Monday, February 22, 2010

Holding on

I'll admit it, I've been so preoccupied with this pregnancy, getting ready for the Twinks and wrapping my head around going from one to three children in one fell swoop, that I have completely neglected my blogging roots. I originally started this blog about Piglet. My first, at the time my only, and the greatest love of my life.

Tonight a friend sent me a link to a blog entry written by a friend of hers. It was an entry about her son and his renewed separation anxiety after having missed a week of preschool while they were both sick. This mom wondered if she'd done wrong by her son (as the teacher pried him off her leg) by sending him to school too early. She felt pangs of guilt about her son not having enough time with her because every night he begged her to sit and cuddle with him a minute longer.

One line she wrote really stuck with me: "I know these days are fleeting, but isn't the holding on as important as the letting go?"

That question really gave me pause. Piglet is reaching the age now where many of his peers are being introduced to BIG new things.

Many of my friends are making plans to send their little ones to school next fall when they're all around 2.5. This is awesome and I'm happy for them that this will be a good experience for their children. I'm not 100% sure yet, but I do not think Piglet will be among those heading to preschool next fall. I know I'll get some flack for this and on more than one occasion I've already been accused of being over protective or not making Piglet experience new situations or forcing him outside of him comfort zone because "it'll be good for him." I just know my Piglet and I know that he's the kid that might need more time before that kind of transition. And to be honest, he has a LIFETIME of school ahead of him, waiting until he's three or even 3.5 is not the end of the world in my eyes.

I received all kinds of unwelcome criticism and advice about not letting him cry it out in his crib. Even when he cried so hard he'd throw up (every time), I was met with a lot of head shaking and "he'll never learn to fall asleep on his own if you always give in" talk. I don't judge people who can Ferberize and leave their shrieking child at the gym daycare without a backwards glance. I really don't. I say, good for them for having wills of steel and a child without a strong gag reflex. Even better if they don't have to go through all that and their child is just naturally outgoing and loves new situations and environments.

Piglet however, is not one of these children. He craves proximity to me and to his dad. He co-slept with us for a long time. This was not what we intended to do, but just a response to his personality and ours. Then about five months ago, we moved him into his own full-sized bed in his own room and he loves sleeping there. He still loves it best when we cuddle with him, reading books and singing lullabies until he falls asleep. Sure it's not as easy as putting him in his crib with a lovey and a nightlight and closing the door and yes, there are nights that I wish he was the kind of kid that went to bed so easily, but I accept Piglet as he is. He has an innate need to be close to us and as long as he needs us, we are here for him.

Myself, I am here for him because I know that he won't be 13 and still happy to sit next to me on the couch running a choo choo train up and down my arm (and right now, my belly). He won't always walk around the house bellowing "Maaaaaaamaaaaa!" when I'm just in the next room. I do believe he's more demanding and sensitive than other kids his age, but that's just HIM. It's who he is and that deserves to be nurtured and respected.

As cliché as it sounds, this time goes by in the blink of an eye and I want to cherish it entirely. I want to fill Piglet's life with as much joy and as little discomfort as possible. Of course there are moments when I worry that I am holding him back, that I'm somehow stifling his growth by not nudging him to be more adventurous, more bold, more accepting of new things. Then I look back at all the times I let him get comfortable in his own time and how much better it felt to know that he got there by himself, without me forcing it.

I believe with my entire heart that I am being the parent to him that he needs me to be. As for the question posed by a fellow blogger? My vote goes to holding on...even if it sometimes means holding on for dear life.


summerdavid said...

I didn't go to school regularly until I started elementary school - my family moved when I was in preschool and again right before kindergarten, so I just didn't go. No big whoop. As long as he's getting social experiences and you're keeping up with all the stuff the other kids will be learning in preschool, he should be fine. My mom bought me Mickey Mouse spelling and math workbooks and I actually came into first grade ahead of my peers. :)

Anonymous said...

I hear you - hold on! You sound like a great mom.

I wish that others would keep their judgmental opinions and comments to themselves - I have not even had a baby yet and I get bombarded with that sort of nonsense...

Amber said...

Good for you for keeping his best interest in mind. You know him better than anyone who might pass even the smallest amount of judgment on your decisions. Our older daughter was the epitome of "slow to warm up" and new situations always worked best when we gave her the time she needed to get herself ready (as painful as it was at times). I'm happy to report that she's 9 now and very well-adjusted, tyvm. :) Enjoy these last weeks with your super sweet only child.

Sunny said...

I completely agree with you. Bean sounds very similar to Piglet in his personality. My MIL says that my husband was the exact same way as a toddler, and ever since I've known him (age 10) he's had an appropriate and healthy separation from my in-laws. By being there for him now, I am teaching him that I will *always* be there for him, and hopefully giving him the confidence to explore the world when he is ready. Even the past 6 months, he's come a long way with that.

We attend co-op preschool together, which is the perfect situation for us. For the first three years, the parent stays for the entire class. Then for the second two years, the parents rotate which days they work/stay in the classroom. I'm hoping it'll be just the gradual ramp-up to kindergarten that he needs.

Carrie said...

You are the BEST mommy. Following your instincts about his personality- what could be more natural and fulfilling for all of you?

A is the same- clingy, slow to warm, and throws up if she cries to hard. Still. I am so glad she taught me to be the mommy I am before I took on the challenge of triplets.

Piglet has given you the gift of seeing your children individually. Those twinks are SO lucky. Cannot wait to meet them, and Piglet too.


Megan said...

Good job, mama. Each of our little ones is different, and all we can do is listen and pay attention to their needs as individuals. Max was very much this way, and is now loving and flourishing in his preschool - BECAUSE we waited until he was ready (4 years). Luke, on the other hand, could go at any time - that's just him.

Piglet is lucky to have parents who let him be him. It has set you up well for seeing the twinks as the individuals they will be.

tricia said...

hold on to these moments cause, take it from me, IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN after the little ones are born. I want you to come back to this blog when things get really stressed with the three of them and relfect on what you have written and take it to heart with all of your wonderful boys. You are a great mom and you do what you have to do and dont feel the least bit bad about it.

Jenn said...

Go with what's right for you guys! My husband and I don't plan on sending our Son to School until Kindergarten, and at that he will not start until 6. He is only 18 months and we already get flack for it, but that's okay. Each family does what is right to them!

Darren said...

Kids to go to school at 2.5 now? I totally missed that memo. I thought school started at 5. Or 6.

2.5. Wow. They've barely learned to poop "not in pants". I'm having trouble absorbing that that's the standard school-age now. At least standard enough that you might get flak for not doing it. I confess if I knew any 2.5 year olds in school, I might be giving the parents a little flack.

But, I guess to each their own, right?

A New Beginning said...

I hold on to my little Gracie the very same way. I am a single mom, and I enjoy more than anything else the time I have with her letting her cuddle me, and fall asleep in my arms. I have never put her in bed to "cry it out" either, as others have told me to simply because I just can't. I don't see the point, and agree with you one hundred percent, it isn't in her personality either. She needs that nurturing side, and I love to nurture her. That is after all the best job in the world of a mommy in my opinion. ;)
You sound like a wonderful mommy, and your blog entry made me so happy, because now I know how to rebuttle certain people I know who insist that I "baby" my Gracie too much. That simply isn't true, I am just embracing every opportunity to be there for her, until she tells me that it is time for her to spread her wings a bit more. I will hold on dearly, until she says not to. ;)