Breathe, you’re doing fine

I recently have been served some unsettling news, which shakes up my household a little bit. Nothing has changed while at the same time I feel like everything will change. So this news has put me somewhat into a parenting frenzy. I’ve gone into overdrive on parenting techniques, the effects of stress on children, what high achieving children need to succeed, etc. In my frenzy I moved up “Why Children Succeed” by Paul Tough to the top of my reading list. Not the audio book version. The hard copy. People, alarm bells should be ringing.
So I have been soaking up everything I can about well-adjusted children and feel confident in my decision to have used an attachment parenting technique but I can’t help but have this fear creep up that it’s not enough, that it’s not good enough.
I finished reading the first chapter last night of Tough’s book, and this thought came into my head trying to analyze if my child was truly securely attached. Tough explained the outcomes of A Strange Situation study where anxiously attached children would throw themselves into a heap on the floor, kick at the mothers, or display other emotions that showed they were not necessarily relieved or pleased once the mother came back into the room. Securely attached children on the other hand may have still cried, from being left alone in a room but they would embrace their mom, smile or show other signs of relief and pleasure at their mother’s presence. Where this started tugging at me was when avoidant attached children would ignore that their mothers came back into the room. They couldn’t care less. I freaked.
I take my son to a local daycare and have a bit of a commute to get into work, so his Nana has been picking him up in the afternoons. When I come home he’s been fed, and is usually playing with something. Before when I would pick him up from daycare in Chicago he would come running to me to give me a hug. When I come home now however he might smile but he doesn’t necessarily come to welcome me home. My heart sinks a little.
And so when I read about avoidant attachment, red flags went up. Had my parenting techniques failed to show my son that I will respond to his needs? You might say “But Karina, he smiles at you that shows he’s pleased to see you.” I thought that for a millisecond and then went back to freaking out.
And then this morning I dropped him off, with the normal tears of not wanting to be left at daycare. It pulls at my heart strings. An hour later, once I got to work, I received a picture from the women who oversees my son’s room in the mornings. He was smiling sitting at the table eating cheerios. I thanked her for sending me the picture, it puts me at ease. She then told me that he usually has a good time at the daycare. He plays, dances, and reads! He picks up books! I did a cartwheel in my head, I had been trying for months now to read stories at night but he wasn’t showing too much interest in the books. He kept chucking them.
It was then that I realized, my son is fine. He is adjusting well to the changes, and moving back home to give him more of my time, to be around family and better resources was the right decision.
Obviously I can’t take all the credit, my son is a reflection of his village. His village includes the wonderful women who watched him while we lived in Chicago, my friends and sorors who’ve volunteered at different points to help us in some shape or form, his daycare now, and our family that includes blood and basically adopted members (shout out to the homies).
I’m still going to finish reading the book, but I can go a little more confident in knowing that he will be ok.

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