New Mama Musings

Monday, October 10, 2005

All Apologies

Once upon a time I was a nanny for a family with a seriously screwed up mom. I won't go into details; suffice it to say that I still worry about the long-term mental health of those kids.

One of the few good things to come out of that job was getting to know the stay-at-home mom who lived a few doors down. Jennifer was pretty much everything this other woman was not as a parent, and probably as a human being. (Think I'm exaggerating? The stories I could tell...)

Jennifer extended breast-fed, homeschooled, co-slept and treated her children with respect. She was my introduction to attachment parenting, though I didn't know it at the time.

I'd held many nanny and babysitting jobs, spent a lot of time with my nieces and nephews, and lived with a man with three kids, but I had never come across this term. And although I could see that Jennifer had an amazing bond with her children, her methods struck me as radical.

I mean, her two-and-a-half year old was still breastfeeding. She was homeschooling, and not for religious reasons. And the whole family slept in the same bed.

When I saw their mattress on the floor (with no bedrooms for the kids), I have to admit, I thought it was kind of weird. Parents and children, sleeping together -- mass hysteria!

And then I had Henry.

I'm not saying Henry will never sleep in his own bed (we have a crib for him, despite Jennifer's warning that we won't use it), but so far I can't imagine him being all by himself in a big ol' bed down a dark hallway.

When he wakes up for a night feeding I know because I feel him rooting against my chest, not because his crying comes over the monitor. When he whimpers in his sleep I'm there to pat his bottom and make soothing noises. And nothing, I mean, nothing, is sweeter than a baby nestled up next to you, tummy to tummy, half-smiling in his sleep.

And so this is the part of the blog entry where I bow down before Jennifer and apologize.

I didn't know, Jen. I just didn't know.


  • Yikes. I'm caught somewhere between "Garsh, thanks" and "How completely embarrasing!"
    I'm really glad to see mom-ness agreeing with you so much. Henry is a lucky kiddo.
    I was planning on emailing you again so that I could get your snail mail address and send Henry a knitted thing that has a chance of actually fitting him. I've lost your email address again, of course.
    To your credit, I had no idea you were weirded out by our family choices. Cribs are great places to store laundry .
    PS - the kids have their own rooms now and sometimes they even sleep in them. :)

    By Anonymous Jen, at 5:16 PM  

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