Jenna and Morgan have invented a new little game. Jenna calls out, "Little crocydile is comin to EAT you!" and runs, giggling, with her arms snapping in front of her. Morgan squeals and laughs and runs away with a huge cheeky toothy grin. Jenna catches her, swings her around, and puts her down. Then runs away pretending that the crocodile is going to eat HER. Morgan follows, not really knowing that she's supposed to be a crocodile but clearly seeing that the shape of the game is to run away and then give chase before running away again. They have been playing this silly giggly happy game for most of today.
I'm enjoying all this new space that they have from me - Morgan is allowed to do far more than Jenna was, and not really because there are two of them (if anything the big sister stuff makes me watch them more closely) but she has more freedom because I know she's capable of handling it. I trust her, I trust her ability to take care of herself, and I trust that when she needs me she'll come to me and ask and it will be because she really DOES need me. That's one of the biggest reasons I laugh at the thought of gentle parenting being claustrophobic and cloying. If the centre of my parenting is believing that children are authentic human beings and deserve my trust and respect, how is that not the best kind of freedom you can have as a child?
They are free - free to be carried for as long a season as they need NOT because I want to force them to conform to my need for holding but because I am freely giving myself to them when they ask it. When they are old enough, they climb out of my arms and otherwise signal that they want to walk, and they are FREE to because their need is often more important to me than my need to walk anywhere quickly.
When they want to be cuddled close all night they are free to have that need met, because they signal it with every ounce of themselves from birth ie crying when not skin to skin. When they sleep less well like that they are free to sleep elsewhere, still having my presence when they ask for it. Here's the secret, they want to grow up! With that in mind, why can't our lives together be full of the cuddles and the spaces, the seasons of closeness and of carrying on our own lives seperately.
Attached doesn't mean superglued. We need a better definition of "Attachment Parenting" I think.