Isil Simsek said...

My first was the easy going and calm one and I used to think AP helped her being so. My second is quite different and although we parent the same way. Every child has his/her own character and it's not all due to parenting choices. Can't remember where but I read somewhere that a mom who has one child thinks all children are like her child, a mom who has two thinks some children can be different and a mom who has three thinks all children are different :)

Janet said...

I love this quote: "The goal of parenting is ultimately not about ‘producing’ an outcome, such as a ‘happy’ child, a ‘confident’ child, a ‘successful’ child. It is about learning how to connect with our child at each step of the way." - Robin Grille

AP isn't about happy babies it's just about building connection with our children. <3 Sounds like you're doing great by responding to this babe as he needs and that's what attachment is all about!

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama said...

I think AP mamas all around the world will be breathing a sigh of relief after reading this post! Awesome post!

Lynn Jenness said...

I'm not a parent yet (give me 3-4 more weeks!) but i'm currently halfway thru "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith Small, and it's making me question this obviously American fixation on independence in our children. If Mikko winds up like my own brother-- 26 years old and still living at home, not paying rent, because he's lazy and enabled by an overbearing mother-- then perhaps a few parenting techniques might need to be examined. but just because a child develops differently in early years than the average American child, well... so what? Kids in Japan or Africa or South America are raised differently, but with no less love or care!

i'm sure i will fall prey to the same frets and comparisons and parental pride and guilt-- i would be foolish to think i can avoid it!-- but i'm hoping i can keep in mind that i'm doing my best in parenting, and that no two kids are the same, and there is no one "right" way to raise a child.


Sarah H said...

Thank you for this post. Our first was so happy and easy as a baby. Our second was (is) much more of a challenge, and that seems to make some think they can question our choices to breastfeed and cosleep. It's very frustrating and can make us second guess ourselves sometimes.

This has been a very reassuring read.

violetsouffle said...

Man, I totally relate. Maddison is hesitant, extremely shy, and needs to be held for hours still, even at three big years old. She wakes up if left alone in the bed, and still needs nursies to comfort her several times a day. But I hadn't really considered any of those non-poster-childy, I just sort of thought this was how some children naturally progress. Ie. She IS a poster child, just of a different sort. A slower-to-sever ties sort who will need mama/papa to reassure her that they are THERE many ways each day.

violetsouffle said...

RE Kieran and Mikko, and Maddison too- I see it like this: they are securely attached and in their own ways they are more independent than they would be if we weren't APing. Ie. This is probably the maximum independence they would exhibit under any parenting philosophy. This weekend we went to Asheville for three days and Maddison wanted to be worn (facing in on my front in the Ergo, a big huge 40lb girl!) nearly the whole time. Finally on the last night after hours and hours of walking I stopped and sat and started blowing bubbles for her. Kids swarmed around chasing and squealing and laughing and FINALLY right before we were leaving, she got up and joined in. Now she wants to 'reenact' that over and over, me blowing bubbles, her chasing and pretending we're there again- in her way, this is major independence.

Joyful Mud Puddles said...

Thank you for this post. I'm new to attachment parenting and have had some things we've tried not go the way I expected. I think I try too hard sometime to have every thing go perfectly and when it doesn't I get so overwhelmed. Thanks for bringing me back to reality.

Jes said...

One thing I have always tried (and still try) to remind myself is that AP is not about me and what I want/my expectations for my children. I believe AP makes them more securely attached than they would have been otherwise and also gives them the freedom to decide when THEY are ready to become more independent. Every child IS different and AP is flexible to that.

Lauren said...

Really great post! I have one very "spirited" little boy, as some would say, and often wondered if I was doing something wrong when our use of the AP principles didn't result in the quiet, peaceful, calm baby I had read about. When I realized it was his personality - not my parenting style - that made him the way he was and (really key!) that there was NOTHING wrong with the way he was, my life became much happier, much more peaceful, much more filled with acceptance for who my little man is, rather than who I wanted him to be.

Like Jes says above, what AP DID do for us was help us form an amazingly secure attachment - something I just don't think would have happened as easily for us otherwise, since our baby was in the NICU for a couple of days shortly after birth. And that beautiful, intense connection with my little boy is something I wouldn't trade for all the quiet, calm babies in the world!

Gaby @ Tmuffin said...

Yes!! Thank you for this post. Something I struggle with often is the independence thing. Baby T is a very needy boy and still always wants to be held. I know there are people out there clucking their tongues and thinking he is this way BECAUSE I wore him all the time.

But I have a very wise friend who said to me that he seems needy to me because he is attached. He knows where to turn when he IS feeling frustrated or insecure, which is often at this age, no matter how well-adjusted a child is. When your kid's eyes light up when they see you and they WANT to be with you and WANT to be held by you, that's attachment.

And when they couldn't care less that you just walked into the room after an 8-hour day of work, that's not independence or well-adjustedness. It's detachment.

Piper K said...

Thank you for posting this. We get a lot of push back for raising our daughter the way we do. When my daughter was a teeny tiny, friend and family questioned breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, etc. I *knew* we were on the right path, because that was what felt right, but 2.5 years later I'm wondering when our girl is going to become more independent, if she will ever learn how to entertain herself, or if my husband and I will ever get a good nights sleep! This was a good reminder that I am raising a person, not an ideal. Thank you.

Arpita And Jonathan said...

Such a great, and refreshing post!! I, in my baby-free state, am always wondering "I wonder how these beliefs of mine will translate into practice." Family is always quick to laugh and roll their eyes with a "Just you wait..." So it's nice to know that yes, you can be the AP parent you want to be without having to have the poster child/ or be the poster mom version of it! :)

BluebirdMama said...

Great post Lauren. Is it amazing how much you learn every single time you add a kid to your family?

And I'm certainly working on the idea that we parents are really neither responsible for nor capable of changing who are kids are.

MaMammalia said...

This was a pleasure to read and I feel very validated! I sometimes feel guilty that my son is soooo attached to me, that he still prefers my company to other children, that he still nurses every couple hours through the night. Have I created an overly dependent child? You've reminded me that it's not so. He is needy and sensitive, and that's OK. Even better, you've reminded me that using AP principles is actually more likely to help him adapt in his own way in his own time. Thanks again!

Unknown said...

I had the easy baby first. My oldest literally had 5 tantrums ever. Little Guy, I couldn't even tell you how many he had today - I've lost count! Both were cared for exactly the same as newborns and infants. The oldest can sleep through a tornado tearing the house apart, the little one wakes up if he hears someone open the refrigerator door. I was the smug mama who would tell people that my oldest was so "good" because of the way I parented. I've learned my lesson!

You are right about being non-judgemental about other parents' decisions. They're struggling just as much as anyone else and trying to make the best decisions for their families. No one should feel ashamed to admit they didn't co-sleep or breastfeed. That's just how it was. It drives me nuts to hear "perfect parents" put the rest of us down. My theory is that these people have a need to feel superior and bullying others fulfills that need.

My rule is: give advice - as much as possible. Do not EVER expect it to be taken and do not EVER make anyone feel badly for not taking it!

Inder-ific said...

Great post, and such an important point! It's so easy to be smug about your "good choices" when it comes to the ways that your child fits a societal "ideal" - sleeping well, appropriately rule-following and appropriately independent, getting along well with others. But the reality is that children are also THEMSELVES. And their personalities may not fit those ideals (at least, for now).

I definitely got a pretty challenging first child, and if nothing else, it has taught me humility. Joe is still barely verbal, can share nicely for about 20 minutes, after which he starts throwing things at other children (him aim is excellent), and has only slept through the night once in his life (which was a miracle) - Sometimes I wither under the looks of other mothers, whose children are "nicer," you know? But dangnabbit I love this kid. I have learned that my child is not a "mini-me" - his strengths are different than mine, and that's okay. If we can just survive preschool, I'm telling you, this kid might end up as a pitcher. :-)

Cassie said...

Isil- love what you said about having one, two and three kids. It's so true. I've noticed that so much after having my second.

Lauren- awesome post!! No ones kid is a poster child... The parents just say they are :)

Momma Jorje said...

"would only force him into coping mechanisms that could ultimately do him lasting harm."

I could not agree more and this is exactly what I was thinking before I even got to this line! I think that if a child doesn't become that perfect image of an AP child through AP parenting... then NOT using AP principles would likely be scarring in general.

That said, I've considered all 3 of my girls (though I only had the first for <1 year) very convenient (good word for it... much better than "good babies"). Funny thing is, my partners have not always agreed with this observation. Even convenient babies are not so ALL the time.

Still, I've considered myself lucky and thought a lot of it was by chance. Little ones do have their own personalities even from the start.

Melodie said...

My oldest daughter sounds just like Mikko. I have often told her dad that without AP she'd be even worse off with her behaviours and social anxiety. But it's still hard. I wish she was the poster child I see at home school gatherings and LLL meetings. She's just not like that and never has been. So yep, another reader relates.

Katheirne said...

I needed this today. My son is a lovely, wonderful, inquisitive, busy fella, and I love him dearly. He is also often challenging and has been since the day he arrived. I have to admit feeling like we're doing something wrong when I compare him to our friends' babies who will play quietly or grin easily. I'm thankful for the reminder that our son is who he is, and it's not up to us to make him into anything but to be with him along the way.

Sybil Runs Things said...

Oh this has always been one of my biggest parenting pet peeves. "I am an AP parent, therefor my kid doesn't do XYZ awful thing" I followed all the freaking AP principles and guess what? My oldest just might be the most difficult child I have personally ever met.
To add insult to injury, a therapist friend suggested (in my never-ending quest for answers on what the heck to do for my daughter) that is sounds like she has "attachment issues". I looked up attachment disorder online and so much of it fits her. Sigh.
I also like that when you have two kids (or more) they can be night and day different, despite essentially being raised the same way!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I think sometimes we look too far afield at parenting 'types', instead of trusting our own inuition & the needs of our very individual babies and children. Good on you for recognising the individual needs of your baby and your family without getting bogged down by what a particular parenting method tells you to do.

Amber said...

Oh man, did I need this post! I'm four and a half months into being a mama to an amazing little boy who sounds a lot like Mikko. I sort of fell into APing as I tried to learn to take care of my guy, and it is still SO hard sometimes, especially surrounded by parents of "good" kids who have slept through the night since 6 weeks, who rarely cry, and who are quiet and smiley. I can't tell you the number of times each day I wonder, "What am I doing wrong?". Thanks for this reminder that I can do my best and learn to joy in Little Man's personality.

Momioso said...

I am not sure I have ever thought that AP'ing makes a child more independent as a child; moreso, the goal of AP would be to create a happy, independent adult. It's a leap of faith, for sure, and yes, there are no guarantees, but I believe those who've gone before me (e.g. Dr. Sears) who have seen what AP does in the long run. Also, to me, AP practices are simply the most compassionate way to treat a child and in my book - compassion is the goal of humanity. Whether or not my child (as a child) is happy or colicky, sleeps or doesn't sleep is no matter - the reason I AP and that I advocate for AP is because it is wholly compassionate.

Lorien said...

This is a great post :) My little guy is happy, sweet and an excellent sleeper, but he is also very intense and wants a LOT of attention and interaction. I get to feel smug a little, I think, not because I can take all the credit for how awesome he is, but for feeling that if we weren't AP, he would be less happy, sweet, a crappy sleeper and still be intense and attention-needing. Why I think I can be smug that he wouldn't have the good qualities but would have the 'bad' qualities if I wasn't AP, I'm not sure. Maybe he would have been a good sleeper even if I did CIO... but I surely wouldn't sleep as well at night.

nurturing said...
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nurturing said...

Your story could have been written by me - over 30 years ago. In fact it was, in my self-published magazine called Nurturing where I chronicled some of his peccadilloes. I was head over heels in love with him, a love so deep I didn't know what to do with it!, but he needed my total devotion for quite some time. Because he was my first, I assumed all babies needed this kind of attention.

I was grateful to have him first because that made my second such a pleasant surprise. If she had been born first, I would have become too smug. Each of the four children that followed sort of fell into the first child's camp or the second's.

The third was needier than the fourth (who was much like the second), the fifth had colic but later was very quiet and easy, as was the sixth. Homeborn, breastfed, tandem nursed, homeschooled, gently parented - I believed that by doing it "right" all would come out perfect.

For the most part, it has. But my precious firstborn, who needed me all the time and to whom I gave everything, was harboring a mental illness even then, which didn't begin to emerge until adolescence (although looking back, I see the seeds of it far earlier).

He has now advanced past OCD and other afflictions to full-blown schizophrenia. It is, and has been, so devastatingly heartbreaking for our family and for me, personally, given the kind of mother I was, to see what this disease has done to him.

He doesn't even remember how happy he was as a child. I no longer wear rose-colored glasses. (Actually I do, but the color is only on the rims!) I used to make excuses to myself for my thoughts of doubt and dread - "He's a late bloomer", "He's marching to his own drummer" - until it became apparent that something was indeed wrong.

If love, hope, wishes, and prayer could fix everything, my son would have been freed from the hell he has gone through and we would have been freed of the hell he put us through.

I wish all young mothers the best of everything as you raise your beloved, precious children. Continue to hold them close to you, carry them on your body until you ache from their weight, breastfeed them as long as they need it, and most of all, ignore the comments of the nay-sayers. Savor every minute for it goes by so fast and you don't know what the future holds.

My comments are meant to illustrate that sometimes it doesn't matter what you do: how you birth, how long you breastfeed, how closely you bond, how well you mother, how nutritiously you feed, or how deeply you love your child. The outcome will be what it is, but that's all the more reason to do all those things according to what your heart says! If you give all of yourself to your children when they need it most, you will never regret it.

My generation of back-to-the-earth natural mamas didn't have a term for it like you do. The acronyms SAHM and AP came later. But we had the same guilt! It never did us any good either. But a mother's guilt, like concerns about our weight, knows no end, generation to generation. We can only make a conscious effort to lessen it with rational thinking.

My other five children are a testament to being raised with common sense, good food, and lots of loving. My eldest is, too, really. The smiley little boy he was is in there somewhere - he just doesn't know it.

That he breastfed for nearly five years, had me respond whenever he needed me, was always taken along with us - have all laid a foundation that just maybe has made his terrible mental disease a little better than it would have otherwise been. At least he still, at age 38, has me (and my husband, his dad) in his corner.

Yours in nurturing.

Cassie said...

nurturing- thanks for sharing your story. it brought a tear to my eye.

Sacha said...

someone said something recently to me that has stuck with me on a very deep level. Perfectionism is a form of self-violence. Yes. It's this constant shaming of yourself because you're not good enough. Our parents do it to us then we take over as we transition to adulthood and it spills out in needing our children to be perfect. This is what I will call the Poster Child effect, no matter what kind of parenting philosophy you subscribe to. So you're not really talking about AP in particular, you're talking about people who must not fail when it comes to their children, and what is the one event in your life that will bring failure to you over and over? Parenting. So unless you can let go of being perfect, following all the rules, plugging in the right formulas, you will live in state of never being able to be acceptable to yourself.

The biggest challenge to me has been to let go, to confront the assumption that I have control, that if I just read the right book, follow the right set of rules, that I will get the result that I want with my children. While we follow the AP guidelines, it is mostly because we discovered that the way we parent and our values aligned with them, not because we were trying to achieve some result by using them. And there is one thing I will not do as a parent, that is violate my values to make my life easier or more convenient. So I have to let go because I am not the controller of my children. I am the observer, the support, the scaffolding, the interpreter, the interface, the advocate. I will not tell them what to do, who to be, but will follow them, embrace them, support them.

I am so deeply imperfect as a parent that I can't imagine trying to promote my children as poster children. What they are is delightful and the two small people who fill my heart up in a way that I was never able to conceive of before they arrived in my world. I don't want them to be perfect, I just want them to be okay.

Michelle said...

HA! I was just pondering this very subject earlier today. My family was traveling all of last month seeing family and friends. Multiple times throughout the trip we were told how "good" Ella was. Really, all it meant was she was quiet, not disruptive, etc. But the thing is, she's neither "good" nor "bad", she's a baby. And although she probably would be a poster child of AP, it's not because of anything I've done. It's simply because of her personality. Though I will say, she would be a very difficult child if it weren't for AP. She needs to be with me - i.e. ON me or IN my arms - about 99% of the time, and she's been over 20lbs since 5 months old. She nurses at least every 2 hours, sometimes more, still at 16 months. She will not fall asleep without me. Now, if it hadn't been for AP, I think I'd have a very detached, scared little girl. But man, sometimes it would be nice if she'd be a little more independent. :) Of course I know I'll regret that statement once she is.

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth said...

We always know so much before our knowledge is tested. ;) My oldest was supposed to be a strictly AP baby from pregnancy to whenever... starting with the pregnancy and never-ending quest for what works he has never fit the mold of anything. You definitely have to learn to parent the child, regardless of what your expectations might have been.

A happy, healthy child is the best anyone can hope for and from my perspective, too mush independence is often overrated. There is time for all things for all kids, whether they meet them or not.

Attuning yourself to your child's needs will never go wrong, it just may be different. Even when they get older that will never go away, but always change what each of your roles may be.

ZoeLovesMom said...

I have an 11 1/2 year old who was an extremely fussy baby. I AP'd the heck out of her. She wasn't cuddly, but she loved nursing and riding in the sling. In retrospect, I do think there are things I could have done that would have helped her - eliminating dairy from my diet and being more aware of her natural sleep cycles. However, I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.

Now I also have a 6 month old, and the reward for APing that 11 year old is coming already. My 11 year old is the sweetest big sister imaginable. She adores her baby sister. Worships her. I see the way she talks to her, and I think...she might not have memory, exactly, of the way she was babied, but it's embedded in her being that babies are to be treasured.

Oh - and she sleeps through the night in her own bed and is totally independent.

Taylor said...

I love this post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this post. My little girl is my 4th child, but the 1st I've been able to do all this AP stuff with. I love it, and I'd not have done it any other way. However, my daughter at nearly 3 is very clingy and shy, takes a long time to warm up, still breastfeeds CONSTANTLY ALL DAY LONG if I don't keep her busy w/ some other activity, has only recently shown interest in developing a vocabulary, and I really don't like co-sleeping (though I still think it's best so I keep it up). Luckily (?) I have my older 3 non-AP/daycare-raised kids as a comparison for those wanting to bash my current parenting style. My two oldest were also super shy kids. My 3rd child also did not speak much until sometime after his 3rd birthday. These expectations of ourselves, our children, and from society to us come in all sorts of ways. We have also used ASL (sign language) with my little daughter since she was born. B/c she's not talking people constantly ask if we should maybe stop signing with her as that might be keeping her from speech! Again, we're not typical. Most signing kids have a larger vocabulary than non-signers. I believe that will be the case for my daughter too, once she talks. A year or so ago we counted over 300 signs that she used regularly. It's way beyond that now - I won't even bother to do a count again. My daughter has the ability to communicate with us and always has! My non-signing son who was also a "late" talker did not have the same ability. Yet people point to the signing as "what's holding her back". Just like they point to my continued breastfeeding and the fact she's home with me as "what's making [my daughter] so shy". My husband and I, like you, see AP (and signing) as wonderful things in our lives. We know exactly what further obstacles our shy, constantly breastfeeding, non-speaking, daughter would have if we didn't do things the way we have! We're so glad we could give her these gifts that simply come down to - being loved! Thanks again. :)

Inder-ific said...

Nurturing, your story just made my heart hurt. It also reminded me of a wonderful book, Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson, which I think everyone should read. :-) In that book, which deals in themes of wandering and prodigal children, the narrator says: "That is how life goes--we send our children into the wilderness. Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give them. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves. But there must be angels there, too, and springs of water. Even that wilderness, the very habitation of jackals, is the Lord's."

Agh. It is such a beautiful book. I think about it so often. (It is Christian in its basic themes, I should warn, as the narrator is a pastor, but it handles spirituality with such delicacy and gentleness, that I have recommended it to people of all faiths, and no one has ever told me that the religion bothered them.)

nurturing said...


Thank you, Inder-ific, for the recommendation of the Marilynne Robinson book, Gilead. I think I need to read that!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, fantastic post. Which one of us really and truly knows exactly what we are doing as a parent? To think that we can have one, two or even seven children (a minuscule sample of the billions of children on the planet) and have any kind of real absolutes about parenting would be nutty.

I am brand new to your blog (was linked to this article), so I don't know much about you. Will you be homeschooling by any chance? If so, you'll have a whole lotta myths/pride to face there, too! I am just entering my 13th year homeschooling and am still waiting for siblings who get along perfectly, Mensa-level smart kids, children who are entrepreneurs, etc. :)

Thanks again for a terrific post. As an AP mom of 17+ years and 7 children, your post was bang-on, imo.


Joy K said...

wow, what a wonderful post. I just had to share it on my fb page I don't think I've ever shared a blog post on there before (I don't post on there much anyway).

If I'd read this even just a couple of years ago I would have been jumping up & down in happiness to know someone out there really seemed to understand. My children are now 15 & 16 and I truly believe that being an AP parent has been a wonderful thing for us but because neither one of them even fit the AP poster child I did wonder sometimes. I'm just starting to see now, all these years later, them fitting more in the AP ideal of the AP child. I doubt they ever would really fit though - and that's more than ok. :)

Mimi said...

hahaha join the club. my #1 son was a dream. Then reality moved in with son #2, who was a lot like yours. Not only did he need to be held, he needed to be danced with, and I don't mean waltz, I mean Jitterbug!
when I wore out my cousin (literally a dancer) came up and danced all around the house with that kid.
That was 30 years ago. Now kid #1 is a laid back musician, Kid #2 (the dancer) is studying for his PhD in Math. He is driven. When he was less than 1 year old, he couldn't "drive" yet. Once he mastered the tools of locomotion, he was much less fussy, but also much more demanding, as he explored his world at his/my peril. You probably have a gifted child there, good luck.

I Thought I Knew Mama said...

This was such a helpful post!

Stumbled :-)

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