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Attachment Parenting Flunkie: An Introduction to the “Whatever Works” School of Parenting

When I imagined motherhood, I thought I would give my baby the sort of childhood I had growing up. My mom was an attachment parent, before attachment parenting was a thing. She was also fairly crunchy, except for a steadfast refusal to cook anything in any appliance other than the microwave. We have since had many debates about whether you can call heating something in the microwave “cooking,” but I digress. We tended to use minimal products like body wash, and her governing philosophy was “simpler is better.” Her sustained paranoia regarding plastics, cell phones, and chemicals in make up was a source of consternation in my teenage years, but science has since vindicated her.

In contrast, my husband was raised in a house that was a shrine to name brand convenience. Tellingly, the first story he told me about his childhood was that he cried the first time he was set down in the grass, and refused to touch dirt, sand, and anything resembling nature until sometime around high school. He still finds excuses to avoid gardening. Something about nature is just so… unnatural.

While pregnant, I bought every crunchy mama staple. I amassed three(!) different baby carriers, all approved by the hard core baby wearers. These were not simple bjorns. No, no, no. Only the best, most ergonomically sound organic cotton contraptions for my baby! We stocked up on organic, paraben free body washes and lotions. I delighted in the new blender I got for my baby shower, which I would use to make wonderful homemade organic baby food. I researched cloth-diapering systems late at night.

Then something happened: I had my baby. I had my baby and he is definitely his father’s son.

My little prince, or as he has come to be known recently in my house, “King Baby,” is a persnickety little tot, and he shares his father’s tendencies. King Baby prefers to be pushed in a stroller, refuses home made baby food most of the time because mama can’t puree it fine enough for his delicate little mouth, and cannot abide even the tiniest drop of moisture against his skin.

I battled him about this for a while. I tried to get him to like being worn. He now tolerates it, but not well enough for me to ever leave the stroller behind for a walk. That kind of defeats the purpose. He begrudgingly ate some of my pureed peas, I think just to humor me. He employed a clever strategy to rid himself of the cloth diapers, peeing every ten minutes or so and crying until I had changed him so many times in one day that I had no clean diapers left.

King Baby doesn’t think much of crunchy mama's crunchy wishes.

At a recent trip to Target to get more formula (yep, breastfeeding didn’t work, either), I saw the entire bountiful aisle of alluringly flavored organic baby food on sale. I bought at least 10 different kinds. It was fun picking out the different varieties to try. I’m excited to see what he likes and dislikes and watch him make those funny “new taste” faces. I realized something in that moment: parenting can, nay should, be fun. Dean’s not going to be any worse for the wear if I feed him some earth’s best carrots. They’re still carrots. They’re still organic. It saves me washing the blender. It makes him happy, which makes it easier for me to enjoy mealtime. I surrender, King Baby. You win.

The baby advice manuals led me to believe that I’ll suffer some consequences for this lazy parenting. But will I really? I guess only time will tell. I’m growing increasingly skeptical, though. My husband turned out pretty awesome – awesome enough for me to marry him, and he grew up on gerber and formula and processed food and refusing to touch dirt or feel the sun on his skin. I’m thinking it takes a lot more to ruin a child than store-bought baby food.



I've been faithfully checking your blog for an update, and have been rewarded with another witty, well written installment. Please keep 'em coming!

July 2012

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