Marque 5, on the verge of turning 5, pipes up with a special request.
‘Can you buy me my own bed that I can sleep in by myself and you can come and check on me every few minutes?’
‘Yes of course I can sweetheart’ I say a tiny bit pleased and more than a little gutted.
‘But will it cost too many hundred euros?’
He’s clearly had enough of this attachment parenting lark. He’s making his bid for freedom. He would’ve made it long ago if he wasn’t so worried about the cost.
‘No it won’t be too many hundred euros . Now where would you like your bed to go?’
He announces the plan to a mother at the school gate.
‘My Mum is going to buy me my OWN bed and she’s going to come and check on me in the night’.
I was lucky with the person he chose to share his great news with. Not a raised eyebrow or a hint, if she was thinking it, of ‘poor angel, your mum should’ve done that for you long ago’. I begin to gibber on, flush faced, about thwarted plans to execute this phase in the past. In truth I think about it and wait, patiently – attachment parenting style – for a sign of readiness.
The wham bang sign arrives today.
He sketches his new bed for me. It floats seamlessly on air. His teddies join him up there. He is more than a little bit ready.
The theory is that the more securely attached they are to their parents the more confidently independent they’ll be later on. Co-sleeping, prolonged breastfeeding and trusting your instincts are some of main facets of this approach. Easy peasy. Delightful. Natural. A privilege.
What about the parents though, when the little traitors decide to move on?! Absconding and leaving them all by themselves to resume normal marital relations. These people who are used to sneaking around, nabbing their moments opportunistically like young ones with nowhere to go. What about the separation anxiety the poor mother could (theoretically) feel when her snugly warm love-bug ups and flees. It remains to be seen as I’ve yet to source that new bed. He’s phasing me into the reality of it, in fairness to him. After dropping the bombshell he saunters into his brothers’ bedroom and sleeps in with marque 4, swapping for marque 3 half way through the night, and then tosses me the couple of hours of sweet slumber after dawn. Slim pickings. I think it’s about time to unearth the downside of attachment parenting – for the parents. The poor separation-anxiety struck mums and dads, bereft in the absence of their co-sleeper, hurtled together again, blinking into the half-light of life without a chick in the nest. Marque 5 picks up on this, telepathically (all that attachment!) and pipes up.
‘I thought you might want to have another one of us now that I’m getting my own bed’.
‘What, another baby?’ I say laughing.
Nope. No sir-re. In fact when he puts it like that I might even begin to value the freedoms that are coming my way now that we are well and truly out of the baby stage.
Cheers and happy birthday to you marque 5.