Even after all these years my mum is still quite defensive about my parenting style.
She has kindly offered to be with Millie for 4 hours whilst I do my breastfeeding training course. It's the longest Millie has been away from me (not including daddy) and it's a whole new experience for her.
Last week was her first week and even though she ended up having a lovely day with my mum, she still expressed the desire not to be left without me. She wasn't distraught or upset about it happening, but she made it clear she wasn't too chuffed about it. Talking about this week she again, simply and clearly and expectantly, told me she didn't want me to go. I went through similar with my other girls at nursery but they were older.
The night before, I was trying to explain to mum that I would see how she reacted. I would bring her over with an expectation that she would stay but that I knew she wasn't keen. I received the usual 'oh they need to get used to not being with you' line.
For our family, the premise of an emotionally secure, happy, confident, capable child is based on a healthy attachment to a primary caregiver. Early years attachment has far reaching positive consequences for the child.
In order for this to effectively work, the child needs to feel secure and confident that their primary caregiver is available and capable of providing for their needs. For a newborn, this equates to almost 24/7 care (practical, emotional and boobal!!) and constant reassurance that they won't be abandoned or left to fend for themselves. Newborns needs are constant and demanding!
As a child grows, so too does their confidence and security and comfort level at being left with a secondary caregiver. A child first needs to have dependence which leads to codependence which will eventually lead to healthy independence.
In the absence of the main caregiver, the child needs to know the secondary caregiver has the abilities and skills in order to help them feel comfortable and secure in their situation. This relationship takes time to develop and for a young child to get to that point may take some time.
Prematurely severing attachment has long term consequences. Rushing the attachment/detachment process at a young age, can lead to connection problems, which can manifest in what are generally termed 'behaviour problems'. Whenever there are ongoing issues (or meltdowns) it is usually down to connection.
It's always good to be reminded that the long term goal, really does takes longer!!
So back to my situation, whilst *I* know my mum loves Millie and they have a great time together, and as my mum said she can manage if Millie becomes upset, I had to remind her that this isn't about me and it isn't about her. This is about seeing it from Millie's point of view. This is about Millie feeling secure and ready to be separated for an extended period of time from me.
Although I didn't say this out loud, it is also definitely not about 'managing' or 'dealing with' an upset child!!
I am in the fortunate position that it's not truly necessary for her to stay as she is able to come with, so she has the opportunity to ease into the transition.
I feel great pain towards those that truly are unable, yet want to be with their child. It must take a lot of instinct squashing and heartache to do especially when even younger.
Had that option not been available and she were to become more adamant or distraught at me leaving, I would need to listen to her and re-evaluate our arrangement. I would most likely need to reconsider the course for another time.
Dismissing her feelings or denying her emotions are not conducive to a happy secure Millie. Or a happy relaxed me. It more often than not leads to a more needy girly who requires additional connection to feel balanced again.
Losing the plot - mainly over sibling rivalry. Must reread'finish' the book.
Meltdowns - few and far between...today
Breastfeeding - doin' a course. I'm gonna be legit not just some boob shoogling loony!!