I’ve written about Attachment Parenting and Breastfeeding. I did Attachment Parenting and extended Breastfeeding long before they were popular and before and before extended Breastfeeding made the cover of Time Magazine. My “extended” breastfeeding with David lasted until he was 17 months (and was pregnant with Michael) and Michael until he was 2 1/2. I surrounded myself with like-minded people and tried to listen when they had advice for me. Upon the advice of my friend, Emily, mother of 4 amazing boys, I “babied the baby and toddler so I wouldn’t have to baby the teenager.” Somehow, I screwed this up.I have been with my boys (except for 2 nights when I was away from David at a La Leche League Conference, he stayed home with Chris and Michael came with me – Michael wasn’t a year old) every day of their lives. They have had sleepovers with friends and spent the weekend with their Grandparents and cousins in Peoria, Illinois. But, for the most part, the boys have been with me. The longest trip was 2 nights away.
Last Saturday we went to North Carolina to visit my parents. I left NC on Thursday morning. The boys were supposed to stay in NC for another week and come home Friday morning. It didn’t work out that way.
Saturday night, after a day at Falls Lake swimming, the boys called. Michael was upset. He and David were disagreeing about the computer and Michael “lost” the disagreement. He wanted to come home. He also got in trouble with my mom for locking the bedroom door (we don’t lock doors – maybe except for the bathroom door). My parents were quite frustrated with Michael and Michael was insisting on coming home immediately.
After calming Michael down and having him get into bed (it was after 11 pm there), I thought about what we were going to do. My first inclination was to force the boys to stay. But I decided that wasn’t fair to my parents who would have to deal with a miserable child. On Sunday, after talking with my parents and the boys, we decided that my dad would try to change their flight. However, I did not want my dad to have to pay an arm and a leg. And since Michael wasn’t old enough to fly alone, but he was able to fly alone with David (I know strange) both boys would have to come home. Michael is definitely old enough to understand the financial consequences of having to change a flight and was told that no one was paying a lot of money just because he wanted to come home.
David missed me. He told me he did. He told me that he wanted to come home. But he was also prepared to stick it out or come home depending on what was worked out.
My dad was to try to get them a flight for Wednesday. There wasn’t one (that we could inexpensively change to). So he tried for Tuesday. Nothing. There was a flight on Monday afternoon. So that is what he booked. Three nights, only three nights were the boys away from me. I hadn’t even really started missing them yet! I was looking forward to spending some time alone. I never get to do that and I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
I went to the gate to meet the boys and was standing there when they exited the plane. Both of them were busy hugging me and continued to do so. Their seat-mate told me how wonderful they were (and made me proud). So, I guess they managed.
David held my hand all the way to baggage claim. I guess he did miss me and wasn’t ready to be away for that long. But is sure would have been nice to have some more time to myself. I guess that is what happens when you parent the way I have been parenting.
In my efforts to write about me and how I feel and not sound like I am criticizing Chris (accidentally or on purpose), I hurt his feelings. So, I’ll elaborate. Chris goes to work every day so I can raise our children. When they were little, I was mostly a stay-at-home mom. It was something that we agreed upon and he had a paying job, while I mostly was with the boys. Now that they are older, and I finally have a teaching position, he still goes to work each day and earns the “big” money so I don’t have to worry about it and so I can have summers and such off with the boys. Because of this, I often feel like I have the responsibility of parenting (more so than I feel that Chris does). When the boys were little and nursing, he used to do their baths (since he couldn’t nurse them) and change the diapers. I often feel that he get to be the “fun” parent and I have the responsibility of dealing with problems (mostly at school). It may not be accurate, but it is the way I feel.
In Chris’ comments, you will see how he feels about this situation. He did calm the boys down during our trip to NC. Sometimes, when I have spent so much time with them, I am frustrated and that is when he steps in and manages the situation. I appreciate that. Maybe I can get Chris to write a guest posting after he spends the weekend with the boys in Illinois (and I am home by myself). I’ll keep you posted.