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How We Mother

Margo Trueman
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25 No. 4, 2008, p. 26

Have you ever wondered how much attention your children are really paying to what you say and do? When we are parenting older children -- children who are at the stage of testing whether we really mean it when we give an instruction -- we often wonder if they have suddenly become blind or deaf to us. It is comforting for me to watch my younger children and realize that even though it may not seem like they are paying much attention, they most definitely are.

My two daughters, four-year-old Ceilidh and Rhiannon, who is 23 months, both have several baby dolls and teddy bears and a child-sized sling each. The striped sling originally belonged to my son and prior to that, his male cousin, who is five years older. My son is now seven and has, in the past year, outgrown playing with babies; although I still occasionally catch him in the girls' room putting a baby doll to bed or walking and patting the back of a baby who "is crying because Ceilidh isn't home right now." My girls both love to carry their babies in a sling as my son did before them.

I enjoy watching how much attention they have paid -- they haven't just thrown on the slings. My four-year-old did her own sling up and helped her younger sister to ensure the rings were over her shoulder, and that the fabric was stretched across her back. Ceilidh has me help her with her sling, as she can't reach back to stretch it out herself, yet she knows that's how she should wear it. I'm sure they have watched me arrange my sling enough times that they know to make a pocket for their lying down little babies and how to put the bigger baby dolls upright. They both can nurse successfully in their slings, too!

When my son is ignoring my instructions to clean his room or finish his homework, it's nice to see my girls mothering their babies the "attachment parenting" way, with their slings on perfectly.

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