Not-A-Baby-Anymore, But Still My Baby

June 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting as first time parents, Attachment, attachment activities, co-sleeping, cocooning, Faith, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 4 Comments

We still co-sleep.

That’s right. My 3.5 year old, not-a-baby-anymore, rapidly growing in every way, sweetest little boy still sleeps smack dab in the middle of our California King sized bed. (My husband is 6’5”, so that pretty much predetermined the bed size for us, but, yes I do recommend a big bed if you plan to do this long term. For your sanity.) We still co-sleep, and God willing, we will do the same with baby #2. Logistics aren’t worked out yet on that one, but how can I kick my first son out of the bed to welcome his little brother into our home? While we may have to add a twin onto the side for Mama’s space (and sanity), it will be Team Winstead, 1—2—3—4, all in a row come Fall 2017.

So, yes. We still co-sleep… and my little guy still takes a bottle.

That’s right. My 3.5 year old, not-a-baby-anymore, rapidly growing in every way, sweetest little boy still has his afternoon bottle at his Gram’s house. While we’ve slowly weaned from bottles in the morning, and from bottles in the night, my little guy loves his milk and he loves that bottle. For so many months, bottle time was the only time he’d sit in my lap. Holding his bottle was the only thing he’d willingly let me do for him. And even though that time has passed, one little afternoon bottle remains— a reminder of those early days of both struggle and connection.

So, yes. We still co-sleep, my little guy still takes a bottle… and we still rock him to sleep, every naptime, and every night.

That’s right. My 3.5 year old, not-a-baby-anymore, rapidly growing in every way, sweetest little boy loves his routine, and his routine includes rocking. Before his nap. And before his bedtime. For so long, he wouldn’t let me hold him close, but now he does, and I’ll tell you that I will keep rocking him until the day that he tells me to stop. Every night when I rock him, I say “can I hold you like a baby?” He giggles and says “yes, mama.” Every night when I hold him like a baby, I look into his eyes, and I soak it all in. It is as much for me as it is for him.

So, yes. We still co-sleep, my little guy still takes a bottle, we still rock him to sleep, every naptime and every night… oh… and still, he is not potty trained.

That’s right. My 3.5 year old, not-a-baby-anymore, rapidly growing in every which way, sweetest little boy still wears a diaper. And for no reason other than — I just don’t think he’s ready to potty train yet. He has nothing going on anatomically that would make potty training difficult. I don’t think (knock on wood) that it’s an issue of him understanding that someday he might not want to wear those bulky diapers. I just don’t think he’s quite ready yet, so I haven’t pushed the issue. (I know. Gasp. How will he ever make it to preschool?!)

It feels really liberating to type all of this out loud!

Before we brought him home, I remember sitting around the conference table in my office. I was a first-time mom, and all of my co-workers had sage advice about mothering — mostly when I should take that bottle away, when I should kick my boy out of my bedroom, and when and how we should start potty training. I have heeded exactly none of their advice, and let me tell you all that it feels… good!

This isn’t to say that sometimes I don’t wonder — am I doing the right thing? Am I making the right choices for him? Should I be pushing him more? Is his behavior age appropriate?

You know how I know it’s right for him though?

He’s been home a year and a half now, and every night he asks me to tickle him.

When we sit next to each other on the couch, he loves to have staring contests and thinks it’s hilarious to look deep into my eyes until one of us blinks.

He asks me to hold him while he watches Diego GO before bed.

When he starts to whine if he’s having a hard time falling asleep, without fail, I can feel him reach out his little hand for mine.

He may be not-a-baby-anymore, but still, he is my baby. And I know that these things I’m doing for him — while they may sometimes feel babyish — are helping us stay at the solid end of that attachment continuum, where I’ve always aspired to be.

Slowly but surely, we’re catching up on all of that time we missed.

Slowly but surely we’re catching up on all of that time he spent without a mama.

4 responses to “Not-A-Baby-Anymore, But Still My Baby”

  1. Dianne Nicholson says:

    I loved reading your post!! It brought tears to my eyes. We are foster parents and have had 47 children through our home. Many people don’t understand how much these children have missed out on nurturing. This post has brought back alot of memories. Keep up the good work. You are a great mommy.

  2. Debbie says:

    I did the same with all 4 of my children who are adopted. Now their ages range from 14 to 28 and they are all amazing people. Great post.

  3. Becca Norwood says:

    This was so timely for me. We brought a three year old home in April, and it’s a struggle at times because she seems more like a newborn. She wants to be held so much, resists feeding herself, won’t go to sleep in her own bed, loses her temper if we don’t help her with things immediately when she wants them… but I have to remember, she never had a mama. She never had someone willing to be there just for her at any moment and for any reason. Maybe she is demanding not because she still wants to be a baby (she definitely has an independent toddler streak!), but because she needs me to keep proving to her that I really mean it, that I won’t go away, that she belongs to us no matter what. That it’s safe to grow up and let go a little because mama is not going anywhere. How can I begrudge the time it takes to be there for her when her little personality is blossoming right before our eyes? How could I ever risk missing that?

  4. Lana Klingenberg says:

    Thank you for this! We brought home a 7 & 9 year old. I play peekaboo with their towel after showers & we play “baby” holding them on our laps and rocking them. They can’t get enough! We lay with them until they fall asleep every night and they hand feed us chips (& vice versa). When others look at us sideways we just smile and say, “We’re making up for lost time.”

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