My son clings to me!

By | January 23, 2010

Okay, all the warnings are coming true.

The last two days, Nisarga has shown a distinct preference for being held, and will nap on me, but not if I set him down on his bed. The difference is, that its not the end of the world as predicted. I’m enjoying it. What more special experience than to have my child, my beloved son be so attached to me? What better compliment could a mother get?

I’d worry that something was wrong if my child was as okay with others or left alone as he was with me.

The more Nisarga grows up, and the more advice I get, the more I wonder about what is so wrong with the world? I have lived close to animals. I’ve lived under the sky with my herd of horses, I’ve lived with dogs, I’ve lived close enough to cows to see their idea of parenting, I’ve lived with village women who work in the fields with their babies in a sling on them. Feels good. Feels natural.

In the city, I have often encountered parents who apologize for their babies when they don’t want to come to me. Why? I wonder. Its a smart baby that doesn’t want to go to strangers. Try approaching a young filly when the mare doesn’t know you, and see how quickly you get run off by the mare and how the other horses in the herd take places around the mother and child pair. You are a stranger. The child is to be protected. It is simple. I understand the baby’s instinct completely and I respect him/her for being wise enough not to want to have anything to do with me without knowing me. I wonder at the parent who sees her child’s discomfort as inappropriate.

Where, as kids grow up, does this get lost?

I do introduce myself to children I meet, but really, its fine if they simply stare at me without approaching or approving of me in any way. I am absolutely delighted if my son takes his time to get comfortable with people. Everyone tells me that at the age of 6 months or so, he will start getting fussy about whom he interacts with. I see it as him growing up and getting smarter. I see nothing wrong with that, or feel any need to ‘prepare him’ by getting him used to being handled by lots of people.

Sure, that makes it important that I am available to him all the time. Isn’t that what motherhood is all about?

I see many parents outsourcing their parenting responsibilities, and then when their child grows up, they call him or her rude for not caring about them. Fact is, they do care. They did bond. It was just with the people the parents outsourced to. They did mourn their absence when they went out of their lives. However the parents themselves are not those people.

I don’t see anything as right or wrong. I only see that it is unrealistic to expect children to take on responsibility for relationships that never were. My child will learn from life itself. My teaching him will not be a special thing. My child will survive with what is provided and get used to that whether it is a life as a beggar or prince. Parenting is not about that either. If I want my child to care about me, I must care about him in ways I see as caring.

It is totally absurd that we expect our kids to not get too attached to the parents. What is this “too”? Is it even possible to get too attached to the sole stability in our life? What is wrong with this picture that we will leave crying toddlers in day care, send unwilling children to school, make them depend on strangers for their needs and then want them to maintain respectful, intimate, emotional relationships as adults when they don’t really need us?

To me, this means respecting him, caring for his physical comfort, caring for his emotional comfort, supporting his choices. And then I *may* hope that if in my old age I am bed ridden, he will use warm water to wipe my bottom in the winter and turn my bed to face the window and not wake me up from naps to give me baths at his convenience or send me to some day care or hospice for convenience in the name of competent care. What he will do will still be his choice, but what I expect will be more fair.

Nisarga is free to do what he likes. I am here for as long as he wants me.

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