I’ve brought my very nearly 4 year old daughter back into bed with me this week. She has been generally unsettled, waking frequently, having bad dreams, very emotional during the day. So I figured lets just have her back in bed with me again all night so I’m already there for all the bad dream moments.
She has been sleeping in a big bed with her brother for the past year now, so it’s prompting all sorts of old memories having her back in with us. Some lovely (oh delicious warm soft sweet baby smell). Some less lovely (foot up nose at 3am).
And today somebody asked me if I worried that because I’d done this, it would now be really hard to get her out of my bed again, and I’ve ‘given in’ and ‘gone backwards’.
The answer to which is of course I worry about that! Because I worry about everything! My subconscious is always busy with random irrational panics about what I’m doing wrong as a mother.
Such as the time I woke in the middle of the night when my daughter was 14 months old frantically worrying that maybe she hadn’t grown any teeth yet because I hadn’t fed her any meat…
My rational brain will sometimes come to my rescue though, and at the moment, this is what my rational brain (along with my not insignificant knowledge and experience of small children) is reminding my subconscious worries:
You don’t foster independence by pushing your child away from you into independence. You foster it by making them feel as loved and safe and secure as possible in their relationship with you. The child who knows their parent’s arms will always open ready for a hug when they ask, is the child who will be happiest to venture away from that parent to discover their own independence.