We’re fans of Attachment Parenting here. Throughout their young lives the only times the twins haven’t been with either me or the Mummy they’ve been with the Mummy’s parents, & even then never for very long. We always try to give them us much attention as we can: to talk to them, listen to them, play with them, laugh with them, comfort them. We feel very lucky that we’re able to spend so much time with them as I know many parents simply aren’t able to, however much they might want to.
Since moving to Wales we’ve been taking them to a kind of pre-Nursery group a few days a week, like Nursery but with fewer children & which seems to get out & about a bit more.
The main difference with this new playgroup, apart from it being more than just the usual hour or so they had before, is that for most of the time – for the first time in their lives – we’re not with them. They’ll be going to Nursery soon so we want to get them ready for being in a group with us not there. We’d been worried that they might be distressed there without us: it wasn’t too long ago that they would freak out at a playgroup even if I had to go away for a few minutes to use the loo or to change one of them, although they’ve been OK with that in the last 2/3 months.
So how is it going? I’m actually starting to feel a little redundant! One day last week when the Mummy picked them up Ellie ran over to her, said “Hello Mummy” & gave her a hug then ran back to carry on jumping on the trampoline. Monday she really did not want to leave & went into the biggest meltdown I can remember her having, lasting a good 5 minutes. Van Morrison in the car seemed to calm her down eventually! The woman who runs the group – let’s call her ‘Karen’ – is terrific & Ellie in particular gets very excited whenever we even mention her name. Hmph! It’s nice to be needed…
This morning when I dropped them off there were 2 other little girls there. Jake went up to 1 of them & gave her a great big hug. She just stood there looking a bit confused: I’ve seen that a lot when the same has happened in other playgroups. Apparently her brother is about Jake’s age & is often quite aggressive with her: she’s more used to being whacked when he doesn’t get what he wants than being hugged.
He’s there too some days, & this morning ‘Karen’ told me that after seeing Jake being so affectionate that he himself has been hugging his sister there, instead of just lashing out. I’m not in the habit of welling up in front of strangers, but… That little guy made me such a proud Dad!
I like to think that his, & Ellie’s, affectionate & sociable nature is in part at least due to the love & attention that they’ve had from us, that the hard work – if you could call it that – is paying off.
I’m probably being overly simplistic but I think that with children you tend to get back what you put in: give them love & they give love back & are loving to others. If they’re neglected they become insular & nervous. If they grow up with anger they are more likely to become angry & aggressive themselves.
I’m not pretending that they’re little angels – far from it! The do all the normal 2-year-old things like fighting over toys, & lashing out at each other & us in frustration when they can’t get what they want. But the love is there & it shines through every day. And that’s what matters, right?
So how about you? How much time are you able to spend with your children? Do you think it’s as important as I do? Or are things like providing for them materially & keeping a clean & tidy house (which we often don’t!) more important for your family?
Like this? You may also like:
- What is Attachment Parenting? (ivillage.com)